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Google Keyword Planner – Ways to use it

by Sorbaioli
Google Keyword Planner - Ways to use it

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Wait, do you often use the Google keyword planner?!?

Here is what some search professionals tell me, surprised. While SEM is one of the most prolific disciplines in terms of tools, and some publishers like SEMRush have managed to dominate the market, the Keyword Planner may seem simplistic and outdated.

And yet, in my opinion, it is one of the most powerful free tools you can use for your digital marketing! Let’s review in this article 10 concrete ways to use the Keyword Planner that Google makes available to you for free.

1 / Find new keywords for your Google Ads campaigns (or to improve the SEO of your content)

The Keyword Planner was invented by Google to help advertisers find new keywords

“Finding new keywords”: this is precisely the “classic” use of the Keyword Planner. Indeed, the tool was originally designed by Google to allow Google ads advertisers to “find ideas for keywords that will help you reach customers interested in your products or services”.

The inputs accepted by the Google keyword planner

In the “Find new keywords” section, all you need to do is enter a few starting keywords (up to 10) for the Keyword Planner to generate a complete list of interesting terms around the same semantic field.

You can also generate keyword ideas from a domain (eg your site) or a specific URL (eg one of your landing pages).

Finally, you can combine up to 10 seed keywords with a URL that will act as a “filter” for the generated keyword list.

Generate a list of thousands of relevant keywords, and get valuable insights for each one

Once you have entered your starting keywords/URLs, all you have to do is click on “Get results” to obtain a list of keyword ideas that belong to the same semantic fields.

This list of keywords will certainly give you ideas of queries to target for your Google Ads campaigns.

It can also help you optimize the semantics of your content, to improve its relevance to search engines.

For each keyword, the Keyword Planner gives you by default:

  • the average monthly search volume on Google
  • the seasonality of requests
  • the level of competition
  • CPCs min. and max. to pay in the case of paid referencing.

In particular, knowing the number of times a keyword is searched for per month is valuable information. Indeed, one of the basic rules in search is to target keywords searched at least 1000 times per month, so that they can generate decent traffic on your website.

Note, however, that the Keyword Planner will be limited, at most, to a few thousand keyword ideas at most. Other search tools, like SEMRush, can generate 100x more keyword ideas. Nevertheless, the Keyword Planner is an excellent starting point, knowing in particular that its use is completely free.

2 / Use the Google Keyword Planner to quantify your market

In a few minutes, you will know how many monthly searches are made in your sector

In the pure marketing approach, we first seek to know the size of our market.

Quantifying demand makes it possible to assess whether the market segment targeted by the company is large enough to be profitable.

Since the Keyword Planner provides you with the search volumes associated with each keyword for free, it is very easy to add up the number of searches counted on all the keywords associated with your sector to quantify the demand for your product category.

For example, in the screenshot below, we can clearly see that the credit redemption market accounts for between 150k and 300k searches per month on Google.

Get an accurate quantification of your market by downloading Keyword Planner data

Although the Keyword Planner charts give you a first idea of ​​the size of your market, it is possible to quantify your market even more precisely by downloading the Keyword Planner data into a spreadsheet.

To do this, you just need to follow the following process:

  1. Generate a complete list of interesting keywords for your business
  2. Exclude from the list irrelevant keywords, competitors, queries that do not correspond to the intentions you are targeting
  3. Export the complete list to a spreadsheet
  4. Sum the search volumes.

By following this approach on a list of keywords generated from the keyword “iphone case”, we learn for example that this market accumulates around 1.6 million Google queries per month. To obtain this information, it was simply enough to make a sum in a spreadsheet.

3 / Use the Keyword Planner to find profitable niches

The Keyword Planner lets you create “intent segments”

Knowing the size of a market is valuable marketing information. But this is still not enough. Because, indeed, your market is made up of different segments. Each segment you identify is an opportunity to make your marketing strategy more relevant.

With the list of keywords generated by the Keyword Planner, you will be able to define different “intention” segments. These will then allow you to tailor your offers and your communication as closely as possible to what customers are really looking for.

  • But how do you know if you are targeting attractive niches?
  • That is to say market niches large enough to be profitable,
  • and with less intense competition?

Again, you have all the necessary data in the Google Keyword Planner.

Combine search volumes and competition index to identify the most attractive segments

To determine which “segments of intentions” are the most attractive for your business, you will have to export the data from the Keyword Planner and cross-reference two variables: the search volumes and the competition index given by the tool.

  1. As with quantifying your market, start by generating a list of keywords, excluding irrelevant terms and exporting everything to an excel sheet
  2. In your spreadsheet, fill in a new column for each keyword with a “label” that will designate the market segment to which the keyword belongs (use filters in your spreadsheet to apply your labels in just a few minutes)
  3. Make a pivot table that will show your labels in rows and in columns the monthly search volumes and the competition index between 0 and 100 given by the Google Keyword Planner
  4. Then identify the segments designated by your labels that combine both a high volume of searches and a low competition index.

