Keyword Tools

In 2008 we dumped a tool we were using at work for ranking and competitor analysis. I had used my old dog site as a research tool, knowing that it had good rankings for a particular keyword phrase, and seeing how accurate the tool data was by comparison. I wrote about it here

A couple of years later we started using KeywordSpy, as we needed a new tool to show what competitor’s keywords could be. We used it in conjunction with Alexa. Obviously no tool can provide data as good as the competitor’s analytics account, but the concept was fair enough – scraping actual Google results and providing it as searchable data – and it provided results.

But for the last year or so, the quality of the data has dropped.  The data was too old. So I started looking at other tools. And again used one of my sites as the subject matter.

It’s October, and halloween is approaching, so I used my halloween site.

I know my search results will be skewed for personal browsing history, but I have usually ranked in the top 3 positions for searches for halloween australia for the past few years.  And definitely position 1 for halloween events australia.

KeywordSpy Results

Are you kidding?
1. The tool didn’t include “halloween australia” in the list of keywords my site is ranking for! That’s the main driver of traffic.
2. The search volumes were excessive – “halloween” has 30 million searches/month – really?
3. The scraped results showed that searches for “halloween events” were sending people to a page hasn’t existed for years, and was replaced by a version that didn’t end in .php. It’s not even indexed at Google any more. Incredible.


No data available for my site.


No data available for my site.


Data exists. Let’s have a look at the quality.
“halloween australia” has 1000 searches/month. Position 2. 24% share of traffic.
1. Yes, Google AdWords tool also believes there are 1000 searches/month in Australia on average. Although it is very seasonal – 1600 in Sep, 9900 in  Oct, then 50 in Dec last year according to AdWords.
2. Yes, my site is position 2 on average.
3. According to Google Webmaster Tools query tool, in the last 30 days my site appeared for 2200 impressions and 102 clicks for the phrase “halloween australia”. The impressions roughly matches the Sep estimated search volume from Google above (1600) with some growth this year.
4. According to Google Analytics, in the last 30 days my site had 1100 organic clicks. As most of them are “not provided” these days, I can’t see how many of them were actually for “halloween australia”.
If we use Google Webmaster Tools data, 100/2200  is only about 5% click-through-rate for that phrase, which seems pretty low.
However 24% of 1600 would be about 380 clicks, which sounds reasonable for “halloween australia” and would be a fair contribution to the actual 1100 clicks received last month.

Another keyword reported by SEMRush was for “halloween sydney”.
Theoretically 390 searches per month, position 7 for my site.

Again, Google AdWords agrees with the search volume.
Google Webmaster Tools agrees with the position.
Actual Google results agree with the page delivered.

Yes, this week I will be recommending to work that we change from KeywordSpy to SEMRush.

Here are some screenshots, as backup.

KeywordSpy results:
This is missing “halloween australia” keyword, and shows the old events.php page.

SEMRush results:
This shows more accurate data.

Search results for Halloween events. Showing the correct events page.

Search results for Halloween Sydney. Showing position 7.

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