Google Keyword Planner is one of those tools that you know is important, but the idea of learning how to use Google Keyword Planner is daunting. But we promise—it’s not as tricky as it seems!
Think back to the online tools you use all the time now. There was probably a time when they seemed challenging, and now you’re going live on Instagram or creating killer Facebook graphics with ease. Keyword planning and research can become this easy too! That is if you take the time to learn everything you can about it.
Not to mention, any time or effort it does take to learn and implement Google Keyword Planner will be well worth it. In fact, this is one of the most valuable tools marketers have at their disposal.
This might be because Google keyword planner has proven to be such a powerful tool for businesses of all types. Its organic website traffic boosting powers are no joke when it comes to keyword research that can be used for pay-per-click advertising and SEO campaigns.
With some new updates, however, Google keyword planner has dusted itself off to reveal a better and cleaner version of what it used to be. So, the question becomes “how do I use the dang thing!?” We’re here to give you the lowdown on how to use Google keyword planner so you can move forward with the knowledge you need to get the most out of it.
The Importance of Keyword Research
Google Keyword is one of the best keyword research tools out there. And without keyword research, the success of your business’s online presence will be subpar at best. Building an online presence with SEO takes time, strategy, and work. And as far as the SEO component of your online marketing plan, keyword research is often the base on which the rest of your digital marketing efforts rely.
Although definitely not the only element that ensures excellent Search Engine Optimization, keyword research is by far the most important SEO task. A great keyword strategy can give you a competitive advantage against large players in the market, determine what to work on next, who to hire, and how much to invest. You can use your keyword strategy to inform the structure of your site and even define your content marketing calendar.
Taking the time to learn keyword research tools will certainly pay off. That being said, it’s also time a lot of business owners simply don’t have. That’s why most of the world’s biggest brands and businesses turn to SEO professionals to take care of keyword research and every other element of search engine optimization. For those who want to perform these tasks on their own, knowing how to use Google Keyword Planner will be invaluable.
How to Use Google Keyword Planner for Free
If you weren’t already aware, this tool is totally free to use. You just need to have a Google Ads account in order to access the keyword planner.
Setting up an account is relatively simple. Just follow the prompts and enter your information. You will need to set up a campaign, but do not need to make it active in order to use the keyword planner.
The wrench icon at the top of the page will open a list of options. Select “Keyword Planner”. From there you can choose either “Discover New Keywords” or “Get Search Volume and Forecasts”.
Discover New Keywords
This is where you can find new keywords based on the information you enter. It’s important to be strategic about what you enter so you can get the most out of it. Start with a website, or enter multiple keywords in order to get the best results.
While we’re discussing keywords, let’s take a moment to talk about long-tail keywords. Rather than a single term like “birdhouse,” an example of a long-tail keyword could be something like, “How to make a birdhouse.” These long-tail keywords tend to have better conversion rates. They’re more detailed, which means the people who enter these exact terms are more likely to discover they’re in the right place for relevant information when they click on your content.
As we explain in “Using Long-Tail Keywords to Rank on Google”:
“Long-tail keywords are “unpopular” (low Volume) and are highly-focused search queries that tend to convert exceptionally well. They focus more on a niche and targeted phrase.
When it comes to ranking, it is much easier to rank for long-tail keywords than for more common keywords Since fewer websites compete for high ranking, you are more than likely able to rank at the top in the search engine result pages (SERP) of Google.
The longer and more specific the search terms are, the easier it will be to rank for the term. Because of the vastness of the internet, it is easier to find your audience for your particular niche. Focusing on a group of long-tail keywords will result in a significant amount of increased traffic altogether.
Another benefit of focusing on long-tail keywords is that, although these keywords are used less in search, the visitor that finds your website is in the conversion part of the funnel. They are using more specific terms which means they are more likely to buy your service or product.”
How to Use Google Keyword Planner to Get Search Volume and Forecasts
This option is where you can get insights into the search volume of a long list of keywords. Enter this list in order to get a feel for the search volume on it. Google will tell you the forecasted amount of impressions and clicks those keywords will give you.
Going through either of these selections will take you to the keyword’s results page. Here you’ll see competition, average monthly searches, top of page bids (low range), and top of page bids (high range).
If you want a thorough breakdown of how to do keyword research for SEO, you can take a look through our keyword research for SEO.
While the keyword results page is great for gathering your basic information, it can be limiting when it comes to the number of suggestions you’re shown and the value provided. This means more will need to be done in order to get the best results possible.
Now you know the basics of how to use Google keyword planner, and it’s time to get into the fun stuff! We’re going to run you through some awesome hacks to help you get the most out of Google’s Keyword tool.
Capabilities for More Than Ten Terms at Once
When using Google keyword planner, you might try to add more than ten seed keywords. However, this will give you back a warning saying you can only enter up to 10.
But what if you want to surpass this limitation? In that case, you will need to do them one at a time and then hit the checkbox at the top of the list with the “select all ##” and then add it to your plan.
Going to the Historical Metrics tab under ‘Keywords’ will supply you with a list of all of the added keywords. Magic!
Look at Competitor Keywords
An imitation is a form of flattery, right?
Stealing keyword ideas from your competitors is a great way to take your efforts further. Simply copy one of their URLs and paste it into the search box. Select “entire site” from the given drop-down.
