Nowadays, every business invests in SEO and Inbound Marketing. That’s because if you manage to get it right, you can create an evergreen piece of content that will keep generating new customers. Yet, to invest in SEO you need proper tools that will help you with the research, so you don’t waste your time on chasing unreachable goals.
To help you harness your SEO efforts and help you with SEO-optimized content creation I compiled a list of Top 10 best keyword research tools.
I’ve tried and tested all of the above software throughout days spent as a Marketing Specialist. SEO and keyword research are part of my daily routine, thus I did my best to optimize this process.
First, I’m going to walk you through why you need a proper keyword research tool, then I’ll outline each of the 10 best keyword research tools, and end up with some tips on how to choose the best tool out of them all.
Why it’s important to use a keyword research tool
Because of how popular inbound marketing is and that SEO is a well-known topic amongst the marketers, we’ve seen tens if not hundreds SEO-related tools emerge.
Yet, as the saying goes “less is more” and the same stays true when it comes to the software selection. Instead of using, let’s say, 5 different tools that are quite similar, it would be much better to choose one software and master the ins and outs of that option.
Also, going for various tools can quickly become quite pricey. And after 7, 14, or 30 days when free trials run out, you’ll see $30, $70, and $150 invoices incoming.
There’s no need to overspend, especially when it comes to an online business where, especially at the early stage, you should be extremely cautious about every dollar coming out of your business bank account.
Plus, it would be much wiser to invest this hard-earned cash into software that covers a different need instead of going for 5 similar SEO tools that differ in one feature.
Here’s another important point to keep in mind. Tools that are similarly priced don’t differ too much.
Oftentimes, they have one feature that really differentiates one from another (besides design, layout, etc.) and that should be your choosing point when deciding which one to go for.
Lastly, it’s crucial that you choose the best keyword research tool as in this industry there’s no room for guessing or mistakes.
Of course, it might happen that you put out a piece of content without optimizing it for anything and it will suddenly take off. Yet, if you’re not a well-established online brand (think, Forbes) chances it will happen are close to none.
That’s why it’s important you go for the best tool that will help you optimize each article, landing page, and article that you create so it doesn’t go missing after a few days.
Nowadays, there’s no way you put out a piece of content and just leave it as it is. SEO is a very dynamic field and you have to be aware that, most likely, you’ll need to re-adjust your content in regards to the newest trends, online changes, and your competitors’ actions.
All in all, it’s much better to invest some time into research and choose the best keyword research tool out there.
Top 10 Keyword Research Tools I Use in 2019
Now, when you know why it is important to choose the best of the best, let’s jump straight to the list.
I’ve chosen the top 10 keyword research tools as each of them has greatly served me in my everyday responsibilities as a Marketing Specialist. Also, most of these tools are different and there are options for those who can invest a bit more and for those who, for now, would like to make use of free software or at least less pricey tools.
Some tools serve a single need, while others act more like a one-for-all solution. Ahrefs definitely lands in that second category as it offers plenty of features but also goes for a higher price. Namely, when paid annually you’ll pay at least $82 for the simplest plan, while the most optimal Standard pricing plan will cost you $149.
Yet, the price is not a problem when it is justifiable.
With Ahrefs you get plenty of features and keyword research will be the easiest task you could imagine with this tool.
When it comes to keyword research, Ahrefs offers a couple of features:
- Keywords Explorer
- Content Explorer
- Top pages
- Organic keywords
Each of the above features let you search for keywords and what’s most important, Ahrefs provides all sorts of information when it comes to keywords you are searching for.
This is how search in Keywords Explorer looks like for a keyword sales prospecting:
You get all the information you could imagine:
- Long-tail keywords
- Same-terms keywords
- SERP results
- TOP 10 (or even more) articles on that keyword
- Number of click vs non-clicks
All in all, using Ahrefs as a keyword research tool will help you assess whether going for a certain keyword is worth it and how difficult it will be for you to rank for that keyword.
Google Trends Review
Every marketer dreams of creating viral content. Yet, if the whole fact of having such a dream was enough, we would be floating in viral content!
But luckily there’s a free solution that can help us find keywords that are indeed viral and can help us get around the web in a flash.
