Google Trends and the Keyword Planner Explained


Keywords are the backbone of your account. When you first start, you must do some research. Google AdWords has one of the best search trends tool available no matter if you do paid advertising or not. The Keyword Tool can show numbers of searches per month for different words or phrases. In this way you get to learn what are the popular search terms and get ideas for your keywords.


Google Keyword Planner Tool

The Keyword Planner replaced the Keyword Tool, used by SEO specialists and paid search marketers for a long time. The new interface of Google AdWords is full of useful features which make analysis easier and faster.



In the new interface you can navigate to the Keyword Planner (a.k.a Google Keyword Tool in the old interface) by clicking on the wrench icon and selecting Keyword Planner in the Planning column.





What follows is a page where you can search for a phrase to start getting ideas and data. Let’s say, you are looking to create an account for an online textbook store. You search for a generic term like buy used textbooks online and then get search trends for a period you select. You can choose to see results for a specific geographic location, language and select whether you would like to see data from Google only, or also include its search partners. You get a graph like this:


keyword planner1


Metrics to track

What is great is that under the graph you have a whole list of other keywords which could be relevant for you and their search trends. The first column gives you average keyword searches per month. You must aim for keywords which do get a lot of searches. Low volume keywords might be cheaper, but there is a reason why. Usually they have very low chance of getting impressions or even less clicks and just take space in your account.


The next metric which is important is the level of competition. If you see a keyword has high competition, this does not mean you should ignore it. It means that probably is a very good keyword, since everyone wants to appear on it. However, it might be expensive, so you must be ready to bid higher and to work more on your ad content and landing page to make sure the effort is worth it.


Other metric you get to see is the Search Impression Share. Search Impression share is from the times when this search term is searched how many time was your ad triggered. You will only get this data, if you have ad history in your account and if the search term you are checking has triggered any of your ads.


Then you will see top of the page and first page bid estimations, which will give you an idea of the conversion cost for you. If you know your average conversion rate there is a simple way to estimate how much your conversion will cost.

For example, if my conversion rate is 10% and the average CPC for this search term is £5, then for 100 clicks I will pay £500. I know that just 10 of these clicks will end up as conversions, so my cost per conversion will be £500/10 = £50.

If I know that each of these conversions is worth £1000 for my business, based on the formula we used in the Auction chapter, then it is obvious that this could be a good keyword for me. I can try to increase my conversion rate by improving my landing page and adding relevant negative keywords and maybe achieve cheaper cost per conversion.

In the last column, called Account Status, you will see if this keyword is in your account already, if it is a negative, or if you have added it to a plan.



Once you spot a good keyword, you can add it with just a click to a plan. Simply tick the box next to the keyword  and select ad to plan. Your plan can contain different ad groups based on a common theme. You can choose if you want the keyword as negative and in what match.




At the right side of the stats you can review your plan and get estimated clicks, impressions, conversions – all calculated for you. You can estimate this on ad group or keyword level. I do not always take this estimation as an ultimate truth, as it is precisely an estimation based on the account history. It does not take into consideration any negative keywords you already have and the picture might be a little bit exaggerated.


The best way is to add the keyword you are interested in your account and see the results live. As long as you monitor it carefully, you are not risking. You can add the keywords from the Keyword Planner to your account directly, but you must create a new campaign. You can add them to an existing one, if you download the list and the estimations in a spreadsheet and upload them in your campaigns.


The Google Keyword Planner is available for advertisers and for anyone who is doing research. You don’t have to pay to use it. Even though some more detailed data will show if you already have paid campaigns running on in your account.

Google Trends

Another great way to see interest in certain areas over time is Google Trends. It is not really a keyword generation tool, as it shows more general audience behaviours over time. You can estimate relationships between different search terms and see popular topics in certain regions. To access the global Google Trends go to If you prefer you can check the Trends version for your country.

Here is a video explaining how to use Google Trends:

If I go to the U.K. version of the website I first see the top events happening in the country at the moment. I just love this screenshot from Google Trends U.K. which I did in May, 2018:



Scrolling down there is a selection of the most read news this day, popular sports events, movies or TV shows.


The best part is the Explore Topics search field. If we do search for a generic term like vodka, we get typically several suggestions:

  • Vodka as a Search Term, which is the broadest approach, if you really want to see all the searches simply containing this word without any context.
  • Vodka as an Alcoholic Beverage, which will take out any searches which do not refer to vodka in this context, like movie and book titles, for example.
  • Vodka as in Absolut Vodka topic. This will filter only the interest in this specific brand of vodka. Further down you will see Smirnoff, which is a popular brand, but it does not contain the exact search term vodka.



Let’s choose just vodka as a search term to get the most information. If we choose a twelve months’ time frame, we will see a peak in the searches, just before the New Year’s Eve celebration.




If we expand the timeframe to 5 years we will see this happening periodically in more or less the same day every year. Pretty much like a pulse:




Keyword Comparison in Google Trends

What is great is that you can compare this to another term and see the correlation in time. If compare vodka and hangover over the last 5 years we will see that these are not surprisingly correlated. Hangover searches always increase after New Year’s Eve, when people are looking for cures. The big spike in 2013 is most likely the release of the Hungover movie. Other than that the trend is clear:



If you scroll down you can see the interest per region for both terms which you are comparing. What I find great is the most popular searches containing this word. The hangover search actually includes a lot of popular topics which take the term in different context like a song’s name, a movie or popular meme.



You can choose whether you would like to see the rising or top queries. This can help you identify behaviour trends, what people are interested in right now and in general over time.


I find the Google Trends tool great when it comes to analysing why certain campaigns go quiet over time. Also the way it works at the moment it is really a gold mine for content creators. If you are looking for topics for your blog there is no better source of ideas.

About me: I am an experienced digital marketing professional who started her career at Google as a digital marketing consultant for over 100 SMEs. Get a FREE e-book . I am a blogger and Udemy teacher with more than 2,700 students enrolled in my online course. Follow on Instagram and Twitter @odolena