Google keyword planner: A free keyword Tool


Have you ever wondered if quality keyword research can ever be truly free? Are you tired of tools that say they are free, but they limit their use? Or have you given a tool your email address only to be spammed daily? If you have never tried the Google Keyword Planner, then you have not tried the best free keyword tool available to bloggers.

Why use Google Keyword Planner?

You may be surprised to find that Google provides a totally free keyword tool and the only requirement is a Google email account. No credit card required. No nonsense.

Gone are the days when stuffing your blog post full of your chosen keyword will get it to rank in the number one spot in the search engine results page also known as SERP.

These days, finding good keywords is like a new form of alchemy; instead of trying to turn lead into gold, we are trying to turn keywords into a full time income.

It is possible, but it takes some work and skill. And creativity. And I know you are up to the task because you are here reading this. Let’s go!

*This post may contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you. Full disclosure is here.

Keep track of your keywords

It will be helpful to you to create your own keyword tracker for your blog posts. You can do this with an inexpensive notebook or you can create a spreadsheet in Google Drive or Excel.

I like those 5 for a dollar exercise books that we all used in elementary school; you know the ones that come in different colors. In Canada they are made Hilroy and they look like this:

Image of Hilroy exercise books

I keep one just for keywords. I have separate two-page spreads for each topic on my website. You may find, like I did, that once you start writing about one topic, more ideas flow from it. Use the left page for ideas and right page for the posts you publish and the keyword you are trying to rank for.

The plan then, is to have a series of posts that are all related. Each one ranks for one unique keyword/keyword phrase, without using that same keyword in two different posts. You can use similar keywords sprinkled within all of your posts on one topic, as long as they keyword you are trying to rank for is unique each time. This should be easy enough if you are writing about different aspects of your niche/topic.

If you use the same unique keyword and try to rank for it with two posts, you are only competing against yourself. The only exception is if you are already ranking high with that keyword already. If you are not ranking for it yet, do not compete with yourself for that keyword. Read this post from Yoast on best practices.

Sign up for Google Keyword Planner

Anyone with a Google email account has access to the keyword planner. Right click on this link and choose to open it in another window so you can follow along.

You do need to enter some details like your email, country and currency, but you do not have to pay to use this tool. It may not seem like that when you first sign up, but trust me, it is free.

Once you are logged in you will be at the main dashboard. In the top right area near your account information you will see the wrench icon. Click that and under the Planning tab choose KEYWORD PLANNER.

Click the arrow in the box labelled Find New Keywords and in the next area input your keyword, long tail keyword, or keyword phrase. When finished, click the blue Get Started button.

Once you are logged in to the main keyword research area, I suggest bookmarking it. I have a folder of keyword tools and user guides in my Chrome browser.

Google Keyword Planner: A Free Keyword Tool
Google Keyword Planner: A Free Keyword Tool

Searching keywords with Google Keyword Planner

I would suggest you input a single keyword at a time until you see the results. If you are not getting many results, try using a short tail (up to 3 words) keyword/phrase. Google will give you related keywords for your chosen keyword. Write down any that you think will fit with your niche/brand.

Take the results of these keyword searches and create long tail keywords that are unique to your website. It is easier to rank in the top spot for long tail keywords because they are so niched-down. Watch for two single or short tail keywords that you can string together into a long tail keyword.

You will be at a page with keyword ideas related to your word/phrase. A filter is automatically added called “Show broadly related ideas; exclude adult ideas”.

add another filter

You can do by clicking the blue filter icon on the right side. Choose COMPETITION and then tick the box marked LOW and click apply. This will automatically sort your results based on low competition (which we want).

Ideally you want the Avg. monthly searches to be in the 1k to 10k range, with low competition. This means there is some interest in the keyword, but not many people are using it. #winwin.

Google does not tell you the exact search numbers, but if you use other free tools you can get a good idea of whether your keyword is closer to 1k or 10k. Ideally you want your competition to be around 2k to 3k to rank faster.

Write down any keywords that work with your niche.

Note any keywords that you can chain together to make a keyword phrase of 6 or 7 words. If you can do this without it looking unnatural, you can try to rank for both of these keywords and use them both throughout your post. Plus you have created a totally unique key phrase.

As you search for appropriate keywords you can easily end up down a rabbit hole of post ideas. Try my hack below before you switch out of one result screen or if you want to search another keyword.

Hack #1: Screenshot your results. Take one screenshot of the keywords in the Avg monthly searches and one for the low competition. Put these in a folder and you can add them to your keyword list/spreadsheet later. Clear the search and try another keyword and screenshot those results.

