While researching SEO keywords in Wordtracker, I noticed obviously spammy results compared to Keyword Discovery or Google Keyword Tool. This is not the type of website keyword spam that gets sniffed out by Google Panda filter, but rather keywords that must have entered the Wordtracker database through some kind of bug or hacker virus. It makes you wonder, if the data is compromised how reliable are the numbers for normal looking keywords?
Example of Keyword Spam in Wordtracker
It appears to me that the Wordtracker database is capturing searches that include a substantial number of systematic searches, probably performed by a program on someone’s computer that is supplying data for Wordtracker’s keyword search volume database. When researching keyword search volume on “IT security”, a terms I would expect would have a pretty decent volume, slight variations of the same 18 word phrase ranked above and below IT Security. The variation in the 18 word phrase was only 2 letters. If this were a common typo for what you would think would be a popular phrase, I could dismiss it. But the keyword phrase is 18 words long! And each variation was searched about 100 times! The 2 letter variation makes it look like some kind of brute force hacking attempt. Brute force hacking is when a program is used to guess a password by trying every possible character combination. In this case, it appears like a program is attempting to fill a search form using character variations of a phrase copied from a login page. Possibly a virus on one or more computers included in Wordtracker’s user database was attempting to hack into a login form on a page that also had an embedded search engine form.
A glance at KeywordDiscovery results for IT security show absolutely no phrases similar to that spammy phrase found in Wordtracker.
The Right Mix of Keyword SEO Tools
I’m a regular user of Wordtracker and KeywordDiscovery SEO keyword research tools. I use the paid version of Trellian Keyword Discovery and the free plugin for Wordtracker SEO Blogger. I used to use the paid version of Wordtracker from 2004-2010. I had access to Keyword Discovery, but never really got into it because the interface was not intuitive and hard to find your way around without clicking and trying everything. I switched to Keyword Discovery in 2010 when I worked as the search engine optimization research & development technician at Medium Blue, an SEO agency in Atlanta. I basically switched at that point, because that was the keyword research tool they were using. They had the enterprise package, allowing unlimited keyword lists. Even now as SEO manager at BKV (full service advertising agency in Atlanta), I am sticking with Keyword Discovery as my first choice. However, I am training my team to continue using Wordtracker to inform their keyword research. Wordtracker seems to pick up keywords that KeywordDiscovery does not. The search volumes don’t compare apples to apples across Wordtracker and KeywordDiscovery, but you can still get an idea of relative search volume compared to other nearby terms. Google’s Keyword tool can give a third opinion. But here again, trust your gut when you see outrageous estimated search volume that looks too good to be true. Google holds its data close and can provide anything it wants as an “estimate”. Especially if it entices PPC customers to spend more money on keywords that Google says are going to be popular. Therefore, I go to Keyword Discovery first, and look to Wordtracker and Google Keyword Tool to get ideas for expanding my list. I then dump those keywords into Keyword Discovery, export search volumes as Excel and include a column for Google Keyword Tool monthly search volume. This way I can look at both counts side by side and prioritize which keywords to target.