How to use google ads keyword planner tool

In today’s tutorial, I will show you how to use Google Ads Keyword Planner tool. The goal is to have a general idea of how to perform keyword research for your Google Ads campaigns or YouTube campaigns.

First, you will need to set up a Google Ads account. Your account must have a billing method before you can access the Google Ads Keyword Planner Tool. You do not have to run ads!

Learn how to set up a Google Ads Account.

How To Access the Keyword Planner Tool In Google Ads

After you set up Google Ads, you need to find the wrench icon (tools) in the header section at the top of the page (if you are in the old Google Ads experience). When you click on this icon, a menu will appear. The first column on the left-hand side is where you will find the keyword planner tool.

Old Google Ads UI

Menu to access Google ads keyword planner tool

New Google Ads UI

If you are on a desktop, the keyword planner tool is now in the context menu on the left-hand side.

You will also notice several other links in the red box below.

Old Google Ads Tools Menu

how to get access to google ads keyword planner tool

New Google Ads Tools Menu

Performance Planner

The Performance Planner Tool will forecast how well your ad are expected to perform by adjusting bids, placements, and other factors. Google Ads Performance Planner gives estimates. Metrics and outcomes can vary. You can use this tool to get a good idea of an estimated budget for your Google Ads Campaigns.

The Reach Planner

The Reach Planner is not available in your account. You must request access to the tool through the Google Ads support team. It’s used better to estimate the reach volume for YouTube marketing campaigns. I suggest you request access to the tool if you plan to use YouTube advertising heavily.

Ad Preview & Diagnostics Tool

The Ad Preview and Diagnostic tool assesses whether your ads run on Google Search Engines. You can also access this tool when under your ad campaigns keywords section. It’s best to access this tool from the keywords dashboard. You can click on specific keywords that you already have in the account to determine why they are not running.

Accessing Google Ads Keyword Planner Tool

Once you click on “Keyword Planner”, new options will pop up. You will have three options to choose from 1) “Discover New Keywords” 2) Search Volume and Forecast 3) Organize Keywords Into Ad Groups.

Search Volume and Forecast

If you generated a list of keywords outside of the Google Ads Keyword Planner tool, you can upload them to the Search Volume and Forecast area. However, you cannot narrow down the keywords to a geographic area if you upload your own keyword list. Search Volume and Forecast is similar to using the Performance Planner tool.

Organize Keywords Into Ad Groups

Again, if you have your own set of keywords, then Google Ads will use AI technology to group keywords based on a similar theme. I don’t find this feature particularly useful, as normally keywords are already per-grouped for a landing page, or I am performing keyword research for one topic.

Discover New Keywords

Ready to start finding keywords for Search Engine Optimization or Google Ads Campaigns? Click “Discover New Keywords,” highlighted by the red circle, to get started.

How to find keywords for Google ads campaign

New options will appear where you can enter up to 10 generic keywords related to your landing page or extract keywords from a landing page (you can extract competitor keywords or your own). The extraction feature is excellent if you don’t know the keywords or to generate keyword ideas. Under the “Enter products or services closely related to your business” text box are two additional ways to narrow keywords: by language and specific geographic location.

If using local ads or you need to geographically target to specific countries, states, zip codes, or by address, use this feature to view estimated keyword searches for a particular language or geographic area.

how to do keyword research

In my example, I did ten keywords and will have a geographic focus on a fictitious bakery located in a particular geographic area. If you have a small budget, learn as much as possible about your target audience!

The List of Keywords Provided By Google Ads Keyword Planner Tool. Download the keyword list to follow along with the video and this training series.

