How To Use Google Keyword Planner Tool For Keyword Research

Google Keyword Planner For Keyword Research
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Google doesn’t know you or hate you! If you are writing & not ranking on the first page of the search engine, that means you are doing something wrong.

Take 10-second break & ask yourself:

How does search engine rank a web-page?  Is isn’t it few lines or codes which automatically decide which page should be on the first page of search engine. 

Well, the search engine looks for signals to rank a page & it’s easy for you & me to tweak our article & give all those signals to search engine & enjoy all the traffic.

In order to get to that point, you need to start from here & let’s begin:

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 a must, but at the same time, it’s good to have a 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 has 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 are 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 the Keyword Planner tool for researching Keyword.

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

What is Keyword research?

Let’s get to know the basics first. In layman language, Keyword research is the process of identifying Keywords, which get a good amount of search volume/month.

Discover keywords related to your business that users search.

For example, Keyword: “KeywordSpy”, “Website SEO optimization tip” and so on.  The idea behind performing research is to, find the keywords that can give maximum traffic and comes with less competition. I will discuss the competition part later in this post.

For example: When you do an exact match search:  “WordPress SEO plugins”, “Best WordPress Plugins for SEO ” both give the entirely different picture in terms of traffic.

keyword traffic difference
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By doing a complete Keyword search, you will be able to find keywords to drive targeted traffic, more revenue and more niche traffic. Moreover, 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 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 helps 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 the 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 the Keyword Planner tool.
  • This tool is created to target Adwords advertisers, but it still gives 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
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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 the 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
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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 an exact match, it will be different from a broad search in a great way.

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 lets 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 on your blog type and target. Ex: “Keyword-based research

Phrase: 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 to 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 a 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 gurus 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, let’s keep it simple and let’s 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 a real deal here. Our target is to find some low competitive but high-medium traffic Keyword using Google search, Google Keyword research tool and SEMRUSH.

We will be using SEMRUSH to analyze the competition of a keyword. Basically, this would help us determine how easy or difficult it is to rank for a certain keyword.

Now, before we start here is a quick question:

What one of these is better?

Getting 100 untargeted visitors or 10 targeted one?

If your answer is “Targeted”, then don’t leave those keywords with low traffic. Since it’s relevant to your niche, in the 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 time.

Discover Keyword using Google Instant search:

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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 use all of them, but for an initial step, it’s good to brainstorm 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 a couple of them which make sense to you. Look at this screenshot:

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 regarding traffic, or just going to be another article with not much value from traffic POV.

Let’s move on to the next step:

Keyword search analysis:

Now, I will put both the Keywords in the 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 the same post or else can come up with a follow-up post.

Keyword ideas from Keyword planner tool
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I usually target 2-3 Keywords/post. You can create your SEO strategy depending upon your post quality and length. So, for the information sake, we have selected only Two keywords as shown in the 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 SEMRUSH:

Once you have identified the keyword, next thing is to check the keyword competition, or you can call it ‘Keyword difficulty.’ This is just to measure how difficult it is to rank for a certain keyword.

Note: If you are creating an authority micro niche site, you should target all possible keyword, despite difficulty level.

I usually use SEMRUSH for checking the keyword competition & it is also handy to find related keywords that I usually place around the post. Let me explain what I meant by an example.

I searched for a Keyword “SEO Keywords” in SEMRUSH tool & this is the result that I got.

related Keywords
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In the above screenshot, you can see Keyword with their variation along with volume. On the right-hand side, you can see the related Keywords which is not so different, but it varies a lot when you are researching keyword for the different niche.

Note: Do pay attention to Column call CPC. This is useful for anyone who is using AdSense to make money from their blog. The higher the CPC for any keyword is  & if you rank higher in search engine for that keyword, you are more likely to earn huge/click from Adsense. I have talked about this in detail here.

Back to the above screenshot, clicking on view full reports would show detailed information about all keywords. First, have a clear look at the below screenshot:

Keyword difficulty checker tool
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I have highlighted the Keyword competition column with the red box.  Though; this detail is for advertisers, but it would give you a good idea of what Keyword you should target. As you can see here, according to competition checker tool, “meta keywords SEO” is easier to rank.

Do remember when writing an article or making a post keyword targeted, you need to have Keywords in your Title, description, and H1 tag. Take care of keyword density, LSI keyword, add videos & few other signals. We have discussed this in-depth over here.

Along with the above-mentioned points, backlink and social media promotion is one major factor for better ranking. Also, my suggestion for you is always to ensure your domain expiry date is not before the next three years.

What is 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 my earlier guide on OnPage optimization.

Never forget, this Keyword research is just a primary step, 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 regarding 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 analytics 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 the 1-2 page in the 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 the best Keyword for your next article. In case, if you have questions feel free to ask via comments.

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Authored By
A Blogger, Author and a speaker! Harsh Agrawal is recognized as a leader in digital marketing and FinTech space. Fountainhead of ShoutMeLoud, and a Speaker at ASW, Hero Mindmine, Inorbit, IBM, India blockchain summit. Also, an award-winning blogger.

81 thoughts on “How To Use Google Keyword Planner Tool For Keyword Research”

  1. Arun

    Which is really accurate in keyword research..?
    SEMrush or LTP..?

