Google Keyword Planner is widely regarded as the best source of keyword search volume data, as it comes directly from Google itself. And it’s not a secret the vast majority of SEO tools pull their keyword search volumes from GKP.
But how accurate are the search volume numbers in GKP?
Well, there’s one source of data that is universally deemed the “single source of truth” when it comes to search volumes: Google Search Console.
If your website consistently ranks at the top of Google for a certain keyword, the number of “impressions” your page gets for that keyword will be its actual search volume.
This means that we can easily study the accuracy of search volumes in GKP if we compare the search volumes with the actual impressions of the same keywords from GSC.
And that is exactly what we did in our recent experiment.
Study results showing that Google Keyword Planner drastically overestimates search volumes in the majority of cases
It turned out that the search volumes in GKP were “roughly accurate” in just 45% of cases. In the rest of the cases, GKP search volumes deviated from GSC impressions by a pretty large margin.
In other words, it is quite a stretch to call the search volumes in GKP “accurate.” And we can’t even criticize GKP for this, as it is a tool for advertisers, not SEOs.
GKP tends to blend search queries with similar meaning together in one group without an option to see a distinct search volume for each of those queries. This is quite handy for advertisers but can be a real headache for SEOs.
For example, the following six keywords will all be blended into one:
Dividing the workload like this whatsapp number list allows both the vendor and the affiliate to focus on their strengths. The improvements are similar on desktop and mobile. Most of the focus in 2021 was on mobile results.
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Keyword grouping in Keyword Planner
And most SEO tools will mimic this behavior because they (allegedly) take their search volumes from GKP. So they will display the same search volume for each of these keyword variations.
But here at Ahrefs, we mix a few other data sources into our search volume estimates (including a few years of historical clickstream data), which allows us to “un-group” many of such keyword clusters and display a distinct search volume for each individual keyword:
This un-grouping makes Ahrefs’ search volumes a bit more accurate than those of GKP. And yet our search volumes are still just estimations rather than exact values that many of our users will love to see.