How to Use the New Google AdWords Keyword Planner

As the Google AdWords Keyword Tool is unfortunately on its way out, learn to use the new Google AdWords Keyword Planner that will be replacing it.

Sadly, the Google AdWords Keyword Tool is another favorite Google tool that is on its way out. In the coming months, it will be completely replaced by the new Google AdWords Keyword Planner, which is why you have been seeing the following message:

In this post, we’re going to look at how you can use Keyword Planner for your keyword research.

You Must Have a Google AdWords Account

While this tool is similar, the one main difference is that you must log in to your Google AdWords account. If you don’t already have a Google AdWords account, signing up is a piece of cake. Simply log in with your current Google account (ie., what you use for Gmail, YouTube, Analytics, Webmaster Tools, etc.) and sign up for Google AdWords. The signup process consists of confirming your timezone and preferred currency. Fortunately, you don’t need to create a Google AdWords campaign to use the new Keyword Planner tool.

Using the New Keyword Planner

Once you’re logged in to Google AdWords, you can find the Keyword Planner by looking under the Tools an Analysis menu. Once you’re there, you have three options:

Search for Keyword and Ad Group Ideas

The first option is similar to the options on the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, now with a simpler interface and the ability to use local targeting all the way down to the city and state level.

The Keyword Planner results page defaults to ad group ideas.

You can click on the keyword ideas tab to see a set of results similar to what you would have seen in the Keyword Tool.

Here, you can see ideas based on keywords you enter along with average search volume, competition, and CPC. You can hover over the graph to see the search volume by month for the past 12 months.

To download your keyword ideas, click the download icon at the top of your results. You can choose to include just the average monthly searches in the Excel CSV or have the searches segmented by month.

If you are planning an AdWords campaign, you can add ad groups or keyword ideas to your plan. When you click the Review Estimates button, you can get daily estimates on clicks, impressions, average position, and cost based on your budget.

Enter or Upload Keywords to See How They Perform

If you have a list of keywords already planned out, you can enter or upload them using the second option in the Keyword Planner.

You can use this to get estimates about your proposed AdWords campaign or see additional keyword ideas, average search volume, competition, and average CPC.

Multiply Keyword Lists

The third option in the Keyword Planner is to multiply keyword lists. This simply allows you to add different keywords and have Google combine them for you.

You can then get estimates about your proposed AdWords campaign or see additional keyword ideas, average search volume, competition, and average CPC.

This is a great option for local keyword research as you can add different cities in one column and primary keywords and phrases in the other. This will save you time from having to copy and paste different groups of keywords with locations in oder to find the most popular ones to optimize for.

Things to Keep In Mind

There are a few key differences in the data that the Keyword Planner provides compared to what the Keyword Tool provided. For starters, the Keyword Tool defaulted to giving you historical search volume statistics for broad match, whereas the Keyword Planner gives you historical search volume statistics for exact match.

Also, the Keyword Tool gave you average search volume for users searching on desktop and laptop computers by default, whereas Keyword Panner gives you average search volume across all devices. You cannot filter the keyword data by specific devices.

Last, but not least, you may have noticed that there is no longer a column for average local searches. Instead, you would target your search for a specific location in the beginning to get average search volume in that region.

This targeting is similar to what you would see when actually planning your AdWords campaign.

Additional Tools

If you need more information for a paid search campaign, be sure to also look at the Display Planner, which will ask you for keywords your customers are interested in along with your landing page.

You can use this to get ad group and keyword ideas, demographics, placements, interests, and other valuable information for your campaign.

How do you use the new Keyword Planner tool for keyword research? Please share in the comments!

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  • http://thedsmgroup.com/ Jason Diller


    great stuff as always. I’ll share this with my team. Cheers

    • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

      Thanks Jason! 🙂

      • Michael DiSalvo

        i just don’t get why avg monthly searches in the graph can be around 2000 but below in the chart it is 50 in my search for my same keyword. Am I missing something???

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  • http://lukeglassford.com/ Luke Glassford

    The one big issue I have with the new Keyword Planner is that there doesn’t seem to be a tick box for ‘Only show ideas closely related to my search terms’ as there is in the old Keyword Tool – which is not ideal for SEO research as the keyword ideas the tool gives me are not very granular. Am I missing something or is this functionality just no longer going to be available?

    • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

      You’re not missing it – it’s just not there. You have to use the include / exclude filter to get stuff you don’t want out of the results. 🙁

      • Fred van Engelen

        I wonder how the elimination of this tick box relates to the Google mantra Relevance, Relevance, Relevance. In the new Keyword planner you get a lot of related but totally irrelevant suggestions, and it’s a huge task to filter all the bad ones out.

