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Google Keyword Planner Alternative: Why Do We Need It Now?

Google Keyword Planner is a tool each of you is using, probably.
Apparently, about one month ago in August, Google made significant changes to it. The changes caused an outcry among SEO professionals and website masters since their keyword research got affected in a very negative way. My workflow was affected, too, and now I am looking for decent free alternatives to Google Keyword Planner.

But first, what are these changes?

Changes In Keyword Planner

Here’s what Google said:

Advertisers with lower monthly spend may see a limited data view in the Keyword Planner. For example, you may see values such as 0, 1-100, 100-1K, 1K-10K, 10K-100K, 100K-1M, 1M+ in the average monthly searches column. In addition, other advertisers may trigger the limited data view by reaching a limit on the number of searches for search volume data.

Thus said, Google changed the keyword volume information by combining the volumes of similar terms for accounts that don’t advertise much.  The change made the result to be much less helpful for people doing keyword research.

I guess if you’re doing keyword research, you probably don’t have any ads running on your account. So you end up with inaccurate and not very useful information.

This is how it looks now:

Google Keyword Planner Alternative: Changes

You are no longer able to see individual estimates and it prevents you from understanding which of those has the highest volume and which the lowest. It makes it very hard to choose which keywords to target based on keyword volume. It’s also very misleading by making you think that the search volume is higher than it is in reality.

Here is an example.

As you can see, both “keyword research” and “google keywords” show the same volume range in Keyword Planner.

Google Keyword Planner Alternative: Real differences in keyword volumes

 

Meanwhile, if we check it in one of the tools I will talk below (Keywords Everywhere plugin), we will see that the actual volumes differ by two times!

Google Keyword Planner Alternative: Real differences in keyword volumes

In this case, Keyword Planner gives very misleading results that are actually just plain useless.

As you could read above, Google said the change happened for accounts that don’t advertise much. I guess if you’re doing keyword research, you probably don’t have any ads running on your account.

I think that in the future it will get even worse. My guess is that Google will eventually stop showing these ranges at all to the users who do not want to spend a certain amount of money on Adwords.

Apart from that, the change impacted tools that use the Google Keyword Planner as a data source, like Long Tail Pro.

In addition, it looks like new accounts that had never used Keyword Planner or AdWords before won’t be able to easily access the tool without providing some kind of payment info.
I tried to access the Planner from a Google account that had never used it (or AdWords) and I couldn’t. After going to the Google Planner URL, I was redirected to the AdWords website. On that page, I had to setup an AdWords campaign, provide advertising keywords, then provide my payment info… this was the step where I gave up.
No matter how I tried to access Keyword Planner, I ended up in the same setup process as at the beginning.

What to do? Well, we can use alternatives to Keyword Planner and luckily for us, there are quite a few of them that are free.

Google Keyword Planner Alternative: 3 Free Tools

Hehe I like how it sounds: “three free” 😀 So yeah let’s take a look at them.

Ubersuggest

This is an online keyword suggestion tool that is well known for its reliable data and ease of use. Also, it is totally free!

I like Ubersuggest the best so far. However, its downsides may eventually make me to go to a better tool, which won’t be free, probably.

Google Keyword Planner Alternative: Ubersuggest

Pros:

  • comprehensive keyword search that gives a lot of nicely organized results
  • shows the monthly search volume and CPC for suggested keywords
  • possible to filter by the ending of suggested keywords

Cons:

  • does not show competition, ranking, or other advanced SEO metrics
  • hard to filter out keywords that have zero volume
  • lack of professional metrics makes it less suitable for a serious keyword research

Find it here.

Keywords Everywhere

This is a free browser extension / add-on for both Chrome and Firefox. It gives you the search volume and CPC for an unlimited number of keywords.

Google Keyword Planner Alternative: Keywords Everywhere plugin

Pros:

  • shows the monthly search volume and CPC
  • the metrics are shown “in place” right next to Google search bar so no need to go to a separate website

Cons:

  • does not suggest related words/phrases
  • does not show competition, ranking, or other advanced SEO metrics
  • since it’s a plugin, it can potentially affect the speed and performance of the browser

You can install the Chrome extension here and the Firefox addon here.

Semrush Keyword Overview

This is a professional online keyword research tool that works on a freemium model. I think that about 10 requests per day are free.

If making 10 requests is enough for you that you will be very satisfied with the tool.

Google Keyword Planner Alternative: SEMRush keyword research tool

Pros:

  • shows the monthly search volume, CPC, trends and much more
  • shows keyword difficulty (how difficult it would be to rank a keyword in organic search)
  • possibility to filter suggested phrases

Cons:

  • free plan has limitations in terms of the amount of data to show and the number of searches

Try it yourself:

Final Thoughts

So yeah, Google blows us up once again.

I really liked Keyword Planner and am disappointed to see degraded.

But what can we do? Accept and adapt. That’s why I looked into Google Keyword Planner alternative and found those three tools that can provide the necessary info without charge.

I think I will be using Ubersuggest in combination with the Keywords Everywhere plugin (to quickly see the keyword volume) and Google Trends (to estimate the volume distribution in time.) Google Trends is not super good when it comes to investigating keywords but it can give you some idea about seasonality.
If I need something more serious, I think I will go with SEMRush. Their paid plans are not cheap but they are chock-full of great features that are much more than just plain keyword research.

What do you think guys? Do you have a favorite tool you use instead of Keyword Planner? Tell me in the comments!

Featured image by pixabay.com

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