Keyword Planner

The free Google keyword planner is a marketing tool that was originally used for Google AdWords campaigns keyword research. It is the successor to the former Google External Keyword Tool. Extensive keyword search is also used in on-page optimization to improve content. Prerequisite for using the keyword planner is a valid AdWords account.


The Google keyword planner was created as a tool to help Google’s advertisers find matching keywords for their campaigns. For this reason, the keyword planner primarily applies to the Google search. The search engine provider Bing makes a similar keyword search tool available to its customers with the “keyword research tool.” In SEO circles, Google’s keyword planner has proven itself many times in compiling keyword sets for websites based on traffic forecasts, or to more accurately analyze the keyword focus of leading websites in a specific area. This tool is therefore popular with advertisers, but its functions have even more far-reaching possibilities for search engine optimization.

Functions of the keyword planner[edit]

The keyword planner has three basic functions that can be targeted to specific languages ​​or countries. In addition, users can work with negative keywords.

Search for new keywords[edit]

This tool allows users to create keyword ideas. You can either enter multiple keywords or a category of products that will generate the ideas. Alternatively, a URL can serve as a basis. It is also possible to filter according to different criteria. An additional filter can even further segment the identified keywords and, for example, sort out terms that generate only very little traffic or require a high click price.


Determining keyword search volume and trends[edit]

As part of keyword research, you can determine the search volume for keyword groups or individual keywords. The keyword planner also shows how much competition exists for the respective terms. The average CPCs can be obtained with this tool as well. Up to 1,000 keywords can be entered in this area. A CSV upload is available for larger lists with up to 10,000 words. Keywords that contain special characters (for example, @, €, %) will not be evaluated.

Based on the keyword ideas, new ad groups can be created, or existing ad groups can be supplemented with keywords. In SEO practice, this function helps to find relevant search terms on a topic or to analyze the main keywords of a competitor’s website. The search volume indicates how many users search for the selected terms monthly. At the same time, the keyword planner provides information on competition for individual search queries.

Multiplying of keyword lists[edit]

This keyword planner feature is new and was not included in the former external keyword tool. It allows you to combine multiple terms into compound keywords to find longtail keywords. An example:

The following get combined:
List 1: Shoes, boots, sandals
List 2: buy, order

This results in the following keyword list:
Buy shoes, buy boots, buy sandals, order shoes, order boots, order sandals

Multiple lists can be combined. However, a maximum of 1,000 combinations can be output.

Budget Planning and Performance Forecasts[edit]

This feature is not part of the three basic features of the keyword scheduler. However, it helps budget planning and can provide forecasts on the performance of selected keywords.


The Google keyword planner has initially been criticized because some aspects are worse when compared to its predecessor tool. The service can now only be used with a Google AdWords account. Its use without login is no longer possible. The search results in the keyword planner can no longer be divided into “broad match,” “exact match,” and “word group.” This has eliminated important filter options that previously helped find relevant keywords. The match type “good match” available in the keyword planner is not nearly as precise as “exact match,” therefore only helps to a limited extent.

In 2016, Google narrowed the accuracy of the search volume significantly and gives only very large margins for advertisers with a small budget. However, there are hacks that can be used to retrieve accurate data on monthly search volumes. 

Relevance to search engine optimization[edit]

Similar to the predecessor tool, the Google keyword planner has great significance for search engine optimization. It is one of the most frequently used tools for keyword research. It can be used to find meaningful keywords for optimizing a website or an online store. It allows copywriters or SEOs to select keywords for a website based on their demand. At the same time, niche keywords can also be found using this tool. Keyword planners are usually used in conjunction with a WDF*IDF tool for keyword optimization. In a wider sense, the keyword planner can also be used for competition analysis. If you enter the URL of a competitor when searching for matching keywords and start the search, you will get a list of all keywords that Google considers relevant to the site. Conclusions can be drawn on the rankings of the relevant page based on this data.

In addition, search engine optimizers use the tool to find local keywords, explore trends, and stimulate blogging. With the integrated traffic estimator and the ability to combine keyword lists, the tool has become even more valuable.