Search Engine Optimization

Google Keyword Planner: The Beginner’s Guide (2021)

Since the websites have become one of the main communication platforms for individuals and businesses, they need to be built and optimized perfectly.

Once you have developed your website, you need to beautify it in a manner that the search engine loves it. This is what Search Engine Optimization (SEO)  is.

SEO will bring in more visitors for your site and in the words of Dr. Christopher Dayagdag, “Website without visitors is like a ship lost in the horizon.” Keywords are the main elements of SEO, In fact,  the essence of it. Google Keyword Planner is a well-known tool that helps you find the right keywords and phrases for your website.

You must be thinking what’s the role of these keywords and phrases in SEO and bringing in traffic?

Let’s consider some scenarios to understand this:

You are running an online business and selling customized T-shirts. Now, to let people know that you are into this business and you have the products they’re looking for, you need to figure out what search terms people are using to find customized T-shirts.

These search terms will act as keywords for you. You will use these keywords and phrases in your website content in a manner that whenever anyone searches for such words or phrases, they land on your webpage or any of your product pages. This is one way to get traffic and of course, when you have more people visiting your sites, the chances of conversion increase. 

There are several ways you can find these keywords or phrases to optimize your website: studying your niche, looking at your competitor’s website, or using a keyword research tool.  Google Keyword Planner is one such tool.

What is Google Keyword Planner?

Google Keyword Planner is a free tool to help you find keywords for your campaigns. Keyword Planner can help you discover more and more keywords related to your products and services, along with providing you some other important statistics.

Some of the top benefits of using Google Keyword Planner include:

  • You can find new keywords using certain words, phrases, or websites.
  • You can also discover trends related to keyword search volume and their historical data 
  • The best feature is the ability to see performance forecasts for certain keywords depending on your available budget and bid prices.
  • You’re able to target your results on the basis of geographic location and languages to make more accurate decisions.

Now, we’ll look at how we can benefit from this powerful tool. First, you’ll need access to the tool, which requires a Google Ads account. 

How to Use Google Keyword Planner: A Step-by-Step Guide

To use Google Keyword Planner, sign up and log in to your Google Ads account. Once logged in, you can now access Google Keyword Planner.

For now, we just want to learn how to use Keyword Planner and aren’t quite ready to run ads. Follow the below steps to get access to Google Keyword Planner.

You can find a landing page for Google Keyword Planner here. Click on “Go to Keyword Planner.”


When you click on the “Go to Keyword Planner,” you will be routed to the following page. Click on the link that says “Experienced with Google Ads?”


You will be able to see the following “New Campaign” page. Since we’re not ready to advertise and are just learning more about Keyword Planner, click on “create an account without a campaign.”

create an account without a campaign

Now, you just have to confirm the country, timezone, and currency and you are ready to submit the information.

confirm your business information

Upon submitting, you will see that “you’re all done.“

account confirmed

Once you’re done with creating your Google Ads account, it’s time to explore your keyword planner.

Step 1: Access Google Keyword Planner.

When you are finished creating your Google Ads account, you can now explore your keyword planner by clicking on the tool option in the menu bar. You will see something like this on your screen.

google keyword planner dashboard

Click on Keyword Planner. You have two options:

google keyword planner options

Discover New Keywords

As the name suggests, this option will help you figure out thousands of new SEO focused keywords for your website. You can use these keywords to reach out to people who are looking for your products and services.

 Get Search Volume and Forecast

When trying to find keywords to focus on, you’ll want to use volume and forecast to determine keywords that have good traffic potential. They need to have a decently high search volume to be worth your time and effort.

The amazing thing is that you will be able to have a look at forecasts as to how your chosen keyword can perform in the future. This will help you make evidence-based decisions related to your SEO.

Step 2: Select the tool you want to use.

You can now choose any tool, keyword, or get the search volume and forecast. Both can help in different ways.

