free keyword research tools

This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you purchase through links I provide. Read the full disclaimer.

If you’ve ever done manual keyword research on your own, you can probably see the appeal of a keyword research tool. Sure, keyword research is effective, but it can also seem a bit hit-or-miss, and you may spend more time researching keywords than you’d prefer. This is where free keyword research tools come in handy. To use one of these, just have a few basic keywords at your fingertips, and get ready to make some more – and fast!

Soon, you’ll have a nice, long list of likely keywords, sure to help you rank. Many keyword research tools will also allow you to conduct website audits, competitor analysis, and even more useful stuff.

What Is Keyword Research and What Can It Do for You?

So, what is keyword research, exactly? When it comes to online marketing, keyword research is its heart and soul. Keyword research is the key to top-quality SEO (search engine optimization). It is the process of searching for keywords and keyword combinations that are trending, top-ranking, new, etc.

The idea is to ensure that your SEO is up-to-date and that your website ranks, and will continue to do so. When you’re doing it on your own, keyword research can be rather time-consuming and complex. That’s what keyword research tools are for!

The Three Main Types of Keywords?

Before you start trying out the keyword research tools, it’s useful to know the three main types of keywords, which are seed keywords, body keywords, and long-tail keywords:

Seed Keywords

A seed, to represent the seed keywords that are used in keyword research

Image by InspiredImages from Pixabay

A seed keyword is a single-word keyword, entered into a search engine or keyword research tool in order to generate more keywords. Hence, the name ‘seed’ keyword. These are the keywords from which the rest will grow. For example, ‘hamster,’ would be considered a pretty typical seed keyword. Or, ‘hotel,’ etc.

Body Keywords

This brings us to body keywords. These are usually made up of two or more words, to create a descriptive sentence or phrase. So, ‘hamster’ would become ‘hamster care,’ and ‘hotel,’ ‘Venice hotel,’ etc. As you can see, it is all about narrowing the search results down to a specific viewer (and potential click or customer).

Long-Tail Keywords

Last, but certainly not least, we have the long-tail keywords. These are perhaps the most effective keywords if you know how to use them properly. ‘Peruvian hamster hair care’ or ‘historical Venice hotel 2020 remodel,’ etc. Long-tail keywords will act as arrows, naturally guiding online browsers right to your virtual doorstep, otherwise known as your website.

Long-tail keywords are best combined with seed keywords and body keywords, though you will want more long-tail keywords than any other. You only need a few seed keywords. Body keywords fall somewhere in the middle. The bottom line is that you will need a balanced mix.

The Top 10 Free Keyword Research Tools

If you are an online writer or marketer, you’ve doubtless done manual keyword research before. That is, you’ve entered a keyword into a search engine toolbar yourself. Then, you’ve compared the results to another web browser. Or, you’ve simply entered a seed keyword to see which words most commonly show up along with your seed keyword. You can come up with a decent keyword starter-list this way at least.

However, you can achieve much more with a keyword research tool. There are even free keyword research tools for those looking to save a buck. Even the free keyword research tools online will not only generate exponentially more keywords than a manual search would, but they often offer other marketing features, as well. For example, one thing you can’t do manually is look in on how your competitor is doing. The best keyword research tools, on the other hand, give you a priceless inside view.

Someone looking at free keyword research tools on a laptop to learn how to improve their SEO

Image by InspiredImages from Pixabay

The top keyword research tools can perform SEO audits, provide warnings about broken backlinks, offer recommendations, and more! Check out these great free keyword research tools for SEO:

1. Google Keyword Planner

Yes, it’s free, but you’ll need a Google Ads account. Fortunately, setting one of these up couldn’t be easier. You just need to enter your website and email address. From there, you will be able to access a dashboard that includes ‘Report,’ and ‘Tools,’ right next to each other. Select ‘Tools.’ On the left-hand side, you will see ‘Keyword Planner.’

From here, you will have the options to ‘Discover New Keywords,’ or ‘Get Search Volume and Forecasts.’ As you can see, Google Keyword Planner is a fairly in-depth tool. You can even find out how many clicks you get, and which of your keywords have been searched for the most often. What’s more, you can sort the keywords according to their number of searches and overall rank.

2 Soovle

To get started with Soovle, all you need is a good seed keyword. Enter your seed keyword and Soovle will tell you the top body and long-tail keywords, not just for one search engine, but for many of the most popular.

A picture of different kinds of social media that are key to successful online marketing

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

These include Bing, Amazon, YouTube, Yahoo, Wikipedia, and eBay, to name a few. You can easily compare the search engine results, as they all appear in a neat row.

Soovle will generate even more keywords when you give any already-generated keyword a click. From here, go to ‘Saved Suggestions.’ This is a handy little time-saving feature that will allow you to save your favorite keywords, so you can quickly refer to them later.