  • http://www.tvsinternetmarketing.com/ Carmen Rane Hudson

    Augh, I hate the new Keyword Planner SO MUCH. It doesn’t give you nearly as many keywords as the old tool did. Still, thank you for the overview and tips.

    • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

      I’m going to miss GAKT too. With as many products as Google shuts down, I’ve just learned to make the best out of whatever happens next.

      • http://www.tvsinternetmarketing.com/ Carmen Rane Hudson

        Very true! I wonder if Google’s shift towards the knowledge graph and “gist” searches is the reason behind the fewer number of keywords. If they’re trying to attune their algorithm in a way that is less dependent on specific, word-for-word keywords then it would make sense to offer a shorter list.

        • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

          They started that process with (not provided) keywords in Google Analytics. 🙂

      • Amber Rose

        Keyword planner was active in my account before and now when google disabled keyword tool the Keyword planner is not showing up in my account. Do you know about this issue. It’s worth mentioning that I only use my account to get keyword ideas and not use to run Adwords campaign.

        As you mentioned that ” you don’t need to create a Google AdWords campaign to use the new Keyword Planner tool ” . Are you 100% sure about it?

        • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

          Yes, or at least I’ve tested it using a fresh Google account without any active or past campaigns with no issues.

          • Amber Rose

            It was creating problem in chrome but working well on Firefox. Thanks for your response.

          • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

            Come to think about it, my fresh test account was in Safari. Weird that Google’s own browser causes problems with Google tools. 🙂

          • Amber Rose

            I think after clearing up cookies this problem can be resolved. But as I didn’t want to clear my chrome history, so I checked it with firefox.

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  • jlcoleman71

    Is it just me or does the exact match functionality not work in the new keyword planner? Even if I select exact match, the results don’t appear to change…..any ideas on this? Thanks!

    • Allie Edwards Williams

      Exact match is the new default result. When you enter keywords, if you enter them as exact, phrase or broad and then select “Get estimates” instead of “Get search volume”, it will show estimated daily clicks. I’ve been playing with entering a very high bid, like $100, to get estimated volume.

      It’s wonky though – sometimes GAKP returns zero results for keywords. Frustrating!

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  • Allie Edwards Williams

    Hi Kristi,

    I’m missing the average ad position feature that was available in GAKT. Any thoughts on the best way to pull estimated average ad positions?


    • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

      I also use SEMrush that helps for more specific details. It’s pricey, but it works. 🙂

  • http://softwarebuzzer.com/ Suresh Kumar

    Hi Krisiti,
    Everyone who migrates from the old keyword tool to new keyword planner finds difficult to use . Now you have solved that problem by this article.

    Thanks for the great write up !

  • http://responsivewpthemes.org/ Akhtar @rewpthemes

    Great post as always…Thanks

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  • jay howarth

    How many keywords can be entered into the planner to get an idea of traffic and estimates?

    • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

      You can paste in up to 1,000 keywords or upload a file with up to 250,000 keywords under the “Get search volumes for a list of keywords or group them into ad groups” section.

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  • Artem

    Hi 🙂
    Thank you for the article. One question 🙂 How can or output just keywords? I want to copy them & input in my campaign site. Just keywords, without other stuff. Is it possible? 🙂 Thank you

  • wsierocione

    Hello, Nice article, Keyword Planner is rather tool for ad campaign planning, try Metrics11, it is really interesting tool to find out about keyword niche opportunities in Google organic results.

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  • http://www.esivy.com/ E.S. Ivy

    Thanks! I just couldn’t figure out where to start on this.

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  • ronmartin05

    Probably the biggest mistake people make when doing their own PPC advertising is choosing the wrong keywords just because they want to get traffic. A couple of things to know are 1) General keywords get lots of searches and traffic but are less qualified and less likely to buy. When you’re paying for visitors, you want results, not just traffic. 2) The keywords that are being bid on must be extremely relevant to the product/services you are offering. If it was a retail store, would you want to pay for male motor bikers to walk into Victoria’s secret? Nothing against bikers, it’s just not the target market – and that’s what happens when you bid on general, broad keywords. You get lots of untargeted visitors so your ROI doesn’t work. If anybody wants help with this, call my buddy Simon here: 256-398-3835.

  • http://netstarcentral.com/ NetStarCentral

    A very good guide indeed, I will use this as a reference, now I’m clearer on the subject

  • Nick Convertd

    Great guide! Thanks Kristi! Here’s another take on Keyword Planning that you may find interesting?

    Let me know what you think, always good to be discussing & learning!

    Nice to meet you,


  • sunny brown

    awesome information