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11 Best Keyword Research Tools (Free and Paid) to Dominate SEO


If you want to dominate SEO, rank high on Google, and attract free traffic to your website, you need to use the best keyword research tools.

Best Keyword Research Tools (Free and Paid) to Dominate SEO

Whether you are developing a content strategy or updating your existing content to keep pace with the ever-changing algorithms of search engines, you need a keyword research tool. And if you are looking for one, this post is for you.

Finding good keywords is not just about SEO. Keywords are a guiding force that dictates all digital marketing activities, in one way or another.

While search engines are getting smarter day by day, keyword research tools are also getting highly sophisticated, helping digital marketers understand their target audience in a deeper way.

In this post, we are going to discuss 11 best keyword research tools. Some of these tools are free while some are paid. We hope you will enjoy learning about these cutting edge tools. Keep reading!

What is a Keyword Research Tool?

A keyword research tool is primarily used to figure out what keywords your target audience is using to look for information, products or services. 

It helps you come up with the topics that resonate with your audience.

But the uses of a keyword research tool go beyond just figuring out the keywords your target audience is likely to use.

For example, it helps you with competitive analysis. If you drop your website URL into a keyword research tool, it will display the targeted keywords. 

That means, based on the niche of your website, a keyword research tool recommends certain keywords.

Gone are the days when using lots of generic keywords was regarded as a good SEO practice. You need to learn about the essence of modern SEO practices.

Now you need personalized keywords coming from your search query reports. A good tool can help you find personalized keywords that can be grouped into focused clusters.

Modern keyword research tools come with features that can identify high-converting keywords. These keywords can help you convert your audience into customers who are willing to pay for your products or services.

These days, most people use long-tail keywords when looking for something online. These long-tail keywords are not intuitive or easy to think of.

One great thing about keyword research tools is that they can uncover long-tail keywords that you would otherwise fail to find.

There are some SEO metrics that can be used to improve your website’s ranking in search engines. Conversion rates, organic visits, inbound web traffic, and bounce rate are some reliable SEO metrics.

The right tool can help you analyze these metrics and improve your scores.

seo metrics for your seo strategy

Highly sophisticated AI-powered tools make the process of analyzing these metrics very easy. Better yet, these tools are known for their user-friendliness. You can use them even if  you have no prior experience.

With the help of an advanced keyword research tool, you can gain some insight into the current search trends.

With this insight, you learn the art of prioritizing your time. Whether you are building a sales funnel or simply doing some research for your next blog post, you no longer waste time focusing on less important keywords that hardly have any impact on your ROI. 

As a digital marketer, your success depends on your ability to understand the real needs of your audience.

By using the right tool, you will have a far better understanding of the people who might need your products or services. It is like being able to read the thought patterns of your target audience.

Why You Should Only Write Blog Posts after You’ve Done Keyword Research

You have started a blog and now you are writing decent posts pretty regularly. However, there is a problem: your blog is not getting that many visitors. You might wonder why. Well, it may be because you did not do keyword research before writing the blog posts.

However, it is also important to remember that your content should not be dominated by keywords. Blogging is more than just using the best keywords in your posts.

Doing some keyword research is very helpful when you are trying to attract targeted traffic, but this is just a part of the entire process of writing and publishing content.

Over the past decade, search engine algorithms have become smarter. When it comes to providing search results, Google no longer relies on keywords; the search engine understands topics, just like humans.

However, that does not necessarily mean that SEO is dead. Skipping this part is one of the worst things you can do as a blogger or content marketer. Many novice bloggers make this mistake. They start writing without doing any keyword research. 

As a result, even though they produce pretty good content, they fail to attract that much traffic.

There are plenty of reasons to do keyword research before you write blog posts. Let’s try to understand the main reasons.

1. You Can Choose Blog Topics Based on the Right Keywords

If you are a creative writer, you might hate this idea. But, let’s be practical. If you want  people to care about a blog post, you have to make sure that they are already interested in the topic. Otherwise, you may end up wasting your time. 

Serious bloggers are very careful when it comes to picking blog niches. And once you have picked the right niche, you have to write posts that make sense to your target audience.

With a keyword research tool, you can find keywords your target audience is using. You can choose your blog topics based on those keywords. 

In order to relate to your target audience, you have to know what information, products or services they are actually looking for. And when you know what people are looking for, you will find it relatively easy to make them take action.

This is one of the most effective ways to improve your search engine ranking. If your blog topics are based on popular keywords, chances are that you will get much more traffic. More traffic means more customers and more sales.

2. You Can Use Relevant Keywords in Your Content

Google algorithms depend on artificial intelligence; they do not have feelings. They don’t understand the beauty of language; they just analyze words. If your blog posts do not contain the right words, the algorithms will not pay attention to the posts.

By doing keyword research, you can know what keywords you should use in the title, heading and body of a blog post. Using keywords in this way is another effective way to rank high in search engines.

But we should clarify one thing here. Stuffing keywords into your content is not the purpose of keyword research. The main purpose is to make your content purposeful and valuable. When you are writing a blog post, it is important to remind yourself why you are writing it in the first place.

It all comes down to looking at the content from the perspective of your target audience.

3. It Helps You Find High-Converting and long-tail Keywords

When it comes to choosing keywords, you have to be a bit strategic. Not all keywords can fetch business for you. So, you have to focus on only high-converting keywords. Keyword research helps you identify these keywords.

Simply drawing people from search engines means nothing. Providing value is what counts. If people do nothing after reading your blog posts, you will not get any reward for your efforts. It is important to focus on personal branding and let people know that you want to do business with them.  

.Over the years, our understanding of keywords has changed. These days, the term “keyword” refers to a complete phrase, even sentence, rather than a single word. Yet, many people mistakenly assume that a keyword means a single word.

To look for products or services, people are using long-tail keywords these days.  When looking for a graphic designer to design a logo for a landscaping business, one does not simply type “graphic designer” into the search bar. 

The person is more likely to use keywords like “graphic designer in New York” or “logo designer for landscaping business”.

