AdWords 101: Keyword Research Tool 1-2 Punch — How to Use Google’s Keyword Planner Tool & SEOToolSet Keyword Suggestions Tool

Bruce Clay, Inc. is a certified Google Partner and Bing Ads Accredited Professional organization. We use education as a tool to further the business goals of our SEM services clients, and with the AdWords 101 series, you become familiar with a platform you can use to reach shoppers, intent-driven mobile device users, and people looking for your businesses online.

New to SEM and AdWords? Welcome to AdWords 101 from Bruce Clay, Inc., resources to introduce you to search advertising tools. With AdWords 101 information, you can start search advertising yourself or talk to your SEM manager with basic knowledge as background.

This post dives into two powerful keyword research tools: the Google AdWords Keyword Planner and the SEOToolSet Keyword Suggestions tool. SEMs have come to love these tools because they get to the heart of search terms that people may — or may not, as your research may show — be using to look for you and your competitors.

keyword research tools pack a punch

Both the AdWords Keyword Planner and SEOToolSet Keyword Suggestions tool are especially useful if you find yourself in any of the following scenarios:

  1. Researching keywords if you’re starting from square one: If you’re starting keyword selection with a mostly blank slate, get keyword suggestions based on seed keywords. Info that helps you decide if it’s a good keyword includes competitiveness, popularity of search use and a search engine assigned category.
  2. Vetting keywords by checking to see if they’re actually used: If you want to vet a list of PPC keywords, check to see how much people search for them and get trending data.
  3. Expanding your keyword list with new, relevant keywords: If you already have a list of PPC keywords, you may want to expand your list with opportunities you’re not currently aware of. You can use your SEO keywords to develop and inform your PPC keywords, as well.

Why use one rather than the other? Here’s where the tools primarily differ:

  • Google Keyword Planner is integrated with AdWords so as you identify keywords you want to add to your Google paid search campaign, you can add them with a click.
  • SEOToolSet Keyword Suggestions tool provides data from both Bing and Google so you can get a broader view of keyword activity
  • SEOToolSet Keyword Suggestions tool is part of a larger suite of SEO analysis tools. As you identify keywords you want to target with paid search, you can add keywords to an organic ranking monitoring project supporting paid-organic search marketing synergy.

While both powerful, each has a specialty to keep in mind as you’re reaching for a keyword research tool.

Get Keyword Statistics and Forecasts from the Google Keyword Planner Tool

The Google AdWords help article for the Keyword Planner is a good starter resource for how to use the tool. And here we present the tool as we do when introducing or educating clients.

As a prerequisite to using the tool, you need an active AdWords account.

When you first log in to the Google Keyword Planner Tool, you’re presented with four options. Here we’ll break down your options and explain how to use and what you get from each feature.

adwords keyword planner start
Where you start using the AdWords Keyword Planner depends on where you want to go.

Search for new keyword and ad group ideas:

Scenario: You want to get new keyword ideas. With this function, an SEM can find opportunities to start or expand their campaigns. You start by entering some keyword ideas you have, typing or pasting them into the “Enter keywords” field or uploading a CSV or text file with your keywords. You can also include your landing page URL which will give the tool more clues with which to generate keyword ideas. You can narrow the results the tool will show you by including:

  • Location targeting: Options to get data by country, city or region, and by default, if you’re in the U.S. the tool will report on the U.S.
  • Network targeting for either just Google or Google and partners
  • Negative keywords: Name keywords you don’t want included in the tool’s suggestions
  • Date range: By default, the tool reports data averaged from the last 12 months, but you can change this if you want a more narrow range of time or to include data from further back

What you get after you plug in seed keywords and set your filters is a list of keyword ideas and ad group ideas with historical statistics. Historical data reported here includes average monthly searches, competitiveness and cost, which you can use to decide if you’d like to add that keyword or ad group to your plan. If you think you might want to add a keyword or group listed, click the arrow next to it to see an estimated required budget for these new ads. You’ll even be able to see how many clicks and impressions you can expect for that keyword based on the budget you set.

The new keywords and ad groups you get by plugging in some starter keywords and landing pages delivers the information you need, from impressions to cost, to decide if the keyword is a good fit for your AdWords campaigns.

Get search volume for a list of keywords or group them into ad groups:

Scenario: You have a list of keywords and you want to find out how popular they are. If you have a list of keywords you think are good candidates for SEM, but want to know what their search activity is like, this is the option to choose. This function provides users with search volume for your submitted keywords with your specified targeting. You get the same options for inputting seed keywords (type them in one by one or upload a file) and you get the same targeting options (location, network and negative keywords) and date range options. Your resulting report has a chart section at the top and a table with two tabs at the bottom.

