11 Best Keyword Research Tools for Growth Hackers
A content piece always starts with an idea. The idea is what drives the words from the top of the page to the very bottom. Books, essays, and of course, blog posts each have something in common, and that’s that they all start with a concept or an idea. But, when it comes to writing on the web — ideas alone rarely get the attention that they deserve. Instead, writers who publish exclusively on the web need to understand the importance of keyword research.
Keywords are like ideas, but more concise and well-rounded. An idea is something large, whereas a keyword helps to narrow that idea down to the very necessities. Needless to say, keywords are also how search engines work; your main source of organic traffic.
A search engine understands a web page by many different metrics, but keywords are arguably the most important one. Since without a keyword, search engines like Google won’t know what kind of traffic to send your way.
What is keyword research exactly?
The simple way to understand keyword research is to look back on your personal experience with search engines. When you search for something on Google or another search engine, you’re using a specific keyword. Afterward, you’re presented with a search engine results page (SERP) which contains links relevant to your keyword. And then you decide which page answers your question in the most satisfying manner.
So, keyword research is about understanding what the user is searching for. If you know the exact keywords and long-tail keyphrases, then you can more mindfully produce content that matches those keywords. In return, search engines can better understand what it is that you’re writing and sharing about.
With billions of searches happening on a daily basis — it pays to use tools in order to research keywords. In the modern content age, it’s tough to rank for broad keywords without much substance. Instead, content creators will do get much better results if using precise keywords that are actually being searched for by curious people.
And that’s where you need keyword research tools. If you want to quickly understand what people are searching for and what the latest trends are, then doing research on keywords is the quickest way to get there.
Our roundup covers the best free keyword research tools that you can find. And we’re also adding a few premium choices because if you’re going to be serious about researching keywords, you might as well go big from day one.
Neil Patel is a recognizable name in the SEO marketing industry. His blog QuickSprout goes back nearly a decade, with consistent delivery of marketing related content. A few years back, Neil decided to diversify his personal brand and launched NeilPatel.com. While the site is mostly known for its blog posts, more and more people turn to this site because of Ubersuggest.
What is Ubersuggest? It’s a simple-to-use browser tool that generates keywords by fetching the data from Google Autocomplete. E.g. You put in a core keyword, and Ubersuggest gives you back all the related keywords. You can also search for images and other types of content.
As per Neil himself, “Ubersuggest is capable of recommending keywords that you can’t find inside the Keyword Planner’s database. The tool has grown a lot to provide a fully accessible browser-based keyword research solution.
Need additional ideas for keywords? Ubersuggest can decipher core phrases to make a list of long-tail keywords for additional content. Also, the platform reports keyword volume, competition ratio, and graphs that depict keyword trends.
Last but not least, this tool can help you analyze keyword status, and filter out any keywords that might be harmful to your business operations.
You might best know Ahrefs for its world-class backlink analysis platform. But, the company has been expanding a lot in recent years and is now a prominent competitor in the keyword research field, too. The Keywords Explorer houses some 3+ billion keywords, and the database is growing each day.
The emphasis is on the word ‘competitor’. There’s no shortage of keyword tools on the market, so Ahrefs wanted to take it a step further. It’s their passion to build products that blow their customers’ minds. Other than a large keyword database, Ahrefs also provides Search Volume data for both local and global markets. Further, their algorithm can analyze keyword relevancy based on clicks.
And that’s just a handful of features making this tool so appealing.
Here’s a list of additional key features:
- Suggestion algorithm. Keep getting new and fresh ideas for all the keywords you supply. Ahrefs does more than just simple recommendations. The platform wants to expand your content abilities by suggesting new and relevant keywords.
- Truly Global. Ahrefs Keywords Explorer has data from hundreds of countries, versus the limited US or UK-only databases that other tools work with.
- Keyword difficulty. Save yourself a ton of time by not having to analyze how hard it’s going to be to rank for a specific keyword. Instead, Ahrefs provides ‘KD Score’ that shows how difficult it is to rank for any given keyword.
- SERP History. Check the history rankings for each keyword and monitor which pages have gone up or down in rankings. The history is kept for one year at all times.
- Advanced metrics. Get the advanced metrics no other tool will show you: return rate, clicks per search, % of clicks, % of paid clicks, and more!
And so many other juicy features!
Don’t let that interestingly-looking man disturb your attention. This is a top-grade keyword tool you’ll want to bookmark right away. So, what is it and what does it do?
Answer The Public helps you understand what kind of questions people are asking for a specific keyword. E.g. If you put in the keyword ‘web design’, then ATP will output keywords with added interrogatives: how, why, who, when, where, what and so forth.
As a result, you can get hundreds of new content ideas (based on real data!) for your core keyword. In other words, it works similarly to a long-tail keyword suggestion tool. But the data is real, which makes this tool so special.
Google’s RankBrain is known to pick up on content qualities such as ‘intent’. And with this tool, you can write better content by including concise answers to questions that people are actually asking.
In the above example, I’m looking up suggestions for the keyword ‘wordpress plugins’. Already, Answer the Public is recommending me 83 questions with different interrogatives. The main thing to notice here though is just how precise these questions are.
- how to install wordpress plugins manually
- how to update wordpress plugins
- how to create wordpress plugins
- how to sell wordpress plugins
- how to update wordpress plugins manually
As you can tell, these are legitimate keywords that can drive traffic. And that’s what makes ATP such a magical tool. Apart from questions, there are also related keywords, alphabetically sorted (many results), comparisons, and prepositions.
In total, for this one keyword, I was able to generate 700+ real suggestions. And that’s for a heading keyword, too. You can totally go deeper and try to find even better long-tail keywords.
