Back in August last year, I wrote about Google’s Keyword Planner tool and how it could be used for SEO.

Despite first and foremost providing keyword search volume and bid estimates for potential AdWords campaigns, Keyword Planner is extremely useful for keyword insight…which is of course the foundation of any good SEO campaign.

As part of its continual product development, in April this year, Google expanded the capabilities of the tool further by introducing nine new features.

Here are my favourites and how they could benefit you:

Favourite #1

Date range comparisons

Why is it great?

Much like Google Analytics, it is now possible to select and compare keywords for specific time periods. Fast becoming my favourite feature, the data is great for understanding how the search market is changing. As more and more people get to grips with searching online and the range of products and services available at their fingertips, search volume for particular phrases is naturally going to change.

For SEO and AdWords, it is crucial to have a thorough understanding of your target audience, what their needs are, and what phrases they are using to satisfy that need. After selecting your date range, with the tool you can now compare the results to the previous period, same period the previous year, or even a custom range.

Google Keyword Plan - Date range comparisons

It is well worthwhile periodically reviewing search patterns. Schedule in time every six months or so to review your focus keywords, and use this data to identify changes that may influence your on- and off-site content – especially your page titles and H1’s.

Favourite #2

Absolute and relative changes

Why is it great?

Instant clarity. When assessing keywords it’s easy to get submerged in a world of data. Now, when comparing two periods the tool shows the total and percentage change. Immediately it is possible to get a good feel for which keywords no longer attract as much search volume, and makes it possible to identify breakout terms. Whilst I would still strongly recommend taking a more granular approach when it comes to finalising your focus terms, it’s super handy to be able to quickly see absolute and relative changes.

Google Keyword Planner - Absolute and Relative Search Volume

Favourite #3

Mobile trends

Why is it great?

In an ever-growing mobile world, it’s a given that search traffic via mobile devices, for the vast majority of industries, is on the up. That being said, it’s nice to have the data to back it up! In a delightful graphical format, Keyword Planner can now display average mobile search volume against the total volume across all devices. As an added touch, if you hover over the bars within the chart a pop up box will appear revealing volume in a numerical format.

Google Keyword Planner - Mobile Trends

Favourite #4 (ish)


Why is it (sort of) great?

As you’ll probably already know, when looking at search volume in Keyword Planner it is possible to restrict data to searches within specific locations, such as United Kingdom or a combination of countries (e.g. UK, USA, France and so on). Now, again in a graphical format, Google shows estimates for your chosen keyword for each targeted location in relation to the total average monthly searches for the locations specified.

Google Keyword Planner - Location

For sites that attract global visitors this is a particularly handy feature as it effortlessly shows where the majority of your traffic is likely to come from. For those looking specifically at UK however, it’s fairly unhelpful as that’s as far as the breakdown goes. Although given the latest round of updates, I don’t give it long before Google introduces regional search volumes for the UK too.

Have you tried the new Google Keyword Planner features yet? I’d love to know what you think about the update; comment below or tweet @Browser_Media.