Using Keyword Planner to get keyword ideas and traffic estimates

Keyword Planner is like a workshop for building new Search Network campaigns or expanding existing ones. You can search for keyword and ad group ideas, see how a list of keywords might perform, and even create a new keyword list by multiplying several lists of keywords together. A free AdWords tool, Keyword Planner can also help you choose competitive bids and budgets to use with your campaigns.

Whether you're new to online advertising or an experienced pro, you can use Keyword Planner to lay the groundwork for a successful campaign.

Note

To access Keyword Planner, sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com. Click the Tools drop-down menu and select "Keyword Planner." Keep in mind that the anonymous keyword tool is no longer available. But if you were using it for other reasons, you can still get keyword ideas with Keyword Planner. All you need is an AdWords account. If you don’t have an AdWords account, learn how to create one.

Benefits of using Keyword Planner

You can use Keyword Planner to:

  • Research keywords. Need help finding keywords to add to a new campaign? Or, maybe you want to find additional keywords to add to an existing campaign. You can search for keyword and ad groups ideas based on terms that are relevant to your product or service, your landing page, or different product categories.
  • Get historical statistics and traffic estimates. Use statistics like search volume to help you decide which keywords to use for a new or existing campaign. Get estimates, like estimated clicks, to get an idea of how a list of keywords might perform for a given bid and budget. These estimates can also help guide your decision on which bids and budgets to set.

It's important to keep in mind that while Keyword Planner can provide some great keyword ideas and traffic estimates, campaign performance depends on a variety of factors. For example, your bid, budget, product, and customer behavior in your industry can all influence the success of your campaigns.

Tip

As you use Keyword Planner, remember to keep our tips for building the best keyword list in mind. For example, most advertisers find it useful to have somewhere between 5 and 20 keywords per ad group.

How to use Keyword Planner for keyword research

Below we'll explain the four main ways you can use Keyword Planner.

Search for new keyword and ad group ideas

You'll want to search for ideas if you want to find keywords for a new campaign or expand the keyword list for an existing campaign. If you're trying to expand an existing campaign, for example, you might use Keyword Planner to find more specific keywords that don't have a high search volume (which we like to call "long-tail" keywords), but might be more likely to lead to a conversion.

Next, you'll "shop" from the list of keyword and ad group ideas and add the keywords you like to a draft "shopping cart" plan - the same way you might shop for shoes on an e-commerce site!

How to search for ideas and build a plan
  1. Click Search for new keyword and ad group ideas to expand the search section.
  2. Enter one or more of the following in the boxes that appear:
    • Words or phrases that describe what you're advertising.
    • The URL of a page on your website or your entire website.
    • A category relevant to your product or service.
    • Tip: To filter larger sets of ideas, enter both a word and website URL.
  3. Click Get ideas.
  4. Review your keywords from the Ad group ideas tab (which you'll see by default) or the Keyword ideas tab.
  5. Click the double arrows » to add an ad group or keyword idea to your plan. You can use the historical statistics that appear in the table to help you decide which ad groups or keywords to add to your plan.
  6. When you're done building your plan, click Get estimates and review plan. You'll see a graph with a range of maximum cost-per-click (max CPC) bids and daily traffic estimates. Learn more about how to get estimates in the section below.
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Tips

  • Add ideas: To add more keywords to an ad group, click the pencil icon and then click the double arrows » next to the keyword you want to add. You can also click +New to manually add your own keywords to the ad group.
  • Delete ideas: To delete a keyword in an ad group, click the pencil icon next to the ad group and then the X next to the keyword you want to delete. To delete an entire ad group, click the X next that ad group.
  • Change bid range: Adjust the range of max CPC bids to get click and cost estimates for the keywords in your plan.

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

If you already have a list of keywords, you can enter those keywords manually or upload them as a CSV file to get an idea of how popular those keywords have been. For example, you could enter a list of keywords and get search volume statistics. You can also group your keywords into ad groups.

How to enter or upload keywords to get search volume or group them into ad groups
  1. Click Get search volume for a list of keywords or group them into ad groups.
  2. Enter a list of keywords, one per line or separated by commas. Or, click Choose File to upload a CSV file with your keywords. Note that these keywords won't be added to any of the existing campaigns in your account.
  3. Click Get search volume to get historical statistics, like monthly search volume or competition data, for your keywords. To see these keywords grouped into ad groups, click on the Ad group ideas tab in your results.
  4. You can filter your results as described in the "How to target and filter your results" section below.
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Tip

If you use keyword match types with your keywords, we take only those match types into account when calculating traffic estimates. For example, if you add a keyword as exact match, like [Cabo luxury resort], your estimates will give you an idea how that keyword might perform as an exact match keyword.

Get traffic estimates for a list of keywords

If you already have a list of keywords, you can also enter those keywords manually or upload them as a CSV file to get click and cost estimates. These are estimates that are specific to your AdWords account and the bid that you’ve selected.