Do you write content for the web? If the answer is yes, then you’re likely familiar with the concepts of keywords. You know, those few special words that help search engines understand what your content is about. But finding good keywords isn’t exactly an easy task. Bigger keywords are already supersaturated, and finding new ones takes some effort.
If you want your website to get traffic from Google or other search engines, you need to make sure that it contains content created around the right keywords. What this means is that you should be utilizing words that your potential audience is already using while looking for similar content, products or services online.
Unless of course, you’re using the Keyword Tool. This little beast can fetch all kinds of interesting keywords from the Google Autocomplete function. Best of all, the Keyword Tool is free and work with other platforms like Bing, YouTube, Amazon, eBay, Instagram, and the App Store. That’s an enormous amount of high-traffic sources to scavenge for new keyword ideas.
What is Google Autocomplete?
It’s all those on-point keywords you get suggested whenever you start typing inside the Google Search Bar. Essentially, Autocomplete keywords are relevant things that people search for in relation to your original keyword. Now, imagine getting access to all these keywords instantly but also from other leading sites. That’s the beauty of the Keyword Tool.
Google does actually care for its users by itself. Meaning, Google provides plenty of outlets for you to explore keywords and other search data. But because everyone loves to hype up big marketing tools, a lot of these outlets fail to see much sunlight. Google Correlate is perhaps one of the least mentioned keyword tools on the web, but for the value it provides — it’s one of the better ones.
The way that Google Correlate works is that it pools together keyword groups. E.g. You enter a keyword, and get an output of keywords that the same people searched for in other sessions. This way, you can build a strong case for keyword similarities and adapt your content strategy.
If you’re writing content for less explored niches, then doing correlation searches can broaden your audience understanding. And it’s so easy to export the keywords, too.
Google Trends is also one of those Google products that don’t get to sit in limelight often. But with all the updates that Trends has been getting lately, it’s worth to take another look at it. If only for research purposes on special occasions.
Besides providing concise trend data, Google Trends also helps to understand how trends develop. And how a specific topic has changed over time. The default homepage gives a clear promotion for rising keywords, letting you know the markets which you could be exploring next.
In this example, I am looking up the latest trend statistics for ‘WordPress themes‘ — a niche that won’t go down under any time soon. Now, in the past, Google only provided some metrical data based on popularity. Whereas now, you can explore Related Topics and also Related Queries. These are potential keyword opportunities for the topic that you’re exploring.
KWFinder from Mangools is a sophisticated but ituitive keyword research software for finding long-tail phrases. The smooth user interface translates into an accessible user experience. Simply type in a keyword and you’ll instantly get results for trends, search volume, keyword difficulty, and values like CPC.
Furthermore, you can inspect each keyword individually, just click on your preferred keyword and explore different search statistics, including SERP results. Besides search data, there’s also information on backlinks, social media, and average incoming traffic.
This level of complexity is possible because Mangools develops other SEO tools, namely, LinkMiner, SerpWatcher, and SerpChecker. Unfortunately, this is not a free tool though. But an investment worth considering nonetheless.
WordStream, a Google-partner, has been building marketing software for decades. Their passion and zeal for helping marketers improve their ROI is exceptional. And despite having their hands deep in the advertising biz, WordStream also builds products for SEO experts. In particular, their free keyword tools are amazing products to incorporate in your daily workflow.
The free keyword research tool provided by WordStream is slightly limited. Wit 30 results per search it can feel slow, but is a good alternative to use if you don’t wish to invest in other tools yet.
As with other tools, simply type in a keyword and the app will return concise suggestions. During different tests that I did, the accuraccy seemed to be spot on. When searching for ‘page builder’ — I got recommendations for “create a website” and “how to use a page builder”, so it’s fairly accurate.
One thing I would note here is that you need to disable your AdBlocker, otherwise the widget on the page won’t load and it will look like a plain landing page.
Do you feel like your competition is eating up your rankings? If you can’t beat their tactics, at least try to understand how they work. Jaaxy provides critical metrics into keyword performance and analysis. This tool can analyze keywords so that you can understand why and how a particular keyword is performing so well.
In addition, Jaaxy pulls data not only from Google but also Bing and Yahoo. As a result, there’s near-100% coverage for all available keywords on all three search giants.
With billions of keywords already in the database and millions more added each month — Jaaxy is unlike any other keyword research tool. Their strength is their custom database. You can perform complex keyword searches, but also analyze unique ranking data.
E.g. Jaaxy can check how many websites are trying to rank for a specific keyword. If the number is low, you have a much better chance of getting to page #1.
Soovle pulls keywords from a long list of platforms. The full list includes: Wikipedia, Google, Answers.com, Bing, YouTube, Overstock, Buy.com, eBay, Yahoo!, and Amazon. As you can tell, Soovle lets you pull from a lot of eCommerce platforms. So, if you’re working with eCommerce then adding this tool to your keyword reseearch worfklow is pivotal.
And it works so simply too. Just open the website, type in a keyword and hit the Soovle button. Keywords are pulled in real-time, so you can get a glance overview for the best related keywords. There’s also a ‘Top’ feature which shows the top keywords (alphabetically) for any given day. Find out what’s trending and start writing relevant content.
The market for great keyword tools is ripe. What you have here is arguably the best tools for performing keyword research. And they’re going to remain the best for the foreseeable feature.
Whether new developments are possible in this field isn’t known yet, but perhaps with the growth of machine learning, we can expect a new generation of keyword tools to enter the market soon.
Let us know how you tackle keyword research on a daily basis, and whether we have missed your favorite tool to use! If so, we would love to check out your recommendations and even consider adding them to this list.