Everything you need to know about Google Ads keyword planner

Google keyword planner evolved a lot since it has been introduced. I remember the times that some agencies tried to charge for it, even though it was free for everyone to use. But I still get some questions on how to use it and most importantly how to get valuable insights.

In this post I will try to answer these questions and give you some tips, that might make your campaign planning a lot easier.


What is Google keyword planner?

Google keyword planner allows you to see how many searches there are for specific keywords. It is essential to know if the keywords you want to bid on have any volume. And if they have what is it?

It also shows you how competitive those keywords are. If they are really competitive most likely it means that you will pay a higher CPC, which will result in higher spending.

The other part of the keyword planner allows you to find new (related) keywords. I’m 99.99% sure that you won’t be able to pick ALL the keywords that are suitable for your business. This is close to impossible as there are many combinations.


keyword planner


This tool helps you out a lot as it shows you what other related keywords people enter into Google. All you have to do is decide if these keywords fit your business.

What else I like is that Google shows you search volume by month. So you can clearly see if your keywords have any seasonality to them. This helps a lot when planning your campaigns. And is a great way to out smart your competitors.


Is Google keyword planner free?

Yes. Sort of. You don’t have to pay for it as it is available in any Google Ads account, which is free to create. All you need is your Gmail account.
As soon as you create your account you can find it under Settings. We will talk about how to use it later in this blog post.

There is one caveat. If your Google Ads account is new and you never spent a dime on ads, you will get a “limited” keyword planner. What do I mean by that?

When you will get the search volume of the keywords you want, Google will show a range of volume. For example, you might get that a certain keyword has 0-100 search volume. Not a precise number. It is useful information, nonetheless.

Once you start spending those ranges disappear. And it doesn’t matter how much you spend on ads. This was changed at some point to filter out those users who wanted just the keyword planner and were sort of abusing it. At least, that’s what I heard.

This means that you are paying for it but indirectly, through your ad spend. In my opinion, it’s not a downside. Eventually, you are going to spend some money on ads.


How to get the search volume in the keyword planner?

The keyword planner is located in Tools and Settings > Keyword planner. You have to be logged in to your Google ads account.
If you need to know the search volume of your keywords just select the second option named “Get search volume and forecasts”.

You input your keywords. For example, “winter tires”. You can input more keywords, but for the sake of this example, let’s use only one.

Now let’s unpack what we see here.



Don’t forget to set the country or language. By default, it will be your country, but if you’re working with several countries, i.e. running campaigns there, make sure to change this setting.

First, you can add or remove any columns. You can do it by clicking on the Columns icon on the right of that table.

With the keywords, you get avg. monthly searches, that’s your search volume. A small graph indicates the trend of that keyword. This helps with seasonal products. Our “winter tires” volume stats go up in October and dies down in February, which makes total sense.


Next, you see the 3 months and a year change. This is good to see if that keyword volume goes up or down in the long run (year). Here you see the volume increase during the last 3 months, compared to year over year. But what is also interesting is that 22% more people search for this keyword this year compared to last year.



Competition is a good column but a bit too vague in my opinion. You have low, medium, and high. But this is very different per country and keyword, so it’s hard to extract any valuable information. Sure, the keyword with high competition will be more expensive than with low competition. But that doe not mean you should not bid on it. Especially, if it can bring customers.


Ad impression share will show numbers only after you start advertising. It shows what share of all impressions you get. Helps you understand where you are with each keyword.


Top of page bid (low range) shows the lower range of what advertisers have historically paid for a keyword’s top of page bid. Top of page bid is the amount you need to bid for a keyword to appear in the top results.


Top of page bid (high range) shows the higher range of what advertisers have historically paid for a keyword’s top of page bid.


Both of these columns help you understand what possible bid price you will have to set in order to compete for higher positions. Again, these are just estimates. When you actually start to advertise your bid price might be lower due to various factors. But most likely it won’t be too far from what you see here. So if it says 2.67€, most likely it won’t be 0.50€.


Keyword planner also shows you a forecast of your keywords. You will find it in the left menu.


The results will depend on your selected bidding strategy. In this example, we see maximize clicks strategy applied. This means that Google will try to get as many clicks as possible for your specified budget. Therefore, you can only change your daily budget here to see different results.


As you can see Google tells me that for this keyword I might get around 6.2k clicks per month and spend around 3000€. If you increase the daily budget you get more clicks.


You also see additional metrics such as CTR (click-through rate) and if you have conversions and historical data you will get an estimate for that as well. Take all of this with a grain of salt.


How to find new keywords with a keyword planner?

Let’s get back to the other option.


keyword planner

This is for you to find new keywords related to the ones you already have. It is hard to come up with all the keywords, especially at the beginning. You might have ten keywords you think are important, which is great. But you should always check if there are maybe more or a bit different keywords that you should also use.

Let’s use the same keyword “winter tiers”.


Don’t forget to change the country and select the language.


On top, you might see a suggestion to broaden your search. Scan those keywords as well, sometimes it has good ideas, but usually, it is just too broad. Like in our case it suggests using “tire parts”. Great if I have them, but if I don’t then it’s a useless suggestion.



Now you see your keyword along with a lot of other keywords that are related. This does not mean you should use all of these keywords, but you might find some good ones.



You have the same statistics as before, volume, competition etc.


In this case, I might use a few keywords, like “best winter tires”, or maybe “winter tyres” which is misspelled.

I also see what brands people search for. This is very useful to me as I can bid on those keywords as well if I sell those brands. Or maybe I can order to resell.

It will add keywords to your saved keywords which you can find on your left in the menu. If you click on it it will show you all the saved keywords.

There might be too many keywords, or you see that a lot of them do not really match your main keywords. Then you can refine those keywords, by using the options on the right.


I can remove “truck”, I can also go and remove some brands or conditions. This will refine the list and you will get more precise suggestions.


I always recommend going through all the keywords to see if you find something useful. If you do find them just add them to your plan. You can either copy those keywords or select the keywords and press add keywords.

I then like to export it to excel and continue working with my structure.



Call it old school but this gives me a better understanding of all the keywords. And it keeps me focused. Also the more I work with them manually the better I tend to understand the business and the intent behind those searches and what kind of variety of keywords there are. I also create responsive ads in the excel file because I see all the keywords in one place and it makes it a lot easier.


You can use the planner in any way you want. I find it useful to get the volume of keywords I picked or the client asked me to bid on. Low-volume keywords can be excluded thus saving you time.

And it is a great source of additional keywords along with their statistics. Let me know how you use this planner and if you have any tricks I will add them to this post.




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