Google Ads (AdWords) is the most popular advertising platform used by marketers and businesses worldwide. And, it has the broadest reach when it comes to where you can display your ads.
However, given the sheer number of people using this platform to advertise, it becomes very difficult to get your ads to rank for relevant keywords. For any given keyword, there might be hundreds or thousands of advertisers competing for it. So, you need to find and use the right keywords that you can actually rank for.
The Google Ads Keyword Planner helps you do exactly that. It not only helps you discover new keywords but also helps you select the best ones out of thousands of options.
But, to be able to fully utilize the tool, you need to be aware of its key features, user interface, filters, and more.
In this post, we will detail seven key things you should know before you start using the Google Ads Keyword Planner. This includes understanding how to use the tool in the best possible way using all of its brilliant features.
So, read on and learn everything that you need to know about using the Keyword Planner.
1. Filters to Refine the Scope and Reach of Search
Google Ads Keyword Planner is a brilliant tool that helps you with keyword research for your ad campaigns. However, if you simply type in a topic and look at the results, you will see more keywords than you can possibly check manually. And, even if you use keyword filters, this list will be too long.
That is why you need to refine your keyword search, from the very start, to get a more relevant list of keywords. The Keyword Planner provides several filtering options that can narrow down the scope of your search.
Here are some of the filters that you can use to refine and sort your keyword list:
This filter will let you find keywords only in specific languages and will filter out the keywords in any other language. The search volume data for your keywords will also be specific to searches in a particular language.
This feature is especially helpful if you have different copies of web pages in multiple languages. Using this, you can find language-specific keywords instead of using the same keywords for all.
This provides you with search volume data for keywords from specific locations. You can also find keywords trends for a specific location, instead of global trends. These trends vary from location to location and you should narrow your searches to include only the regions that your business is present in.
This filter is especially useful for local or regional businesses as they need to find location-specific search trends and keyword performance data. So, if you are focusing on local SEO, then you should use this filter.
Another way to narrow down your search results is to leverage negative keywords. These are basically the keywords that you do not want your ads to rank for.
Negative keywords are very important in refining your keyword searches because you don’t want irrelevant or unrelated keywords.
Sometimes, one word might have two meanings, one of which is completely unrelated to your business. If you use the negative keyword filter for such terms, then you will only find relevant and useful keywords for your campaigns.
This filter decides where the data on keywords and search trends come from. You can choose the entire web or restrict it to only Google and Google Search Partners.
This filter allows you to select a time period to restrict your search results. This means that you will see the keyword search volumes and trends for a specific period of time.
2. Keyword Filters
The next thing that you need to know about using Google Ads Keyword Planner is the different types of keyword filters. These filters help you find the most relevant keywords for your business, from a list of keywords.
The Keyword Planner has several such keywords filters, here are some of the key ones:
Average Monthly Searches
This option can be used to sort and filter keywords based on their average number of monthly searches. Keywords with extremely high average monthly searches are more popular and difficult to compete for. It is also more expensive to bid for such popular keywords.
Therefore, you should select keywords that have a good number of average monthly searches but are not extremely competitive. Using this filter, you can easily sort your keyword list and select the keywords that provide a perfect balance between popularity and competition.
Organic Average Position
This shows your page rankings for a particular keyword as compared to other pages ranking for the same keywords. This option is only available if your Google Analytics account is linked with your Google Ads account.
Organic Impression Share
This shows the percentage of times your page ranked for a keyword that it was targeting. This option is only available if your Google Analytics account is linked with your Google Ads account.
This helps you select the right keywords for your business based on the recommended bid for those keywords. Suggested bid is basically how much you would spend per click for an ad targeting that keyword.
While selecting keywords for your ads, you also need to keep your budget in mind. You cannot select too many money keywords and overshoot your budget. Therefore, you should use this filter to find the best mix of keywords that are relevant and also within your budget.
Ad Impression Share
This is a very useful metric that shows you the share of people who actually see an ad for a keyword after searching for that keyword. This gives you an idea of how likely it is that your ad will be viewed if you target a particular keyword.
As the name suggests, this filter can sort keywords based on how difficult they are to compete for. The higher the competition, the more difficult it would be to rank for that keyword.
3. Key Search Options/Features
Now that you have an idea about the various filtering options for keyword searches, let’s get down to the actual search part. You can do a lot of things using the Keyword Planner, which includes but is not limited to just finding new keywords.
In fact, it is an all-in-one platform that helps you with all aspects of keyword research and planning for your ad campaigns.
Here are a few things that you can accomplish using the Google Ads Keyword Planner:
Discover New Keywords
The primary use of this tool is to find new keywords that you can target. This can be accomplished using the “Discover New Keywords” option right on the homepage.
You simply need to type a topic, industry, niche, product, or anything that you want related keywords for. Whatever you type in the search box, you will find related keywords for that.
Once you enter the search term, you will be directed to the results page which will show you a list of related keywords.
You can use the reach and keyword filters mentioned above to sort through this list and find the best keywords for your business.
You can also use the “Grouped Ideas” tab to find sets of related keywords based on a primary keyword.