How to enter or upload keywords to get traffic estimates
  1. Click on Get traffic estimates for a list of keywords.
  2. Enter a list of keywords, one per line or separated by commas. Or, click Choose File to upload a CSV file with your keywords. Note that these keywords won't be added to any of the existing campaigns in your account.
  3. Click Get estimates to get traffic estimates, like estimated clicks or impressions, for your keywords.Get traffic estimates for a list of keywords

Multiply keyword lists

Save the time of manually combining keywords by multiplying two or more lists of keywords. Then, get historical statistics or traffic estimates for the new list of combined keywords.

Example

To help you get a better idea of how the multiply keyword lists feature works, here's an example. Let's say you're advertising a chain of luxury resorts. You might have one keyword list of geographical locations and a second list of keywords that describe your resorts as follows:

Keyword list 1 Keyword list 2
Mexico luxury resort
Cabo hotels
Cancun beach resort

We'll combine the keywords from both lists to create new keyword phrases, like Cabo hotels or Mexico luxury resort. Then, you can get traffic estimates or historical statistics for these new keywords.

How to multiply keyword lists
  1. Click Multiply keyword lists to get new keyword ideas.
  2. In the "List 1" box, enter your keywords, one per line or separated by commas. In the "List 2" box, enter a different list of keywords that you want to combine with "List 1." Again, enter these keywords one per line or separated by commas. To multiply more than two lists, click the X to add more boxes.
  3. Click Get estimates to get traffic estimates, like estimated clicks or impressions, for your combined keyword phrases. Or, click Get search volume to get historical statistics, like monthly search volume or competition data, for your combined keyword phrases.
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How to target, customize, and filter your results

With Keyword Planner, you can refine your keyword ideas by targeting or filtering your results. You can target your results by location, language, and network settings. And you can customize your results by date range and filter them by historical statistics, keyword options, or choose to include or exclude certain keywords.

Targeting your results

To help you understand how to use the targeting settings, here's an example. Let's say you want to show ads for your Cabo San Lucas resort to customers in Switzerland who speak French and are searching on Google and Google search partner sites. You can edit the settings on the "Targeting" panel to to get keyword ideas and historical statistics for such a campaign. To do so, click the pencil icon.

  • Location settings: Enter a geographical location, including countries, territories, regions, and cities in the box. Try clicking the Nearby link to get ideas for locations that are, as you might have guessed, nearby the location you entered. If you want to target globally, remove any locations you're previously entered. Doing so will automatically set your targeting to "All locations."
  • Language settings: Enter a language in the box or scroll through the list of languages that you can get ideas for.
  • Network settings: Select "Google" to get ideas for Google Search or select "Google and search partners" to get ideas for Google Search, other Google search sites like Maps and Images, and Google search partner sites (sites that partner with Google to show ads).

Customizing your results by date range

Paying attention to the calendar can be helpful if you’re running a seasonal campaign or looking for keywords that are trending on Google Search. That’s where the date range feature comes in. It lets you see search volume trends over time, get suggestions for keywords that are particularly relevant during certain times of the year, and compare two time periods to see how quickly a keyword’s popularity has grown.

Seasonal trends

Let’s say your business delivers flowers. Looking at your search volume trends, you notice that your keywords were most popular in February, the month of Valentine’s Day. You can use the date range feature to find other keywords that have been popular that month. Just click the pencil icon to enter your date range.

You can also use the date range feature with your traffic estimates. For example, you could choose to get estimates just for the month of February to plan for a Valentine’s Day campaign for your flower delivery business.

Note

You can use the date range feature when you first enter your keywords or after you get your search volume statistics or traffic estimates. When entering your keywords, you’ll find it at the bottom with targeting and filtering options. On the results page, you’ll see it on the side along with targeting and filtering options.

Comparing date ranges

For your flower delivery business, you might be interested in seeing which types of flowers are becoming more popular. Perhaps tulips were popular last year, but orchids might be on everyone’s minds this year. To compare keywords over two time periods, select “Compare.” Next, choose to compare your date range with the previous period (the previous two months if you entered a two-month date range), the same period last year, or a custom date range.

You’ll see a table of your results, as well as columns that show the difference in average monthly searches between the two date ranges. At the top you’ll also see a graph showing a time period comparison. You can sort the “Total change” and “Percent change” columns to see how quickly these keywords are growing in popularity.

Let’s say you want to see only keywords that got at least 1,000 searches during your time period. To filter your results, click the pencil icon in the date range panel on the side.

Filtering your results

You can filter your results by different historical statistics, choose to see certain keyword ideas, or include and exclude certain keyword ideas. To edit each filter, click the pencil icon.

  • Filter by historical statistics: See keywords based on the number of average monthly searches, average cost-per-click, or competition data.
  • Filter by keyword options: See keywords that contain adult content, keywords that are already being used as keywords in your account, or keywords that you've already added to your plan.
  • Include or exclude ideas:
    • Include ideas: See keywords that contain at least one of the terms you enter in the include keywords box. If you don't include quotes around your keywords, you'll see ideas that include both terms, but not necessarily those terms only, in any order. If you use quotation marks around your keywords, you'll see keyword ideas that contain both terms in the order you added them.
    • Exclude ideas: See keywords that don't include any of the terms you enter in the exclude keywords box.
How to upload a list of keywords or download results

Uploading a list of keywords

If you want to upload your own list of keywords from an external file, you can upload your keywords using a CSV file (comma-separated values) that's been created with a spreadsheet program or text editor. Once you upload your keywords, you can use Keyword Planner to get historical statistics or traffic estimates for them.

