What Happened to the Google Keyword Tool?
Google has officially retired a number of products / services in the past year, many of which were very useful. For example, iGoogle (where you could create your own home page) was retired last summer. Google also retired it’s Reader, which was great for pulling content and reading blogs. Of course there have been alternatives to fill the void, but most recently Google has discontinued it’s Keyword Tool.
This is a big blow to many, as the replacement that Google offers (Keyword Planner) is based primarily on Adword results. Google states: “With Keyword Planner, we’ve combined the functionality of Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator to make it easier to plan search campaigns. That’s why Keyword Tool is no longer available. You can use Keyword Planner to find new keyword and ad group ideas, get performance estimates for them to find the bid and budget that are right for you, and then add them to your campaigns. We’ve also added several new features with Keyword Planner.”
Google’s Keyword Tool users must create a Google AdWords account, which does not currently require you to spend money but it is clear that they want you to become a Google advertiser. Google claims that you haven’t lost any functionality with the new tool, but the fact is, many web professionals feel like it is pretty bad compared to what they previously had available to them. But let’s face it, Google is in the business of selling ads, not SEO.
I’ve researched a number of alternatives to the Keyword Tool. A lot of people mention using Ubersuggest, but I have found this to be lacking. The best solution I have found is WordTracker’s New Free Keyword Tool. This is not the same as their free trial of their paid tool. Here is what the interface looks like:
While this tool isn’t as robust for suggesting keyword phrases as I would like, it does report the number of searches and competition level for the keywords, which is important (and missing in many of the other alternatives out there). There are of course paid tools available (including WordTracker) that are arguably better than Google’s original keyword tool anyways.
How do you feel about the Keyword Tool being replaced by Keyword Planner? Will you get used to it or start using other tools to use for your keyword research like WordTracker? What product or products do you think Google will discontinue next (Blogger??? – or will they just find a way to monetize it?)