Goodbye Keyword Research…

Posted by on Aug 5, 2016 in Google Adwords | Comments Off on Goodbye Keyword Research…

For those SEOs in the audience, you are likely aware of the sad news, but for those just getting started or unaware, Google has killed the keyword planner used by so many in their keyword estimations, research, and planning.

Okay, “killed” is a bit strong but damn it, we need some inside data, GOOGLE!


What Actually Changed

Well, data is still being provided in Google Keyword Planner, but the keyword data isn’t isolated to exact-match of the keyword(s) entered anymore. In a RankBrain world, relevance matters, so the keyword planner now offers a consolidated search volume for similar, variations, and close synonyms of keywords. This update went into practice at the end of June, beginning of July. Over the course of the month, some users also experienced error messages stating:

To use Keyword Planner, you need to have at least one active campaign. If you have an active campaign and are still seeing this message, try reloading Keyword Planner in a few minutes.

Although, Google contradicted this messaging when users responded and questioned Google on social media.

But I digress. The keyword planner, when using it to gather keyword data and find new keywords, the system gives the same volume for search variants. RankBrain does the same thing from an organic search perspective; hence the expected correlation between the two.

Here is the example all us SEOs are using (usually just SEO vs Search Engine Optimization):

Comparing SEO terms in Tennessee

Comparing SEO terms in Tennessee

What should be noted in the example above is that the competition, bid, and other segments appear to still align with specific keywords.


The Good, The Bad, and The Workaround

Is this a sign that [not provided] is coming to Adwords too?! Will Google limit the number of keywords users can evaluate? Will we feeble marketers need to sacrifice young animals to obtain data from the Google gods? No, no, and hopefully not. That isn’t to say that we know everything Google has planned or up their sleeves but indications are that this change aligns well with organic search; where ads are meant to appear. Remember, Google isn’t a charity and the planner is meant to be used for paid media efforts–with Google.

Although we love the tool and use it in a number of areas, not just for Adwords campaigns, that is its purpose. We can’t fault Google for aligning their tools together. So, how do you get some sweet, specific keyword average search volumes? Currently, the workaround is to use the budget planner (within the keyword tool) to get that data.

In the “Plan your budget and get forecasts” block, you can specify the match type, targeting, and parameters.

Plan your budget and get forecasts

From there, the tool will provide daily forecast for the keywords entered. Depending on the match type, CPC bid, and budget you will see details for the clicks, impressions, cost, CTR, average CPC, and average position. In previous posts, we talked about pricing SEO, well, here is how you do some of that work. Make sure the move the selector to the plateau on the chart and open up the keyword group to see the specifics.

Keyword Planner Forecast for SEO

Again, this update to the keyword planner and this workaround align well with Google’s strategy for organic search quality and personalization along with connecting paid media deeper to the overall strategy and search experience.


The Wrapper

The purpose of Google’s Keyword Planner is to help marketers market things. They (Google) wouldn’t want to hurt their bottomline by taking away the ability of paid marketers to research and plan keyword-based search ads just to reduce the amount of freeloaders that make use of their tools without ever using Adwords. (Image: throwing a baby out with the bath water) That said, the change makes sense when tied to RankBrain, semantic web, and personalized/predictive search.

The value of the keyword, from a search perspective, isn’t just the keyword itself, but how Google delivers media to users via the term used. Step into the mind of a user searching for, say, “best burgers in town” and most can understand how several long and short tail queries could align with this search. We have all put our faith in search systems to provide us with the answers to our burning questions and over the years, they have refined that craft just as we, the brand ambassadors and marketeers, have refined and redefined ours.

It’s just good business… savvy?

Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End.

Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End. Walt Disney Pictures.


Getting Hacked: A Cautionary Tale

Posted by on Jun 5, 2016 in black hat, Information Technology, Security | Comments Off on Getting Hacked: A Cautionary Tale

If you’ve been in the IT industry for a few years, then you’ve had the wonderful experience of dealing with hackers. Whether it’s a small, simple hack into your theme to mess with your links to a larger infiltration to takeover your website, hacks are a common occurrence and one every website faces. ChocolateSEO is no different. Although we’ve been safe since our inception in 2012, our strong run was marred recently by a mid-level hack that crashed our hosting and lead to the hackers being able to verify ownership of C.SEO in Google Search Console.


RankBrain: An investigation of a Search AI

Posted by on Apr 10, 2016 in Algo Changes, Google Updates | Comments Off on RankBrain: An investigation of a Search AI


It sounds like some snake oil concoction an SEO thought up to help sell the local mom and pop shops on SEO. But, it’s not. It is actually one of the top ranking factors for Google. It’s existence was announced in October of last year, although the patent was submitted in 2012.

So, what exactly is “RankBrain” and what does it do?

RankBrain is officially considered an artificial intelligence system. Reason being is that it “naturally” evolves; growing in “intelligence” as time passes and it accepts search data. What search data you say? Your search data. Online search is considered natural and organic when users perform search actions without other input and as a way to find answers to their questions (queries). RankBrain’s intelligence is focused on evaluating the way organic search is being used, semantic web activity, events, and much more. So there are no worries about this AI developing sentience and enslaving us all. RankBrain is an artificial intelligence program, not a ‘true’ AI in the traditional Terminator or I, Robot sense.

Logic, its so difficult.


Yext adds Google+ Support, Finally

Posted by on Feb 9, 2016 in Local Optimization | Comments Off on Yext adds Google+ Support, Finally

Yext adds Google. Start syncing 2/16

For those of us marketers that have used Yext, the need for easier integration of Google local pages has been a sticking point for years. Although support has existed for setting up Yext to allow business owners and web marketers to allow Yext access to their Google+ profiles for posting to the Page of their choice, it has never synced listings on Google. The difference is around the valuable NAP information used to ensure citations align to the business in question along with promoting specials, the website, and other pertinent information. NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number and sometimes website (just like “Y” in the alphabet). However more often than not, the website is a key element.


Instagram expands advertising and support with Instagram Partners and connects Facebook

Posted by on Nov 16, 2015 in Facebook, Social Media | Comments Off on Instagram expands advertising and support with Instagram Partners and connects Facebook

Instagram started as a simple photo sharing site. Once Facebook got involved, purchasing the 2-year old company for $715 million (first reported as 1 Billion), their intention was always to turn a profit. With the creation of Instagram Partner Program, Facebook/Instagram steps into their next evolution. Instagram started as an iPhone app on October 6, 2010. Ads, more of a type of sponsored posts, went live on Instagram on a few weeks ago, going global on September 30, 2015. (more…)

Google & Yahoo working on a 3-Year Deal

Posted by on Oct 23, 2015 in Google Updates, Yahoo | Comments Off on Google & Yahoo working on a 3-Year Deal

Google and Yahoo Search Partnership

Today, during a call with investors about earnings, the Yahoo management team presented the investors with a bit of a confidence booster in news of a partnership with Google. According to the press release containing details on Yahoo’s business highlights:

In October, the Company reached an agreement with Google that provides Yahoo with additional flexibility to choose among suppliers of search results and ads. Google’s offerings complement the search services provided by Microsoft, which remains a strong partner, as well as Yahoo’s own search technologies and ad products.