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There's obviously a possibility that they're simply wrong, or that I've completely lost the plot, or could it be possible that they have added searches from Yahoo into the figures also?.
Sometimes you'll get a very specific five or six word search term appearing for, say, 20 searches one month and then totally disappearing the next.
Maybe its due to people pressing the "search" button a number of times when a search engine is slow to give results.
I use the Overture Term Suggestion Tool [content.overture.com]
Then for a sanity check i.e. to make sure that I'm not looking at U.S. figures I try something like "insurance". If one of the top terms mentions cars instead of autos then I know I'm on the right track.
[Mods...if you can change my example to widgets and still keep the meaning then you're a better man than me Gunga Din :)]
To balance your results I would use a combination of sources. Unfortunately you won't get a true reflection of results unless Google, MSN and Yahoo suddenly release the info.
What you can do is look into:
www.espotting.com/popups/keywordgenbox.asp in addition to OV
I hope that helps
It is worth remembering, (well at least in my experience) that the PPC companies attempt to get advertisers to use their search terms and not necessarily your own, so this is going to possibly distort the results as well.
Factor in broad matching and youve got pretty unreliable keyword research if your trying to focus on exact words or phrases. However, the Ov tool is still quite useful because you can dredge up phrases you never knew existed (without paying for w/tracker) and get some idea of the volumes. Just take it with a pinch.
The best way of measuring actual keyword volume is thru Google adwords. Provided your account is fully optimised (ie your using exact matches and other tricks) and has been going for at least a few weeks you can get a good idea of what the demand is for KW's on the top engine. Only downside is they dont have a great "suggestion" tool and unless you have a full range of KW's you may not see a true picture of what is going on in your sector.
You can always cross ref with the espot tool too!
[edited by: IanTurner at 5:37 pm (utc) on Mar. 30, 2004]
[edit reason] removed company names [/edit]