Using Google Keyword Planner

In the last chapter, we introduced you to keyword research. In particular, we learned how to look for different keyword ideas. Here we are going to discuss in detail a tool that you will use often, the Google Keyword Planner.  

Here’s what you should know – Keyword research doesn’t just end with finding the right keyword ideas – in fact, that is just the start.  Keyword research is about looking for hard numbers.

This means finding out just how popular a particular keyword phrase is going to be. In other words, how many people really care about the long-tail keyword that you have picked? How strong is the competition for the term? Do a lot of people look for it?

What does the Google Keyword Planner do? It is basically a tool that helps advertisers who are looking to place ads on Google. It is not really meant for those who are only interested in making use of organic search – Google Keyword Planner is for finding the right keywords for a pay-per-click advertising campaign.

So, you can see that the Google Keyword Planner has its limitations. It is still a great keyword research tool and offers amazing insights into Google search in real-time. What Google Keyword Planner does is to tell you about the competition for a particular search term and the search volumes.

When you perform Google search using the Keyword Planner, Google sends a variety of results in your direction. This allows you to see the kind of competition for a particular search term

When you conduct a search using the Keyword Planner Tool, Google presents you with a variety of results along with the level of competition and the number of global monthly searches. It can also present you with a number of similar search results. So let’s see how this works.

Google “Keyword Planner Tool” or type this on your browser Click on the very first result you get.  You will be asked to log in to your Adwords account. It’s okay if you don’t have one, you can set up an Adwords account – it’s free. You will need to have a Gmail account though.

Here on Google Keyword Planner, you will be presented with 4 different options….

  • Search for new keywords and ad group ideas
  • Get the search volume for a list of keywords or group them into ad groups
  • Multiple keyword lists for new keyword ideas
  • Get the latest traffic forecasts for a list of keywords

In the last chapter, we had done our research on “protein powder” and got a list of long-tail keywords from it.  Now, we select the option that allows us to get the search volume for the list if keywords on Keyword Planner and then to group them into ad groups.

So, what we need to do is to copy and paste our keywords into the Keyword Planner. Now we have already performed the first part, which is to search for new keyword or ad group ideas. You can start from the beginning on Google Keyword Planner if you so desire as well, if only find out what Google has to suggest to you. There are several ways to get a list of keywords; we have only talked about one of them.

So anyway, let’s get started with the second option and find the traffic for the keywords. Just enter the keywords one line at a time or use commas to separate one keyword from another. One easy way to do this is to upload a CSV file that has a list of your keywords.

There are several options available to you on Keyword Planner such as targeting and date range. You don’t have to do anything here. They are pre-filled for you, but you can modify them if you want to.

There is an option that allows you to use negative keywords, which ensures that you don’t get any paid search traffic that does not apply to your list. You can use this option when finding keywords for pay-per-click advertising campaigns. Here our focus is on organic search, so let’s forget about that for now.

As you get started, make sure that all options are in their default position. All you should do here is to copy and paste your list of keywords, that’s all.

Google Keyword Planner does not give you the search volume and competition for every single long-tail keyword. It can give you an estimate of the traffic for short-tail keywords, but our focus is single-mindedly on long-tail keywords.

So if you don’t get any great results on Google Keyword Planner with your long-tail keywords – that’s okay, just keep coming up with new ideas. Maybe something will click and if so you can see the results on Google Keyword Planner’s autosuggestion tool.

 You no doubt used Google’s autosuggestion feature several times a day while performing a routine Google search. On Google Keyword Planner as well, autosuggestion works in the same way.

So, we go back to what we started with – “best protein powder” – that was our idea, remember?  Now type “best protein powder” and hit the space bar. You will get the following top suggestions on the Keyword Planner for this term with Google autosuggestion…

  • best tasting protein powder
  • best whey protein powder
  • best tasting protein powder
  • best protein powder men
  • best protein powder money
  • best flavor protein powder
  • best vegan protein powder
  • best protein powder women

Does that make sense? We have generated this list using Google’s autosuggestion tool. As you can see there are a plenty of popular keyword terms available for “best protein powder”. We have got new ideas from this list that we did not consider when brainstorming for the best keyword ideas.

Let’s go back to our original list again and take a look at the results we had come up with. If your original list does not get you any great results, autosuggestion will help you find them. So here is our old lost for “protein powder”


  • Best protein powder for men
  • Best protein powder for women
  • Top rated whey protein powder for men
  • Cheap protein powder MuscleTech
  • Cheap protein powder under 100 dollars
  • Best protein powder discounts
  • Best protein powder summer sale
  • Top protein powder sale
  • Cheap casein powder for women


Remember? So when we perform the same search for long-tail keywords on Keyword Planner, we get to see the number of monthly searches for each term as well as the level of competition for them. On Keyword Planner, the most popular search term by far was “best protein powder for men” – it got us more than 11,000 searches per month.

So that’s heavy competition indeed. What did Google autosuggestion say about it? Google autosuggestion ranks “best protein powder men” highly too, but not at the highest position. So there is a slight discrepancy here.

Basically, the competition as indicated by the Keyword Planner refers to the competition among pay-per-click advertisers looking to buy ads for these keywords. While it does give you a good idea of the search volume and the competition for the keyword term, it does not always equate to high competition when it comes to the organic search results. Still, the two results are similar for the most part.

Why do you think advertisers compete so heavily for certain keyword searches on Google Adwords? They do so because getting noticed on Google’s SERPs for these search terms through organic search is far more difficult than bidding for them on Adwords. Paid search may be more expensive, but it does get you immediate results.

Google Keyword Planner is hence nothing more than a useful guide. Really, much of SEO is a mystery and there are no precise or exact answers to anything related to organic search. You learn through a combination of trial and error as you go along. There are so many things about Google that not even the most experienced SEO pros know about. That’s all for this chapter. We hope it has given you some understanding of the Google Keyword Planner.

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