Around August 2016, Google Keyword Planner (GKP) started grouping together close variants. What this means is that if Google considers two keyword phrases to mean the same thing, it would start showing the same amount of search volume for both the keywords irrespective of whether one of them was searched more than the other.

Additionally, it started grouping mis-spellings. As an example, if you search for the keywords "seo" and "search engine optimization" in GKP, you will see the same search volume for both of them. If you spelled incorrectly and entered "search engine optimisation", you would still see the same search volume.

Screenshot of Google Keyword Planner Grouping Keywords

This obviously was a very bad idea. You had to be careful when mis-spelling keywords and there was no way to know which of the two variants "seo" and "search engine optimization" had the higher volume. Keywords Everywhere users started seeing the misleading high volume for such keywords.

Then sometime around April/May 2018, Adwords started showing masking the search volume for a wide range of keywords in the supplement, firearms and other niches (all the keywords show zero search volume). This might have been targeted at stopping advertisers from bidding on certain keywords. However, a few keywords like "api" seem to also have been inexplicable targeted.

Masked Words

We've today made changes to Keywords Everywhere, to show data for close-variant and masked keywords. You will now start seeing no results for mis-spelled keywords as well as keywords which are close variants but are not searched for as often as the main keyword. You will also see data for the masked keywords.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at