Why The Google Keyword Tool Isn’t Much Help At Predicting The Future

The Google Keyword Tool is the MAGICAL must use tool which allows you to accurately forecast search volumes for a client. Every client has heard of it and every client wants you to use it to predict their future business success.



We used to crank up the GKT for forecasting a lot and generally the scenario used to run something like this –

CLIENT "Can you do a forecast for how many searches are performed for my product / service?"

ME "Sure"

As soon as I put the phone down or walk out the room I’d think ‘BUGGER, I might need some embellishment here…’

AS time went on I decided to get more upfront with clients, in a professional sense I’d call it more transparent. We are trying to build a partnership after all, and my wife tells me honesty is one of the foundation blocks of any relationship. So if you contact me now the scenario WILL run something like this –

CLIENT "Can you do a forecast for how many searches are performed for my product / service?"

ME "No"


ME "Well there are many reasons why," and then bore them to death with some or all of the following  –


  • You want to target a custom location like a radius of 40 miles around your business. GKT doesn’t support that.
  • You only want to run Ads during working hours. GKT doesn’t support that.
  • Your business is really niche and according to the GKT no-one ever searches for your unique widgets, but they probably do (or will) and we will find them.
  • Your business has so many searches and GKT will only return about 3% of the actual searches which we will find.
  • Despite our best efforts, the GKT will only return a whole host of loosely associated searches and some will include keywords with locations in Australia and USA, even though your shop is in Bourton-On-The-Water and only wants to target local villages.
  • From having used it countless times we are yet to generate forecast data which is anything like the data I’ll probably be sitting presenting to you a month into the campaign.
  • It’s rubbish.


We still use the GKT.

I’m not going to lie to you (transparency remember) we do still take notice of the search volumes it gives. But only in a relative sense, i.e. relative volumes to each other. Where the tool actually is useful though is for building keyword lists. It’s great for extracting great long lists of words and using them as a starting point to find core and stem words. Then we build your account the way we want it.

So that’s the Google Keyword Tool - a great starting point, but no crystal ball.


Gerard McHugh Posted by Gerard McHugh

Gerard McHugh - PPC Expert based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire UK

Gerard has spent over 15 years working on Pay Per Click campaigns for companies operating in the UK, Europe and USA. He is Google Ads Certified in Search, Display and Shopping and a Microsoft Certified Professional

View Gerard McHugh's profile on LinkedIn



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