Getting Detailed Keyword Planner Data via My Client Centre (MCC)

Keyword Planner (Prismafied) imageThis is probably really obvious, but it fooled me, so I thought it was worth blogging about.

TL;DR – To get detailed data using the AdWords Keyword Planner when managing multiple accounts via MCC (My Client Centre), make sure that you click on the ‘Jump to account’ drop-down at the top of the screen, select a ‘big spender’ client, and then do your keyword research as normal. The priviso is that you have to have at least one client in your MCC that’s a ‘big spender,’ otherwise you may not get the detailed data. If you leave it as the default – probably your own/agency account – you may not get the data, especially if you don’t use AdWords yourself, which is what fooled me originally.

Google’s changes

Back in June, Google started combining data for very closely-related keywords in its Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool. For example, the keywords "personal injury claim" and "personal injuries claims" suddenly had exactly the same search volume and suggested AdWords bid data, despite the latter being grammatically unfriendly and therefore less searched-on:

It was either a mighty big coincidence (unlikely), or their data was being lumped together (likely).

At first there was talk that it was a bug (even DMs that I had back-and-forth with the @adwords team showed that they didn’t really have a clue internally what the heck was going on), but eventually – weeks later – it was revealed that it was a permanent change. They also started to show data in ranges: e.g. “100 – 1K” instead of, say, “390”.

Ugh.

Initial confusion

It was also revealed that you had to be an active user – i.e. spending moolah on actual AdWords clicks – in order to get the detailed data, and also potentially have an account that’s been running for at least a couple of months. However, as it stands, no one’s currently sure how much you have to spend in order to see detailed data vs. the generalised ranges.

My question was this: what about people who have access to other AdWords accounts via My Client Centre (MCC)? How does that factor into it?

Well, from a recent post about it on the SEM Post:

“So needing to have active campaigns running for at least 3-4 months, with an unknown spend requirement, will mean many SEOs will have a hard time getting the detailed data unless they are able to MCC an active AdWords account that is seeing the data.”

This confused me, as I had a MCC account with at least 3 or 4 active AdWords campaigns in it (i.e. client campaigns), but whenever I tried to use the Keyword Planner, I was still getting the rough data ranges instead of the detailed data.

…And then I realised what I was doing wrong.

How to get detailed data

Whenever you access the Google AdWords Keyword Planner normally, e.g. if you visit it via Google Search or have the direct link to it bookmarked, you are taken to your AdWords account. In my case, it was Morgan Online Marketing’s AdWords account:

Keyword planner data ranges screenshot
Now I only have an AdWords account for My Client Centre purposes, so that I can manage other clients’ AdWords accounts. I don’t run AdWords ads on the MOM site itself.

And that’s why I wasn’t getting the data: MOM isn’t an active advertiser.

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SEO & Civil Law – My brightonSEO Talk

brightonSEO Sep 2016 imageOn Friday I spoke at brightonSEO for the second time. I spoke there 18 months ago back when it was in the Brighton Dome, but this time it was in a brand new venue, right on the seafront: the Brighton Centre.

My talk was basically a Civil Law 101 introduction for freelance and agency SEOs. I’ve worked with dozens of clients since going self-employed as a solo freelancer 3+ years ago, and while the vast, vast majority have been happy, healthy and positive, I unfortunately had one client who refused to pay me, so I had to go through the small claims court procedure. I initially wrote about my experiences for a State of Digital post, but after a chat with Kelvin (brightonSEO’s organiser), we decided that it’d make a good talk as well. It’s a bit of a dodgy, nerve-racking topic (after all, I don’t really want to go around advertising that this ever even happened, as it doesn’t look great!), but also I think that it’s an important topic for self-employed SEOs to learn about and be aware of. The feedback I received afterwards seemed very positive, so that’s good.

Here are the slides:


I believe that there may be a podcast (audio recording) of it as well – I’ll update the post once I have access to it.

[Image credit – Briony Gunson via Twitter (and then run through Prisma)]

(Don’t Be) Blogging for the Sake of It

When I set up this blog over five years ago, my personal goal was to aim to publish at least one post per month. With the exception of one month early on (February 2012, when I took a brief hiatus), I have met that goal. But a few days ago, while combating a busy workload and a sort of form of writer’s block, I found myself clambering around, trying desperately to think of something to blog about.

Which is why I typed (and have published) this.

In the end, I came up with goods, and it’s a semi-decent post by all accounts (or at least I like to think so!), but otherwise I was thinking of publishing this post – in order to ‘fill the gap.’

But you know what? Aside from the fact that there would’ve been a month missing if someone looks at my blog’s Archives, it really doesn’t matter. It’s much more important to write something of quality rather than to write because you have a quota to meet / a box to tick.

I mean just look at this post. Look at it. It’s looking so sorry for itself. It’s barely a couple of hundred words. It doesn’t even have an image to go with it. Pah. It’s certainly not my best, but by publishing it, I would’ve been able to say that I’d published a post during the month of August 2016. Huzzah…? No. No huzzah.

But you could argue that this post shouldn’t – or doesn’t need to – exist at all… Although I decided to publish it anyway, to make a point.

Don’t get me wrong… Deadlines are a good thing. Since I started writing for State of Digital, my writing style and overall blogging game has increased significantly: I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to meet the deadline of providing a post every five weeks – in addition to doing one once a month for SEOno – but I have done, and it’s been going well. Really well.

But at the end of the day, I have a new rule: from now on, when it comes to SEOno at least, I will write new posts when I damn well please, not necessarily once a month. I’d much rather publish a killer post after a three-month gap rather than publish three smaller, underwhelming posts each a month apart.

Would you agree? Yes? Good. Thanks for reading.

Using Prisma App to ‘Spice Up’ your Blog’s Images

A few days ago I caught a tweet by @tombeardshaw showing a painting-style image of his usual avatar head-shot:

I was really impressed, so I asked him who painted it for him, because I was convinced that he’d commissioned someone to do it for him especially.

But I was wrong – it was made via an iPhone app.

Introducing Prisma

Simply put, Prisma is a modern art filter app, overlaying your photos with different artistic styles. In addition to making photos look like paintings (like the example above), you can make them look like sketches, mosaics and even cubist. There’s about two dozen different filters that you can apply.

Here’s what the interface looks like:

Prisma interface - before & after screenshots
Before on the left / After on the right

I’ve slowly become obsessed with it since discovering it, as have many of the people I’ve seen using it. @cardiffisyours is now using Prisma’ed images for its Twitter profile pic and cover pic:

Prisma on @cardiffisyours screenshot
The Guardian recently published an article showing loads of great examples of recent famous photos that have had the Prisma treatment.

The other day, I realised that it had another really good application: photos for blog posts.

Alternative images for your blog posts

I spend a lot of time finding good accompanying images for blog posts, usually hitting up Flickr’s Creative Commons search. I hate stock photos (as I feel that they’re often very generic and ‘forced’-looking), but finding a good, natural, free-to-use image can really take some time. Ironically I often feel that it takes me longer to find a good image for a post than it does to write the damn thing in the first place…!

For a recent post on SEOno – 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Operate a ‘Minimum DA’ Rule When Building Links – I really struggled to find a good image. I tried Flickr’s CC search for keywords around “authority”, “minimum”, etc. but couldn’t find anything appropriate at all. I realised that all I really wanted was a screenshot of Moz’s Open Site Explorer, the tool that displays the metric that was the primary focus of the post. I tried a screenshot at first, but it looked… boring.

Then I had an idea…

Click to read more!