I asked about this about half a year or so ago (was busy with college and didnt need to do much kw research anyway) and was told the numbers were usually kind of accurate (usually not off by more than two-fold).
So, now that I was thinking of this again, Im really curious if this has held true (I only heard a few opinions and that feature had just been released for the adwords tool).
Are those numbers (somewhat close to) accurate?
Or are they still way off like they used to be on all the keyword tools of the past (with their random extrapolations and skewed sample data)?
I've not found the numbers to be accurate to any reliable degree. One of the major reasons for this is that it's adwords data, so does not necessarily reflect actual searches (think content network).
How accurate you need it to be depends on how serious the consequences are if the numbers are wrong. if you're writing a single web page, you probably have a fairly high tolerance for inaccuracy. If you're developing a new site and investing heavily, then you'd be best advised to cross reference the data with other trustworthy sources. And of course, you could run listings via adwords to get a much better picture of what volume is out there. It doesn't have to be too expensive if you run a short campaign.
Thanks for the advice Andy. I know one should do these things when trying to make a big investment...its just that..I was busy trying not to flunk exams in college over the last couple of months (lol), so I had to put my web stuff on the back burner...so I had a break of a couple of months....and during that break google started showing those numbers.
And I remember some people (including one of the top seo bloggers) stating that the number from the g adwords tool were fairly reliable and hardly ever off by a factor more than twofold or so....thus I was hoping maybe all that s tuff wasnt really necessary anymore - but obviously thats not the case (others have confirmed to me that those volumes suck :-)).