You are in the blogging business and you have a list of content ideas ready to be transformed into high-traffic-generating masterpieces.
How will my posts rank on Google?… you may ask.
Here comes the role of keyword research.
Keyword research is vital for growing traffic to your site. It assists you in creating the ideal content to boost traffic from organic searches.
How do you find the best keyword research tools, especially if you are new to SEO (search engine optimization)?
In this article, I’m going to share with you the best keyword research tools, both free and paid. I personally use all of them in combination.
Disclosure: Some links in this article are my affiliate links. If you buy any product through any of these links, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Such a commission helps me to stay motivated and produce more such content.
What Is A Keyword Research Tool And Why Do You Need One?
A keyword research tool is used to find out what people are looking for on search engines like Google, Bing, Amazon, etc.
This makes it easier for you to discover content ideas that appeal to your audience. After that, you can organize your content strategy to include those subjects in your landing pages and blog posts.
Utilizing keyword research tools also enables you to see the seed keywords and long-tail keywords that your rivals are ranking for. After that, you can tweak your content to target those keywords and attract your competitors’ visitors.
So, without any further ado, let’s have a look at the 6 best keyword research tools for search engine optimization:
SEMrush is widely popular and one of the best keyword research tools out there. It is an all-in-one SEO toolkit that provides much more than just keyword research.
Using the Keyword Overview tool, you can type in a keyword and get all the important metrics for that particular keyword including the global and country-wise search volume, the SEO difficulty for the keyword, and the popularity trend for the keyword (whether its popularity is growing or reducing).
After scrolling down a little, you will find a whole lot of other options including related keywords and questions people ask on Google related to that keyword, etc. It also shows you the SERP results for that particular keyword.
The best thing in SEMrush is the Keyword Magic Tool. When you search for a keyword in the keyword magic tool, it shows a list of all the related keyword ideas along with their respective search volumes, keyword difficulty, etc.
You can sort the keywords according to search volume, SEO difficulty, etc.
Another superb feature of SEMrush is the Keyword Gap Tool. This tool allows you to compare your website to your competitor’s websites in terms of keywords. It helps you discover potential keyword opportunities that you can rank for.
It also tells you the keywords:
- That your site doesn’t have but your competitors do
- Those keywords which you have on your site but you are weak on them
- The keywords on which your site is stronger than your competitors.
SEMrush is a paid tool with its plan starting at $99.95 per month (billed annually). It might not be an option for beginners.
However, it provides a 14-day free pro trial to new users which can be canceled anytime. Even if you are using the free version, you get 10 searches every 24 hours. So, make sure to use them wisely if you are not thinking of purchasing the PRO version.
2. The Hoth
The Hoth is another fantastic keyword research tool. It is powered by SEMrush and you can say it offers everything that SEMrush does. You can say it is the free version of SEMrush. I use this tool the most.
It is the best free keyword research tool.
Create a free account on the Hoth and under the Tools section, you will find all the features of SEMrush.
It is a free-to-use tool with unlimited searches.
It used to be a free tool but now you need to purchase it to access it. The plans start at just $12 per month.
However, you get a 7-day free trial and a daily search limit of three. Again, use it wisely.
Apart from getting the search volume, SEO difficulty, and related keywords, you also get to know the top 100 search results for your keyword along with their estimated visits, number of backlinks, domain score, and the number of social shares on different platforms.
A good thing about Ubersuggest is that whenever you search for a keyword, it shows the average number of backlinks and the domain authority of the top 10 websites in Google search results.
Apart from this, another cool feature of Ubersuggest is Content Ideas.
Do you want to know which articles in your niche are receiving the most social shares and backlinks?
Your content strategy can succeed or fail based on what you choose to write about. Look closely at the content that has performed best for any given keyword so you can write about subjects that readers will find interesting.
4. Google Keyword Planner
Google’s Keyword Planner is the best tool for people who run ads for Google. It is undoubtedly one of the best keyword research tools for SEO.
What better place than Google itself to research keywords searched on Google?
This tool is completely free to use. All you have to do is create a Google Ads account.
Type in your keyword and you will get a long list of related keywords with average monthly searches. The competition that you will see is not the SEO competition. It is the competition for running ads on Google.
One drawback of Keyword Planner is that it shows a range of monthly searches like 1k-10k and not exact numbers.
