You might recall that a while back I wrote about Jumpshot being shut down back in January. Jumpshot provided a lot of click data to various tool providers that used that data in different ways. One of the ways the click data was used is in keyword research tools. SEOs have used keyword research tools for years, and we’ve relied on that keyword data. And, if Jumpshot data was relied on heavily by any keyword research tools, then their data would be affected.
When the news of the Jumpshot shutdown hit, the search industry was fairly concerned that keyword research data might be impacted due to the Jumpshot shutdown. Joe Youngblood was concerned that he’d lose some keyword research data:
Lily Ray also wondered how many SEO tools it would impact:
When I was writing my post about Avast shutting down Jumpshot, I reached out to a few keyword research providers to see if they had any comment on Jumpshot being taken offline. Rand Fishkin had mentioned that Moz was, at one time, a Jumpshot customer, and he even mentioned that Sparktoro, Rand’s new company, was also a customer of Jumpshot. It’s worth noting that Rand also said that “anonymized, aggregated data does not violate privacy.” SEMrush was also mentioned during my research of that article I wrote, so I reached out to SEMrush and they provided a statement to me that essentially said that SEMrush products wouldn’t be impacted in any way when it came to the shutdown of Jumpshot.
I had reached out also to Moz and Ahrefs, and did not receive any official comments from them about whether or not the Jumpshot shutdown would impact their keyword research data. It’s now about 3 months later, after we learned that Jumpshot was being shut down. Until today, we don’t really know the true impact that Jumpshot on keyword research data–it remains unanswered. In the meantime, this current global pandemic has disrupted even keyword research and lingering data deficiencies may just now becoming visible.
COVID-19 Shines New Light on SEO Tools
Ironically, if it were not for the COVID-19 global pandemic and the dramatic changes in how we live, work, and search on the internet, we may not have noticed how the lack of clickstream data may have affected the accuracy of some of the leading keyword research tools.
It turns out that the rapid appearance of new keywords is seemingly a good marker of how accurately and quickly SEO tools can react to such changes. Sudden proliferation of new keyword frequency may indicate that, IF Jumpshot was the only or primary source of data for the SEO tools, there would have been no increase in search volumes for “Coronavirus symptoms” and similar trending search queries (keywords).
I Looked at The Data
I took a look at several different keyword research tools’ data. All of the tools I looked at provide keyword overview data with search volume numbers and historical trends, keyword difficulty, and other metrics. I looked specifically at three different keywords:
- Coronavirus symptoms
- Coronavirus news
- The Gentlemen (a recent movie release)
For the Coronavirus symptoms, keyword, SEMrush is showing 2.0M global search volume (1.2M in the US) and 95% keyword difficulty, Ahrefs reports only 590 global search volume (300 in the US) and 53 keyword difficulty. A similar picture is on a Moz screenshot: 11-50 search volume in the US and 67 keyword difficulty.
The above screenshots were taken on April 29, 2020.
I then took a look at the keyword data for “Coronavirus news”. In this case, the Ahrefs and Moz data appear to date back from a time before the global Coronavirus pandemic. The data could be from before the news broke about Jumpshot’s data going away.
The above screenshots were taken on April 29, 2020.
In this second example, SEMrush clearly has keyword search volume data, both for the USA (where I’m searching located) and the global search volume data, as well. Ahrefs and Moz do not appear to have keyword search volume data for this keyword (Coronavirus news), even though I refreshed the data in Ahrefs to get the latest results. Do you find it odd that one keyword research tool would have the data but two of the others do not have this data? It seems odd to me. There’s something definitely going on here.
Now let’s look at the results from another trending topic – a popular movie called “The Gentlemen.” SEMrush shows 619.8K global volume, while Ahrefs shows 11K, and Moz – 11.5K-30.3K.
Again, the above screenshots were taken on April 29, 2020.
So, what happened when we look at the results of this keyword search volume data from three of the most popular keyword research tools? The assumption here is that the last update of keyword search volumes for those three keywords (and for all others) actually reflects what they would have shown in December 2019 or January 2020. Based on these findings, one could interpret that Ahrefs and Moz may have not dialed in a new source of data for search volumes prediction. SEMrush data, meanwhile, seems to be up to date. This goes along with that SEMrush has told me my post about Jumpshot shutting down: that they essentially positioned themselves in such a way that they would be unaffected by the Jumpshot shutdown. In other words, they use different data source(s).
There has been a lot of debate in the wake of the news in late January about Jumpshot data going away. Many questions, up until this day, have gone unanswered or perhaps partially answered. Until an event such as COVID-19 presented itself, search patterns likely changed very little from December 2019 to January 2020. Yet within a matter of a few weeks of the Jumpshot shutdown news breaking, the global pandemic has reshaped virtually everything people are doing, including how and when they use the search engines for information. Keyword usage, globally, has shifted dramatically, as has the frequency of searches and the context of search queries.
What are your thoughts? As SEOs, we rely on the best data at our disposal. If data sources have suddenly become suspect in some of the most commonly used SEO tools, we may want to inquire deeper with our tool provider about whether or not Jumpshot is impacting their day-to-day work.
Alternative Keyword Research Options
Other than SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz, there are a few other options for keyword research. Some are paid tools, some are not. Here are a few other options that you might consider:
- Google Keyword Planner – Mainly for PPC. No data for Coronavirus keywords data available, as I don’t think ads are allowed on those keywords. My understanding is that if someone’s not bidding on the keyword, it may not show up in Keyword Planner.
- Google Trends – Shows interest over time in a chart format, the actual numbers of searches per month are not shown. Still can be helpful, though.
- SimilarWeb – A good option if you have the budget, as this service is expensive. Good at an enterprise level or for large sites with a budget. I don’t think they’ve ever used Jumpshot data.
- InLinks Market Trends – New market trends service from InLinks. Never used Jumpshot data at all, but it’s new. I wasn’t able to properly compare the December data with current data. I recently wrote about InLinks Market Trends.