File types

Here are the file types you can use:

  • CSV file exported from AdWords Editor
  • CSV file created using Excel, Google spreadsheets, or other spreadsheet programs
  • CSV file created using a text editor, like TextEdit or Notepad

Note that you can upload a .zip file of any of the above.

File formats

When creating your file, you'll need to format the information using the following guidelines:

  • If your file includes keywords only, the keywords should be listed one per line. You don't need to include a "Keyword" column header.
  • If your file includes more than keywords, like keywords grouped into ad groups, you'll need to create a column header row that defines each column.
  • Each column header must be in English for Keyword Planner to recognize them.

Here are a few additional guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Columns relevant to Keyword Planner will be imported, while columns that Keyword Planner doesn't recognize won't be imported. For example, Keyword Planner can recognize an "Ad group" column with the name of your ad group and a "Keyword" column with the ad group's corresponding keywords. Here's a list of all the columns that Keyword Planner recognizes:
    • "Ad group"
    • "Budget"
    • "Campaign"
    • "Keyword"
    • "Language targeting"
    • "Location ID"
    • "Max CPC"
    • "Networks"
    • "Criterion type"
  • Campaign-level settings, like network or language settings, must use the AdWords Editor format.
  • You must set the same ad group default bid for each ad group. Also, if your file includes keyword bids, we won't be able to upload it.

Learn more about column headers for CSV import files.

Downloading your historical statistics

You can download the historical statistics for all of your keyword ideas or the keywords in your plan to share with clients or colleagues. Here's how:

  1. To download statistics for all of your keyword ideas, click the download button Download icon that's above the table. To download statistics for your plan, click the download button Download icon that's in your plan.
  2. Select the AdWords Editor CSV radio button to download the file in the AdWords Editor format, which you can later import into AdWords as a spreadsheet. Select the Excel CSV radio button to download the file in the Excel CSV format.
    • Tip: If you're downloading statistics for the keywords in your plan, you'll also have the option to download traffic estimates for those keywords. Select the Traffic estimates checkbox. Note that you'll need to set a bid on the estimates page (to do so, click the Get estimates and review plan button in your plan).
  3. Click Download.
  4. You'll see a box telling you that the file is available. Click the link to download it.

How to use Keyword Planner to get traffic estimates and save keywords to your account

Think of getting traffic estimates like test driving your campaign - you can get an idea of how your keywords might perform for different bids and budgets. Once you've built a plan, entered or uploaded your own keyword list, or multiplied several keywords lists together, you can get estimates for those keywords and then save them to your account. And you can customize your estimates based on a date range you enter.

How to get estimates and save keywords
  1. You'll see a graph with a range of maximum cost-per-click (max CPC) bids and traffic estimates for the different bids. By default, we'll show the number of clicks per day that all of your keywords might get for the different bids.
    • To see a different metric, like impressions or cost, click the drop-down menu above the graph.
    • You can also hover over a point on the graph to see a summary of all your estimates for that particular bid.
  2. To get detailed estimates in the table, enter a max CPC bid in the box above the graph or select a bid from the graph. To see estimates for a specific bid and budget, enter both a bid and a daily budget.
  3. By default, we'll show you estimates for your ad group ideas. The estimates are: clicks, impressions ("Impr."), average position ("Avg. Pos."), cost, clickthrough rate ("CTR"), and average cost-per-click ("Avg. CPC").
  4. Next to the graph, you'll see a "Targeting" panel with location, language, network, and date range settings that we'll use when calculating the estimates. Click the pencil icon to change these settings. Your estimates will get updated.
  5. After reviewing your estimates, you can save your keywords to your account by clicking Save to account.
    • To add your keywords to a new campaign, enter a name for the campaign, ad group default bid, and daily budget.
    • To add your keywords to an existing campaign, select "Add as new ad group(s)" or "Add to an existing ad group." Then, select the campaign you want to add your keywords to and enter an ad group default bid.
  6. Click Save and continue.
Try Keyword Planner now How to edit ideas in the table

You can make changes to your ad group and keywords ideas in the table to help you get an even better idea how your keywords might perform. For example, you can easily change all of the keywords in an ad group from broad match to exact match to see whether exact match keywords might better help you reach your advertising goals.

Here's how to add more ad groups or keywords:

  1. Click +Add keywords.
  2. To add a new ad group, enter the name of the ad group and keywords in the boxes. To add keywords to an existing ad group, select the name of the ad group and enter the keywords in the box. Make sure to enter the keywords one per line or separated by commas.
  3. Click Save.

Here's how to change your keyword match type:

  1. Select the checkboxes next to the ad groups that contain the keywords you want to change the match types for.
  2. Click the Edit drop-down.
  3. Select Selected ad groups to change the match type for the keywords in the selected ad groups. Select All ad groups to change the match type for all the keywords in your plan.