Easy Tweaks That Make Keyword Planner Powerful

One of my favorite things to do in marketing is keyword research. I can’t completely explain it but when I was just learning about online marketing all those years ago, that was the most emphasized part of SEO. Google’s Keyword Tool was the place to go because it was open to everyone. But that was a long time ago

When they realized the value of the data they had and how it could be used for advertisers, they pulled it back, revamped and made it an integral tool in their AdWords system. Keyword Planner, and Display Planner, are two of the most important tools you’ll ever have to use for your campaign.

Not only can  you gain insight into the strength of certain phrases but you can see how those phrases and terms work over the course of a full cycle, 12 months. Learning how to use Keyword Planner can help you reach your desired audience for less money.

Tweaking Basic Search

One of the easiest ways to use keyword planner is to enter a phrase and click “Get Ideas.” However, a few adjustments to the search criteria can make a world of difference.


In some cases, your locations may default to your specific country. As an author, I’m interested in getting to more people than those on my little island so I opt for all locations and languages. Unless you have a specific reason to limit either one of those, don’t. The section marked Google is the one I modify. Google itself is great. However, I want to also include search partners in this research so I click on that section and choose “Google and Search Partners” from the drop down. Most of my campaigns are Search with Display Select, which means that I can use image ads and my keywords help to determine placement. So it’s important for me to be able to show my book ads on different sites.

Once I make that adjustment, I enter my term and get the search started.

Inside Keyword Planner


My term steampunk novel, has strong search over the last twelve months* with a spike in October 2017. This makes sense as October is when the US holiday of Halloween happens and certain types of cosplay include steampunk. Whenever you see a spike in a graph, ask yourself, “What’s going on then?”, “Why did this happen?” Those questions can help you plan ahead to take advantage of these trends.

Below the graphs you see associated broad match keywords. Unless you have a serious reason to do so, leave the match type as broad match and then as you see the keyword is perform, narrow. If you want to add that keyword to your plan, click the chevrons under “Add to plan.” When it’s added, you’ll see a check mark next to the word on the list and you’ll see that you’ve added a term in your plan.


After you’ve added a few keywords, you can click on the Keywords title in the plan on the right hand side and you’ll see the words/terms added and approximate cost. You can adjust those costs to reflect your budget so it’s more accurate. But it’s also good to review this list so that you can pluck out duplicate keywords. Duplicates are counter productive in broad match searches so you want to avoid them.

Another thing to consider is that while it’s ideal to have low competition terms with high monthly searches that cost you pennies, the reality is you’re not the only advertisers who might want to use that term to attract customers/visitors. So if you find keywords that have high competition BUT fit your book perfectly, add it to your plan. Why?

The suggested bids are not absolute.

That’s not necessarily what you will pay for a click. There is more than a chance that if you have a strong ad rank as well as other factors, you could win the AdWords auction for that keyword. So don’t be deterred by the cost. Focus on relevance.




Now the trend graph you see is broad. If want to take a look at how a particular term or ad group performs over a year, click on the graph icon next to the term and you’ll see the trend for that term.

If you really want to isolate a particular term and see the 12-month data trend, you can go back to the very first screen in Keyword Planner and choose “Get Search Volume Data and Trends.” This will give you spec on individual terms and not just a pop up graph.

From Keywords to Ad Group Ideas

In addition to getting trends and ideas on keywords, you can get trends and ideas for Ad Groups.

You can switch by clicking the Ad Groups tab right below the trend graph.  If you want to just use the built-in ad group keywords, you can move any one of these to your plan and you’ll have it ready to add to your campaign.

These keywords already contain some of the keyterms you saw but these ad groups are theme specific so if you want to see how Steampunk Book fares versus Steampunk Novel, then add both to your plan and see how it goes.

Comparison Function

One of my favorite things to do is to compare how things go from one year to another. With Google being a treasure trove of data, it turns out advertisers can tap into that and maybe see something that can help their campaigns.

On the left, you’ll see the Date Range section. Click on that

It will open up:

You can choose your own time frame but for this, I chose “Same Period Last Year”

See which terms and ad group ideas had a swing and by how much to help you see which ideas may be worth trying or not.


Now you can see two years worth of data, which months saw an uptick, downgrade or plateau for a particular term and when. Of course, you can ask yourself why and try to research the reason behind the keyword behavior but at least you have access to this kind of legacy information that will help you plan your keywords and ad groups.

Start Using Your Research

You can easily get lost in researching but once you have about 10 – 20 solid terms and maybe two or three ad groups you can use, it’s a good idea to download and store or move them over to you campaign.

When you scroll to the right and click on the disk icon to save it to your existing campaign, you’ll get this:

You can either create a new Search Only campaign, or ad to your existing one.

The system will move over your chosen keywords as well as the ad groups you chose to use.

These are the terms for the ad group


These are the keywords I chose.

Now all you need to do is create your ads and make sure that your landing pages, ads and keywords align.

Keyword planner is really a fun and easy tool to use, even if you’re just using the basic functions.

What do you think about Keyword Planner and using it for researching your book ads? Keywords or Ad Groups?



*This graph shows Feb 2016 to Jan 2017. This search was done in march. Keyword planner typically has a two month lag so you’ll never see data from the current month or the month before it. 


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