Google Adwords Keyword Planner: A Step-by-Step User Guide

Keyword research toolFor such a long time, it seems, we did have the luxury of being able to use the free external Google Keyword Tool. However, this Google keyword selector has now been replaced by the Google Keywords Planner. Many bloggers and website owners have been a little lost in the transition process, so this post is intended to give you a step-by-step guide on how to use the latest of the Google keyword suggestion tools to find competitive search engine optimization keywords.

I should point out that I actually use the Keyword Planner in conjunction with 2 other tools. I use the Planner for my initial research as well as to check search volumes. I then follow up with a keyword tool to check competition in the top 10 places in Google’s search results.

The Keyword Planner tool is one of many tools offered as part of an Google Adwords account and of course is intended to facilitate creating your Adwords campaign.

However, provided you have an Adwords account, you can use it in a similar manner to the way you might have used the External tool.

Using the Google Keyword Research Tool

Select Keyword Analysis Tool

1. Login to your Google Adwords account.

2. Choose Tools and Analysis – Keyword Planner

 Analysis Tools

Do Your Keyword Research

 1.Click Search for keyword and ad group ideas.

Keyword Ideas Option

 2. Enter your main seed keyword.

 For example:, you might have a site that sells various types of wall clocks.  So, you could use ‘wall clocks’ as our seed keyword in order to get other keyword suggestions.

Keyword Phase

3. Customise Your Search

Set any of the other options, such as the location. If your site is targeting a local area, for example, start typing in the country name and All Locations will auto complete to list relevant countries.

Set options for Keyword Planner

4. Click Get Ideas.

By default you will be given Ad Group Ideas (see the 2 tabs at the top of the keyword ideas listed).

This default option groups the ideas into logical categories. You can click on any of these to view specific suggestions. This option makes the Google Adwords Keyword Generator an ideal long tail keyword research tool

If you click on the Keyword Ideas tab, you will see your original seed word at the top of the table with other related searches beneath it.

The average monthly search figures are for the exact keyword. This is now a default whereas with the old external keyword tool, you needed to choose exact, phrase match or broad match.

For example, the average number of times that people have searched for the exact phrase ‘decorative wall clocks’ is 1,900 per month.

Keywords Tab

If you hold your mouse over the chart symbol you can see if searches for that particular keyword phrase are trending up or not.

Search trends

5. Modify Search

Click on this option if you would like to enter additional keywords to include in the search analysis.

You can also narrow the search by editing the search filters. For example, you can nominate to search for only low competition keywords:

Filter keyword competition

6. Download your keyword ideas set

Download keyword ideas


You will find that the original set probably includes 800+ keyword ideas so using the filers will allow you to restrict the set prior to downloading.


This is a free keyword tool that should be an indispensable part of any website tools collection. In fact, in my view, it is the best free keyword research tool currently available.

If you would like to also read my article about a keyword research mistake I made, then you can see how I then go on to check competition to know if I have found worthwhile  keywords to target.

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