Best Keyword Research Tools

If you’re thinking about starting a website, online side hustle, or new online business, then you can’t underestimate the value of good keyword research.

Keywords are a major component of SEO (search engine optimization).  They’re how people will find your site when they search for something in Google, on their iPhone, or anytime they use the Internet.  If your site or content ranks well for these keywords, then it will help drive the organic traffic you need to make your business thrive. So, what are the best keyword research tools out there? Let’s find out!

best keyword research tools

Best Keyword Research Tools

No matter what your budget is, you’re going to want to investigate which terms your site should rank for to connect with your target audience.  Here are six of the best keyword research tools you can use to help get you started.

1- Google Keyword Planner

02 Google Keyword Planner

What better place to get your keyword data than from Google?  

As part of their Google Ads platform, Google offers a free tool called the Keyword Planner where users can research exactly which search terms people are entering into Google and how often.

Keyword Planner is as simple of a resource as it gets.  You can use it to screen various long-tail phrases and see which ones have higher monthly organic search volume.  In addition, you’ll also see hundreds of other related search terms that you may not have previously considered using.

Price: Free with your Google account.  Just be careful not to use it too frequently at one time or Google may lock you out temporarily.

2- Ubersuggest

03 Ubersuggest

From the man whose name is synonymous with SEO, Neil Patel offers a free keyword research tool called Ubersuggest.  Purchased back in 2017 for just $120,000, Neil decided to acquire Ubersuggest as part of his shift from content marketing to more technology-driven pursuits.

Ubersuggest is what you would expect from the guru of SEO: It’s free.  The basis of the tool is that it scrapes data from the Google Keyword Planner and then presents it to the user in a more comprehensive and analytic manner.  

But then Ubersuggest doesn’t stop there.  Not only will you get valuable information such as the keyword volume, top 10 results, and related search terms, it also offers an SEO Difficulty score for your search term.  This is a huge advantage over Google Keyword Planner because Ubersuggest is effectively doing the hard work for you of analyzing the first page of Google and giving you some idea about how easy (or difficult) it would be for you to rank for this search term.

Ubersuggest has two other cool features that help put it in league with the pricier competitors:

  • Site Audit.  Enter your site and get a comprehensive breakdown of its overall SEO performance, organic traffic, backlinks, site speed, etc.  If you have any errors, you’ll also get some recommendations for improvements.
  • Backlinks.  Here you can enter a website (yours or your competition’s) and see who is linking to the site, their metrics, the anchor text, etc.

Price: Free to try (with your Google account), but very limited to the number of daily uses.  To increase uses, you have to upgrade to a paid plan starting at $29 per month (or discounted to $290 if you bill annually)

3- Long Tail Pro

04 Long Tail Pro

Since its inception back in 2011, Long Tail Pro dominated the keyword research tool space.  Originally created by Spencer Haws from and used by thousands of Internet marketers, the tool has since been sold and upgraded to be as useful as ever.

Like many of big-name SEO tools, Long Tail Pro is now a cloud-based interface.  This is a huge advantage over the traditional desktop app version because it can be accessed from anywhere across multiple computers.

Hands down, Long Tail Pro’s best feature is its Keyword Competitiveness (KC) score.  This is a calculation of how difficult it will be for you to rank in the Google top 10 search results based on such metrics as competition page authority, domain authority, backlinks, etc.  Though their algorithm is a secret, many website creators swear by the KC score and claim it has helped them to find thousands of search terms that they can rank for.

Another cool feature for Long Tail Pro is that it comes with a built-in Rank Tracker to help you determine whether or not your content is ranking.  Simply add in the page URL, target keyword, and get a daily update of how your pages are doing.

Price: Packages starting at $25 per month ($297 per year).

4- Moz Keyword Explorer

05 Moz Keyword Explorer

If there’s one website that has dominated SEO over the years, its Moz.  Originally started back in 2004 as a blog and online community called SEOmoz, Moz offers a wealth of SEO expertise and resources to Internet markers throughout the world.

Today, Moz is a complete SEO suite that comes with the Keyword Explorer tool.  Simply type in your target phrase to it and you’ll get useful information such as the search volume and related searches.  Keyword Explorer will also give you some highly useful metrics such as:

  • Difficulty score – How hard it is to rank for this keyword.
  • Organic CTR – The percentage of organic clicks coming from people browsing the top 10 search results (as opposed to clicking through paid links)
  • Priority score – Based on your projects, how aggressively you should pursue this keyword.

Price: If you create an account with Moz, then you can use Keyword Explorer for free on a very limited basis.  To ease the restrictions, you have to switch to an upgraded plan starting at $99 per month (or $79 per month if you pre-pay for the whole year).

5- SEMRush Keyword Magic Tool

06 SEMRush

SEMRush has been a well-respected premium SEO tool and keyword suite for years.  Within their array of products you’ll find their “Keyword Magic Tool” which gives you a lot of the same data as the other keyword research tools such as search volume, difficulty score, etc.

However, there’s one big difference – SEMrush can also show you which keywords your competition is ranking for as well as where their backlinks are coming from.  That’s a major selling point because it means you can basically reverse engineer your competition by stealing their keywords and reaching out to the sites that are most likely to link back to you.

Price: Packages starting at $99 per month (or discounted to $999.36 if you bill annually).  You can start with a 7-day trial for free.

6- Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

07 Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

Ahrefs has been a major player in the SEO tool space for years.  Though it started as a link index program, Ahrefs has since grown to also offer keyword research as part of its growing lineup of products to Internet marketers.

Again, like many of the other keyword research tools, you’ll get data about the search volume, related keywords, etc.  However, as part of their Keyword Difficultly score, you’ll also get something the competition doesn’t have – an estimate of how many backlinks you’ll need to rank on the first page of Google.

In addition to the keyword research, you’ll also enjoy a comprehensive breakdown of every link pointing to your site (or your competitors).  You’ll be able to see the number of backlinks over time, where every link comes from, its value, etc.

Price: Packages starting at $99 per month.  If you opt to bill annually, then you will get two months for free.  You can start with a 7-day trial for only $7.

Conclusions: Best Keyword Research Tools

When it comes to getting your website or online business noticed, it’s all about SEO and ranking highly on search engines. No matter what kind of online business or website you’re running, having the right keywords is critical. Use one of these best keyword research tools and make sure you’re getting the right words to attract users.

DJ Whiteside

DJ Whiteside is a financial enthusiast who believes in helping other people to achieve financial independence. He’s constantly looking for practical ways to optimize savings, reduce spending, and create a lifetime of passive income. DJ holds an MBA from the University of Michigan, which allows him to take an analytical approach to financial topics. He has been a financial writer since 2011 and has self-published 5 personal finance eBooks relating to saving, retirement, and financial independence.

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