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Google Keyword Planner Tutorial

In this Google Keyword Planner Tutorial, we will explain two methods to get new keyword suggestions for free from the official Google keyword tool, Keyword Planner.

Google Keyword Planner tool lets you:

  • Enter a keyword.
  • Enter a web page URL.

Entering either will give you a list of new keyword suggestions.

This Google Keyword Planner Tutorial will further explain the best practices in finding new keywords (i.e. keyword research) for your website to improve SEO ranking in Google search engine results pages (SERP).

Google Keyword Planner Tutorial

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Sign Up Google Ads Account

Google Keyword Planner is a free keyword suggestion tool within Google Ads.

You will first have to register a new Google Ads (AdWords) account, and you will have access to Google Keyword Planner tool.

Go to the official Google Ads URL. Sign up a new account with your Gmail account:

https://ads.google.com/

If you already have a Google Ads account, you can simply sign in (or log in).

Open Google Keyword Planner

AdWords Menu Tools Settings Planning

After you’ve logged on to your Google Ads account:

  • Click the Tool & Settings tab at the top.
  • Select Planning.
  • Click Keyword Planner from the sub-menu.
Discover New Keywords & Get Search Volume

Two tools will appear:

  • Discover New Keywords
  • Get Search Volume and Forecasts

Click Discover New Keywords to open the next page where you can start entering a keyword and getting the keyword data.

Get Accurate Keyword Search Volume Data

If you always have an active AdWords campaign running in your Google Ads account, the keyword data that are provided by Google Keyword Planner will always come with accurate keyword average monthly search volume.

But if you do not have an active campaign running, you will get average monthly searches that are in ranges, such as below.

Search Volume Ranges (Google Keyword Planner tool)

Average monthly searches that are in such large ranges are not very useful as SEO keyword suggestions. For example:

  • 10-100
  • 100-1K
  • 1K-10K

But how can we get accurate average monthly search volume for all the suggested keywords?

Select Keyword SEO Specialist

One solution is to check one suggested keyword.

Plan Add Keywords

Click the Add keywords link at the top.

1 Keyword Added, Plan View Forecast

Click the View Forecast link that is next to the text 1 keyword added to your plan.

Forecast Impressions - Google Keyword Planner tool

Google Keyword Planner will display this keyword’s data, including impressions, which is equivalent to the keyword’s search volume.

In this example, the keyword SEO specialist has received 30 monthly impressions.

Enter Main Keyword To Get New Keyword Suggestions

The first method to get new keyword suggestions is to enter a main keyword in Google Keyword Planner tool.

Enter your main keyword

When you are in Google Keyword Planner, select Discover new keywords.

Start with Keywords - Google Keyword Planner tool

Start with keywords, enter your main keyword in the searh box.

In this example, we will enter SEO jobs as keyword.

For the keyword suggestion search, you can filter by country and/or language.

An example is that if your business targets customers who are based locally in Hong Kong and speak the local language (i.e. Cantonese Chinese), then you can filter by country/region (Hong Kong) and language (Simplified Chinese).

Click the Get Results button.

Google Keyword Planner Keyword Suggestions

Based on your entered keyword (i.e. SEO jobs), Google Keyword Planner will return a list of keyword suggestions.

Each of the suggested keyword will come with the metrics below.

  • Average monthly searches
  • Competition
  • Ad impression share
  • Top of page bid (high range and low range)

Average monthly searches: The average monthly searches of a keyword is an average calculated based on the last 12 months.

Competition: Competition refers to the difficulty to rank the keywords within the Google Ads spots, and consists of 3 levels in high, medium and low.

Ad impression share: The formula to calculate the ad impression share of a keyword search is the number of impressions of a keyword search divided by the total eligible impressions. The ad impression share is a value in percentage.

Top of page bid (high range and low range): An estimated bid price (in cost per click or CPC) that you will have to pay for the keyword to trigger your ad at the top of the page. You can base on the high range and low range as reference to work how much CPC you will have to pay for a specific keyword.

You can get suggested keywords with higher relevance by applying filters.

We will go through the different filters below.

Filter By Competition

Add Filter (Google Keyword Planner Tool)

Click the Add Filter link, and select Competition.

You can check Low, Medium, or High. After the filter is applied, you will be shown 1 or 2 Competition levels among Low, Medium, or High.

  • The Competition metric refers to how difficult a keyword is to rank high within Google ads (i.e. AdWords PPC ads) ranking.
  • The Competition metric has nothing to do with showing you the competition is within Google’s organic search results (i.e. SEO).
  • For SEO, this metric should be used as a reference.
  • Usually, when the Competition is high for a keyword in PPC, it indicates it requires paying a high CPC (or bid) to get high ad ranking for the keyword. When it is the case, it can be worthwhile to spend effort working on the keyword’s SEO ranking.

