20 Best Keyword Research Tools for SEO in 2020 [Free & Paid]

Keyword research tools

As an SEO expert, I admit the keyword research is the basic foundation of SEO.

Afterwards, other factors such as on-page optimization, compelling content, great user experience, link building, etc., come into the picture.

I know finding great keywords can be time-consuming, but it will help you to guide your content strategy for your site.

Today, I’ll discuss the free and paid keyword research tools that will allow you to:

  • Choose the most profitable keywords in your niche.
  • Select the best performing keywords based on location.
  • Analyze your competitor’s keywords.
  • Determine keyword difficulty.

Without further ado, let’s dive in.

Free Keyword Research Tools

1. Soovle

Are you one of the guys who use Google autocomplete to generate new keyword ideas?

If yes, then you’ll love Soovle.

It provides suggestions not only from Google, but from other sources as well, including Wikipedia, Yahoo, Bing, YouTube, and Amazon.

You’ve to type your targeted keyword and it will automatically generate autocomplete suggestions from all search engines.

What Did I Like?

You can save the generated keywords by drag-and-drop the particular keyword. These can be viewed in the “Saved Suggestions” and downloaded in a CSV format.

What I Didn’t Like?

The autocomplete feature does not give the most advanced ideas as you’ll get through various keyword research tools.

2. Google Keyword Planner

Google offers various tools to ease our life and its Keyword Planner is one of them that helps you to conduct keyword research.

(To use Keyword Planner, you’ll need to first set up a Google Ads account.)

You’ve to enter your targeted keyword and it will generate thousands of keyword ideas.

Further, you can filter the results based on location and language to get an insight into both global and local search level.

What Did I Like?

The results are most reliable compared to any other tool as it’s generated by Google (you’re most likely to target) itself.

What I Didn’t Like?

You cannot filter search volume by the device (mobile and desktop).

3. Google Trends

Google Trends lets you filter keywords by location, search history and category, Although you can use it in three ways.

(In below examples, “content writing” will be my searched keyword.)

Firstly, you can have “Related topics” similar to targeted keywords.

It shows users searching for your keyword also searched for these topics.

You can filter the results based on Top (most popular topics) and Rise (biggest increase in search frequency).

Secondly, you can check whether your keyword is popular or not for a given region and time.

Lastly, you can compare the trend between two or more keywords.

For example, I’ve taken “Content Writing” and “Blogging” to compare popularity.

And, you can see “Blogging” is way more popular than “Content Writing”. This helps you to choose keywords according to the popularity among users.

What Did I Like?

You can see the interest over time across Web, Image, News, Google Shopping and Youtube Search.

What I Didn’t Like?

The popularity is shown on a scale of 1-100 which means you only see relative, not absolute data.

4. Jaaxy

When it comes to finding unique long-tail keywords, Jaaxy outranks its lot of competitors.

To get started, you’ve to create a Starter account and enter your keyword. I entered “link building” and here’s what I got.

You need to first understand its metrics, it might be new for you.

  • Avg: Average number of searches per month for that keyword.
  • Traffic: Number of traffic you’ll receive if you rank on the first page of the search engines.
  • QSR: It stands for Quoted Search Results which indicates the number of websites ranking in Google for that keyword. The lower the number, the better chances of ranking #1.
  • KQI: It stands for Keyword Quality Indicator which shows the results in three variants, i.e, Normal, Poor, and Great.
  • SEO: The higher the score, the more likely you will rank for that keyword on the first page.

What Did I Like?

Comparing with other tools, Jaaxy uncovers various unique keywords that are hard to find elsewhere.

What I Didn’t Like?

No one knows how Jaaxy calculates the SEO score so it might be inaccurate to some extent.

5. Keyword Tool.io

Keyword tool offers both free and paid versions.

However, I’ve mentioned the Keyword Tool under the free keyword research tools as many bloggers use it for new ideas only.

You can use the free version for finding new keyword ideas – without even creating an account.

It will generate results from various sources, including Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon, Play Store, Instagram, Twitter, and eBay.

