Using Keyword Planner to get keyword ideas and traffic forecasts

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." 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 forecasts. Use statistics like search volume to help you decide which keywords to use for a new or existing campaign. Get forecasts, like predicted clicks and estimated conversions, to get an idea of how a list of keywords might perform for a given bid and budget. These forecasts 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 forecasts, 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 forecasts and review plan. You'll see a graph with a range of maximum cost-per-click (max CPC) bids and daily traffic forecasts. Learn more about how to get forecasts in the section below.
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Tips

  • Add ideas: To add more keywords to an ad group, click on the ad group and then click the double arrows » next to the keyword you want to add.
  • Remove ideas: To remove a keyword in an ad group, click the ad group and then the X next to the keyword you want to remove. To remove 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 forecasts. For example, if you add a keyword as exact match, like [Cabo luxury resort], your forecasts will give you an idea how that keyword might perform as an exact match keyword.

Get traffic forecasts 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 forecasts. These are forecasts that are specific to your AdWords account and the bid that you’ve selected.

How to enter or upload keywords to get traffic forecasts
  1. Click on Get traffic forecasts 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 forecasts to get traffic forecasts, like predicted clicks, conversions, 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 forecasts for the new list of combined keywords.

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 forecasts 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 forecasts to get traffic forecasts, like predicted 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 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 forecasts. For example, you could choose to get forecasts 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 forecasts. 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.
  • Keywords to include: 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.

How to use Keyword Planner to review traffic forecasts and save keywords to your account

Think of getting traffic forecasts 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 forecasts for those keywords and then save them to your account. And you can customize your forecasts based on a date range you enter.

How to get forecasts and save keywords
  1. You'll see a graph with a range of maximum cost-per-click (max CPC) bids and traffic forecasts 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 appropriate metric name above the graph.
    • You can also hover over a point on the graph to see a summary of all your forecasts for that particular bid.
  2. To get detailed forecasts in the table, enter a max CPC bid in the box above the graph ("Enter a bid") or hover and click any point on the graph to choose a bid. To see forecasts for a specific bid and budget, enter both a bid and a daily budget.
    • To adjust some of your bids by a percentage or a specific amount, select the checkboxes next to the ad groups that you want to change your bids for. Click the Edit drop-down and find the Change Ad Group Bids section, then click Selected. You can also adjust all of your bids by clicking All from the same menu. Use the drop-downs to increase or decrease your bids by a fixed percentage or amount, set a new bid amount, or set your bids to the default amount. You can also set a minimum or maximum limit for all your bids.
    • To change one of your bids, click the bid amount under “Max. CPC” in the table, enter your new bid, and click Save.
  3. By default, we'll show you forecasts for your ad group ideas. The forecasts you'll see in the table below the graph are: clicks, impressions ("Impr."), cost, clickthrough rate ("CTR"), average cost-per-click ("Avg. CPC"), and average position ("Avg. Pos.").
  4. In the graph, you'll see more forecasts, including including conversions, average cost-per-acquisition, total conversion value, return on ad spend, and ad position.
    • If your keywords have different bid amounts, the graph will show the estimated number of clicks you’ll get for each bid percentage change. To adjust all your bids by the same percentage, hover and click on the desired percentage point on the graph.
  5. 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 forecasts. Click the pencil icon to change these settings. Your forecasts will get updated.
  6. 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.
  7. 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. If you’d like to change the match types for keywords in some of your ad groups, select the checkboxes next to the ad groups you'd like to make changes to.
  2. Click the Match types drop-down.
  3. Select Selected to change the match type for the keywords in the selected ad groups. Select All to change the match type for all the keywords in your plan.
  4. Select Broad match, Exact match, or Phrase match, depending on what match type you’d like to change the keywords in your selected ad group to.
  5. Click Yes to apply your changes.

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