AdWords Keyword Planner

The AdWords Keyword Planner is a very useful keyword tool. Whether you are using it to research keywords to target in your AdWords account or using it to do SEO research, many people consider this to be the best free keyword tool available.

The AdWords Keyword Planner replaced the free external keyword. The major difference is that the Keyword Planner tool is only available through your Google AdWords account, where as with the external keyword tool was available without an AdWords account. There are many other differences to be sure but the requirement to have an AdWords account to access the Keyword Planner is the most obvious.

If you are not planning to advertise with Google AdWords that is, currently, not a problem. Creating an AdWords account is free, and once you have signed up for your free account you will have access to the Keyword Planner tool, whether you begin to run ads or not. Keep in mind that that may change in the future but for now, if you need access to a free keyword tool, the AdWords Keyword Planner is an excellent option.

Once you have signed into your AdWords account you will click on the “tools” drop down menu at the top of your account. You will then select “Keyword Planner” from the menu. You will then be taken to the AdWords Keyword Planner.

New AdWords Keyword Tool

AdWords Keyword Planner


Here I usually select the top option “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas”.

To begin with, I would suggest you start by typing in keyword in the box titled “your product or service”.

Keyword Planner First Step

AdWords Keyword Planner

There are targeting option listed for you edit if you so choose but for this example we will leave the default settings and type in the keyword “keyword planner” and then click on the “get ideas” button.

This will get you the following results.

Keyword Planner Results Page

AdWords Keyword Planner Results

Since the Keyword Planner was developed for use with Google AdWords, your results will show an ad groups as well as a keyword ideas tab. The ad group idea tab sorts your keyword ideas into relevant groups which can be very useful in building ad groups for your AdWords campaigns. Putting keywords into smaller ad groups allows for more relevant ads which can help increase quality scores. For keyword research you will want to select the keyword ideas tab. This example came up with 618 results.

Keyword Tool Results

AdWords Keyword Planner

There are a number of statistics provided with your keyword ideas:

  1. monthly searches shows provides the average number of monthly searches for that keyword over the last 12 months in Google for your targeted area. If no number is provided here then there were less than 10 average monthly searches.
  2. Competition give you an indication of how many AdWords advertisers are competing for ad spots for that keyword.
  3. Suggested bid is what Google predicts your bid will need to be to have your ads show up on the first page of the search results. I would take this number with a grain of salt as this number is calculated based on the historical data for all ads run for this keyword in your target area during all hours of the day and does not take into account what your quality score may turn out to be.
  4. Ad impr share is the percentage of the time your ad will get an impression out of the total number of times it is eligible to get an impression. So if that keyword gets searched for 100 times and your ad rank gets you 90 impressions, that is a 90% impression share. The impression share will read all 0’s here but this is a very valuable metric you can add to your columns tab in your AdWords reports.

For SEO keyword research, you will be focused mainly on the average monthly searches. The other metrics provided are more geared towards helping you create effective AdWords keyword lists. You will also see a download option above the keyword list which will allow you to download the list into a spreadsheet which will make it much easier for you to sort through the results.

For AdWords research you have the ability to add keywords from this list directly into your existing AdWord campaigns and ad groups.

I must admit, the AdWords Keyword Planner took a little getting used to after using the old Keyword Tool for so long, but Google has made a lot of great updates here. For example, 2 years ago all the results were based on national or global searches, now small businesses can get more accurate results for their smaller localized areas. I strongly recommend accessing this tool and begin experimenting with it. Personally, I find all the data it provides very interesting and helpful and I believe you will too if you try it out.

Once again if you have any questions you can contact me through the AdWords Services page.