For example, the graph above maps different market segments identified on the basis of the keyword “rental investment”.

  • We understand that the segments at the top left of the matrix (in green) are priority segments because they record a lot of searches and intentions, but have relatively low competition.
  • In contrast, the lower right quadrant (in red) highlights segments to avoid; they concentrate little demand, and are hyper-competitive.

4 / Use the Keyword Planner to identify conversion / information / exclusion requests

CONVERSION queries: Sort keywords in descending order by their top-of-page bid

The Keyword Planner is capable of generating thousands of keyword ideas. But how do you know which ones have business value?

We can assume that if Google Ads advertisers are willing to pay dearly for a keyword, it is because it brings them just as much in terms of leads and sales.

So all you need to do is rank the keywords in descending order of their “Top of Page Bid (High Range)”.

The top of page bid shows, according to Google, “the highest amounts advertisers had to pay for a keyword’s top of page bid. This data takes into account your geographical area and the parameters of your campaign on the Search Network”.

You will also see for yourself that the keywords that appear at the top of the list often reflect a strong commercial intention. To sort by this column, simply click on the column header.

INFORMATION Queries: Sort keywords in ascending order if you want to get content ideas

If you use the Google Keyword Planner in order to have ideas for content to create (and not necessarily to send to a landing page and convert traffic), sort the keywords in ascending order.

By doing so, you will see the least “expensive” keywords in your category first. You will find that these are often informational requests. That is to say that Internet users seek above all information, and not a service.

You can capitalize on these questions people ask to get an idea of ​​what kind of content to produce.

EXCLUDE queries: generate “irrelevant” keyword ideas to exclude them from your campaigns

Adding negative keywords to your Google Ads campaigns is imperative, at the risk of losing a lot of money.

The “classic” way to find negative keywords is to look at the search terms report, once your campaigns are delivering impressions and clicks…

However, the Google Keyword Planner can help you identify, even before you have spent the slightest dollar, negative keywords to exclude from your campaigns.

When you look at the complete list of keyword ideas generated by the Keyword Planner, you will certainly find expressions that are not relevant to your business:

  • it can be a brand that you don’t sell,
  • or variations of products that you do not sell
  • or an overly informational query that you don’t want to pay/appear for

By capitalizing on these “irrelevant” finds, you can then find similar/same-intent related keywords that you want to exclude from your campaigns.

5 / Use the Keyword Planner to predict the performance of a Google Ads campaign

If you already have a specific list of keywords in mind, create a “plan” in Keyword Planner

If you already have a specific list of keywords you want to bid on in SEA, the Google Keyword Planner can tell you what specific search volume you’re about to target. To do this, simply use the “Get search volumes and forecasts” function of the keyword planner.

By choosing this option, you can use a list of thousands of keywords if you wish. The Keyword Planner even gives you the option of importing an Excel file with your complete list if it is very long.

Anticipate the performance of a Google Ads campaign that would target the keywords on your list

Once your list of keywords has been imported into the Keyword Planner, the tool will generate a “plan” for you.

By then clicking on the “Prediction” tab, you will access estimates of clicks, conversions and cost (the tool assumes that you are going to create a Google Ads campaign that would target the keywords that you have imported into the plan).

Below, you will also find other forecasts, relating to any media metric that interests you (click, CTR, CPC, conversion, etc.). Estimates are also made based on the “Devices” and “Places” dimensions.

6 / Use the Keyword Planner to know the budget to invest in SEA

The previous tip showed you how to anticipate spending for a Google Ads campaign

Very often, when you start using the Google Keyword Planner, it’s because you’re considering using Google Ads in your marketing strategy, and there, all entrepreneurs always ask themselves the same question at some point: what budget should I invest in Google Ads to achieve my business goals?

The previous paragraph has already explained how to anticipate the performance of a future Google Ads campaign, and therefore predict its advertising expenses. It’s a good start.

Note that if you already have active campaigns, and you would like to know how much to budget to achieve the conversion volume / CPA you want, you could also use the Google Ads performance planner.

7 / Use the Keyword Planner to analyze the seasonality of different keywords and better orchestrate your commercial animation

Google Trends is a great tool for studying search trends, but it has limitations

To analyze keyword trends, a lot of marketers use Google Trends, and it’s a great start.

The problem is that the tool can only assess trends for very generic keywords, and it limits you to studying 5 keywords at a time.

The Keyword Planner gives you information on the search volumes of all keywords, month by month

Google Keyword Planner also happens to tell you the seasonality of each term it suggests.

When you export the data, you even get precise search volumes, over the last twelve months!

Thus, with the Keyword Planner, you have more details and precisions on the real intentions of people : in addition to the most generic terms of your sector, you will also know how the searches for long tail keywords evolve over time. ‘year.

Do a simple “seasonality index” to know “what” to grow and “when”

To make it easier to read the data, I advise you to create a search seasonality index. Concretely, for each keyword, the month that concentrates the most searches corresponds to an index of 100.

