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How to Use the Google Keyword Planner

Let’s Start with the Basics

What is the Google Keyword Planner? The Keyword Planner is a free tool by Google that is extremely useful for generating new keyword ideas that help you get off to a great start for your Google Adwords campaign,

The purpose of this book is to explain how to use Google’s Keyword Planner to strengthen your Adword campaign.

Getting Started

To get started, open your Adwords account and click on the wrench icon on the top right-hand side of your page. Then choose keyword planner.

Two Main Functions

When you start using the Keyword Planner, you’ll be given two options:

Option 1: Discover new keywords

Option 2: Search volume and forecasts

Decide which option fits what you’re looking for and click the blue arrow. In the next section we will dive into how you can use both of these tools.

Finding New Keywords

First, let’s take a look at the “Find Keywords” option. After clicking, you will see a box that says ‘Find New Keywords’ with a search bar.

Examples of Strong Themes

Go ahead, and click on the search bar, ‘enter words, phrases, or a URL related to your business’ and click the get started button. Examples of these words and phrases below.

For example, if you’re a nonprofit focused on providing clean water you could type ‘water nonprofit’ or ‘clean water’ in the search bar. If you are entering multiple words, phrases, or URLs you have to press enter in between each. When you do this you will see them lock in.

Get Results

Once you have a few words or phrases ready to go, go ahead and press the ‘Get Results’ button at the bottom of the box.

Diving into the Data

This screen is where you will find most of your valuable information. First at the top, you will see two tabs that say language and locations. These tabs are very useful as they let you tailor your results to the specific demographics desired.

Location Example

For example, if you want to get data from a specific city, you can click on the locations tab and type in that city. Simple type in the location/s you want data from and press enter. Press the blue save button below and your data will update.

Column Breakdown

  • In the second column from the left, you will find the average monthly searches of each of these keywords and a small blue line graph showing recent usage.
  • The next column shows the competition level for the keyword. This will be either ‘low,’ ‘medium,’ or ‘high.’ These tell you how difficult it would be receive a top position on a search page with the keyword.
  • On the right hand columns, you will find a minimum and maximum bids for the specific keywords.
  • The more competitive a keyword is (the more Google Ad users that are using it) the higher this bid will be. A ‘bid’ is Google’s word for the price that your account will pay to show up in search results.

Adding Your Keywords

We would recommend going through the keywords in the left-most column and clicking the checkbox by the keywords that deal specifically with your organization’s causes/work. From there you can add these keywords to your account through the blue bar that pops up:

Add the keywords to the ad groups or campaigns that fit, or add them to a new add group! You will be all set with your new keywords.

Get Search Volume/Forecasts

Let’s revisit the original screen from earlier. This time, we will go through the second available option: Get search volume and Forecasts.

Once you have clicked the ‘Get search volume and forecasts’ box, you’ll have a similar search bar to type in keywords similar to the last tool.

Keyword Results

This time, instead of typing general themes into the box, you will type in specific keywords you want to see the expected performance of.

Once you have done this, go ahead and click the blue ‘get started’ button.

Search Volume/ Forecasts

On the very top, you will see three tabs: Forecasts, Negative Keywords, and Historical Metrics. Each of these tabs will open a separate page of data.

  • Forecasts will give you the (projected) upcoming performance of each of the individual keywords that you typed in the original box.
  • Historical Metrics will show you the past data for these same keywords: featuring the number of searches, competition, and price points.
  • Negative Keywords will show any potential ‘negative’ keywords that would conflict with the keywords you look up. A negative keyword is something you can add to your Account to make sure your page doesn’t show up after a specific search.

For example, a nonprofit working to provide clean water may want to exclude the keyword ‘park’ so that searches for ‘water parks’ don’t result with their page.

Forecast Results

This box provides information that will largely indicate how successful or unsuccessful the keywords you provided will be. Within the context of the next month, it explains:

  • How many clicks ads affiliated with the keywords will likely receive.
  • How many conversions you can expect.
  • The average CPA (cost per action) for each of these conversions.
  • The number of overall impressions your ads will receive.
  • The expected cost for ads with these keywords.
  • The CTR (click-through rate) that your ads will have. Click-through rate is the percentage of users that see your ad and click on it against those who see your ad and do not click on it.
  • The average CPC which is the cost per click on your ad.
  • The average position which says where your ad will rank on the search results.


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