Google is gradually completing the phase out of its AdWords Keyword Tool in keeping with the timeline put forward when the new Keyword Planner was launched in May. Once the Keyword Tool is completely phased out, those looking to use its functionality—like SEO professionals—will have to have an AdWords account.
The Keyword Planner is a combination tool; it takes the functionality of the Keyword Tool and combines it with the Traffic estimator, another service that is in the process of being shut down. The main difference will be that in order to access the Keyword Planner, users will have to log into their AdWords accounts; the two tools that Planner combines were previously external tools that anyone could use for general research. Keyword Planner is ultimately designed with the goal of making it easier for advertisers to create campaigns and ad groups all in one place, using one tool.
Currently, if you attempt to access the Keyword Tool, Google automatically reroutes you to the new Planner with a message saying, “Now you can research keywords even easier with Keyword Planner, a new tool that combines Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator.” The message includes the ability to go back to the original Keyword Tool—but with another message that suggests that if you want to get keyword ideas and traffic estimates at the same time, you should try the Planner.
The Keyword Planner does do an excellent job of streamlining the process of keyword research, and is an obvious utility for advertisers whose goal is straight ad creation. It is still useful for those researching for organic search purposes, but it is not quite as intuitive as the old Keyword Tool functionality was. For those who do not already have an AdWords account, it may be a slightly jarring experience—and even for those who are already established in AdWords, it will certainly still take a learning curve.
Google has been announcing a lot of changes to a variety of its properties in the past few months—they have explained that their goal is to simplify everything that they’re doing on multiple levels. AdWords is not the only service to see major changes; from the top down, Google is intent on cutting the fat, and the new Keyword Planner is a good example of the thought process they’re entertaining; why have two tools, and multiple steps for advertisers to take, when you can put everything they need to create ads into one tool?
The move is also a good demonstration of Google’s continued search to generate as much profitability as possible. While they haven’t announced a final date, they did say that Keyword Tool would sunset in about 60 days from the point in May that they launched the Planner—which would only leave one or two weeks more for this month.