Google Trends is a free platform that lets you assess the search trend regarding a certain keyword, compare it to how other keywords behave, as well as, check the current and recent search trends.
There are two ways I’d suggest you utilize Google Trends as a keywords research tool.
First, being the method shown on a picture below.
You choose two or more keywords that you’re considering for your new piece and see how their search trends change. Then, capitalize on the one that’s more popular and has a better search trend prediction.
The second method would be to turn to the Realtime Search Trends tab and look for the currently trending keywords that relate to your niche. Then, create a piece on that topic and try to get it spread around the web. People will naturally pick it up as it’s already buzzing everywhere.
Summing up, Google Trends is a great, free keyword research tool that might not be your everyday solution, but can work great when you want your content to go viral or when you have two or three keywords and can’t decide which one to go for.
LSI Graph Review
LSI Graph works as a great addition to your everyday keyword research tool.
That’s because it serves one feature but does the best. Plus, this feature is what makes or brakes the way content gets indexed on Google.
LSI Graph, as you can probably imagine because of its name, is responsible for the search for LSI keyword.
LSI keywords, for those who don’t know, are keywords that relate topic-wise to your main keyword (in simple words). It’s important to not only focus on your main keyword in the piece you create as Google algorithms are way more complex than they used to be a couple of years ago and are not looking for just one particular phrase.
Instead, they do search for a whole set of keywords that indicates a certain piece fully covers the topic. For example, if you were writing on Football, instead of spamming football 40 times across your 1000-word article, you should also include terms such as La Liga, a ball, Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ballon d’Or, penalty, etc.
That would show the algorithm that your article truly talks about football and is not just trying to fool the system.
LSI Graph helps you find these keywords and fully optimize your content so it gets ranked faster, higher, and for a bigger amount of keywords.
Of course, some of the LSI keywords will pop up naturally as you’ll be creating your content but there’s nothing wrong in enriching your piece with a couple of additional LSI keywords here and there.
MOZ is a lot like Ahrefs. It offers plenty of features but goes for a higher price.
Just like with Ahrefs, you’ll have to spend around $80 for the simplest pricing plan. Yet, when it comes to keyword research you’ll find as comprehensive features as there are in Ahrefs.
MOZ offers a complex Keyword Explorer that shows you:
- Keyword Suggestions
- SERP results
Honestly, I can say that no matter which one of this two software you go for you’ll be satisfied when it comes to the keyword research part. Thus, you’ll have to check the other features and decide which one to choose.
Keywords Everywhere Review – best tool to determine difficulty of a keyword
Keywords Everywhere is a neat Google Chrome extension that you can get for free and use for your keyword research.
The way these software works is that it follows you as you search on Google and gives you the most important details regarding those keywords.
Let’s say you are looking for an article on inside sales. Or rather you want to do research on what shows up in Google when you search for inside sales.
Then, Keywords Everywhere will show you:
on the keyword, you typed in, as well as, the rest that shows up in Google Suggestions.
Also, after you commit the search, Keyword Everywhere will show you other related keywords, as well as, other keywords that people are looking for and that are related to your search.
Such features make this software seamless to use and it is a real pleasure, especially when you utilize the Alphabet Soup method. Then you can skip the second part where you have to check the keywords you got, in some type of software as Keywords Everywhere has already done the work for you.
Also, it features another neat solution called Analyze Page which gives you an overview of keywords on a certain page with other details such as word count which can be useful when you’re trying to create content using skyscraper technique.
Taking into account Keywords Everywhere is free I recommend you use it as an add-on to your main go-to software.
AnswerThePublic is another neat tool that you can successfully use for free and get great results.
ATP approaches the problem of looking for keywords, especially long-tail ones, in a quite creative way. Namely, as you can see in the example above when searching for calling software, ATP gives you keyword suggestions including:
- calling software in…
- calling software to…
- calling software for…
It will also give you suggestions with terms such as:
This way you get a bunch of keyword ideas that people are actually looking for. Also, you can make your content reach in low-difficulty keywords that, when compounded, will give you a significant boost in traffic.
AnswerThePublic also comes in a Pro Plan that costs $99 per month and includes:
- Unlimited Searches
- Data comparison
- Language-based results
- Location-based results
Thus, if you like the results you get with ATP consider going for a paid option. Yet, for my use (as an add-on), the free version is more than enough.
