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Pros and Cons of the Google Keyword Planner

By Snap Agency September 12, 2013

In order to understand the potential of your business’ SEO or SEM strategy, you have to begin with keyword research. The goal is to understand how your target market is searching for your products and services, the competitiveness of the space, and the search volume of the keywords. Using this information, you can develop a plan and expectations for your SEO and SEM strategies. But how does one go about conducting this research?

Google’s Keyword Planner, replacing the old Keyword Tool, is accessed through the Adwords dashboard. In a clear show of support of pay-per-click (PPC) advertisers, Google now requires you to sign up for an Adwords account in order to use the Keyword Planner. However, you don’t have to have an active PPC campaign to use it. The Google Keyword Planner is one of the best free tools for keyword research, although not without drawbacks.


-Hyper-local search volume

With the old Keyword Tool, you had to either use long-tail local keywords (such as “PPC Management Minneapolis”) or estimate local traffic based on national numbers. The new Keyword Planner allows you to drill down to geographic regions as targeted as individual zip codes. This makes the Keyword Planner a valuable resource for local, service-based businesses that serve a specific area.

-It’s still free!

Some of Google’s services that are geared towards businesses have been switching to a pay model, such as Google Apps for Business. With so many keyword research tools that require a monthly subscriptions, it’s nice to know that you can still access information from the source at no charge.


-No indication of trends

If you’re looking to understand search trends, this is not the tool for you. Google averages the last 12 months of search volume to deliver the “average monthly searches” data. You can, however, mouse over the graph icon to the left of these data to get a snapshot of the last 12 months. If you’d like to optimize your digital marketing strategy for keywords that are trending upwards, then it’s best to use Google Trends.

Mobile vs. Desktop Traffic

Google removed the ability to filter search volume by device. Understanding how your target market is searching, whether on their smartphone or laptop, is useful in optimizing your web properties for the most commonly-used devices. Google Analytics can tell you which devices are generating traffic to your website, but unfortunately you can no longer do this research on the front end.

PPC Management

If you’re not on top of the latest trends for pay per click advertising, you can easily blow your monthly budget in a few days. Let our PPC management experts handle it for you. We can optimize your campaigns, reach your target market, and get more return for your money. Give us a call at (763) 548-2297 or contact us online to get started.