Perhaps I can enlighten you a bit on how The Keyword Planner tool can be a useful tool for SEO purposes.
There is the most obvious benefit which is Search Volume data. This is extremely useful in determining the relative value of ranking a particular keyword, I’m sure we can all agree on that to various degrees, right? Most people would prefer to rank high on a relevant keyword with large search volume vs. a term with low volume, all other things being equal. However, not everyone has the same objectives in mind when it comes to SEO campaigns.
Exactly how you will want to use the Keyword Planner tool will vary based on the Goals of your SEO campaign. So as with all marketing objectives, the first step is to define your goals.
I will discuss 2 categories of SEO goals, the first being business goals for any company with a commercial website, the other type being SEO agency goals since all too often the SEO agency’s goals do not line up with the business goals of their clients.
Businesses are typically looking to increase their website traffic for relevant terms that have high commercial intent. Their goal often is to increase profits, not to merely move ranking stats on a report.
The Keyword Planner tool is extremely useful at identifying the value of ranking a particular keyword, based not only on the search volume but also on the relative commercial intent of the keyword. The competition column shows relative competition among PPC advertisers who are typically very data-driven in their actions. When you consider the search volume, competition level, and recommended bids, you get a very accurate read on the value of ranking a particular keyword. This is very useful in determining how much to invest and the potential ROI when achieving a top ranking.
While the PPC competition level by itself does not give you a precise measure of the difficulty to rank a particular keyword when you combine the search volume, competition level, and recommended bids you can get a fairly accurate read on how difficult that keyword will be to maintain a ranking. The higher those data points are the more diligent your competitors are going to be at outranking you in a head-to-head competition for Search rankings.
It’s also useful in finding keywords with high commercial intent and relatively low search volume (aka longtail keywords) that might be quite easy to rank for and yield a very nice ROI.
SEO Agency Goals
SEO agency goals vary from one agency to the next. Some agencies have aligned their own goals with their clients’ goals and they can use the Keyword Planner tool as described above. However, there are many SEO firms that prefer to focus only on a self-serving goal, like bumping up rankings for a list of keywords they are reporting on. Their goal might be to find the keywords that they can most easily show again in rankings without consideration of the value that brings to their clients.
Again, the Keyword Planner can help to identify low search volume keywords, with low PPC competition and low CPCs, targeting those terms to make quick measurable gains to put onto a report to show clients as a way of justifying their fees. Not a practice I would condone, but is just one of many ways the Keyword Planner can be used by SEO agencies.
They might also be trying to demonstrate an increase in traffic. An agency can also use the tool to identify the keywords likely to bring the most search traffic and compare that to data gathered from direct analysis of the SERP to estimate the lowest cost per visit keywords to focus on in their campaigns.
Of course, there are many more ways to use the AdWords Keyword Planner for keyword research that is used in SEO campaigns, this reply is meant to get you thinking about some of the ways to use the tool.