I can’t emphasize this enough, If you really want Google to send you more visitors, you should strongly consider investing in a keyword research tool.
Until a few years ago, doing keyword research on your own was much easier.
You could simply sort keywords in the Google Keyword Planner one-by-one.
Also, you could manually evaluate your competitors that are ranking on the first page for your target keywords.
But that time is long gone.
Sure, you can repeat the process but the truth is you need a lot of data to figure out whether a given keyword will work for you or not.
And to solve that problem you’ll need a keyword research tool.
Because within a few minutes of doing research, you can find out the best keywords to target and outrank your competition.
But which keyword research tools are best for you and your business?
Well in this post, I will show you how simple it can be to conduct keyword research for SEO.
More specifically, I’m going to discuss 5 tools that can help you do it, I will also show you an overview of how they work and their key features.
Let’s do this!
1. Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is the best place to begin your keyword research.
I know I have criticized (a little) it above but of course, this is on the list.
If you are relatively new to keyword research and just want some quick information on search volume and competition level of a few keywords you have in your mind, this is a great tool to use.
Just enter your specific keywords that you want to track, and then view the results.
For example, a search for the phrase, “men shoes,” generates the following:
You’ll be able to see the average monthly searches and competition level, there is another column that shows the AdWords suggested bid.
This may not be important to you now, but, if you ever decide to run ads on Google it will come in handy.
Generally, It is designed for advertising, but you can also use it as a base to build long tail keywords with the help of some of the other tools below.
Ubersuggest is a simple keyword research tool that will give you enough keywords that you’ll need to make informed decisions.
By using this tool, you can have access to multiple low competitive key phrases and long tail keyword variations that can be used in your PPC or content marketing.
To get started, Visit Ubersuggest, enter your seed keyword (e.g., conversion rate optimization) into the search box and click “Suggest.”
The only drawback of this tools is it gives no data about the monthly searches or competition level of the displayed keywords.
However, you can put your selected keywords in Google keyword planner to find the average search volumes and competition easily.
And this tool is completely free to use, so complaining about this is not justified.
3. Moz Keyword Explorer
Keyword Explorer is a new tool by Moz that has a ton of exclusive features that can definitely add some extra dimension to your keyword research.
First, head over to the Keyword Explorer page and enter a seed keyword:
It will show you lots of data about that keyword:
Just like any other keyword research tool, it will show you statistics like monthly search volume and competition level.
What makes Moz Keyword Explorer a great research tool is the additional things it offers.
As you can see in the image above they are providing information on difficulty, opportunity, and priority.
What does it mean, you will ask.
Well, here’s the answer.
Difficulty – It’s a score from 0 (easy) to 100 (difficult) that estimates how difficult it is for you to rank higher than current on the first page of search results. (Learn more about it here)
Opportunity – It’s a score from 0 (easy) to 100 (difficult) that estimates the relative click-through-rate of organic web results (first 10) for this keyword. When other SERP features (ads, verticals, etc) compete for searcher attention, this score is lower. (Learn more about it here)
Priority – It’s a score from 0 (easy) to 100 (difficult) that combines all of the other metrics, including your custom Importance score. Higher priority represents a sweet spot of higher volume and opportunity with a lower difficulty. (Learn more about it here)
So, If you have already created a list of keywords with a different tool (such as Ubersuggest), you can easily upload them to Moz Keyword Explorer to get more insights and start prioritizing.
If you are looking for a free solution, Moz may not be the most effective choice for you.
Sure, you can search for five queries per day for free, but after that, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan if you want to search more…
Their pricing starts from $99/month and goes up to $599/month, you can save 20% on a yearly subscription.
Of course, they provide a free 30-day trial so you can test it and see whether it’s a good fit for you or not.
4. Keyword Tool
Keyword tool is one of the best keyword research explorer that you can use to find out what your potential customers are searching on google.
This tool uses Google Autocomplete data to generate hundreds of relevant long-tail keywords for any topic.
Here’s how it works.
Visit KeywordTool.io, enter a seed keyword in the search box, choose your country domain, choose your language, and click on the search icon.
