Using Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is one of the most useful tools for search optimisation that SEOs have under their belts, making it the go-to since roughly 2005. With its free access plans, easily navigable dashboards, and – as the name suggests – the fact data is pulled directly from Google itself, this is a fantastic tool for beginners and seasoned search engine optimisation experts alike.

In this guide, we’ll give you a complete rundown of this platform, touching on the benefits, how to use it, and how you can use it to fully optimise your keyword research.

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So, what are the basics of Google Keyword Planner?

Google Keyword Planner might have originally been designed for planning and exercising PPC campaigns, it’s also been co-opted by SEOs for keyword research. 

With the following functionalities, you can successfully plot, plan and even analyse your competition – which is quite impressive, considering all you need to start is a free Google Ads account.

Unpick search volume

Keyword Planner offers estimates on how frequently search terms are looked up on Google over a set timeframe. From here, SEOs can somewhat confidently determine how much potential a keyword has, helping them form strategies with plenty of opportunity for growth.

Keyword research

The planner can also help you ideate new keywords – and by extension, content ideas – related to your business, industry or specialisms. To do this, just input your seed keywords or a competing page to get the ball rolling.

Competitor analysis

When looking at certain keywords, you can glean how competitive it is by low, medium and high rankings. These levels tell you how difficult it might be to rank successfully for that term on the SERP.

Getting the most out of Google Keyword Planner

As the name suggests, you’ll mainly be looking at keyword-based activity for SEO on this platform. So where do you start?

Finding fresh keywords

When you need to brainstorm new ideas, turn to the planner. You get two options to start your research, with either the keywords themselves or a website.

With keywords, all you have to do is enter a few ‘seeds’ that tie into your website or industry – each separated by a comma. Or alternatively, you can enter your own website or a competitor’s URL to see which keywords are being searched by a chosen pool of users.

But what should you do if you already have a full list of keywords? To check on their search volume and get a proper look at their potential, you can get specific reports and forecasts. All you have to do is paste your keywords into the search bar, hit enter and you’re away!

Export Your Data

Need to take your findings on the go? You can export your files to be shared with the wider time or even place it into an Excel file to help you filter what you need – and shift what you don’t.

By selecting “download keyword ideas”, you will be able to pop them into Google Sheets or CSV files.

Analysing results

Once you’ve produced some data, there are a few metrics you can consider – likely varying in importance from strategy to strategy. But as a baseline, here are the main ones to keep in mind:


This indicates how difficult it might be to rank for the keyword. While lower search volumes might be easier to nab, higher-ranking ones are often the most popular with users, so it’s important to be discerning and have a fair mix of the two.

Monthly searches

To help you understand the potential traffic attributed to a keyword, this metric shows the estimated number of searches for that keyword per month.


Although this is mostly used by PPC experts for insights on their paid ads, impressions can also give SEOs a more general sense of keyword traffic.

How do I choose the right keywords?

As we touched on earlier, it’s not all about volume. It’s also about contextual clues and user intent, which will help you structure your content around the keywords your audience is actually – and actively – searching for.

These include:

  • Relevance: Only choose keywords that are relevant to your target audience.
  • Long-tail keywords: For better targeting and less competition, use long-tail keywords.
  • User Intent: Streamline your content by fully understanding the intent behind searches (informational, transactional, commercial and navigational.).

Final thoughts

When used alongside other SEO activities, such as link building, on-page optimisation and even design factors such as UX and design – Google Keyword Planner is a tool that’ll always come in handy. But when your research might need a little extra help, or you need some guidance on supplementing your existing plans, our experts can help.

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