As you might be aware, Avast shut down Jumpshot, and its shutdown affected several keyword research tools that relied on that data. I uncovered some interesting information regarding keyword search volume data while looking at data from some of the popular keyword tools.

Ahrefs, one of the keyword research tools I noticed that was having difficulty with their data, recently posted about search traffic volume estimations. Ahrefs may be working on integrating a new data provider. While they have not officially reached out to me and commented on my findings regarding the Coronavirus data, they made post on Twitter:

We’ve recently received a few complaints about our search traffic estimations. After some digging, we’ve discovered the bug that’s causing this and we expect to fix it next week. We’re very sorry for the trouble this caused.”

They went on to respond to the tweet and say that “However, since there was also an algorithm update recently, not every traffic dip is because of the bug. So, make sure to double-check that with Google Search Console.”

ahrefs tweet

While their Tweet does not offer a specific explanation or reference to the issue with Jumpshot data, they do recognize that there has been an issue with their data. The only reply from an actual employee at Ahrefs is on a Reddit thread.

Patrick Stox on Reddit

My friend Patrick Stox made a reference to the fact that they are updating keyword search volume data monthly. Meanwhile, the low volume for keywords that are popular right now are apparently dictated by some sort of algorithm that Afrefs uses. Mr. Stox alludes to the fact that it’s a calculation and that Afrefs is calculating the average monthly search volume for a keyword based on the past 12 months of data. If that’s correct, and that’s what Ahrefs is doing, then unfortunately you will never get correct keyword search volume data for a keyword that is rising in popularity.

Here’s Where It Gets Interesting

The bug in the Keywords Explorer tool shows that Ahrefs might be experimenting with new sources of data. In their Keywords Explorer tool, there is a section called Newly discovered. Usually, it is a source of information about new search terms that Ahrefs hasn’t seen before. But right now, if you look at it you will see weird keywords there. For the keyword “Facebook”, the second and fourth keywords in this section are just a combination of symbols–although the tool shows high search volumes 11,000 and 3,400.

ahrefs newly discovered
Click the image to see a larger version of the screen capture.

For some of these odd keywords, you can actually see that Ahrefs shows clicks:

ahrefs facebook clicks
Click the image to see a larger version of the screen capture.

It’s not limited to those odd Facebook keywords. For example, the website apparently is ranking for some odd keywords, as well. Here’s one example: example keyword
Click the image to see a larger version of the screen capture.

Above, you can see that the customer service page of is ranking for an odd keyword, “acybgnt9igybwn2inla-3nxl9mwfv7ml-w:*************|xname corporate office usa phone number”, which apparently has 150 searches per month?!? This only leads me to the conclusion that Ahrefs is testing out a new source of keyword data for their search volume estimates. And, as a result, they get some “interesting” keywords. The algorithm that they’re using to filter and then report the search volumes was working well with previous data providers of theirs, such as Jumpshot, but apparently the algorithm needs some more tweaking, as it’s not working very well to remove the odd keywords that are now showing up, such as the Facebook weird/odd keywords.

My Final Thoughts

If we can’t get the proper search volume data for a keyword that is rising in popularity, then it wouldn’t make sense to rely on that data. For example, I use keyword search volume data to help me decide whether or not I should buy or register a particular domain name. If the keyword search volume has been rising, then it may make sense to register a particular domain name or buy it on the domain name aftermarket. And if the keyword search volume has been going down, then it may make sense for me to sell a particular domain name if I have own it. As you can see, keyword search volume data doesn’t just have an effect of the Search industry who rely on it so much: it’s used for other purposes, such as domain names. We absolutely have to have accurate keyword search volume data.

I have been in touch with some representatives of Moz, who I mentioned in my previous article about keyword research tools and Jumpshot. As soon as I’m able, I will provide an update. Follow me on Twitter for subscribe to updates right here on the site.

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