Google Keyword Planner: A Powerful Tool for Keyword Research

A customer’s journey to connecting with your website starts with a few words they type into a search engine. Being among the results returned by the search engine they’re using is the main goal of search engine optimization (SEO). Finding out what keywords they’re using is the first step you need to take to make sure your customers discover your website.

Keep reading to learn about the Google Keyword Planner – one of the most helpful keyword research tools we use at Onsharp.

All About Google Keyword Planner

The Keyword Planner is Google’s own tool. It was originally designed to help find and manage relevant keywords for Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns. This tool is also very effective to find keyword opportunities for SEO purposes. Using the Google Keyword Planner allows you to:

  • Search for keyword ideas – By simply plugging in some of your keyword ideas, this tool takes your keywords and outputs various phrases related to your search.
  • See historical data on keyword ideas – Other than helping you find relevant keywords, the Keyword Planner also gives historical data on the traffic each keyword receives, including monthly search volume to help assess the popularity of a keyword.
  • View keyword traffic forecasts – The tool can also forecast how a certain keyword’s search volume will change over time. This comes in handy when you’re wondering how the keyword you’re looking might increase or decrease in popularity.
  • Use it at no cost – This is one of the best perks. You don’t have to commit to running a PPC campaign or any other campaign to use this tool.

How this tool works

  • Before you can use Keyword Planner, you’re required to set up a Google AdWords account (set one up for free here). Once you provide Google with some personal information, you’ll be able to log in to your AdWords account.

Google step 1

  • Click on Tools on the top navigation bar, then select Keyword Planner. To find new keywords, click on the option that says Search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category. From here, you’ll be asked to enter your product or service, landing page, product category, and other targeting options. Once you fill in one or more of these options, click Get Ideas.

Google step 2

  • The Keyword Planner will display the results of your search in a page that looks something like this:

Google step 3

  • Make sure the Keyword Ideas tab is selected. Then you can choose to analyze the results in your browser or download your results into a CSV document (I’d recommend the second option as it’s easier to sort and filter your keywords).

What to look at when analyzing keywords in Google Keyword Planner

Once you get results returned from the keyword ideas, you can start to analyze keywords to decide if they should be part of your keyword strategy. When analyzing them, it’s important to take the following information into consideration:

  • Average Monthly Searches – This column shows the average search volume a keyword receives per month.
  • Competition – These results indicate how strong competition a keyword is in AdWords. The higher the percentage, the more competition there is for that keyword and the harder it will be to rank.

Google step 4

As a rule of thumb, I look at keywords that have a high search volume and low competition score. However, if some keywords have a low search volume and low competition score and make more sense with a campaign, I’ll select those. It all depends on what your goals are for your SEO program and if the keyword accurately aligns with your business, products, or services.

For example, if the goal of your program is to target the top keywords you find by search volume, and those keywords are also the most competitive, you’ll have to have an all-hands-on-deck approach. Targeting more competitive and highly searched keywords requires more consistency and resources to go after that keyword. Are you able to pour a lot of resources into content development and SEO? If not, think about striking a bigger balance between highly searched keywords with higher competition scores and keywords that might not be as highly searched but might be easier to rank for.

Start Your Own Keyword Strategy

Are you ready to start your own keyword strategy or take your search marketing strategy to the next level? Let us help! We have experts who are excited to give you the tools you need to have a successful SEO campaign. Learn more about our Digital Marketing Services or reach out to us so we can help your website show up in search engine results.

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