Google has added a significant new feature to the tool that advertisers can use to select the keywords they want to bid for: the ability to see roughly how many people actually search using those terms.
"Now, when you use the Keyword Tool to search for relevant keywords to include in your keyword list, you'll be able to see the approximate number of search queries matching your keywords that were performed on Google and the search network," said Trevor Claiborne of Google's AdWords group in a blog posting Tuesday. (See an image of the tool in action below.)
The move is probably smart: advertisers love quantitative analysis, and this gives them more hard data immediately.
Google makes the vast majority of its revenue and profit from advertisers whose text ads appear next to search results. Advertisers bid for the words, and their ads appear based on a formula involving how much they're willing to pay and the quality of the ads themselves. As of mid-June, ad quality now is ranked on how fast the advertiser's Web site responds. Advertisers pay only when searchers actually click on the ads.
For more details, Google has an extensive guide to its Keyword Tool.