We’ve all heard the news and seen the alert that the Google Keyword Tool will soon be replaced by the Google Keyword Planner. Google quietly made this update in the last week of August. The Keyword Tool page now redirects to a support page explaining that, “Keyword Planner has replaced Keyword Tool.”
What’s new in this tool?
With its simplified interface, more accurate data, and added features, most webmasters have welcomed the new Google Keyword Planner. Google also promises that the CPC data in the new Keyword Planner is much more accurate than the “approximate CPC” data was in the Keyword Tool. Sounds good!!
The first things you’ll notice, are changes on the main screen. Instead of choosing between keyword tool and traffic estimator (as you did in the Keyword Tool), you now have three options:
1. Search for keyword and ad group ideas
If you’re just starting your keyword research, this is where you should begin. Enter a keyword phrase (you can also add a landing page URL and/or AdWords category if you have them), and the Keyword Planner will give ideas for other (potentially more relevant) keywords. We suggest selecting this option when you are starting your research from scratch.
2. Enter or upload keywords to get estimates
When you already know exactly which keywords you will use and are simply looking for data on those, use this option. Upload a list of keywords and the Planner will give you data on their average monthly searches, competitive score and average CPC. However, with this option you will not get ideas for other (perhaps more relevant) keywords; this is just data.
3. Multiply keyword lists to get estimates
Do you have multiple lists of keywords that you want to combine for estimates? Use this option. Upload your keyword lists and the Planner will combine them in every way imaginable, then generate a list of keywords based on your words. The planner will then give you data (clicks, impressions, average posts, cost, CTR and average CPC) for each. Again, you won’t get ideas for other keywords here – just variations of your lists.
How to use Keyword Planner for Local SEO Keyword Research?
While you must be already familiar with what you are looking for, you can generate even more ideas for keyword variants by using a few tools already available.
- Mike Blumenthal’s Category Tool – To get some ideas on locally based keyword categories and synonyms.
- Local Marketing Source’s Keyword Research Tool – This will help you get an idea of surrounding areas you want to focus on.
- Google Analytics – Check your analytics and see what keywords are already bringing traffic. There may be opportunities to increase your visibility on something that’s already preforming.
Now that you have a fair idea, let’s get started.
Step 1: Input your keywords
Let’s consider you are doing keyword research for a Dentist in Dallas, Texas. Start off by using the first option – “Search for keyword and ad group ideas”.
For a dentist, variants will include terms like:
– Cosmetic Dentist
– Family Dentist
– Teeth Whitening
Step 2: Remove the country targeting
Using this new tool you can see the city-wise search volumes for your keywords. To use this tool to its full potential for a city, you will want to click on the country name under targeting and select the remove option.
If you don’t remove the country as mentioned above you will find that your searches will also combine the data from the entire country which defeats the purpose.
Step 3: Add your target location i.e. city / cities
Under the targeting area, make sure to add the cities you want to focus on. As a general rule of thumb, the larger cities with higher populations will generate more results for your keywords. In this case, our target area is Dallas
Keep in mind that this tool is using actual city boundaries defined in Google Maps. Visualizing this data will be helpful in deciding if you need to add more regions. Adding another location will show you the combined search volume of both locations for a particular keyword.
Google has also integrated the “Surrounding Areas” option which allows you to add surrounding cities and also visualize the data. To access this information simply click the “Nearby” option. As you will see below it will come up with some recommendations. However, you can add your own data including “a country, city, or region.”
Step 4: Get Keyword Ideas with Exact Match
Hit the “Get Ideas” button at the bottom. By default, it will likely show the “Ad Group Ideas” tab. Switch to the next “Keyword Ideas” tab. It should also display the area(s) you’re targeting on the left side of the screen. Make sure you also select “Exact match” option as seen below.
Just like the old Google Keyword Tool, you can also scroll below the keywords you input and have access to other keywords that Google believes is relevant to your search term.
In conclusion, we believe the new Keyword Planner tool is a great research tool either to start from scratch, or based on your existing lists, and provides more consistent user experience by integrating the keyword selection, grouping, analysis and filtering aspects.