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Fix Your AdWords Keyword Tool, Google!

Posted on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - SEO

Like many content marketers, I regularly use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool for keyword research. It is certainly not a perfect tool (log in with a Google account to avoid the captcha), but it’s useful for establishing AdWords keyword ideas for your website. As far as free keyword tools go, it offers extensive performance statistics with regard to competition, relevance, approximate CPC, local search trends, and, of course, search volume.

However, the Google AdWords Keyword Tool has not been without its problems. When the new keyword tool was launched in 2009, people complained about the interface and lack of old features (most of which are now available). And, studies have shown that the search volume numbers aren’t always completely accurate, but it’s useful when comparing variations of a keyword. Every variation of a keyword won’t be provided so you should dig a little with your own keyword expansion rather than relying solely on their suggestions.  Since it’s

a free tool, Google only benefits when you spend more money on AdWords.

More than a month ago, I noticed the AdWords Keyword Tool stopped sorting my keyword results. It no longer sorts the keywords you input by ascending or descending order among the many data sets provided such as Global Monthly Searches, Local Monthly Searches, CPC, etc. This becomes a problem when analyzing large keyword sets.


Conveniently, it still sorts data from Google’s suggested keywords and ad group ideas. This makes me wonder if it is more than a bug and part of a larger change with the keyword tool.  Time will tell, but the problem was reported to Google from this Adwords Community forum as a bug on Dec. 12. As of today, the issue is still open with their engineering team and no timeline for a fix has been provided.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to fight my laziness and download/sort in Excel. If you have access to the Google AdWords API, there are Excel plug-ins available to bypass the keyword tool altogether. It was just so easy to sort in the tool before. Bring it back, Google!

About Matt McKinley

Matt McKinley is an SEO Creative Editor at The Search Agency. Upon graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2009, he worked as an SEO content writer and editor for a social networking site. Before joining The Search Agency, he wrote for AllFacebook.com. Matt’s interests outside of online marketing include sports, technology, movies and everything pop culture.

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9 Responses to “Fix Your AdWords Keyword Tool, Google!”

  1. Mark F. says:

    Listen to the man Google!

    Thanks for the tip on the Captcha!

  2. Aidan says:

    Thats strange, it still works here in Oz though you now have to click on the column titles (e.g. click on Local Monthly Searches) to see that sorting is still available.

  3. certainly like your web-site however you have to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very troublesome to tell the truth however I’ll certainly come again again.

  4. Louise Vine says:

    Argh, this has bugged me for a while too! It’s clearly the same in the UK.

    I thought they may have just changed the way you make it sort, but couldn’t find any other options. I know you can download and sort in Excel, but it’s so frustrating to have the functionality and then have it taken away.

    Really hope they fix it soon if it is a bug.

  5. I have got the same problem. It is really weird how something like that could be so frustrating. However, I am sure they will fix it soon. Google usually fixes bugs pretty quickly.

  6. Matt says:

    FYI, the keyword tool is sorting properly now! Looks like it was just a bug.

    • As Totio says, it appears to be fixed now.

      It gaves us a bit of a headache last month when we have a massive list of keywords through the tool… but then we should have been exporting anyway.

      (still annoying how far off the traffic estimates are though)

  7. Its called Keywords planner tool now and use it a lot! :)


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