Wordtracker vs. Google Keyword Tool: Which is better for keyword research?

If you are into SEO, you have come across Wordtracker and the Google Keyword Tool.  In this article, I’ll examine which is better for keyword research:  Wordtracker or the Google Keyword Tool.

Those who do SEO for a living do one thing before they ever write a word:  keyword research.  If you do not do keyword research before you write, you may create great content but nobody will ever read it.

This is a particular affront to my sensibilities.  As an English major in college, I enjoy writing and the associated creative process.  I wanted to title this article, “if you build it, they won’t come” as an homage to one of my favorite movies: Field of Dreams.  I thought that this would be a catchy title as we illustrate the importance of keyword research in attracting visitors to your site.

However, if I titled this article “if you build it, they won’t come,” do you know what would happen?  Nobody would ever read the article.

Thus, I use a sensible title with three keywords that I am going to write about:  Wordtracker, Google Keyword Tool, and Keyword Research.  There we go…just got all three in there again.

I have been in the field of SEO for a long time now and am aware that there are many different keyword tools available.  After much research, I have limited my keyword research tools to the paid version of Wordtracker and the free Google Keyword Tool.  Between these two tools, I usually come up with very workable keywords.

Why not just use one of these tools for keyword research?

Well, you will discover vast differences in the data returned by these two keyword tools.  Let’s take this article as an example.  There are three primary keywords that I am using in this article:  Wordtracker, Google Keyword Tool, and Keyword Research.

Here is the data returned by the free version of Wordtracker and the free Google Adwords Keyword Tool:

Keyword

Wordtracker

Google Keyword Tool

(divided the monthly search return by 30)

Wordtracker

69

220

Google Keyword Tool

0

1350

Keyword Research

0

330

Notice any discrepancies?

Of the three keywords in use, we see that Wordtracker tells us that we have a potential of 69 visitors a day and the Google Keyword Tool suggests we may have as many as 1,900 visitors a day.

This data disparity is enough to make many webmasters throw their hands up and say, “I give up!”

But, if you are a Search Engine Optimization Specialist, you say, “Ok, now we have data to work with.”

Let us begin our analysis with this question:

Is Wordtracker Accurate?

One skill that every SEO specialist must employ is common sense.  Does it make sense that nobody searches on the term Keyword Research or Google Keyword tool?  The answer is obviously no.

Thus, in this case, Wordtracker is not accurate.  Common sense tells us that.

Should common sense then tell us that we should not use Wordtracker?  Absolutely not!

Wordtracker triumphs where the Google Keyword Tool fails.  Wordtracker serves us very well for long tail keywords and this is where the Google Keyword Tool fails.  Let us look at an example of this:

Keyword

Wordtracker

Google Keyword Tool

(divided the monthly search return by 30)

why is the american flag red white and blue

1072

no data

The Google Keyword Tool is simply not very good with long tail keywords and Wordtracker is excellent at it.  Is it true that more than 1,000 people a day search for the term why is the american flag red white and blue?

We must again rely on our invaluable tool of common sense.  My guess would be that this term is searched on very frequently as we enter July and people become more curious about our nation’s history.  However, I would doubt that 1,000 people a day search on this term each and every day.

Should you spend your time on this long tail keyword when you do not have a solid data set?  Wordtracker is telling you that if you rank #1 for this term on google that you will receive lots of visitors.  Google is telling you that it yields practically no results.

Who is right?  Should you spend your time on this long tail keyword?

I deal with this situation in one of two ways.

I use the first way if I am working for a client as an SEO consultant.  There is one sure-fire way to tell how often people search for a keyword phrase:  Google Adwords.  If you advertise on Google Adwords for the exact phrase, and make sure you are on the #1 page, you will see how many impressions that your ad will get. Thus, you will have a good idea whether you should spend your time on that keyword phrase.

I use the second way if I am promoting an article for a personal site.  I first use common sense:  What does that tell me?  Secondly, I ask myself, is it something that I want to learn and write about?  In the case of why is the american flag red white and blue?, common sense tells me that it may yield about 10-40 hits a day and more during patriotic times:  July 4th, Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc.  10-40 hits a day is not worth the time.  However, I do like the topic so one day I may write about it for personal edification.

Wordtracker vs Google Keyword Tool:  Summary

You must implement effective keyword research strategies in order to have a naturally, well-trafficked website.

In the examples, we see that Wordtracker and the Google Keyword Tool do not always agree.  For popular search terms, you will usually find a consistency between the two.  Other times (like with the terms keyword research and google keyword tool) you will find a great disparity.

Wordtracker is an excellent tool for long tail keywords.  By using the paid version of Wordtracker (the free version doesn’t supply you with enough data), you will find popular long tail keyword search terms that you would never think of on your own.

The free Google Keyword Tools provides excellent keyword feedback on terms with 3 words are shorter.

By combining the data returned by Wordtracker and the Google Keyword Tool, and employing a modicum of common sense, your keyword research will lead you to the most effective keywords to use in your articles.

Richard CummingsWordtracker vs. Google Keyword Tool: Which is better for keyword research?

Comments 10

  1. jan

    I have never used Wordtracker because I thought the “freebies” were sufficient. Now, I’m reconsidering Wordtracker for the reason you mentioned above…the long tail keywords.

  2. Pingback: Is Wordtracker Accurate? | Richard Cummings

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  4. Thierry Andriamirado

    Yes, I’d like to use Wordtracker in addition to google’s one but.. most of the blogs and websites that I build are in french, and wordtracker seems to not handle french language very well. Maybe one of these days? I hope soon!
    BTW, thanks for your great posts ;-)

  5. Dr. Diane Kramer

    I am confused. You say that the red, white and blue sentence gets over 1000 hits a day according to Word Tracker. Yet your estimate is that you might get 10-40 hits per day. I would not then trust Word Tracker as that is a hugh discrepancy. What is the advantage then to using Word Tracker?

    Thanks, Diane

  6. Richard Cummings

    Diane,

    As I say, WordTracker definitely is accurate under most circumstances. I have found many, many long tail keywords, written a quick post about the subject and subsequently received 200 hits per day on that topic. With just one of those articles, 200 hits a day easily earns $500 a year in AdSense revenue with about 1 hour of work (much less than an annual subscription to WordTracker). What are these long tail keywords? Well, if I told you, you would then be competition that I would not want :)

    But, as I said, the bottom line is that if you will have to spend a lot of time on something and need to know with 100% accuracy how many hits it will get, simply advertise for that term on Google for 1/2 a day. Pay enough that you will be on the front page, but low enough so that you won’t get many clicks. In that way, you can see exactly how many searches are performed for a keyword.

    Hope this helps. Have a great day,
    Richard

  7. SEO Consultant Canada

    When I started researching keywords, it was crazy how different tools gave different results. Wortracker made me shake my head more than once. But you are right, it is a great long tail keyword research tool.
    Thanks a lot for this article. I am glad I am not alone.
    To common sense!
    Olga

  8. Richard Cummings

    Toronta Plumber,

    It is true that WordTracker is expensive. However, while you can pay about $69 a month for WordTracker, they also have an annual fee for about $300…which brings the price down to about $30 per month. I have made more than $1,000 simply from one suggestion. So, is it worth it? For me, absolutely!

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