The 5 Minute Intro Guide to Google’s Keyword Planner Tool

Are you looking for the highest searched market specific keywords to optimize for? Fear not, because Google released the Keyword Planner tool to make your keyword research exponentially easier.


If you’ve tried to use the Google Keyword Tool lately, you’ve probably noticed this message:


What is this mysterious new Keyword Planner? What does it do? And how does it fit into your SEO efforts?

Turns out, the Keyword Planner is Google’s new keyword research tool aimed at helping your business choose the best keywords to optimize and advertise for. While we are diving specifically into the tool’s keyword research tools check out this helpful article to learn about your next moves toward a Google Ad campaign. Since it’s here to stay, let’s get to know the Keyword Planner a bit better by exploring what it can do.

You can find the Keyword Planner tool by logging into your Google Adwords account and clicking on Tools and Analysis > Keyword Planner. That’s when you’ll see this screen:


From here, you can search for a keyword and get ad group ideas, enter or upload keywords to see how they perform and multiply keyword lists. So, what would you like to do?

Let’s take a moment to look at each of these options and see how they can help you develop keyword groups and ad campaigns.


Search for keyword and ad group ideas

If you’re looking to find the highest searched keywords from scratch, then this will be the first stop on your Google Ad-venture. (Get it?)

Click the arrow labeled Search for keyword and ad group ideas to get started:


In the first field, enter your product or service. (For right now, you can use your own product or follow along with our example – women’s running shoes.) Next, fill in the box labeled Your landing page with the URL of the page you’d like customers to land on when they click on your ad. You have some flexibility when it comes to this URL; it can lead directly to your homepage, like, or to a product-specific landing page like

After that’s done, select a product category from the dropdown list labeled Your product category. Google’s listed nearly every product category imaginable, so browse through them and select the closest fit. For our example, the best product category option is running shoes. But say you’re selling a variety of athletic shoes and want to see keywords that reflect that diversity. In that case, you can select the Athletic Shoes category, which encompasses all kinds of athletic shoes.

Google also offers some additional keyword search parameters to help with target market, budget and search volume planning:




Area: This is where you can select specific countries for your market.

Language: This is where you can select specific languages depending on whom and where you’re marketing to.

Search engines: This is where you can specify which search engines you’d like to base your keyword results on, such as Bing or Yahoo!

Negative keywords: This is where you can tell Google the keywords people shouldn’t be entering when looking for your product. For example, let’s say that you only sell running shoes and nothing else. To get better keyword results, we may want to list baseball shoes, softball shoes or soccer shoes as negative keywords.


Customize your search


Keyword filters: This is where you can filter out the max amount of entrances you want for each keyword per month, along with how much you’re willing to spend per click when you start your ad campaign.

Keyword options: Where you can hide keywords you’ve already searched.

Include/Exclude: This is where you can include/exclude any keywords from your ad campaign.


Once everything’s typed and done the page should look something like this:


With everything filled in, click Get ideas and well…get ideas!




By default, Keyword Planner will show you Ad group ideas relevant to your market. If you’re looking for individual keywords, click on the second tab titled Keyword ideas.




In both tabs, the Keyword Planner tool will display average monthly searches, competition for keywords and cost per click (CPC) based on your exact preferences. For more advice on creating a keyword list, check out Google’s blog on how to build the best keyword list.


Enter or upload keywords to see how they perform

If you already have a list of keywords, this is where you’ll get deeper, more specific information like average monthly search volume, keyword competition and CPC.

Click the Enter or upload keywords to see how they perform drop-down and you’ll see the form below:


You have two options when it comes to entering your keywords:

1. Type them into the Option 1 box, either one keyword per line or separated by commas. With our example, it would look something like this:

2. Upload a file with all your keywords in it
After you’ve filled out the keyword list or uploaded your file, you have two options:

  • Get estimates, which provides you with exact, broad or phrase keyword matches and their prices. This is also how you can see the keyword entrances for individual days and how much advertising each keyword costs.
  • Get search volume, which provides you with monthly online search volume, keyword competition and CPC for each keyword.

This tool has the capability to give you exact matches for keyword and online ad needs so be sure to spend some time thinking about who exactly you’re targeting.


Multiply keyword lists

The Multiply keyword lists part of the Keyword Planner tool saves you the time of manually combining keywords by doing it for you.

Click the Multiply keyword lists drop-down and you’ll see something like this:


We’ve gone ahead and filled it out for our running shoes example. Then, once you hit Get estimates or Get search volume, the keywords will be combined in every way possible and listed in order from highest to lowest search volume. You’ll also be able to find ad competition and CPC information when you’re ready to plan an ad campaign. For our running shoes example, this is how our results page looked:



And with that, you’ve just learned how to use the new Keyword Planner tool. Give yourself a pat on the back! But, like in all things SEO, we’re not done yet. There’s still a lot to explore in terms of how this tool will be able to help you and where it fits into your keyword research process. For now though, remember that the Keyword Planner tool is another SEO weapon available to you. So don’t be afraid to add it to your war chest and let it help your keyword research go as smoothly as possible.


Reed Daw is the SEO Manager at He graduated from UT Austin with a BA in Corporate Communication and Rhetoric & Writing. Outside of the office, you can find Reed reading the works of Stephen King, enjoying fine-crafted brews, riding his bike around Austin and listening to live music.

4 Responses to “The 5 Minute Intro Guide to Google’s Keyword Planner Tool”

  1. Gloria

    I appreciated Jeff’s comment and coming from a family of teachers and principles, I also noticed you’re missing a word in your very last sentence:-) …. add it TO your war chest …
    I also enjoyed reading your article and will give it a try!

    • Gracelyn Tan

      Aw, man! Thanks for keeping us on our toes. 🙂 Hope you find the Keyword Planner useful!

  2. Jeff Rasmuseen

    You’ve a typo in the second-to-last paragraph. “We’ve went ahead and…” should be “We’ve gone ahead…”
    Thanks for the post, it was very helpful!


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