You can view keyword suggestions for your next blog post title that’ll do great in search.

Additionally, it’s worth a try to find long-tail keywords.

What Did I Like?

Along with Keyword Suggestions, it also generates question-based keywords.

What I Didn’t Like?

To view keyword’s search volume, trend, CPC, and competition, you’ve to invest in it’s Pro version.

6. Wordtracker

Wordtracker lets you find new keyword ideas with their search volume and competition.

If you ask me, I would suggest you use Wordtracker instead of Google Keyword Planner if you want to focus on SEO instead of paid ads.

Interestingly, it has a unique metric namely IAAT which represents the number of web pages on which the keyword appears in both title tag and anchor text.

It can be a time-consuming task to look for each keyword, so you can use Wordtracker Scout, a Chrome extension.

You need to install the extension, then visit any web page and hover over the content.

You’ll see the keywords something like this:

Image Credits: Wordtracker Scout

What Did I Like?

Low competition keywords can be easily identified.

What I Didn’t Like?

You cannot see the past monthly or yearly performance of a keyword.

7. QuestionDB

As the name suggests, it helps you to find question-based keyword ideas.

It’s not a typical keyword tool, but it can be useful for bloggers and marketers trying to grow their blog.

Currently, its database comprises more than 30 million questions and most of the question-focused keywords are pulled out from Reddit.

What Did I Like?

You can sort results by new as well as popular ideas.

What I Didn’t Like?

With the free version, you’ll only get up to 10 results per search.

8. Bulk Keyword Generator

A free keyword research tool for small businesses.

Firstly, you’ve to choose your business type.

Then, you need to select the service type.

(I have chosen “Fitness” as a business type so I’ll get service type suggestions accordingly.)

After selecting the “Service Type”, you’ve to enter your service location (one or more) and click on the “Generate Keywords”.

And, it will generate the keywords which you can download in CSV format.

What Did I Like?

You can quickly find keyword ideas based on your service location.

What I Didn’t Like?

More than 30 business types available, still it can be possible you won’t find your category.

9. WordStream’s Keyword Tool

Apart from online software for advertising management, WordStream also offers a free keyword research tool.

You can discover new keywords for both SEO and PPC campaigns.

To get started, you need to enter your keyword (or URL), industry and location.

Now, you can see the list of keyword suggestions with their search volume, CPC, and competition (across Google and Bing).

What Did I Like?

Accessing the Google Analytics keyword in real-time means new keywords will be added automatically.

What I Didn’t Like?

It works for certain types of industries only.

For example, when I searched for “link building”, it didn’t generate any keyword suggestions.

10. Ubersuggest

Last in the list, but one of the best free keyword research tools you’d find.

Once you search a seed keyword, you’ll see a lot of suggestions with search volume, trend, CPC, and SEO difficulty.

The Related Keywords tab will show you new keywords that may not be that useful.

But, you’ll be able to find keywords with low competition.

Similarly, you can also see the question-focused keywords, but I’ll recommend you use Answer The Public for the same.

I would suggest you run a Ubersuggest search after checking keywords through Google Keyword Planner.

And, you’ll find some unique and useful keywords that were not suggested by Keyword Planner.

What Did I Like?

Along with keyword suggestions, it also generates content ideas based on your keyword.

What I Didn’t Like?

Some limitations concerning target markets. For example, you cannot search results for English speakers in Egypt.

Paid Keyword Research Tools

11. KWFinder

KWFinder is a dedicated keyword research tool and one of my best findings in the early stage of my SEO journey.

I’ve used many keyword research tools to date and I can say KWFinder has the most intuitive interface.

With KWFinder, you’ll be able to:

  • Find long-tail keywords.
  • Find your competitor’s keywords.
  • Filter keywords that aren’t profitable.
  • Determine location-based keyword research.

Image Credits: KWFinder

Price: $29/month for Basic; $39/month for Premium; $79/month for Agency; 10-day free trial.

What Did I Like?

