The past week has been eventful here at Noble Samurai HQ, and we wanted to bring you up to speed with the state of the Keyword Research module in Market Samurai.
Google announced in May this year that it would be replacing the Keyword Tool with its new Keyword Planner – you can read more about it here.
The official word was they’d be retiring the Keyword Tool towards the end of July, so we immediately set ourselves the task of making our Keyword Research module work with the Keyword Planner.
After 4 weeks, hundreds of cans of Pepsi Max, and countless lines of code by our development team, we had a version of Market Samurai that was working with the Keyword Planner – but we had yet to put it through proper testing.
Fast forward to Friday of last week, we had a handful of reports trickling in through our support queue about the current Keyword Research module not loading for some users.
Internal testing couldn’t replicate the issue (as is so often the case!), so we asked the users to submit debug logs. Upon viewing the debug logs it became apparent that Google had begun forcing a grouping of Adwords users to use the Keyword Planner.
So we’ve had to accelerate our schedule.
What does this mean for the Keyword Research module?
From a users’ point of view, the Keyword Research module should still function very similar to how it did before. Most of the changes have been made behind the scenes, and we’ve done our best to minimise the impact on your workflow – 95% of users will continue to use the old Keyword Tool version for the time being, and there will be no noticeable change to the Keyword Research module for these users.
When you perform Keyword Research, Market Samurai will check to see if you still have access to the Keyword Tool and run the current version of the app. If Google has switched your Adwords account to use the Keyword Planner, Market Samurai will detect this, and let you know that you need to update to a special version that works with the Keyword Planner.
The main change to the Keyword Research module is that it now defaults to using Exact Match data, whereas it used to default to Broad Match.
If you don’t know the difference between the match types, here’s a quick rundown of how they differ:
- Exact Searches – With the match type set to ‘exact match’, the SEO traffic figure relates to how many people are typing in the exact term you are researching. For example, if your keyword is ‘trout fishing’ then the SEOT for the exact search would indicate how many people typed the exact phrase ‘trout fishing’ into Google and clicked through to visit the number one ranked site in the search results.
Broad Searches – With the match type set to ‘broad match’, the SEO traffic figure relates to how many people are searching for a phrase containing the words ‘trout’ and ‘fishing’ (in any word order) along with additional words, and then clicking through to visit the number one site in the search results.
Phrase Searches – With the match type set to ‘phrase match’, the SEO traffic figure relates to how many people are searching for a phrase containing the words in your keyword in that specific word order, and then clicking through to visit the number one site in the search results.
Why we chose to go with Exact Match data
When we launched Market Samurai a little under 5 years ago, it was very popular in the SEO community to use the Broad Match Type for doing SEO purposes. The logic was that if you were to get a #1 ranking for the keyword “dog training”, then you would often get a #1 ranking for “training dog” and many long-tail variants of the keywords.
However, over the years, with constant revisions of Google’s algorithm and increased search engine competition, this has shown to be less and less true as general rule.
We have heard countless reports from our customers who’ve achieved #1 rankings for a keyword who have indicated that the exact match traffic predictions are much more in line with their actual observed traffic, rather than the overly optimistic broad match estimates.
As a result, over time the consensus in the SEO community has shifted to favour Exact Match data, as you can only really optimize your site for exact keyword phrases.
Many of our uses reached out to us and asked us about this, and if you take a look at this thread on the Warrior forum, you’ll see that most people recommend using Exact Match instead of Broad Match as it makes much more sense when you are doing Keyword Research for SEO purposes - so it makes sense to make it the default from now on.
Our current recommendation is to optimize for the exact match keywords, and if you get any additional traffic (as you will no doubt still get) due to also picking up some long-tail rankings then treat that as a bonus. It is much better to be cautious and underestimate your results and get “nice surprises” than to expect an avalanche of traffic by basing your goals on over-optimistic broad match data.
A word about Keyword Research Presets
As Google has released their Keyword Planner ahead of their stated deadlines we still haven’t had much time to tweak the Keyword Research filter presets to produce optimal results for basic keyword research scenarios.
We’ll be working over the next few weeks to refine these filters. If you have some recommended settings that have been working for you, please feel free to share them in the comments below!
For the time being, if you aren’t getting back as many results when doing keyword research as you’d expect, then you may want to relax the filters a bit to filter fewer keywords out, as Exact Match numbers will tend be much lower than their Broad or Phrase Match counterparts.
We’d love to hear your feedback!
We still have a number of improvements that we will be implementing over the coming weeks, including a speedup of the entire Keyword Research module. We’ll also be updating our training materials to ensure that they match the latest version of Market Samurai.
As this new and improved version of the Keyword Research module rolls out to users, we really need you guys to let us know what you like (or don’t like) about the new version so that we can prioritise the new features accordingly.
If you’d like to try out the new Keyword Planner version of Market Samurai, or have any feedback about the new build, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org - our support team is eagerly awaiting your feedback!