Keyword Research – Using Google's Improved Keyword Planner
6th May 2014

Keyword Research – Using Google's Improved Keyword Planner

If you’ve ever run a Google AdWords Campaign, or even tried to optimise your website for better natural search rankings, you’ll almost certainly have done some keyword research. And if you haven’t, we need to chat!

There are various free and paid tools available to help you learn about keyword trends in your industry, but one of my favourites has always been the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. As well as being completely free (although you are required to sign up for an AdWords account – no commitment), Google has recently added some nifty new features to this tool.

Let’s dive in and look at the enhancements.

Enhanced visual insights

Some of the best improvements Google has made have been graphical.

Traditionally, the tool has given you data for a keyword over a 12-month period. An improvement to the rather dry columns of figures is the addition of a graph, giving you an immediate visual insight into seasonal trends.

Search Volume Trends

Set and compare date ranges

But it gets even better by allowing you to specify a time frame if you wish. Want to see data over just one quarter? Or a specific range of months? How does that data compare to a different period? No problem; you can set a custom date range and see if those search trends form a pattern by selecting any comparison date range. 

Select date range

A graph gives you an immediate visual insight into the data over time. Hover your mouse over any part of the graph for detailed information.

Keyword search volume comparison

Mouse hover for keyword data

If you’re using the date comparison feature, the data will also show you the accumulative percentage change in average monthly search figures. Sort your columns to get a better understanding of the keywords whose popularity is waning over time, and the ones that are trending now.

Keyword comparison percentage changes

Mobile visuals

Let’s narrow down this data even more. Want to know the keyword search trends  for people using mobile devices? There are two new graphics to help you visualise this. First, compare the number of searches made on mobile devices with the total number of searches.

Keyword trends from mobile platforms

Then drill down into the types of device being used, either desktop and laptop computers, mobile devices with full browsers or tablets with full browsers.

Keyword breakdown by device

For those of you planning an AdWords Campaign, you might use this information to decide whether to bid more or less on a keyword when it’s triggered by a search from a mobile platform.

If you’re just doing keyword research to improve your organic search results, you might be sufficiently surprised by the results here to make sure your website is optimised for mobile search.

Geographical Visuals

Use your research to find out where the biggest demand is for your product or service. Target a selection of countries, or regions within a country, to help you focus your marketing in areas where demand is high.

Keyword breakdown by location

When you’re narrowing down locations within a country, Google gives you several options to choose how to arrange the data, such as by county, city, postcode etc. This can be very useful for selecting geographical targeting in an AdWords campaign, and might even influence your marketing focus in other ways too, if strong trends can be identified in particular locations.

Keyword trends, location drill-down

These are just the highlights of the new features over in Google’s Keyword Planner and they’ll be sure to keep adding improvements over time as the company strives to attract more and more businesses to the AdWords platform.

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