You can check how hard it will be to rank for your targeted keywords.

If you search for a keyword, it will automatically calculate the keyword difficulty, and then you can decide whether to go for that keyword or not.

What I Didn’t Like?

It doesn’t have broader SEO tool capabilities beyond keyword research.

12. Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

If you’re looking for a tool which performs an in-depth analysis of a keyword, then you must give Ahrefs Keyword Explorer a try.

What makes Ahrefs a great tool?

  • It gives thousands of keyword suggestions as it has a huge database of more than 7 billion keywords.
  • With the keyword difficulty score, you’ll come to know how hard it is to rank for your keyword.
  • You’ll receive data for 171 countries and 10 different search engines, including Google, YouTube, Bing, Baidu, Amazon, etc.
  • It shows you the estimated number of clicks you’ll receive for your keywords.

Along with keyword difficulty, Ahrefs also suggests the number of backlinks you need to rank in top 10 results (for the particular keyword).

(In our example, it says we need ~22 backlinks to rank in top 10).

Price: $99/month for Lite; $179/month for Standard; $399/month for Advanced; $999/month for Agency; 7-day trial for $7.

What Did I Like?

It has advanced SEO metrics which shows you return rate, clicks per search, % of organic and paid clicks for a keyword.

What I Didn’t Like

Not a standalone tool – which means you need to pay for the entire Ahrefs tool even if you want to use its keyword explorer tool only.

13. Term Explorer

Term Explorer is a keyword research tool that helps you to find the most profitable keywords.

You’ve to provide a seed keyword, and it will generate thousands of keyword ideas.

I’ve searched for “link building” and you can see it generated 94,816 keywords.

Now, select the best keywords and then use the Term Explorer’s other feature, i.e, Keyword Analyzer.

It shows the average monthly searches, CPC, difficulty score, relevancy, link strength and trust of a keyword.

I personally tried the tool and I must say you’ll never run out of keyword suggestions.

Price: $34/month for Basic; $97/month for Pro; $499/month for Agency.

What Did I Like?

While providing a seed keyword you can choose between Very, Moderately, and Sparsely Related Keywords.

And, it will generate keyword ideas based on that.

For example, if you want new ideas that are closely related to your keyword, then you’ll have to select “Very Related Keywords”.

What I Didn’t Like?

It’s a little bit expensive for budgeted bloggers and agencies.

14. SEMrush

SEMrush is a marketing toolkit in which keyword research is one of the features you can use.

With the keyword research feature, you’ll get useful information about keywords such as CPC, volume, trend, difficulty score, and more.

Along with getting a list of keyword ideas based on your seed keyword, you can also monitor the keywords that your competitor ranks for.

Do you’ve location-based clients?

Don’t worry!

You can choose a country as well as a device to generate more specific results.

To get started, you’ve to provide your competitor’s URL…

…and SEMrush will show you all the top pages that are ranking in the SERPs.

Now, you can analyze each page by checking the keywords that are used in those specific pages.

Price: $99.95/month for Pro; $199.95/month for Guru; $399.95/month for Business; 7-day money-back guarantee.

What Did I Like?

With the Keyword Magic tool, you can generate thousands of long-tail keywords which you can never think of on your own.

What I Didn’t Like?

The data cannot be filtered based on the city, however, it can be filtered by country.

15. Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz Keyword Explorer has 500 million keyword suggestions in total.

So, you’ll get a large number of keyword ideas for any niche (or category). Many times, I get suggestions that I can’t even think of in my dreams.

Moz gives an overview of a keyword as follows:

The keyword difficulty and monthly search volume work the same as other tools.

However, Organic CTR represents the number of clicks you’d get if you rank in top 10 search results.

And, Priority calculates on a scale 1-100. The higher the number, the better chances of ranking.

Price: $99/month for Standard; $149/month for Medium; $249/month for Large; $599/month for Premium; 30-days free trial.

What Did I Like?

It has great filtering options with which you can easily make a list of keywords that you want to target.

What I Didn’t Like?