By normalizing the data for all keywords, it becomes simple to identify which keywords are seeing their “annual peak” in searches, for each month of the year.

With such granular data, you’ll identify precisely what needs to be pushed, and when. You will make better tactical decisions on the categories of products to highlight from a marketing point of view (merchandising on your site, e-mailing campaigns, content on social networks, etc.)

8 / Analyze the volumes of requests at the “City” level

You can limit the results of the Keyword Planner to a specific location

Many companies have a local activity. This is the case of a retail business, which serves a well-defined catchment area, but also of a B2B company which, for example, only works with customers in its region.

In this specific case, knowing how many times a particular keyword is searched for throughout the country is not entirely satisfactory. The good news is that you can select the precise city or locality that interests you in the geographical criteria of the Keyword Planner.

Stay at the national level, but know in which cities a keyword is more searched

If you are rather asking yourself the question “in which region / department / city / municipality these keywords are the most searched for”, you also have a way to find this information with the Keyword Planner.

Start by creating a plan with the keyword(s) that interest you, ticking them and then clicking on “Add the keyword”. Remember to add the keywords in exact targeting to obtain volumes on this specific request only.

Once your plan is displayed on the screen, you can change the graphs of the latter and choose “Breakdown by geographical area”. From there, you can have the search percentage of your keywords according to the geographical granularity that interests you the most.

9 / Take inspiration from your competitors to find new keywords

Start by generating a list of keywords from your competitor’s website

As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, the keyword planner allows you to find new keywords based on a specific website / URL.

Of course, you can use it for your own site. But another use case that works really well is using your competitors’ sites. This will allow you to see:

  • on what types of keywords their sites seem “relevant” to the Google algorithm
  • the size in search volume of their “natural” market
  • and what are “their” profitable niche opportunities

Remember to remove all keyword ideas that contain your competitors’ brand

To make the list truly actionable, you may need to remove any keywords that contain your competitor’s brand.

10 / Playing on SEO and SEA complementarity

Start by linking your Google Ads and Google Search Console accounts

As we have already discussed on this blog, a good holistic search strategy will take into account both natural referencing (SEO) AND paid search (SEA).

What few marketers know is that the Google Keyword Planner can help you beef up your SEO – SEA strategy.

To do this, you must first ensure that your Google Ads account is associated with your Google Search Console account. Go to “Tools and Settings > Linked Accounts > Google Search Consol e” to link your two properties.

Then use these columns available in the list of keyword ideas generated by the Keyword Planner

Once your accounts are linked, you will get valuable data for each keyword idea directly in the keyword list generated by the Keyword Planner:

  • your natural impression rate: this is the frequency (in percentage) with which your site appeared in the results during searches relating to a keyword idea.
  • your average organic position: this column shows how your website ranks in organic search results compared to other websites.

To display this new information, in the Google Keyword Planner, you will need to add these columns by clicking on the “Edit columns” icon.

Then make filters to know on which specific keywords you need to do Google Ads campaigns

At this stage, you will be able to filter the list of keyword ideas to know exactly on which keywords it would be interesting to bid in SEA, given your current SEO performance.

In another article, I told you about the matrix to audit your SEO + SEA visibility. This tool allows you to categorize your keywords according to four quadrants.

For keywords in the “air holes” and “SEO” quadrant, you should try to boost your Google Ads visibility.

To identify keywords from Google Keyword Planner suggestions that fall into these two quadrants, filter the list of keyword ideas as follows:

Average natural position > 4

Your site does not appear in the first 3 positions of Google.

Natural impression rate < 20%

Your site appears less than 20% of the time in the organic results.

Ad impression rate < 20%

Your site appears less than 20% of the time in paid results.


These 10 concrete use cases of the Google Keyword Planner prove that it is certainly one of the most powerful free tools that you can use for your digital marketing.

The information that the Keyword Planner is able to deliver goes far beyond the fields of Google Ads alone. The tool can give you unique insights into your market, and also help you produce content that will have a better chance of appearing in organic search engine results.


Google Keyword Planner FAQs


The Google Keyword Planner is a completely free tool. To access it, you must open a Google Ads account. However, it is not mandatory to have active advertising campaigns to benefit from the tool.


First, you need a Google Ads account. Then, you can access the keyword planner in the Tools > Planning > Keyword Planning section.


If you have a Google Ads account but have never activated a single ad campaign, the Keyword Planner will give you monthly search volume ranges rather than a specific number. It is possible to work around this problem via 2 methods, without having to spend 1€ on advertising:

  1. Either you add your keywords in [exact match] to a plan, then adjust the CPC of your plan to the maximum, to finally look at the number of impressions provided by the Keyword Planner (we will then consider that 1 impression = 1 request)
  2. Either you can install the free Keywords Everywhere Chrome extension which, among other things, will show the exact search volumes when you use the Keyword Planner

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