11 Best Keyword Research Tools (Free and Premium) 1

11 Best Keyword Research Tools (Free and Premium)

FREE Mini Course: Enroll into our FREE 23-Minutes Crash Course For Keyword Research Using Reddit. Click here to start your course now! (It’s absolutely FREE!)

Do you want to flood your site with organic traffic?

Well, the secret to getting targeted organic traffic is using long tail keywords and LSI keywords in your content strategy.

I have written precise guides on finding the profitable long tail keywords and LSI keywords both. Make sure you read them before reading this post.

In today’s post, I will show you the best tools to perform keyword research and find out the ones that will bring you loads of search traffic.


There are dozens of tools that help you to come up with the right keywords that have buyer intent and decent searches per month. In this post, I will introduce some of the best-in-class keyword research tools that help you boost your search traffic.

>> What you will learn from this post <<

  • Top keyword research tools
  • The pros and cons of them (which one you should use)
  • How to use the researched keywords to grow your blog.

Best Keyword Research Tools 2018:

1.  SEMRush (Premium) (30 days free trial)

SEMRush is one secret weapon that you need to beat your competition with keyword research.

While most keyword research tools aim for giving you relevant keywords based on your seed keyword, SEMRush goes a step forward by helping access over what keywords your competitor site ranks.

How it works:

SEMRush helps you to keyword research like any other premium tool, but what makes it special is it helps you to track the keywords your competitors are ranking.

This can be a huge benefit in competitor analysis. And, in finding the keywords that actually are sending traffic to your competitors.

11 Best Keyword Research Tools (Free and Premium)

To learn more about how to use SEMRush, check out my SEMrush review and SEMrush Keyword Research tutorial.

I like

  • One of the most complete suite of keyword research tools in the SEO market.
  • Allows you to hunt for keywords of your competitors and their competitors too.

I don’t like

  • One has to buy the premium plan after using the free trial version.
  • Learning curve might be a bit difficult for newbies.

Try SEMRush

2. Ahrefs Keywords Explorer (Premium)

Ahrefs holds the top spot when it comes to keyword diversity and localization.

With 5.1 billion keywords for 200+ countries in its database, it can give you keyword ideas you’d never think of yourself.

How it works:

Just type in your seed keyword and switch between five keyword suggestion algorithms depending on your needs.

Here’s what they reveal:

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    phrases containing your seed keyword as is;

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    phrases that contain terms of your seed key phrase in any order;

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    other keywords that Top 10 pages for your seed keyword also rank for;

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    search queries that Google’s Autocomplete suggests;

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    recently detected phrases with your exact-match seed keyword.

 Every algorithm will give you thousands of ideas for a single seed keyword.

No worries. With a rich set of filters, you can weed out the trash in a few clicks.

For example, set a low search volume, and you’ll see long-tail phrases that rule the show in modern SEO.

11 Best Keyword Research Tools (Free and Premium)

Ahrefs keeps competitors’ keyword strategies out in the open. Whether you’re curious about their high-performing keywords or top pages by traffic, you’ll see them all.

You can also detect what keywords your competitors rank for, but you still don’t and fill in the gap.

Just add their domains to the Content Gap report.

11 Best Keyword Research Tools (Free and Premium)

Keyword rankings don’t stand still. Enable email alerts to stay tuned for even the minor rise and drop, both of yours and your competitors.

I like

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    Largest amount of keyword suggestions, especially long-tail variations.

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    Unique metrics no other keyword tool has – Clicks and Clicks Per Search.

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    Accurate Search Volume and other metrics due to clickstream data processing.

I don’t like

  • Paid trial.

  • The free version is more for one-time tasks rather than some serious research. 

Try Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

3. Google Keyword Planner (Free)

Google keyword planner is a part of the Google adwords. It is the most popular and free keyword research tool out there. Almost any blogger, newbie or seasoned in SEO can use Google keyword planner to find out related keywords along with their search quantity.

Though the GKP was created for the adwords users to search for keywords that they can bid ads for and drive traffic to their sites, you can use it to find tons of related keywords along with their searches per month.

