How to Be A Flippin AdWords Ninja using Only Google Tools

Part 1: The Three Ninja Tools of Keyword Search

So, you have come to seek mastery in Google AdWords. Very well.

While Google AdWords, is certainly a very powerful platform in terms of optimizing ad copy and keywords during a campaign, it falls short on another front.

More specifically, it fails to help you identify and locate the keywords you should use for your advertisement during the planning stage. Perhaps more importantly, Adwords is also unable to monitor the overall impact of your campaigns.

Fortunately, Google provides you with a set of tools that is able to help you fill these gaps of keyword analysis and monitoring across your marketing campaigns.

In this and the next post, we will provide a short overview of how to use a variety of Google marketing tools available in AdWords in order to maximize the impact of your Adwords campaign.

Today, we will discuss how to use 3 popular Google tools to conduct keyword research. In the next post, we will explain how to use 3 different tools to both optimize and monitor the performance of your Google AdWords campaigns.

May the training begin!

The Triple Ninja Tools of Keyword Research

Running an AdWords campaign is much like throwing shurikens at a target — the more accurate your targeting is, the more powerful it will be in helping you achieve your business objective.

However, instead of aiming sharp objects at target dummies with Adwords you accomplish accurate targeting by choosing relevant keywords that your target audiences often search on Google.

While Google AdWords provides you with a Keyword Planning Tool to help you discover and identify the best keywords, the keywords it recommends are usually not specific nor relevant enough to use without conducting further research on them.

Therefore, for keyword research, we recommend using Google Trends and Google Search Console in conjunction with the Keyword Planning Tool. This will help you create a clear keyword strategy before you begin to optimize keywords in the Keyword Planning Tool.

Use Google Trends to Explore Popular and Relevant Topics

Google Trends is a tool that shows you the popularity of various search terms and topics on Google Search over a period of time (e.g. over the last month).

Because Google processes over 3.5 billion search queries a day, data and insights provided by Google Trends is sometimes more accurate and up to date than data provided by large marketing research firms like Nielsen.

Freakonomics digs into this data and, in doing so makes some very interesting observations. Check it out ;)


Anyways, circling back to Adwords, the biggest way Google Trends can help you is to assist your efforts to define your overall keyword strategy based on popular search terms and topics — i.e. what people are currently searching for on Google.

To do this, come up with several topics or keywords that are likely interests of your target audience and type these terms in the Google Trends tool.

For example, recently at Humanlytics we discussed whether to advertise our product as a “digital analytics”, “digital marketing” or “google analytics” tool.

To figure it out, we typed all three terms into Google Trends. This is what we got.

While the popularity of “digital marketing” is steadily increasing, “google analytics” won this content hands down. It is by far the most popular term of the three and therefore we decided to center our marketing strategy on promoting ourselves as a “Google Analytics” tool rather than a “digital marketing” tool.

For a more detailed usage guide and instructions on how to use Google Trends please reference the blog post below.


Use Google Search Console to Understand Your Organic Search

Google Search Console is a search presence management tool that helps you with everything from SEO to Search Analytics.

The specific feature of Search Console that can help you with keyword research is the search analytics feature.

If we were to describe Google Trends as a tool that helps you identify topics and search terms that you should target, Google Search Console is a tool that helps you understand what search terms you already target that work for you.

In this section of Search Console, you can see the impressions, clicks, and ranking of your website for all relevant keywords. At this dashboard you should choose some keywords from this list that are performing well for your website, and use these keywords for your Google AdWords campaigns in order to further increase traffic to your site.

To learn more about how to run more advanced search operations with Google Search Console, take a look at this article.


Use AdWords Keyword Planner to Smooth Out Your Keyword Mix

After going through the processes described above, you will have two lists of keywords and topic ideas: 1) a list of those that are trending and relevant to your target audience (from Google Trends), and 2) a list of those that you already use and which are popular in organic search.

Now it’s time to use the Adwords Keyword Planner tool to check the viability of the keywords found in these lists for use in actual AdWords campaigns.

The Keyword Planner provides a wide range of features (see below) that will help you select which of these keywords to use in Adwords campaigns. In order to do this the tool will:

  • Generate keywords based on the topic, industry, and content of your website
  • Infer related keywords based on the current list of keywords
  • Project the impressions, competitiveness, and average cost per click of the keywords
  • Forecast the ROI of the entire Adwords campaign

A sample workflow using the Keywords Planner tool is as follows:

1) Convert the keywords and topics gathered from Google Trends and Google Search Console into actual keywords with proper match types (refer to the match type standard of AdWords here).

You can also use the keyword generation tool (the first option in the picture above) in Keyword Planner to generate more keywords based on your website and industry if you don’t think you have enough keywords to start out with.

At the end of this step, you should have over 100 potential keywords grouped into different campaign and ad groups based on the number of keyword categories you wish to cover (tip: start small, and then expand later if needed). Here’s an article to guide you through this process.


2) Input the keywords you have come up with into the “get search volume and trends” feature of the Keyword Planner. Then, filter out the keywords that are (1) very expensive or (2) very competitive (unless you have a large budget).

More often than not, popular keywords are both extremely expensive and competitive. This means that over 50% of your potential keywords will probably be filtered out based on cost or competitiveness.

3) Put the remaining keywords into the “budget forecast tool” (the final section in the screenshot above) and confirm that your final list of keywords is within your budget.

A complete guide on how to use all of the features that the keyword planner has to offer can be found in this blog post by Quick Sprout.

What’s Next?

This article showed you how to use 3 powerful (and free) Google tools to optimize your keyword research as well as the planning phase of AdWords advertising.

However, a high-quality list of keywords is just the beginning of our AdWords journey. A successful AdWords campaign requires constant monitoring and continuous optimization so you can make both micro and macro adjustments along the way. We’ll cover that part of the process in our next article.

This article is part of our new “Master the Google Marketing Toolkit” series from Humanlytics. In this series, we will explore how to create a digital marketing system using Google’s suite of free tools in order to achieve goals such as Website Optimization, Adwords Campaigns, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

See you next week!

If you have any questions about the content covered in this article, please email me at

This article is produced by Humanlytics. At Humanlytics, we build tools for SMBs that not only help them answer their business questions and track metrics in real time, but also tell them what questions they should be asking in the first place — all with the goal of teaching them how to implement solutions.

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