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The 16 Best Keyword Research Tools

Keyword research is essential to earning a high search ranking for your website. However, doing successful keyword research is about more than just scanning Google and guessing what your audience is looking for. Check out these free and paid keyword research tools to improve your ranking game.


You know that you need to do keyword research for your website to succeed, but you might not be sure where to start. Maybe you don’t know what the best keyword research tool for your needs is, or maybe you don’t have room in your marketing budget to pay for an expensive new service. Check out our rundown of the 16 best tools to use for keyword research. We’ve included both free and paid options to meet the needs of every business. If you don’t know much about doing keyword research, start here.

Free Keyword Tools

 
Free doesn’t necessarily mean not as good as paid when it comes to keyword research tools. Free research tools can be a great option if you’re just learning how to research keywords or if your needs are relatively simple. Here are eight free, easy-to-use keyword tools that we love.

Google Keyword Planner

 

This simple keyword tool might have basic features, but it’s still one of the most accurate sources of keyword data that you can find. You won’t notice many individual research tools here, but you will be able to access usage and search volume stats directly from Google itself.

Use this if:

  • You need to find high-volume keywords for your business website.
  • Finding keywords has been difficult, and you need a tool that can suggest options based on your industry.

Google Trends

 

True to its name, Google Trends shows you how keywords are performing right now as well as how they’ve performed over time. This visually rich tool will help you understand not only which keywords are trending but where they’re trending and whether they’re gaining or waning in popularity. A map view divided into subregions even lets you see the states where your chosen keywords are the most popular.

Use this if:

  • You want to see what keywords are most popular in your geographic region right now.
  • You would like more insights into what buyers in your region are looking for, but you aren’t sure where to begin collecting them.
  • You need to see which keyword phrases are trending so that you can successfully target sales campaigns to potential buyers.

 

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Ubersuggest

 

Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest is a flexible, user-friendly keyword tool that helps you understand how keyword usage is impacting your SEO efforts. You can put in a keyword that you want to research, or you can enter the address of your website. Ubersuggest will scan your site and analyze your keywords, traffic, domain score and backlinks and then provide keyword ideas. This unique tool can even offer content suggestions.

Use this if:

  • You have an established website, and you want to know how well your keyword efforts rank.
  • You need fresh ideas for content that will improve your site’s SERP rankings.
  • You’re looking for metrics such as SEO difficulty and cost per click for specific keywords.

WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool

 

Designed to support success in Google ads and Bing ads, WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool will help you understand which keywords are best for your industry and your geographic region. Start by entering either your website’s URL or a target keyword. WordStream offers information including search volume, cost per click and competition, with separate columns for Google and Bing. You can even email yourself your keyword list.

Use this if:

  • You’re interested in tailoring keywords for both Google and Bing.
  • You want to know what keywords are likely to be successful in both your industry and your geographic location.
  • Understanding cost per click and competition are your priorities for keyword research.

AnswerThePublic

 
answer the public
 

Maybe you’ve searched for answers to questions such as “How do I fix a leaky faucet?” or “Where can I own exotic pets?” Phrasing search queries in the form of a question is popular with about 8% of Google users, and knowing how to leverage these question-based searches is to your advantage. Enter AnswerThePublic. Simply type in your industry or the topic you want to address, and the site will provide an infographic breaking down relevant user questions.

Use this if:

  • You want to add diversity to your keyword portfolio.
  • You’d like to know what question-based search queries individuals in different countries are using to find information.
  • You’re writing FAQ pages or tutorial blogs, which tend to provide answers to popular consumer questions.

Keyword Surfer Chrome Extension

 

This free extension for Google Chrome from Surfer offers powerful keyword insights from within Chrome. Conduct a search, and you’ll get keyword data that includes monthly search volume. Dive deeper from there by looking for related searches or traffic and on-page data. You can also save keyword info to a clipboard for easy access later. The extension works with data sets from 70 different countries, which makes it ideal for international businesses.

Use this if:

  • Tailoring SEO content for searches through Google is one of your primary marketing goals.
  • You want a keyword tool that integrates with your everyday browser.
  • You have a hard time keeping keyword ideas organized.

