Finding the right tool for keyword research is not an easy task. As a blogger, your time is limited and you probably just want to get ideas on what to write about, which involves knowing what keywords people are looking for. Google obviously has a number of useful tools available, Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends being the most commonly used ones, but the functionality is limited and not always so user-friendly. Personally, I prefer using tools that are easy to use, work quickly and give me lots of easily digestible data that helps me make wise decisions. After all, writing about topics that interest nobody is probably not what you’re dreaming of. At least I prefer having an audience 😉
During the last few years I have tested more than a dozen both paid and free tools and realized that none of these are perfect. Instead, I end up combining these tools in order to get the data I need. I have used and loved Ahrefs’ tool, but at the end of the day I just couldn’t justify its cost. If you are looking for a paid option, I would nevertheless recommend Ahrefs over any competitor. But in this article, I focus exclusively on free tools for keyword research. I have excluded Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends from this list, since most of you will anyway be familiar with these and I simply don’t enjoy using them.
The Best Free Keyword Research Tools
- Keyword Research Tool
- Twinword Ideas
- Keywords Everywhere
- Keyword Guru
- SERP Stat
- AdWord & SEO Keyword Permutation Generator
All tools in this article can be used without signing up or giving away an e-mail address. Some of these, however, have limited functionality when used for free, or only offer a free trial period. All of these are anyway useful in their free-to-use form. To put it simply, I try to offer you the best free keyword research tools on the market. Hope you will enjoy the article and find a new favorite tool!
|Completely Free (no paid features)||Free Trial||CPC, Search Volume and Competition||Export Possibility|
|Insta Keywords||➖||Limited Functionality||✔||✔|
|Keyword Research Tool by SEO Review Tools||✔||➖||✔||➖|
|Twinword Ideas||➖||Limited Functionality||✔||✔|
|AdWord & SEO Keyword Permutation Generator||✔||➖||➖||➖|
This tool is getting heaps of praise from people like me who love getting useful keyword information fast and effortlessly. Keywords Everywhere is a Chrome extension and Firefox add-on, which transforms your search box into a real-time keyword finder with CPC, competition and search volume displayed instantly inside the browser. Research really couldn’t get any easier, I promise! I have many times found myself researching a random interesting topic on Google just to end up doing keyword research just because it is so addicting and, frankly speaking, fun. I absolutely recommend this tool for those who want keyword research to be part of day-to-day activities, rather than a dull chore.
Keyword Guru is despite its name a rather simple tool with limited functionality. What does it do? It shows you keyword suggestions based on your search from seven different sources: Google, Yahoo, Youtube, Amazon, Ebay, Bing and Google Play.
This is useful especially if you are looking for keywords for these websites. After all, keywords on Google Play, Amazon and Youtube are much different from one another for obvious reasons and it can be quite handy to be able to compare all different searches simultaneously. In the picture above you can see that I chose to type in “jetpack” to see what keywords each website would suggest in the search bar when this has been typed. On Google, the first suggestion is “Jetpack compose”, a toolkit for UI developers. On Yahoo, Bing and Google Play the first two-word suggestion is the popular game Jetpack Joyride. On Amazon, the first suggestion is “jetpack battery”, the battery for the Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot. All in all, very different suggestions depending on where you are searching. This means that the search volume for “jetpack” alone won’t be useful for you if you are interested in the 4G hotspot device, since it will show you substantial volume but in reality only a small percentage of these searches relate to 4G in any way.
As the title suggests, this tool is for those who are simply interested in the search volume of keywords. The search volume displayed is a monthly average, based on the previous 12-month period. Searchvolume.io doesn’t really disclose their method for getting their numbers other than that they developed some tools of their own, in addition to using data provided by third-party providers.
If you have a list of keywords that you have assembled and are interested in search volume exclusively, then this tool could be useful. The benefit of this tool is that you don’t get sucked into looking at metrics that might be irrelevant for you at the time. I notice that I sometimes get overwhelmed when using the more comprehensive keyword tools such as Ubersuggest, Serpstat or Ahrefs and start browsing instead of doing whatever I had planned to do.
One of the most complete SEO tools on this list, Wordtracker is useful even in its free version if you don’t need to make many searches. If you are interested in advertising for a certain keyword, it shows you the PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Competition, CPC (Cost-Per-Click) as well as search volume. Obviously, this information can also be of interest to you when deciding what content to write. But at least equally interesting for any blogger or content website creator are the metrics showing organic competition for keyword and the IAAT (In Anchor and Title).
If you don’t know what these terms mean, I’ll help you. Organic competition means how difficult it is to rank for that keyword “organically” (without paying). High competition means that many websites have written (well) about the topic and that it will be hard for you to outrank them, unless you have a lot of backlinks, social shares and so on (Google’s algorithm allegedly takes over 70 factors into account when deciding how to rank websites on Google…). In Anchor and Title (IAAT) is a metric that is supposed to make it easier to assess the keyword difficulty by telling you how many pages contain the keyword in both the title tag and the anchor text from an external domain, but I’m honestly not sure if it is that useful. For instance, I don’t really see much of a correlation between organic competition and the IAAT number, even if one could assume that a high IAAT would indicate higher organic competition. Quite confusing, honestly. If any of you readers want to share how you use the IAAT number stat for your SEO, let me know in the comments 😊
What does Wordtracker then do that makes it one of the best keyword tools that can be used for free? Well, it gives rather much information for free; many competing services, such as keywordtool.io, give almost nothing of value without asking for you to upgrade to the premium version – annoying! But Wordtracker gives around 15 free searches, which is enough for most. When searching, you can also choose between locations (United States, United Kingdom, India, Canada and so on) and even search for keywords in a certain US state or, when it comes to the United Kingdom, country (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland). You can also exclude search terms from the results list, if there is a certain word you don’t want to be in the search result. The free version does not show all the keywords, but it shows around 30, which is often enough.
