Use keyword planner in Google Ads

1. Create a list of terms and phrases to research that are relevant to your business.

For example, if you run a digital marketing agency, your keywords may be digital marketing agency, digital marketing companies, or digital marketing services.

2. Sign up for a free Google Ads account if you don’t already have one.

Even if you don’t run ads, you need a Google Ads account to use the Keyword Planner.

3. Go to Tools & Settings > Keyword Planner.

4. Click either Discover new keywords or Get search volume and forecasts.

The discover new keywords tool allows you to find keywords by searching for products, industries, or services. For example, you can search for digital marketing, accounting software, or email platforms. You can use this option if you only have a few keywords to start with, or if you are having trouble coming up with niche keywords on your own.  The get search volume and forecasts tool allows you to see past performance and historical trends for a specific list of search queries. This option is ideal if you already have a long list of keywords that you want to target.

5. Enter your keyword terms or phrases and follow the on-screen prompts.

For discover new keywords, you will see two tabs:  Start with Keywords Start with a Website Stay on the Start with Keywords tab. The Start with a Website tab is only necessary if you are running a Google Ads campaign. If you choose get search volume and forecasts, you can either type all of your keywords in the text box or upload a CSV file.

6. Change the date on the keyword results page to the time period you wish to analyze.

Look at a time frame of at least three months, so you can see how specific keywords perform over a longer period of time. It will default to the past 12 months, but you can also choose last month, last 24 months, all available, or a custom date range.

7. Look at the Avg. monthly searches and Competition columns to get an idea of how your keywords will perform. Filter the results by clicking the column title.

Avg. monthly searches show an estimated range of search queries for a particular keyword over a specified time period. Competition shows how difficult it will be to rank well for a particular keyword. This metric is determined by how many advertisers are bidding on that same keyword: Low competition means not many advertisers are bidding on a keyword. High competition means that a lot of advertisers are bidding on a keyword, and it will be difficult for your site to appear near the top of the search results for it. These two columns can also give you a rough estimate of your keyword’s organic performance. If you don’t have access to keyword tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush, Google’s Keyword Planner is a powerful free alternative. There are also columns called Ad impression share, Top of page bid (low range), Top of page bid (high range), and Account status. You’ll only see data in these columns if you run ad campaigns.

8.  Click Forecast on the side navigation panel if you are running an ad campaign and need deeper insights into your keywords.

This report provides an estimate of how those keywords can perform based on a suggested monthly and daily budget.

9. Create a list of keywords from the results page for which your site is most likely to rank high for.

If you are trying to improve your SEO performance, use these keywords in your webpage copy or blog posts to help increase your site’s ranking. Map each keyword to a funnel stage in the customer’s journey to help turn the keyword into a piece of content. For example, a high purchase intent keyword like best video editing tools could turn into a comparison blog about different video editing tools that highlights what makes a specific video editing tool stand out. If you are running an ad campaign, use these results to determine which keywords you should bid on.