Do you want to find the right keywords to increase organic traffic to your website? If so, knowing how to use Google Keyword Planner will really come in handy!
Google Keyword Planner is a powerful tool you can use to identify new keyword ideas and blog post topics, and boost your search engine rankings. That said, it can be a little confusing to figure out how to use it if you’re new to the tool.
In this article, we’ll show you how to use Google Keyword Planner and get the most out of it to improve your SEO performance.
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Now, let’s go ahead and jump into our tutorial on how to use Google Keyword Planner.
How to Use Google Keyword Planner
Step 1: Set Up a Google Ads Account
Before you start using Google Keyword Planner, you’ll need a Google account. If you don’t have one, creating an account only takes a few minutes.
Once you’ve created an account, go to the Google Ads home page and click Start Now. Now select your Google account to sign in.
After signing in, Google Ads will walk you through setting up your account and your first ad. You will have to add your credit card information whether you plan to run Ads or not. If you do not wish to run the ad that you create during set up, you can immediately pause it after adding your credit card information and going to your ad settings.
Just remember to pause it right away, or you will incur charges if someone clicks the ad. Google will also put a temporary $50 authorization on your card.
Step 2: Access Google Keyword Planner
To open Google Keyword Planner, click Tools & Settings on the right top corner. And then from the drop-down menu, select Keyword Planner listed under Planning.
You’ll then see two options:
- Discover new keywords – This option gives you new keyword ideas that you can use to increase your website traffic.
- Get search volume and forecasts – You can use this option to find out the historical trend, search volume, and future forecast for a list of keywords.
We’ll be discussing both the options and how you can use them in our tutorial . Let’s start with discover new keywords.
Step 3: Try the Discover New Keywords Option
After selecting Discover new keywords, you’ll see two tabs: Start with keywords and Start with a website.
Start With Keywords
Under Start with keywords, you can enter words (example: Google Analytics) or phrases (example: how to use Google Analytics) to find keywords. Enter up to 10 keywords/phrases, and if you want, you can enter a domain to use as a filter. After entering the search terms, click Get Results.
Start With a Website
If you go with the Start with a website option, you can enter a website URL to find keyword ideas. Google Keyword Planner uses the website you entered as a source and brings up search terms for you to use.
It even gives you a choice to search the entire website or a specific page. After entering the URL, click Get Results.
This option is perfect for looking at what your competitors are doing and finding ideas from their keywords. Just enter their website URL and see the keywords they’re working on.
Once you click the Get Results button, Google Keyword Planner will bring up results using the URL or the keywords you entered and suggest lots of new keyword ideas.
For example, when we entered Google Analytics as our search term, the tool showed us 816 keyword ideas available. It also suggests other keyword ideas you can add to broaden your search result.
For each keyword shown by Google Keyword Planner, you’ll see four metrics:
- Avg. monthly searches – This shows a range of how many searches the term receives every month, so you know which keywords get the most traffic.
- Competition – This represents how difficult is it to get an ad placement (usually described as low, medium, or high), but you also use it a basic metric to see the competition on the organic keyword, too.
- Top of page bid (low range) – This shows the lowest price advertisers would pay for a top of page bid.
- Top of page bid (high range) – This number shows the highest price advertisers would pay for a top page bid.
You can use additional filters to find new keywords based on location, language, search network, and time period. Just click the items in the top bar next to your search term.
Step 4: Try the Get Search Volumes and Forecasts Option
Now, let’s take a look at the other option for finding keywords from Step 2 above. Return to the Keyword Planner main screen and click on the Get search volume and forecasts tile.
Then you’ll enter your keywords or phrases in the box, separated by commas, and click Get Started.
Now click the Forecast link in the left sidebar.
For the keywords you entered, Google Keyword Planner will forecast the total number of conversions, clicks, impressions (how many times your ad would be displayed if you were running ads), overall cost, click-through rate (CTR), and the cost-per-click (CPC) you could expect for the next 30 days.
It further breaks down each keyword forecast into individual clicks, impressions, cost, click-through-rate (CTR), and average CPC.
There are no keyword ideas in this report, as it’s meant to display only information for the specific keywords you entered.
