How to Use Google Ads Keyword Planner

How to Use Google Ads Keyword Planner

Keyword Research is still as important as ever with disregard of the niche you are in.

Whether for advertising or SEO purposes, Keyword Research provides the ultimate insight on how an audience shops for their product.

Regardless of your keyword research strategy, it is more likely you will spend more of your research time on Google Ads Keyword Planner. Initially, Google created this tool for Adwords traffic.

However, today Keyword Planner is an essential tool in the SEO world too. For without keywords, there is nothing like SEO.

So, how do you use Google Ads Keyword Planner to reap maximally in keyword research?

  1. Access Google Ads Keyword Planner
  2. Choose the appropriate Feature
  3. Filter and Grade the results
  4. Analyse the Keyword idea section
  5. Choose your keyword
  6. Get the Precise Keyword Search Volume
  7. How to Reap Maximally from Google Ads Keywords Planner


Let us break down the steps when using this research tool.

1. Access Google Ads Keyword Planner

Google Ads Keyword Planner is not a premium tool. However, to use it, you must have a Google Ads account. If you do not have an Adwords account, take a couple of minutes to create one.

Google Ads Keyword Planner

After setting an account, go to Google Ads Keywords Planner and follow the directives. Enter the required information about your business. You don’t, however, need an active campaign to benefit from the keyword planner, but you need to set up one.

Next, login into Google Adwords accounts and click on the spanner icon in the toolbar at the top of the page.

Google Ads Keyword Planner

Then choose Keyword Planner.

Google Ads Keyword Planner

In the Keywords Planner, you will see two distinct tools:

    • “Find New Keywords”
    • “Get metrics and forecasts for your keywords.”

When your Keyword research is SEO-centered, these two features can generate tons of potential keywords. To be blunt, Google designed this tool exclusively for PPC advertisers.

So you will find many features in Keyword Planner which will not be useful if you`re using this tool to find keywords for SEO.

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That said, how do you find, SEO Keywords using each feature built into the Google Keyword Planner?


2. Choose the Right Tool

There are two fundamental features in the Keyword Planner—“Find New Keywords” and “Get Metrics for Your Keyword”.

Let us see how to use these two elements to generate a list of keywords for your SEO campaigns.

  • Find New Keywords Feature

As the name suggests, this tool is suitable for finding new keywords. On this feature, you will see a field saying “EntER words, phrases or URL related to your business”.

The value you get from Keyword Planner stems from what you will feed on this area.

Therefore, to reap maximally from this tool, let us break down this option into three.

Google Ads Keyword Planner

•  Enter Words

Enter a single word that describes your business. For example, if you`re a marketer, you can type “Marketing” or “branding”.

This way, you get access to Google`s internal database of keywords from different industries.

•  Phrases

Next, enter the keywords you get access to Google`s database and get a list of closely-related terms.

Key-in at least two keywords.

For example, if you run an online retail business that sells designer bags, you would want to enter words like “classy handbags” and “luxury handbags” on this tab.

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•   URL Related to Your Business

The URL option majorly works for Adwords users. However, you can find essential keywords here using your site`s homepage or articles from your articles.

Once you`ve entered information into one or all three of the fields, click “Get started”. Clicking the “Get started” directs you to the Keywords Result Page.

Google Ads Keyword Planner

  • Get Metrics and Forecast for Your Keyword

This tool is only helpful when you have a list of keywords, and all you are aiming at is to check their search volume. This feature does not generate new keywords.

However, after coming up with your list of keywords paste it in the search field and click “Get started.”

Google Ads Keyword Planner

This click directs you to the same Keywords Result Page as in the case of the “Find New Keywords” feature. But the difference this time is you only get data on the keyword you keyed in. Google then suggest the number of clicks and expression you will get.

Google Ads Keyword Planner

Regardless of the feature that you will choose to use, you end up on the Keywords Result Page. So let us dive deeper into how to use Keyword Result Page to get results maximally.


3. Filter and Grade The Results

On the Keywords Result Page, you`ll need to refine the keywords to a concise list of terms that suits you best. At the head of the page, you will see three target preferences.

Google Ads Keyword Planner

i.   Location

Refers to the country or countries whose market you are targeting.

