How to do keyword research

Don’t forget your research. Here’s a step by step guide on how to do keyword research using Google’s keyword planner

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Keyword research is extremely important when planning any type of online marketing. It’s extremely useful to know the terminology that people are using online so that you can get in front of those people in search or use the same phraseology to try and make your message resonate with your target market.

Here is a quick guide on how to use Google’s keyword planner:

1.Login to AdWords and open keyword planner

2.If you want to generate lists of new keywords ideas, choose the first option: ‘Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category’. If you’re doing keyword research for a PPC campaign(s) you can also use the tool to ‘Get search volume data and trends’, ‘Multiply lists to get new keywords’ or ‘Get click and cost performance forecasts’:

KWR 1 3. Enter your initial keyword(s) (as many as you like, but try and keep to keywords that are relevant to one another). You can also add a landing page and choose location, language and category settings to get more accurate search volume predictions.

4. You can also add filters to the results for search volume, suggested bids and impression share to narrow down the results revealed and/or choose which ‘keywords to include’ (enter keywords that have to be present in the search terms returned) and additional keyword options. If you know the types of phrases that you want to see, and are not looking for a broad range of keyword ideas, you can choose to only see keywords that are closely related to your search terms. (I’d recommend having a look at both as there might be some suggestions that you have not considered.)

KWR 2 5. When first clicking ‘Get ideas’ you see ad group data – Google has grouped the keywords into lists that it thinks are related and named them accordingly. When clicking on the ‘Keyword ideas’ tab you see the individual keywords – the ones you entered at the top and then Google’s additional suggestions below. Google shows information such as “The average number of times people have searched for this exact keyword based on the date range and targeting settings that you’ve selected”, competition and suggested bid:


6. You can look through either the ad group or the keyword level data and ‘Add to plan’ the phrases that you think are relevant to your business – you may want to do this in ad groups or individually. You can also add negatives at this point if a lot of irrelevant phrases are appearing.

7. Once you have added the relevant keywords into the plan, you can enter a bid and daily budget to see predictions for number of impressions and clicks and what position you might achieve with your suggested CPC bid. You can also change the match type here (NB. this is only relevant if doing keyword research for PPC campaigns):


8. From here you can save terms to your account or you can hit download and pull that data into a spreadsheet (similarly you can download a spreadsheet of the results before entering keywords into the plan and then filter out the irrelevant ones in the spreadsheet, rather than doing it within AdWords – it depends how you work best):


5 thoughts on “How to do keyword research

  1. Hi Ashleigh, this is a good “how to” about using Google Keyword Planner for Adwords campaign. But in my opinion there are more uses of keyword research than PPC campaigns and more things to take into account that just what Google tells us in their tool.

    In my opinion keyword research can be used for example to know which content to generate on your blog, to improve the on-page SEO of your site (product pages, meta titles, descriptions, url…) and even get insights about what your customers are looking for.

    For SEO purposes (and not so much PPC) I would add that once you have the list of target keywords you need to go and check the actual Google SERP (basically go and search them in incognito mode). You can find if the keywords are relevant enough, how competitive the top results are and basically if it makes sense to compete for that keyword.

    I would also take into account long tail keyword research. Long tail keywords have usually very low competition (and obviously traffic) but with very high conversion rates if choosen appropriately.

    I am a bit biased here, we are ourselves developing a topic research tool to find content niches and relevant keywords: Maybe it can also be used for PPC, who knows!

    1. Hi Xavier,

      Thanks for your comments and cheeky plug for your new tool (looks interesting!).

      You are absolutely right that keyword research is not only for PPC campaigns. I am a massive believer in keyword research and personally believe that so many people miss the opportunity to benefit from the planet’s greatest focus group.

      Did you have a read of the post that Ashleigh linked out to in the first sentence? That should hopefully reassure you that we don’t restrict it to PPC campaigns alone.


      1. Hi Joe,
        sorry I missed the initial link. Nice article, I agree with you, using keyword research for market research is key.

        But searches are only one part of the equation. Maybe people searching for “vegatarian restaurants colchester” are also potential clients (I checked, very low traffic ;) ). Also food & eating has very low retention rate, we want to try new stuff all the time and we eat at least 3 times a day!

  2. Thanks for your information on keyword research with google. They are a good source but limited. We like using Jaaxy keyword tool for a bit more info on competition and rankability factors.

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