Using this method on multiple competitors is a great way to broaden your reach and give you a never-ending list of keyword ideas. Use these keywords in your content for better results!
It’s helpful to remember competitors are there to inspire you. Not necessarily to copy. It’s very helpful to see what a number of your competitors are doing, but it doesn’t mean it’s the only way of doing things.
Competitor research is an important aspect of content marketing, but it’s one that you need to take with a grain of salt. Unless you know a competitor’s budget and all of the behind-the-scenes details of their marketing plan, you can’t be sure their tactics will work for you.
Look for common themes among your competitors (i.e, what they all seem to be doing that’s working for them), and compare these to your own content marketing plan.
(Speaking of content marketing, be sure to check out this post next if you want to get the 11 steps for setting up content marketing goals down pat)
How to Use Google Keyword Planner to Determine Exact Search Volumes
Google does not show exact search volumes, instead, it shows a very general range for each keyword.
One of the best ways to get around this is to install the Chrome extension Keywords Everywhere. This extension adds both the CPC and search volume to websites you use, as well as the search volumes to the Google keyword planner.
Here’s how they explain their service:
“Keywords Everywhere is going to save you a lot of time, time that would have otherwise been spent on copying data from one website while finding search volume from another. Keywords Everywhere let you find long-tail phrases with their accurate search volume, CPC, and competition data.”
This information is a lot more accurate than the 10K – 100K ranges Google normally provides and can help to better inform your campaign decisions.
Look at What Questions People are Asking
People head to Google to search for their questions constantly. Which makes it a valuable way to come up with content ideas. After all, seeing the questions Internet users type directly into search engines is about as close to reading their minds as you can get!
You can find out the questions people are asking right in Google keyword planner. Simply click on “Filter” and then “Keyword Text”. Navigate to “Contains” and enter the first word at the start of a question. For example: what, why, who, when, how, where.
Repeating this for the other five suppositions gives you question-type suggestions which you can use to shape your content plan.
Understanding Keyword Search Volumes
There is a way to get down to the city level when it comes to finding out what people are searching for which is important for local SEO.
All you need to do is type a city into the location filter. Google will then automatically filter out the city for you to click on and refine your search. You can then see how many potential impressions you can get from a localized approach.
If you’re not focusing on local SEO yet, it’s time to start! We cover everything you need to know about the importance of local SEO solutions. But in the meantime, here’s a brief overview:
“Local SEO refers to users that do local searches such as “restaurants near me” or “auto parts store Stuart Florida.” Local SEO is one of the best ways to market your local business online. It gives your potential customers access to information about your business such as your address, phone number, website, and even current deals going on. The first step in local SEO is creating or verifying a Google My Business listing. By creating a Google My Business (GMB) listing, your business will now appear on Google Maps and will show up in what is called the “local pack.” You may be asking yourself “Okay, great I added my business but I don’t show up on the top 3 of the local pack.” Well, that is the goal of doing Local SEO for your business. It puts your business closer to the top of the local pack. There are a lot of factors for why businesses appear in the top 3 such as the main factor being the location of the searcher. Other factors are consistent citations (online directories such as Yelp!), mobile-friendly websites, and many more.”
Take a Look at User’s Devices for Optimization Purposes
These days, screens come in all different shapes and sizes. And there’s no saying there won’t be even more to come in the coming months. Optimizing for these different screen sizes is an important part of the user experience as your information can show up differently depending on the device.
Virtually every SEO expert will tell you the importance of optimizing your content for mobile. Most people access a majority of online information via smartphone. If your content doesn’t fit nicely onto these screens, loads slowly, or doesn’t work on mobile devices, you’re setting yourself up for disaster!
If you’re using a theme for your website, most come with mobile-friendly features. Alternatively, if you work with a website developer, get them to triple-check that your content is compatible on all kinds of devices and for every screen size.
Rather than guessing, you can also use the Google keyword tool to figure out which devices people are using. Add a keyword to your plan and navigate to “Plan Overview”. Here you can look at the Devices section.
The impressions area will tell you how many impressions come from the use of each respective device. If your audience is mostly browsing your website on mobile, then it’s definitely time to optimize accordingly.
For most businesses, the majority of your impressions will be mobile. However, there are still some businesses that get a lot of desktop views. Regardless, neither desktop, smartphone, or tablet views of any amount should be overlooked. Make sure your content is optimized for all of them!
Now You Know How to Use Google Keyword Planner
The future of your business looks brighter now that you know how to use Google Keyword Planner!
But make sure you’re putting all of these tips and tricks to use. As you’ve seen, this tool doesn’t have to be as complicated or frustrating as many people assume. In fact, before long we bet you’ll be wondering how you ever lived without it! Especially with these tips on how to use Google keyword planner by your side.
You’ve got a great foundation for putting this tool to work for you, but we also know there’s a lot of other work that grows into building your business’s online presence.
All of this work doesn’t have to be done alone, though! Sometimes getting the help of experts is what you need to get the job done right. If that’s the case, Blue Water Marketing is ready to help.
Our team will not only make the process a lot easier but will help you to build campaigns that will perform and get you the results you’re looking for this year and beyond. With your digital marketing strategy covered, you can focus on what you do best within your business, knowing other experts have SEO and other important elements covered. Get in touch today!