Finding and using the right keyword ideas is foundational for any content creation since it can mean the difference between your page showing up for 10 Google searches vs 1,000.
Which is why there are hundreds of keyword research tools on the market right now.
To some, it might seem that the only keyword suggestion tools worth using are the ones worth buying. But it couldn’t be further from the truth.
On this list, I’ll go over 5 free keyword research tools that give their paid alternatives a good run for their money. Giving you an opportunity to improve the SEO of your website, regardless of the niche you’re working in.
1. Google Keyword Planner
Keyword Planner is Google’s in-built keyword tool. Turning to Google’s official tools, be it Ads or Search Console, should be on the agenda for any webmaster that intends to grow their website.
Keyword Planner is where your keyword research starts. You enter a few seed keywords, and Keyword Planner comes back at you with some pretty good keyword suggestions.
Along with the suggestions themselves, you get some useful info on the keywords, like the number of searches this keyword draws, the level of competition, etc.
An exceptionally useful metric is the “Historical Metrics” tab. There, you can see the yearly average search volumes of your keywords. What you’re looking for are the keywords that bring consistent, year-round traffic – safest bets.
Overall: as far as free tools go, this one is great. But it really shouldn’t be your sole solution. When used together with additional research tools, it can be excellent.
- Google providing the data
- Some good data on the keywords
- Reports can be exported
The tool itself is completely free to use. But there’s a catch. The search volume data is extremely limited.
Unless you run a paid Google Ads campaign, you won’t get any precise results, which makes it tougher to do in-depth research.
2. Rank Tracker
Rank Tracker’s free version is built to be as functional as possible for the SEO campaign on a budget.
There are no limits on the keywords you search or save. No limits on local rank tracking. Every conceivable location can be tracked without any problem.
What Rank Tracker does is it brings together 23 separate keyword tools in a single dashboard.
This includes the tools under the Google Ads umbrella as well, so Keyword Planner and Search Console are included in the software.
Without leaving the app, you can use Keyword Planner to collect a starting list of keywords. Then immediately switch to TF-IDF explorer and see which keywords are most used by your competition. Then group the keywords you get by search intent, and you’ve got yourself a huge list of keywords to use on your page.
Add a dash of some serious data on the actual keywords you’re seeing, and you’re pretty much golden.
- No limits on keywords researched and projects created
- Ability to pick a domain and look up all of its ranking keywords
- Competitive keyword research available
- Google Keyword Planner, Search Console, and Google Analytics integrations
- A lot of data on the keywords you’re researching
- All the major search engines (not only Google) supported
The free version of the software is functional and contains all of the keyword research tools you might need. However, creating branded reports, saving your projects to a cloud or seeing your rank history are features only available in the paid version.
3. Keywords Everywhere
It’s one of the best tools to use if you’re in the early stages of webpage creation and trying to come up with a certain topic, or just collecting ideas.
With this tool, every single Google search you do will have two widgets added to the SERP, showing a very sizable list of keywords to choose from.
The data source it uses is Google itself. But unlike the Keyword Planner, it doesn’t require a whole sign in process.
If you’re collecting ideas and possibly valuable topics for future content creation, this is a tool for you.
Overall: It’s one of the best Keyword Planner addendums out there, and while it’s not the be-all, end-all tool in an SEO expert’s arsenal, it’s still a fine tool that has an additional benefit of not interrupting the flow of your web surfing.
- See keyword stats as you’re searching
- Very easy onboarding
The free version of the software stops at providing you with keyword suggestions, while giving you none of the keyword analysis. In the paid version, you get a host of metrics related to the organic search volume, CPC costs, and more.
4. Answer the Public
Answer the Public is a tool with the best style. Their signature “man looking at you questioningly” is kind of iconic in the SEO community. But what about keywords?
Well, it’s a solid free keyword finder. The results presented are the extensions of the Google Autocomplete feature. This makes this keyword tool great for capitalizing on high-traffic long-tail keywords and for coming up with ideas for content.
Unfortunately, you can only look up one keyword at a time. When you’re creating a page with certain topics in mind, this kind of limitation makes the process of collecting keywords much longer than it has any right to be. You desperately need more.
On the other hand, that one keyword is really put through the SEO ringer. You see a bunch of questions sourced from “People also ask” boxes. Your keyword is tied to a bunch of prepositions, additional forms, and more.
On top of that, there’s no actual data on the keyword ideas you’re getting, so there’s no surefire way to prioritize them.
- Best style
- You can look up local results (down to a country)
- Downloadable reports
Unfortunately, you can only research three keywords a day in the free version of the software. This makes it very difficult to work with if you have a larger SEO campaign. Also absent in the free version is the ability to export your keyword ideas as a .csv file.
5. Keyword Sheeter
Keyword Sheeter is, as the name suggests, a keyword finder. It stands out among free keyword tools because, unlike most tools that just present you with a demo, it’s actually functional.
A very important point is that in Keyword Sheeter, much like in Rank Tracker, you can look up an unlimited number of keywords at a time.
And the keyword suggestion list you receive can be huge. Given enough time, the tool will give you a keyword list stretching to thousands of results.
Additionally, you can use the “Negative” and “Positive” filters to leave out negative keywords and keep what’s most relevant to you and your niche. This filtration module helps with long-tail search in a big way.
- A lot of suggestions
- You can filter the keywords
- Exportable keyword lists
Actual data on the keywords is quite limited in the free version. Keyword Sheeter’s business model allows you to look up the keywords, but in order to get a report with the full data on them – that costs you real money, or the in-app currency called “Sheet Coins”.
The market of keyword research tools is booming. There are dozens of apps on the market, both free and paid, all claiming to be “the” solution. As you see now, some of the free keyword research tools are quite valuable.
Choosing just the right tool can be a tough job, but with the tools on this list, you know where to start. Trying them out is effortless and cost-free.
Guest author: Aleh Barysevich is Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at companies behind SEO PowerSuite, professional software for full-cycle SEO campaigns, and Awario, a social media monitoring app. Aleh is a seasoned SEO and social media expert and speaker at major industry conferences.