Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a free software tool webmasters use to learn about the popularity of keywords and keyword phrases, how Google search engine users are looking for certain keywords, the competition to buy Google Ads advertisements using those keywords, and the cost per click.
Paid advertising campaigns are conducted on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis. On the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), both non-paid (also called “organic”) and paid search results appear. The estimation is that 70% of Internet users will click on organic search results, and 30% will click on a paid advertisement.
Even though the amount of clicks is fewer on the paid ads than the organic results, it is still possible to conduct PPC campaigns that produce a profit.
Keyword research is a fundamental part of any PPC or SEO strategy. Finding keywords that drive qualified traffic to your site starts with using the right tools. Google’s free Keyword Planner should be a key part of your research process.
When used strategically, Keyword Planner provides unique insights beyond just suggested keywords. You can analyze search volume data, competition metrics, suggested bid prices, and more.
This guide will walk through how to maximize your use of Keyword Planner to uncover the best keywords and inform your overall targeting approach. Follow these tips to get the most out of this invaluable research tool.
ALSO SEE: Understanding Google Algorithm Updates
Table of Contents
Getting Started with Google Ads Keyword Planner
It is simple to learn the basics of Google Ads Keyword Planner.
If you already have an Ads account, skip this paragraph. A new user must establish a Google Ads account by visiting the Ads website. A YouTube video showing how easy it is to set up a Google As account in about ten minutes.
For those with an Ads account, just go to the Google Ads Keyword Planner webpage and sign in with your Ads account information.
Google describes the Ads Keyword Planner as a tool used by those launching a paid advertising campaign, expanding an existing campaign, or considering the launch of a paid advertising campaign to help them do the following:
- Conduct an extensive keyword search
- Get ideas for ad groupings, which are clusters of ads that create a greater overall response
- Review and historical research statistics
- Estimate how a list of potential keywords may perform
- Predict the outcome of the multiplier effect by combining many keyword lists.
- Helps to choose the amount to offer under the competitive bidding structure
- Helps to decide on the budgets for paid advertisement campaigns
- Try to think as if you are your own best customer.
- What would you search for to find your own company, products, or services?
- What would you type in the Google search engine?
- Select keywords that are less generic and more likely to target your best customer.
- Use more general searches of keywords to get more people (more costly), but get very specific to find the best target customers.
- Choose the right balance of keywords in an ad group. Usually, this is five to no more than twenty. Google automatically includes misspellings and plural versions of keywords, so there is no need to add those to any ad group.
A Few Simple Tests to Perform:
- Get the help of a young person (age 12 to 18) who is very used to using the Internet to find things. Ask them to find a company in your target market area that sells a certain type of product or service. Then, watch and record what they find.
- Repeat the test of #1 above, but the second time, use an adult (19 to 34).
- Repeat the test of #1 above, but the third time, use an older adult (35 to 65).
Please note: If all three categories of youngsters, young adults, and older adults do not find your company as listed in the organic search results on the SERP or as a paid advertisement on the SERP, then this points out a problem with your online marketing campaign and a need for adjustment.
Taking it to the Next Level
For those willing to give some simple registration information and an email address, Hubspot offers a free E-book to help beginners learn how to use Google Ads Keyword Planner effectively.
Google claims that the goal of every advertiser using Google Ads should be to make $2 in revenue for every $1 spent on Ads advertisements. According to a study conducted in 2009 by Google’s Chief Economist, Hal Varian, this was the average performance taken from a large sample of advertisers using Ads.
There is the possibility of losing money when conducting ad campaigns. The biggest mistake by less experienced advertisers is to use keywords that are too broad in scope. For example, searching for the keyword “mechanic” will find all types of mechanics, such as auto mechanics, aeroplane mechanics, etc. Additionally, it will find everything related to mechanics, such as mechanic jobs or parts used by mechanics.
Understanding this problem, paying for the keyword “mechanic” on Ads to advertise an auto repair shop in Glasgow would be a horrendous waste of advertising dollars. A better choice would be to pay for the keywords “auto mechanic Glasgow” or “Glasgow auto mechanic.”
The Significance of Keyword Research in Successful PPC Campaigns
Keyword research identifies and analyses relevant keywords people search for information or products online. In PPC advertising, keyword research is crucial in targeting the right audience, optimizing ad spend, and maximizing campaign effectiveness.
Unveiling the Power of Google AdWords Keyword Planner
Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a free tool that provides valuable insights into search terms, competition levels, and keyword performance metrics. It enables you to:
- Discover Relevant Keywords: Uncover hidden keywords that align with your target audience and business goals.
- Analyze Keyword Competition: Assess the competitiveness of your chosen keywords to optimize your bidding strategies.
- Estimate Search Volume: Gain insights into the search volume for potential keywords to prioritize high-performing ones.