  2. Amanpreet Singh

    Thankyou again harsh sir, my ranking is approved after applying keywords to my blog post. You have published 190 posts on SEO and i was reading your seo posts and i have founded this post. I have written all the important steps that will help me to get my blog on first page of google search engine and you won’t believe my 5-6 blog posts started appearing in google’s first page. Your posts on SEO are really helpful. Thanks.
    Your biggest fan

  3. Rakesh

    @thanks Harsh

    Google keyword tool and Google trends are helpful for a beginner for keyword research.

  4. Babar Ali

    wow, great article thank you so much for writing such a useful post.

  5. ajit kumar

    nice blog and very helpful for finding right keywords

  6. Haren

    Now as the Google Adword Planner is updated, it is really hard to get exact search volume and do keyword research! Is there any way to get back old Keyword Planner?

    1. Sandy

      I too would love the old keyword planner version. Please let me know if you find a viable solution.

      1. Haren

        Well, No luck will now!
        But Ahrefs keyword planner is working smooth.

  7. sunny

    hey harsh… is it necessary to use google adsense because it’s saying to pay some amount…please help me and tell me best tool for keyword searches, and thanks for this very helpful post about keyword research, your way of writing is just simply amazing.

    1. Vishal Negal

      just enter the amount to be Rs. 1 on your adword account while creating an ad…create an ad and after that you can use this tool totally free.. and keep in mind that don’t link your card details with your adwords right now.. just use google keyword planner tool for free.. 🙂

  8. Jahangir

    Great article, Harsh.Really liked it.
    I have noticed that for the exact same keyword, there is a significant difference between Google Keyword Planner and SEMRUSH in terms of volume and CPC value. Can you please shed a light on it? Thanks

  9. Amit Kumar

    Hello Harsh .

    Nice article but its seems that google changed the planner tool. Now we need to run campaign to see to research new keywords.

    Do you have any idea to by pass this? or any free alternative ?

  10. arya

    Yes, it’s free when you are not running ads campaign although it asks you to provide the CC info. Alternative, you can try this hidden free tool for keyword suggestions:

  11. Ravi

    Hey Harsh,
    where I can find this Semrush it free..??

    1. Harsh Agrawal


      You can use SEMRush for free for 14 days.

  12. Prathamesh Dastapure

    Thanks for a complete guide Harsh! ShoutMeLoud is a go to place to find resources like this. I was confused on buying paid tools and whether they might work. But I used this trick and with a little more effort on long tail keywords, I could see the real difference.

  13. Michael Birch

    I’m using KW Planner to maximize keyword pool and then Serpstat for semantic expansion. IMHO Keyword Planner could’ve set few more filters but we still can’t do without it:)

  14. Pavithradevi

    is it necessary to use google adwords (paid)to access google keyword planner?

  15. George Coem

    Thanks for article,

    I’ve been using SEMrush but recently SEPRstat got we with their new approach to SEO. Just saying, that new players are always there to remind established business to be in shape.

  16. Aditya

    Hii , Harsh

    I am a beginner ina blogging and i was confused in how to search for keywords for my blog but. your article is really useful for me it gives me all the details that i required. and after reading this i used google keyword planner and did keyword research for my blog and i found really very good keywords will use all of them for my blog’s SEO purpose and will rank my blog on google

    Thank you for sharing this information with us 🙂

    1. Harsh Agrawal


      Happy to help. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  17. Tarun Singh

    Hi Harsh,
    Great article….I just want to confirm one thing that am I suppose to do keyword research erevry time I creaye a new post for my Blog…???

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      It’s a good idea if you can do that. At times, it’s ok to write article without targeting keyword, as long as it’s useful.

    2. Harsh Agrawal

      Hey Tarun,

      Yes, it would be beneficial if you do so.

  18. Sourav

    Hey Harsh,

    Thanks for the great explanations. I have a question here.

    Is Google Keyword Planner free ? Because Google is asking to setup a Google AdWords campaign (need to pay for it) before using the Google Keyword Planner.

    Please help.

    1. Sid

      Yes… I assume you are using Google Keyword Planner for first time. If yes, the first page you see is “Create your first campaign”. You ignore this page and click on the tab “Tools” on the same page. You will see a drop-down. In that drop-down select “Keyword Planner”.

    2. Andrew

      Yes, it’s free when you are not running ads campaign although it asks you to provide the CC info. Alternative, you can try this hidden free tool for keyword suggestions:

  19. Rosy Anwood

    This is something I was looking for such a long time and finally I got really some good enough information about keyword research. I have been doing off page SEO for last 2 months with some one’s guidance and I was always keen to learn about the the starting thing of SEO i.e. Keyword Research. Finally I got something to learn from this blog. Thanks for sharing such an informative blog.

  20. John

    Indeed a great post about keyword research.

    It is true that keyword research is the very 1st step to target the right traffic from search engines like Google. I have seen so many people who never does keyword research and always keep themselves busy in writing articles on different different random keywords which is not good.

    If We really want to get potential traffic which can converts easily then we must have to target the right keyword.

    For a productive work, every expert suggest to target long tail keywords with having low competition. Because long tail keywords with low competition are easily to rank rather than short tail high competitive keywords.

    I always use Google Keyword Planner to check the keyword search volume and Long Tail Pro for keyword competition score. I am glad that You have covered such an indepth article on keyword research.

    Thanks for sharing it with us. 😀

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