Beware of Inflated Google Research Results

Google’s Adwords research tool is one of the more often used tools when researching keywords for SEO. However, sometimes the statistics you are seeing may be drastically higher than the real numbers.

When doing SEO research, going right to the source (Google) is often the best option. At the end of the day, however, Google is in the advertising business.  As a result, keywords statistics may be inflated to appear more attractive to ad buyers.

Google may inflate keyword statistics higher to attract ad buyers.

Take a look at these terms related to “Camping in Wisconsin.” Google predicts that 74,000 people searched for camping in Wisconsin last month, and over 20 million searched for “Where is Wisconsin?”

When we show clients search data, we usually advise them that these numbers are inflated five or ten times higher than they actually are. Take “Wisconsin Camping” reported at 74,000. More than likely, that term specifically received only between 1480-740. Compare Google’s data to statistics on the term “Wisconsin Camping” as reported by another research tool that’s independent from Google, SEM Rush. According to this keyword data provider, the term “Wisconsin Camping” has a search volume of only 1300.

SEM Rush keyword search results

SEM Rush reports that Wisconsin Camping received a search volume of 1300.

This shouldn’t discourage you from still optimizing for any specific keyword or from using Google Research as a research tool. A great thing that Google Research adds in its results are its keyword ideas. When researching “Camping in Wisconsin,” Google will show you every related search time you could possibly think of. Whether its different spellings or phrasing (Wisconsin Camping, Camping Wisconsin, Wisconsin Camps) or related search terms that you might have not thought of (Wisconsin State Parks, Wisconsin Camping Cabins, Wisconsin River Camping)

Overall, SEO research services all have their shortcomings. In my experience, results from SEM Rush often didn’t have the wide range of specific terms that Google Analytics has. If you’re looking for exact search statistics, look into using tools like SEM Rush or Majestic SEO. And, if you need a starting place for your keyword research, Google Analytics can give you an idea of how search terms are performing and can suggest other keywords to take a look at.

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