Big Change to Keyword Planner: Google Restricts Access to Those With AdWords Accounts

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Big Change to Keyword Planner: Google Restricts Access to Those With AdWords Accounts

Google Keyword Planner, a tool relied upon daily by SEOs and advertisers alike, has become restricted for use only by those logged in with an AdWords account. At least that is the official word from Google at this time, but there have been conflicting reports that even those logged in with an AdWords account are not able to access the tool.

What’s even more confusing is that Google’s own error message states that you also need to have an active campaign to use Keyword Planner. However, Google is contradicting itself on Twitter saying that is not true.

Those who are unable to access the tool are seeing the following error message:

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 12.59.03 PM

”To use Keyword Planner, you need to have at least one active campaign. If you have an active campaign and are still seeing this message, try reloading Keyword Planner in a few minutes.”

Yes, the verbiage does read that you need to have at least one active campaign, but Google’s official AdWords account is replying to concerned users stating otherwise:

While having an active campaign may not be a requirement, despite the error message saying otherwise, an AdWords account is in fact required in order to access Keyword Planner:

The latest word from Google is that there is a “technical issue” which is affecting access to Keyword Planner at this time, an issue which the AdWords team is currently working to resolve:

To recap, here’s what we know so far:

  • An AdWords account is now required to access Keyword Planner
  • Having an active campaign is apparently not required to access Keyword Planner
  • A technical issue is causing the tool to be inaccessible to some users whether they have an account or not
  • The AdWords team is currently working to resolve the technical issue
  • Presumably, when the issue is corrected, access will be restored to users who are logged in with an AdWords account

What This Means for SEOs and Advertisers

Over the past few hours we have learned from Google that things are not as bad as they seem. Restricting access to Keyword Planner to those with active campaigns would have shut out the many professionals working on organic SEO who rely on the tool day in and day out.

Moreover, it could have had the affect of deterring new advertisers from ever starting an AdWords campaign. If they can’t access data about the keywords they’re bidding on, how would they know where to start? To be sure, requiring both an AdWords account and an active campaign would have sent shockwaves throughout both the organic and paid search communities.

If what Google says is true, and only an AdWords account is needed, then it’s not nearly as bad as it could have been. Those with or without active campaigns can still go about their daily business, and those without an AdWords account simply have to create one to keep using Keyword Planner

The greatest concern right now is the technical issue which is preventing all kinds of users from being able to access Keyword Planner. Once the issue is confirmed by Google to be resolved we will update this post with the latest information.

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Matt Southern
Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing... Read Full Bio
Matt Southern
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