Sensational – How the demise of Jumpshot unintentionally revealed the #1 Keyword Research tool in the world. And how you can try that tool for free!
Jumpshot is dead and with it, probably click data and other SEO metrics! On January 30 2020, SEOs and digital marketing professionals around the world woke to this bombshell: Jumpshot was being wound up by parent company, Avast.
In a press release, Ondrej Vlcek, CEO of Avast explained the decision to shutdown Jumpshot as follows:
The bottom line is that any practices that jeopardize user trust are unacceptable to Avast. We are vigilant about our users’ privacy, and we took quick action to begin winding down Jumpshot’s operations after it became evident that some users questioned the alignment of data provision to Jumpshot with our mission and principles that define us as a Company.
Jumpshot? Who are they?
Who is (or who was) Jumpshot and why should you care?
Jumpshot, was a company that provided “digital intelligence”. Some of the companies that utilized Jumpshot’s data were SEO tool providers. They in turn sold the data to SEOs through SEO keyword tools to help with keyword research. However, the press release from Avast shows some influencers were not entirely happy with how Jumpshot mined its data. And clearly, there were also questions about how Jumpshot shared and sold its data.
More on the reasons for the shutdown in just a moment.
But first, some more information on this enigma.
Jumpshot had its cheerleaders and supporters, chief among whom was Rand Fishkin, co-founder of Moz.
Following the shutdown, Fishkin described Jumphot as “one of the best and only sources for collecting high quality, aggregated, fully anonymized data about how people use the web.”
According to Bill Hartzer, Jumpshot provided a lot of click data to various tool providers that used that data in different ways. One of the ways the click data was used is in keyword research tools. SEOs have used keyword research tools for years, and we’ve relied on that keyword data. And, if Jumpshot data was relied on heavily by any keyword research tools, then their data would be affected.
In a blog post in August 2019, Rand Fishkin confirmed what many SEOs had long suspected. Moz, SparkToro (his new company) and himself relied on Jumpshot data.
This is what he said:
Throughout this post, I’ll be using numbers from the clickstream data company, Jumpshot. They are, in my opinion, the best, most reliable source of information on what happens inside web browsers because of how they gather, process, and scale their estimates. That’s why SparkToro, and Moz (my previous company) are both customers of Jumpshot. Given all the nice things I say about them, it might sound like they’re paying me, but the opposite is true; we’re paying them. You can find more on their methodology in the endnote on this post.
One of the chief worries from SEOs and digital marketers is that because Jumpshot has been wound down and will no longer provide data, some SEO tools will either cease to function or provide inaccurate data.
Why was Jumpshot Shutdown?
It is still kind of unclear as to why Jumpshot was killed off.
However, this is what we do know.
The decision to shut down Jumpshot came shortly after a joint investigation by Motherboard and PCMag into its harvesting and selling of user data was published by Vice on January 27, 2020.
Captioned “Leaked Documents Expose the Secretive Market for Your Web Browsing Data”, Vice reported that Jumpshop, “sells ‘Every search. Every click. Every buy. On every site.’ Its clients have included Home Depot, Google, Microsoft, Pepsi, and McKinsey.”
According to Search Engine Journal, the data in question is highly sensitive and was supposed to remain confidential. Documents obtained by Vice reveal how the Avast antivirus program collects data from people who have the software installed on their computers. Data harvested by Avast is then repackaged by Jumpshot and sold to many of the world’s largest companies.
How SEOs Reacted to the Demise of Jumpshop
As you can imagine, the announcement led to a frenzy among SEOs on Social Media, particularly Twitter.
Not surprisingly, Fishkin was one of the first to wade in.
Here is a screenshot the tweet.
Here are some more reactions from digital marketing experts on Twitter.
Marie Haynes, host of the ‘Search News You Can Use’ podcast started a huge conversation which she concluded by asking, “I’m wondering what kind of impact this will have on our industry”?
There were questions.
“Do we have a list of tools that use data from Jumpshot?” asked Taylor Berg, a Chicago based SEO.
And this poignant question from Alfred, a Tokyo based SEO.
There was a lot of speculation as to which SEO tools use Jumpshot data.
Gael Breton, founder & chief editor at Authority Hacker added his thoughts to the conversation. He felt the Jumpshot shut down would “mess up most SEO tools”!
Shelly Fagin, an SEO expert featured by Search Engine Journal in the 140 Top SEO Experts You Should Be Following, said SEMrush won’t be affected. “Thankfully”, she added!