Google keywords search

Yes, you can choose to ignore it. But there are other graphic designers in your area, and they will optimize for Google algorithms to have an edge over you.

The key is to find a balance between using good keywords and creating conversion-oriented content. When using keywords, you have to think about both visitors and search engine algorithms. Using keywords for the sole purpose of drawing traffic can be counterproductive.

To some extent, it depends on your motive behind writing blog posts. If  you are writing primarily to raise brand awareness, converting your audience into customers is clearly not your primary concern.

With that said, for a content marketer, doing keyword research before writing blog posts is of utmost importance.

What are the Best Keyword Research Tools

Before you pick a keyword research tool, it is good to learn about several tools. We will try to help you make an informed decision. Here are our top picks:

1. SEMrush

 Best keyword research tool for digital marketing agencies

SEMrush keyword research tool for digital marketing agencies

With more than 5 million users, SEMrush is one of the most well-known SEO tools. It has been around since 2008. The tool is good for not only keyword research but also domain analysis, rank tracking, site auditing and backlink analysis.

SEMrush doesn’t just provide you with a list of keywords; it suggests up to 10 keywords already being used by your competitors. This feature makes it a highly effective competition analysis tool.

You can use SEMrush even if you don't have any prior knowledge about a keyword research tool. The process of competition analysis is as simple as adding the URL of your competitor’s website. The tool instantly shows all the high-ranking keywords of your competitor’s entire website or a particular page.

SEMrush shows not only keyword data but also keyword difficulty and monthly search volume.

The tool has another handy feature: keyword suggestions. Here you can find related keywords and keyword variations . You need long-tail keywords to beat your competition, and finding these keywords is easier with this tool.

SEMrush provides some in-depth keyword data including

  • Keyword difficulty score
  • Keyword traffic volume
  • Adsense PPC
  • Search engine reports

The tool is also equipped with a feature that allows you to find low-competition keywords.

These keywords are very useful for optimizing your content for SEO. They can also give you insights into social media marketing statistics. You can easily add these keywords to Keyword Manager.

To indicate the keyword difficulty score, SEMrush uses a percentage. The higher the score, the harder it is to rank for a particular keyword. 

SEMrush makes it very easy to uncover long-tail keywords. The tool lets you know yearly keyword trends. You can also use the tool to learn about the statistics of worldwide CPC distribution.  

Pricing

SEMrush has 4 pricing plans:

SEMrush Pricing Plan

It offers a 7-day free trial. To get access, you will have to enter your credit card details. You will not have to pay if you cancel the subscription within the trial period.

2. Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

Best keyword research tool for mid-sized organizations and online marketers

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer for mid sized organizations and online marketers

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer is another keyword research tool widely used by content creators. To provide its unique click metrics, the platform uses Clickstream data. The tool has several amazing features that help it stand apart from its competitors.

The search volume numbers are refined every month. Users like this tool partly because they get fresh keywords every month. You can rely on the accuracy of the metric.

When you enter multiple keywords, the tool takes the top 10 keywords to generate numerous ideas in 6 different ways.

A great thing about Ahrefs Keyword Explorer is that it does not focus only on Google. It provides keyword ideas for other search engines such as Amazon, YouTube, Bing, Baidu and Yandex.

Ahrefs has a variety of filters that make your keyword research more effective. For more refined results, you can even combine the filters.

With Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, you can easily learn about the keyword difficulty of a particular keyword. This metric can be very useful for market research. The tool provides the keyword difficulty score not in percentage but from 1 to 100.

To give you deeper insights, Ahrefs uses advanced metrics such as clicks, clicks per search, percentage of clicks, and return rate.

Your chances of ranking for a target keyword is often determined by the parent topic. This tool identifies the parent topic by finding the keyword that helps a particular page rank high. Being able to identify the parent topic can be highly rewarding.

Pricing

Ahrefs offers 4 pricing plans. Suitable plans are available for online marketers, freelancers and mid-sized organizations.

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer Pricing Plan

On the Light and Standard plans, Ahrefs has a trial offer. It costs $7 for 7 days.

3. KWFinder

Best keyword research tool for beginner bloggers

KWFinder for beginner bloggers

Designed by Mangools, KWfinder is another keyword research tool packed with lots of useful features. The features are very easy to use, almost intuitive.  

The site has a beautiful design and seamless interface that might appeal to beginner bloggers. The tool seems to emphasize on simplicity everywhere. It does not make users feel overwhelmed with too many dashboards.

For competitor keyword research, KWFinder works pretty well. It allows you to browse keywords by domain. However, it does not calculate keyword intersect, and that means it is probably not the best tool to use for this purpose.

The dashboard looks clean and understandable, partly because it shows only the bare necessities. This simplicity contributes to the tool’s aesthetic appeal.

KWFinder shows the keyword difficulty metric in a 1/100 score. It also uses color coding that helps you put the score in perspective. And you can assume that the score is reliable, especially for low-competition levels.

KWFinder uses its own algorithm. You might get different numbers from a different tool.  And that is why you should compare keywords according to your reference point.

KWFinder makes it very easy to evaluate SERP competition. The data on the SERP can be used to increase the rank of a website.

The SERP Checker provides you with details such as domain authority, the number of backlinks, and page authority.

Its Link Profile Strength or LPS metric is another very useful metric. This metric helps you understand a competitor  from a different angle—in terms of backlinks. If the number is high, you can assume that it will be hard to overcome the competitor.

The dashboard features a Manage Metrics button. By pressing this button, you can view a specific set of data because your data columns can also be customized. You will find this metric very useful when reviewing competition for a particular keyword.

KWFinder can help you make sense of blogging statistics and find ways to grow your blog. 

The multiple research options of KWFinder make it very easy to find valuable keywords. To learn about the search queries of your target audience, you just have to enter a seed keyword.  You just click on Questions or Autocomplete, and the tool shows you already filtered results.

Pricing

kwfinder Pricing Plan

The tool is a part of a package that comes with 4 other SEO tools released by Mangools. By choosing an annual plan, you can save up to 40% on a subscription.