For this, I use the snipping tool on my pc, which I keep in my taskbar. Super handy. Or use the PrtScn key on your pc. Use the Windows key + PrtScn key (near the F12 key at the top of the keyboard). The file is saved to a folder named Screenshots saved within the Pictures folder.

On a Mac you can screenshot by using Command + Shift + 3 (entire screen); Shift + Command + 4 gives you a crosshair that will let you create the shape that you want to capture (if you do not want the whole screen captured). Release the mouse or trackpad to complete; Shift + Command + 5 will give you a dialogue box with options for you to choose for what you want to capture (entire screen, full window, or portion of the screen).

You can duplicate this process for every keyword that you want to use and potentially rank for.

Hack #2: Pay attention to low competition keywords with high numbers in the TOP OF PAGE BID (Low Range). These are keywords that people are paying for, so they are good ones – at least for paid ads. Add them to your list.

Other free keyword tools

It is never a good idea to put all of your keyword “eggs’ into one basket. What I recommend is using Google’s KWP in conjunction with other keyword tools, primarily Bing and Ubersuggest. My favorite keyword tool is Jaaxy, which comes with 30 free searches.

Bing’s free keyword tool is similar to Google.

You have to sign up and answer a few questions about your website. Then you submit your sitemap. On that same page you will get a bit of code to take back and add to your website.

Wait a minute or two for everything to catch up and then you have free access. Look in the left side menu for Diagnostics & Tools and under that is Keyword Research.

Bing shows you whether your keyword is trending. This is super handy if you do a lot of seasonal posts or if you need ideas for posts.

Ubersuggest is Neil Patel’s free keyword tool.

I find that it can be helpful, but is nowhere near as robust as KWP. The real benefit of this tool is the ability to see what your competition is ranking for or more specifically what they are NOT ranking for. Click on one of search results to get a list of websites that are using the keyword or similar keywords. Look for under utilized keywords or phrases.

Using Google Keyword Planner to find top notch keywords, Bings Keyword Research to check trends and Ubersuggest to track competing websites will give you well rounded research for your chosen keywords.

I can also tell you that Bing will throw you a credit towards paid ads, just like Google does when you sign up to them. Watch for those in your inbox when you want to drive traffic to a specific post.

Free Tool Honorable Mention

Jaaxy will give you 30 free keyword searches. I use Jaaxy all the time, because the search results are quality and I like the site rank feature.  I suggest using Jaaxy to confirm your other research. Be aware that those 30 free searches go by quick so use them for your pillar or cornerstone content.

You can also try It will give you keyword ideas but not the other search data. Good for finding related long tail keywords. Try typing in your keyword and using the alphabet technique to find a ton of keywords.

Read the following post for more ideas and free tools that you can use for keyword research, as well as an explanation of different keyword types.

Related Post: Easy Keyword Research for Beginners

Hack #3: Alphabet Technique: In a search bar, type your keyword, space, and the letter “a”. Your results will pop up with words that start with ‘a’ that are related to the keyword. Go through the alphabet like this to find keywords.

Example: Dog training plus ‘a’ yields results like Dog Training app or dog training academy or dog training arm sleeve.

Hack #4: Type your chosen keyword into a Google search bar and hit enter. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see what Google thinks are related search results. Take any ideas that might be useful for your keyword reseach. #goldmine

Related Post: Keywords and what they do

Final Thoughts

Google Keyword Planner is a great tool to find keywords and related keywords. I resisted using this free keyword tool because I thought that I had to pay for ads to use it. It does give limited information for your chosen keyword, because it is used by companies who want targeted ads, but it works for bloggers quite well.

Once I found out how to use it properly, I found that it became my go-to keyword tool. Use it in conjunction with the other free tools mentioned to get awesome keyword ideas for your blog content.

Please sign up for my free weekly newsletter of tips and free stuff for bloggers. And follow me on Pinterest!

Happy blogging,

-Irma 🙂

Google keyword planner: A free keyword Tool

20 thoughts on “Google keyword planner: A free keyword Tool”

  1. Hi Irma,

    Google keyword planner is completely new to me but sound very beneficial! This could definitely come in handy for trying to create content which can rank high for my niche, thanks a lot for this.

    • You are welcome James and thank you for visiting us today!

      -Irma 🙂

  2. Hi Irma,

    Google Keyword sounds awesome! I can’t believe I haven’t heard of it yet. I’ve been blogging for about six months so I figured I would have. Amazing how you always learn something with this stuff. I use Jaaxy currently but it sounds like this could still be quite helpful along with it. I’m going to sign up for it today. I need all the keyword help I can get LOL. Thanks so much!!