Get Data on Search Volume and Trends
The Google Ads Keyword Planner is not just for finding keywords but also for helping you make the right selection. The search volume and trends data can help you do exactly that.
You can enter one or more keywords that you want to get this data for and simply look at the results.
This option is best for people who already have a list of keywords and just want to check their performance metrics. A lot of marketers will already have data from website analytics tools about the keywords that they are ranking for. In this case, you do not need to search for new keywords but just analyze and refine your existing keyword list.
Multiply Keyword Lists
This is a very useful feature that is not available in most other keyword search tools. It allows you to upload two different keyword lists and multiply them to form different keyword permutations and combinations.
Let’s say that you have a list of product-related keywords and one for locations. If you multiply the two lists, you will get keyword combinations with one product and one location. This is very useful when trying to find local-search keywords for your ad campaigns.
The same can be applied to any two keyword lists to get different combinations of your primary keywords.
After you have created a new keyword list with these combinations, you can always check historical and forecasted performance data for each.
Get Forecasts on Click and Cost Performance
Once you have found and added relevant keywords to your plan, you can get more advanced metrics and forecasts for those. This includes the number of clicks, impressions, cost, Average CPC, and other metrics.
The best part is that it does not just show historical cost and click performance, but can also provide forecasts. This can help you determine whether a particular keyword is worth bidding for or not.
Not just that, you can also see how a keyword has performed by devices and locations.
Overall, this is a brilliant tool to determine which keywords you should target and how much you should spend on your ad campaign for those target keywords.
4. Competitor Intelligence
One less popular, but very useful way to leverage the Google Ads Keyword Planner is to gather competitor intelligence. You can spy on your competitors and analyze what keywords they are using with this tool.
This can be done from the “Discover New Keywords” section. There, instead of looking for related keywords for a term, you can enter your competitor’s website URL. There is a separate search box that lets you do that.
Simply enter the website URL for a competitor you want to spy on. The search results will be shown similar to the one explained above. The only difference will be that you will find the keywords that your competitor is ranking for.
If you have a competitor who provides similar products or services, then this is a quick way of getting keyword ideas. After all, if they are ranking for some keywords, then those keywords will most likely be relevant to your business as well.
5. Your Plans
Another feature of the Keyword Planner that you should know about is the “Your Plan” section. While doing your keyword search, you can add keywords to your plan and save those for later. You can think of these as temporary storage spaces where you keep adding any relevant keywords that you find during the course of your research.
Once you have added sufficient keywords there, you can then analyze the performance metrics for each and make your final selection.
6. Keyword Bidding and Budget Allocation
One key aspect of keyword selection is to analyze how much using that keyword will cost you and whether or not it fits in your budget. The Google Ads Keyword Planner provides information on average CPC, maximum CPC, and bid estimates.
Average CPC is the average per-click cost that people pay for ads they want to rank for a particular keyword. The maximum CPC is the highest amount that anyone has paid to rank for a particular keyword. Now, you don’t necessarily have to make the highest CPC bid to rank well, but can simply make an above-average bid.
The more people there are bidding for a particular keyword, the more expensive the keyword. As mentioned earlier, high-competition keywords are not only expensive but are difficult to get a top ranking for. What this means is that your ads might not be displayed on Google’s first SERP or right at the top for highly competitive keywords.
Therefore, you need to be smart about what keywords you bid for and how much. You can make an informed keyword selection using the planner and use Google Ads’ bid-optimization strategies to do the rest.
Also, when making a final selection of keywords, check the total daily cost for all your keywords to get an idea about how much you might have to spend on a daily basis. Allocate your monthly ad budget keeping in mind your average cost and also keep some buffer in case an ad performs exceptionally well.
7. Keyword Competition
As mentioned earlier, more competitive keywords are more expensive. But, how do you measure this competition?
Well, while search volume is a good measure of competition, there is another metric that you can look at. The Keyword Planner actually provides a metric called “competition.”
This categorizes the keywords based on how difficult it is to rank for it. There are three categories for this—high, medium, and low. This gives you a general idea about how tough it will be to compete for a keyword and helps you make the right selection.
However, if you want more granular details of this metric, you can download this data in the form of a .CSV file. This way you will export all data to an Excel sheet where you can actually see the numerical values behind these (high, medium, low) categorizations.
There might be hundreds of keywords that have medium categorization, but some would still be more competitive than the others. This data is helpful because it can help you prioritize between keywords that are in the same category.
So, checking the competition score for keywords takes your keyword selection process to a whole new level and lets you make more informed decisions.
The Google Ads Keyword Planner is a multi-functional, feature-rich tool that can help you with all your keyword search and planning needs. Whether you’re doing your first-ever keyword research or already have a list of keywords, this tool can help you.
The refining and filtering options provided by this tool are unmatched by any other such tool in the market. To top that, it also provides both historical and future performance data to fuel your keyword selection process.
Use all of these tips to make the most of this tool and find the best keywords to target.
Once you start using it, you will find many more ways in which you can use the Keyword Planner and create your own set of tricks. So, get started with your keyword search and optimize your campaigns.