How to Use the Google Keyword Planner for SEO

The Google Keyword Planner can be seen as a more focused version of the AdWords Traffic Estimator and the Google Keyword Tool discontinued in 2013. The Google Keyword Planner is supposed to make it easier to create new ad campaigns and targeted ad groups for pay per click advertisers. While the data for the Google Keyword Planner is skewed in favor of advertisers, you can use it as part of a search engine optimization strategy. In this article, we’re going to introduce you to some of the tool’s features and how to use them for SEO purposes.


Why You Want to Use Google Keyword Planner for SEO

The Google Keyword Planner still gives you data useful for search engine optimization like search volume. Google’s search volume numbers are estimates, not actual data. The tool tells you the keyword difficulty, which you can take as a suggestion to find some other SEO term to try to optimize your content for. Keyword data like cost per click lets you know how much other businesses are willing to invest in the key search terms, a measure of their value if you can rank well for the term, and an indication of the conversion rate for that traffic. Keyword data lets you estimate your probability of ranking high for the term, and you can also search for hyper-local search terms.

How to Use the Keyword Planner for SEO

The Google Keyword Planner is free, but you have to have an AdSense account to access the tool. However, you do not have to actually create an ad campaign.

Once you log in, select “Tools and Analysis” to see the keyword planner. From here, you can search for keywords and ad group ideas, enter keywords for estimates for things like traffic, or even enter keyword lists to compare one SEO term versus another. The Keyword Planner is often used for keyword suggestions, which is why searching for ad group ideas and keywords receives the most traffic. So, to use the tool for SEO purposes, click on that option.

The Keyword Planner lets you search via keywords, which you can enter manually. The data here is an indication of which key search terms are worth the SEO effort, such as the terms that have little competition and high conversion rates.

You can enter a landing page – your own or someone else’s – to learn which keywords are relevant to the page. This lets you see your site as the search engine does, and it indicates whether you need to alter the key search terms of your content or metadata to rank better for the terms you wanted to dominate. The Google Keyword Planner also lets you search by product category. This option allows you to see the data from thousands of already tracked keyword categories.

You can exclude or include keywords based on a CPC cost or those that are already associated with your account. You can include and exclude keywords based on estimated monthly search volume. This lets you filter out the terms that receive almost no traffic or receive so much traffic that you’re unlikely to rank well using the terms. Keyword competition gives you specifically that information.

When you set these target parameters, you can view keywords in the interface in either a grouped view or list view. The list view is equivalent to keyword niches, while the group view is similar to a keyword list. As you find promising terms that have significant traffic but relatively little competition or competition you could easily beat, you can start to create a keyword plan.

An Overview of the Keyword Plan

If you will be working with AdWords advertising, the Google Keyword Planner lets you take the terms and criteria you selected and specifically request an estimate and review for your Google AdWords campaign. You would then be billed for clicks on the new ads as they are displayed.

If your intent is the search engine optimization of your content, your plan is to alter the keywords associated with your content and subdomains so they rank higher in search engine results. The process of updating your content and metadata is up to you.



The Google Keyword Planner replaced the Google Keyword Tool and was intended to make it easier to select key terms for PPC campaigns and strategically plan your ad campaigns. While the tool streamlines the process of managing Google ads, it can be used to identify key search terms you should consider for your own SEO strategy. It also lets you see the relative success of your current SEO strategy relative to the terms you want to dominate, as well as view the search terms your competition is using.



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