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ii.  Language

It is the language of the Keywords you are researching.

Locations and language by default are set to target people who speak English in the United States.

If you are in Singapore, and you are targeting a market in Singapore, change the location to Singapore and let the language be English.

iii.  Search Networks Option

Search Network option asks you to choose to advertise on Google only, or Google and their Search Partners.

Search Partners include other Search Engines and Google`s affiliates like Youtube.

It would be better if you just set it as Google only.

The next important feature of the Keyword Result Page is the “Add filters” This feature gives you a bunch of filtering options. Let`s break all these filters down.

Google Ads Keyword Planner

    • Keyword Text Filter

Keyword Text filter shows you keywords that contain a specific word of the keyword phrase.

    • Exclude keywords in my Account

This filter excludes keywords that you`re already bidding on Adword.

    • Exclude Adult Ideas

It is a filter that excludes adult-related keywords from your search.

    • Average monthly searches

It helps filter out keywords with high search volume as they are very competitive.

You may also like to filter out keywords that do not get enough Google searches.

    • Competition Filter

You can have the Google Ads Keyword Planner show you keywords with low, medium, and high competition.

However, this feature misleads people when doing keyword research for SEO.

It is important you remember that Google Ads Keywords Planner is 100% for Google PPC, not SEO.

Therefore, the competition score here only defines Adwords competition, not how competitive the keyword is to rank in Google`s organic search result.

So if you are aiming at improving your SEO, leave this blank.

Google Ads Keyword Planner

    • Ad Impression Share

Again, this setting only applies to Adword. For SEO’s sake, ignore this filter.

    • Top of Page Bid

It is the amount of money you need to pay for if you want your ad to appear at the top of the page with a specific keyword.

If you`re targeting a keyword that potential buyers search for, you can set this to a specific dollar amount.

There are options of high “range”  “medium-range” and “low range”. Set it to “low range” if you are doing keyword research for SEO so that you can sort out keywords without any commercial purports.

Google Ads Keyword Planner

    • Organic Impression Share

Organic Impression Share the look of your website in the organic results for every keyword.

To use this feature, connect your Google Console account to Google Adwords.

    • Organic Average Position

This feature shows you the position of your website on average for every keyword in Google organic results.

As before, connect to Google Console for this to work.


4. Analyse the Keyword Idea Section

After filtering the results down to keywords that are ideal for your business, how do you analyse what shows up in the Keywords Idea section of the Keyword Planner? Here is what each of the terms in this part means.

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    • Keyword (by Relevance)

This feature avails a list of keywords that Google sees as most relevant to the keyword you keyed in into it.

    • Average Monthly Searches

It is an average volume of searches in a month. It is important you note that this is a range and not an accurate indicator of the search volume.

More importantly, watch out for seasonal keywords. Seasonal keywords may get 70000 searches in January but 200 searches in June. Google Ads Keyword Planner won`t tell you that.

Instead, it will tell you that it gets 20000 searches monthly which might mislead you.

    • Competition
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To be crystal clear, the competition in the Google Ads Keyword Planner has little to do with organic search ranking completion. Instead, the competition in this tool refers to the number of advertisers who are bidding for that keyword.

However, it is crucial to consider it if your keyword has a commercial purpose. In the end, the higher the number of marketers bidding on a keyword, the higher the probability they could become leads to the customer.

    • Top Page Bid

Top Page Bid is another brilliant way to seize the keyword`s monetisation capacity. The higher the bid, the more profitable the traffic turns to be.


5. Choose a Keyword

Now that you know how to use all the tools, features, and options within the Google Ads Keyword Planner, it is time you get to the last step and find that keyword that works.

A keyword that you can optimise your site around.

There are lots of factors that entail choosing a keyword. A quick example will help paint a clearer picture.

Let us use the “Find New Keywords” feature because it is the best feature in the Google Ads Keyword Planner to uncover new keywords.

Google Ads Keyword Planner

At first, you will want to think of a keyword that is broad but describe your product, services, or content idea.

For example, you want to start a site about” How to lose belly fat” that might appear too narrow but one like “weight loss” would work great.

Pop up the keyword and click “get started”. Then take a look at the keywords that shows up.

However, how do you know which keyword to choose?

