How to use Google’s Keyword Planner tool for SEO

An SEO plan begins with keyword research. If you have the time, you can start this process yourself for free using Google’s Keyword Planner tool. This tool gives you information on how often a keyword is searched in a given location and ideas on other related search terms.

If you understand what your customers are searching for, you can create content that will help get your website higher on Google.

However, keyword research can be intimidating if you don’t understand how to conduct it properly. The guide below will give you step-by-step instructions to using Google’s Keyword Planner tool.

Step 1: Setting up a Google Ads account

If you don’t already have one, you’ll have to set up a Google Ads account to access the free Keyword Planner tool. Sign in using your Google account and go through the “New Campaign” set up process. If you already have a Google Ads account, proceed to Step 2.

First, enter your website URL, then click next.

Google will scan your website and show you a view of what customers see on mobile and desktop when they visit your site. Click next.

Google will give you a sample ad. You can edit this if you like, but you don’t have to actually spend money so it’s not necessary. When you’re done, click next.

Next, Google will give you some keyword themes. Make sure you choose the ones that apply most to your business, so you don’t have to worry about setting this up later if you decide to run ads on Google. Then click next.

Then Google will give you a chance to set up the location targeting for you ads. You can change this later. Set the location and then click next.

We’re almost done! Choose a budget next. This can be arbitrary since we don’t actually need to spend any money yet. Click next when you’re done.

Once you’ve reviewed the campaign, click next. Then on the next page, click “Explore Your Campaign”.

Find the spot on the dashboard that says “Pending”, click the small triangle next to that word and then select “Pause Campaign”. That will keep your campaign from spending any money.

Finally – you’re ready to start using Keyword Planner!

Step 2: Find the Keyword Planner tool

Click the “Settings” button with the wrench icon in the top right-hand corner and select “Switch to Expert Mode”. Confirm that you want expert mode.

Now you have access to a lot more specialized tools, including the Keyword Planner.

Click on the “Tools & Settings” button you can now see. Under the left-hand column, click on “Keyword Planner.”

Step 3: Discover New Keywords

For Keyword Research, we’ll primarily use the discover tool. This tool allows you to find out what people are searching for and get content ideas. You have two options:

  1. Start with keywords: For this option, enter keywords related to your business like “small business marketing”. Google will show you data for that keyword, along with related keywords that could be worth targeting.
  2. Start with a website: This option allows you to just enter your website and Google will automatically find relevant keywords based on your existing content.

To change the language of your keywords, click where it says “English (default)” and select the correct language.

To select a specific location, click where it says “United States” and enter the location you’d like to target.

When looking at the results, pay attention to the “Keyword (by relevance)” and “Avg. Monthly Searches” columns. You can get great content ideas from these keyword results. Average Monthly Searches has a few different options for results. Aim for creating content that targets keywords with results higher than 0-10 per month.

You can download your results by clicking “Download Keyword Ideas” on the right-hand side of the results page.

And there you have it! You can now start doing your own keyword research to boost SEO. However, if you’d like some help with keyword research Vaughn Austin Creative is here to help. Our SEO Audit includes keyword research, competitive analysis, a web content and structure analysis and more. Schedule your free consultation today to learn more.

Ready to Talk?


Contact Us