Ash Nallawalla's blog

Overture keyword suggestion tool returns

Ash Nallawalla

24 September 2007

PPC, SEO

SEOs everywhere can unslash their wrists. I thought I’d blog this as not many people seem to have noticed that the Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool (known as Keyword Assistant in Australia) has limped back to some semblance of normality. I say “limped back” because most searches I tried still show the search counts from January 2007, whereas they normally show the previous month’s figures.

This tool is widely used by SEOs and PPC bid managers to find search volumes or related search terms. It only counts searches done on Yahoo! properties, so the total search count across Google, Live Search and lesser engines is anyone’s guess. In Australia, Yahoo’s search share is about 15%, so multiplying the count by 6 is near enough of a guesstimate.

The second flaw with the tool is that it combines singular and plurals, which can make a difference in many cases when trying to establish which form is more popular. (Of course, one can run a short PPC campaign and look at the impression counts.)

The third flaw is that some phrases are rearranged in alphabetical order, e.g. “estate real sydney” — which is easy to spot, but “melbourne seo” isn’t right. When I last tested this in Google, “seo melbourne” received more impressions.

Here are (some of) the results for “seo” using the tool:

Searches done in January 2007

(The dingo ate the entries above… šŸ™ )

The fourth flaw is that it combines Australian/British spellings with US spellings. So, in countries such as Australia, where US English spellings are used by the ignorant, one needs to cater for this in the SEO sense. Unfortunately, the tool would have you think that nobody in the UK or Australia searches for “jewellery” but they do search for “jewelry”.

A better tool is supposedly on the way but, in the meantime, use it while you can. Thanks, Yahoo! for the tool!

Ash Nallawalla

Search strategist experienced in large, complex websites. Ash's Google+ profile

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1 Comment

  • secure email on 10 December 2007

    Don’t depend on Overture that much. They have big flaws in their DB.

    When my site ranked #4 for secure email I thought I got a big jump (600 users more), but nothing happened!

    Use Google’s Adwords Tool instead. They dont give you numbers but an overall estimate like “Low, Medium High”

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