Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with more content and better links to better serve the interests of our audience 🙂
Original Publication Date: February 3, 2018
Let’s face it, the Google Keyword Planner gives you a good place to begin your path to keyword research greatness. But what’s so important about it anyways?
Laying down a good keyword foundation can be the distinguishing factor between building successful Search Network campaigns, and the crushing agony of defeat.
Among all the various keyword research tools, Google’s Keyword Planner can help give you some structure in planning your Google Ads strategy. Once laying down this foundation, you can continue to expand into the skies with traffic forecasts, historical statistics, and keyword bidding features.
One must keep in mind that although Keyword Planner provides some great keyword ideas, campaign performance and ultimate success depends on a variety of influential components such as budget, bid implementation, the product itself, and even customer behavior in the industry.
What Is Google’s Keyword Planner?
The Google Keyword Planner is a free online keyword research tool that can be used for both PPC and SEO marketing purposes. It allows for various research functions like discovering new keywords, obtaining keywords insights, and keyword forecasting.
For this post, we’ll be focusing on ways this tool can help in a marketers PPC keyword research and campaign development.
Why Use The Google Keyword Planner?
Let’s first discuss why you should consider using this tool for your everyday keywords research.
1) It’s Completely Free
With so many different tools to choose from, why not choose one that’ll save you the big bucks.
A lot of keyword research tools are paid with annoying monthly subscriptions, so finding a tool that’ll save you money while being insightful is an opportunity you can’t pass up.
2) Dual Purpose
As mentioned above, the Google Keyword Planner can be used for both PPC and SEO marketing purposes. What’s nice about using this tool for SEO is that although you do need a Google Ads account to access the tool, you don’t need to spend any money on ads to utilize all the tool has to offer.
3) Competitor Insights
Because you’re able to input URLs straight into the tool (we’ll go over that in a little), you’re able to input your competitor’s URL to take a look into the keywords they’re bidding on. You can then decide if keyword’s they’re bidding on are worth adding into your own campaigns accounts.
4) Easily Create Google Ads Campaigns
A feature that can sometimes be overlooked when considering a tool to use is how easy it is to add keywords to your “keywords plan.” Google’s Keyword Planner makes it easy for a marketer to add keywords to their overall strategy, implement them into the accounts, and start getting results.
A Walk-Through Of The Google Keyword Planner
If you’re new to Google Ads as a marketing platform, the first thing you’ll want to do is make a list of words that describe the product or service of your company. To get a good little list started, pretend to describe your product/service to someone who knows nothing about the company. These words should be ideal search queries that online users will type up to find your company.
You’re now ready to start using the Keyword Planner.
The Keyword Planner can be accessed by clicking on the “Tools” tab within your Google Ads account. It can be identified by the little wrench at the top right-hand corner.
You’ll find the Keyword Planner button right under the “Planning” section.
Here’s what the Keyword Planner looks like initially.
Google presents you with two options to begin your keyword research. The first is the “Find new keywords” section and the second is the “Get search volume and forecasts” section.
You’ll also notice there’s a way for you to select other active Google Ads accounts at the top of this page. Most likely, you would already be in the account you want to be doing research on, but this allows you to maneuver through your accounts interchangeably.
Let’s now break down each section and how you can utilize it for your strategy.
Find New Keywords
As the name suggests, this section is best for finding new keywords. If you’re brand new to Google Ads as a PPC platform, start entering that list of words you created earlier. If you’re an experienced marketer, you can input some already known search terms to find new suggestions made by Google.
This box allows you to enter in keywords, phrases, or URLs to begin your research.
Once you’ve entered the wanted searches, you can click on “Get Started” to see the Keyword Plan (results) page. We’ll go over the plan page right after we discuss the second feature that Google Keyword Planner presents.
Get Search Volume And Forecasts
This feature of the tool is useful if you already have a list of words that you’d like to see the search volume for. It won’t necessarily generate more keywords for you to add to your campaigns, but it will give some valuable insights that could come in handy to the direction certain keywords are trending towards.