The keyword planner tool will list alternative keywords underneath the keywords you provided. Notice that some of these keywords may or may not work for the fictitious bakery. Carefully evaluate ANY AND ALL suggestions Google Ads delivers. In the image, Google Ads Keyword Planner tool suggested cake recipes, which probably won’t work well if the bakery is trying to drive purchases of its cakes. This keyword has a high probability of being a negative keyword for any campaign that’s run for the bakery. Campaigns will run local ads for the client, so the geographic scope has been limited.

view Google Ads keyword planner tool

In the image below, I forgot to target one geographic location, so the Avg. monthly estimates are targeted for the entire United States. I want to bring your attention to the red arrows and highlighted box. Pay close attention to the Top of page bid(low range) and Top of page bid (high range). These are estimates of how much a keyword could potentially cost per click. Based on your budget, you can ESTIMATE the amount of clicks you can receive each month.

List of keywords from Google Ads keyword planner tool

What You Need To Know About Google Ads Keyword Planner Search Volumes

I want to point out that the number of average monthly searches does not mean clicks. The number also does not mean unique searches by a user. Google Ads, by nature, allows users to click on your ad multiple times, and each time, you will pay per click. However, Google Ads has some systems to combat click fraud.

Keywords with very low estimated average searches may never run in the Google Ads auction, especially for local businesses.

Competition Index & Competition Index Value

The competition index shows how competitive ad placement is for a keyword. This data is specific to the location and Search Network targeting that you’ve selected. The number of advertisers on each keyword relative to all keywords across Google. Note that this data is specific to the location and Search Network targeting that you’ve selected. In the Competition column, you can see whether the competition for a keyword is low, medium, or high.

Things to remember about competition index and competition index (value)

  1. You want keywords with low competition but high search volume
  2. The range for competition index (value) is 0-100. A low value means less competition and will cost less. 100 means the keyword is highly competitive, and the cost per click will be higher.
  3. After running ads, use the Google Ads Insights Report → Auction Insights Report (after running ads) to view competitors. This is the best way to see how you stack up against others.
  4. High-competition keywords will require a high budget, a quality score of 10, and all the bid modifiers, including the keyword bid modifier.

Pay close attention to the Top of page bid (low range) and Top of page bid (high range).

The lower range bid—an approximation of the 20th percentile—that advertisers have historically paid for a keyword’s top of page bid, based on your location and Search Network settings.

Top of page bid (high range) is the higher range bid—an approximation of the 80th percentile—that advertisers have historically paid for a keyword’s top of page bid, based on your location and Search Network settings.

The lower range bid and top of range bids are just estimates. Competitors are able to adjust bids and the bid range could be higher than what’s listed in the keyword planner tool. The actual cost cannot be determined until ads are run for your chosen location.

Things to remember

  • Estimates only for Google Search (not partner network, display ads, Youtube)
    • When you use the keyword planner tool you have the option of Google Search Only or Google Search + Partner network
  • Bid ranges are just estimates
  • The high bid range does not include bid modifiers
  • What are bid modifiers and how do they relate to the bid range?
    • Time of day, day of week, location, gender, age, keyword, etc

Budgeting Ad Spend Using Google Ads Keyword Planner Tool

The keyword planner tool is great asset for Google Ads PPC marketing campaigns. If you need a low cost – no cost keyword planner, then this is the tool you should use. If you have a particular budget in mind, the keyword planner tool can assist with estimate the number of clicks (traffic) to the website.

If you do not have a PPC budget in mind, the keyword planner tool can give you insight on the cost to drive paid traffic to your small business. You can also estimate the dollar amount per month it will take to drive visitors to your website. You can evaluate this cost against the cost of other PPC platforms and the cost of SEO.

Using Google Ads Keyword Tool To Group Keywords Into Ad Groups

I have tried using keyword grouping tool multiple times, without much success. Typically, in well established accounts, I am building ads by the landing page. This method allows me to focus on a core group of keywords and synonyms for the landing page. If you are new to keyword research, I suggest starting with one landing page. You will need to optimize the landing page for Google Ads Search by using chosen keywords on the landing page.


I hope you found the information helpful. The keyword planner tool has a lot of data that can assist with making informed decisions about Google Ads PPC marketing campaigns. I cannot stress this enough, the metrics provided are just estimates. If you run a campaign and it’s not performing as expected, then you may want to analyze your keywords by exploring other root causes of the issue such as low bids, setting and geographic targets.

What To Read Next