Google AdWords Keyword Planner search volume feature
Click to enlarge

In the top chart section, you can see some useful info about the search volume for the keywords you entered:

  • To see if and when keywords are searched for in order to judge if keywords are good candidates for your ads, view a graph of search volume by month.
  • To see if keywords get mobile traffic, view a comparison of searches on mobile devices compared to the total monthly search volume.
  • To understand device targeting opportunities, a breakdown by device shows you searches coming from computers, tablets and mobile devices.
  • To understand audience targeting opportunities, view a breakdown of where searchers are located.
  • To identify opportunities where your competitors are showing up and you’re not, see the charts comparing your ad impression share with market leader or competitor domains.

In the tabbed table area, the first tab will give you suggestions for how to structure your given keywords into ad groups. The second tab gives you the following historical statistics for your submitted keyword:

  • Average monthly searches: A number that tells you how many searches actually use this keyword each month
  • Competition, described as low, medium or high: A rating that indicates how many competitors are using the keyword in their paid search campaigns
  • Suggested bid: A dollar amount you should expect to pay if you want your search ads to show up for that keyword
  • Ad impression share: If this keyword is currently active in your AdWords campaign, here you’ll see if these ads of yours get any impressions, or views

With this feature you get help with grouping your ideas into recommended ad groups and data that shows you opportunities based on searches from previous months, where searches are coming from, and how often your ads are showing up so you can find opportunities for improvement.

Get traffic forecasts for a list of keywords:

Scenario: You want to learn how well a keyword might perform in the future. Use this function to help establish and plan your budget. You get click and cost estimates or impression estimates that reflect your targeting, bid, and daily budget entered.

Pro tip: Start by entering a bid and a budget that’s high just to get a sense of the boundaries of the keywords you’re researching. You want to know the high end of the bid spectrum that would get you a satisfactory average position for these keywords you’re researching.

Google AdWords Keyword Planner Forecasts
Click to enlarge

The data displays as an interactive graph where you can see how your targeting, bid and budget interact to get you clicks and impressions. As you move the vertical slider along the X axis, you can see how many clicks and impressions you can expect for a projected cost. You can view forecasts for clicks, impressions and cost by device and by location by choosing the “Daily forecasts” tab you want to view.

By viewing the projected views and clicks segmented by device and location, you might find new locations to target or find a possible increase among specific devices. Are your selection of keywords being searched on the desired device or in the identified location? This will inform your keyword selection, not to mention your budget, and audience and device targeting.

Multiply keyword lists to get new keyword ideas:

Scenario: Get new keyword ideas by combining lists of keywords. Use this feature when you’re expanding your keyword list with new, relevant keywords. You may already have a list of SEO or PPC keywords, however researching and identifying keywords is an ongoing task. Combining keywords may unveil new opportunities. With this tool, you can enter two list of keywords and, in return, you receive one list. This list has variations of the submitted terms, many longer-tail combination keyword strings, and the historical data you need to evaluate a keyword’s viability.

Get Suggestions and Statistics Across Search Engines with the SEOToolSet Keyword Suggestions Tool

At its core, the Keyword Suggestions tool in SEOToolSet Pro takes user-provided seed keywords and generates more ideas for keywords. The source of its suggestions are the search engines themselves, care of APIs from Bing, Bing Ads and Google. An SEM analyst gets a rich and rounded view of keyword categories and trends as search engines see them.

The tool also supports shared keyword intelligence and strategy between SEM and SEO. In other words, the SEOToolSet, enables SEO and SEM to inform and amplify one another. Seed your paid search keyword analysis with the stored and monitored keyword list of your SEO project. If you’re an online marketer wearing both PPC and SEO hats, you’ll get potential paid search keywords and you’ll have the ability to add keyword suggestions to your SEO project list right from the research report.

Find this tool after logging into your SEOToolSet Pro account, then selecting the Keyword Suggestions tool from the “Keywords” area of the left navigation. If you’re not an SEOToolSet user, sign up for SEOToolSet Pro for $89 a month or the free SEOToolSet Lite. Note that the Keyword Suggestions tool described here is available in the Pro tools. A free version is embedded at the end of this post and is available also on our free SEO tools page.

To seed the Keyword Suggestions tool, add keywords one at a time or via a pre-populated list you’ve entered into your project. The tool reports back with a list of potential keywords and data to help in your evaluation. As seen below, you see the source of that keyword suggestion (whether the Google, Bing or Bing Ads keyword APIs), and a score for how related the suggestion is to your seed keywords.

