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Living and working in Australia can make SEO a different sort of field when it comes to keyword research. Being 14 times smaller than the US results in our keyword search volume being much smaller and the tools possibly not as reliable. This is also helped by the fact that the majority of SEO keyword tools are based in America and I begin to feel we are definitely not their priority (understandably so :P).

I regularly find discrepancies between tools which can make it difficult to decide whether a topic is worth targeting. This is why I thought I’d do a bit of analysation of five different tools, to hopefully help you answer the question: which keyword research tool for SEO is best for Australia?

Those five tools are:

Below you find two sections. One comparing search volumes in general. And then one that may interest you more, comparing Google Search Console impressions with these tools search volume.

Same topic keywords, varying volumes

I looked into the topic of “saving money as a student” or “student budget” to see what volume was suggested for each variant. I chose a topic that has a relatively small search volume. You will see a larger search volume comparison later.

Keyword Semrush Moz Keywords Everywhere Keyword Planner Ahrefs Total Volume Average Volume
how to budget uni student 70 No
data
0 10 No
data
80 27
student budget 10 75 (51 – 100) 70 70 10 235 47
how to
 save money as a student
50 5 (0 – 10) 40 40 30 165 33
university budget No data 5 (0 – 10) 70 70 20 165 41

Moz

The first thing I noticed was that Moz had very little volume for all three excluding “student budget” where it provided a range of 51 – 100. Which makes me wonder if you were doing keyword research with only Moz and you explored the topic of “how to save money as a student” or “how to budget uni student” would you decide it’s not worth targeting? Moz is only going to provide reasonable volume when you match exactly “student budget”.

I am also not too impressed that they are still using ranges for their search volume. This can make it quite frustrating to use when working with a large number of searches.

SemRush

Looking at Semrush it amazes me that they can have such different volumes when compared with the others. For, “student budget” they are only suggesting 10 searches a month. Whereas Moz, Keywords Everywhere and Keyword Planner suggest 70. SemRush’s number just doesn’t seem right to me. Surely, more than 10 Australian students a month are searching “student budget”?

Then on top of that, they do not even track university budget compared to the others all tracking it and Keywords Everywhere and Keyword Planner suggesting it’s quite high.

Keyword Semrush Moz Keywords Everywhere Keyword Planner Ahrefs Total Volume Average Volume
student budget 10 75 (51 – 100) 70 70 10 235 47
university budget No data 5 (0 – 10) 70 70 20 165 41

Then which interest me is that they quote “how to budget university student” quite higher whereas the other tools quote very little or aren’t even tracked with the other tools.

Keyword Semrush Moz Keywords Everywhere Keyword Planner Ahrefs Total Volume Average Volume
how to budget uni student 70 No
data
0 10 No
data
80 27

Ahrefs

Ahrefs seems to frequently under quote the volumes compared to the other tools. Of all the tools analysed it offers the lowest search volumes every time. This holds true most of the time for larger search volumes.

One thing that Ahrefs offers that I do find a good addition is the use of a Parent Term which is meant to “Parent topic determines if you can rank for your target keyword while targeting a more general topic on your page instead. To identify Parent topic we take the #1 ranking page for your keyword and look for the best keyword that this page ranks for.”

I actually only included “University Budget” into this because Ahref decided it was a parent term to student budget and was of some value.

It is worth noting that the “Parent topic” is still in beta. And this is an example of how the beta version isn’t working 100% correctly. For “university budget” Google seems to think the search intent is actually more likely to be about the government university budget rather than how to budget as a student.

Keywords Everywhere & Google Keyword Planner

I have combined these two together as they very consistently have the same search volume or at least very similar. This would be because, as Keywords Everywhere states:  “we show you useful google keyword search volume, cost per click and competition data of keywords on multiple websites.”

These two do consistently seem to be quite different compared to the other tools. So it will be interesting to see how similar it is to impression data.

One thing I love about Keyword Everywhere is that they don’t have a limit on the number of queries you can run. Whereas some tools limit the number of searches you can perform. For example, I had to collect keyword data for every suburb in Australia yesterday. This resulted in me analysing around 14,000 keywords with keywords everywhere. Which just wouldn’t have been possible with some of these tools.

