What Are the Best Options for Google AdWords Keyword Research Now?


What Are the Best Options for Google AdWords Keyword Research Now?

Keyword research is a cornerstone of many online marketing campaigns — whether your tactics include PPC, SEO or content. Knowing which keywords are popular with online searchers and advertisers can help online marketers across the board develop better content for target audiences.

That’s what made data from Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool (and Traffic Estimator) so valuable to online marketers. Now that Google has switched to a new AdWords Keyword Planner tool, some of them are pleased, while others feel shut out.

Why? One of the complaints is that the new AdWords Keyword Planner tool requires that you set up a Google AdWords account to use it. The old AdWords Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator did not; no knowledge of the AdWords system was necessary.

If you’re already an AdWords advertiser, no problem. Before, you needed two tools to identify estimated bids and search volumes and research new keywords for PPC campaigns. The AdWords Keyword Planner streamlines your work by combining these features. Of course, there’s an adjustment period.

If you’re an online marketer who’s not already an AdWords advertiser — and you’re confused about what to do now — these are your best options.

AdWords keyword research options

Option 1

Set up a Google AdWords account. It’s free.

You can use your AdWords account to buy ads on Google’s networks. Or not. Either way, you can still access AdWords data for online marketing research.


  1. Navigating the Google AdWords interface can be tricky.
  2. It’s less convenient than before.

Still, this is your first best option to get authorized AdWords data.

Option 2

The other best option for authorized Google AdWords keyword research now?


For starters, Google’s change didn’t affect Raven’s AdWords tools or reports. Rest easy on that score.

Also, we pay for authorized access to the same AdWords data via Google’s AdWords API. That way, our customers can use it for online marketing campaigns without logging into a separate AdWords account. Not every online marketing tool or software suite has access to this API — the company must pass a rigorous annual audit — so any tool that does is kinda special. Trustworthy, you might say.

AdWords data in Raven

Raven integrates Google AdWords data in multiple tools.

Primarily, we have PPC tools for you to start, manage and report AdWords campaigns.

Also, you can do wide-ranging or in-depth keyword research to improve the content of your other online marketing campaigns with Raven’s Research Central… and not just for AdWords data.

Research Central is an all-in-one domain and keyword research tool that mashes up data from Majestic SEO, Moz, Google AdWords and Calais. Basically, it consolidates multiple trustworthy data sources as well as semantic analysis so that marketers can perform broad campaign research.

Research Central main screen

Research any keyword or phrase with Research Central, and on the very first screen you’ll see key metrics from those sources, as well as trend data from Google AdWords.

Research Central Summary page

Then, if you want to dive deep into keyword data, you can do that.

In the case of the Google AdWords, after you enter a keyword or phrase into Research Central, you can head to the Google AdWords section to get a list of keywords sortable by search volume and advertiser competition. Designate specific languages and countries to better target your search.

Keep track of any keyword opportunity you uncover this way with Raven’s Keyword Manager. You can add keywords to Keyword Manager directly from Research Central with just a click. And within Keyword Manager, we provide Adwords volume data and competition you can report on, refreshed every 30 days.


Keyword Planner similarities (and beneficial differences!)

Like the new AdWords Keyword Planner, you get exact match data results in Raven. (Goodbye, broad match.) Note also that the search traffic numbers in Raven include results for both Google and Google’s search partners — sites in the search network that partner with Google to show ads. You can get this data in Keyword Planner by changing the “Targeting” options from “Google” to “Google and search partners.”

Unlike the AdWords Keyword Planner — which only allows you to download data to CSV — Research Central allows you to download your data to CSV or create a PDF report. Head to Raven’s Report Wizard, and you can report from Research Central alongside data from nearly all of our 30+ tools. We provide Adwords volume data and competition to report on, and we refresh the data every 30 days.


  1. Raven is not free (but it’s very affordable)

Raven Pro costs $99 per month. But with all that keyword research data in one central location — plus all the other data that’s reportable in minutes, on demand or on schedule, plus our other marketing tools, plus our awesome new Site Auditor — some folks say Raven pays for itself. If you’re not already a customer, sign up for our free trial and see if you think it’s worth the price of admission, too.

Have you tried the new Keyword Planner yet? What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

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Courtney Seiter wrangled a smart, savvy community of Internet marketers as Raven's first Community Manager. She moved on from Raven in January 2014, but her social media and writing advice stands the test of time.

More about Courtney Seiter

Tell us what you think

  • RavenCourtney

    That’s great, Nicholas! We’ll be announcing a keyword research webinar soon that will help you get started. Will keep you posted!

  • Nicholas Groh

    I’m excited to start using Raven Tools, knowing that it is more of an all-in-one for keyword research, Adwords, etc.

  • RavenCourtney

    Thanks! It’s really hard to find a broad match solution anymore. But if you’re still feeling a little shut out, it sounds like there are at least plans in the works to make improvements to the Keyword Planner: http://searchengineland.com/google-keyword-tool-is-officially-dead-replaced-by-keyword-planner-170745

  • Rohan Ayyar

    Nice insights, Courtney… I’m in the grey area that feels neither too pleased nor shut out, although my sympathies lie with the shut out camp – it’s easier to set up *only* a Google account than an AdWords account :)

    Nice to know Raven isn’t too affected.. do you have any ideas on how to get comprehensive data for broad/phrase matches?

    It’s best not to rely solely on Google’s tool as I wrote here: http://www.e2msolutions.com/blog/the-10-best-alternatives-to-the-google-adwords-keyword-tool/ – This is a good time for us to start using other (paid and free) keyword research tools such as Raven!