Keyword research is vital to anyone doing SEO. You could have the best niche in the world with no competition but if you don’t know what keywords to target within your content then you’re still not going to rank highly in Google search results.
Think of keyword research as the foundation upon which your website is built, if you get it wrong then nothing else will matter.
Years ago keyword research used to be a time-consuming task, but with the creation of keyword research tools it couldn’t be any easier.
Let’s cover the top keyword research tools available in the market today.
What is a Keyword Research Tool?
A keyword research tool is something that helps you find topics to write about in your specific niche. You type in seed keywords surrounding your niche and the tool will give you a list of keywords along with how many people are estimated to search that term per month.
They are also great at helping you with competitor analysis. All you have to do is enter their domain and the tool will give you a full list of every keyword your competitor is ranking for. This is particularly helpful when you find a competitor with a low DR (domain rating) that’s ranking for lucrative keywords as they can be easily outranked.ha
Now we know what a keyword research tool is, let’s look at the benefits of using one.
3 Benefits of Using A Keyword Research Tool
No doubt the number one benefit of using a keyword research tool is to identify new keywords to increase your website’s organic traffic.
By entering a seed keyword into the tool, you can get a comprehensive list of long-tail keywords. You can then target these keywords in your article.
The next benefit to using a keyword research tool is the ability to identify your competitors. With many tools you can find all of your competitors, what keywords they’re ranking for and from where they get backlinks from.
Competitor analysis is extremely important in SEO as you can find low competition keywords that you wouldn’t have found without the help of a keyword research tool.
Monitor your websites progress
Not only are keyword research tools beneficial for competitor analysis, but they help you to analyze your own website to increase your traffic and improve your rankings.
These tools can show your own websites keywords, where the keywords are ranking and other things like what backlinks you have. You can then use this information to improve your SERP position.
For example, the tool will tell you if a keyword has lost a position in google, which you can then further inspect to find out why and then fix it.
The 8 Best Keyword Research Tools
#1 – SEMRush
At number one we have SEMrush, it’s not only a keyword research tool but an ‘All-in-one marketing tool kit’, as they call it.
It’s keyword research features include : keyword overview, keyword magic tool, keyword manager, position tracking and organic traffic insights.
While using SEMrush the majority of your time will probably be spent in the keyword overview section. This is where you get most of the information like keyword difficulty, volume, keyword variations and a number of other things you can see below.
Inside the keyword research section my favorite feature has to be the Keyword magic tool. Here you can find the average keyword difficulty of a keyword, and the total volume and you can use the filter to set it to questions, broad match, or exact match.
When it comes to competitor analysis SEMrush is also one of the very best tools to use. You simply plug your competitor’s URL in and it will compile a list of keywords they rank for, the amount of organic traffic they are getting, and the number of backlinks they have.
- Perfect for SEO as a whole
- Tracking organic traffic
- Easily scope out your competitors with their ‘main organic competitors section
- Easily identify keywords by their intent (informational, transactional, commercial, navigational)
- Expensive for a new blogger
- User interface could be faster and improved
SEMrush currently have 4 pricing plans available.
- Pro : $119.95 per month
- Guru : $229.95 per month
- Business : $449.95 per month
If you need something bigger you will have to contact them for a custom plan.
They do offer a 7-day free trial in which you can test out all of the functionalities and decide if SEMrush is the keyword research tool you want to go with.
#2 – Ahrefs
Ahrefs is one of the most popular keyword research tools on the market right now, and for good reason. Similar to SEMrush not only is it a great tool for keyword research but SEO as a whole.
If you decide to get it for keyword research then the majority of your time will be spent using Ahrefs’ keywords explorer.
In this section you’ll find the monthly search volume, keyword difficulty, and an array of other tools to help you gain more organic traffic.
One of my favorite things about Ahrefs is that you can check which keywords your competitors are ranking for, but you are not. This means you can cover all topics in your niche without missing out on valuable keywords.
Another feature that Ahrefs has is the estimated traffic for pages 1-9 on Google. This means if you can’t rank 1-3 for a certain keyword you can use Ahrefs’ estimate to see if the page on the 9th result is getting adequate traffic.
You can the use this information to decide if the keyword is worth it or not to go after.
- Perfect for keyword research, competitor analysis and link building
- You can track your rankings
- Perform SEO audits
- Find keywords your competitor ranks for that you currently don’t
- There is no free trial
- Quite expensive
If you’re on a budget then look away now as Ahrefs isn’t a cheap keyword research tool.
- Lite : $99 per month
- Standard : $199 per month
- Advanced : $399 per month.
- Enterprise : $999 per month
Unfortunately Ahrefs scrapped their $7 for 7 day trial so unlike SEMrush you can’t get to try it out for free.
It is quite expensive but you get what you pay for. Ahrefs, if used correctly will end up paying for itself over the coming months as it will definitely help you increase organic traffic.
#3 – KeywordChef
KeywordChef is one of the newer keyword research tools on the scene, but age doesn’t relate to how good it is. It’s an easy to use powerful tool that allows you to find low competition keywords and even export them into a spreadsheet document.
It comes with three main features : SERP checker, discover feature and keyword filters. Let’s look into them.
For this feature you type a keyword and it automatically scans the SERPs to tell you what kind of pages are ranking. For example it will tell you if there are multiple forums on the first page, which is good news as they are easy to outrank.
The discover feature is the main focus of KeywordChef, it’s the page you’ll see once you log in. It’s where you’ll enter your chosen keywords to be researched in further detail.
