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By Amanda Larson Outreach

How to Use Google Keyword Planner for SEO: A Beginner’s Guide

9 minute read
How to Use Google Keyword Planner for SEO: A Beginner’s Guide Featured Image

At Twenty Over Ten we work with a lot of financial advisors to improve their organic search engine rankings so we get asked a lot of questions. One of the top questions we’re constantly asked is “but how do I know what keywords to use?” Incredibly valid question! Before you can even attempt to boost your rankings in Google you must do keyword research.

If you’ve visited our blog before you know we’ve reported a lot on Google Search Console and how you can use that tool to uncover keywords, submit your site to Google and be found in searches. But have you heard of Google’s Keyword Planner tool? It’s a highly untapped tool that we’re going to cover the basics on today. So let’s dive in!

What is Google Keyword Planner?

Google’s Keyword Planner tool is designed for use in pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. Because the platform is heavily rooted in online paid advertising it shouldn’t be the sole tool you use for keyword research but it is just another great, free tool to add to your toolbox. Within Google Keyword Planner you can uncover these three key SEO gems:

  1. Top keyword ideas based on phrase or URL
  2. Average monthly search volumes
  3. Search volume trends for any given keyword or group of keywords over a period of time

How to Gain Access to Google Keyword Planner

The number one most common misconception about Google Keyword Planner is that you have to have an active AdWords account to use the tool. Incorrect! Google Keyword Planner is completely 100% free to use for anyone as long as you have a Google account. So no need to spend a dime to tap into the SEO goodness! If you don’t have a Google account we highly recommend signing up for one pronto right here.

So why does this common misconception even exist? It’s easy. Google tries to push AdWords real hard. Makes sense, right? So it’s likely that if you’ve tried to sign into Keyword Planner before you’ve been prompted to set up an AdWords campaign, which seems like a roadblock. Wrong.

How Financial Advisors Can Use Google Keyword Planner

Within Google Keyword Planner there are two main tools you can leverage: find new keywords and get search volume and forecasts. Here’s a run-down of what each means and how to interpret each:

1. To find keywords

If you’re looking to better understand what keywords you should be using throughout your blog posts, your website, etc. this is the report to use. To discover new keyword ideas you can simply enter a phrase, URL or word that’s related to the niche that you serve and in return, Google will deliver up keyword suggestions.

Here is what we found when looking up the phrase “fiduciary financial advisor:”

For each keyword idea Google generates you’ll see a ton of data. There are really just three columns we recommend paying close attention to:

  • Average monthly searches: The number displayed here is the average number of searches for the particular keyword based on the month range chosen as well as the location. This is probably the most important number to keep an eye on when doing your keyword research. With this, you can see just how popular your keywords are.
  • Competition: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Better understand just how competitive a keyword is, specific to the location and targeting options you’ve chosen. Google designates certain levels of competition: low, medium, or high. Each is determined by the number of advertisers bidding on each keyword relative to all keywords across Google.
  • Top of page bid: This dollar amount illustrates the low and high range of what advertisers have historically paid for a keyword’s top of page bid, based on your location and other settings.

2. uncover volume & metrics for keywords

Unlike the find new keywords feature this report will show you what you can expect to see if you do decide to run an AdWords campaign. However, even if you don’t have any intention of running an AdWords campaign this data is still useful!

Here’s what happens when we typed in “fiduciary financial advisor” into forecasts:

So why is this information helpful? We’re glad you asked! We can see that the term “fiduciary financial advisor” is expected to see 2,420.48 impressions within the next month.

Ok, so great we know that’s a highly targeted keyword but wouldn’t every fiduciary financial advisor be competing for that? The short answer is yes. And that’s why we harp on local SEO optimization for financial advisors. And this is where this particular report comes in handy.

Now, let’s narrow this keyword search down even further to a centralized area. Say Cleveland, Ohio. Here’s what we get:

Well now that’s a lot more manageable, right? We can see that just within the Cleveland-Akron (Canton) Ohio DMA region our reach for the keyword “fiduciary financial advisor” would be 5,570,000 as compared to 243,000,000 nationwide. Local SEO gold!

How to Choose & Use Top Keywords Using Google Keyword Planner

So now we get to the million dollar question: how exactly to choose the absolute best keywords to use out of the mile-long list Google’s just delivered. Simple! We recommend focusing on taking a look at two key factors, including:

  • Search Volume: Obviously, the higher the average volume the keyword has from your “find new keywords” report then the more traffic that keyword can send to your website.
  • Competition: As mentioned previously, this metric will help you measure how difficult it is to rank for the particular keyword. Or in other words, should we put in the time and effort into this keyword if the competition is just way too high? No.

So now you should have at least a handful of keywords to target but don’t ever forget that this research is just the beginning. Now it’s up to you to use these data gems to really mine some SEO gold! Be sure you take your new-found keywords and work on your on-page optimization efforts. This means optimizing your title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, blog posts and other content on your website.

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