How To Use Google Keyword Planner Tool For Keyword Research

Keyword research is one topic, which every blogger should learn from day one. Probably, every Blogging or SEO blog you have read till now, I’m sure Google Keyword planner (previously Keyword Tool) and “Keyword research” are not a new term for you.  But if not, you are missing out the basic of any Blog SEO.

Blogging has evolved from just quality content to SEO optimized social content. Writing quality content is must, but at the same time it’s good to have the properly optimized article to rank well in search engines. This is where, on page SEO comes into the picture. On the page, SEO starts with selecting the right keyword for your post, and the keyword should be one which have search volume. That means people are searching for that particular keyword.

Here is one question you should ask yourself: Even though I’m writing quality content, why I’m unable to drive enough traffic from search engine? Well, I’m sure Google doesn’t have anything against you until unless you are doing Black Hat SEO. The reason is, you are not writing on topics that people are searching for. Or even you are writing on a topic that is trending, but you making it hard for search engine bots to understand your content. I have already  covered how to write SEO optimized articles in WordPress, and today you will learn how to use Keyword planner tool for researching Keyword.

To start with; if you are not sure, why Keyword search before writing a blog post, you should read my post on Importance of Keyword in SEO.

What is Keyword research?

Lets get to know the basics first. In layman language, Keyword research is the process of identifying Keywords, which get the good amount of search volume/month. For example, Keyword: “KeywordSpy”, “Website SEO optimization tip” and so on.  The idea behind performing a research is to, find the keywords that can give maximum traffic and comes with less competition. I will discuss competition part later in this post. For example: When you do an exact match search:  “WordPress SEO plugins”, “Best WordPress Plugins for SEO ” both gives the entirely different picture in terms of traffic.

keyword traffic difference

By doing a complete Keyword search, you will be able to find keywords to drive targeted traffic, more revenue and more niche traffic. More over, when you are planning to target a small niche, for example “Bug Spray”, doing a Keyword search will help you to find many new Keywords that you might be missing out. You can also analyze competitor site and find keywords which they were ranking for. Doing a comprehensive Keyword research based on the data, can drive immense traffic to your site.  And by the end, the sale happens only when you are getting targeted traffic. Isn’t it?

What is Google Keyword Planner tool:

Google Keyword tool is an official product from Google, which gives us a traffic estimation of our target Keywords and also help in finding more relevant and related Keywords for your niche. Few Important things to know:

  • You need to have a Google Adwords account to use Google Keyword planner tool. It’s free, and you don’t need to spend any money to use this tool. You can simply create an Adwords tool and start using it.
  • You can also search for existing Google Adwords coupons to create one free account for yourself, and start using Keyword planner tool.
  • This tool is created to target Adwords advertisers, but it still give a great deal of information when it comes to finding the right keyword for your blog and articles.

This is what the homepage of Keyword planner tool looks like. All you need to do is enter your target Keyword that you want to start searching for. After that, you can add filters such as for which country you want to target your keywords (In below example, All location is selected).


Using Keyword planner tool

1) Enter your product or services:

This is the place where you will put your target Keywords. For example, my next post in on Keyword research, and I’m not sure what keyword I should be targeting that post for, I will do some searches based on my knowledge like you see in example, and it shows me results globally and local search.  The idea here is to find a Keyword that has good traffic but low competition. If you are working on a blog for the long-term goal, you can also target high competition Keyword, using resource pages. For ex: WordPress guide. It makes take time before you see your keyword ranking at the good position. Below image illustrates the difference between Broad search, Exact search and phrase search.

Broad Match Traffic

2) Search type:

This is one important column that you should be taking care of. There are three options for search type:

  • Broad
  • Exact
  • Phrase

Exact Match: Exact searches, shows the traffic for exact match Keyword. For example, if you search for WordPress SEO in exact match, it will be different from broad search in great way. My suggestion, prefer Exact search when you are doing research for your micro-niche site and broad search when you are writing on the personal blog. Ex: Keyword Research Broad Match: Broad Match is my favorite, as it let me target long-tail keyword, and your traffic is not limited to exact match words. For Bloggers, broad match is useful but that again depends upon your blog type and target. Ex: “Keyword-based researchPhrase: Phrase type is useful when you need Keyword in an exact phrase. For example: “Best Keyword Research”. Keyword position won’t be changing, but it gives the data for traffic, that your Keyword might be getting for phrase search.

3) Advanced option and filter:

This feature is set to add more filters into your search. For example Country search volume, Language and target device (Computer or mobile devices). Depending upon your target audience, you can set everything including the category.

4) Understand Keyword tool column:

Notice the pointer 4 in the above image and now, understand the meaning of each column.

  • Competition: Just to clear one myth about this tool, competition field doesn’t show how hard and easy it’s to rank for that Keyword. In fact, it shows the competition among advertisers bidding on that keyword. So, if you see “low” for a great keyword, mark it and later we will see how we can easily analyze the competition.
  • Global monthly search : Global monthly search shows the average of search happened in last 12 months globally.
  • Local monthly search : It shows the search volume based on your filter. For example, in above image I have applied filter for U.S as country and notice the huge difference between global and local search volume.
  • Approximate CPC : This column shows approx. CPC (Cost per click), for an advertiser. Many SEO guru’s recommend to use this column to find Adsense CPC Keywords It’s a good idea to pick high CPC keywords, where advertisers are bidding more but with low competition.

