10 Free Keyword Research Tools
While keyword research has evolved over the years, the need to understand user intent through keywords will always remain a high priority.
You cannot simply create content for your website using only the terms that you are familiar with.
You need to plan ahead by obtaining insights into how people are searching in your space and the terms they are using. When doing SEO in the pharmaceutical industry, for example, you need to find the top pharmaceutical keywords.
Remember to keep your chosen keywords relevant to the content.
"Research is formalized curiosity." – Zora Hurston
This is our list of free keyword research tools that make the research process easier.
- Google Keyword Planner
- Bing Webmaster Tools
- Google Search Console
- Answer the Public
- Google Trends
- LSI Graph
🎁 We also have a BONUS at the end...
Google Keyword Planner
Google is no doubt the master of all search engines, with billions of users around the world. Google offers a free keyword research tool – Keyword Planner, which provides invaluable insights to help get you started.
This tool was originally created to carry out keyword research for paid campaigns using Google's AdWords platform. However, it can also be used to research organic keywords, providing estimated global/local monthly search volumes for keywords (i.e. their popularity) and their competition (i.e. how difficult they are to rank for) for organic search.
Keyword Planner can also be used to identify trends and forecasts related to keyword volumes, as well as helping to generate ideas for new keywords based on a seed list of keywords, or content from web pages by adding URLs.
Using the competition and volume data, it's possible to identify low hanging fruit, allowing you to target keywords ‘Medium’ or ‘Low’ competition keywords that have a comparatively high number of ‘Global Monthly Searches’ or ‘Local Monthly Searches’, depending on your target audience’s location.
NOTE: The figures provided are not 100% accurate. It is advisable to use other tools in order to collectively decide on the best keywords for your website’s content.
Bing Webmaster Tools
Here's another great reason why you should have a Bing Webmaster Tools account. Bing's tool allows you to generate keyword ideas by entering any keyword, with the ability to set the country and language.
The tool then returns search volumes, trends and average CPC/Bid data based on up to 6 months of data from Bing's search engine.
It's important to look at the keywords that you're ranking for, as well as those that are generating impressions. You may be unaware of valuable keywords that your pages rank for on page 2 or 3.
The 'Search Keywords' section in Bing Webmaster Tools helps you to identify these gems, providing you with details of the keywords that generate clicks and impressions, along with click-through-rate (CTR) and average positions in Bing.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console provides a similar tool to Bing's Search Keywords, but on steroids.
Search Analytics can be found under the 'Search Traffic' section and provides details of the keywords that drove clicks to your website, based on data for up to the last 90 days. The difference with Google's version is that you can filter the data to put extra context around the keywords, such as filtering by country to see keyword popularity based on country, which can be useful when carrying out keyword research for websites that service more than one country.
You can also filter by query, which is useful when looking at branded queries, or when looking at specific words. For example, only show keywords that include the term "SEO". The graph also allows you to spot trends in across the available metrics and compare week-on-week or month-on-month. This can help you to drill down and monitor progression over time, allowing you to answer questions like "have my branded keywords received more clicks in the last month compared to the previous month?", "has the CTR improved?", "did average positions in Google improve?".
Answer the Public
Answer the Public is a great tool to find out what questions people are asking Google. Answer the Public works by taking your target keyword or topic and adding interrogatives — who, what, when, where, why and how — in front of them.
It then uses Google Suggest to create a list of questions that your audience needs answers for.
Knowing what questions people are asking about your topic is key to creating content that matches with the user's search intent.
Their handy data visualizations will help you come up with new content and keyword ideas.
Keywordtool.io has a free version that allows users to generate related keyword ideas when entering an initial keyword. One of the great things about this tool is that it also gives the option to select localized Google domains, together with language, so it can be useful for keyword research for international campaigns.
The tool also has a paid version, which provides search volume, CPC & competition metrics. Keywords can then be sorted by any of these columns.
SEMrush is a paid tool, but does allow some free usage which is capped daily. It is a comprehensive tool that gives you information ranging from related keywords and trends, to sites that rank and/or bought ads for the search term.
Free users are limited to 10 queries per day.
Ubersuggest is a useful tool that helps you to build out your list of keywords using suggestions offered by Google Suggest.
Simply enter a keyword, choosing your country and search type (web, images, etc.) and Ubersuggest will provide a list of related keywords. The tool claims to provide keywords that are not available in the Google Keyword Planner.
Once you have your list of keywords, you can download or copy and paste them then run them through Google Keyword Planner to find out which ones are worth targeting (based on associated search volumes and competition).
Another interesting Google product is Google Trends. It provides you with a selection of popular keywords which correspond to your keyword, based on the latest search trends. It also gives you a graphical representation of the changing trends over time, along with the countries and cities the keyword is searched in.
Spyfu is a very handy and free competitive keyword research tool. There are two ways in which you can have your keyword researched in Spyfu:
- Enter your website’s URL: It shows the top keywords that the website ranks for both via paid advertisements and organic search. Use it for a competitor’s website, too.
- Enter the Keyword: It shows the sites that rank for the keyword.
LSI Graph is a tool to create what are known as "latent semantic indexing" keywords. LSI keywords are words that are semantically/topically related to another word or phrase.
They aren't synonyms or keyword variations (which you shouldn't be using anymore, anyway). Instead, they're words you expect to use when discussing a certain topic.
The standard example for LSI keywords is for the keyword "apple". LSI keywords for "apple" would be "iTunes", "app store", "best buy" and "iPhones".
Google using LSI keywords was a way to remove ambiguity (tech company vs. fruit) and improve relevance.
WooRank provides a great SEO audit and reporting tool. It's also a really helpful keyword research tool.
If you sync your account with your Google Search Console from the Settings page, you'll find the top search queries that drive traffic to your websites.
You can use this data to find keywords that you already rank for, then improve your content and better optimize your pages with these keywords in mind.
WooRank's Keyword Tool also allows you to track your website's position in Google (based on the location your set), so you can easily track your progress.
We hope you found some of these tools useful. It's worth noting that if you don't have any content that suits a particular keyword, you can always create it. Just remember to make sure that the content answers the search query that you're trying to target. For example, somebody searching for the term 'Log Cabins Phoenix' is not going to be satisfied with a page that offers log cabins for sale in New York.
If you're looking for more SEO analysis tools to complete your toolkit, check out this tried and tested list from HubSpot: 13 of the Best SEO Tools for Auditing and Monitoring Website Performance.