If you click on the first tool, you’ll discover a range of keywords. Once you click on that, you will find the following screen.

discover new keywords

Now, at this point, your actual work starts and you have to be a bit smart. You can enter any topic, idea, product, or service for which you want to find keywords. You can add several products or services or topics related to your industry so that the results are more accurate and expanded.

Step 3: Enter your keyword.

enter your keywords

On top of that, you will get suggestions about how you can broaden your search results. You can add these suggestions to the main search and you will get even better results.

You can also download the keyword results so that you can import and organize them into spreadsheets.

Step 4: Analyze keyword data.

Once you enter the products and services of your choice, click on “Get Results.” You will see a list of your keywords as well as many other related ones. For example, you can see the following in front of each keyword:

  1. Average monthly search
  2. Level of competition.
  3. Low range, Top of the page bid
  4. High range, top of the page bid

This is an outstanding tool to perform competitor analysis in the sense that you can get an idea about keyword strategies your competitors are using.

If something seems to be working well for them, you can also make use of the same keyword. This is just like as you observe the market your competitors are entering or the products and services they are offering to make changes in your strategies accordingly.

Now the question is how you can use the second tool that is “Get search volume and forecast.” Suppose, you have a list of some keywords that you have used during your recent SEO effort.

You can copy and paste that list in “Get search volume and forecast” and click on “get started.” This tab will help you show:

  1. The expected number of clicks and impressions you can expect in case you opt for running an ad for these chosen keywords using  Google Ads
  2. The estimated cost along with the cost per click

Step 5: Get more ideas from the keyword ideas section.

Using “discover more keywords,” you can get an expanded list of relevant keyword ideas.

Now in this example, you can see that I only provided two keywords related to my makeup products and I am provided with hundreds of ideas that I can wisely utilize in my content to stand out in the competition.

discover more keywords

I will have to choose a keyword according to my budget and other related factors.

Step 6: Filter and organize.

This is another important step that can play a huge role in getting you the desired marketing results.

As an online business, you may want to target another geographical location. On the keyword result page, you can sort and filter according to your preferences. At the very top of your keyword result page, you can see these options:

  • Locations: The first option about the location can help you select a country where you want to market your product or services.
  • Language: Under language, you can select the language of the keywords.
  • Search networks: The third category, “Search networks,” will ask you to provide information in case you want to advertise on Google or another search partner.
  • Date range: The fourth option is the period and it is usually 12 months.

Now you can also use the “Add filter” feature at the very top of the suggested keywords.

Available options include keyword text, exclude keywords, exclude adult ideas, average monthly searches, competition, ad impression share, and top of page bid.

  • The keyword text option will help you search for those keywords that exclusively contain or exclude specific words or phrases.
  • With the use of the average monthly search option, you can filter out keywords with high search volumes or low search volumes.
  • Competition is listed at low, medium, or high, and you can filter these results as well.
  • Lastly are the top of page bid options. These options show how much you can expect to pay for your ad so that it can appear at the top of the page for that keyword. For example,  you have a low ad budget. With the use of these filters, you can find the keywords that best fit your budget.

Step 7: Choose your keywords.

Once you have filtered the data according to your preferences, budget, and needs by using many tools available in Keyword Planner, you can better analyze the keywords and find the best options for your campaign strategy.

How to Use Google Keyword Planner for SEO

This tool is primarily aimed to assist those who want to run Google Ads but it can act as a powerful SEO tool. This tool is used by many SEO experts as a source to identify such keywords that they use to improve their ranking in search engines.

Discovering New Keywords

Many SEOs are using  Google Keyword Planner in order to find new keywords. They can use it at the start of the campaign to identify what the audience is looking for in a business just like yours or they can also use it to improve or create the content.

In any case, finding keyword ideas is easy and simple for SEO professionals.

Analyzing Search Results

This tool will help you figure out new opportunities. You can add suggested variation in your SEO strategy to achieve your targets.

In fact, the more knowledge you have into how your audience is searching, the better the chances are that you can meet their needs.