For instance, I have entered ‘create online store’, selected ‘google.com’ as domain, ‘English’ as the language, and clicked on the search icon.
Here’s what you’ll see:
As you can see, it has found 217 unique keywords for ‘create online store’, the same way you can do it for your targeted keywords.
And you know the best thing about this tool?
It will also show you some questions that users are searching on Google for your targeted keyword.
As you know, I have selected ‘create online store’ as my keyword.
When I clicked on ‘questions’ tab which is next to ‘keyword suggestions’, here’s what comes up.
As you can see, it is showing some of the questions that users have searched on Google.
How it will help you get more traffic?
All you have to do is create content on your website around these topics, and let the visitors roll in.
This tool is free for the first 750+ keyword suggestions, after that, you need to sign up for the pro version.
With paid version of Keyword Tool, you will have access to search volume, CPC on AdWords, and competition. (You can also export your results to CSV)
The ‘pro plus’ plan costs $88 a month, and I will recommend you not to pay for paid version.
Rather, I’d recommend you to invest in other tools for the price.
You can get your work done with the free version itself, so there’s no need to pay money for this tool.
When it comes to keyword research, SEMrush is my all time favorite, hands down.
It’s not just keyword research tool, it’s so much more, or I will say it’s a complete SEO package. (I really mean it)
SEMrush works a bit differently than the keyword research tools I have shown you so far.
Unlike other tools where you need to enter seed keywords to get a list of keyword ideas, here you just need to enter your competitor URL.
And it will show you all the keywords that your competition already ranks for.
Here’s how it works.
First, head over to the SEMrush homepage and enter your competitor URL.
For instance, I have entered “wpbeginner.com” in the search box.
If your business is in a country outside of the US (for example, in Google.co.in), you can choose to see information about that specific country.
Just choose that country from this menu, you can do this research for more than 131 different countries.
Now, take a look at the next section:
Here’s what the different terms in that section mean.
Organic Research – You will find data related to a domain’s organic traffic, keywords that a domain is ranking for in Google’s top 100 organic search results, keywords ranking distribution, and the domain’s organic competitors.
Paid Search – You will find data related to a domain’s paid traffic and it’s cost, Ad copies, keywords that the domain appears in Google’s paid search results, keywords ranking distribution, and the domain’s paid competitors.
Backlinks – This section provides data on the numbers of the domain’s backlinks, the ratio between follow and nofollow links, referring websites, IPs, and TLDs.
Display Advertising – This section provides data on the domain’s presence on the Google display network including the number of ads and publishers, text and media ad sample, and promoted landing pages.
In the next section, you will find data related to ‘top organic keywords’ and ‘organic position distribution’.
By default, the box will show you the top five keywords that your competitors are ranking for. If you want to see more, click on “View full report”.
In the next section, you will find the main organic competitors of your competitor.
In the next section, you can see your competitor’s top paid keywords.
Heck, you can even see the exact ad copies!
And still, there’s so much you can do with SEMrush!
Overall, this tool will show everything your competition is doing, so that you can plan your content marketing, PPC marketing, backlink profile accordingly, and beat out your competition.
SEMrush is a paid tool, their pricing starts from $99.95 per month and goes up to $399.95 per month, and with annual plans, you can save up to $800.
They provide a 7-day free trial, I encourage you to give it a try (Click here to start it).
Before I conclude this post, Let me tell you why I have selected only 5 keyword research tools, not 10, 20 or even 30!
The truth is you shouldn’t be using more than 3 tools at the same time, as many provide the same level of features, and all of them will be able to give you the information you need about the keywords you are interested in.
Robbie Richards asked 61 online marketing experts a simple question.
If you could only use 3 tools for keyword research, which 3 would you choose?
Here are the top keyword research tools recommended by the experts.
As you can see SEMrush was the most voted (36 votes), followed by Google Keyword planner (33 votes) and Keywordtool.io (10 votes).
If you have money to spare but you’re confused about so many options available out there, I’d recommend you go with SEMrush.
Do you have experience with any of these keyword research tools? Which ones are your favorite? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.