Plus you can input as many word/phrases as you’d like with the bulk insert option.
Once all you’re words and phrases are inputted you can click “Get Started” to take you to the Keyword Plan pages for this set.
Reports And Data
The two features will direct you to two different Keyword Plan pages that look very similar but serve very different functions.
The “Find New Keywords” Keyword Plan Page
As mentioned above, this feature is meant to help find new keywords to add to your Google Ads account campaigns. Let’s take time to understand how to read the results that you’ll be presented with.
Are you ready?
That date at the top right can be adjusted to focus in on any rage of time you might want. It comes with default times like last month or the last 12 months as well as a custom date option.
If you’re thinking about researching other areas to expand to, don’t worry, you can adjust the locations to get some insights. Simply click on the pencil icon, search for the city that you’d like to see results for and save the settings. The same process would apply for the other settings, “Language” and “Search Networks”.
This bar graph automatically shows up on the Keyword Plan page. It shows the average monthly searches from the keywords you inputted within a date rage. You can change the date range at the top right-hand corner if need be. You can hover your cursor on top of the bars to see the exact average number of each month.
A cool addition to this chart is the dropdown menu at the top left of the bar graph that gives you more trends to do your research on.
- Search volume trends
- Breakdown by platforms
- Breakdown by locations
Breakdown By Device
If you’re curious about which device to target, take a look at the device metric. In this example, it looks like the mobile devices have the win.
Breakdown By Location
Of course, any business has a targeted location that they want to focus on, but breaking things down by location in the tool can be a big help when you want to see what countries, states, and cities have the most demand for your product.
Ok, now the fun really begins! This is where all the magic happens.
You’ll see this right under all the graphs in the Keyword Planner interface. These are the keywords that you had typed previously in the first step. In this case, I typed in “tree service,” “tree trimming,” “tree service phoenix,” and “tree removal.”
If you scroll down past these words, you’ll find brand new keyword ideas.
These are all keywords that Google has found to be relevant to your business according to the keywords had previously inputted. The tool gives you metrics as columns for you to decide what keywords you’ll eventually want to add to your Google Ads account.
Average Monthly Searches
You’ll see average monthly searches which is important when thinking about how often the keyword is being searched to get as many impressions as you possibly can. You wouldn’t want to include a keyword with extremely low search volume.
Unfortunately if you you’re new to Google Ad’s as an advertising platform, the planner limits this metric with having no history. It’ll present you with a rage that serves as no help as to the actual average monthly searches.
As far as competition goes, the more a search term is being searched, the higher the competition. Competitors will most likely be bidding on keywords that have higher search volumes, making it a “high” competition keyword.
Ad Impression Share
The ad impression share column will show you your current impression for that keyword. You’ll notice that the column is blank; you’ll see some results only after your Google Ads account triggers ads for that specific search term.
Top Of Page Bids
These columns show the approximate cost-per-click (CPC) bids that are needed top of the first page of search results when a search query exactly matches your keyword. There’s a high range and a low range that helps give the marketer an idea of what the range of CPC prices the keyword might cost for a top position.
If you’re bidding below this said estimate, your ad may still appear, but it may not be positioned at the top of the page. Quality score has a lot to do with this metric. Google will also take into account competition from other advertisers.
Keep in mind that the bids presented come with no guarantee. Sometimes you won’t appear in position one even if you meet in the range of the bid estimate.
Google’s algorithm with forever be a mystery to us marketers.
Add To Plan
In order to add certain keywords to your Google Ads Keyword Plan, check off the boxes to the right of the keywords and select “add to plan” on the blue navigation bar that pops up. In doing this, you’re essentially saving certain keywords to campaigns and ad groups that you would want to include in your Google Ads account.
Once you’ve added all the keywords to your plan, you can click on the “Plan Overview.”