- Identify Negative Keywords: Exclude irrelevant keywords to prevent ad spending on irrelevant searches.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Keyword Research Using Google AdWords Keyword Planner
- Define Your Goals: Clearly define your advertising goals to narrow your keyword research focus.
- Identify Target Audience: Understand your target audience’s demographics, interests, and online behaviour to identify relevant search terms.
- Seed Keywords: Start with a few broad keywords related to your business or products to generate additional suggestions.
- Refine Your Keyword List: Analyze the suggested keywords, filtering them based on relevance, search volume, and competition.
- Organize Keywords into Ad Groups: Group related keywords into ad groups to create targeted and effective ads.
Actionable Tips for Selecting, Filtering, and Prioritizing Keywords
- Consider Search Intent: Ensure your selected keywords align with the search intent of your target audience.
- Prioritize High-Volume, Low-Competition Keywords: Focus on keywords with high search volume but moderate competition to maximize reach.
- Incorporate Long-Tail Keywords: Include long-tail keywords, which are more specific and have lower competition, to attract targeted traffic.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Google AdWords Keyword Planner
- Overreliance on Automated Tools: While tools are valuable, conduct manual keyword research to gain a deeper understanding of your target audience’s search patterns.
- Neglecting Negative Keywords: Regularly review and update your negative keyword list to prevent irrelevant ad impressions and wasted ad spending.
- Ignoring Search Trends: Stay updated on industry trends and emerging keywords to adapt your campaigns accordingly.
- Failing to Track Keyword Performance: Monitor keyword performance metrics regularly to optimize bids, ad copy, and landing pages.
Case Studies of Keyword Research Success
To illustrate the power of effective keyword research, let’s examine a few real-world examples:
- Case Study 1: An e-commerce store specializing in organic skincare products utilized Google AdWords Keyword Planner to identify long-tail keywords related to specific skin concerns. By targeting these niche keywords, they attracted highly qualified traffic and significantly increased their sales.
- Case Study 2: A SaaS company providing project management software leveraged Google AdWords Keyword Planner to uncover industry-specific keywords. By targeting these keywords, they connected with their ideal audience and achieved a substantial boost in lead generation.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Steering clear of common mistakes can significantly enhance your keyword research efforts:
- Over-reliance on Branded Keywords: While branded keywords can be valuable, don’t overlook the potential of non-branded keywords to reach a wider audience.
- Neglecting Long-Tail Keywords: Long-tail keywords, though less frequently searched, often attract highly motivated searchers, leading to higher conversion rates.
- Ignoring Search Intent: Ensure your keywords align with the search intent of users, avoiding irrelevant traffic and wasting your budget.
- Failing to Monitor Performance: Regularly monitor your keyword performance, identifying underperformers and making adjustments as needed.
Conducting Effective Keyword Research:
The Keyword Planner workflow involves everything from brainstorming new keyword ideas to analyzing metrics:
- Start broad – Seed the tool with a core term or phrase related to your business to find wide variations.
- Filter and refine – Narrow keyword lists by metrics like volume, language, and location.
- Search for questions – Look for “how to” and other question-based search queries.
- Mine the keyword ideas tab – This shows additional long-tail variations.
- Study keyword metrics – Volume, competition, trends, and seasonality all help determine viability.
- Save keywords – Shortlist ones to target and optimize for. Export for PPC campaigns.
- Identify negatives – Exclude irrelevant or poor-performing keywords using the negative match option.
- Complement with other tools – Expand research using Übersuggest, SEMrush, Moz, etc.
Getting Competitive Intelligence:
Beyond keywords, dig into competitive data:
- Benchmark your site – See how you currently rank for target keywords to beat competitors.
- Analyze top-ranking domains – Learn what sites rank highest for your targets.
- Study paid vs. organic mix – See if competitors invest more in SEO or PPC for a term.
- Check search impression share – This reveals the % of searches your ads could have shown for.
Determining Keyword Value and Intent:
With robust Keyword Planner data, you can determine the potential value and dial in your strategy:
- Identify commercial intent – Higher-value transactional queries include “buy”, “get”, etc.
- Assess searcher intent – Are users seeking information, ready to purchase, or in evaluation mode?
- Estimate click potential – Keyword Planner shows average CPC data to estimate costs.
- Check search volume trends – Steady, rising or seasonal search volume all factor in.
- Confirm relevance – Ensure keywords directly relate to your products, services and content.
- Evaluate difficulty – Can you realistically rank for a keyword? Assess based on other metrics.
- Segment keywords – Group into ad groups or categories for PPC.
By thoroughly researching keywords and mining the data, you gain insights to optimize your targeting and maximize ROI.
- Compare keywords to site analytics – See which drives conversions and high-value traffic.
- Shift budget to top performers – Double down on profitable keywords.
- Phase out poor performers – Stop targeting keywords that are not generating results.
