The New Google Keyword Planner – how to use it for your own social media

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Part of the success of social media relies on using words that people are using when searching  on search engines.  While I would never recommend cramming relevant keywords into a blog post or a facebook update, it is important that you know which keywords and key phrases are popular. I often write tutorial posts on Pinterest and I know that ‘How to use Pinterest’ and ‘Pinterest for Business’ are two highly searched keyphrases so I include them in the titles for blog posts, tags, first and last paragraphs if I can, and in the metadescription. The Yoast plug in is great for letting you know how many times you’ve used them.

See our post “How to use the Yoast plug in“.

The google keyword tool has gone and been replaced by the keyword planner. Yes, there are differences between them and these have been written about on other posts) but if you are just looking to establish what keywords you should be using, it’s really not all that different. Designed for those using the Google adwords, you can still use it for free but you now need to set up a google account.  This post is written for those who are looking for an “easy to follow” explanation on how to use it as a tool for finding keywords for your social media rather than an adwords campaign.

Go to your google adwords account and sign in.

Click on ‘Tools and Analysis’ in the green navigation bar, and on ‘Keyword Planner’ in its drop down menu.

How to use the google keyword planner

Next select the top choice ‘Search for keyword and ad group ideas ‘ .  Ignore the other two unless you have lots of keywords you’d like to check for an adword campaign. Type in a few keywords, choose the location you wish to target (for example, you can even target your local town) and click ‘get ideas’:


As my target market is also the UK and the US, I added those countries for my search.

The Keyword Planner then presents you with a series of Ad Group Ideas in the first tab. By all means, you can click on these to get more keyword ideas within particular group and create campaigns but I prefer to keep things simple.

Click on Keyword Ideas and you’ll be presented with the results for the keyterms.

How to use the google keyword planner

It also provides you with plenty of suggestions – 802 of them to be precise. If you click on that number in the top corner, it opens in a separate pop up box and you can add them to a campaign or you can select a few to try.



I selected ‘social media for small business’ and as you can see, the average monthly searches (amongst the locations I have stipulated) is 590 per month. This is a popular search term amongst google advertisers so the competition for it is ‘high’ and the average CPC, if I were to run with an advertising campaign for this keyword, would be €6.57.

It also provides more suggestions below and I can see that ‘What is Social Media’ has very high searches with Medium competition. Ideally you are looking for search terms that have a large number of people looking for them  but low competition.

At the moment, Google is not providing information on the differences in searches between mobile devices and desktops but I’d imagine that will come at some stage.  The information being provided is based on historical data too so I’d guess they have some plans up their sleeves.

While it may look more complicated than the old tool, it really isn’t. If anything it is easier to use once you get past the very prominent adwords material.  The Google Keyword Planner is a tool that you need when writing copy for your website, for writing your blog posts and for compiling Pinterest descriptions, facebook updates and even tweets. You have to know what people are looking for, otherwise they won’t find you.

If you have any questions about how to use the google keyword planner, please ask in the comments below. Do you think it is better than the previous keyword tool?


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Posted in Blogging for Success, Blogs, For Beginners, How to Blog
  • Marian Hearne

    Just to say a huge thanks for your helpful post above. I was a bit taken aback when I went searching for the old search tool only to be directed to the Planner. Your tips above helped me to easily navigate around the Planner. As you say it’s very similar to the old Keyword Search and that part is free. Though this isn’t so obvious from the outset when directed by Google to it. Marian

    • Lorna Sixsmith

      Thanks Marian, yes, it looks very different from the outset. I hope they add in that we can see the results from mobile v desktops etc and I’m sure it will come in time. For a free tool, it’s very very useful

  • Dee Sewell

    Excellent tips, thanks Lorna. I must admit I was very disappointed to see the old keyword tool go as had found it helpful. Although I’d found this new one I haven’t yet ventured into it as it was so alien looking. Your help with this is very much appreciated, thank you

    • Lorna Sixsmith

      Thanks Dee, glad you found it useful. Well done on being shortlisted btw, in lots of categories too :)

  • Dee Sewell

    Yes, delighted to be shortlisted and amongst some of my favourite blogs, thanks :-)

  • Pauline Egan

    Lorna, excellent and easy to follow instructions on the new keyword planner. I knew they had made changes to this section but never took the time to check it out. I used it before and found it very helpful so you have given the push to get back on track and start using it again. All this back office work is time consuming so any help in speeding up the process is always welcome.

    • Lorna Sixsmith

      Thanks Pauline – the one that sticks out in my memory from when I first started using it for Garrendenny Lane was when I discovered that Chopping boards are called cutting boards in the US

  • Marie Ennis O’Connor

    Lorna, this is so helpful. I haven’t even had a chance to look at the new tool yet, but with this guide, I will be much better prepared to navigate it.

    • Lorna Sixsmith

      cheers, Marie, good to hear :)

  • Steve Squier

    Can’t play too conservatively when you’re doing PPC. You have to bid to win that traffic. You should be receiving >90% impression share of the keywords you are bidding on and that means bidding a little higher sometimes. What happens is that you have to have an optimized sales process to justify the ability to bid higher. If you make more per sale, you can bid more per click, and squash your competition. My buddy Simon would be willing to help anybody that wants help with their PPC campaigns, just give him a call. His number is 325-446-1507 .

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