Google Keyword Planner is meant for advertisers, but it has a lot of SEO value. For starters, it’s 100% FREE! And it offers a good starting point to find keywords for your business.
You can look up individual search terms or enter a website address to see keywords. The bidding values and competition level metrics are great for analyzing how valuable keywords are to other advertisers. It helps you select transactional keywords that can help you increase sales.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for more detailed information about keywords and your competition, you might want to use some of the alternatives below.
How to Choose Keywords Using Google Keyword Planner
Choosing which keywords to focus on can be hard, but choosing the right ones can make or break your SEO strategy and your organic traffic numbers.
In general, there are a few best practices to use when choosing keywords:
- Choose a variety of keywords that are both more and less competitive. It’ll take you longer to rank for the more competitive ones, whereas you might be able to rank for the less competitive ones sooner. This gives you some balance between getting traffic sooner and later.
- Dive further into each keyword before targeting it with content. Use another keyword research tool and your own Google searches to expand your research. Look for keyword variations, “people also ask” questions, and other related keywords or topics that you might want to roll into your content.
- Don’t give up on keywords because they don’t have a huge search volume. Sure, you want to target keywords with some volume, but if it’s a solid topic for your site, cover it anyway. Organic traffic isn’t the only type of traffic! You can also create content that’s perfect for newsletters or social media but doesn’t have a huge organic search volume. At least, not yet!
Now that you know how to use Google Keyword planner to find new keyword ideas, let’s take a look at its alternatives.
3 Best Google Keyword Planner Alternatives
Google Keyword Planner is a free yet powerful tool to get great keyword ideas. However, its primary goal is to help people who want to run pay-per-click (PPC) ads using Google Ads. There are other SEO plugins and tools that offer other, different features.
So, if you want explosive SEO performance, we recommend you look at the following Google Keyword Planner alternatives and fine-tune your keyword research.
Semrush is another popular SEO tool, and you can use it as an alternative to Google Keyword Planner. The tool is packed with features that will not only boost your SEO performance, but also help you improve your content, social media presence, and paid traffic.
Many SEO professionals prefer Semrush because of its keyword research tool. You can enter any search term, and it will show you detailed information about its search volume, CPC (if you plan on running ads) and a complete view of search results.
By looking at the search results, you can easily understand the search intent behind a keyword. This way, you know what searchers a looking for, and you can create content based on their needs.
Ahrefs is one of the best SEO tools you can get your hands on. It offers powerful features, which makes it a great Google Keyword Planner alternative.
Many SEO experts and business owners prefer this premium tool (or access their free tools) for understanding their competition. You can enter any URL, and Ahrefs will show you detailed reports about the keywords, their rankings, the total number of backlinks, top pages, and content gaps between your competitor’s and your website.
Its keyword research tool is also very powerful and gives similar information to SEMRush. You can use it to find new ideas and see which keywords to focus on your website.
Enter the keyword or topic you’re interested in and, in return, get a bunch of possible search queries people might enter into search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
You can use the questions and keyphrases you find in your article to expand the possibilities for organic search terms you might rank for. This tool is incredibly helpful in finding what people are searching for that’s related to your term or topic.
Bonus: How to Track Organic Traffic in WordPress
If you’ve got a WordPress site, there’s an awesome way to track all the new organic traffic you’re going to be getting after following this tutorial on using Keyword Planner.
MonsterInsights is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It allows you to easily connect your WordPress site with Google Analytics (both Universal Analytics and GA4), so you can view all the data that matters most right in your WordPress dashboard.
Plus, with the click of a button, you can set up sophisticated tracking features such as event tracking, eCommerce tracking, form tracking, custom dimension tracking, outbound link tracking, and more.
One of its key features that makes it an awesome tool to use alongside Google Keyword Planner is its Search Console report. The report lets you see the exact search terms or keywords your users are using to find your website.
To view the report, go to Insights » Reports and then click on the Search Console tab.
The report shows you your top Google search terms plus how many clicks it got, its impressions, click-through-rate (CTR), and its average position.
Using the report, you can identify keyword ideas and target them to increase your organic traffic.
And that’s it.
We hope you liked our article on how to use Google Keyword Planner. Since you’ve made it this far, you might also want to check out our definitive guide to Google Analytics for publishers.