Click to enlarge

From the list of keyword suggestions, check the box to select the keywords that jump out with potential. Click the button to “Get more statistics for selected keywords” for an even richer view of the keywords you’re vetting. You’ll see historical PPC statistics similar to the AdWords Keyword Planner, as well as keyword categories and trends:

  • AllInTitle is an indicator of how competitive this keyword is based on how many pages in Bing’s index include this phrase in the title
  • Activity, CTR and CPC are historical PPC statistics that illuminate the potential opportunities and budget requirements
  • Confidence is an indicator of how related this keyword suggestion is to your seed keywords
  • Categories (main and secondary) are provided by Bing and tell you more about what the search engine thinks your keyword is about (note: a mismatch may be a red flag)
  • Trends over the last year pictured as a line graph so you can understand how seasonality, current events and overall trendiness affects your potential keywords
Click to enlarge

Don’t let the name SEOToolSet fool you. The Keyword Suggestions tool presents a rounded view of potential PPC keywords drawn from and categorized by multiple search engines, presented with trending data and confidence scores. SEOToolSet aids not only organic optimization efforts, but also your research-intensive paid search marketing tasks.

Free Keyword Suggestions Tool



Leveraging Keyword Tools for Stronger Paid Search Campaigns

When it comes to finding new opportunities and optimizing an AdWords campaign, take the time to explore the features that the Keyword Planner has to offer and expand your keyword research with the SEOToolSet. Whether you are reviewing current keywords or looking for ideas on what keywords to select, these keyword tools provide you with the data you need to confidently move your campaigns forward.

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Want more keyword tips?
Check out our How to Build a Keyword List page!

Diana Becerra is an SEM Analyst at Bruce Clay, Inc., a marketing enthusiast, and non-profit activist. She has a B.S. in Business Management with a concentration in marketing and is currently attending graduate school in focus of obtaining a Masters of Business Administration. Before joining Bruce Clay, Inc., Diana worked in many areas of marketing, including public relations, communications, community program development, software development and brand management. She loves marketing, sports and sprinkles. Connect with Diana on .

See Diana's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (22)
Still on the hunt for actionable tips and insights? Each of these recent PPC/Pay-Per-Click posts is better than the last!

22 Replies to “AdWords 101: Keyword Research Tool 1-2 Punch — How to Use Google’s Keyword Planner Tool & SEOToolSet Keyword Suggestions Tool”

very usefully tools in keyword planner

Finally, I have found something which helped me. Many thanks!

Even though ahref tool there i personally like this google keyword planner free and useful.

Google key word planner plays vital role in SEO.

Hey hai, Excellent blog on Leveraging Keyword Tools for Stronger Paid Search Campaigns, It is an awesome tool.

Keyword planner is an excellent tool, where you can take search volume of the keywords related to your business.

Really this is a great tool!! Keyword tools are more reliable to find easy and competitive keywords!! Really Nice one .

Nice acticle Diana, I come from twitter and very happy to read this post. It’s all very useful

Great Keyword planner tools post in blog.

Nice acticle Diana, I come from twitter and very happy to read this post. It’s all very useful

Great Post!! Google adwords provide keyword planner. It is a free tool and this tool is my favorite. I usually choose keywords with medium and low competition and those with high search rates in the targeted region.

Didnt knew the tool SEOToolSet Pro but we are going to test it. Thanks!

Google keyword planner has always been my savior. However there are times when I have to ahead with gut feel as some of the generic keywords aren’t listed down in the tool when it comes to my niche.

This a great and very useful tool!

Great Keyword planner tools post in blog.

Diana Becerra

@Harekrishna – you’re absolutely right. Isn’t the tool great? Hope you found this article helpful.

@Nandima Senaratne – I am so happy to hear that you found this article helpful. Let me know if you have any questions.

Diana, Useful information shared. I am very happy to read this post about how Using Keyword Research Tool. Thanks for giving us nice info. Fantastic walk-through. I appreciate this post. Thank you!

keyword planner tool give a list of keywords and search volume for your specified targeting keywords.
this planner tool also give you Average monthly searches, Suggested bid, Ad impression etc.
it’s very useful tool.

Great article! Just a heads up, your link “sign up for SEOToolSet Pro” links to a Mr Rogers article lol? You might want to fix that.

Paula Allen

Hey Brian, thanks for finding that crazy link! Must have had the wrong URL on the clipboard when Diana pasted it in. That was good for a laugh. :)


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