Is Google going to make you pay for its Keyword Tool?

22nd March 2018

It might not be the way Google intended it but the latest announcement from Google about its Adwords platform has left some commentators scratching their heads.

Two days ago, they announced on Twitter that they are going to automatically ’deactivate’ accounts that haven’t spent any money with them in the last 15 months.

It seems another friendly and reassuring message from Google but it raises a couple of questions.

Firstly, a lot of people were left asking exactly how this would ‘speed up’ their AdWords experience. How can closing your account speed it up?

Secondly, it seems that if your account is deactivated then you will have the ability to easily reactivate it, but if you still don’t spend any money with Google it will be deactivated again after three months.

This has left a lot of people rightly confused.

Whilst we know from experience that there are a great many orphaned accounts out there and this exercise is probably a Google initiative to do some housekeeping on the server space this takes up, it still begs the question, what about the suite of Tools that come with Adwords?

Of particular concern are both Keyword Planner and Display Planner, which as a business you may be using without necessarily spending money on Adwords. After all, if you want to know where your best organic opportunities lie on Google what better tool to use than Google Keyword Planner?

The problem here, of course, is that to access Keyword Planner you need a Google Adwords account and if Google are shutting down any accounts which don’t spend money with them then the Keyword Tool, de facto, becomes paid.

I’m fairly certain that this is an unintended consequence of this change and one which they may not have considered but it’s quite a fundamental change. If the tool is no longer free to use and we have to choose other tools, then there are probably going to be better paid options out there than Google.

Granted, they have access to the raw data but as any of us who use it on a regular basis will tell you, the numbers produced on Adwords Keyword Tool are too aggregated to make accurate decisions. We understand that Google won’t release exact numbers and everything needs to be rounded and smoothed, but if this is the case, why would their ‘indicative’ figures be any better than another provider?

This probably isn’t the end of the story here, so watch to see what Google’s next move will be.