How it works:

To use the GKP, log in with your Google account here.

The next page is where you can enter your seed keyword and customize your filters for the resultant keywords. GKP offers a wide variety of keywords filters like location, language, negative keywords (keywords that you don’t want) etc.

11 Best Keyword Research Tools (Free and Premium)

Google keyword planner keyword research tool

PRO TIP: You can enter URLs of competitors in the landing page tab to view the keywords the web page is ranking for.

I like

  • This is the most used keyword research tool and with the knowledge of Google, GKP gives you the largest range of related keywords.
  • You can actually plug in live URLs to filter out the keywords that page is ranking or trying to rank for.

I don’t like

  • It is built for advertisers, so it has little to do with keyword competitiveness for publishers.
  • You may not find very unique keyword which no one is targeting. For best profitable keywords, you have to use other keyword research tools as well.

Try Keyword Planner

4. Keywordtool.io (Free)

Keywordtool.io is what you should be using when you want to get tons of long tail keywords for your seed keywords. This tool gives you keywords based on Google, Bing, Yahoo and apple app store for free. It provides a huge resource of keywords that would otherwise never see the daylight.

How it works:

Keywordtool uses Google’s auto complete and ubersuggest’s letter adding features (more on Ubersuggest in the next point) to pull out such huge keyword variety. Adding alphabets to the beginning and end of your seed keywords gives a natural keyword resource that can be used in your blog posts.

11 Best Keyword Research Tools (Free and Premium)

Keywords Suggestion based on seed keyword

One of the key features of Keywordtool is that it shows you the questions that can be formed using your seed keyword. Thus, you can directly use these questions in creating new blog posts that will give you organic traffic.

Keywordtool is free, but you have to pay (upgrade) to access the search volume, CPC and competition. For beginners, the free version is enough to give you large keyword sets for your keyword research projects.

I like

  • It displays a huge number of related keywords.
  • The keywords can be used as LSI keywords for your blog posts.

I don’t like

  • The free version has very less information to analyze the keyword competitiveness.
  • No information on PPC or search volume (you have to upgrade to view these).

Try KeywordTool.io

5. Long Tail Pro (Premium)

Here comes my most favorite and powerful keyword research tool. Long tail Keyword is a premium tool for all the good reasons.

Many SEOs (including me) believe that LTP helps us find keywords that could never be discoverable with Google keyword planner.

How it works:

After downloading your copy from here, you have to allow it to access your Google adwords account so that it can find the best keywords from it.

Then you start a new keyword research project with any name.

11 Best Keyword Research Tools (Free and Premium)

Enter your Project title

After this, LTP asks you to enter your seed keywords (can be anything – even completely unrelated niches like health and blogging).

11 Best Keyword Research Tools (Free and Premium)

Generate Keywords using Long Tail Pro

You can allow it to find long tail keywords containing a definite number of words. Further customizable search options include giving a definite range of searches per month, the country to target etc.

You can also filter the results based on EMD available (exact match domains), Google and Bing title competition and much more.

Long tail pro helps you to find upto 800 keywords per seed keyword entered. But the main trick here is to find relevant keywords and reuse them as seed keywords until you reach at the mine of keywords that yield pure gold.

I like

  • It is by far the best keyword research tool I have come across.
  • It gives you at least 800 keywords for each seed keyword along with their search volume, PPC, competitiveness, and top ten pages ranking on Google for it.

I don’t like

  • It is a bit slow as compared to its best competitor, SEMRush.
  • It requires you to give access to your Google adwords account for evaluating keyword.

Try LongTailPro

6. UberSuggest (Free)

Ubersuggest is a basic keyword research tool that gives you more than enough keywords by simply appending letters to the end of your query. This helps you to get access to so many long tail keywords that can be used in your upcoming niche sites or even the main blog.

Ubersuggest has been useful if you have writer’s block too. You can use this tool to get lots of blog posts ideas that will boost your creativity.

How it works:

Ubersuggest works on the principle of Google autosuggest. It appends letters alphabetically to your seed keywords and then finds all the keyword strings that come with the same letter set.

