You've probably heard me advise marketers to "do it wrong quickly," allowing feedback from customers to help you improve your marketing. I am using feedback from my June 24th post on "Free Ways to Estimate Keyword Demand" (and a fortuitous announcement by Google) to improve the procedure I documented just a few weeks ago. (In case you're wondering, "keyword demand" is the number of searches on a particular search keyword done in a period of time, such as "3,000 U.S. searches per month for the keyword AAA Plumbing"—which you can use to help project the traffic you'll attract to your site from a search marketing campaign.)

You might recall that the Overture keyword tool was the old way to see how many searches were done in the U.S. on Yahoo! for a particular keyword. But then Yahoo! crippled that free tool, and we've been left with no way to project keyword demand, until Bill Hunt, my co-author of Search Engine Marketing, Inc. worked with his team at Global Strategies International to estimate keywords using Google's free keyword tool. The problem was that, even though Google allows you to estimate keyword demand for any country, not just the U.S. (YAY), the procedure we outlined was harder than a drunken game of Twister, with over a dozen steps to finally extract your numbers.

But we've gotten nothing but good news since that post. No sooner did the post go up did Tim Flint comment that he had found a far easier way to extract the same information from Google sans the drunken Twister procedure. After a little checking, it seems to pan out. But we still had one other worry, that this might have been a mistake on Google's part that would be retracted quickly.

But no. Not only is this no mistake, but Google subsequently confirmed that it's committed to offering what it calls keyword volume, which is extremely good news for us skinflint search marketers looking for a free tool. Armed with this newfound support, I've updated the keyword demand estimation procedure.

UPDATE on 7/21: Ed pointed out in the comments that I had updated to use the new Traffic Estimator rather than the Keyword Tool, which I have now corrected. If anyone knows a free way to get country-by-country search market shares, I'd love to add that to the procedure, too. Thanks to all for helping me to improve this procedure over the last few weeks.

So, check out the updated free guide to estimating keyword demand. Give me your feedback. Maybe you'll help us improve the procedure even more, which would make me happier than a game of drunken Twister.

July 18, 2008

Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, text analytics, and web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.

Mike's previous appearances include Text Analytics World, Rutgers Business School, SEMRush webinar, ClickZ Live.

Mike also founded and writes for Biznology, is the co-author of Outside-In Marketing (with James Mathewson) and the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (now in its 3rd edition, and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.


"Armed with this newfound support, I've updated the keyword demand estimation procedure."

Mike, with Google's information on keyword volume what's left of your estimation procedure?
It's already made readily available by Google! - You don't need to jump through all these hoops in your article.

And what did you update by the way? - it's still the same article as before?

Sorry, if it disappointed you Ed, but I wanted to update the previous article so that people now know the easier way to get the click estimates and then can apply the procedure that we outline to estimate keyword demand across all search engines. I wasn't trying to make it sound like we invented cold fusion (or even lukewarm fusion), but just update what I talked about a few weeks ago to reflect what Google is now saying they support. mentioned:
So, check out the updated free guide to estimating keyword demand. Give me your feedback.

It's not updated at all, it still shows the previous information which is with Google's new keyword volume support 90% obsolete.

There is no mentioning of Google's release of keyword volume, only the old traffic estimator.

Apologies, Ed. I see exactly what you are saying now--I think I read the announcement a bit too fast. When I used the keyword tool yesterday it didn't show me true volumes the way the screen shot shows and now it's "down for maintenance" for a few more hours. (Maybe it needed some attention.) I promise to take close look at this and see how to update the procedure when the keyword tool comes back up. Thanks for helping me on this.

Both free tools are useful. Traffic Estimator (for seeing how many clicks AdWords thinks will be generated - and at what cost). And the Keyword Tool (for seeing the estimated search volume on Google and its search network):

Looking at both gives some interesting information about relative conversion.

Thanks for the feedback, Ed. I totally missed the significance of Google's announcement (and what you meant in your first comment). I've gotten so accustomed to things being difficult that I missed completely what Google announced. I've fixed it now--thank you.

No problem Mike.
Google by the way has a 93% market share for the Netherlands:

You could say virtually no other search engine is being used.

Hi Mike

Yes your input is right about Yahoo free keyword search tool -> which is now disabled!
Other tools like Word Tracker & Bruce Clay's SEO Tools set they all come with price!
Then what we have on the list of free but credible keywords search tool? can we rely on Google keyword tool?

SEM Expert

I think you can rely on Google's free tool if you only need data for Google--because that's its only source of data. If you are working in a country (such as China) where Google is not the leader, you might want to purchase a license to Trellian Keyword Discovery, but for most people, I think Google's tool works just fine.

Nice article!

I also like this article to get some more background information:

Finding the best keywords is the first step towards a successful blog or website, if you ask me. If your keywords are right, than the taffic visitors will also be high.

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Search Engine Guide > Mike Moran > Free Ways to Estimate Keyword Demand Redux