4. Long Tail Pro

Best keyword research tool for niche sites

LongTailPro for niche sites

These days, when looking for information, products or services online, most people tend to use long-tail keywords.

Long Tail Pro is a great tool for finding long-tail keywords. The tool can also be used to do backlink analysis, determine keyword competitiveness, and track ranking. Long Tail Pro is currently running a New Year Offer campaign. 

The user interface is pretty intuitive, seamless and visually appealing. At times, it can get somewhat cluttered. For example, the dashboard for SERP analysis has lots of features. But that is not a drawback at  all. You will soon get used to it.

With this tool, the process of finding valuable long-tail keywords is fast and easy. The algorithms are designed to display only targetable long-tail keywords.

Long Tail Pro provides keyword competitiveness score along with keyword recommendations. Yes, you can rely on the competitive score. The score is visually appealing, thanks to the color coding.

Another great thing about Long Tail Pro is that it provides metrics for paid advertising. Any eCommerce website can greatly benefit from this feature.

SERP analysis is another notable feature of Long Tail Pro. Unlike some other keyword research tools, Long Tail Pro does not have tons of information on the SERP. As a result, the tool is a bit easier to navigate.

Long Tail Pro has been able to keep the useful features while maintaining an easy-to-use interface.

The Rank Tracker of Long Tail Pro is pretty useful for tracking your keywords. Multiple entries are supported by this field, so you can just select the keywords you would like to rank for, and copy and paste them.

The automatic indexing feature of Long Tail Pro can help you find the top performing keywords of your competitors.

Pricing

LongTailPro Pricing Plan

Currently, Long Tail Pro offers 3 plans to users. It also offers a 7-day free trial. You can cancel the subscription within the trial period.

5. Majestic

Best keyword research tool for small businesses and new blogs

Majestic for small businesses and new blogs

Majestic has gained some reputation as an all-in-one SEO tool. It is a backlink analyzer,  SEO report generator, keyword ranking tracker, and keyword research tool.

Majestic is primarily known as a link building tool. For lots of marketers, it is the backlink tool of choice.

Some other backlink tools use Majestic SEO metrics, and there are good reasons for that.

Majestic’s Site Explorer feature shows the summary of a website’s backlink data. To see it, you just have to type the URL of the site into the search bar of the tool.

When using Majestic to analyze websites, you have to focus on two metrics: Citation Flow and Trust Flow. While Citation Flow forecasts the authority of a page, Trust Flow forecasts its trustworthiness. You can use these two metrics to figure out a site’s  Trust Ratio.

Majestic’s Bulk Backlink Checker allows you to upload backlinks you have extracted using a different tool. This is a great way to analyze the backlinks and streamline the research.

The tool makes it very easy to compare domains. The analyses of multiple sites are shown in bar graphs. This feature offers a great way to see whether your site matches up with its competitors.

Users can also have access to other data like Flow Metrics history and backlink history.

Clique Hunter is another useful feature. When you are comparing websites, this feature shows the linked domains and the site links from those domains.

In order to become an entrepreneur, you have to gain insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Clique Hunter enables you to spy on your competitors’ backlinks

If your competitor has many links from a particular website, you can try to figure out a way to get links from that website.Majestic’s Keyword Checker helps you identify keywords that you might want to optimize for your website.

Pricing

Majestic has 3 plans and they are pretty reasonably priced.

Majestic Pricing Plan

To make sure you have a feel for the tool before you buy it, Majestic offers 3 free searches. You have to sign up to get this offer.

6. Keyword Tool

Best keyword research tool for keyword data mining

Keyword Tool for keyword data mining

Keyword Tool is another keyword research tool primary known for providing users with lots of keyword suggestions. With its sophisticated filter features, the tool makes it very easy to find the keywords you are looking for.

It presents simple but useful data for each keyword. Business and Plus users can see more data such as cost- per-click for advertisement. Keyword competitiveness is presented in a distilled single number.

For those who are new to online marketing, this is one of the easiest tools to work with. If you have already defined your target market, Keyword Tool can make the next steps easy and smooth. 

The Competition Analysis feature of Keyword Tool does not function quite the same way as other SEO tools. When you enter the domain of a competitor, Keyword Tool instantly provides you with a list of keywords that come from the content of the site, not from search results.

However, with this tool you cannot compare the keywords of two websites head to head. The bottom line is, the Competition Analysis feature of this tool may not be the best choice for digital marketers who need advanced features for this purpose.

With the Volume Analysis feature, you can get an insight into the data provided by the keyword results.

The monthly number of searches is presented in a bar chart. In most cases, however,  you will not need to see these charts. But if you want to dig a little bit deeper, you will find these charts helpful.

The tool has a simple user interface. The interface has a built-in search bar that allows you to enter your competitors domain or keywords. Your search can also be filtered by search platform, city or country.

Keyword Tool does not combine search volume analysis, competition analysis and keyword research into a single page. It is not clear why. They have done it probably to keep each interface simple. So, you have to click the tabs and manually navigate between the tools.

We highly recommend this tool for essential keyword research. If you just want to do some straightforward keyword research, you will like Keyword Tool. But if you think you need an  all-in-one SEO tool, this is probably not the best choice.

Pricing

Keyword Tool Pricing Plan

Keyword Tool can be used for free. You do not even have to create an account. With this free version, for every search term, the tool will provide up to 750 keyword suggestions.

7. Serpstat

Best full SEO suite for site owners and content planners

Serpstat for site owners and content planners

Founded by Oleg Salamaha, Serpstat is another well-known SEO software suite. In the beginning, it was just a keyword research tool but now the company claims it to be a growth hacking tool. The tool is used for technical SEO, link building, PPC and more.

If you have experience using other keyword research tools, you will be pretty comfortable with Serpstat. You can see your main competitors in the Competitor Graph. The tool allows you to see how the search engine visibility and traffic of your competitors have changed over a timeframe.

The Organic Keywords report of Serpstat is used more than any other feature. This report shows you all keywords that a particular site ranks for. However the feature is not unique. Almost all paid SEO tools come with this feature.

