AdWords Keyword Tool Broken

I’ve been using Google AdWords keyword tool quite a lot for a long time. It is a handy tool that has a lot of the information I need when doing my keyword research in one place – or rather, it is supposed to have it, as long as it works. They have been going through many changes lately, and it’s all fine if Google is trying to give me better user experience. I can even understand when the tool is temporarily down due to those changes taking place – but in the last few weeks, it’s been happening a bit too much.

Now for those who don’t deal with this tool as much as I do, there are two slightly different tools – the external AdWords keyword tool which can be used by anybody wihtout having to create an AdWords account and log into it and the tool available inside the AdWords account. In the past, the external variant of the tool used to be limited in its functions and the data it used to provide – but later on, it’s been sorted and now it’s hardly different from the account-based tool – except for things like negative keywords and other stuff that mostly makes sense when you’re setting up a PPC campaign. I’ve been happy with this innovation since I find it handy that I don’t have to log into my AdWords account every time I need to do a quick research – and having a healthy paranoia, I naturally appreciate it when Google cannot associate every keyword research I run with my advertiser account.

Recently, however, I’ve been doing some research and the external tool just spat a long page of code at me instead of the results I was expecting. I decided it was broken and was forced to log in – only to find out that this downtime was most likely caused by their update – they just had to tell me now that the search volume data I was seeing when looking at a keyword search volume was December data – thanks for the clarification, ok I can live with it. Soon after, the external tool was back up and running properly again and the same update was applied to it as well.

Today as I was doing another keyword research that I really needed to complete as quickly as possible i ran into an even worse problem though. The tool fails to display the cost per click data for keywords! Logging in and using the tol within the account yields the same result. The worst is that neither in Inside AdWords blog nor in the AdWords API blog there was no warning or even mention of this one – GRRRRR!!!!!!!!

Hello Google, please get your act together and let me use the tool you’ve probably made exactly for that – people using it! AdWords failing to provide the CPC data is even worse than Yahoo Search Marketing going AdWords-like – it’s like they’re giving themselves the right to charge the advertisers whatever they feel like based on nothing else but just their desires – which in my opinion is like digging a hole for themselves.


  1. IW – How do you track Adwords conversion? Do you use the conversion tracking code that Google offers?

    Some recent info. that I’ve been reading suggests that using G’s conversion tracking code may give Google too much info. on your keywords and their profitability (hence higher bids for you in the future). One source, among several, is a post at Webmaster World Forums. (I would link to the post, but I don’t want you thinking I’m link spamming.)

    Is using conversion tracking code from Google like “letting the wolf guard the hen house?” What are your thoughts on this?

  2. Chris – both from what I see and what others report, it seems like Google not only may use but does use your data to their own benefit when it comes to conversion data (you could have probably seen Graywolf’s post on the matter, can’t find the link to the post itself right now so linking to the blog home page). For this same reason, I avoid using Google Analytics (and for this same reason, same goes for Yahoo’s Search Marketing ads conversion tracking). As to AdWords, it all boils down to who I set up the campaign for – some clients actually prefer to be able to track everything in one place – and trying to combine the PPC data with some third party conversion tracking solution can be quite a pain in the arse at times.

  3. Thanks, that’s what I suspected. Haven’t seen Graywolf’s post, but I’ll do a search on his site. I’ve been using G’s conversion tracking code, and I could kick myself for doing so. Any recommendations for a conversion tracking tool/software that can be hosted on my server? Someone should develop a good conversion tracking tool for PPC campaigns; I’d certainly be interested.