Using the Google Keyword Planner for Search Engine Optimisation

Google’s ‘Keyword Planner’ is a free tool found within Google Adwords, which can be used to research which phrases Google users use when looking for healthcare (and indeed any other) services. It replaces the Keyword Tool which has been used by online marketers for many years to research keywords for their website.

While the Keyword Planner is mainly designed for those advertising on Google AdWords, it can also help you to find keywords with a good balance of traffic and competition for you to target in your search engine optimisation campaigns.

To use the Google Keyword Planner, you first need to sign into Google AdWords using your Google account details. If you do not have an account, you can sign up on the Google homepage. This does not commit you to spending money on Google AdWords if you don’t want to – you can open an account without putting in any payment details.

Once you are logged in to Google AdWords, access the new Keyword Planner by clicking on the ‘Tools and Analysis’ option to reveal a drop down menu. Now click ‘Keyword Planner’.

Once you have arrived on the ‘Keyword Planner’ page you will be presented with drop down options. Choose the ‘Search for new keyword and ad group ideas’ option.

Once you have filled in the details, click the blue ‘get ideas’ icon. Now you will be presented with the option of Ad group ideas or Keyword ideas. For search engine optimisation purposes, select ‘Keyword ideas’.

From this you can add these ideas to ‘Your plan’ positioned on the right hand side. This works like a ‘shopping cart’ for keywords – add the phrases that you are interested in to your plan.

As shown in the above screen shot, you can also download your Keyword Planner data into an Excel spreadsheet document:

From the data, you can see which keywords have the largest number of average monthly searches (‘Avg. Monthly searches’) and the lowest  competition.

It is important to bear in mind that the traffic data given by the tool is ‘broad match’, which means it incorporates not only the phrase itself but also other variants. This means that a phrase with 210 searches on the tool may in fact only have 21 searches in its own right, with the remainder made up of closely related phrases chosen by Google. Be aware that the number of searches shown may well not be entirely accurate.

It is also important to understand that the competition figure given relates to competition on Google AdWords – if advertisers think a phrase is highly likely to convert into a sale or an enquiry then there will be more competition for the phrase. This does not always correlate with the competitiveness of a phrase for search engine optimisation.

As long as you understand its limitations, the Keyword Planner can still be a useful source of information for businesses to inform their search engine optimisation strategy.

Author profile: Helen Culshaw

  • Helen Culshaw has been working in the digital media industry for 14 years and founded Ascendancy Internet Marketing in 2004
  • Her particular specialisms are search engine marketing and website project management. She is a Qualified Google AdWords Professional
  • She is a regular public speaker and writer on internet marketing related subjects and is a Visiting Lecturer at the Universities of London, Worcester and Wolverhampton



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Using the Google Keyword Planner for Search Engine Optimisation



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