Viewing Keyword Forecast

In digital marketing, knowing what’s trending today and in the near future is very important. Based on this information, you can make certain changes in your SEO strategy to stay at the top of your search while staying within your budget.

Keyword Forecast is a tool that can help you with that. Using this tool, you can forecast the potential of any keyword in the future because Google keeps updating its forecast every day.

Because seasonality is taken into account while Google makes these updates, you don’t have to worry about natural market fluctuations.

Let’s see how Google Keyword Planner can help you in your SEO by helping you to view forecasts.

First, go to “Get Search Volume and Forecast”.

Just enter the keywords group of keywords by separating them with commas. Once you enter a keyword and enter, you can add a new keyword.

If you want to save your time and have already prepared a spreadsheet of keywords, you can upload this file to add as many keywords as you want.

Once you enter, you’ll see the following screen:

get search volume and forecast

Click “Forecasts.”

The results will provide you the following information:

  • How many clicks per day you will get in case the keyword triggers your ad
  • Impressions
  • The projected cost for a particular keyword
  • The ratio of users who click on these keywords as compared to the total number of users viewing your page (Click-through rate/CTR)
  • The average amount you may pay for an ad click under CPC

These numbers show how you are going to perform using these keywords and they can change in case you change your budget.

However, it’s not always the budget that determines their success for SEO and conversion. It also depends on how smartly you choose and narrow down your keywords.

Once done, you should download these forecasts and share them with team members. Now, this data will help you. Strategize according to your paid media budget and SEO goals.

Narrowing Your Keywords Research Effort

You can also narrow down your keyword research by adding specific location and language where your business is operating.

How to Use Google Keyword Planner for PPC

Let’s discuss a bit about Pay-per-Click (PPC) to understand how a Keyword Planner can help you in that.

PPC is a type of advertising on the internet to bring more traffic to your website.

In this model, an advertiser pays the publisher of its ad when it is clicked by a user. The advertiser can be a search engine, a website, or a network of websites.

If you are using this model of advertising on Google, then Google Keyword Planner can offer great help in terms of making an evidence-based decision regarding your campaign.

Keyword Planner will offer you a lot of data using which you can plan a successful advertising campaign.

Viewing Google Ads Campaign Performance Forecast

Before you launch your advertising campaign, you can get search volume as well as forecasts. This will help gauge the impact of your campaign in terms of clicks and cost.

  1. You will need a list of your keywords to get forecasts for your campaign. You can make a list of your own or make a new one using the feature discussed above under “ Discover the new keywords.”
  2. Once you enter these keywords or upload a list that you have already prepared for your PPC campaign, you will get the results about how your campaign and keywords will perform.

This data can be used to understand the projected number of clicks and impressions of your campaign within one month along well as a projected cost.

To understand the commercial aspect, you can also make use of the option “add conversion metrics” by entering your expected conversion rate. This will help you figure out the expected performance and returns of your PPC campaign.

Finding Negative Keywords

A negative keyword is a term that prevents your ad from being shown to audiences searching a certain keyword. When you are running a PPC campaign, it costs you.

You have to be conscious of keywords that aren’t as relevant or don’t have the proper search intent.

Google keywords can help you with that. Next to “Forecast” is a tab for “ Negative Keywords.” Negative keywords are an indispensable part of an excellent keyword strategy.

Negative keywords will help prevent your ad from being shown to people that are not of much value to your business or are less interested.

Google Keyword Planner Hacks Most People Don’t Know

Here are a few tips to help you pull useful data and make the most of Google Keyword Planner.

1. Check the exact search volume of a keyword.

You can see the average monthly search if you already have a Google ads campaign running. But even if it’s not, you can still see the specific volumes.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Enter your keywords under “Discover new keywords” and find the results.
  2. You can choose the keywords for which you want to see the exact search volume by selecting their checkboxes.
  3. Once you select the checkbox, you will see a tab “Broad match” and choose“‘exact match” from the dropdown.
  4. Now you can add these to your plan but by clicking on “Add keywords.”
  5. Now you can click on the keyword button on the left and you can see the forecast.
  6. Click “view forecast” and you will be taken to the forecasting tool.
  7. Once you click on max CPC, you will see the average monthly impressions for the keyword.
exact search volume

 2. Get keyword ideas from your competitors.

Google keyword planner can also be used to stay ahead of your competitors by using their keyword ideas.