- Refine negative keywords – Add any irrelevant queries triggering ads.
- Stay on top of trends – Revisit Keyword Planner to identify new, rising search terms.
- Build keyword-focused landing pages – Provide relevant content and messaging.
With regular use, Google’s Keyword Planner can transform your PPC and SEO targeting strategy by revealing high-potential keywords competitors may be missing.
Conversion is the Key
Unless the goal of a media campaign is only to create awareness, such as brand recognition, then conversion is the most important benchmark to track. Conversion is a process that comes from web traffic. Web traffic is the number of visitors to a website.
When an organization engages in a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) online advertising campaign using Google Ads, they bid in an auction for keywords and keyword phrases. They manage and monitor the performance of their campaign through the AdWords dashboard. Every time an Internet user clicks on a paid advertisement (click-through rate) for a keyword or keyword phrase, the prepaid Google advertisement account receives a debit for a certain amount for each click until there are no longer any funds available in the account to pay for clicks.
Conversion happens after an Internet user clicks on something, depending on what they do next. Conversion can be that they give their email address, register for a new account on the website, ask for a sales call, or directly purchase a product or service from the website.
Return on Investment
Conversion is the monetization of web traffic. It is a measurable benchmark to see if paying for clicks is worth doing.
Here is a simple example of a return on investment (ROI) analysis of a pay-per-click program.
The company used for this example is a plumbing company in Dublin, Ireland. This company does both residential and commercial plumbing. While it is a fact that the company serves many residential customers, it is also a fact that the company makes more profit by providing plumbing services to commercial customers.
Therefore, the company wants to target commercial plumbing customers in Dublin, Ireland.
Here is a checklist of the counter-intuitive things they should NOT do:
- Use generic keywords in a Google Ads campaign, such as plumbing, plumbers, or commercial plumbing.
- Fail to have a landing page for a click-through that specifically addresses the keyword or phrases they advertise on Google Ads.
- Have the mistaken idea that spending money (perhaps a lot of it) on a Google Ads campaign will produce a wonderful result. The expectation of this is always higher than the actual results, which can sometimes be abysmal.
The Supreme Effectiveness of Localized Results
This is the “Zen” of using Google Ads and the Google Ads Keyword Planner effectively, despite the oh-so-helpful, yet completely misleading, Google suggestions for using the Google Ads Keyword Planner.
Google’s official helpful suggestions are absurd. They use, as an example, a small shoe store that just opened with a brand new website, which uses the keyword “shoes” and other such generic keywords to attract attention.
This is COMPLETE nonsense, and this introductory stuff only makes the “newbies” waste a lot of money on paid advertising.
To avoid this waste of money, use the Google Keyword Planner as a research tool and start searching for new keywords and identifying search volume data,” and then be very careful and explicit in how you fill out the information requested by the form to do a Keyword Planner search.
For this test, we used the Google Ads Keyword Planner for our example of a Brighton Plumbing company looking for a more commercial business.
Here are the exact entries we made in the requested fields of the Google Ads Keyword Planner:
- Your product or service: commercial plumbing
- Your landing page: brioghtonplumber.com (Note: We are not affiliated with this real company, but we do hope they get lots of new business because we used them as a real example. That’s good karma.)
- Your product category: plumbing
- Targeting: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Here are the suggested keywords that come up using the Google Ads Keyword Planner that specifically relate to commercial plumbing in Brighton, UK:
|Average Monthly Searches
|Suggested Bid Per Click
|Plumbing and heating
|Central heating Brighton
Frequently Asked Questions About Keyword Planner:
What metrics should I look at in Keyword Planner?
- Focus on monthly searches, competition, CPC, trends, and search impression share data for insights.
How often should I use Keyword Planner for research?
- Ongoing research is ideal. Revisit at least quarterly to catch new trends and emerging keywords.
What is a good average CPC benchmark?
- Under $1 average, CPC is low competition, while $3+ indicates high competition for a term.
Should I export keywords to campaigns?
- Yes, shortlist viable keywords in Keyword Planner, then export to apply in paid ad groups.
How many keyword ideas should I aim for?
- Look for at least 50+ potential keyword variations, but vet thoroughly based on metrics.
Google AdWords Keyword Planner: Conclusion:
Google’s free Keyword Planner should be a go-to in your marketing stack for unlocking the best keywords to target. Use it for expansive research and digging into metrics like search volume, difficulty, and cost per click. Complement Planner with other keyword tools for the full picture. With regular analysis using Keyword Planner, you gain data-driven insights to optimize both paid and organic marketing efforts for maximum ROI.
The conclusion from our research regarding the effectiveness of the Google Ads Keyword Planner is that the tool is useful as an overview. Yet, a more serious and detailed evaluation is necessary to achieve successful results in any paid advertising campaign online. Have you any different views on this?