The data is pretty reliable. Some users claim that they have found some issues with the keyword difficulty score. However, you can assume that the score is reliable in 99% of cases.

The tool allows you to see the list of pages that have ranked for many different keywords. The order of the list is not always accurate, but overall this feature is very useful.

The PPC research feature is simply amazing. You can see the keywords you are bidding on just by entering a site. This feature also shows you the exact ad copy.

Serpstat allows you to  go deep into the ads of a site. It generates a list of ads, CPC estimates, and the keywords that the ads are showing up for. These data can make your social media campaigns more effective. 

Originally, Serpstat was known as a keyword tool. So, if you want to use the tool as a keyword research tool, rest assured that you will not be disappointed.

Serpstat provides many uncommon keyword suggestions which cannot be expected from most other keyword research tools. The list of suggestions is not insanely long, so it does not exhaust you.

The backlink analysis feature of Serpstat is very similar to those of other keyword research tools. The same can be said about its Rank Tracking feature.

It is not really very different from what a rank tracking tool usually looks like. The feature allows you to track rankings for particular cities . If you need to do lots of local SEO, you will find this feature very useful.

Pricing

Serpstat Pricing Plan

You can use Serpstat a few times for free. For this, you will have to sign up and get the trial membership. However, to use the tool regularly, you will have to subscribe.

8. MOZ Keyword Explorer

Best keyword research tool for finding deeper metrics

MOZ Keyword Explorer for finding deeper metrics

MOZ Keyword Explorer is the result of a solid attempt to make a useful keyword research tool. The tool can be used to discover keyword ideas and for other SEO purposes. With this tool, you can easily identify the keywords that you should prioritize.

However, that doesn’t mean that MOZ Keyword Explorer is a one-tool solution. You will find this tool useful, but do not expect it to solve all your SEO problems.

Here is one thing to know about MOZ Keyword Explorer. It allows you to drop in only one seed keyword at a time. So, if you want to receive lots of  keyword suggestions, you will have to keep multiple tabs open simultaneously.

In terms of presenting helpful data, MOZ Keyword Explorer rocks. The Keyword Suggestions interface provides 2 data points:  monthly volume and relevancy.

If you add terms to a list of keywords, the tool will provide you with some deeper metrics such as monthly volume, difficulty and opportunity. The opportunity score is very useful for developing monthly volume calendars.

MOZ claims that it has a deeper methodology and its  data is accurate.

You can easily add an existing keyword list to the MOZ keyword list. However, the procedure is not smooth and seamless. This feature can improve a little bit.

The Opportunity and Difficulty metrics are great. However, the keyword list does not let you go do deep analysis of a keyword separately. In other words, this is not the best tool for having a quick glance into the data.

With that said, MOZ Keyword Explorer is used for pretty complex tasks. Some online marketers use the tool to analyze social media marketing statistics

The same data points are visualized in different ways. The visualization often depends on keyword suggestions, keyword overview or keyword lists.

Overall, MOZ Keyword Explorer good is a pretty good keyword research tool. If you start using it, you will soon get used to it, and you may not want to replace it with another tool.

With that said, there are some aspects of the tool that probably require some improvement.

Pricing

MOZ Pricing Plan

The first 10 searches are free. If you want to keep using the tool, you will have to get any of the four plans.

9. SpyFu

Best keyword research tool for small businesses focusing on core metrics

SpyFu for small businesses focusing on core metrics

SpyFu is a tool that allows you to spy on your competitors’ websites. The tool is also popular for its backlink analysis and keyword analysis features. If you have a small business and you just want to focus on the core metrics, you will find SpyFu very useful.

The motive behind building this tool was to understand various aspects of competitor sites. So, you can say that SpyFu is built primarily for competition analysis.

The company claims that SpyFu is a tool for keyword and domain analysis, and it does not overwhelm its users with lots of data. That means, small businesses that need only the core metrics will find this tool very useful.

However bigger brands can also benefit from this tool, because it can help them understand their competitor activities.

The Domain Overview interface of this tool allows you to identify the trends. To get a peek into dozens of useful metrics, you just have to enter the domain name.

In terms of the variety of data, SpyFu is better than most other keyword research tools. However, to be able to use this data, you have to be a little bit creative.

With this tool you can gain some insight into the external performance metrics. But to understand the full significance of the metrics, you may need to use another technical SEO crawler.

When it comes to keyword analysis, SpyFu can compete with its rivals. Thanks to some proprietary features, SpyFu stands out in some respects.

A great thing about SpyFu is that it includes historical data for subscription plans. This data can provide you with some longer term perspectives. There are some filters that can allow you to view keywords that have gained or lost their ranking positions recently. This data can help you take quick actions.

SpyFu has another great feature. Based on the number of keywords a website ranks for, the tool can calculate the number of clicks. That means, this tool can give you a peek into the number of traffic your competitor receives every month.

It can really help you look at your competitors website from a different point of view. This data can help you with market research. Using this data, you can make important decisions such as how much to spend on your  SEO budget.

SpyFu allows you to put 3 domains next to one another and pinpoint the aspects that make them different. This feature can help you find ways to improve your website.

SpyFu is also a great backlink analysis tool.

With this tool, the process of backlink analysis is almost intuitive. By analyzing the backlinks with your competitors, you can figure out how your site is lagging behind.

The tool has another great feature that extracts that contact details from your targeted websites. If you need to collect the contact details, you do not have to do it manually.

Probably the best thing about SpyFu is that the tool is very easy to use. You can understand its interface even if you have never used another SEO tool. You can start using SpyFu just by entering a domain name.

As a straightforward tactical tool, SpyFu is great. However, if you have used other well-known SEO tools, you might notice that the design of SpyFu could improve. Yes, the design requires some Polish.

SpyFu offers customer support from 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM. You can get in touch with them via email or live chat. Except in rare cases, the reply within 24 hours.

Although the tool was initially known as a competitor analysis tool, it has now evolved as a complete SEO tool.

Pricing

SpyFu offers 3 plans.

