I want to get you clicking around the Free Keyword Research Tools list ASAP so I’ll keep this intro short and you can skip to the end to get the links in the “Short List of the 3 Best Free Keyword Research Tools” list.
As you know, SEO is a marketing strategy focused on optimizing a business to be found on search engines. Keyword research is required because the goal of your search optimized content – from blogs, social media hashtags and web copy, to business listings and GMB account categories - is to engage with search engine users when and where they are looking for solutions your business can provide.
While technical SEO deals with the website optimizations that help search engines spiders crawl and index a site more effectively, the other side of SEO is writing and formatting all digital content in a way that search engines find it is a good match for the terms being searched by search engine users. Having the right keywords is a necessary starting point to any SEO strategy that is going to get you (or your clients) name and links in front of customers ready to make purchases.
Remember the good o’ days when Google Keyword Planner as unrestricted and awesome? Now they want you to spend money on ads to get the full feature service. And there are hundreds of paid services that will help you do keyword research or do it for you at a premium because it is an essential part of any SEO activity. But there are also free keyword research tools that provide the necessary information to get the job done when providing SEO services to smaller and local businesses.
Free Keyword Research Tools
Ubersuggest is a robust and feature-rich free tool that tackles keyword research with ease and accuracy. The keyword research is broken down into three main sections: overview, keyword ideas, and SERP analysis. The first section is a graph that breaks down the search volume over time.
You can see the search volume for any keyword in any country and language over the last 12 months, and the graph shows if the keyword is gaining or declining in popularity or if it has seasonality.
Ubersuggest also breaks down the cost per click, the SEO difficulty, and the paid difficulty with difficulty scores are from 1 to 100. The higher the number, the harder it will be to compete for that keyword. And the lower the number, the easier it is to compete.
Additional features you have to pay for on other sites is keyword ideas, content ideas, site audits, backlinks, and more. Put in your keyword or website and check it out. This keyword research tool is so good; I don’t expect it to stay free forever, so use it while you can.
Google Trends visualizes how search trends change over time. You just enter a keyword, and you will see the relative popularity of that search query over the past 12 months automatically and then you can adjust filters time period, categories, and type of searches such as google images or YouTube.
To show how this can be useful, let’s check Google Trends for the keyword “local SEO.”
Beyond basic keyword-related topics and related queries, you can see how that keyword had trended over the past hour to up to 15 years ago when apparently no one was searching for local SEO.
Ahrefs (a major provider of paid keyword tools) has an exceptional tutorial on 7 Ways to Use Google Trends for Keyword Research.
Keywords Everywhere is a Chrome and Firefox browser add-on that shows you monthly search volume, cost per click, and competition data of keywords. It adds search volume, CPC & competition data to all your favorite websites and it all shows on your SERPS pages on every search!
Once you install it you see the average searches performed over the last 12 months, the CPC amount advertisers are paying on Adwords, and the number of advertisers running adds which lets you know the competition level for that keyword. You also go “People Also Search For” data with volume metrics.
What’s really cool about this tool is you can export all this awesome data in Excel or CSV whenever you want so you don’t have to keep doing the same search to look at your data. People love this extension, and when you hit the Chrome store, you’ll see over 4,000 five-star reviews for an almost perfect user rating.
The Short List of the Best Free Keyword Research Tools
With these three tools, you really won’t have to look any further for free alternatives to high priced keyword research tools. Using just one or combining all three provides comprehensive data on exactly what people are actually searching, how often, and how much advertisers are paying to put their ads front and center on the most competitive keywords.
The Short List of the Best Free Keyword Research Tools:
Search volume of keywords is one of the most important and probably the most frequently used metric in SEO. Entire businesses are being built out of the popularity of certain search queries in on major search engines. If you want to rank in 2019, then your keywords need to align with search intent!
Please note: The data you see with free keyword research tools may not be as accurate as you’ll get with paid tools because while most keyword research tools mine their data from Google Keyword Planner and Google suggestions, they can calculate how they translate that data to you in different ways. So, while one free keyword research tool might be averaging monthly, another might be averaging yearly, or just the US, or including other variables that might give different results.
Even Google Keywords Planner is designed for Adwords and not SEO, so competition and other metrics are given only for paid search, and GKP is quick to group similar keywords so you’re not getting numbers for your specific keywords. It’s best to do your research, check a few sources, and don’t blindly trust the research data at just a glance.
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