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Fix Your AdWords Keyword Tool, Google!

Like many content marketers, I regularly use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool [1] 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

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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 [3] 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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