SpyFu Pricing Plan

 The tool does not have a free version. No free trial is available.

10. Google keyword planner

Best keyword research tool for creating ads

Google keyword planner for creating ads

This powerful keyword research tool helps users find keywords for creating ads and other purposes. To get estimates, users just have to enter a keyword. The tool can also process multiple keyword lists.

Google keyword planner is the successor of Google External Keyword Tool. This tool is also widely used for on-page-optimization.

The tool comes with three basic functions: searching for keywords determining search volume and multiplying keyword lists.

You can use the tool to find keyword ideas. The tool allows you to enter either a sub category of products or multiple keywords. Alternatively, you can use a URL as a basis.

The filters are based on different criteria. Google Keyword Planner has an additional filter that can be used to segment the keywords that have been identified.

Users like this tool also because it lets them determine keyword search volume, which in turn helps them understand trends. This tool lets you determine the search volume for individual keywords or keyword groups.

It also gives you a peek into your competitors. You can see the level of competition for specific terms.

With this tool, you can obtain the average CPC’s. In this area you can enter up to 1000 keywords. If you have a large list containing up to 10,000 words, you can use the CSV upload.

Google Keyword Planner also lets you create new ad groups based on your keyword ideas. You can also supplement the existing ad groups with keywords.

This feature allows you to analyze your competitors’ main keywords. For finding topic- based search terms, this feature is very useful.

From the search volume metrics, you can know the number of users who have searched for the terms in a month. You can also select individual search queries and get information on competition.

In the previous version of Google keyword planner, which was then known as External Keyword Tool, there was no feature for multiplying keyword lists. Google Keyword Planner comes with this feature and allows you to find long tail keywords by combining multiple terms.

Although Google Keyword Planner is a free tool, it is used for many serious purposes. If you are getting started with an affiliate program, you can rely on this tool for keyword research. 

Some users of Google Keyword Planner have criticized that some aspects of this tool are not as good as those of its predecessor.

You can no longer use the tool without logging in, and you can no longer divide search results into Exact Match, Broad Match and Word Group. Some users say that these filter groups were quite useful.

Whether you are building ad campaigns from an existing list or from a scratch, you will find Google Keyword Planner useful.

Pricing

Google Keyword planner is free. You can gain full access to the tool without spending a penny!

11. Ubersuggest

Best free keyword tool

Ubersuggest is the best free keyword tool

Ubersuggest is a cheap but fully fleshed SEO tool Popular among digital marketers. The tool has a beautiful and easy-to-use interface.

It comes with a relatively clean dashboard not clattered by unnecessary details. If you are just getting started, Ubersuggest can be a really good choice for you.

Yes, it has a learning curve, but it is not steep at all. Even if you have no prior experience with another keyword research tool, you will use this tool easily.

Ubersuggest makes the process of finding keywords very easy. Like other traditional keyword research tools, it requires you to plant a seed keyword to get suggestions.

To find content ideas, experienced bloggers and owners of big sites need larger data sets. Ubersuggest may not be the best option for users who need highly advanced SEO features.

But for any medium-scale website or single entrepreneur, this  keyword tool can be a really good choice.

In terms of finding questions, Ubersuggest is even better than KWFinder. If you are an experienced SEO professional, you know how important this feature can be.

For online reviewers, the comparisons tab is very useful. It helps them figure out what round up particles they should create.

To harvest data, Ubersuggest takes the Keyword Planner API from Google. Then Ubersuggest uses its own modifiers and algorithms.

They comply with the standard market practice and their numbers are pretty reliable. However, before you start your content marketing strategy, make sure you manually review the SERP.

When it comes to identifying valuable keywords, addressing your competition is important. Even some wildly successful bloggers take this aspect of SEO seriously. Ubersuggest is pretty helpful for competition analysis.  

The same can be said about the Keyword Difficulty metric. Neil Patel is the developer of this metric. You can say whether it will be easy or hard to rank for a specific keyword just by looking at the score.

In most cases, the difficulty score of the tool is pretty accurate. You can rely on it.

Analyzing your competition is pretty easy with this tool. What you have to do is to type a domain. The tool shows you the top performing pages and gives you SEO insights.

If you compare Ubersuggest with other SEO tools, you will find that Ubersuggest is really cheap. In a sense, the tool is actually free because the free version lets you use most useful features.

If you want to use advanced SEO functionalities without spending a lot, Ubersuggest can be a good choice for you.

Pricing

Ubersuggest is a free tool, but it has a paid version with 3 plans. 

Ubersuggest Pricing Plan

The tool is significantly cheaper than the subscription price of other major keyword research tools.

Why Do I Need a Keyword Research Tools For Content Marketing?

Keyword research tools give you insights into your target audience. These tools help you get inside the heads of the people for whom you are going to create content. Here are 3 specific reasons for using keyword research tools.

1. Keyword research tools save you tons of time finding profitable keywords in your niche

Whether you are a content marketer, writer or editor, you might not have enough time to utilize all your ideas and create content. Time is always a scarce resource. Other times, you may not have enough content ideas.

Keyword research tools can save your valuable time by providing you with profitable keywords in your niece. These tools are gold mines for content ideas.

Keyword research tools are useful not only for writing blog posts. There are plenty other ways to make money online, and many of them require keyword research. 

These tools help you find topic ideas. Thus you can write on topics your target audience is already interested in. Instead of beating about the bush, you can directly come to the point. 

For example, if you type “cat meme” into the search bar of Semrush, the tool will display phrase match report as well as related keywords report. They will help you come up with new keywords and new topic ideas for your next blog post.  

semrush  providing you with profitable keywords in your niece
Source: Semrush

With the right keywords, you have a far better understanding of your target audience. Keywords are not just for being used in your content; they are also for idea development.

Without a keyword research tool, you may end up wasting a lot of time trying to find profitable keywords.

2. Keyword research tools find long-tail keywords you would have missed

Long-tail keywords are very specific 3 or 4-keyword phrases. They are highly profitable; because customers using long-tail keywords are looking for products or services they actually want to buy

Most often, these specific searches lead to sales, and therefore they are much more valuable than generic searches. 

semrush find long tail keywords you would have missed
Source: Semrush

Guessing valuable long-tail keywords can be hard. Keyword research tools can help you find long-tail keywords more easily. For finding such keywords, some tools are more useful than others.

