How to Use Google Keyword Planner for SEO

Written by: Jason Bayless | January 28, 2015

Performing keyword research is an important element of SEO. Otherwise, blindly choosing keywords on a hunch that you think will perform well is taking a shot in the dark at best. In order to find the right keywords for content, you need to utilize an effective tool. One of the most popular is the Google Keyword Planner because it’s not only free, but you know the information is dependable because it’s coming directly from Google. Here’s how to use this tool step by step.

Getting Set Up

First of all, you will need to take the time to set up an account if you haven’t done so already. This only takes a minute, and you’ll be ready to start using it. From there, you will want to visit the Keyword Planner homepage and click on “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas.” This will give you a few different options for performing keyword research. You can enter your product or service, landing page or product category. Typically, starting with a product or service is best because it’s simple and gives you a lot of keyword options.

If you’re looking to zone in on a specific audience, you can use the “Targeting” feature toward the bottom. You can also customize your search with keyword filters, keyword options and keywords to include.

Searching for Keyword Ideas

Once you’re ready to go, simply type in a broad search phrase in the “Your product or service” box, and then click on “Get ideas.” You will then see a graph of average monthly searches. Directly underneath that, there is the choice of choosing between “Adgroup ideas” and “Keyword ideas.” Click on “Keyword ideas” and a list of relevant keywords will pop up. This is where it starts to get interesting, and you can generate some great ideas for keywords to use in your content.

Knowing Which Keywords to Choose

When it comes to deciding on which keywords are best, there are a lot of different factors to consider. However, when you really break it all down, there are two factors that are most important and all you really need to know for basic keyword research. Those are the average number of monthly searches and competition level. Understanding these two factors is pretty straightforward. The average number of monthly searches is how many people on average search for a particular keyword phrase during the course of a month. The competition level is broken down to high, medium and low.

Ideally, you want to look for relevant keyword phrases that have the highest number of monthly searches and the lowest amount of competition. Because many keywords with a high number of monthly searches also have a high amount of competition, it’s often better to choose keywords that receive fewer searches, but have less competition.

For example, you would probably be better off choosing a keyword with only 1,900 monthly searches and low competition instead of a one with 8,100 monthly searches and high competition. That’s because it’s usually better to appear on the first page of search results with fewer searches than appear on the 10th page of search results where there’s a large amount of searches. Basically, it’s better to be seen by fewer people than be seen by no one.

Perfecting the Formula

To pick the perfect keywords, it often takes a little time browsing over the list, and it may take you awhile to really get the hang of it. However, with a little trial and error, you should be able to find great keywords with minimal effort. That way you can incorporate effective keywords into your content so that you stand a better chance of getting the attention of your target audience. The end result is a steady stream of organic traffic from search engines and visitors with a genuine interest in what you have to offer.