Posted January 23, 2007 10:17 am by with 10 comments

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Over at DM News, Sara Holoubek has written an ode to the Yahoo/Overture keyword suggestion tool. For years it was a vital part of any search marketer’s toolbox, but with the upgrades to Panama, it looks like it’s headed for the grave – or at least retirement to the land of misfit search engine tools.

Sara sums-up its demise…

It wasn’t until I held a recent Search 101 seminar that I realized just how much the tool had aged. Like an elder relative, the tool fell asleep frequently at the table. Sometimes it just didn’t make any sense at all. On a call with some Yahoo employees, my greatest fears were confirmed: The tool would not longer be supported in the near future.

I wouldn’t panic just yet. When a group of us met with Yahoo Search Marketing execs late last year, we explained to them just how important the inventory tool was. They indicated there may be a way to transform it into something more accurate and relevant to today’s needs. We’ll watch and see.

  • R.I.P., you will be missed Yahoo/Overture Search Tool Thing.

  • I’ve seen a flurry of recent articles and posts about the Overture tool being retired, but there’s no link to an actual announcement, or a quote from a Yahoo official about it. Am i missing something, or is this just what the stock market like to call “analysts’ sentiment?”

  • Sherwood, I was at a meeting where Yahoo said they would kill off the Inventory tool – at least as we know it. With them changing the algo, there’s no need for them to have it.

  • Otis

    Hey Andy, great site and article. I use the overture search tool extensively, and unlike a lot of other SEO master’s, I don’t think it’s that bad as more or less the numbers it produces, while maybe not fully accurate, are more precise than Adwords Search Tool’s vague “competitive” and “less competive” – type characterizations.

    I have had extensive problems accessing overture the last three days, much worse than usual – 4 hours today of trying to log in and I can’t get the text box to open, let alone any term. Do you think this is due to an influx of traffic to the tool due to internet rumors of its demise? And like Sherwood, I’m somewhat confused as to whether the tool is 100% going to be phased out.

    And can you clarify your article vs. your comment – You said you guys told Yahoo’s people that the tool should stay and they were ammenable to this, but in your comment to Sherwood you seem to indicate it will be 100% retired. I guess I’m curious as to whether some form of search tool with related searches, and numbers of those searches, is going to be available.

    And finally – apologies for the long post – do you think its worth me wasting time trying to access overture at this point?

    Thanks again for a great site, and great job keeping on top of this topic.

  • Otis. It’s not officially dead yet, but with the new algo launching Feb 5th, expect it to be pulled soon after. Even Yahoo admits the tool isn’t very accurate and with the new way of ranking ads, it won’t be needed. I, among others, tried to get them to replace it with something that does a similar job, but I have no confirmation, at this stage, that they will.

  • Otis

    Hey Andy,

    thanks for posting my comment and for taking the time to respond in person.

    And thanks for petitioning Yahoo to put together a similar tool if the keyword suggestion one is indeed phased out. Unlike the masses of us webmasters out there, you have influence that you are putting to good use!

    Still trying to get into the Keyword Suggestion Tool all weekend, managed to get it to load about 2 times over a total of probably 10 hours of trying!

    All the best,


  • Thanks for the clarification, Andy. With any luck, they’ll see the value of the brand awareness that the tool has brought them, and capitalize on it with some sort of replacement. (The Site Explorer team seems to understand this…)

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  • Otis

    Hey Andy,

    Not sure you are still monitoring this post, but you were so helpful and your site is excellent that I figured I’d come back here.

    There appears to have been a major development with the hold overture keyword suggestion tool overnight. I started my research today and the results seemed way too low in terms of the number of searches – one search i did in Sept. that had 1100 was showing 52 today. As it turned out, I still had the ability to hit the “back” button in the browser and recover some results from deep last night April 19. I duplicated the same searches today and the numbers were much lower, although they still say “Searches done in March 2007” This is a real shame I’m not sure what to think as since I wrote you the tool was indeed working again much faster than ever. The problem now is some of the better terms that would come up with niche-type numbers of searches such as 25 – 200, terms I was really counting on overture to give me, now will not show up as in general the numbers of searches showing are way lower than before, and a lot of searches I used to do that would yield about 100 in the search tool now yield nothing. As a result, the don’t show any similar terms since the term I enter in the tool doesn’t register at all in the first place. Like I said this was a real shame as I had been supplementing my overture searches with the new tool on the google toolbar which predicts terms as you type in letters, and together with the adwords suggestion tool my research had been better than ever.

    Do you have any idea what happened here? Has the tool somehow regionalized my searches to give me less results based on my zipcode or something else attached to my IP address? And is there anywhere I can find the old numbers? Finally, can you confirm that indeed some change happened overnight?

    Thanks and any help would be appreciated.

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