There are a dozen different factors you`ll consider, but you can use these three criteria to make a sound decision.

    • Search Volume

The higher the average search volume, the more traffic the keyword can send you.

    • Commercial Intent

Generally, the higher the competition and suggested bids the easier it would be to convert the traffic into paying customers when they land on your site.

    • Organic SEO Competition

Similar to commercial intent, when examining a keyword`s competition in Google organic traffic search results, you need to look out into the sites that rank on the first page and figure out how hard it will be to outrank them.

6. How to Get Exact Keyword Search Volume Data

Often, the Google Ads Keyword Planner only shows the exact search volume when you have a running campaign. Otherwise, it just shows a range of search volume.

Honestly, the range is just fine as Keyword Search Volume fluctuates.

Even the exert average monthly search volume you will see on the Google Ads Keyword Planner is also a rough estimate.

However, here is the nifty trick you can use to get the exact search volume out of the tool without the need to run ads in a Google Adwords account.

First, find a keyword in the list that suggests that you want to target.

Then click add to the plan.

Google Ads Keyword Planner

Next, in the right-hand sidebar of the page, click “Plan overview”.

Google Ads Keyword Planner

Check out the volume of “impressions”.

Google Ads Keyword Planner

That figure is the volume of searches for that keyword every month. You`ll be having the accurate volume data of your keyword.


7. How to Reap Maximally From Google Ads Keyword Planner

Google Ads Keyword Planner is a dominant keyword tool. However, as the most popular keyword tool, it has two significant flaws.

    • It only gives the keywords that are very closely related to what you type in.

Even though it is an excellent tool in generating long-tail keywords, it does not create keywords that closely relate to your topic.

    • You get similar Keywords everyone else gets

Google Ads Keyword Planner is insanely popular as a keyword tool. Meaning the keywords you get from the Google Ads Keyword planner is very competitive.

The good news is that there is a simple way in the tool that can set you apart from the crowd. Here is how it works.

First, head over to the “Find new Keyword” feature. Instead of entering a keyword enter URL from another website in your niche.

You will get a massive list of keywords your competitor will never see.

In summary, keyword research gives insights into how people shop and behave online. It is, thus, not optional for a business with an online presence today.

Therefore, understanding how Google Ads Keyword Planner works can help you get powerful keywords for your target audience.

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9 Invaluable Google Keyword Planner Hacks for First-Timers

The above tips cover the basics of how Google Ads keyword planner works. With competition for online presence getting more challenging by the day, you need to work smart to outdo your competitors.

This is not easy for first-time Google ad users.

Not anymore – we scoured the internet and spoke to different Google ads experts, and here are their top 9 invaluable hacks that you can use to get ahead of the curve.

  • Knowing Average Monthly Searches of a Keyword

As the name suggests, this metric refers to the average number of searches conducted using the target keyword.

It’s one of the most sort after metrics, but most people don’t know how to locate it on Google Keyword planner.

And yes, the tool doesn’t offer this information, but there are steps you can take to find a precise figure you can use to enhance your ad campaign.

Here are the steps you should take:

    • Search for a particular seed keyword relevant to your brand and campaign
    • You will get a report of different keywords
    • Tap on the specific keyword check box
    • Click on add to plan option

9 Invaluable Google Keyword Planner Hacks for First-Timers

    • Head over to the Plan Overview option
    • Change the setting to the Max CPC option to get info on changes in impressions

How To Use Google Ads Keyword Planner

The highest possible impression number will be displayed in the report.

A quick comparison with other paid keyword tools such as Ahrefs shows that this figure is near accurate.

How To Use Google Ads Keyword Planner

Knowing the average monthly searches of a target keyword will help you decide whether you should bid for it.

We recommend bidding on keywords with a high average monthly search, low competition, and high buy intent to get maximum ROI from every click on the paid ad.

  • Looking for Multiple Keywords

The ad campaign needs to encompass multiple keywords for it to be effective in generating leads.

Finding keyword phrases that are interconnected is not easy for first-timers.

All you got to do is type in several keywords in the search tab and click on “Get Started”.

The tool will present a list of different keywords ideas that are related to the main keyword.

How To Use Google Ads Keyword Planner

Paid keyword tools allow advertisers to search for several seed keywords simultaneously.

