When search engine marketers assemble their SEO toolboxes (after they build SEO napkin holders but before they build SEO birdhouses), one of the first tools they add is the Google AdWords Keyword Tool—whether they use Google AdWords or not. The Keyword Tool has long been a staple of the industry because it is effective at suggesting useful keywords and, well, it’s free. But now, like many Google products before it, the Keyword Tool is being forced into early retirement and replaced by a young upshot—the new Google Keyword Planner.
On May 20th, Google broke the sad news that the Keyword Tool and the Traffic Estimator had no more than 60 days to live, so users ought to plan their final visitation. Mercifully, they softened the blow by announcing that the two doomed tools had been cannibalized to create a new SEO Franken-tool, the Google AdWords Keyword Planner, which they introduced simultaneously. Though it does not share all of the functions of its predecessors/parents/code donors, the Keyword Planner has inherited the best traits of both tools, and is even more useful for gathering local SEO data—the old tool was a bit handicapped in that respect. Google also promised to develop an additional column for ad share statistics, but that won’t be available just yet.
There is one catch to the new Keyword Planner: you must be logged into a Google AdWords account to use it. The account is free to create, however, so the hassle is pretty minimal. Once you have logged in, go to the “Tools and Analysis Menu” and select “Keyword Planner” to access the tool.
To take advantage of the Local SEO benefits, select the “Search for keyword and ad group ideas” option and remove the country name as a location—then select the location(s) you really want to get results for.
There’s a lot more you can do with the Google Keyword Planner, but the best way to learn it is to get in there and start experimenting. We’ll all mourn the passing of the Keyword Tool that we knew and loved, but look on the bright side–we’re replacing two tools with a single hybrid. Who needs a toolbox, when you’ve got a Swiss Army Knife?