downloadGoogle has muddied the water for SEO’s and content marketers as well as PPC advertisers by combining search volume data across keyword and their variants. This prevents the marketer from really pinpointing which keyword has what volume and is worth focusing on and investing further resources on to optimize and gain search engine traffic.

How to hack Google keyword planner for accurate results

So what are we to do? Google has a history of making the lives of SEO’s difficult which is understandable since their main revenue model revolves around selling ads. If SEO becomes so difficult to near impossible it will force more companies to pay to play thus driving ad revenues even higher and leveling the playing field for theoretically more user-friendly search results.

Instead of packing it in and throwing your hands up in the air here is a simple way to hack the keyword planner to give you more accurate results that will allow you to make quality business decisions.

Research your keywords like you normally would do

Nothing has changed here. Search your seed keyword and look for keywords that will be worth investigating further. Search volume, intent, CPC it all still applies for this part.

  1. Add the keywords you want to drill down on to “Your keyword plan” in the right column


  1. Select the match type icon and set the match type to “exact match”


  1. Click “review plan” to see the keyword forecasts


  1. Set your forecast settings

Change your location to the location you will be targeting. Set the forecast options to include search data for the next 6 months and set it to display “monthly”. Set your bid amount to $300 to make sure the tool includes all possible impressions.

  1. Click “Get Detailed Forecasts” and look at the keyword data displayed

What you are now looking at is accurate, granular data that is tailored for AdWords advertisers that potentially will be spending money with Adwords, so you know it’s as reliable. I’ve used this exact data to create PPC estimates countless times and it’s always been data that I can trust.

The key metric here would be impressions. In Google, impressions are directly correlated to searches or search volume. So you can now look at what kind of volume you should be expecting and what kind of max CPC’s every keyword will require. The CPC data will always be estimated because there are many other factors like quality score, ctr, account and campaign history etc but it’s still a good starting point to confidently decide whether to invest in building or optimizing a site around that keyword.

We haven’t seen much search volume inflation on local keywords like what we did here but from what I’m hearing there are instances being reported. The thing to keep in mind when using the forecast tool is the more keywords your ad that are closely related the more the impression volume will change because the forecast takes into consideration match types and close variants.