3. WordStream

If you’re looking for another keyword research tool similar to Soovle, WordStream’s Keyword Tool is worth a look. Just as with Soovle, you can use this keyword tool by entering a seed keyword. From here, this tool will do all of the work. In just seconds, WordStream’s Keyword Tool generates countless keywords for you to use. You can also compare the top results from Bing, Google, etc.

Next, you can learn insider data on your competitor. Specifically, learn what keywords they are trying to rank for. This is the information you need to create a better strategy!

With WordStream’s Keyword Tool, your first 30 searches are free. If after that you’re interested in using it more, they also have a free 7-day trial.

4. AdWords Keyword Generator

Do you feel like you’ve wrung all of your best keywords dry? Luckily for you and other writers and bloggers, there are still endless keywords out there to discover. Take a look at a vast list of them, with the AdWords Keyword Generator.

This generator is creative, above all. Are you having a mental block? Or, need to try out some more keywords, so you can make your SEO more effective? This keyword tool has your back.

A brain, representing using free keyword research tools to get creative with SEO

Image by DAMIAN NIOLET from Pixabay

In fact, the AdWords keyword generator specializes in digging up unique phrases that you might not otherwise think of. In the end, you’ll have more keywords than you know what to do with – at least a few of them are sure to do the trick!

5. Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest is a very simple, yet very effective keyword research tool. To get started, just add your name and website URL. Ubersuggest will show you both the best keywords for your website that you can add, and those that you are already successfully ranking for. You can even look at a record of the keywords you have used over time, and whether or not they were successful.

Also, you can learn all about your organic monthly traffic, tracked keywords, backlinks, and more.

Did you know that loading speed matters when it comes to SEO? It does, and Ubersuggest will keep you informed on your speed, so you can make sure it is up to par.

Scrabble words spelling out SEO audit, one of the best uses of free keyword research tools

Image by William Iven from Pixabay

Next, Ubersuggest can also give you an SEO audit. See what you’re doing right, and what you can do better. Ubersuggest will let you know about certain errors it encounters, and offer recommendations, as well. When it comes to online marketing and SEO, this tool is really an invaluable little helper.

6. Keyword In

At first glance, compared to some free keyword research tools, Keyword In is a little lackluster in what it has to offer. The site has two options: to generate keywords or to generate domain names. Keyword In could be fantastic for a beginner, however. All it takes is the click of a mouse, and there are endless keyword variations to discover.

7. Moz

Moz is another great keyword research tool if you’d like to find out what keywords your competition is ranking for. You can also use the tool to search for new keywords you might not yet have thought of.

Not only will you have lots of fresh new keyword ideas, but Mox will even tell you each keyword’s ranking difficulty. Mox also shows you the monthly volume of the keywords you search, SERP features, etc. So, Moz gives you access to valuable info and shows you how to best use it. In a great keyword research tool, what more can you ask for?

8. SEMrush

How to sum up SEMrush? It’s one of the most functional keyword research tools ever.

Someone writing a few of the most important aspects of SEO

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Now, this tool is not completely free, but it does offer a free trial so you can give it a good look-over. Once you’ve logged in, your dashboard will appear. Select ‘Organic Research’, and enter the domain name of your competitor. Viola – an in-depth view of what your competitors are ranking for. Perhaps there are some keywords you hadn’t yet thought to rank for on your own. SEMrush will keep you in-the-know.

A tip for using SEMrush to learn about your competitor: don’t always go for the top-ranking keywords. Simply put, sometimes these are used so often that you won’t have a chance to rank. Make sure to keep an eye out for less-used body and long-tail keywords instead. These are searched a bit less often, perhaps, but the ‘marketing space’ is also considerably freer. This is the trade-off.

SEMrush also offers a top-notch website audit, so you can improve your website more easily. This pays attention to backlinks, and whether or not they work. You will be awarded a total website Health Score so that you can keep track. SEMrush will also check for header duplicates, missing meta descriptions, and more.

The result? A truly useful tool – not just for keyword research, also for your website’s overall SEO!

9. Ahrefs

Like SEMrush, Ahrefs is one of the more semi-free keyword research tools that’s available. Specifically, you can do some basic keyword research, but to access the full spectrum of features, you’ll have to do the $7 trial (for 7 days). Search through over 8 billion top-notch keywords. Ahrefs has what your site needs to rank.

10. Wordtracker

At first glance, Wordtracker may seem almost too basic… but actually, it’s a remarkably effectively little tool. As with any quality keyword research tool online, you can do your basic seed-generated keyword search. Or, to save even more time, you can do searches in bulk.

Wordtracker also performs a ‘Fuzzy Search,’ which means that it compares your keywords to similar keywords, and bypasses typos this way. For example, if you were to search, ‘twnhouse,’ Wordtracker would instead search for ‘townhouse,’ and you would get the results you were hoping for. Handy, huh?

So, what do you think? Do any of these free keyword research tools pique your interest? Find super-effective keyword combinations, and discover what your competition is up to – better keyword research can be a real gamechanger.

Leave a Comment