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Goodbye Google Keyword Planner, Hello Keyword Research Using PPC

by David Zimmerman  |  
January 3, 2017

Did you sigh when you heard Google is revoking free full access to its Keyword Planner? Your first reaction was probably like mine: Google is sticking it to SEOs, once again.

What are we going to do?

Of course, we could invest in a third-party tool. Some of those tools might help fill the gap, but they are expensive and only as good as their sample size.

And that got me thinking: If I would have to pay for a keyword research tool anyway, why not use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising for my keyword research? If I create a small PPC campaign, I can get keyword data and several other advantages, too.

So, in this article, I will show you how I've done keyword research using Google's Keyword Planner; and, in contrast, what the advantages are of using a small PPC campaign to do keyword research instead.

PPC can help me identify new keywords

When you use the Keyword Planner (or a third-party keyword tool), you start by brainstorming a list of potential words.

Typically, this is what I've done:

  1. I brainstorm a list. I will get the client's (or my boss's) input, too. From there I try to think of synonyms for this keyword. Let's say my keyword is "widgets"; they could also be referred to as "doohickeys" or "whatchamacallits."
  2. I then try to find words that modify the original keywords. Here, I'm looking for long-tail opportunities. I ask myself, "What kinds of ways would someone want to use what I have to offer?" This could be modifiers like color. It could be solutions like "services" or even "solutions." I might add geographical modifiers, too. A couple of great tools to help identify modifiers are ubersuggest or
  3. I try to organize all these on an Excel sheet. Each column contains rows of synonyms. I try to add modifiers in adjacent columns, with mutually exclusive modifiers in each row. I do this so I can take several columns to to assemble these lists into all the possible variations.

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David Zimmerman is an Internet marketing consultant at his own company: Reliable Acorn LLC. When he's not in front of a computer screen, you might meet him at one of the wonderful local breweries in Charlotte, NC.

LinkedIn: David Zimmerman

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  • by Kim Tue Jan 3, 2017 via web

    You may want to proofread and edit this article once more.

  • by Vahe, MarketingProfs Tue Jan 3, 2017 via web

    Thank you for pointing that out, Kim. Looks like we hadn't uploaded the most recent version.

  • by Jackie Tue Jan 3, 2017 via web

    Hi David!

    Interesting article! From what Google source are you obtaining this information from?

  • by Mary Tue Jan 3, 2017 via web

    Great article - thanks for sharing - I know that for lots of small business owners SEO and PPC can be overwhelming... great tips to get started with making progress!

  • by rsprowls Tue Jan 3, 2017 via web

    I'm sorry where is your source for this revelation, Google is revoking free access to its Keyword Planner?

  • by Vahe, MarketingProfs Tue Jan 3, 2017 via web

    Hi, everyone. For more on Google's limiting of access to its Keyword Planner, see this article by Barry Schwartz in SEO Roundtable:

    Also see forum discussions here:


  • by Saumil Tue Jan 3, 2017 via web

    But the basic point is still the same, no free keywords anymore either you pay it to google or third party vendors which are not a good sign for start-ups or Freelancers who have minimalistic seo budgets.

  • by Ivan Thu Jun 29, 2017 via web

    Great ideas, David. Right now, first time users, canít see exact numbers for volume, but only 1k-10k. I wrote about these problems and how to fix them here Ė
    Share your minds about it, please.

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