Like Ahrefs, it’s not a standalone tool, so you’ll have to pay for the entire suite.

16. Long Tail Pro

Primarily, Long Tail Pro was built for SEO keyword research.

Although many people use it for paid ads keyword research.

You’ll find hundreds of keywords with their search volume, number of words, bid, rank value, and average keyword competitiveness.

Image Credits: Long Tail Pro

The KC (Keyword Competitiveness) lets you know how hard it is to rank on the first page of Google.

If your website is new, then I suggest you use keywords with a KC score of under 30.

Price: $37/month for Starter; $67/month for Pro; $147/month for Agency; 7-day free trial.

What Did I Like?

You can create multiple projects for multiple websites, which means you can organize your keywords per website (or category).

What I Didn’t Like?

The limit on seed keywords search is too low – currently, it’s five.

17. Keywords Everywhere

Keywords Everywhere browser add-on can be installed on Google Chrome or Firefox.

In addition to related keywords, it also shows you “People Also Search For”, which is a great way to find keywords that your target audience searches for.

It shows various metrics, including monthly search volume, cost per click, and competition score of keywords.

Price: 100,000 credits for $10; 500,000 credits for $50; 1,000,000 credits for $100; 2,000,000 credits for $200; 5 million credits for $500; 10 million credits for $1000; where 1 credit = 1 keyword.

What Did I Like?

You can directly view related keywords within your browser (Chrome and Firefox only).

What I Didn’t Like?

It totally relies on Google’s keyword data.

18. Serpstat

With Serpstat, you can see your competitors profitable keywords for which they are ranking in the search engine.

Like other premium tools, it also gives an overview, including search volume, competition, CPC, and keyword difficulty.

The keyword difficulty score is highly accurate, and you can compare it with the market leaders also.

Along with keyword suggestions, you’ll also be able to look for long-tail and question-based keywords with low competition.

Additionally, you can filter the results by location, so you’ll be able to target your audience effectively.

Price: $69/month for Lite; $149/month for Standard; $299/month for Advanced; $499/month for Enterprise; Free account with limited access.

What Did I Like?

It grants access to 230 Google and 9 Yandex databases.

What I Didn’t Like?

Data filtering is not as powerful as other paid keyword research tools.

19. SpyFu

Before we move ahead…

…I recommend you use Spyfu if you want to spy on your competitors’ most profitable keywords and paid campaigns.

When I searched “digital marketing”, it gives an in-depth overview of keyword something like this:

You’ll be overwhelmed with the results as it gives monthly search volume, estimated clicks, paid clicks, difficulty and much more.

Price: $39/month for Basic; $78/month for Professional; $299/month for Team; 30-day money-back guarantee.

What Did I Like?

You can see the organic ranking history of the websites with their best and last rank concerning your target keyword.

What I Didn’t Like?

The generated data is monthly, rather than real-time.

20. Keysearch

Keysearch is the best alternative to KWFinder and useful to find relevant and low competition keywords in any niche.

Apart from keyword research, you can also perform SEO analysis.

Image Credits: Keysearch

You can refine the results by Related Keywords, Google Suggest, Amazon Suggest, and YouTube Suggest finders.

Additionally, it allows you to see the keywords that your competitors’ are ranking for.

Price: $17/month for Starter; $34/month for Pro; 1-month free trial.

What Did I Like?

You can check keyword difficulty within your browser with its add-on for Chrome and Firefox.

What I Didn’t Like?

Daily searches and analysis are limited – even in the Pro plan.

Conclusion

Keyword research is an important aspect for SEO and if you don’t perform it in the right way – you’ll miss an opportunity to rank in the top 10.

Which tool are you using from the above list?

Or, any other which is not mentioned in the list.

Either way, leave your feedback in the comment section below.

Article by:

Akash Garg

Content Marketing Head @ Digitoolz24. Addicted to SEO, research, data analysis, and photography. He also works in a digital marketing agency and loves to help individuals, eCommerce stores, and brands establish their businesses and startup.

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