With more tools than ever before – what are your options when it comes to keyword research without breaking the bank?
Everybody and their grandmother in SEO knows that it all starts with picking the right keywords. Whether you’re going for those ultra-targeted long-tails, or something a little more broad, before you can find the opportunity you will need to arm yourself with the tools.
In this article, we’re going to review the top 10 FREE keyword research tools, especially focusing on the following areas:
- Minimizing repetition. Good keyword research means implementing a VARIETY of techniques – so our list of tools will cover multiple angles and strategies.
- Freedom of use. Look, nobody likes limits. So we are picking tools based on USABILITY both in functions and lack of silly restrictions 🙂
- Practical. You want results, so you need tools that get them. Let’s dive into it.
1: The Classic – Google Ads Keyword Planner
No list can start or end without this tool. It’s the classic, the tried and tested, the proven time and time again. It’s not your end all tool, but it’s a MUST – and in fact many tools actually draw from this to get their data.
The advantages/how to use:
- Free to use
- Has very accurate data
- Builds into your adwords accounts
- Not easy for brainstorming
- Hard to pick up (not very intuitive)
- Can be hard to find juicy/profitable keywords if starting out
2 – The Obvious: Google Search Console
OK, I promise, no more Google tools after this. BUT, many people forget to look into their search console to find potential opportunities. The people who are finding your site can be a GREAT source of new keywords or opportunities.
Advantages/how to use:
- Use the console to find which pages & keywords perform best
- See if there are any trends or patterns that pop up
- Note down interesting directions for further research
- If you’re not getting traffic – you’re not gonna get insight 🙂
- Without statistical significance the data can be irrelevant
3 – The In Browser Extension: WMS Everywhere
This one is super neat. It’s an in browser keyword tool extension that shows information such as search volumes and cost per click as you search. Just download, install the extension, and now every Google search you will get information on your keyword.
Advantages/How to use:
- Install the extension – sign up for an account, search anything in Google and voila.
- Monthly search volume & CPC for any keyword. In front of your eyes.
- Plus – related keywords & also searched for, easy to brainstorm new ideas.
- Needs to be used with another tool – it’s not perfect for creative keyword brainstorming
4: Real Time Brainstorm: Soovle.com
This one’s really neat. Why? You can brainstorm multiple search engines. That’s right, just start typing and Soovle automatically fills in Google, Youtube, Yahoo, Bing, Wikipedia, Amazon and Answers. This means you get tons of brainstorm-able content ideas… FAST. Try it. Now.
Advantages/How to Use it
- You can easily compare what the top keywords are in different locations
- Easy to understand user intent + questions across top platforms
- Super addictive to pay with
- Sometimes overwhelming with the quantity of information
- Not always helpful or valuable – largely up to your inputs
5: Visualize It: AnswerThePublic.com
I’ll be honest – I’m a visual kind of person. I love to SEE data brought to life. This tool really hits that itch and is extremely helpful. So how exactly does it work? Basically you type in your seed query and BOOM, you get a nice map of related terms – which are all clickable.
However you also get information on related keywords, lists of alphabetically sorted ones, plus tons more all by clicking through the ‘data’ tabs at the top. Free .csv export? Yup. Included.
Here’s what some of the cool visualizations look like 😎
Advantages/How to use it
- Amazing tool for brainstorming – especially – for visual people
- Click through all the data tabs, try “exploring” your keywords
- Great for tying intent / motivation to keywords
- Makes it hard to prioritize which keywords to go for
- Can be ‘candy syndrome’ constantly seeing shiny objects
5 QuestionDB: Ask and Ye Shall Receive.
Improv. That’s what QuestionDB is good for. Sometimes you get really helpful topics that are interesting and exciting, sometimes it’s borderline garbage. It’s being sourced from Reddit, so at the very least you can rest easy knowing it’s content/questions from actual users.
Advantages/How to use
- Be open minded, this tool is about seeing new possibilities
- Try using 1-2 word combinations as they will pull up the most
- Can become an echo chamber
- Can be totally irrelevant
- Careful about which directions you are influenced by (wild goose chase)
6: AlsoAsked.com – Topically Grouped For You
Feeling a bit OCD with all the tools so far? I feel you. Keyword research is hard because there’s so many variables and different terms PLUS motivations or reasons for searching. That’s where AlsoAsked.com helps out.
You get to see your keywords topically grouped – so in groups according to their meaning. This helps to trace it down to the source, or root idea/cause, very helpful for making sense.
How to use/Advantages
- Try searching for a few of your main keywords – note how they are broken down
- Understand the levels of user intent with the different categories
- With no direct search stats or #’s it’s easy to get lost in abstract concepts
- You get a few limited searches per day
7 Side by Side SEO Comparison
The easiest way to find the best keywords? Your competitors. They may be too competitive, or hard to rank for – but you won’t know – until you know what their keywords are. Here you can enter your URL + 4 others, and see the difference in headers/keywords chosen.
Advantages/How to use
- Type in yourself. Type in your competitors. You’re doing great. Now search.
- Take note of everything you see. Use it to your advantage. Research WHY they are using these keywords. Understand HOW they are ranking for them.
- It’s only a piece of the puzzle. More remains to be seen.
- You will need to use other tools, but don’t fret. Just go down the list.
8: SEMRUSH (free, but kind of)
Those folks at SEMRush have an awesome tool. You can get up to 10 requests per day on it, which is amazing – because their tool is legendary. You can’t abuse it, but you won’t need to – just use the force wisely.
Advantages/How to use:
- Really user friendly – just remember you are limited to 10 free searches
- Type in your keywords and BOOM. Broad match. Phrase. Questions. Everything in one place, really helpful and can provide different answers than other sources.
- Honestly only the limitation
- This tool is solid and highly reputable
9: Juicy Longtails? KWfinder.com
Friendly interface? Check. Actually double check. This tool is known for being super easy to use and fun to use. Honestly it works in ways similar to a few others on this list – however – the fact of the matter is that it’s a great addition to your arsenal.
Advantages/How it works:
- You will need to sign up for an account – with a 10 day trial, keep this in mind
- Type in your keyword and get searching. There are no limits here, so you will be able to explore to your heart’s content.
- Signing up for an account – there’s no free way to search otherwise
- The trial is only 10 days, make sure you stay on top of this
10: Long tail Pro
Final is the 7 day trial from long tail pro. This tool is known for showing you long-tail keywords with ranking potential. Plus you get recommendations everyday about new keywords. Definitely something worth checking out especially for the more intermediate marketer.
Advantages/How to use:
- Crank the trial, and set up your profile – make sure you include preferences
- Always look at your daily report, and see what kind of gaps/opportunities you have
- This tool isn’t as powerful as AHREFS or SEMRUSH so it can be pricey for the feature-set
- Watch out for the 7 day trial and cancel it in time
Did we miss any tools?
The truth is there’s dozens of different FREE keyword research tools. These are just OUR favorite 10. Did we miss any? Is there something you think needs to to be added to the list?
Because we know that when it comes to content marketing, SEO and the digital sphere in general – things evolve faster than ANY of us can keep up with.
New tools come, old tools go. Strategies are developed in private and brought public months or years later. The rules are still being written. So nothing here is final.
If you have something better, or a piece of content to help the community with. Take a moment to leave a comment.
Don’t hesitate – tell us what you think. We want to hear.