Google Keyword Planner 101: How This SEO Tool Gets Your Brand Found Online

By Chris Hislop October 13, 2023

What’s the first thing you do when you start writing a blog post? What about when you set up an advertising campaign in Google Ads? Hopefully, you make a beeline straight to Keyword Planner. It’s a free tool offered through Google Ads to help marketers, advertisers, and SEOs discover keyword insights, plan budgets, and develop campaigns.

There are quite a few keyword research tools available these days, like Moz or SEMrush. We’re not here to rank them or tell you why one tool is better than another (that’s mostly up to personal preference, budget, and desired features), but we do want to talk about Google Keyword Planner in more depth. It’s an essential tool for the digital marketer’s toolbox for several reasons. Let’s dig in.   

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Keyword Planner is helpful for uncovering keyword ideas. Let’s say that you want to build out a content marketing campaign for your company’s products, such as work gloves. To get started, search for “work gloves” and “gloves for work” in the tool. Or, enter a domain as a search filter. In this case you would enter the domain for your work gloves product page. Take a look at the screenshot below to get familiarized with the structure of Keyword Planner’s “Discover new keywords” feature.  

Google Keyword Ideas Output

Screenshot of Keyword Planner’s ideas output

When you hit Get Results, Keyword Planner will spit out a long list of related words and phrases. In this case, a few of the top results are “mechanics gloves,” “waterproof work gloves,” and “leather work gloves.” Maybe you sell latex gloves for healthcare professionals, so “mechanics gloves” isn’t a good choice. You’ll need to sort through the results and choose ones that will help searchers find your products. Go through and check off relevant keywords to add them to a plan, or download the entire list as a .csv to save for later.

Performance data to pay attention to

You’ll notice that Keyword Planner provides some performance data on suggested keywords, including:

  • Average Monthly Searches – How many people, on average, search for this term on Google each month. It’s better to use keywords that have a higher volume of monthly searches to get in front of more potential customers. 
  • Competition – Either low, medium, or high, this signifies how competitive one keyword is versus another. Competition level isn’t “good” or “bad”—it just signifies how frequently people are making those searches. 
  • Top of Page Bid – How much you’ll need to spend on a keyword for Google to show your ad on the first search engine results page (SERP). Marketers on a tight budget might want to pay close attention to this. 

These can help you determine which keywords are worth adding to your work gloves content campaign. It’s crucial to find out what search terms people are actually typing into Google so you can include those keywords in your content. As you probably already know, this boosts your website’s SEO can can increase traffic to your site. 

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How digital advertisers can use Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner is not only helpful to marketers building out content campaigns—it can also help digital advertisers build better campaigns. You don’t want to spend tons of time developing a digital advertising campaign just to have it completely flop because you didn’t do any keyword research. Finding and targeting the right keywords can get your ads in front of the right audience and impact the success of your campaign. 

Say you already have a list of keywords for a work gloves advertising campaign and you want to estimate out how your ads will perform. Google Keyword Planner will spit out pretty comprehensive results, including an overview:

Google Keyword Planner Results

Google Keyword Planner performance estimations

Not bad for a $1.2k spend! Keyword Planner will also predict how each individual keyword will perform based off historical performance, so you can cut out any duds from your keyword list. Quality is always better than quantity when it comes to keywords, so don’t be shy about removing keywords that don’t seem to be adding any value to your list. 

Ultimately, advertisers can use this tool to help estimate advertising budget, set realistic goals, and predict advertising ROI

If you skimmed this post…

If you’re ready to improve your website’s SEO and yield better advertising results, it’s time to start using Google Keyword Planner.

Want to learn more awesome inbound marketing terms? Check out our Inbound Marketing Definitions page or download our dictionary to keep as a reference.

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