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by Mike Essex on 24th June 2011
In 2010 Keyword Eye was one of my favourite free tools and in a review I called it “one to watch”. Now the tool has returned with a paid model and extra features to boot. It claims to make keyword research “creative, fast, simple and even fun”, which seems an impossible mission.
In this review I tackle the new version, examine the paid benefits and consider the future of Keyword Eye as a research platform.
First a quick overview on the original. Keyword Eye is a visualisation tool for keyword research. So rather than offering rows and rows of data it shows keywords visually. The more search volume a word has the greater its size, and depending on competition a keyword can be coloured from red to green. This means at a glance you can quickly identify keywords that are appealing with a good search volume and a level of competition that you can complete with.
All of those features remain the core of Keyword Eye, and the main additions focus on easier tracking of keywords and managing the lists you create. Take the keywords tab for example. Previously every query that was run would be isolated to a single window, so to check multiple strings of words you had to run separate queries and export separate lists. Now with tabs you can have several queries open in a single browser window and compare different keyword searches.
It’s a big addition, especially when you start saving keywords (by clicking them) to a list of ‘Selected Keywords’. You can also run multiple versions of the same query (such as a broad, phrase and exact match of a single keyword).
As Keyword Eye uses Google keyword data, which has removed the ability to add keywords to a master list, this is a great addition. The new Keyword Eye grabs all the features Google has disabled and brings them back from the dead. If you preferred the historical keyword tool, then this is a easily the stand out feature.
There are certainly some ways that Keyword Eye could make the data even better. For example adding negative keywords is currently a process of running a brand new query. It would be nice to add negatives as you look at the list, and then have it dynamically update. As a PPC keyword tool this would let you build a negative and positive list simultaneously in real time.
Another flaw is that the visualizations tab has lost a lot of the appeal it had first time around. This section presents a pie chart showing how much of the market each term takes up. In the original Keyword Eye each section of the pie chart had a percentage labeled on it, that data is no more. Even when you hover over a section of the chart you can only see the keyword and not the percentage. Ideally they should show both the keyword and percentage on mouse over, as it helps to visualize the data a little better.
These problems aren’t deal breakers, but would be great for the future. In the mean time, the biggest addition for you to play with is grid view. What may seem an odd choice for a visual tool, the grid view presents the keyword data in a more Google friendly format. You can see a tabulated list of the keywords shown, in a similar way to how they appear Google. It’s missing the odd bit of data (such as average CPC bids), but is a handy feature in that you can now switch between visual and text views of data easily.
As you spot items in grid view they can be highlighted and moved to selected keywords. You can also export a CSV of the data, resize columns and sort these columns.
Using both the visual and grid views gives a nice mix of strategies in deciding on selected keywords. The ability to add from multiple searches and build up a single strong list is the key selling point of this tool which costs just £4 per month. There are certainly a lot of tools which cost ten times as much that offer less value, but Keyword Eye’s strongest point is that it does live up to it’s promise of making keyword research fun. Grabbing keywords, and building a list feels like cheating the system, and anything that can make the process a bit more lighthearted is worth a go.