If you are on a tight budget or want to get your feet wet in the ad world, experiment with Google Keyword Planner before investing in the paid tools.

  • Competitor Analysis Hack

Knowing what your competitors are doing to get more leads than you are instrumental to the success and growth of your company.

Most of the paid keyword tools have a feature for doing competitor keyword analysis.

Unknown to most people is that you can do the same analysis on Google Keyword Planner.

All you have to do is submit the URL of the competitor’s website in the search tab and click find.

The tool will locate all the possible keywords the website is using to run ad campaigns and present them in an intuitive report.

There are two ways of doing competitor analysis on Google Keyword Planner.

    • By entering the full domain URL to search for keywords used in the entire website
    • By searching for keywords related to a particular website page

We recommend researching keywords used in the whole website and then narrowing it down to specific pages.

For instance, if you offer landscaping services, you can focus on keywords for ads to a particular landing page that provides a product or service related to your offer.

How To Use Google Ads Keyword Planner

Before including any of the discovered keywords in your Google Ad campaign, check the search engine optimisation difficulty estimate.

Avoid keywords with a high difficulty estimate as they are more difficult to get leads from and are expensive.

  • Leverage Keyword Filters

You must filter search results to find keywords that best match your campaign and budget. Google Keyword Planner has several filters to help advertisers find the right keywords without breaking a sweat.

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Click on the filter options to start the process. You can use more than 5 different filters to narrow your search.

How To Use Google Ads Keyword Planner

For now, we will focus on three primary filters.

    • Keyword Text

How To Use Google Ads Keyword Planner

A keyword text filter allows you to limit your meta keywords to specific words. That is, picked keyword → Contains → Input keyword.

    • Competition

How To Use Google Ads Keyword Planner

Competition refers to how many brands use the same keyword to run ads on Google. You can change the filter setting from low, medium, and high. 

    • Page Bid

How To Use Google Ads Keyword Planner

What is a page bid? This metric refers to the approximate cost-per-click (CPC) bid you should place for your ad to be displayed on top of Google SERP. The ad will not be displayed if your bid is lower than the set estimate. 

These three keyword filters will get you started by narrowing your search to keywords that match your business needs.

Experiment with different filters and monitor the results to know which ones you should bid on and which ones to avoid.

How To Use Google Ads Keyword Planner

As mentioned earlier, other tools have this option, but you don’t have to pay for them as Google Keyword Planner also offers the same function.

  • Identify Keywords Based on Location

Focusing your Google Ads campaign on the locations you operate will ensure that you don’t pay for clicks made by people outside these locations.

Using the same landscaping example, if you only offer the landscaping services here in Dallas, TX, this filter will ensure that your ad is not displayed for keywords used by searchers in other regions. 

You must define the location or city you want the ads to be displayed in before the campaign goes live.

Here are the steps on how to do it correctly. 

    • Specific the target keyword
    • Add the keyword to your plan by clicking “Insert to plan.”
    • Head over to the plan overview tab to access the country chart
    • Filter the preferred country, city, and state

How To Use Google Ads Keyword Planner

Carry out market research to know where your customers are and which regions to focus on to get the expected results.

Today, most people use voice search to research brands and products.

Therefore, don’t be afraid to experiment with long-tail keywords, especially question-based keywords.

We will discuss how to find question-based keywords later in this article.

  • Identifying Commercial Keywords

This tip is most relevant to people who want to make money from Google AdSense.

However, you can still use it to enhance your business’s Google Ads campaign performance.

Commercial keywords refer to search terms used by customers almost ready to convert.

They have the highest buying intent, and the bid amount varies dependent on average search volume.

Google Keyword Planner report displays two columns for every keyword: the low and high bid columns.

The low column hints at the lowest possible CPC, and the latter refers to the highest possible CPC.

Sort the list by selecting the “Top of page bid” to find keywords with the high commission possible.

These keywords are not easy to rank for, but it’s possible through proper planning.

How To Use Google Ads Keyword Planner

We recommend adding these keywords to the Google Ads campaign and including them in your content marketing and creation strategy.

Concisely, using them in on-site and off-site posts will increase the visibility and discoverability of your website.