Filter By Organic Impression Share And Organic Average Position

You can use these two data metrics as filter to get your suggested keywords:

  • Organic impression share
  • Organic average position

For example:

  • You can filter the new keyword suggestions with great than 50% organic impression share.
  • Also restrict with higher than 3 and lower than 11 in organic average positions. i.e. Positions 4-10 on Google’s first page.

Before using organic impression share and organic average position as filters, you must first link your Google AdWords account and Google Search Console account.

Exclude Keyword In My Account

When you use Exclude Keyword in My Account as a filter, Google Keyword Planner will display only the keywords that you have not used in any of your Google Ads campaigns.

When users search using these keywords on Google, your Ads will not appear. One way to use these keywords is to use them in SEO i.e. Get the keywords ranked organically (in SEO) in Google’s SERP.

Sort by Average Monthly Searches

Average Monthly Searches Ascending / Descending Orders

Click the Avg. monthly searches heading once, the keyword with the highest search volume will first show up. i.e. Keyword search volume appears in descending order.

Click the Avg. monthly searches heading again, the keyword with the lowest search volume will first appear. i.e. Keyword search volume shows up in ascending order.

Download Keyword Ideas

Download Keyword Ideas - Google Keyword Planner Tool

Now you can click the Download Keyword Ideas button.

You can choose to download your new keywords in different formats including a CSV file, or opens in Google Sheets.

Enter Competitor Website To Get New Keyword Suggestions

The second method to get new suggested keywords is to enter a website in Google Keyword Planner tool.

Start with a website (Google Keyword Planner tool)

In this example, we will enter a competitor’s website URL.

https://www.backlinko.com/

Then you will have to specify the language and country/region.

Select:

  • Use the entire site, if you want Google Keyword Planner to suggest new keywords based on the entire website (as scope).
  • Use only this page, if you want keyword suggested from only the one web page you have entered.

In this example, Google Keyword Planner has provided 1,161 keyword suggestions.

After exporting the suggested keywords, you can further filter the keywords based on your own rules.

For the keywords that are most relevant to your business or website, you should add these keywords to the content of your website (or web pages).

Best Practices To Get New Keywords with Google Keyword Planner

When working on the on-page SEO for your website, you will have to decide what your SEO keywords are i.e. Which keywords you will optimize for Google’s organic search results ranking.

Your decision can be based on at least 3 factors:

  • Keyword’s average monthly search volume
  • Keyword’s difficulty
  • Keyword’s commercial intent

Average monthly search volume

When a keyword has high number of searches (i.e. high average monthly search volume), the searches will bring many visitors to the web pages that are ranking on Google’s first page (or Google’s top 10 positions).

For this reason, you will definitely choose your SEO keyword based on the average monthly search volume.

Difficulty

One best practice is to check the difficulty before choosing a keyword.

There are times that you may avoid a keyword with extremely high difficulty and high search volume, but spend effort optimizing a keyword with lower difficulty and lower search volume.

Commercial intent

Some keywords consist of commercial intent. Users on Google may search for a keyword with commercial intent. For example:

  • Dyson vacuum v11

The commercial intent of the keyword search is obvious.

  • The user may be ready to make to buy this product online.
  • The user may be in the final stage of research of this product, such as price comparison among different eCommerce websites (or online shopping stores).

Keywords with high commercial intent have high commercial value. When your eCommerce website has quite a few number of high commercial intent keywords ranking on Google’s first page, your site is expected to be in a position to make money selling these products.

This leads to the higher difficulty (or higher competition) when optimizing for higher SEO ranking for the keywords with higher commercial intent.

Conclusions

Google Keyword Planner is a free keyword suggestion tool for SEO, Google AdWords, content marketing, and more.

SEO involves more complicated work and data analytics, and usually requires SEO tools that are more powerful. The best practices for SEO involve the following:

  • Get your first new list of keywords suggested by Google Keyword Planner.
  • Use paid SEO tools such as SEMrush, Ahrefs or Moz to double check and dig deeper into SEO keyword research.
  • Continue using SEMrush, Ahrefs or Moz to set up SEO keyword ranking monitoring, and/or other SEO data reporting.

I’ve written a Chinese version of this Google Keyword Planner tutorial.

ARTICLES ON SEO TOOLS TOPICS

Ahrefs and SEMrush are the most powerful SEO tools. Both SEO tools let you discovery new keywords for your niche, run SEO audits for your website, monitor the Google organic search rankings of your SEO keywords, and extract and analyze the backlink data of your competitors.

Get 2x more keywords & more accurate keyword data than Google Keyword Planner (AdWords keyword tool). Free & paid versions.