Wordtracker Scout Chrome Extension

 

Designed to provide keyword information for specific markets, Wordtracker’s Scout Chrome extension gives you access to an extensive keyword database. It provides at-a-glance information, including metrics about keyword performance and page elements. You can use this tool to see how you compare to your competitors too.

Use this if:

  • You want to do keyword research, but you don’t have a lot of time to pour over data.
  • You’re looking for a keyword tool that integrates directly with Google Chrome.
  • You’re new to researching keyword data, and you want a tool that makes it easy to understand the important stuff.

Topic Intelligence

 

When it comes to devising SEO strategies, nothing is more important than knowing what your competitors are doing. Enter Textbroker’s unique Topic Intelligence (Ti) tool, which uses artificial intelligence to make smart SEO and content recommendations. With Ti, you can analyze your and your competitors’ websites, discover new keywords and get a briefing that identifies your content gaps.

Use this if:

  • You need in-depth information about how you stack up against your competitors.
  • You’re interested in identifying your content gaps and learning how to fill them.
  • You want to uncover new industry competitors and learn how you can rise above them in search rankings.

 

You know keyword research is important, but you just don’t know where to start.
Reach out today to talk to us about your needs.

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Free keyword tools offer a great jumping off point for research, but sometimes, you need more information than these basic services provide. When this is the case, check out these eight popular paid tools.

Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

 

Ahrefs is one of the best-known SEO sites, and the Ahrefs Keywords Explorer doesn’t disappoint. This tool offers thousands of keyword suggestions drawn from 10 search engines so that you’re never missing out on important data. It’s the only keyword tool that provides “clicks” metrics that estimate exactly how many clicks a given keyword will attract. With a SERP overview and ranking history, you’ll known exactly where your website stands. Ahrefs offers a seven-day trial of its service for $7.

Use this if:

  • You want to know how many clicks your website is likely to get for given keywords.
  • Competing across multiple browsers is one of your marketing priorities.
  • You’d like to identify what mix of keywords the top-ranking websites in your industry use.

SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool

 

SEMrush boasts the largest keyword database of any of the SEO solutions out there. When you search for keywords, you’ll be provided with a robust list of related keywords and questions. Keyword Magic offers an array of statistics including search volume, keyword trends, cost per click, competitive density, click potential and keyword difficulty. With 142 geo-based databases, this is a great choice for international businesses too. SEMrush does not offer a free trial.

Use this if:

  • You are familiar with the basics of keyword SEO and want to take a deeper dive into the data.
  • You’re interested in grouping your keywords by thematic segments so it’s easy to find exactly what you need.
  • Analyzing competitor websites and SEO success is essential to growth in your industry.

Moz Keyword Explorer

 

The Keyword Explorer from Moz provides in-depth data for businesses around the globe. To get started, you simply enter your URL or a keyword into the Moz search interface. Then, you’ll get a comprehensive analysis that covers keyword suggestions as well as SERP details. Of course, you’ll also be able to perform competitive keyword analysis to determine what other businesses in your industry are using to attract website traffic. Moz offers a free 30-day trial of Keyword Explorer.

Use this if:

  • You’d like to know what keywords you should use to improve your website ranking right now.
  • You need to export your keyword data to CSV files.
  • You want the flexibility to enter either keywords or URLs to get customized suggestions for your site.

Keywordtool.io

 

If you’re looking for precise keyword data for any of the cities, countries or languages that Google supports, Keyword Tool is worth using. This service takes pride in offering precise data instead of data in vague ranges. You can get data about search volume for your current keyword lists. Keyword Tool Pro can also help you find hidden keywords that have high potential but aren’t very competitive. This tool uses data from Google Autocomplete to find keywords that you won’t find elsewhere. Keyword Tool also has a free version that you can use to check out the basics of how this tool works.

Use this if:

  • You need a robust source for long-tail keywords.
  • You’re interested in knowing what people in your geographic location are searching for right now.
  • You need fresh ideas for content and keywords, but you don’t have much time to conduct your own research.