For this tutorial, lets keep it simple and lets keep our example for broad search type.

Performing Keyword research using Google Keyword tool:

I hope this must have given you a basic understanding of Keyword tool by Google works and now, we will move to real deal here. Our target is to find some low competitive but high-medium traffic Keyword using Google search, Google Keyword research tool and Traffic Travis. We will be using Traffic Travis to analyze the competition and if you are new to it, read Traffic Travis review. Now, when you start with Keyword research, here is a quick question: What is better? Getting 100 un-targeted visitors or 10 targeted one? If your answer is “Targeted”, then don’t leave those Keyword with low traffic. Since it’s relevant to your niche, in long run it will help you. Make sure to check “Google traffic trend” too, which will help you to check your target keyword traffic pattern over the time.

Discover Keyword using Google Instant search:

Google instant search is my first basis of finding a perfect Keyword. It’s more like a Keyword discovery tool, which you can use to generate tons of ideas. Though, you can’t actually use all of them, but for initial step it’s good to brain storm some ideas for K/w research. Put any Keyword related to your niche, for example, I started typing “SEO Keywo” and Google instant search suggested search results. Depending upon your post type, you can pick couple of them which make sense to you. Look at this screenshot: Google Instant search Keyword suggestion Once you have found 3-4 such Keywords, start adding it to Google Keyword suggestion tool and perform a search. So I  picked two keywords from the list: “SEO Keyword Search” & “SEO keyword research” as both are similar and make sense for my niche, and I can come up with a post on that. Now next step is to find if these two Keywords are going to do any benefit in terms of traffic, or just going to be another article with not much value from traffic POV. Lets move on to next step:

Keyword search analysis:

Now, I will put both the Key words in search tool and perform a search, it will give me details for search type I’m performing and also show relevant Keyword ideas. Now, that is keyword goldmine for you, as it will let you find many relevant Keywords that you can target in same post or else can come up with a follow-up posts.

Keyword ideas from Keyword planner tool

I usually target 2-3 Keywords/post. You can create your own SEO strategy depending upon your post quality and length. So, for the information sake, we have selected only Two keywords as shown in above picture and it’s time to check, which one of them is less competitive. Before that, you can change your filter to see if your target Keyword has any exact match type or not.

Checking Keyword competition using Traffic Travis:

There are many Keyword competition checker tool and some of them which I usually use are SEOmoz Pro and Traffic Travis. T.T being a desktop solution is easier to use. Open Traffic Travis and go to SEO > Competition tab and enter both your Keywords and perform a search. You will see a result like this:

Keyword Difficulty check

As you can see here, according to competition checker tool, “SEO keyword search” is easier to rank. These tools, consider many factors that includes domain age, backlinks, on Page SEO, page rank, DMOZ submissions and many more factors. You can also click on “view details” to see more detailed results for your competitor. Here is a detailed competition report for my target Keyword : (For first top 10 results)

Keyword Competition details As you can see, from the result on how important it is to have Keywords in your Title, description and H1 tag. Along with above mentioned points, backlink and social media promotion is one major factor for better ranking. Also, my suggestion book your domain for longer time-period, like 2-3 years.

What next?

So now, we have one keyword with us, and similarly you can find many keywords related to your niche. It might be the little time-consuming but it’s worth more than spending un-targeted ten posts. Now, your next target should be writing a Keyword optimize article (SEO copy-writing), and you can refer to our earlier guide on OnPage optimization.

Never forget, this Keyword research is just a primary steps, and real magic starts with your content. Moreover, never try to get traffic on the wrong keyword, as it will affect your overall blog performance in terms of Avg. Time on site and bounce rate. For your old blog articles, if you have not optimized them for any Keyword, you can use Google analytic data, any software for

For your old blog articles, if you have not optimized them for any Keyword, you can use Google analytic data, any software for Keyword research and work on re-optimization for Keyword. I did this for almost 30% of my old posts, and they started ranking in 1-2 page in ranking.

I will come up with a post on the same, but for now you can subscribe to my Email newsletter for next update. I hope this Google Keyword tool guide will help you to find best Keyword for your next article. In case, if you have questions feel free to ask via comments.

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Article By
Harsh Agrawal is a blog scientist and a passionate blogger. He is blogging since 2008 & writes about Blogging, SEO, Make money online & tech. His blog, ShoutMeLoud receives 1 million Pageviews/month and have over 700K subscribers.


COMMENTs ( 30 )

  1. says

    Hi Harsh. I find your post very helpful. But I have few doubts.
    Google Adwords- singup is free. But it says you have to pay for the results.
    I read the help topic by google and it says that we have to pay an affordable amount once the traffic is generated by the Ads.