More and more people are using long-tail keywords these days. About 70% of queries are now long tail, and they convert about 3 times more frequently. For all these reasons, SEO strategists are now paying attention to long tail keywords.

3. Keyword research tools provide you with all the relevant user search metrics

User search metrics can help you have a deeper understanding of your target audience. Different metrics can be used for different purposes. And keyword research tools provide you with relevant metrics.

Search volume, average CPC and Google trends statistics are some very useful metrics. You can use these metrics for many purposes, even for starting an online store

Average CPC (cost-per-click) can help you make important decisions about your paid advertising campaigns. This metric can help you with your organic keyword research.

By looking at this metric, you can know how much your competitors can pay for their visibility in ads for the particular search. That means, average CPC lets you know the real value of a particular keyword.

Semrush provide you with all the relevant user search metrics
Source: Semrush

For example, if the average CPC of a keyword is $0.50, you may not want to invest your time in that keyword.

If the average CPC of a keyword is $7, it means that people are paying a good amount of money to show up in ads for the search. Depending on your brand, the keyword may or may not be too competitive for you.

With keyword research tools, you can also learn about Google trends. That means, the tool will let you know whether a particular topic or keyword is trending. This data can be used to know how trendy particular search terms are.

There are many other useful metrics, and all tools do not show the same metrics. To calculate metrics, different keyword research tools use their own algorithms. That is why one tool may not display the exact same figure as the other.

How to Research Keywords For My SEO Strategy

Keyword research involves gathering keywords that your target audience might be using to find your business.

To find keywords, you do not use a tool from the very beginning. It all starts in your head and then you use tools to augment the process.

Here are some step-by-step instructions for keyword research for your SEO strategy.

Step 1: Make a list of important, relevant topics you want your business to be associated with

If you already have a clear idea about different aspects of your business, you are welcome. Consider using a business model canvas to visualize the building blocks of your business.  

Think about different aspects of the business you want to focus on, and try to come up with relevant topics. At this stage, you do not have to be very specific. Just try to find topics you think should be associated with your business.

You may find this process easier by putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Think about your buyer personas. Look at your business from your customers’ perspective. What topics would they search to find your business?

Here is an example. If you are specializing in products for men’s personal care, you might think about topics such as

  • Shaving cream
  • After shave lotion
  • Male pattern baldness
  • Deodorant
  • Gym equipment

Come up with as many topics as you can. Based on these topics, you can find specific keywords later.

Finding relevant topics is easier if you have sufficient knowledge about your niece. You can do some research online and learn about different aspects of men’s personal care.

Before you start using a keyword research tool, visit as many relevant websites as you can. It will expand your knowledge about the niece and give you fresh perspectives. This approach will also help you learn about the trends in this field.

Step 2: Fill those topic buckets with keyword ideas

Once you have several topic buckets, you have to identify keywords that belong to those buckets. These keywords are the ones you think your target customers might be using to look for businesses like yours.

Take, for example, the last keyword bucket. With the term gym equipment, you can brainstorm keyword phrases related to the topic. These are words or phrases people would use when they need to learn more about gym equipment. They might include 

  • Best gym equipment for stretching
  • Fitness equipment brands
  • What are the best fitness accessories
  • Training accessories
  • Training equipment
  • Best equipment for six pack

A keyword research tool like Semrush can make this process a lot easier. To figure out what terms people are using to find your website, you can take a look at the Explorer tab. Here are some content ideas based on the term “snowboard bindings”.

Semrush fill those topic buckets with keyword ideas
Source: Semrush

This way you can come up with words and phrases that are related to the main keyword. However, this is not the final list of keywords.

These are just terms your target audience might use. So, the list may be pretty long. You will have to narrow down the list later.

Here is another thing to consider. People are already using certain terms to find your existing content. By finding more keyword ideas, you can figure out the terms people are already using to look for your business.

People in sales can also help you come up with these terms. These people talk to customers and therefore know what customers are actually looking for. 

Talking to experienced salespeople can help you in other ways too. These people can provide insights into what is actually happening on the ground. These insights can help you develop your business strategy and work ethic.

If you have thought about the process of keyword research, you already know what related terms mean.

When you type a specific keyword into Google to look for something, the search results include not only related websites but also related search terms at the bottom of the page. By looking at these keywords you can come up with more ideas that might be worth considering.

And you can get a bit more creative with these related terms. By typing each of these terms into the search bar, you can get many more related terms.

Related searches give you an insight into the search intent of your target audience. By understanding this search intent, you can create content that is relevant and valuable.

SEMrush has an amazing feature that makes it very easy to find related keywords. Within the Keyword Magic feature there is a filter that detects valuable related terms.

And when you have found many keywords related to a seed keyword, you can think about the subject from different perspectives.

This is an ability that can be helpful for your other projects. For example, to create a webinar, you must understand how your marketing strategies are perceived by your audience. 

If you enter the term “basketball shoes”, the tool shows you the number of searches per month, and a score that helps you understand whether the keyword would be profitable. The tool also displays many other terms related to the original term.

Semrush research related search terms
 Source: Semrush

By entering these search terms into your keyword research tool, you can understand their competitiveness.

In recent years, Google has become highly sophisticated. To provide search results, instead of relying solely on keywords, Google also analyses the intent behind a search. 

Therefore, in order to boost SEO efforts, understanding search intent is a must. By understanding it, you can create content that your customers are already interested in. and Google will rank the content highly.

SEO optimization is easier when you have a convenient way to generate on-site content ideas. By being a bit strategic, you can use related keywords to generate fresh ideas and increase your SEO ranking.

Step 4: Include head terms, body keywords, and long-tail keywords

Head terms are phrases with a high volume of searches. They are broad in nature. The term “fitness accessories” can be a head term, with subcategories such as push up frame, rowing machine, and stationary bicycle.