    • Hi Dan and thank you for visiting us today,

      Yes, for the longest time I was only hearing about those ultra expensive tools that I was not ready to sign up for. Now there are some really decent free tools, so it is a good time to find keywords!

      -Irma 🙂

  3. I love this topic! I never knew that keywords are so important until now! Maybe that’s why I failed in the past. Who knows…

    • Hello Buffy and thank you for visiting us today,

      Keyword research actually becomes fun (?!?) when you start creating your own unique long tail keywords. It is kind of a puzzle to be solved. Enjoy the journey!


  4. Hi Irma, brilliant and informative post! I always learn a lot from your articles and this is no exception.
    Sometimes I have an absolute nightmare trying to find new keywords to rank for that aren’t already being done by high authority sites. I try to narrow it down to low comp topics but still find most things in my much a have been covered. I will start using the 3 tools you suggest here and see if it makes a difference.
    One thing I’m a bit confused about, you say not to try and rank for the same keywords in different posts but I think I do this a lot as I have quite a few posts on the same topics such as super foods, protein powders, weight loss, and green superfood powders. Obviously they are all different long tail keywords, but I’m still using those same words in a lot of my posts. Should I be worried? Thanks

    • Hi Stefanie and thank you for visiting us today,

      I think for most of us, we are using one keyword in the title of our posts and within the post a few times as per general seo instructions. That would be a main keyword for that post and ideally you would only use your main keyword in this blog post. If you are creating long tail keywords for your blog post titles you can easily switch out keywords to come up with many long tail keywords that allow you to write many posts on the same subject matter.

      For example, a recipe site might have several blog posts on the same topic: homemade apple pie, deep-dish apple pie, homemade peach pie etc. Homemade apple pie is two keywords – apple pie and homemade apple pie. By adding a third keyword like ‘easy’ or ‘how to make’ to the front or ‘filling’ or ‘crust’ to the end you now have a bunch of long tail keywords that are unique. The post title ‘Easy homemade apple pie filling’ contains several keywords that can be ranked for.

      It is a good idea to keep track of all these keywords so that you can keep creating more keywords for your posts. In the example above you may have written posts on ‘easy homemade apple pie filling’ but not a post on ‘easy homemade apple pie crust’ or ‘how to make homemade apple pie crust’.

      By creating blog post titles made up of several keywords, your posts are more niched-down (to grab those people specifically looking for ‘easy homemade apple pie filling’), but you will rank for the other keywords by default.

      Hope that helps,
      -Irma 🙂

      • Hi Irma, thanks for your reply, it all makes much more sense to me now and I am going to go in and check out more of your posts as I find you have a great way of explaining things that is easy to understand.

        Thank you to you and your great website 🙂

        • Thank you Stefanie and thank you for visiting us today,

          -Irma 🙂

  5. Great article, thank you! I have been using Jaaxy for a little while now and find it really good, but I love your idea of mixing a few different tools together to get a more well rounded idea of what keywords will best suit my situation as I start my own blog. Brilliant info, thanks again 🙂


    • Thank you Josie and I wish you much success!


  6. This information on Google Planner is excellent. I actually tried it some time ago, and got really confused, so your article is very helpful.

    Also, your hack #3 is a great tip! Thanks.

    • Thank you Melissa and happy blogging!


  7. Thanks, Irma, for such great information. I mostly use Jaaxy, so I will definitely try the Google Keyword Planner and also Bing and the others that you mentioned. You have a lot of great information on this site, so I am bookmarking so I can come back to it later.

    • Hello Lynn and thank you for visiting,

      Jaaxy is an amazing tool, but it does not show trending keywords which is vital for seasonal posts. Also, because it is a paid product there is always the chance that the price could go up and possibly be out of reach for some people. I think it is helpful to have more than one keyword tool, just for a variety of keywords.

      -Irma 🙂

  8. Hello and thank you so much for this article! This was quite informative and some good reminders here.
    I have a question about Google, I can’t find “wrench icon” when I’m signed in, so I can’t access the keyword planner. Is it because I have a “Norwegian” version of it? Can it help to log in with a new email address via VPN?

    • Hello Erlend and thank you for visiting us today,

      I would try the VPN and set it for USA first. See if your keyword planner wrench icon shows up. If that does not work, since I cannot see what you are seeing, I would suggest looking online for a tutorial that is specific to the Norwegian version. I cannot imagine Google making Norwegian more complicated than any other language. Let me know how it works out.

      -Irma 🙂


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