The Google Keyword Planner just took a nose dive – in addition to showing only a range of values for search volume instead of actual numbers, they have now started blocking the Keyword Planner Tool from non-active AdWord accounts. I first noticed it this morning when it blocked my access to using the Keyword Planner tool, stating:
"To use Keyword Planner, you need to have at least one active campaign. If you have an active campaign and are still seeing this message, try reloading Keyword Planner in a few minutes."
While I'm not currently paying to advertise in AdWords, I have in the past and will likely advertise again in the future. This is a shame, but not surprising as Google morphs into the full-on money-making machine that it has become.
This change seems to be inconsistent, however, as tonight I tried again and noticed that Google let me use the Keywords Planner tool again. However, I believe Google will likely block all non-active accounts from access to the keyword tool soon.
This is a huge bummer, as the Keyword Planner tool is a great "free" tool that I always recommend to clients to get keyword suggestions and data for what people are searching for. With the recent change to just ranges (for example: 1k-10k, or 10k-100k – this has been in effect for quite some time now) instead of actual numbers, it's not as good as it used to be, but it still is helpful. But, to change it so that we can only use it if we are actively paying for ads is a disappointment – I suppose too many people were using it for free without paying for AdWords campaigns, so they're taking it away from all of us. Who knows, they may reverse this move, but for now there are some alternatives, see below:
Alternative Keyword Research Tools:
But never fear, as the web often does, new tools are getting released all the time to help research what people are searching for. Here are a few tools I recommend:
This is a easy Chrome browser add-on tool that lets you quickly search the EXACT search volume of any keyword or keyword phrase. This is a great quick browser alternative to the Google AdWords Keyword Planner, though I wish it also had similar keyword recommendations like Google's planner tool.
A good website to research keywords volume, CPC, and even the competition. Use their Keyword Suggestion Tool – it's great and works like the Google Adwords Keyword Planner tool.
View more of my SEO Hero Resources here »