How to use the Keyword Planner tool to make a keyword strategy for paid ads and SEO
Although the Keyword Planner tool was developed to help marketers choose the best set of keywords and predict their performance in the Google AdWords system, it is also a tool that can be used when you are setting up your strategy for search engine optimization. It shows you the queries (words or phrases) that are searched by customers in Google to find your website. And it does so with a lot more accuracy than, say, the Google Trends tool.
By using it, you will know which words you should focus on or start using more often when you are writing the texts for your website.
Keyword strategy for AdWords
A lot of beginners tend to make the same error when they choose their first set of keywords for a paid advertising campaign: they combine keywords.
Keywords do not “combine” with each other.
They are triggered separately by search queries entered by the user when looking for something on Google. And they are supposed to make sense even when taken from context.
We have seen this misunderstanding of basic Google Ads rules before. We had tests on this with beginners who were asked to propose a list of 10 keywords to use in an ad for a 5-star exclusive hotel in Baltimore. One of the worst answers to this simple exercise was “exclusive outfits”. As a promoter of this hotel, this keyword may have a meaning only when it correlates with the others on the list: “hotel”, “hotel Baltimore”, “spa and hotel Baltimore”. But as a simple user who is looking for clothes for a special occasion, seeing this hotel ad will not convert at all. Likewise, a participant gave the following list of keywords: luxury hotel, the latest technology, excellent services, quality, Baltimore, SPA, luxury, exclusive holiday, conference room, selected products.
Again, as a list, maybe this set makes sense, but the ad will be displayed every time someone searches for data about selected products (whatever that is) or about internet technologies. Makes sense? Not really. Hence, the list, in this case, the list of keywords should be limited to: Baltimore hotel, Luxury Baltimore hotel, 5 Star Baltimore Hotel, Best Hotel in Baltimore, Baltimore accommodation, etc.
How can the Keyword Planner help me with my keyword strategy?
The Keyword Planner can do any of the following four things to help you choose your keywords:
- It can suggest keywords based on details you are providing (your product or service, the landing page address where the product can be found and a pre-defined product category). The advantage is that the system will provide large groups of keywords that have been gathered from previous experience with advertising campaigns
- It can combine keywords you have already cooked up, to get new keywords that you have not thought about, but that might be popular in searches
- It can provide data about traffic volume for keywords (proposed by you or suggested by the tool). It can tell you that a certain keyword has bee searched an X number of times in the past month, in a certain geographical area). Furthermore, you get an estimate of how much other advertising campaigns are bidding on that keyword, so that you know what budget to prepare. See below also a forecast for clicks and costs per keyword
It is recommended when you choose keywords, that you go with a larger set of words (a minimum of 10). So you can compare the performance of your keywords (how much they are being searched, how many clicks they are getting, at what cost, from what position in the search results) while your campaign is running.
To optimize the ads, you can just pause or eliminate the keywords with less than satisfactory results.
Where can I find the Keyword Planner tool? Should I use Generic Keywords or detailed queries?
You need a Google Ads account and once you log-in into your ads account, click the Tools menu and select Keyword Planner.
The more detailed the keywords you choose (e.g. “pizza home delivery San Jose non-stop”), the less traffic they will bring (the system will sometimes show the message low search volume), but they are more likely to lead to conversions.
The same logic applies to SEO keyword strategy.
Unfortunately, with Google Ads, low search volume means that your ad may not be displayed at all, or it will be done at a higher cost per click.
On the other hand, a generic keyword like “pizzeria” will place us in a tough competition with many other websites. But it will give you the chance for higher traffic.
So, which option are you going to choose? To have fewer people look for terms associated with your ad, but a big percentage of them converting to sales, or to have many people looking for terms connected to your product, but only a small percentage to see your ad and buy your product?
It is not an actual choice in itself since you can try to do both simultaneously and see what works best for you! Both options might prove to pay off. Just remember to track the visits you get with our Visitor Analytics tool, of course!