In August 2023, Google quietly revolutionised its keyword search volume data methodology, leaving brands and marketing agencies in the dark. This seismic shift, while unannounced, carries far-reaching implications for Share of Search, making it essential for marketeers to understand the transformation in more detail.


The paradigm shift

Over the years, Google Keyword Planner has been an essential tool for marketers, offering invaluable insights into user search behavior. Before August 2023, keyword search volume data was relatively straightforward. It allowed us to analyse individual keyword volumes, providing a clear view of which keywords were driving search volume for brands and industries.

Close variants of keywords were grouped together, displaying a single keyword with a unified monthly search volume value. This simplified SEO and PPC strategies, as we could easily identify the best-performing keywords to target.


The new modelling approach

However, Google’s August 2023 update introduced a radical change in the way keyword search volume data is presented. Rather than grouping close variants of keywords together, Google now lists each keyword individually.

Here’s the catch: if a keyword is a close variant of another, it appears as a duplicated keyword with the same search volume value.


The Impact on Share of Search

Share of Search, a metric that quantifies a brand’s visibility in comparison to competitors in a specific market, has undergone a significant shift. Previously, Share of Search relied on precise keyword analysis to gauge market influence accurately. However, this new methodology complicates the process.

Marketeers traditionally used Google Keyword Planner to determine the keywords to include in their Share of Search analysis. But now, with duplicated keyword search volume values, it becomes incredibly challenging to pinpoint the exact keywords driving search volume.

The solution? Deciphering where this keyword duplication occurs and selecting one keyword from the duplicated list to include in your analysis.


Google’s silent revolution

What’s truly perplexing is Google’s silence on this monumental shift. No official announcement or clarification has been made, leaving digital marketing professionals in the dark other than a “New Features Announcement” in the Google Keyword Planner platform.

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Third-party tools that rely on Google’s data have not updated their methodologies to reflect this change either, compounding the confusion.

The implications of this transformation extend beyond the confines of Share of Search. Keyword volume analysis, SEO strategy, and PPC advertising have all been affected, requiring digital marketers to adapt swiftly.


Navigating the new landscape

While Google’s unannounced modification may have left you reeling, it’s essential to understand how to navigate this brave new world.

Here are three strategies you can implement today to help you make sense of the changes – and ensure your marketing campaigns stay on track:

  1. In-Depth Keyword Analysis
    To overcome the obstacle of duplicated keyword search volume values, it’s imperative to perform in-depth keyword analysis. Dive deeper into your keyword research to understand which keyword variants are more relevant and have a higher search volume.
    Tools like Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner can provide insights into search behaviour trends that may guide your decision. 
  2. Adjust Your Share of Search Approach
    Adapting your Share of Search strategy is essential. Instead of relying solely on Google Keyword Planner, consider leveraging other keyword research tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Moz, who may update their methodologies in response to Google’s changes, but as yet this has not been the case.
    Additionally, we have our own proprietary Share of Search tool,, which will soon allow you to determine deduplicated keyword search volumes for individual keywords.
  3. Keep an Eye on Updates
    While Google’s silence is baffling, it’s essential to stay vigilant for any future updates or official statements regarding the changes. As the search giant adapts to the evolving digital landscape, it’s possible that they may refine their methodology or provide more clarity in the future.

The era of adaptation

The era of adaptation is upon us, and it’s time to embrace the change. The evolving landscape of keyword search volume data offers new opportunities for innovation and differentiation in the world of digital marketing. As a brand or marketing agency, your ability to navigate and master these changes will set you apart in a competitive market.

Stay informed, collaborate, and leverage new tools to unlock the secrets of this Google shift. The future of Share of Search and keyword analysis is yours to shape.

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