But, it gives you great content ideas.
Ahrefs is probably the most used keyword research tool in the world. It is not just a keyword research tool. It is a complete package to build your website from zero to hero.
Apart from all the common features that every keyword research tool offers, Ahrefs provides a lot of scope for link building (backlinks).
It helps you execute the Skyscraper technique of link building. The Skyscraper Technique is the process of finding websites with a lot of backlinks and then creating a better version of their content and asking all the people who linked to that content, to link to your content instead (as it is more valuable).
Ahrefs’ Content Explorer tool helps you find websites with a lot of backlinks (with an exact number of backlinks) for a particular keyword. You can then create a better version of such websites’ content and use the Skyscraper Technique to build your backlinks.
Ahrefs also helps you find broken links on web pages. This gives you an opportunity to produce content on that topic and ask everyone linking to the dead resource to link to your page instead. It works because people who care about their audience don’t want to send them to broken pages.
Ahrefs is probably the best keyword research tool out there.
Ahrefs is not free to use. Plans start at $99 a month. If you pay annually, then you get two months extra for free.
6. Long Tail Pro
Long Tail Pro displays a summary of data about your keyword, similar to the majority of premium keyword tools, but with an emphasis on how you compare to your rivals on Google’s first page of results.
As the name suggests, Long Tail Pro is the best long tail keyword research tool. Long tail keywords are relatively easy to rank for. The longer the keyword, the easier it is to rank for.
You can also enter particular keywords that you want to monitor, allowing you to track changes in your content’s position for those keywords over time.
You can see that Pat Flynn, among others, has recommended Long Tail Pro. Pat Flynn is the biggest affiliate marketer in the world.
Long Tail Pro doesn’t offer a free trial. Rather, it offers an 8-day trial for $8 and then $67 per month.
Bonus Tips For Keyword Research For Beginners
- Always look for long-tailed keywords as they are relatively easier to rank for.
- If you are not yet ready to purchase PRO versions of the above tools, then keep your focus on the free ones. Also, the paid ones provide you with free trials for up to 14 days. Use this time to find keywords for as many blog topics as you can. This way you will also have keywords for a lot of blogs to come, in advance.
- Apart from free trials, all the best keyword research tools provide you with a daily search limit. Use this search limit wisely.
- Select keywords with a search volume of at least 200 per month. Don’t go for keywords that have a search volume below 200 even if it has a very low SEO difficulty. You don’t want to waste your efforts in making content around topics that no one is searching for.
- After you find the perfect target keyword, try to create a very attractive SEO title for our blog posts (incorporating the keyword in it). If your SEO title is not attractive enough, you may get a lot of impressions but no clicks even if you are among the top 3 results on Google.
Look at the image below. When I search for “affiliate programs that don’t require approval“, a chrome extension shows that the 1st result has got zero site visitors for the URL, but the second result has got 1200 site visitors per month on this URL.
This is because the second result is more targeted (as only beginners will look for no-approval affiliate programs) and attractive.
- The SEO difficulty shown by keyword research tools is not always accurate. You can do your own research to find out the SEO difficulty of a keyword. Just type in a long-tailed keyword that you found and look in the search results if they have sites like Quora, Reddit, or Pinterest in the top 10 results. If yes, this means that you can easily rank for that keyword with proper on-page SEO.
- This is because Sites like Quora and Reddit don’t answer any queries directly. These are considered low-value content sites. If they rank, then you can also easily rank with high-quality content. It is a golden rule to remember.
Best Keyword Research Tools: Final Thoughts
Keyword research is one of the most important aspects of running a blog. Your organic traffic from Google will solely depend upon a well-laid keyword research strategy.
Long tail keywords which are easier to rank for are very challenging to find. If you are a beginner, you cannot expect to rank on the first page of Google search results with seed keywords.
Fortunately, the internet is full of amazing keyword research tools that help you in finding that perfect keyword that will change the game. You saw some of the best keyword research tools in this article.
If you find this article helpful, consider sharing it with your friends and the people who you think might benefit from it.
Thank you and best of luck!
Ali is a passionate and experienced blogger with a mission to teach others how to start their own blog, monetize it, and become successful in the process. He shares the lessons he’s learned on his own journey through personal anecdotes and factual examples.