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However, quite often it's the other way around - which doesn't make much sense at all.
For example right now I'm looking at one term that has Overture of about 80,000/mo. and Wordtracker is almost 250,000/mo. I come across terms like this every day.
Does anyone have any theories to explain how this is even possible? Or is it a glitch with one or the other? If so, any idea how to tell which is the more accurate number? When in doubt do you just rely on Overture?
The highest visited keywords aren't always the best anyway unless they are mixed with other more specific key words.
But the key word tools do help along with a lot of other considerations.
1. Use WT, Overture, and Google suggestion tools. Look at all three and try to find a middle ground.
2. Use AdWords campaign tools or set up an Adwords campaign. If you want to go the cheap route, you can set up a campaign and Google will show you the estimated click-throughs for your keyword phrases. Look at the data, but don't set up the campaign. If you're willing to spend a few bucks, do the same but set the campaign up. You'll get much more data this way. Most importantly impressions - the number of times a keyword phrase was searched. The longer you run the campaign and/or the bigger the budget the more accurate your data will be.
3. Web stats. Check your logs and see which keyword phrases are actually being used to find your site.
4. Study the competition. What KW phrases are the leaders within your industry/topics targeting?
If you use all of four of these, you'll have a much clearer idea of which keyword phrases to go after.
Then you have to guesstimate the amount of queries that are performed by webmasters checking their rankings.
Wordtracker, as had been mentioned before, gets it's information from meta search, but then (last time I looked) it extrapolates and estimates the amount of searches at the various search engines.
Another way to get an estimate of searches is to run an AdWords campaign set to search only, without the partners, and set it full throttle for a day or two- or a week if you can afford it. You can break out your searches according singular, plural, exact and phrase match. Then use the impression numbers for decision making. ;)