If you want to use the full version of Wordtracker for free, you can always go for their 7-day trial.
This ad-free and quick tool positions itself as a long tail keyword research tool that gives 3x more keywords than some of its competitors. The quick mode gives you the top 12 long tail keywords, whereas the full mode gives can give you over 1000 results if you only type in a single keyword, such as “shoes”. In addition to finding related keywords, Insta Keywords gives you the number of global searches (search volume), and CPC for free. The paid version makes it possible for you to see the competition as well, but I’d honestly not pay for that feature alone, since there are other tools that let you do exactly this for free (with limited searches, but still). A cool feature of this tool is the possibility to export all keyword suggestions. Unfortunately, the function did not work when I tried it.
Does the name Neil Patel mean anything to you? If yes, then you probably already know this tool. After all, the tool is essentially on the front page of his immensely popular website.
To save your time, I’ll be up-front with you. Ubersuggest is probably the most comprehensive free SEO and keyword research tool there is.
Here’s a list of some of things you can do with Ubersuggest:
- keyword information: search volume, SEO difficulty (organic competition), Paid difficulty (a.k.a. paid competition) and CPC.
- Google SERP (top URLs ranking for a keyword and the number of backlinks, social shares, their domain score as well as an estimate of the traffic they get for the keyword in question)
- content ideas based on your keyword. Basically, this means getting information about other similar keywords that other articles rank for, as well as estimated traffic for said keyword and backlink information (how many backlinks, backlink source, anchor text and more)
- get a domain overview of any URL with monthly traffic, number of organic keywords, backlinks and a domain score
To sum it up, Ubersuggest is one of the tools that you just can’t go wrong with. It does an amazing number of things for a free tool. Frankly speaking I can’t see it staying free for very long, but I hope Neil will prove me wrong. In the meantime, use it to your heart’s content.
This tool offers, like Ubersuggest, offers a lot of functionality. But unlike Ubersuggest, Serpstat is free only with limited functionality. Having said that, even the free version is valuable.
For free, you get the following:
- SEO Research
- keyword selection info, such as volume, keyword difficulty, cost and competition. You also get information about what kind of special blocks in Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) there are. Here are a few examples of these special blocks: featured snippet, related keywords, related questions, video thumbnail, images for request etc.
- search suggestions with a list of most popular words related to your search
- top pages for your search (top 10 pages, their Facebook shares and potential traffic)
- competitors – ie. who else is bidding for this keyword?
- PPC Research
- top ads for the keyword, their CPC, volume etc.
- list of competitors
- ads examples, including ads in different regions and countries
- ad research
- Search Questions (similar to Google’s “People also ask” section)
- SERP Analysis of the top 10 pages, including the Serpstat Trust Rank, Page Rank, External Backlinks and Referring Domains.
Furthermore, if you are interested in knowing how many backlinks your competitors have and when the backlinks have been attained, Serpstat has information about all this in their Backlinks Analysis section. They also have a Site Audit tool, which is available in the free plan. The free plan, however, requires signing up.
To summarize, the free version of Serpstat is worth your time if you can accept the restricted functionality and have some patience. The paid version of Serpstat is obviously to recommend, but despite being reasonably priced—$69 a month for the rather generous Lite version—this might be a hard pill to swallow.
Like most tools listed here, Twinword Ideas does the basics very well. But what sets it apart from the competition is the way it lets you narrow down the keywords. For instance, you can choose to only show keywords that where the searcher wants to buy something. Handy, right? It is also possible to narrow down the keywords to ones following a certain patter (longer-tail keywords starting with “best”) or based on search volume, keyword score, SEO competition or Paid competition. And that’s just to mention a few. Unfortunately, Twinword makes you pay for all the mentioned features, meaning that you just get the basic such as volume, CPC, relevance etc. for free.
It is still worth mentioning that Twinword is one of the cheapest paid keyword research tools: their Pro plan is only $24 if paid yearly and their Plus plan is only half of that. In other words, if you want to a simple program with not much of a learning curve, this could a smart choice.
This tool ranks high in Google when you look for keyword research tools. But is it any good? Well, it’s quite good for being a free tool. The numbers, however, are actually provided by Serpstat – a tool I have already covered in this list. In short, only use this tool if you’ve run out of free searches on Serpstat.
Note: There are numerous free tools on www.seoreviewtools.com but if I’m to be honest I’d say steer away – I’d had numerous problems with something as simple as the captcha and, frankly speaking, the functionality and design is clumsy and dated.
AdWord & SEO Keyword Permutation Generator (BONUS)
This tool is actually a keyword tool, not a keyword researchtool, but still worth mentioning. In short, this tool makes it easy for you to create long tail keywords by letting you combine three separate keyword lists into one as seen in the picture below.
You can choose between broad match (no quotations), phrase match (quotations) and exact match (square brackets), saving you the time to do this manually.
Who needs a tool like this? Well, if you want to advertise using Google Ads, you might want to target a large number of long tail keywords using exact match, rather than trusting broad match. This free tool makes this easy for you. What more can you ask?
Hope you enjoyed this article. If you think I missed any keyword research tool or you want to share your personal experiences with any of the mentioned ones, leave me a comment below!