If you’re looking for a collection of the best, proven keyword research tools, look no further. Check out what these 9 tools are best suited for, and read what experts are saying about each one.
Still grieving for the old Google Keyword Tool? If you are, get ready to move on. These nine keyword research tools used by top SEO pros will give you everything you need to generate keyword ideas, identify easy keyword wins, and outsmart your competitors.
Type a seed keyword into Keyword.io, and you’ll see a lengthy list of variations and long-tail options from Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon, and more. Upgrade to the Pro version for stats on search volume, keywords semantically related to your topics, additional keywords, and more starting at $49/month.
“I consider keyword.io as one of my “go to’s” when conducting keyword research. One seed keyword displays a huge number of related keywords that can be used for creating new blogs, uncovering long tail opportunities with low competition and more” says Grant Buckley, Digital Current (@GrantBuckley).
Übersuggest generates a long list of keyword options with just one input of your seed ideas. Your ideas are augmented with locations and other key terms, listed alphabetically, and you can either browse the list online or download it for later.
“Unlike other free tools available, Übersuggest saves a lot of time on keyword research. You type in the search box and copy the fetched results. It provides extensive list of hundreds of keywords with all the permutations and combinations of each alphabet,” says Vikalp Bharti, Digital Vidya (@MyDigitalVidya).
When you input a keyword or phrase into KWFinder, you’ll see a list of suggested long-tail options as well as an assigned difficulty value. This information, in addition to search volume, domain authority, and page authority stats, can help you decide whether to try to rank for a phrase or place your focus elsewhere. You can do three free searches every 24 hours, or choose a paid plan between $12 and $25/month.
“KWFinder is a long-tail keyword research tool with a great interface. It shows you trend, search volume, CPC, and level of difficulty in results,” says Andrew Raso, Online Marketing Gurus (@andrewraso1).
4. Google Keyword Planner
With an AdWords account, you can use Google’s Keyword Planner as a no-cost idea generator. Although it doesn’t have as extensive information on search volume as it once did, it does offer trend data to show the ebb and flow of your keyword phrase over time as well as alternate suggestions (and, if you’re interested in paid advertising, estimated price ranges for your pay-per-click keywords).
If you’re willing to put in a little shoe leather on your keyword research, online Q&A forum Quora can generate some great ideas and help you vet the ideas you get from other keyword research tools. Because Quora gives you insights into the primary questions people have related to your business, you can choose keyword phrases and topics that are more likely to be conversion oriented. Quora is free to use, but you have to register and create an account after a certain number of searches.
6. Answer the Public
Instead of scrolling through questions one at a time, Answer the Public takes a keyword phrase and generates a mind map that gives you a glimpse into questions searchers have related to your keywords. Like Quora, Answer the Public is free to use.
“The person looking at the screen is ultimately asking a question. It might not always be phrased as a question but sometimes it is. And that’s why I’m a huge fan of Answer the Public, it’s a tool with one simple purpose: understanding the questions people have about a topic,” says Kelvin Newman, Brighton SEO (@kelvinnewman).
Input a competitor domain into SpyFu, and use the Keyword Universe tool to discover the keywords for which they rank. You can see their top five keyword phrases as well as monthly search volume for free. For deeper insights, sign up for a monthly plan starting at $33/month.
“SpyFu is a powerful tool that lets you view all data on competitors’ keywords in both organic search and AdWords — and get even more related keywords. You just need to add competitors’ keywords and get an overall view of their strategy,” says Irina Weber, SE Ranking (@irinaweber048).
Paste one of your URLs into SEMrush for a look at 1) the keywords for which you rank and 2) information on your top competitors for those keywords, along with data on search volume and website traffic. With a paid subscription, you can use SEMrush’s Keyword Difficulty tool to analyze how hard you’d have to work — and how much you’d have to spend — to rank for desired keywords. Pro subscriptions start at $69.95/month.
Ahrefs is a comprehensive, all-around SEO tool probably best known for its backlink research and building tools. Within Ahrefs, though, you’ll also find powerful keyword research tools. You can identify the keywords for which competitors rank as well as track the success of your own keywords as you move through the search rankings.
The Ahrefs Content Explorer can help you identify top-performing content within your industry, which can help you create synergy between your content marketing and SEO efforts. Paid plans start at $99/month with a free trial period.
“Ahrefs has been my most preferred tool for link research and link building. I have been using this tool more from last three years, and hopefully, I will continue to use this tool for a long time,” says Nikhil Makwana, BforBlogging (@nikhilhmakwana).
The Keys to Success
These aren’t the only keyword research tools available, but they’re some of the best. Check out this success story about how we’ve used keyword research to help clients grow traffic as much as 482 percent.