How to Use Google Keyword Tool for SEO

In your keyword research quest, you most likely have heard of Google Keyword Tool but probably not sure how to use it.

Keyword research is an important process in search engine optimization. It’s the process of researching what keywords your target audience is using to find contents to similar to yours. The whole essence so that you create contents using the same keywords so search engines can show your contents when those keywords are searched for.

That’s the basic logic behind it, but it’s not as straightforward. You want to know the search volume, competitiveness, difficulty level among others for the keywords.

There are several keywords research tools out there – some free, some paid. But which keyword research tool would you rather use than the one by the number one search engine in the world – Google Free Keyword Planner.

Step by Step Guide to Using Google Keywords Planner

  • Access Google Keyword Planner
  • Select Your Preferred Tool
  • Filter and Sort Results
  • Choose keyword 

Access Google Keyword Planner

The Google Keyword Planner tool is free. However, there is a clause. It was designed to be used by people running or who intend to run Google ads. So, you have to first create a Google Ads account.

You can set up a Google ads account in a few minutes if you don’t have one.

Now that your account is up and running, log in and locate the “Tools & Settings” at the top

of the page and click on it.

That would generate a dropdown of multiple options including planning, billing, bulk actions. Just located the “Keyword Planner” under planning and click on it.

Select Your Preferred Tool

The Keyword Planner has two tools – “Discover new keywords” and “Get search volume and forecasts”

These two are going to help in your keyword research but in different ways.

  • Discover New Keywords

You use this when you need to generate keyword ideas. The tool allows you to up to ten keywords/keyphrases and it would roll out thousands of keyword ideas related to those keywords.

If you are a plumber in Canada, for instance, and you need keyword ideas, you can enter such keywords as Plumber in Canada, Plumber in Toronto (If you are in Toronto) or plumbers near me. Let’s see what keyword ideas Google Keyword Planner has for the above keywords.

  • Get Search Volume and Forecasts

This tool is useful to you if you have a list of keyword ideas and you’re looking to check their search volumes.

Here is how it works

And this is what you get

Filter and Sort Results

So, you have entered your keywords and you now know have several keywords ideas and know the search volumes for your existing keyword ideas. Now what?

The next thing you want to do is filter your results by the following metrics

  • Language

This is the language your keywords or contents are. If you can understand this, you have no need changing the language from English.

  • Location

This refers to the country (countries) you intend to target with your content.

  • Date Range

Filter the date range to suit your preference. Leaving it at the default “12 months” is fine too.

  • Competition

You can select keywords based on their competitiveness level. From low to medium and high. The higher the competitiveness of a keyword, the more difficult it would be to rank high for it.

Choose a Keyword

Now that you know how Google Keywords Planner works, it’s time to go back and start afresh. Let’s go back to the very beginning where you choose the keywords to enter in Google keywords Planner.

This is not as simple as it seems. You don’t want to use keywords that are too broad, neither would too narrow keywords favour you. What you’d need to do is find a balance; a middle point.

Let’s stick to the Plumber example we started with. Let’s say you want to write a content marketing article to show yourself an authority. The article is aimed at explaining to your audience how they can fix some basic plumbing issues.

Using “leaky pipes” as your focus keyword would be too broad. Also, “fix leaky pipes with epoxy paste” would be too narrow. So, what would be the best option here? Well, how about the latter option, but without “…with epoxy paste”?

Now, enter “fix leaky pipes” in Google Keyword Planner, filter through using the various options discussed earlier and settle for a focus keyword(s).


While Google Keyword Planner is a powerful tool, it is not without its flaws. One prominent flaw of the tool is that it doesn’t show the exact search volume for keywords. It only shows ranges such as 1–100 or 100–1k etc.

For this, there are other keywords research tools that are worthy of note. They include

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