Instead of using your own URL or a specific search term to generate keywords, use your competitor’s site. You can repeat the whole procedure for multiple competitors to get a hive of fresh keyword ideas.

3. Know which questions your customers are asking.

If you have data related to what questions your customers are asking, you can create next-level content by adding those as keywords or adding answers to these questions in your content.

You can:

  • Enter your keywords
  • Click on “Add a filter”
  • Choose keywords
  • Add question terms such as what, how, what, where, which, etc.

Now, this technique will help you providing reasonable insight for developing your content strategy and redefining your SEO strategy to rank higher.

 4. Know which device people are using.

Today, we are using multiple devices to visit websites—mostly smartphones.  You need to know which devices are being used to access your website and your content.

This helps you in making certain decisions. Google keyword planner can help you in this aspect as well.

  • Create a plan and view the forecast.
  • Select the “plan overview” tab on the left-hand menu.
  • Here you can see some graphs that include which devices are used.

You can use this data for bid adjustments for your PPC campaign. You can also use the statistics to improve your customer site experience on certain devices.

5. Check search volumes for local areas.

Another benefit you may get using Keyword Planner is to get search volumes for only those locations where you are operating. You can use the following procedure to see more accurate and specific results:

  1. Don’t enter the location with the keyword, but simply enter the keyword. For example, don’t write “Makeup Islamabad”, instead write, “Makeup”.
  2. Now, you can click on the location and choose a certain location such as Islamabad.
  3. You will get a picture of data specific to your targeted location.
  4. Now you can add this generic keyword to your plan.
  5. Simply by searching for the generic keyword and changing your location, you’ll see a higher volume of impressions.
search volume for local areas

Google Keyword Planner vs Other Keyword Planner Tools

Google keyword planner is one of the strongest tools to help you in your digital marketing efforts, especially your SEO and PPC campaigns.

You can take advantage of this tool to make logical decisions without spending money. Even if you are not running an active campaign it can help you in several ways.

For example, Moz also offers a keyword planner. One of the main differences between Google Keyword Planner and Moz is that the first one is free and Moz is not.

Moz is a wonderful tool with a variety of packages but the price ranges from $99 to $999 per month. This depends on the size of your business but it is considerably more costly than what Google charges even if you are running a paid campaign.

Easily Create a Google Ads Campaign

Creating an advertising campaign with Google Ads is very simple. But to make your campaign more successful, Google Keyword Planner can play a huge role.

By using Keyword Planner, you can search for relevant keywords and ad group ideas. You can also analyze how these keywords might perform. This eventually helps you choose competitive bids and budgets to use in your new advertising campaigns.

Check Keyword Forecast (for Free!)

Google Keyword Planner provides keyword forecasts that allow you to make important SEO and advertising campaign decisions. Getting these pretty forecasts for free is not possible using any other keyword tools.

Summary & Takeaways  

To keep pace within this digital era, Google Keyword Planner is a wonderful invention, especially if you are running an online business and you want to maximize your return on investment.

Although you can always choose a variety of tools, it is recommended to incorporate this user-friendly tool in your keyword research.

Using this tool, you can get valuable insights for free and can redefine your SEO strategy. Even if you are not tech-savvy, I hope this article has helped understand how you can take benefit from this fantastic tool.

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Google Keyword Planner Infographics

By Zac Almeida

Before joining the team at Ethical Digital, Izaias built a successful SEO agency in São Paolo, Brazil. With over twelve years of experience providing data-driven SEO, he has worked with businesses of all sizes - from SMBs to Fortune 500 companies. After selling his business to travel the world with his wife, "The SEO Hustler" has been helping companies in more than 15 countries and 6 languages thrive in the digital and search world.


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