Comparing Impressions with Search Volume

This is hopefully where this post gets interesting. In Australia it is common for a lot of tools to not track a lot of keywords or the search volume is considered so small it’s not worth tracking. Or we are faced with the very different numbers for each tool. To really find the value of keywords it is common practice to look at the impression data from Google Search Console. And now that we have access to a full 12 months of data we can get a better idea of just how many times a page is getting impressions for a keyword. Yay!

Now for those that don’t know much about google search consoles impressions I recommend reading google’s guide. Basically “every time” your page appears in a user’s search result Google will record this as one impression. This could be anywhere organic on the page – as a result, featured snippet, image ect.

Then by taking the total impressions data for a page that averages in the top 7 positions for 12 months, I can work out an approximate volume. I made sure to use 12 months worth of data to cater for seasonality. This seasonality can also be checked using Google Trends.

Of course, this will not provide me with data for every time someone searches a term. For example, maybe Google doesn’t rank you for a search or chucks you on page 12 one time. There have also been issues with Google Search Console’s data in the last 12 months ago which might also affect this data. This does, however, provide a good indication of the possible search volume.

So, check out my data below (Wish I had time for a bigger sample size, but this will have to do):

Keyword Semrush Moz keywords everywhere keyword planner Ahrefs GSC Impressions GSC Position
Keyword 1 6600 20750 (11,500 – 30,000) 6600 6600 9600 7015 6.4
Keyword 2 8100 2300 (1,700 – 2,900) 8100 8100 4500 2751 1.3
Keyword 3 + Brisbane 170 30.5 (11 – 50) 170 170 100 86 2

Keyword 1:

Semrush, Keywords Everywhere and Keyword Planner almost nail it but taking into the fact that we are averaging in position 6.4 and Google has a tendency to move rankings around, I would guess Ahrefs is more accurate. I would not be surprised if there were another 2585 searches a month. Moz is completely off and they offer a range. This really makes me wonder how they came up with this number!

  • Semrush – most accurate
  • Moz Keywords explorer – way off
  • Keywords Everywhere – most accurate
  • Keyword Planner – most accurate
  • Ahrefs – overestimate (but wouldn’t be surprised if correct due to pos. 6.4)

Keyword 2:

Then Moz surprises me again with Keyword 2. This time is the most accurate to the number of impressions. With Ahrefs once again just over by 1749 which is not far off and with an average position of 1.3.

Semrush, Keywords Everywhere and Keyword Planner provides a search volume of 8,100. These three tools seem quite far from the impression data supplied by Google. You would think that keyword planner would match the impressions since they are both owned by Google and Keyword 2 is pretty consistently in position 1. There is, of course, the possibility that Google impressions data is majorly off.

  • Semrush – way off
  • Moz Keywords explorer – most accurate
  • Keywords Everywhere -way off
  • Keyword Planner – way off
  • Ahrefs – 2nd most accurate, slightly higher

Keyword 3 + Brisbane:

Then looking at a local search term “Keyword 3 + Brisbane” where we are averaging position 2. Ahref’s seems to be very close being slightly higher with a difference of 14 searches a month. Moz also isn’t too far off with their range of 11 – 50.

Semrush, Keywords Everywhere and Keyword Planner once again over estimate it with and extra 84 searches a month.

  • Semrush – Too high
  • Moz Keywords explorer – most accurate, slightly lower
  • Keywords Everywhere – Too high
  • Keyword Planner – Too high
  • Ahrefs – most accurate, slightly higher

After all that, which SEO keyword tool should I use?

This has definitely reconfirmed in my mind that you need to be looking at multiple tools and your impression data to make an educated guess. Of course, if I was to increase the sample size of this data you may well find more comment trends and make the decision that one tool is definitely better than another. And I feel like I could be analysing this data forever, but since I started this post in February I think it’s probably better I get it out!

If you’re in a small keyword volume industry then you really do need to be relying on impression data and just use some logic. Ask yourself “Would I or someone else search this topic”?

I personally was a fan of Ahrefs data as it seems the most reasonable when compared with impression data. But for convenience, I will continue to use Keywords Everywhere for day to day quick searches. Hope you enjoyed my post, leave me a comment on anything else you noticed or think! And hopefully, this isn’t my only post this year!

Please note, this data is originally from February and I have had to hide the keyword impression data to respect a client’s wishes.