Our most significant data sources aren’t always up to snuff from time to time. The reality is that the Google Adwords keyword feature is generally untrustworthy and should be viewed with considerable caution by all search marketers, especially when conducting keyword research. There are a lot of caveats to the data displayed as Average Search Traffic, whether you plan to utilize them to design a sponsored search campaign or decide which content to produce. I am going to show how it is useless for us UK people.
Rounded off Averages
The “Average Monthly Research Volume” measure from Google Adwords is perhaps the most frequently used piece of information. This critical data point is utilized in everything from selecting keywords for an ad campaign to creating traffic prediction curves. However, can we rely on it?
If you’re running a sports website, you might see the following terms in the search results: baseball scores or basketball matches. According to Google Adwords Planner, each of these terms has a monthly average search volume of 201,000. No, you can’t just pick any of these terms and expect the same traffic, can you?
The “Average Monthly Search Volume” is not an average; it is rounded to the closest bucket of volume. This is because Google Keyword Planner also displays the previous 12 months’ worth of traffic data. When we average that data, we observe that baseball scores attract an average of 217,275 monthly visits, whereas basketball games receive only 205,750! This represents a monthly search volume differential of over 10,000, masked by Google KWP’s rounded algorithm.
When we randomly selected keywords with a monthly search volume of 201,000, the error margin was 14,621 in the “real average.” In other instances, it was off by more than 40,000 monthly searches! Without looking at the most recent date of Twelve months, your annual traffic projections are almost certain to be off by tens of thousands of visits. What is the source of this anomaly?
“Buckets” are used by Google AdwordsPlanner to organize keywords based on visitor volume. A term that yields a traffic volume of 201,000 does not necessarily mean that the phrase was visited several times or as close to the figure 201,000; it was nearer to 201,000 than that other most enormous bucket of 246,000. After 165,000, we have an additional 80,000 searches per month to work with, so we may still classify a keyword as 201,000 in Adwords Planner.
We discovered that Google has roughly 85 separate traffic “buckets” that are logarithmically balanced. Long-tail keywords may only vary by 10–20 queries at a time, whereas head-tail keywords may vary by hundreds or even thousands of searches every month. Less certainty regarding the accuracy of Average Monthly Searches increases with search volume, especially when compared to other terms in the same category. Giant buckets have roughly a quarter-million monthly searches!
Google utilizes this rounding approach for ease and, perhaps, accounts for the sizeable monthly variation for these highly searched phrases.