Head terms have the highest competition. It is very hard to convert these generalized keywords, partly because it is almost impossible to predict the intention of the people using these broad terms.

head terms have highest search competition

Body keywords are 2 or 3-word phrases with a good amount of search volume, but lower than head terms. They are pretty specific. These terms are very competitive and define broad niches. Direct mail advertising is an  example of a body keyword.

Long-tail keywords are highly specific phrases of 4 words or more. They are less frequently searched-for, which means these keywords have a low search volume.

It is a good idea to focus on long-tail keywords, because they are not highly competitive. People using these hyper-specific terms are already willing to buy the products or services.

While head terms have the lowest conversion rates, long-tail keywords have the highest. So, instead of focusing too much on head terms, it is wise to focus on body keywords and long-tail keywords.

Step 5: Research what your competitors are ranking for

All site owners should do competitive analysis, because it provides you with a roadmap for improving your site. One of the best ways to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your website is to compare it with your competitor’s website.

The comparison can give you valuable information that can be used to boost your SEO efforts. By identifying the weaknesses of your competitors, you can figure out what you can do to have an edge over them.

You should do competitive analysis even if your website is doing very well and ranking at the top. Remember, your competitors are always trying to identify your weaknesses and capitalize on those weaknesses.

If you do a little bit of research, you will almost always notice that your competitors are doing something better than you. Maybe their blog is doing better or their articles are getting lots of shares.

You can examine their content and think about ways to improve yours. This is in fact one of the essential qualities of a leader. In order to become a leader in your field, you have to understand both strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. 

However, identifying your real competitor can be a bit tricky. Your biggest competitor may not be the one doing very well with the “money keywords”.

Again, if you notice that for certain keywords, only Wikipedia or Pinterest are raking above your site, you know that they are not your actual competitors.

It is important to pay attention to the keywords your website is already ranking for.

Look at the screenshot below. If you are Home Depot, you will notice some keywords where you are close to the top spot for “air compressor” and “swing sets” phrases. Both of these terms have large search volumes.

Semrush Research what your competitors are ranking for
Source: Semrush

Again, looking at the main competitor is not enough. Here, Home Depot dominates on some terms that are common to all competitors.

When doing competitive analysis, make sure you ask yourself the following questions.

  • What are they doing differently to rank high?
  • What supplementary content do they have for these keywords?
  • Do they have many backlinks to the pages responsible for their high ranking?

The key here is to identify the keyword gaps and then close the gaps. In most cases, you can fix the issue by creating some new content or adjusting your current content.

Understand Keyword Metrics to Grow Your SEO Traffic Faster

Whether you are trying to make money blogging or improve your online marketing strategies, you have to take keyword metrics seriously. Keyword metrics should determine your important decisions about online marketing. 

For an SEO strategist, measuring the success is one of the hardest and most important jobs. Search engines do not update SERPs overnight. That is why relying solely on your search engine ranking is not a very effective way to track your progress.

Analyzing keyword metrics is a more cohesive methodology. Here are some important keyword metrics that can help you understand your progress and grow your traffic faster.

Search Volume

With this metric, you can know the average number of times a particular term is searched per month. Search volume represents the number of searches; it does not tell you how many people have searched the term.

SEMrush is often referred to as one of the best tools to measure search volume. To see this number, you just have to enter the term in the search bar and click Keyword Overview.

Semrush keyword overview on twitter
Source: Semrush

SEMrush allows you to view a keyword’s global volume as well as regional volume.

This metric is updated once in a month. The calculation is performed with recent search data. If needed, you can also have access to historical data.

With the Keyword Difficulty and Competition Level metrics, SEMrush lets you know the competitiveness of keywords. SEMrush uses its highly sophisticated machine learning algorithms to calculate search volumes.

Clicks

People type keywords into search engines to look for information, products or services. But people do not always click on search results.

The Clicks metric lets you know the average number of clicks a specific keyword receives in a month.

Ahrefs Overview How much caffeine in coffee
Source: Ahrefs

The number of clicks for a keyword can be far below the search volume.

There is a reason why this happens. Google now answers many questions in brief, in the search results. To find information, people do not always have to click links and visit websites.

This metric can be used to weed out keyword ideas that have very poor search traffic potential. We should note here that paid ads sometimes get lots of clicks.

Traffic Potential

This metric gives you an estimated number of your potential users. With the help of this metric, you can find effective ways to improve your website’s position for certain keywords.

Semrush Traffic Potential
Source: Semrush

It is helpful to find keywords that are related to your business, but that’s not enough. You have to figure out actually which keywords bring traffic.

SEMrush calculates the estimated traffic of a domain by multiplying its click-through-rate by its keyword volume and then dividing the number by 30 (because there are 30 days in a month).

The traffic potential metric, referred to as Estimated Traffic in SEMrush, is not available until the tool collects the volume and CPC data. Therefore, you may not see this metric just after launching your new campaign.And you can get the best out of this metric if you use other SEO tools to improve your rankings. 

If you have added new keywords to your existing campaign, they will not have any impact on this metric. The impact will be noticeable once the tool has collected data for the Volume and Rankings metrics.

This metric tells us that keywords should not be judged solely based on their search volume.

Keyword Difficulty

The keyword difficulty score predicts how difficult it would be to rank for a specific keyword. This is one of the most important metrics, and almost all keyword research tools provide this metric.

SEMrush is known as one of the best tools for measuring keyword difficulty. Like some other tools, it displays the score in a percentage of 0 to 100.

Semrush keyword overview on running shoes
Source: Semrush

Difficulty scores can be grouped into 3 levels: high difficulty, medium difficulty and low difficulty.

High difficulty refers to a score of 80% or more. If the difficulty score is over 80%, you will probably have to invest heavily in SEO practices. If your site is a brand new one, you may not want to target these keywords, simply because they are not worth your time.

If the score is from 60% to 80%, it is considered medium difficulty. With this level of keyword difficulty, it will not be easy to rank high. However, if your site already has some level of authority, you can consider targeting keywords with medium difficulty.