    Maybe I didn’t quite understand the concept. Can you please guide me?

  2. Hananto says

    Harsh i know you from your presentation video on Wordcamp. And know i find yo here,,, your knowledge it’s awesome. Thanks a lot for sharing with us.

  3. Karan Bhagat says

    Hello Harsh,
    You have mentioned here some on page SEO plugins.
    Right now I am doing my on page SEO manually without any plugin and the good part is that I just read your article about on page seo manually and I am doing it correctly as per your tips.
    So should I start using the plugin or is it fine doing manually?
    Does using the plugin provide any extra benefits?

  4. Mudassir says

    Thanks Dear for this detailed post and amazing yet simple explanation on SEO and on page seo optimization. I will surely do follow this guide for my next post and will report here again. Thanks again.

  5. akshay says

    Really good blog. As I am learning about blogging, the blog gives a lot of information about SEO as Keyword is a vital tool when you want want more traffic on your blog. Great content is what matters but this keyword research Guide is a good start to know more about SEO and Keyword research.

  6. Aqib Shahzad says

    Nice information about keyword research, this article stands as a complete tutorial for beginners who are about enter SEO and keyword research.. Thanks for sharing

  7. tina says

    nice article harsh. amazing tutorial for bloggers. but doesn’t it divert the focus if you writing different keywords from one domain to another domain. ??
    also i would like to know if it affects the page rankings ?

  8. Arsie Organo Jr says

    You know what, I just read your How To Write SEO Post Title and led me here… without knowing it I found that you have a good on-page SEO. :) I am beginning to learn a lot from your blog Harsh.

  9. Neeraj says

    thnxx @Harsh Agrawal this a very nice artical. i was publish my post without keyword research and not get a single visit after read this i will do keyword research.Hope it will works for me thnks man :)

  10. says

    Man, that exact phrase! option in google adwords is some thing I didnt know about. I have been targeting incorrectly for the last year … damn!! This post was really helpful, you got shoutmeloud a new follower :)

  11. Coop says

    The Most Important thing i am looking for but can’t find is, between what ratios of monthly searches, one should choose, to easily rank for

  12. Rohit says

    Firstly i must say, an excellent post.

    I have one doubt. When you searched in google for the keyword
    Seo keyword tool it showed high competition but in traffic travis, the same showed that it’s relatively to rank. Aren’t the two results contradicting?

    And other thing I wanted to know, how many global broad and exact searches must a keyword have on average to be a strong keyword?

    And should the competition be low or high?

    Thanks in advance:)

  13. Rohit says

    Firstly i must say, an excellent post.

    I have one doubt. When you searched in google for the keyword
    Seo keyword search in google keyword tool, it showed that the com

  14. biggie says

    Just came here while searching for keyword research tool. Do you also have post on Google traffic estimator if not can you post on this topic, would be quite exciting to know from you about it.

  15. Amrish Singh says

    I was know about the keyword research using google adword tool but not detailed like this . You post make me more understand about google adword tool and its other option for which I was unaware

  16. Amit Sharma says

    Woah!! What a transparent detailed article…Thanks for sharing the guru Gyaan. :)
    But a question, Category field under the Word or phrase text field, what is its use?
    Asking this because, when I tried to set a irrelevant category regarding to the Keyword being searched, there were no changes in the search statistics.

  17. Govind Choudhary says

    Great detailed post on using best keyword..Now,i got an idea how to write a Keyword optimized post..Will try to use optimized keyword in my next post.Thanks bro,for this wonderful info :)

  18. Updatemart says

    After reading this article I feel that I was missing a great thing for my blog….I m gonna use this for my blog surely…lovely article bro….

  19. Shrinivas says

    Nice information about keyword research, this article stands as a complete tutorial for beginners who are about enter SEO and keyword research.. Thanks for sharing with all :-)

  20. VISHAL says

    I have also read about stealth keyword competition analyzer which takes the keyword list from the Google adword keyword tool and sort the best keywords out from them which you can use in the article.

  21. Sachinkundu says

    Hello Harsh, I want to know. If i am blogging about health or educational stuff then i need keyword research ?? If yes then how i target for any keyword Do i need to use ALL in seo plugin for that in my blog post or any another plugin ? ( Ya i know i need to use my keyword in my blog post and body).

  22. Tushar says

    I read about this tool on your blog first and have been using it continuously for better SEO. thanks for the share

  23. Devesh says

    Great guide, Harsh. This is very useful for beginners or someone who is just starting. You did great work in explaining the every step for doing a keyword research.

    Keep up the good work.

  24. chachi says

    thanks a lot harsh i am a newbie in blogging and i was wondering about Google keyword research tool…your post made me know some great things about it and how important the keywords are..
    keep posting … :D

  25. vikas says

    Thank You Harsh for sharing the detailed information on keyword research.Keywords play an important role in getting traffic and investing time in keyword research will surely result in increased traffic.

  26. aatif says

    A really nice guide for noobs like me . Will have to learn a lot in term of keyword research . Thanks for the post you made and screen shots makes it easy to understand