  • Finding Question-Based Keywords

Earlier, we mentioned that most people nowadays use voice search instead of typing keywords on Google when researching brands.

Thus, it’s imperative to reimagine your Google Ad campaign to focus on not only conventional keywords but also question-based keywords.

These keywords are long-tail, which is probably why most people are sceptical about using them in ad campaigns.

Finding them using Google Keyword Planner is not easy, but we found a simple way of working the system.

Follow the following steps;

    • Start by clicking on Locate keyword
    • Type in the Seed keyword and click Get Started
    • A list of keywords will be displayed
    • Go to the filter option and select keywords containing question terms such as which, what, why, how etc.

The above steps will result in hundreds of possible question-based keywords you can use to enhance your campaign.

Go the extra mile to check the monthly search volume to determine if it’s worth targeting.

How To Use Google Ads Keyword Planner

More importantly, compare the top page bid to find keywords that match your campaign budget.

Start with the low-page bid keywords to learn the ropes before proceeding to the high-page bid question-based keywords.

  • Finding Keywords Based on Device

Unlike before, customers use multiple devices to search for information online.

Surprisingly, the keywords used to conduct searches via different devices sometimes vary greatly.

Therefore, it’s important to fine-tune your Google Ads campaign for these keywords to get maximum ROI.

Follow these steps to locate these keywords

    • Search for a target keyword
    • Click on “Insert to plan.”
    • Scroll down the plan overview page to view the distribution of keywords on different devices

How To Use Google Ads Keyword Planner

The average number of clicks, impressions, and costs are displayed alongside each device to help you decide whether to target it or not.

For example, if most of your sales are made via smartphones, focusing on keywords used mainly on mobile devices makes sense.

The same applies to desktop keywords if most people visit and shop on your website via computer.

  • Finding High Volume Low Competition Keywords

A keyword with a high search volume and low competition is your best bet for getting sales from your Google ad campaign.

Most advertisers focus on high CPC keywords only, resulting in massive competition for top ad spots in SERPs.

In the end, only a few brands that are reputable and known in the market win the battle.

Go against the grind by targeting low CPC keywords with high monthly search volumes. These keywords are less competitive compared to the high CPC keywords.

Find them by sorting the best page bidding results in descending order. That way, keywords will the lowest CPC will be displayed at the top.

How To Use Google Ads Keyword Planner

Repeat the process for other alternative keywords and watch your sales skyrocket. Be sure to closely monitor the results to know areas of the Google Ads campaign that need to be tweaked.

Sometimes, you may have to change the target keyword to match changes in target audience search trends and patterns.


Frequently Q&A about Google Keyword Planner

A lot of questions are asked by Google Keyword Planner.

Here are the top three common questions about Google Keyword Planner.

Is Keyword Planner Free?

Yes, Google Keyword Planner is a 100% free tool from Google that’s meant to help advertisers identify the best keywords for running ad campaigns and creating content.

It offers keyword bid estimates to help advertisers budget for the campaign accordingly.

How Do I Access Google Keyword Planner?

You need a Google Ads account to access Google Keyword Planner. Click here to create your account. Follow the prompts to complete the process successfully.

Is Google Keyword Planner Good for SEO?

Yes, with Google regularly updating its algorithm, Google Keyword Planner is your best bet for staying abreast of the changes.

The reports are generated from real-time searches conducted on the search engine.

Paid tools rely on it to create keyword reports.

How Do I Create SEO Keywords?

The first step of creating an SEO keyword list for your business is writing what you already know about your target customers.

List the industry topics, names, and relevant phrases.

Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer – which terms or phrases are you likely to use to find the product or service?

This information will get you started and enable you to create a precise SEO keywords list for your Google Ads campaign and content marketing strategies.


Final Thoughts

Google Keyword Planner is an immensely valuable tool from Google that you should use to create high-performing Google Ad campaigns.

Like other tools, there is a learning curve to mastering all its features.

Wrong interpretation of the results can result in wastage of the marketing budget.

Avoid that by hiring the MediaOne Marketing team to run your search engine marketing campaigns.

We have years of experience in the industry, and our commendable reputation is a true reflection of our commitment to offering the best SEM services.

Contact us today for more details.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Social Media




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