How to use Google's Keyword Planner tool

Google Keyword Planner (formerly known as the Google Keyword Tool) is the most widely used ‘free’ tool for conducting the following:


Step 1: Access your Google Ads account

You must have a Google Ads account to use the Keyword Planner tool. Follow the link below to set up a new Google Ads account or contact us if you need a hand. The remainder of this tutorial assumes you have access to an existing Google AdWords account.

Let’s start by logging into your Google Ads account. Once logged in:

  1. Click on ‘Tools & Settings’ (the wrench icon) in the grey toolbar at the top of the page.
  2. Then click on ‘Keyword Planner’ under the Planning section.
    how to access keyword planner.

Step 2: Select 'Discover new keywords'

You should now see the “Discover New Keywords” and “Get search volume and forecasts” options.
Both options are used primarily for Google Ads analysis, however click on the ‘Discover new keywords’ option, as we find it is the most accurate option for helping identify SEO keywords. 
discover new keywords

Step 3: enter relevant keyword(s)

You can now do the following:

  • Enter up to ten keywords. You can enter multiple keywords by pressing enter after each one or by adding a comma.  
  • Ensure ‘English’ and ‘New Zealand’ are selected.

Then when you are ready click the ‘GET RESULTS’ button. 

Google ReviewTip: be sure to enter relevant search terms you think your target audience may use e.g. ‘SEO training’ would be better than entering ‘training’ which is too generic.

start with keywords filter


Step 4: Refine your results

You should now see a list of keywords on the ‘Keyword Plan’ page that Google lists from its search database as being related in some way to the search terms you submitted in the previous step. 

The following images highlight key elements on this page and what they mean. 

Broaden your search allows you to add related searches to your list before you resubmit it. A few things to note:

  • don’t add any of the recommended searches unless you believe they are directly related to your product / service
  • if you have already used your 10 keyword(s) limit (see step 3) then you will need to remove an existing keyword(s) for each one you add
broaden your search
Broaden your search.


The light grey keyword planner toolbar contains four options:

  • “Locations”. This is the country (or countries) that you are targeting. Be sure to select the proper target country / countries as each country has colloquial search terms and search volumes per keyword(s).

  • “Language”. English is the default. 

  • “Search networks”. There are two options here – ‘Google’ search or ‘Google and search partners’, such as YouTube and other sites in the Search Network that partner with Google to show ads. 

    We recommend using the “Google” setting.

  • “Date range” is best to be left as the default “12 months”.

keyword planner toolbar
The keyword planner toolbar.


Download keyword ideas allows you to download the entire keywords list as a .CSV or to Google Sheets. 

We recommend you download your keyword ideas as a .CSV then convert it to an EXCEL file. 

download keyword ideas
Download keyword ideas.


The ‘Modify Columns’ feature enables you to select the data you want to review in your keywords idea list. We recommend only selecting the 

keyword planner modify columns
Keywords planner modify columns.

Google ReviewTip: per the image below, we recommend only selecting the ‘Avg. monthly searches’ and ‘Competition’ options. The other options are used mainly for Google Ads optimisation, rather than for SEO keywords analysis. 

Keywords planner modify columns options
Keywords planner modify columns options.