How to Use the Free Google Keyword Tool - dummies

By Peter Kent

Rather than use one of the half-hidden keyword tools from one of the smaller search engines, you can go directly to Google’s keyword tool. This is a great keyword tool, as long as you understand a couple of things.

First, be aware that unless you sign up for a Google AdWords PPC account, Google doesn’t show you all the results; you get only the first 100. You can sign up for an AdWords account without running any ads (and thus without paying for anything).

The other thing to understand is exactly what Google is showing you; there’s a lot of confusion among users here, and you have to select the correct options to get the information you need, so listen closely.

When you first view the Google Keyword tool, you see a page like the one shown. You have two ways to get started:

  • Type a keyword into the Word or Phrase box or type multiple phrases if you like, each on a separate line.

  • Type the domain name of a website into the website box. Google pulls keywords from this site.

  • Select one or more categories from the grayed-out drop-down list box under the website text box.


In effect, you’re telling Google to look through its database of searches — actual keywords typed in by real searchers on its website and partner sites — to find searches that it thinks may be related to your keyword phrase, the website you entered, or the category you picked. (You can mix these up, too; search for the term queen in the Food & Groceries category, and Google finds terms that mainly seem related to dairy queen.) Note that you can also click the Advanced Options and Filters link under the Word or Phrase box to specify criteria even more. You can

  • Limit the keywords to searches within a particular country or language.

  • Include adult keywords, if you want.

  • Limit the information to only searches carried out on mobile devices (not including phones with full browsing capabilities — just those with simple Internet data access).

  • Filter results by using various criteria, such as “global monthly searches over 100,000” or “show low competition keywords only.”

Google’s keyword tool is incredibly popular; it’s free, and it has the best data — Google data.

When you’ve made all your selections, click the Search button, and Google finds keywords related to your search term. In the case of a category search, Google finds keywords related to that category. In the case of the website search, Google looks at the words it finds in the website and then finds keywords related to those words. Whichever method you choose, you see something like the following.


So, Google has returned perhaps 100 keyword ideas — many more if you logged into your AdWords account first — and you can click the column headings to sort them. (You can add or remove columns, by the way, using the Views button on the right side of the table.)

The Google keyword tool is great. Note that you can download the list of keywords, or selected keywords, into a spreadsheet (see the Download button, top left of the table), which is very handy for saving keyword analyses. However, Google doesn’t have some of the sophisticated keyword-analysis features that other, commercial keyword-analysis tools have.

Google provides a similar tool that provides information about searches on Youtube (which is owned by Google).