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What changed for keywords & why I stopped selling my keyword tool 15 years ago?
#1
Many years ago I came up with a formula for keyword research and finding the most powerful keywords for SEO. I spent a few years trying to find if anyone had something like it I could use. There was only one keyword tool at the time that I could find and that was WordTracker.

I was a Las Vegas cab driver/pretty good blackjack and poker player at the time, but lacked confidence with the online SEO stuff. When I found WordTracker they showed their formula and it was exactly like my own. This gave me confidence my formula was mathematically correct...it wasn't a straight ratio of competition to demand.

But there was one BIG difference in our formulas. They only factored competition and demand. But being a decent poker player I understood the concept of "pot odds". In other words, even if you're playing the exact same cards it's better to be in big pots that little ones.

The didn't include the value of the keywords.

So after a few years of procrastinating I hired a coder and created PowBomb, the first desktop keyword tool that also included the value of the keywords in addition to competition and demand.

Things were a lot different then. We had access to stats that we don't have today. After enough things changed, I quit selling PowBomb....and once the stats become too poor to use, that's when you started seeing all the other keyword tools pop up.

Here's the difference...

Overture was the original PPC service where you could buy clicks from a search engine based on keywords. They displayed this info publicly. We knew the exact price webmasters were willing to pay for a click. No guesswork.

BTW, Overture went on to become GoTo.com, which was bought by Yahoo and then became Bing Ads...if my memory is correct?

Also, there were search engines like Infoseek and Hotbot that displayed a "relevancy percentage" in their SERPs. They told you exactly how competitive based on how well they were optimized. Do a search for "pokemon" and the #1 ranked site had a score of 68. Do another search for "SEO" and the top 300 (literally) had a score of 100.

Other search engines told you the exact number of monthly searches.

Back then PowBomb knew:
Exactly how much webmasters bid for a keyword for the top spot.
Exactly how hard it was to rank for a keyword
Exactly how much traffic a keyword got

All of these changed, but the keyword tools keep coming using inaccurate data. IMO many of the newer SEO keyword research tools saw a good idea and copied them without understanding them.

I still use keyword research tools but with the understanding that they really aren't that accurate. They just help me be more decisive when wading through "billions and billions" of keywords when trying to choose which keywords to use.
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#2
This is the first time I've heard someone express their opinion about what happened online in the area of keyword research
and I think that is because you were one of the few that actually had an understanding of it since you designed a tool.
For the rest of us it was sort of like hummm somethings not exactly right here. I think I better just forget seo I'm not
getting anywhere. This article was a huge lightbulb for me. You really expressed my hunch in real terms I could understand
thanks for that kurt. Still I might go back to seo in offlline arena. It still seems to work there
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