This feature lets you filter keywords further for your chosen need. For example if you have a number of keywords but only want to see ones with a maximum of 1000 monthly search results, you’ll do so by applying a keyword filter.
- Simple easy to use
- Automatically export keywords into a spreadsheet
- An affordable keyword research tool
- You can use up a lot of credits easily
- You don’t get a keyword difficulty rating like other tools
KeywordChef has three pricing options :
- Starter : 1,200 credits = $20 per month.
- Plus : 10,000 credits = $100 per month.
- Pro : 50,000 credits = $250 per month.
#4 – Ubersuggest
Next up we have Neil Patel’s keyword research tool ubersuggest.
Features of ubersuggest are the basic keyword difficulty, monthly searches, and the number of backlinks a page has. One thing I like about this tool is it’s easy to read data, as the tool is simply designed and not too over the top.
With some keyword research tools, the information can all seem a bit overwhelming however with ubersuggest a complete beginner could understand it.
Similar to Ahrefs this tool is also able to tell you the estimated amount of visits each page gets in the SERPs.
One thing ubersuggest does differently is they show the number of shares a post has gotten on Facebook, Pinterest, and Reddit. This can be helpful if you run social media accounts alongside trying to gain organic traffic.
- Easy to understand design
- Affordable for newbie bloggers
- Created by Neil Patel
- Great for finding longtail keywords
- Competitor analysis could be better
- Keyword difficulty isn’t very reliable
This tool uses a free and paid version, however, if you’re at all serious about keyword research then you’ll need to opt for the paid version as the free one only gives you three daily searches.
Ubersuggest offer three pricing plans :
- Individual: £29 ($35) per month.
- Business: £49 ($60) per month.
- Enterprise/Agency : £99 ($122) per month.
When it comes to SEO and keyword research Neil Patel knows what he’s talking about, so it’s no surprise he created a quality tool.
#5 – LowFruits
LowFruits focus is on finding longtail keywords from Google.
To use LowFruits you will take your niche and search for an initial seed keyword. For example, if you’re in the furniture niche then you will search: “Best sofa for *. This will give you a list of longtail keywords all starting with ‘Best sofa for’ providing you with numerous keywords that are likely low competition.
Other features allow you to filter out results if you provide a certain word. For example, if you don’t want to see forum posts you can type a list of forums in the negative keywords section.
- Great for finding longtail keywords
- It’s able to tell you what keywords you have already analyzed
- You get 10 free credits without paying
- Limited SEO functions compared to other keyword research tools
LowFruits currently offers a 4 tier pricing plan :
- $0 = 10 free credits
- $25 = 2000 free credits
- $100 = 10,000 free credits
- $250 = 50,000 free credits
#6 – Long Tail Pro
Long tail pro is another paid tool on our list, which has a specialty in finding long tail keyword phrases according to them.
Long tail keywords are one of the best ways to find low-hanging fruit in your niche that competitors aren’t writing about. This essentially gives you a free pass to the top of the SERPs after writing an article about the long tail keyword.
Long tail pro provides you with the usual monthly search volume, and keyword difficulty along with assessing each competitor that’s ranking for the keyword.
They also have a tracker you can use to monitor how well your keywords are doing in the SERPs. Tracking your keywords is vital to understanding what pages are doing well and the ones you need to improve.
- Excellent at finding longtail keywords
- Built in keyword tracker
- Good support hub
- A clean user interface
- Not suited towards beginners
Long Tail Pro Pricing
There are three tiers in which you can choose from :
- Starter: $37 per month.
- Pro: $67 per month.
- Agency : $147 per month.
There is also an $8 free trial you can use for 8 days to decide if Long Tail pro is the tool for you without paying a monthly fee.
#7 – KW Finder
Perhaps the best value keyword tool on our list is KW finder, as it only costs $29 a month.
It’s got an easy-to-understand interface similar to Ubersuggest only, it’s slightly cheaper by a couple of dollars.
KW finder has all the necessary functions you would expect from a keyword research tool like competitor analysis, how hard the keyword will be to rank, and monthly search volumes.
What I love about this tool is that it displays all the necessary information about a keyword clearly on one page. For example below a search for ‘best coffee maker’ shows us : keyword difficulty, monthly search estimates, longtail keywords, SERP analysis and everything else you need all clearly without you having to click to different areas of the tool.
It also comes with a tool that allows you to search local keywords which is extremely helpful if you want to rank for keywords in a specific area.
- The user interface is extremely easy to read and understand
- Allows you to find questions around keywords for more informational content
- It shows you trends for keywords so you know if they are seasonal or evergreen
- Could improve on competitor research
- Not suitable for users who do a lot of keyword research
KW Finder Pricing
- Mangools Basic : $29.90 per month.
- Mangools Premium: $39.90 per month.
- Mangools Agency: $79.90 per month.
KW finder also comes with a completely free 10-day trial, which should be long enough for you to decide if you want to use the paid version.
What Is The Best Keyword Research Tool?
Ultimately the answer is going to come down to your needs, budget, and experience.
The newbie blogger is going to require a different keyword research tool compared to the veteran who’s running multiple different websites.
If you are brand new to blogging I would suggest going with one of the cheaper tools like KWfinder as many people will give up when they don’t see immediate results. It has all the functions you need to get all your keyword research done while you’re website is still in the early stages.
Overall I think SEMrush is the best keyword research tool on the market right now. It’s got everything you need to succeed and grow your business into a nice little money earner.
I hope you found this article helpful and can now successfully use all of the information in this guide to choose the best keyword research tool for you!