Seriously Everything You Need to Know about Google’s Keyword Planner: A Tutorial

So, you need keyword ideas. I do, too. How about Google’s new Keyword Planner (you know, the one that replaced the old Keyword Tool)? Perfect, right? Just keep in mind that it’s not exactly no-strings-attached—you’ll need to log in through AdWords now.

When viewing the AdWords dashboard, simply click “Tools and Analysis” in the main navigation bar, and “Keyword Planner” will be the fifth option from the top (or just reach it directly here). Found it? Great. Let’s get down to the keywords.

Here are your three options:

  1. Search for keyword and ad group ideas
    1. Reminiscent of the keyword tool, you can search by “Your product or service” or in other words, the keywords you already have.
    2. “Your landing page” is the site page you want to search for relevant keywords. Simply enter a URL here.
    3. “Your product category” offers a drop down menu with a variety of choices that will funnel you down to your niche.
  2. Enter or upload keywords to see how they perform
    1. This is the old Traffic Estimator with some added features, including bid adjustment, daily budget adjustment, and adding new ad groups as well as the ability to view effects on cost across the board, a bid range slider, and easy match type adjustment.
  3. Multiple keyword list
    1. This looks to be a very closely replicated MergeWords tool
      1. MergeWords takes columns of keywords of your choosing and does exactly that—merges them.
      2. This Multiple keyword list does the same for up to 3 columns.
Keyword Planner Options

Enter your data and then select “Get estimates” or “Get ideas.” Both options will lead you to the “Add ideas to your plan” page where you can:

  • Search for more keywords
  • Add ad groups or keyword ideas to your plan
  • Add negative keywords right to your trial ad groups
  • Edit match types
  • See estimated performance by CPC, Impressions or Cost per day
  • Target by location or language
  • And Download the whole thing to CSV for Excel or AdWords Editor—whatever tickles your fancy

So let’s talk about the keywords and ad group ideas. There are two separate tabs, one for keywords and one for ad groups, but they both have the same general columns:

  1. Keywords
    A list of keywords deemed relevant to your seed keyword list.
  2. Average monthly searches
    This number is averaged over a 12 month period for the exact keyword based on the targeting settings that you have selected, not including your language setting. If you see a dash (-) then there’s not enough data collected. This number is also not match type specific; you’ll have to look on the “Review estimates” page for that.
  3. Competition
    This is how many advertisers are bidding on that specific keyword in relation to all keywords across Google. The higher the competition, the more you will likely have to spend, but you probably already knew that.
  4. Average CPC
    Your Cost Per Click, which here is the average of all bids across all positions specific to your location and search network targeting.
  5. Ad Impression Share
    Defined as the number of impressions you’ve received divided by the total number of searches for the location and network you’re targeting that matched the keyword exactly in the last calendar month. Basically that means it’s the percentage of what your ad was shown out of its viewing eligibility over the last month.
  6. Pencil Icon
    Okay, okay, so this isn’t a column but it is a pretty important dropdown, which is more or less your edit button. In this case, it’s what you’ll use to change your match type, which affects your click and cost estimate.
Keyword Planner ideas

Set Your Targeting Options

Targeting in Keyword PlannerTake a look on the left hand side of the page, and you’ll find Google AdWords “Targeting” options. Endless choices are at your fingertips here like targeting all locations, to your hometown, and anything in between. Pick the default language of your target audience. Does Google provide a broad enough reach for your needs, or would you like to be found by their search partners as well? Set this option accordingly. Selling only “Fire engine red tennis shoes” on your site? Well then you better add the rest of the colors of the rainbow into your negative keywords so that people won’t bounce right off your site when they find you for “ruby red shoes.”

Customize your search optionsNow “Customize your search”.

  • Keyword filters include Avg. monthly searches, Avg. CPC, and Ad impression share. You can even select how much competition you would like to compete with for your keyword selections.
  • Keyword options let you toggle on/off for adult ideas, Keyword ideas that already exist in your account and keywords that already exist in your plan.
  • Include/Exclude allows you to make certain words mandatory in your keyword ideas or exclude them altogether from your generated ideas list.

Finally! Your Plan!
There it is on the right hand side of the page!

  1. To add keywords or ad group ideas to “Your Plan” just click the >> to the right of whichever one looks to be a great choice for a very relevant search term that you could rank for and watch it appear in your plan. From there you can see how many keywords you have added and which ad groups that you selected. It will show you the daily estimated clicks and what that would cost you.
    Add keywords to your plan
  2. bid range in keyword plannerThere’s also a bid range that you can adjust to help AdWords adjust your estimates. You can adjust it to show not only the maximum spend you would allow for a single click but the minimum that you wish to spend. Moving the bid range up from $0.00 will show you how many clicks and cost for the price that you select as a minimum.
  3. And . . . you have your keywords planned! You can download that baby to a CSV, or start all over again. Like everything else in the keyword planner—it’s your choice.
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Jake Barker

Digital Marketing Coordinator
Jake is a Digital Marketing Coordinator at Customer Magnetism. When he is in the office you can find him brainstorming or creating content strategies with coffee in hand and various bags of chips at his desk. He also enjoys snowboarding and turn of the century pop punk.
  • Great to see a tutorial that includes all the new updates!

  • Abel Castillo

    really nice info.