With a wealth of tools at our disposal to gather insight, we recently discovered a discrepancy between the data in Google Trends and the Keyword planner.

This came about after a top toilet supplier client wanted us to advise if there was more search volume around the search term "washroom" or "toilet cubicles" to inform their branding strategy.

Our PPC Manager started to delve into Google Trends and discovered that there was a lot more volume around “washrooms” than “toilet cubicles”.

Google Trends and Keyword Planner

At the same time, the SEO Strategist had also set to work investigating search volume for the two search terms this time using Google keyword planner.

When we sat down to start devising our proposal for the client we realised we had very different data.

Here is what she had seen on Google keyword planner:

Google Trends and Keyword Planner 2

Toilet cubicles had higher search volume (avg. monthly searches) than washrooms, the opposite of what Google Trends was telling us.

After escalating this to the Google team, we discovered that Google trends represents ALL search volume, whereas Google Keyword Planner is based only on search volume against which an ad is served.

So in our example what this means is that "washroom" is searched for a lot on Google, more so that toilet cubicles - potentially as users look for one in the area i.e. at the train station.

But on Google keyword planner, the search volume is higher for "toilet cubicles" as there are more ads showing against that keyword than "washrooms".

We would recommend using Google Trends if you want to see total search volume. This tool is also helpful in PPC to inform your ad copy messaging to see which terms are more popular in certain locations for example (i.e. you should say “Mom” in US based ad copy and “Mum” in UK based ad copy which is proven through Google Trends.)

The Google keyword planner should be recognised as relating to AdWords search volume only and a clear indicator of the PPC competition.

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