Using The New Google Keyword Planner Tool

The new Google Keyword Planner Tool has just replaced the old Keyword Tool - there are a few changes here so I thought I'd write a post here to cover them. This guide is meant to help you use the tool to gauge the popularity and competition of target keywords for your online marketing/SEO strategy, it's not meant to show you how to set the keywords/phrases up in the Google Adwords platform. I'll cover that in a separate post soon.

How To Use The New Google Keyword Planner Tool

First of all, here is how the new keyword planner tool looks. As you can see, it's really clear, well laid out and very easy to use.


The New Google Keyword Planning Tool



First, Enter Your Keyword

This is almost too obvious to state, but -  just in case -  you need to first of all enter the keyword/phrase that you want to research in the first box on the screen :-)

After you've done this, you have the following options available to further refine your search.

Targeting
  • Location - this allows you to narrow the results to a specific location or various locations. For example, you can choose to limit your search to cover the UK and the US, or you could choose just a city or town. You'd simply use the location(s) of your target market here.
  • Languages - again, this is a simple one - it allows you to specify various languages that users would use to type search terms and phrases into Google. For most small businesses this won't be necessary, unless you are targeting overseas, non-English speaking markets.
  • Google - this option allows you to specify whether you want to include results from the Google search engine only, or whether you'd like to see data from it's search partners too. Search partners include sites that use the Google Custom Search engine to power searches on their own sites. Ask.com is also a Google Partner too.
  • Negative keywords - This is more relevant for setting up a Google Adwords keyword list that it is for initial SEO keyword research.Entering a word in this field would result in your Ad not appearing if the word was present in the search term. For example, let's say you were targeting 'Digital marketing' as a keyphrase in Adwords, although you didn't want your Ad to appear if someone was searching for digital marketing jobs. Youd simply add the word 'jobs' to the negative keyword list to make sure that people searching for jobs wouldn't see your Ads.
Then, Customise Your Search

After you have finished the above, you have another set of options to work with as follows:

Keyword Filters
  • Average monthly searches - this figure tells you the average amount of times that the keyword/phrase has been searched for (according to your chosen criteria) each month, over the last 12 months. This is probably the most important figure to note, for the purposes of this post anyway.
  • Average CPC - this figure tells you what the average cost-per-click (CPC) has been over the past 12 months. It's not directly useful for SEO purposes, although high values here often hint at very competitive - and therefore valuable - search terms. It would also be a useful figure to note if you were running an Adsense site.
Keyword Options
  • Hide keywords in my account - this is specifically to do with running a Google Adwords campaign, so it's not relevant to this post. It's simply some functionality to do with adding search results to a specific part of your Google Adwords account. It helps speed up campaign creation.
  • Hide Keywords in my plan - this is specifically to do with running a Google Adwords campaign, so it's not relevant to this post. It's simply some functionality to do with adding search results to a specific part of your Google Adwords account. It helps speed up campaign creation.
Include/Exclude
  • This option affects the related search term ideas that are shown below your main target keyword (please see the list under 'Keyword by relevance' in the image below for this list). For example, you can choose to exclude terms that contain words like 'job', 'career' or 'degree' if you wanted to avoid terms that would suggest people were looking for career information rather than services. On the other hand, if you only wanted to see terms related to services, you'd add the word 'service' to the include field.
The Keyword Planning Tool Results Page

Here is what the new keyword planner tool results page looks like. I've just left the default options in and have queried the word 'Monkeys':

The New Google Keyword Planning Tool Results Page

Key Data From This Page Is

When deciding the viability of certain keywords for SEO purposes, the following data on your results page is most important:
  • Average monthly searches - as above, this tells you how popular your search term is.
  • Competition - this gives you an idea of how competitive your target search term is. Although this is really an Adwords value, you can be pretty sure that a popular Adwords term is also a popular organic SEO term.
  • Keyword (by relevance) - this is a handy list of related terms that might give you new ideas or keywords to target. They are closely related to your initial 'seed' keyword and are affected by the words that you type in the 'Include/Exclude' field above.
A Note About Exact, Phrase And Broad Match Volumes

Whereas the old tool allowed you to choose from Broad, Phrase and Exact match search volumes, the new planning tool only shows volumes for Exact match terms (however, different CPC (cost-per-click)  data is displayed according to Broad, Phrase or Exact match searches if you choose to specify this.

Thanks for reading - I hope you found it useful.

By Alan MacDougall

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The Revenue Builder Blog is a small business marketing strategy and tips blog designed to help small business owners and startups maximise sales revenue.