The reason Google Ads Keyword Planner gives you vastly different search volumes to tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush is not “because Google has better data”, it’s because fundamentally, tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush are trying to give you different data (even though they are using Google’s own data as a primary source). It’s so important to understand this!

Keyword research – why do tools like Google Keyword Planner and Keywords Everywhere give me such different search volumes to tools like Ahrefs and Semrush? ⬇

For “Jigsaw Puzzle”:

  • Google Keyword Planner = 40,500 searches per month
  • Ahrefs Keyword Tool = 21,000 searches per month

It’s important to understand why this is happening:

💬 Google Keyword Planner (and related tools such as Keywords Everywhere) are putting sets of keywords into “buckets”. That means that similar terms such as “jigsaw puzzles” (plural) and other similar terms are grouped together to give a total volume of 40,500.

💬 Ahrefs does use Google Keyword Planner data but attempts to “ungroup” similar keyword clusters and refine search volumes from GKP using several additional sources of data and custom click-through rate (CTR) distribution models.

💬 SEMrush uses its own “algorithms” to come up with another different number, but closer to Ahrefs than KWP.

Which is most useful? It depends on what you’re trying to do!

✅ It’s rare you’re ever going to rank for a single keyword, so especially if I am doing things like researching categories, I find the raw GWP data with buckets of keywords helpful to get an idea of total volume.

✅ If I’m trying to work out if people search for “motorbike” or “motorcycle” in a specific area, then the ungrouped data provided by tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush is super helpful.

Understanding the data you’re using is half the battle! ⚔

Which do you prefer?