Keywords Everywhere

 

True to its name, this keyword extension works for both Chrome and Firefox. Keyword Everywhere provides trend data going back to 2004, which means that you can see the long-term keyword picture in your industry. Keywords Everywhere offers information-rich reports that are easy for even SEO novices to read. It also has specialized tools for YouTube, Bing, Etsy, Amazon and eBay. Keywords Everywhere offers both free and paid versions of its service.

Use this if:

  • You like the idea of having “people also search for” data that helps you understand where there are gaps in your website or content.
  • You want to export your keyword searches and results in Excel, CSV or PDF format.
  • You need to target keywords for sales on Amazon, Etsy and eBay.

KWFinder

 
keyword finder
 

KWFinder is built to help you discover long-tail keywords that don’t have much search competition. To find keywords, you enter one of your existing keywords, choose your location and set your language. You can also enter a website URL to get in-depth information about how it performs in a selected geographic region. The tool boasts very accurate search volume and keyword difficulty data. KWFinder offers a 10-day free trial of its service.

Use this if:

  • You want to find low-difficulty, long-tail keywords for your industry and region.
  • You’re interested in seeing how your site or a competitors’ sites perform in different geographic regions.
  • You need to find cost-effective keywords to fit a tight marketing budget.

Serpstat

 

Serpstat prides itself on being an all-in-one SEO platform, so you get more with this tool than just keyword data. When it comes to keywords, though, you can easily search by subject, domain or URL to see what keywords rank and who’s using them. This is a professional-level tool that is best for individuals with solid SEO knowledge. Serpstat offers a Chrome plugin so that you can conduct quick research no matter where you are on the web. Serpstat does not offer a free trial.

Use this if:

  • Making SEO research more efficient is one of your top priorities.
  • You have a solid SEO background and want to see in-depth reports about all aspects of your SEO efforts.
  • You’d like to choose from a variety of tailored subscription plans that speak to the needs of your business.

Long Tail Pro

 

With Long Tail Pro, you start by entering a seed keyword. Then, the tool runs a keyword and competitor analysis that covers 13 metrics and provides a report about potential long-tail keywords and their profitability. This tool offers a rank tracker that helps you understand how your site is performing over time and what keywords need to be changed. Long Tail Pro has a seven-day free trial that includes hands-on training to help you learn how to make the most of this tool.

Use this if:

  • You understand SEO strategy basics, but you’re not sure how to find the right long-tail keywords for your needs.
  • You need keyword recommendations that are based on competition metrics within your industry and region.
  • You want rich information about your competitors and how their search rankings compare to yours.

How to Find the Right Keyword Research Tool

 

Keyword research is the bread and butter of most SEO professionals, but knowing where to start when it comes to keyword tools can be difficult. If you’re just dipping your toes into the keyword research pool, start with a free service that offers basic functionality. Familiarize yourself with how the tool works and what insights it offers, and try incorporating some of the keywords you find into your website to see if the service has promise.

As you pick a keyword tool, you’ll need to take several things into consideration. Be sure to weigh

  • the size of the keyword database the service offers (SEMrush and Ahrefs are considered among the best here),
  • the features the service offers and whether they meet or exceed your needs,
  • the usability and design interface of the tool, and
  • whether the tool is specialized (like Long Tail Pro) or offers more general keyword information (like Google Keyword Planner).

If you think you need a paid tool but are hesitant to commit, choose a service that offers a free trial. If you’re interested in a service that doesn’t offer a trial, consider signing up for a one-month subscription, and run a test project to see how easily you can incorporate service data into your content and SEO strategies. Of course, you can also reach out to friends and colleagues in your field who use keyword tools, and ask them for a rundown of their favorite keyword accessories.

Remember that it can take time to find the right keyword tool for your needs. Don’t give up if you don’t like the first service you try. With a little experimentation, you’ll be able to find a research tool that fits your needs, experience and marketing goals.

 

Keyword tools such as Ti can help you earn higher website rankings, but where should you start?
Contact us today to learn more.

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