The Peril of Free Keyword Research Tools

So, let’s say you’re being a good Internet marketer and doing your search engine keyword research. You’re looking for new search trends that you can profit from.

Maybe you’ll start a brand new blog, or even develop an information product.

While poking around in the free Yahoo/Overture Keyword Selector Tool, you discover a phrase that is getting 173,359 searches per month. You think you’ve hit the jackpot.

Hopefully you verified that search count with a more reliable source before you started work, because it turns out that a more accurate accounting for that phrase might be closer to zero.

In the course of shooting an episode of my 7 Steps to Creating and Selling Niche Information Products series at Tubetorial, I happened across just that scenario.

Watch the video here to learn why you should never rely on the results from the Yahoo/Overture Keyword Selector Tool, or any other keyword research tool that pulls solely from Yahoo’s results. And there’s some other stuff in there about finding a strong topic for an information product, too. :)

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Comments

  1. Hmmm, so if the conclusion is quite simple ain’t it? diversify your research tools to get the most accurate results…?

    Allen.H

  2. I think you should always use at least a couple of different tools, and get some different “opinions”. The data can sometimes be tainted or misleading in one tool or another.

  3. Absolutely positively YES to both of you.

    Unless you like wasting time and money.

    Which I do not.

  4. Answered a few questions for me.
    Do a search for “money” in overture. First result? WOW!

    Wrong. Check Wordtracker.
    Thought I was onto a good thing, especially seeing I got some domains with the keywords in it.

    Thanks for clearing that up.

  5. Overture/YSM tool is only good to measure relative numbers between one keyword to another. But in your example, it is surprising that the number is actually zero.

    Often pay-per-click advertisers found out that for highly searched keywords, they only get very little traffic from first or second ranking.

    That is because Yahoo! is selling pay-per-click, so they have their own interest to make the numbers look good. Of course, it also can be gamed.

    Probably one good — but not perfect — way to do this is to actually click on the keyword. If it has no variations, chances are it is there by mistake. For keyword such as “wellness spa” with 708 searches during August 2006, it even has more than 20 variations.

    I guess it is just time before spammers start to spam keyword variations too. :)

  6. Well it;s true what you say about Overtoure.It happens to me.I created a site for a keyword estimated at 40000 searches per month and reach the no1 on google and msn with it.And of course i get 0 traffic.Overtoure sucks big time.Adwords traffic estimatator gives me accurate results so it;s clear for me that Overtoure is 100% fake.Btw what sources do you use to estimate a traffic for a specific keyword?

  7. By coincidence, I published an entry a couple of days ago on this subject.

    I have a slightly different take on this and wonder if you would care to comment on my entry?

  8. Chris, I think you pretty much nailed it on the head.

  9. This phrase “googletestad” has been on Wordtracker’s top whatever searches list forever…still can’t figure that one out.

    What’s interesting is that if you take the phrase to Overture, it comes up as the second result, just like in your video and the first result is:

    318243 google googletestad monitor query

    Which is suspicious that it also has the word “monitor” in it…maybe they are polluting their own results somehow?

  10. The other issue with the Yahoo/overture tool is that you can’t search for a specific keyword like IT (like you can in Wordtracker). It will bring back all words with IT in it which is like a million words.

  11. I think whats interesting here, and I have thought this over for quite a bit is. This may be some what unrelated, but in the same ball park. When you buy a car off of a car lot you can be sure that the wheels are bolted on tight, because the dealer and its mechanics have liscences and qualifications. But in the net world when you use or buy a product or even use a product, you cannot be so sure that their wheels are on tight. No wonder then is it then when you crash. I’m wondering when this “common” knowledge will make it’s way around to yahoo. And they produce a product that actually is useful?

  12. As a matter of fact, even WordTracker or KeywordDiscovery shouldn’t be used to forecast exact traffic from the search engines.

    First of all, you can’t predict the position your pages will rank at, and, secondly, their data can’t be 100% precise, too. Better than nothing or Overture, of course.

    Thus, any, not just Overture, data should be used for keyword research and comparison purposes only, not traffic predictions.

  13. Yuri, I agree. But we do need tools to have an idea of approximate traffic in order to know which projects to develop, and any tool that leads one to believe that traffic is in the six figures when it’s actually a very small amount needs to be avoided.

  14. How to write titles based on singular/pluralis keywords?

    Let’s take an example keyword: “house”. There is a lot of difference between the number of searches in it’s singular form (house) and in it’s pluralis form (houses).

    I would love to create webpage titles like “20 great houses” or “List of 7 super-duper houses”. The problem is that there are far more searches for the singular form than the pluralis form, so how do I write list like titles that includes my keyword in singular form?

    I have thought about something like “Which house? 20 great houses”, but it doesn’t sound so fantastic :(

    Thanks, Mads

  15. Mads:
    “Find the house of all houses!”

  16. I can’t even count the number of times that I did seo for a keyword that yahoo suggest said was well searched. Only to find that I received almost no traffic after I reached the top.

  17. Nice one triticale. Thanks.

  18. I have a single blog which I maintain for entertainment. The only thing traffic does for me is feed my ego. The only reference I use for judging keyword searches is my own stats, but that proves pretty effective. With green tomatoes back in season, my recipe for pickling started drawing hits. This inspired me to post a couple more recipes for them, and sure enough I saw a perceptible jump in my traffic.