In August 2013 we saw the Google Keyword Tool as we know it, cease to exist. It's has been replaced by the Keyword Planner. You can read the official announcement here
The new Keyword Planner requires a user to have an active Google AdWords account in order to use the tool, plus there have been many other changes too.
I wanted to talk to you a little bit about those changes, and show you 5 cool and FREE keyword tools that I have been using as an alternative to the Google Keyword Planner.
Along with a complete overhaul of the look and feel, the keyword planner has lost a lot of the functionality we all used in the keyword tool.
>> Gone is the ability to switch between Broad, Exact and Phrase match, in fact, this ‘was' available at first, however, the volume of keyword searches didn't change when you moved between Broad, Exact and Phrase match. This was one of the first alarm bells to start ringing!
>> The keywords returned are also unhelpful. Long tail phrases seem to have taken a back seat in favor of shorter 1 and 2-word keywords. The fact that you can no longer choose ‘closely related keywords' clearly shows Google's intent here. They want to steer people away from a keyword focused mindset, in favor of content generated solely for the user, regardless of whether it will drive traffic to your website.
>> You are also no longer able to choose device targeting, such as mobile phone or tablet devices. It now defaults to ‘all devices' which brings the tool in line with changes made to Google AdWords, which again shows how serious they are to get us paying for traffic.
>> The search volume data no longer matches what we had in the Keyword Tool. Google's statement below explains why;
>> In general, you'll notice that the average search volume data is higher in Keyword Planner as compared to the exact match search volume data you got with Keyword Tool. That's because we'll show you the average number of searches for a keyword idea on all devices (desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and mobile phones). With Keyword Tool, we showed you average search volume for desktop and laptop computers by default.
There are a few other subtle changes which you can read about in Google's full statement here.
For a tutorial on how to use the Keyword Planner, have a look at the tutorial created by Larry Kim over at Search Engine Land.