In reality, the Jumpshot shutdown saga has thrown up more questions than answers. But how did the leading SEO tools providers react to the news?
What the Major SEO Tools Providers Said About How the Demise of Jumpshop Would Affect their Keyword Data
Now let’s take a quick look at official comments from the major SEO tools providers about whether or not the demise of Jumpshot would impact their keyword research data.
As you can see from the tweet below, Moz put out a statement on Twitter.
This is what Moz said:
We use multiple data sources to inform the metrics in our tools, some of which (like monthly volume) were calculated using anonymized data. That included Jumpshot data, but it didn’t stop there. The Moz metrics most folks rely on will continue to be reliable as we go forward.
I stand to be corrected, but Ahrefs have been very silent. They are yet to put out a statement. Should this change, I will gladly update this article.
Over the last 3 years many SEO tools started using clickstream data to power keyword research features, estimate search volumes and calculate some other metrics. Semrush invested in relationships with multiple data vendors and many of these vendors work exclusively with us. So Semrush products won’t be impacted by this in any way. From what we know some other leading SEO companies worked only with Jumpshot. While it’s too early to say, we might be the only source of reliable keyword data in the near future among key SEO players.
How will the Shutdown of Jumpshot Affect the Web?
As indicated in his Tweet, Fishkin then went on to write a blog post. He captioned it, “Avast’s Shutdown of Jumpshot Will Harm the Web and the World”.
Here is what he said:
Jumpshot was one of the best and only sources for collecting high quality, aggregated, fully anonymized data about how people use the web. It’s loss will be felt keenly across numerous industries, including the web marketing world. But, in my opinion, the greatest loss is for those who seek to hold powerful tech companies to account for their lies and anti-competitive behavior.
Jumpshot’s data helped:
- Hundreds of small, medium, and even large businesses better compete against Amazon’s march to own all of e-commerce
- Millions of small and medium businesses who use and rely on keyword research and traffic estimation tools from providers like Moz, Ahrefs, SEMRush, and more who re-package Jumpshot’s data
- Illuminate Facebook’s shift from traffic provider to traffic hoarder
- Contradict Google’s claims about where and why it was changing SERPs and how that impacted click-through traffic, Google’s Ads, and the traffic they send back to their own properties.
And, much to the chagrin of reporters who tried to find any real privacy violations, it did this without ever exposing or identifying even a single user.
Semrush Miles Ahead of the Competition
If anything, the Jumpshot shut down has exposed how badly most SEO tools providers relied on Jumphot with one notable exception.
Semrush has shown to the only SEO keywords research tool with the most up to date data, in spite of the demise of Jumpshot.
This is what I mean.
In researching this article, I analysed the data of three of the leading keyword research tools – Ahrefs, Moz and Semrush. All of the these tools I appraised provide keyword overview data with search volume numbers and historical trends, keyword difficulty, and other metrics.
Specifically, I examined three different keywords, which have had the most impact globally in 2020:
- George Floyd
- Coronavirus pandemic
The world went into lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic caused by COVID-19.
By early April 2020, 3.9 billion people worldwide were under some form of lockdown—more than half the world’s population. By late April, around 300 million people were under lockdown in Europe, while around 200 million people were under lockdown in Latin America.
Nearly 300 million people, or about 90 per cent of the population of the United States were under some form of lockdown, while in India, about 1.3 billion people have been under lockdown.
During the global COVID-19 pandemic, specifically on May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by a police officer during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. He was a 46-year-old black American.
The death led to worldwide protests against racism and police brutality, organized by the Black Lives Matter movement.
The protests have led to numerous legislative proposals at federal, state and municipal levels intended to combat police misconduct, systemic racism, qualified immunity and police brutality in the United States. Elsewhere around the world, he protests led to a wave of monument removals and name changes.
Now let’s take a closer look at how our SEO tools performed against each of our keywords.
Post Jumpshot Keywords
One interesting but crucial feature of this research is that all our three keywords had to post-date the Jumpshot shut down. This is vital to the integrity of our findings.
The announcement to wind down Jumpshot was made on January 30 2020.
Each of our three keywords relate to events that happened after January 30, 2020.
Although the COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in China, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic on the 11 March 2020, meaning COVID-19 has spread worldwide.
Here is how Bill Hartzer explains it:
It turns out that the rapid appearance of new keywords is seemingly a good marker of how accurately and quickly SEO tools can react to such changes. Sudden proliferation of new keyword frequency may indicate that, IF Jumpshot was the only or primary source of data for the SEO tools, there would have been no increase in search volumes for … trending search queries (keywords).