UberSuggest Review – Best Free keyword tool
You can think of UberSuggest as a free version of Ahrefs’ and MOZ’s Keyword Explorer.
Although it’s not as complex as these two software’s features, UberSuggest is free and that’s what makes this tool so tempting to use.
UberSuggest lets you do complex keyword research by simply typing your chosen term into their browser.
Above, you can see what the tool yields for the term google voice alternative. As a result, you get:
- Search Volume
- Paid Difficulty
- Keyword ideas
What’s more, the software suggests how many backlinks do you need (in regards to a certain domain score) to rank on the first page of Google for a certain keyword.
Besides that, UberSuggest gives you content ideas by pulling SERP results and showing how many views a webpage gets, how many backlinks does it have, and how many time it got shared via social media platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest.
If you’re not ready to purchase a tool like Ahrefs, Moz, or SEMrush, choosing UberSuggest is a great choice.
Although, you have to keep in mind that a free tool won’t cover the same (as big) database as paid software does. Thus, results you get might differ from those you’d get from Ahrefs or Moz, but – honestly – UberSuggest works great when it comes to free tools and does the best job it can do for $0.
Google Search Console Review
Yes, you’ve read it right.
Google Search Console is one of the best tools you can use for keyword research. We’ve touched on that a bit when describing Keywords Everywhere. Thus, here I’m going to expand on how you can use this 100% free tool for keyword research.
Namely, what you want to achieve from keyword research is to find terms that people are looking for (hopefully, a lot) and that are not so competitive. In conclusion, terms that have a high search-to-difficulty ratio.
While Google Search Console won’t tell you how difficult it is to rank for a given term, it will show you exactly what people are searching for. Plus, it will give you long-tail suggestions that include your main keyword.
That’s why Google Search Console works great when you utilize the earlier mentioned Alphabet Soup method. For those who don’t know, this method is very simple. You type your main phrase into Google Search Console and start typing a, b, c, d… as the next word or the word before your term. This way you’ll get tens of suggestions that include your main term and are being searched daily.
The best way to use Google Search Console would be to look for keyword ideas by typing in your desired term and combining it with other words and then checking these results in a tool such as Ahrefs or UberSuggest.
KWFinder is a tool that perfectly fills in the gap between high-priced software and free solutions. That’s because you can use all the main features of KWFinder for as low as $30 per month!
And yet, the low price doesn’t mean the software doesn’t offer necessary features when it comes to keywords research.
With KWFinder, you get in-depth keyword lookups, keyword suggestions, competitor keywords, SERP lookups, and what’s quite important you can track up to 1500 keywords daily!
Also, KWFinder pulls a bunch of useful metrics regarding each keyword and link it shows. These metrics cover:
- Search trend
- Social Shares
- Link Profile Strength
When trying to assess whether you should go for a certain keyword, a single checkup in KWFinder will give you all the metrics needed to get the answer.
Even more, as it will probably give you enough suggestions including LSI and long-tail keywords that you’ll already get the idea of what to use for your piece.
All in all, KWFinder is a great tool for anyone who wants to invest a couple of bucks for the SEO-related software but is not ready to spend around $100 per month.
QuestionDB Review – Most Affordable Keyword Tool
QuestionDB is another unique keyword research tool that takes a different approach to the process of research.
Namely, QuestionDB instead of giving you typical keyword suggestions, yields questions that include your main term and that people are actually looking for.
You can think of this software as AnswerThePublic combined with Google Search Console. Using this tool, you can get great keyword suggestions and provide you with a ready-to-use title for your piece.
What’s more, QuestionDB is 100% free, although they do offer a paid version. In a standard, the free option you get 50 searches daily, max 100 results per search, and you can download your results in a form of CSV file.
Honestly, that’s a lot for free software and unless you do an enormous amount of keyword searches per day I recommend staying with the free version.
What’s also cool about this software is that you can sort the results in regards to popularity which gives you a clear overview of what people are actually searching for. Plus, for every result QuestionDB pulls out, it gives a link to the source that contains this phrase.
Good as a standalone keyword research tool and perfect as an add-on to a more complex tool!