In the plan overview, you’ll be able to see the keywords you’ve added and their expected performance at the CPC they’re currently at.
The “Keyword Everywhere” Hack
Remember that orange box that I told you I’d come back to? Well, what If I told you that a chrome extension was able to give you more insights on top of the few that Google’s Keyword Planner gives.
First thing’s first, you’ll want to add the chrome extension. Click here to get everything set up. Make sure to check and alter the setting before you actually use the extension.
Keywords Everywhere includes three different metrics that’ll appear on your Google Keyword Planner interface:
- Volume: A problem that Google Keyword Planner poses as a problem for new advertisers is the lack of average search volume insights. Remember that new Google Ads accounts have no previous history to base search volume on. Keyword Everywhere will include a monthly volume number to give you an idea of the traffic for that particular keyword.
- CPC: Obviously, this is the estimated bid advertisers are paying for a click on a specific keyword. Keep in mind this is just an estimation, Google ultimately takes a lot of factors into consideration. There aren’t any guarantees that the bid Keywords Everywhere suggests will give you amazing results.
- Competition: Although Google’s Keyword Planner gives this same metric in terms of high, medium, or low, Keywords Everywhere gives you this metric with a numerical value. This number is to gauge the number of advertisers that are bidding on any given keywords. The keyword is valued from 0 to 1. The lower values mean lower competition.
Ok sure this all sounds great, but how does it help me gauge whether a keyword is worth adding to my Google Ads strategy?
Considering these metrics, you’ll wouldn’t want a keyword that has an extremely high search volume number with a low competition value. That probably means that the keyword is too general and could lead to low-quality traffic. It’s all about finding that sweet spot.
You’ll want to find keywords that have some traffic volume along with a reasonable come considerable competition. Keywords with some competition mean you’re right in the game.
Overall Keywords Everywhere adds some extra value for new marketers and for keyword strategy altogether.
Caution: Unfortunately, the most granular location targeting is by country. If you’re needing to target cities or states, this chrome extension won’t be able to help you.
The “Get Search Volume And Forecasts” Keyword Plan Page
Using this option of the keyword tool won’t give you specific keyword ideas, but this forecasted plan instead. It offers an estimated performance for keywords you inputted based on specific dates.
Metrics include the number of conversions, avg. CPA, clicks, impressions, cost, avg. CPC, and avg. position. All very valuable metrics to consider when researching future trends and performance.
So according to this data, these fours keywords will get you 58 conversion for the month of February 2019, at a $20 CPA. You’re able to change the CPC’s of each individual keyword to further customize your research and see how that adjustments change the outcome.
Though this all seems pretty simple, there are some things to consider here. None of this is guaranteed. These are extremely general results. Just because these results point to performance, doesn’t mean that is will come into fruition.
Google still must evaluate your quality score. These results don’t take that into account. It’s possible that your performance may be much worse or even better based on other quality score factors.
For example, conversion rates are based on landing page optimizations. If you’re landing page is not optimized properly, that could heavily affect the performance.
Take note that the conversion rate may not be right for your particular business. You should be sure to change the conversion rate to the most realistic number possible. This way you’ll ensure to get a more accurate performance forecast.
Wrap Up on Google Keyword Planner
Give yourself a round of applause. You now have a better understanding of how to further research and expand on your Google Ads strategy.
Using this tool can only help you in finding unknown potential supported with stats and data. Taking these steps to ensure you each keyword coincides with your campaign structure (I recommend SKAGS, but that’s a whole other ballgame) will increase your chances of building a strong foundation for your campaigns.
Your goal with the Google Keyword Planner, as put by our founder Johnathan Dane, ultimately is:
“Finding new root keywords that you can extract, that you’re currently not getting impressions for, that you currently aren’t bidding on, to then put into your account, and see your impression, click, and obviously conversion volume go up as well.”
I hope the walk-through was helpful and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below this post.