Keyword Research Still Needs the Human Touch

The other day I was doing some keyword research for the term “interview guides”. Looking over the SERP for the term I saw a lot of help and advice for job seekers who needed help with their interviewing skills.

That’s all well and good, but the client I was doing the research for is trying to get in front of employers and their hiring managers. So I went to the Google Keyword Planner to look for some ideas.

Keyword Planner Is Heavily Consumer-Focused

My first step was to drop in “interview guides” and see what Keyword Planner had for me. This is what I got:
Google Keyword Planner Interview Guide
As you can see, there is Low competition on all these terms. That’s because they are almost all focused on job seekers, not the employers or job seekers. That didn’t surprise me. However, when I edited my seed keyword to “interviewer guides” it didn’t change the results at all.

I thought it was a glitch and did it twice. No change.
Google Keyword Planner Interviewer Guide

Interview vs Interviewer is a Big Semantic Difference

If you’re a human being who understands the nuances of the English language, you know that “interview guide” is fairly generic and could be an interview guide for a prospective employee or for a hiring manager. A job interview has two parties involved; an interviewee and interviewer. It’s a subtle difference if you’re looking at spelling, but it’s a monumental difference for a B2B advertiser. To take it one step further, I shortened the seed keyword to just “interviewer”. Look at these results:
Google Keyword Planner Interviewer
Almost exclusively generic keyword suggestions despite the seed keyword very clearly delineating which of the two people involved we’re talking about. Not helpful Google.

Human Bias in Machine Learning/AI?

We should point out that tools like the Keyword Planner are only as good as the programming inside them. That programming is put there by people and people have inherent biases (I mean bias in a non-judgmental way). I believe this example shows a B2C bias.

The Keyword Planner is almost incapable of turning up results that would be relevant only to the interviewer. So if you’re a B2B advertiser out there you may just have to lean on your own intuition and talking to prospects and your sales team.

Have you had similar problems with the Google Keyword Planner? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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