Here are screenshots of the search query for the keyword “George Floyd” for Semrush, Moz and Ahrefs.
As you can see from the screenshots, for the George Floyd keyword, Semrush is showing a search volume of 2.7M in the United States, and a global search volume of 2.7M. It also shows a keyword difficulty (KD) of 93%. Moz shows a miserly 51-100 search volume in the United States and 79 KD. Ahrefs reports a paltry 100 global search volume (80 in the United States) and 85 KD. The screenshot for Ahrefs does show that the SERPS and KD were last updated on July 26.
On August 27 2020, I refreshed the data in Ahrefs to get the latest results, but as you can see from the fourth screenshot below, it didn’t make any difference, apart from the KD dropping down from 85 to 84.
There can be only one conclusion from this analysis. Semrush has the most updated data for keyword research. Sadly, Ahrefs and Moz are way behind Semrush.
Next, I examined COVID-19, another new keyword which post-dates the Jumpshot shut down on January 30.
All the three screenshots used to analyse this keyword were taken on August 26 2020.
The screenshots show that for the COVID-19 keyword, Semrush has a search volume of 3.4M in the United States and a global search volume of 4.0M. It shows a 90% KD. For this keyword, Moz has no data for search volume in the United States but reports an 82 KD. Similarly, but disappointingly, Ahrefs reports that it has “No data for this keyword”.
Again, there can be only one conclusion from this appraisal. Semrush has not been impacted by the Jumpshot SEO saga, and currently has the most updated data for keyword research.
On the other hand, both Ahrefs and Moz do not seem to have a way to obtain up to date data for their keyword research tools.
Finally, I appraised another trending new keyword, Coronavirus pandemic. And quite frankly, the results were very similar to the previous two keywords that I analysed.
As with the previous examples, the three screenshots used to analyse the Coronavirus pandemic keyword were taken on August 26 2020.
A quick look at the images below reveals that for the Coronavirus pandemic keyword, Semrush has a search volume of 60.5K in the United States and a global search volume of 101.4K. The Semrush result shows a KD of 94%. For this keyword, Moz has no data for search volume in the United States but reports a KD of 82. Ahrefs reports that it has “No data for this keyword”.
Semrush Vs Moz Pro Vs Ahrefs – Keyword Search Volumes Updates
So, what’s the take away from the results of the keyword search volume data from Semrush, Moz and Ahrefs, three of the top keyword research tools?
The results appear to show that for Moz and Ahrefs, the last update of keyword search volumes for those three keywords (and presumably for all their other keywords) actually reflects what they would have shown in January 2020, prior to the demise of Jumpshot SEO.
Based on these findings, one could assume that Moz and Ahrefs have been knocked by the demise of Jumpshot and possibly haven’t found new sources of data for search volume prediction.
On the other hand, the Semrush data appears to be up to date. This confirms what Semrush said, i.e. that their business model is such that they positioned themselves in such a way that they would not be impacted by the demise of Jumpshot.
As you can see from our analysis of three different keywords that have made the headlines between March 2020 and now, SEMrush has keyword search volume data, for the USA and the global search volume data. Clearly, SEMrush have positioned themselves in such a way that they have not been affected by the demise of Jumpshot.
Moz has hardly any data on any of our keywords. It has no data at all on two of them – Coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19. On George Floyd, the data it has is so scanty, it will not serve any useful purpose. The only conclusion I can make is that Moz has been negatively impacted by the Jumpshot shut down.
Ahrefs does not have any data at all for two of our keywords – COVID-19 and Coronavirus pandemic. For George Floyd, the data that Ahrefs has appears to be data that was available pre-January 2020, when Jumpshot was shut down. The conclusion is that they have been definitely impacted by the Jumpshot shut down.
So Where Does The Jumpshot Shut Down Leave The Accuracy of Keyword Search Updates?
Our research seems to suggest that Semrush is currently the only source of reliable keyword data among key SEO players.
At the moment, Ahrefs and Moz are way behind Semrush.
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Wrapping Up – Jumpshot Shut Down Highlights How Amazing Semrush is
Semrush is truly a class above its competitors.
There can NOW be no doubt (not that there ever was) that Semrush is the leading SEO tool in the world.
What are your thoughts about Jumpshot SEO and how it’s demise has shown-up how reliable Semrush is?
Leave a comment below, and join the conversation.
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