Key factors when considering keyword research tool
Now that we’re done with the list itself, I’ll quickly go through the main factors that you should consider when choosing your go-to keyword research tool.
As you could see there’s a lot that you have to take into consideration and there’s no “right choice” and you have to answer a couple of question to find a proper tool that will serve you and your business.
Whenever you decide to splash a couple of bucks out on new software, remember that its cost shouldn’t exceed the ROI that comes with the purchase.
More, the software you purchase should give you a tangible profit that you can measure through metrics, KPIs, and statistics. Otherwise, you might spend a couple of hundred of dollars not knowing whether you’ve made a good investment or not. Even worse, you might be losing your hard-earned money without realizing it.
When choosing a keyword research tool, price should never be an indicator of good or bad. Your needs should be such an indicator.
That’s why I’ve included keyword research tools that will make you happy, no matter if you’re just starting with your business, have a somewhat established venture or an already profitable company.
Also, every tool offers a trial (free or a low-cost one). Make use of that and check whether you feel like the features it offers will help you bring tangible profit. If so, give it a full month as for most businesses it will be enough time to collect data sufficient to judge whether you need the software or not.
Number of searches included
In its simplest form, keyword research tools are made and used to… research keywords!
That’s why their creators limit the capabilities of such tools so you upgrade to the higher-tier pricing plan to make more searches per day/week/month.
Again, the trial period is your friend, thus give him a high five and let him help you. Namely, before kicking off your trial (Moz offers 30 days so no worries in this case), create a plan of what you want to search for, which keyword ideas you want to explore, etc. Then, do just that and check whether the daily and weekly limits set according to a particular pricing plan is enough for you.
After all, keyword searching is the main thing you’ll do so you can’t be limited by too small of a number of searches allowed.
Test it and find your golden spot.
Additional features to look for in a Keyword Tool
As I’ve mentioned before, the main purpose of a keyword research tool is to perform keyword searches.
Yet, some of the software that offers keyword research feature also comes with additional solutions that you can utilize for your business.
Here, you have to ask yourself a question: “Do I need that?”
As most of the time, when you’re looking for a keyword research tool it’s better to focus on that one need, instead of trying to kill two birds with one stone.
Here, a great example can be a comparison between KWFinder and Ahrefs/Moz. The first one serves the keyword research need and does it great, but so do Ahrefs and Moz. Yet, the second category also comes in with a variety of additional features that can be extremely helpful. But, at the same time, the second category can cost three times as much as the KWFinder.
All in all, you have to asses whether spending more money is worth the additional solutions that come with the purchase. Combine that with the Price-ROI argument and you’ll get a good idea of what you need.
Ease of use
Lastly, because there’s no need you spend days learning how to use a new piece of software, you have to take into consideration how easy it is to use a given tool.
Most creators emphasize how important a UX and UI are, thus if a tool has a poor design it might be a good idea to check out the competitors’ offers. That’s because a tool should support your work, not make it harder.
Remember that the ROI is not only a dollar-wise profit but also how much time do you spend on a particular task compared to how much profit it yields. Thus, if a tool slows you down it might be a good choice to either get better at using it (if you consider it to be a non-replaceable tool) or make a switch to a similar tool that is more intuitive.
Here, a good-looking design is not enough. If a dashboard looks nice and shiny but is a mystery in terms of how to use it then it’s not a good design. On the other hand, if a piece of software looks like it was created 20 years ago but works perfectly, does all the things you need, and is intuitive then it’s good design. Remember that if something seems stupid but is working then it’s not stupid.
Every online business that strives to utilize all of the marketing channels should consider SEO as one way of generating leads and making their brand presence online.
To make it happen you need a proper keyword research tool, that is the one from the list above.
Consider the price you’re ready to spend, features you need and solutions it offers, its ease of use and taking all that variables into account make up your decision.
Don’t let the complexity of the topic drag you down as once you have a good tool chosen, it becomes much easier to harness SEO and produce organic traffic that can serve as the main source of leads and new customers.
BIO: Jakub Kliszczak is a Marketing Specialist at CrazyCall; cloud-based calling app which provides sales teams with essential tools reach their customers worldwide. He’s passionate about digital marketing, developing new businesses, and turning new ideas into real ventures. In his “free time”, he prefers to read non-fiction and hit the gym.
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