If the difficulty score is below 60%, it is considered low difficulty. Keywords in this range are very easy to rank for, but they are very hard to find. Low difficulty keywords with steady search volume give you great opportunities for ranking high.

But that does not mean that you should focus only on low difficulty keywords. Your blog can bring your real prosperity only if you can master the art of using both low difficulty and high difficulty keywords. There are at least two reasons why you should care about high difficulty keywords.

First, to rank high, you are going to need many backlinks. Therefore, you should not be late in creating your page and promoting it. You will find it harder to outrank your competitors if you delay.

The second reason is that keywords with high difficulty scores provide link opportunities. Top-ranking pages have link-worthy topics, and that is why they have backlinks. In other words, you can attract backlinks only if you nail your topic.

Here is one last thing to consider. Before you go after a specific keyword, you should assess it manually. Relying blindly on a keyword difficulty score, no matter how accurate it is, can be counterproductive.

Cost per Click

Cost per click is the price that you pay for the clicks on your pay-per-click ads. The amount you pay impacts several aspects of your campaign’s performance.

Advertisers can greatly benefit from this metric. It lets advertisers know the number of clicks they receive for a budget.

semrush cost per click
Source: Semrush

As an advertiser, you can benefit from learning about the visibility of your ad. You can know how frequently your ad is shown and decide whether to keep running the ad.

Your campaign is successful only when you can drive the highest ROI while making the best use of the opportunities for sales. Bids should not be set too high or too low.

If your bids are set too high, it will impact your profitability. And if they are set too low, your ads will not be shown frequently.

SEMrush allows you to set a maximum CPC, but this is not the final price that you pay. You are charged the minimum amount, because you pay only if people click on your ads.

Let’s try to understand Maximum CPC, Average CPC and Actual CPC.

Maximum CPC is the amount you agree to pay per click. You set this amount in your ads account.

Average CPC is an amount that refers to the total cost of the clicks ÷ the number of clicks.

Actual CPC is the price you actually have to pay per click.

As a metric, CPC is far less stable than search volume. CPC is volatile and can change any time.

Keyword Research Tools FAQ

How do I use a keyword research tool?

Most keyword research tools are pretty easy to use. The features are, in most cases, intuitive.

So, even if you have never used any keyword research tool, you can get started pretty easily. These tools usually come with instructions for use, and they are easy to follow.

However, before you start using a tool, you should have a clear idea of why you are going to use it in the first place. It is because although all keyword research tools do more or less the same things, all tools do not have the same features.

You can make the best use of a keyword research tool only when you have a good understanding of keyword research itself.

If you are a beginner, we recommend starting the process of keyword research without any tool, and then use a tool when you feel you need to. You will do a great job if you clearly understand the relevance of the features you are using.

How do I find the best keywords?

In order to find the best keywords for your website, you have to understand the competitive strength of your website.

Competitive power refers to the ability of your site to compete in SERPs.
If you use keywords with a low competition score, chances are that your site will rank high.

Here is an effective way to find the best keywords for your website. Visit websites that publish content similar to yours.

Then use a keyword research tool like SEMrush to search by sites.
You will come up with a list of keyword ideas that are based on the terms people are using to look for the content. These keywords will also help you understand people’s search patterns.

Now you have a long list of keywords that are related to your niece. All these keywords will not make sense to you. To find the most useful ones, narrow it down.
Use a competition filter to refine the results and keep the ones that can actually help your site rank high.

How do I find related keywords?

There are multiple ways to find related keywords, but the easiest way is to use Google search. Search for a keyword and Google will show not only search results but also related searches at the bottom of the page.

These related searches help users get the information they want.
It is important to note here that these searches may be related to your previous searches or your specific location. So, you will not find all these suggestions useful.

You can also use a keyword research tool for this purpose. Ubersuggest is a great tool for finding related keywords. Just enter a primary keyword or seed keyword and the tool will provide you with an extensive list of related terms.

What is the best keyword research tool for beginners?

Keyword research tools are not hard to use. With a little bit of patience, you can use any keyword research tool even if you have never used one.

With that said, some tools are more user-friendly than others. For example, SEMrush can be used for competitor analysis, keyword research, site audit, keyword ranking and many other purposes, but beginners find the tool surprisingly easy to use.

They like it because with this tool they can easily know whether their marketing approaches are effective. By providing valuable information, SEMrush helps novice bloggers improve their search rankings.

What is the best keyword research tool for maximum SEO impact?

It depends on the aspect of search engine optimization you would like to work on. It is because all keyword research tools do not come with the same features, and different features are used for different aspects of SEO strategies.

However, the short answer to the question is: SEMrush. This SEO tool is known as a complete suite that helps you improve many different aspects of search engine optimization.

The tool has every feature that you need to have the maximum impact on SEO. SEMrush provides many useful SEO metrics that can actually help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your website.

Should I use a free or paid keyword research tool?

While there are some pretty good keyword research tools that are free to use, you can't always rely on them. Every professional keyword strategist has to use a paid keyword research tool, sooner or later.

Free tools can be frustratingly limiting.

For example, Google Keyword Planner is a good tool. But with this tool, to find keyword ideas, you will have to go through repeat searches.

To do some in-depth research, you can't always rely on free tools. Many people use keyword phrases in weird ways. You may not be able to find those terms with a free keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner.

Quick Keyword Research Tools Comparison

Whether you choose a basic keyword research tool or a competitor base thttps://www.founderjar.com/semrushhttps://www.founderjar.com/semrushool, you have to make sure that it meets your needs. It is always good to try multiple tools and see which one works best for you.

The tools we have highlighted in this post are the best in the SEO marketplace, and we think you will not repent if you choose any one of them

SEMrush is by far the best choice for digital marketing agencies that regularly have to do search engine optimization. 

For a beginner blogger, KWFinder is the best pick. 

And for niche sites, no other tool is as convenient as Long Tail Pro

Your choice should be determined by who you are and what you are going to do with the tool. We would be glad to know what you think about keyword research for SEO.

Written by
Martin Luenendonk
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