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Google’s useful free “Keyword Planner” tool

Google’s “Keyword Planner” tool lives within the Google Ads service, and businesses that don’t run a Google Ads campaign (or who use somebody to run it for them) probably don’t use it. That’s a missed opportunity, because it gives some extremely useful data for SEO.

It’s easy to take a look even without a Google Ads account – just go to ‘start now’ on the Google Ads page, and click on ‘Set up an account only’ on the ‘simple steps’ page that follows. Nothing else is needed, other than to give Google some location details.

The Keyword Planner lives under “Tools”. It offers the options to “Discover new keywords” or “Get search volume and forecasts’. Both are incredibly powerful insights into the searches taking place out there. Both can – and should – provide us with excellent ideas  for search terms we might want to target.


Play with the ‘Refine keywords’ and filtering options to find interesting search terms, and don’t discount ‘long tail’ suggestions with low numbers of searches if they’re on point. These can be much easier to rank highly for. Also look at the ‘Top of page bid’ for advertisers. If this figure is high, it means that some people think it’s commercially significant.

The tool is not the most sophisticated in the world, but it’s free, and quite underused.