As the name implies, keyword research tools are web tools used to research appropriate keywords for your web contents.
Just as oxygen is to human existence, so is Keyword research to SEO. It’s the air SEO breathes; the foundation to any successful SEO effort. Whether you are just launching a new website, reviewing an existing one or you are designing the strategy for your blog contents, keyword research is fundamental.
Why Keyword Research Matters
In simple terms, keyword research means researching and choosing words or terms that your target audience would use in locating you on search engines.
While so much emphasis has been laid on the importance of keyword research to getting organic traffic to your site, it’s important to state that keyword research plays a crucial role in ads as well. This explains why there is Google Keyword Planner and it’s integrated with Google Ads.
So, however you go about getting traffic to your site, you cannot shy away from keyword research.
Now, there are great premium keyword research tools, just as there are lists of best free keyword research tools. If you are just starting, it’s best you begin with the free options and then upgrade to premium over time.
This article contains mostly premium tools with free options.
Here are some of the best keyword research tools.
Let’s start with this unique keyword research tool. Keywords Everywhere is a browser extension available to Chrome and Firefox users. By installing this tool, you get keyword ideas, suggestions and data along with your regular search result.
See example below
It shows an additional detail which is “People Also Search For”. As the name implies, this is not directly related to your keyword. Rather, they are data gotten from your audience search patterns.
For instance, people who search for keyword research tools also search for…
Keyword Everywhere is a premium tool with a free option. With the amount of data you can get from the free version, it may just be all you need for now.
Primarily, Google Search Console is not a keyword research tool. It is supposed to be an analytics tool.
But it does have a feature that makes it extremely useful for keyword research. The feature is the performance report. This report shows you the pages of your site getting the most impressions and clicks from Google and the exact keywords used to find them.
So, what do you do with this information? Simple, use it to find “Opportunity Keywords”.
Opportunity keywords are keywords that put you between 8 – 20 in Google search engine result page. With just a little more push, you can see your content moving to the top for the same keyword.
Google Search Console is absolutely free.
This keyword research tool provides in-depth data on each keyword so you can make an informed decision.
Ahref gives you the regular data you’d get from a keyword tool such as search volume and the rest. It then goes further to tell you the first-page competition on the keywords and how many searchers actually click on a result after searching.
This tool has an outstanding feature known as keyword difficulty. For most keyword research tools, this is usually a vague difficulty level between easy, medium and difficult. Others score difficulty level over 100; the higher the number, the higher the difficulty level.
But Ahref Keywords Explorer states the exact number of backlinks you’d need to get to the first page of Google. Now, that’s not something you get to see all the time.
Ahref is a premium tool with different plans. The lowest plan is the Lite Plan which goes $99 per month. Other plans are Standard ($179), Advanced ($399) and Agency ($999).
To start, there is a 7 Day Trial plan which goes for $7.
This free keyword research tool gives you direct access to data from Google. No buts or maybes as the data is trusted since it’s coming from Google itself.
It has an amazing feature known as Top of Page bid. This is the amount advertisers are bidding for a keyword. Hence, the higher the number, the higher the commercial intent behind the keyword.
Here is a detailed explanation of how to use Google Keyword Planner.
SEMrush is a bit different in the way it works compared to the other tools here listed.
Rather than entering seed keyword and get a list of keyword ideas and search volumes, SEMrush provides you with a list of keywords that your competitors already rank for.
To use this tool, simply enter a competitor’s domain name in the provided text field at the top of the page.
Next, look at the Organic Search section where you have three drop-downs:
- SEMrush Rank is where your site ranks as far as SEMrush database is concerned (the lower the number, the better). The ranking is done based on the total estimated organic traffic.
- Keywords refer to the total number of organic visitors that come monthly from Google.
- Traffic Cost shows the value of the traffic using Google Ads CPC data.
Since this is about keyword research, the real value of SEMrush is the data provided in the Organic Keywords.
The box below shows the top 5 keywords that your competitors are ranking for. Click on View full report to see more.
The tool does a great job finding keywords that would get your site the most traffic.
Let’s take a seed keyword to work with – Weigh loss. Regular keyword research tools would provide related keywords as below
But Moz, being a smart tool, provides a unique kind of data. See the keyword suggestions from Moz for the same seed keyword
This keyword research tool is also quite different from others in the way it works. The tool finds prepositions, questions, comparisons and related searches to a keyword entered.
Let’s demonstrate how Answer The Public works using “quick loan” as the seed keyword.
The first set of data would be Questions such as
- Where to get quick loan
- Can I get quick loan with bad debt
- How to get quick loan in Canada
- How to get quick loan online
- What is quick credit loan…
This is just for Questions, you’d get also for Prepositions (for, with, without, can etc), comparisons (vs) and so on.
The tool is available for free with premium option.
Bonus – TubeBuddy (Youtube Keyword Research Tool)
Tubebuddy is a free Chrome browser extension that adds a sidebar to the Youtube interphase with extra keyword data.
Among other data, the tool has what is known as the “Search Explorer” which displays an estimated global search volume, overall keyword score and competition.
Other Youtube Keyword research tools include