10 tips to drive a highly effective Keyword Strategy using the revamped Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner is a powerful tool, for both SEO and SEM, in providing valuable data to help shape your decision making around target keywords. This data is usually combined with trend analysis to identify when to target keywords, when to publish and when to promote the content.

Google recently announced some significant new features and changes to Keyword Planner including consolidating trend data and monthly search data in the one tool, saving you valuable time! In order to help drive your decision making we have provided a complete walkthrough of how to use the updated Google Keyword Planner.

The most significant change is the addition of the ‘Date Range’ which determines the timescale of the data that will be shown and also the trend data once we click ‘Get ideas’.

Let’s take a look at how this and other changes will impact you.

1.      Keywords / Landing Page / Product

As with all previous versions we can enter our keywords separated by commas in the first of the three fields below.

The second field enables you to provide a landing page specific to the product or service. If you enter a landing page in this field and enter no other data into this section, Google will suggest terms relevant to what it sees the page is about.

The final field is the ‘product category’ and there is a large selection of tiered options to navigate to a relevant category.

2.      Targeting

Here we find the ‘location targeting’ options that allow us to limit search volumes to specific geographical regions such as countries.

There is also the option for targeting ‘nearby’ regions, in the example below we have chosen NSW as the location and we can see that there are options for expanding that to other regions:

This is great if you are looking for regions in an area that you are unfamiliar with or you want to see the potential areas worth targeting near your original location.

3.      Language

The ‘language options’ are straight forward with all languages listed in the drop down menu. Either a single selection or multiple selections can be made to further refine the results, leaving this blank will enable results for all languages.

4.      Google or Search Partners

It is possible to target paid ads to either Google, Google Plus or their search partners. This option allows you to see search volumes for both of these options.

Google search partners include Google Shopping, Google Maps, Google Images and Google Groups.

5.      Negative Keywords

Adding negative keywords to this list will prevent keywords from being suggested that contain the words you enter into this field. When using the tool for keyword research for SEM, using negative keywords is essential for cost efficiency within the account and you may need to pull negative keywords out of existing campaigns and enter them here.

6.      Date Range

You can see average monthly searches for a date range that you select, or compare average monthly searches for two date ranges.

The custom comparison allows you to compare any two periods of time and are set manually. The default is for no comparison and it will automatically choose the past 12 months.

7.      Customisation

This set of filters allows us to refine the results by setting specific requirements initially rather than filtering through this data in Excel later on. The options are limited to either ‘equal to’ or ‘greater than’ or ‘equal to’ or ‘less than’ a specific value.

The final three options will limit the competition to either one or two of the competition options, selecting all three will yield the same result as selecting none. For example you could select to see only search terms with a search volume equal to or greater than 100 and that have a low search volume.

The below screenshot shows what the options look like if you have selected a comparison between two different date ranges, essentially these option just double up for each filter.

 

8.      Keyword Options

The default options are shown in the image below but these can be changed.

The image below shows the default settings for these options, simply click the slider button for each to switch the option on or off.

Once enabled, this option will restrict the variety of search terms displayed in the results to those much more closely related to the terms that you have entered in the first field. It is only relevant if you have input an initial set of seed keywords.

Show keywords in my account

Once enabled, the results will include keywords that are already in your account whether they are enabled or disabled. If you are looking for new keyword ideas for an SEM account, keeping this option switched off will reduce potential duplication issues.

Show keywords in my plan

Once enabled, the results will include keywords that are already in your ‘plan’, so any keyword that has been added to the plan previously. Again this can reduce duplication of reviewing the same keyword more than once, specifically if you are building out new ad groups / campaigns using the planning tool.

Show adult ideas

Essentially an explicit content filter, once switched on this will allow adult words to be included within the results of your search.

Include/Exclude

The final filter option enables you to exclusively include results that either contain or do not contain specific words. If you are searching for a broad term with multiple contexts and applications, it may be that you want to exclude words that are irrelevant. For example if you search for ‘leads’ it may be that you do not want to see ‘dog leads’ but do want to see ‘sales leads’, so you  would add ‘dog’, ‘pet’ and ‘animal’ to the bottom field.

9.      Other Keyword Planner Options

It is also worth noting that the options and filters shown above exist in part on the other keyword planner options detailed below:

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

  • Location targeting
  • Search networks
  • Negative keywords
  • Data ranges

Get traffic estimates for a list of keywords

  • Location targeting
  • Language options
  • Search networks
  • Negative keywords
  • Data ranges.

Multiple keyword lists to get new keyword ideas

  • Location targeting
  • Search networks
  • Negative keywords.

10.  Results

Once all of the above options have been reviewed and selected, clicking ‘Get ideas’ will load the results page.

In the results we can immediately see the differences between how the layout looks now compared to before the update.

The most obvious is the big blue chart at the top showing an aggregated view of the keyword data listed over the date range set and described above. As such it is of limited use as many of the keywords aren’t relevant (depending upon how specific your search criteria was).

However if you click on the ‘keyword ideas’ tab, the chart shows the search volume over time just for the search terms that you have entered:

The graph can be changed to show three other types of data:

Search volume data

This is what you see by default which is an aggregate of the search volume data across all devices.

Once selected, this will display the mobile search volume next to the total search volume over time.

Breakdown by device

A simple pie chart breakdown will be shown if this option is selected which highlights the split of traffic between the three device categories that Google use (Mobile, Desktop, & Tablet). This is not broken down over time but is averaged over the whole date range chosen.

Breakdown by location

This will only show multiple locations if they have been added within the location targeting options.  Again this averages for the whole date range and does not show the split over time.

Summary

Google loves making changes and this time, we like the changes! They provide more data, more ways of filtering and sorting that data and, ultimately, this makes the tool more powerful and versatile.

If you found this post useful or if you have any questions or feedback, please let us know in the comments section below.

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