In order to rank well in search engines, it’s important to know what keywords your customers are using when they search online, and the best way to do that is by performing keyword research.
There are many different keyword research tools available on the market, some of which are free and some of which aren’t. The following 10 keyword research tools are all free, and all have great features that will help you discover what your customers want and how to better market to them.
1. Google Trends
This free keyword research tool tracks search term popularity over time in Google. While Trends will certainly help you uncover valuable insights into user search habits, it’s probably best not to put too much faith in data that could be skewed by a single popular search term or two.
For example, someone might use a popular search term while shopping online and also write about it on his or her website, causing Trends to show an uptick in searches for that particular phrase. If you want to get actionable insight into what users are actually searching for at any given moment, consider using another keyword research tool with broader data pools like Moz or SEMrush.
Although it’s hard to measure how accurate Trends data is, it can give you a general idea of how popular certain keywords are over time. This can help you brainstorm which phrases could be useful for expanding your website or increasing your content creation.
As with any keyword research tool, keep in mind that Trends doesn’t measure all searches and only includes data from Google. If you want to see what keywords people search for on Amazon, Etsy, or other sites beyond Google, use another keyword research tool to get broader data sets.
2. Google Keyword Planner
The free version of Google’s AdWords tool is actually a pretty useful keyword research tool as well. You can use it to help guide your content creation by determining search volume, how difficult it will be to rank for certain keywords, and whether or not it’s even worth your time to try to rank for them at all.
For example, if you were running a website that sold wooden watches, you could type cheap wooden watches into Google Keyword Planner and see if there was any demand for these types of products. If there is, then you would be justified in spending some of your advertising budgets on purchasing ads that target that particular phrase.
SEMrush is one of the most popular keyword research tools used by inbound marketers. Not only does it show organic search volume and costs per click, but it also shows you which keywords your competitors are using. As a result, SEMrush is one of our preferred tools for researching organic search traffic and costs per click, as well as competitor keywords.
You can use it as a free trial for 14 days. After that, you’ll need to sign up to have SEMrush deliver your data. If you don’t want to spend that much on a tool – we totally understand! That’s why we recommend doing some research with alternative free tools like Google Keyword Planner or even Google Trends. However, if you’re looking for more accurate results (and willing to pay), then SEMrush is worth every penny.
UberSuggest is a keyword research tool that’s part of SEMrush’s suite of SEO tools. It actually pulls data from Google Suggest, which has historically been one of our favourite resources for generating keyword ideas.
We’re thrilled to see them build on it with their own version of Google Suggest. Simply enter in a seed keyword and watch as UberSuggest runs your query through its database of search suggestions. Based on what it finds, you can get an idea of how many searches Google gets for each word or phrase, which is helpful if you’ve ever wondered just how competitive a given market really is.
5. Wordstream Keyword Tool
This Google keyword tool alternative claims to be easy for beginners, but it’s a bit more involved than some of its free alternatives. The user interface is extremely simple—all you do is type in your term and hit enter, and Wordstream will generate up to 500 suggestions for related terms you can use.
Search volumes are updated every 30 minutes, which makes it great for ad campaigns or as a source of ideas for long-tail keywords you haven’t yet discovered. This free keyword research tool works with both international and local domains. If you’re an E-N affiliate, Wordstream offers an affiliate program that allows webmasters to integrate their existing content on their site with keyword research results so they get paid when people click on their ads.
6. Term Explorer
A free tool that provides keyword data to help you better understand your audience’s language on a specific topic. This tool is helpful if you’re interested in learning what words people use to find answers to a particular query.
You can also export some of your research data into an Excel file or even an infographic, which is pretty slick. KWFinder: With KWFinder, you can type in any query and get back keyphrase suggestions and related search volume information based on Google AdWords data.
7. Google Autocomplete
This nifty tool from Google lets you know what people are searching for. It doesn’t tell you everything (you can only see 100-ish queries at a time), but it does tell you something about what people are interested in. Type in a topic and you’ll get a list of autocomplete options that might help get your brain going. The results may surprise you!
8. AdWords’ Related Searches
Google AdWords’ related searches give you access to billions of search queries that have been entered by people just like you. It’s a valuable resource for discovering new keyword ideas. You can also see what ads show up alongside your competitors’ results, which is useful if you’re looking to improve click-through rates. In addition, Google shows statistics such as ad position, click-through rate, and cost per click on each keyword.
9. Keyword Everywhere
It’s not as catchy as other keyword research tools, but Keyword Everywhere is pretty much indispensable if you do any paid search advertising. It’s a free plugin for both Firefox and Chrome that plugs directly into your browser and feeds you tons of suggestions for words to use in your PPC campaigns. It’s not just keywords either—it suggests entire sentences and phrases, too. If you want to get really fancy with AdWords, try their keyword bid simulator tool to see what each click will cost. (Note: This is only available via the web app.)
This free tool can help you find relevant long-tail keywords quickly, and all you have to do is input a seed keyword or URL. Hit generate and let H-supertool work its magic: it takes your seed term and searches hundreds of thousands of keywords from Google, Bing, Yahoo! and Yandex.
This tool is useful for uncovering keyword opportunities for your website that are otherwise hard to find using other methods. The nice thing about H-supertool is that it can generate hundreds of different search queries from one single seed term – meaning you can unlock more keywords with less work. In addition to generating organic search terms, H-supertool also generates keywords for PPC ad campaigns.
Recommended: 10 Best Free SEO Tools for Beginners
Choosing a keyword research tool that suits your business is one of the most important first steps in any SEO campaign. Without an accurate understanding of what your customers are searching for, it’s impossible to accurately create content that will resonate with them.
The best keyword research tools give you instant insight into what people want to know about and make it easy to develop a profitable strategy around those terms. So how do you choose? We’ve outlined our top ten picks below and will include some info on the strengths and weaknesses of each, so consider it your digital shopping list. Happy researching!
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