How to Find the Best Keywords Using the Google Planner

Google Keyword Planner for SEO

Benjamin Dada\Unsplash

Search engine optimization is essential to growing your business online. The Google Keyword Planner is a valuable tool, which can help you determine the best keywords to use for your brand. Learning the ins and outs of the Keyword Planner can boost your SEO and help your audience discover all you have to offer. 

What Is Google AdWords Keyword Planner?

Google Keyword Planner is part of the Google AdWords advertising platform. The free keyword tool is beneficial for both new and seasoned content creators, website builders or social media marketers. 

The primary purpose of Google Planner is to perform keyword research. You can use the tool to find new keywords or find additional keywords for your current content. The key is to discover keywords relevant to the products or services you offer, your website content or your landing page. The best keywords will help drive the most traffic to your page. 

You can also use the keyword planner for statistics and forecasting. Historical statistics can help you determine what keywords have been successful in the past. Forecasts give insight into how a keyword might perform. 

Is It Really Free?

Google provides the keyword planner as a tool for optimizing your AdWords campaign. You do need to have an AdWords account to access the tool. While you must pay if you choose to advertise with AdWords, you can use the keyword tool without creating an ad campaign. You will not have to pay anything unless you decide to run an ad.

If you have an active AdWords account, Google will provide richer data. For instance, keyword results for an active AdWords campaign will also show search volume trends, including total and mobile. Google Keyword Planner without an AdWords campaign can still be a valuable tool.

Accessing the Keyword Planner Tool 

If you do not yet have a (free) Google account, you will need to create one before proceeding. You will use your Google account username and password to access the keyword planner tool.

Access Google Planner without an AdWords campaign
  1. Log in to your Google Ads account.

  2. If a setup screen appears, click Skip the Guided Setup.

  3. Click Create an Account Without a Campaign if you do not want to create an ad with AdWords.

  4. Enter your email, country, time zone and currency if these fields are not pre-filled.

  5. Click Save and Continue.

  6. Click the tool icon in the upper-right corner. 

  7. Select Keyword Planner under Planning. Google Keyword Planner opens.

Using Google Keyword Planner

Once you are all set up, you can get down to the business of keyword research.

  1. Click Find New Keywords.

  2. Type in or paste a word or phrase that describes the content you want to promote.

  3. Press Enter.

  4. Continue entering words, phrases or the URL of the page you want to promote.

  5. Press Enter after each new word, phrase or web page.

  6. Click Get Started when you are finished entering ideas. This will take you to the Keyword Ideas page.

Optimizing Keyword Ideas

The resulting keyword ideas provide several types of data, including the following

  • Keywords listed by relevance.
  • Average monthly searches for each word or phrase.
  • The level of competition for each keyword.
  • High and low bid ranges for top of page ads.

You can sort by any category by clicking on the heading. Click once for ascending or click twice for descending results. 

Click the Filter icon to apply filters to your results. Filter options include Organic Average Position, Ad Impression Share and Keyword Text Contains/Does Not Contain (Enter Value).

Click Download Keyword Ideas to download a CSV file listing the keywords and data.

Metrics and Forecasts

Keywords and forecasts

You can also use Google Keyword Planner to find out the search volume of a list of keywords.

  1. Log in to your Google Ads account.

  2. Click the tool icon in the upper-right corner.

  3. Select Keyword Planner under Planning. Google Keyword Planner opens.

  4. Click Get Search Volume and Forecasts.

  5. Type or paste your list of keywords into the box. Make sure you either separate the keywords with commas or enter each word or phrase onto a separate line. Alternatively, you can upload a CSV file containing the list by clicking Upload a File and selecting the file you wish to use. (Tip: If you click on Upload a File, you can Download a Keyword Template (.csv) or Download a Plan Template (.csv) to get started.)

  6. Click Get Started to see your forecasts, historical metrics and negative keywords, if you have any.

How to Use Keyword Results

Once you have selected the best keywords, there are many places you can (and should) use them, including:

  • Page titles
  • Meta descriptions
  • Images (file names, titles and alt text)
  • URLs

You should also use keywords within your content, including blog posts, articles and social media posts.

Keyword Tips

  • Think like your audience. Consider the main category of your business. List words and phrases your customers might use to describe or search for your brand. 
  • Make sure the keywords you choose are relevant to your landing pages. You want people to find what they are looking for when a search takes them to your page. 
  • Experiment with broad-match and phrase-match keywords.
  • Focus on a targeted audience. Try searching for keywords specific to a single product or service. Doing so can enable you to attract your ideal customer.
  • Look for other creative ways to utilize Google Keyword Planner. Use it to optimize social media ads. Check in on your competition by entering their URL and scoping out their keywords. Learn about the viability of a niche with historical statistics.

However you choose to use it, the keyword planner can be a beneficial tool to have in your SEO arsenal.