11 Best Keyword Research Tools (Free and Premium)

Keyword research using Ubersuggest

The only reason I said this tool as basic is it gives no idea about the monthly searches or competition of the displayed keywords. You can however, use these keywords in other tools like GKP or long tail pro to find the search volume and competition easily.

NOTE: In case you want to check the keyword competitiveness of any keyword but don’t have a premium tool to do this, you can read my guide on finding competitiveness of a keyword for free.

I like

  • Gives a huge number of keywords that can be further researched by clicking on the “plus” sign near it.

I don’t like

  • No data on keyword competitiveness or search volume.
  • You need another tool to check for the potential of these keywords.

Try UberSuggest

7. KWFinder (Freemium)

KWfinder is a tool I have recently been in love with. This premium keyword research tool also has a free version that is quite good in its job.

Read full KWFinder review with detailed tutorial and 30% discount.

How it works:

Just enter the seed keywords and select the country and language you want to target your related keywords.

It calculates the long tail keywords that have a relatively less competition and are easier to rank.

KWfinder also shows an “interest over time” graph that tells you the popularity of your long tail keyword over time (from 2004 till date).

Additionally, KWfinder shows the top sites that rank for the given term along with their social metrics.

In my example, I wanted to create a niche site on “dog grooming” so I entered my seed keyword “dog grooming” in the search bar. I set United States as my targeted country and English as the preferred language.

Instantly, I got some of the keywords that have quite low competition.

“Mobile dog grooming” for example has a high rising trend as is shown on the right side. It has decent searches (8100 in US alone which could increase globally) and a low SEO score of 20.

You can further dig in using this keyword as a seed keyword to find more hidden treasures.

I like

  • KWfinder is pretty fast.
  • It shows the Google ranking sites for your keywords and also how the specific keyword is trending since 2004.

I don’t like

  • Needs to create an account over there.
  • The tool creates good keywords but they are very less from research point of view. You need to upgrade if you want to see more keywords.

Try KWFinder

8. Serpstat (Paid)

​Keyword research is one of 6 tools that online platform Serpstat offers.

There are a couple of different ways to collect keywords there. What is unusual is that Serpstat shows data from Google search suggestions and from your competitors semantics as well.

How it works:

When you type in a certain keyword, you get up to 500 phrases that match the keyword you are interested in.

Information on each phrase is right here – you can explore keyword difficulty, CPC, competition in PPC and search volume.

If you go to Related keywords, you get a list of words that share identical pages in SERP. There are usually synonyms, misspelled words and there are usually plenty of long-tail keywords.

The most reliable way to collect keywords via Serpstat is by exploring competitors semantics. After you find your competitors for a keyword you target, you also get a list of keywords they rank for.

And super easy way to find keywords you should have added is the tool Missing keywords. You’ll see keywords for which your competitors rank in top 10 and which are not present on your website.

So, if you’ve come up with at least one keyword for you website, you can get matched keywords, search suggestions (with search questions), top pages, and competitors for the this keyword.

Useful and unique features

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    filters for getting precise results

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    search questions

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    grouping keywords

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    missing keywords

Try Serpstat

9. Jaaxy

This one is relatively a new tool in my keyword research arsenal. I like it because it doesn’t rely on Google keyword planner (and hence no shady hiding of keywords).

How it works:

Like any other keyword research tool, you enter a seed keyword to jaaxy and check out the relevant boxes (criteria to filter your keyword results into) just like we did in long tail pro.

I have often found some high quality hidden gems with Jaaxy that no other keyword tool has given me. Some additional results, which Jaaxy shows up during your keyword research, are:

  • QSR: which is the quoted search result. This shows you the number of web pages that target the exact keyword set.
  • KQI: The KQI or Keyword Quality indicator is shown as lights of red, green an amber color. Red light for the keyword with least quality and green for the best keyword to target for.
  • SEO: It is similar to the keyword competitor filter of other premium keyword research tools like Long tail pro. Jaaxy ranks the keyword SEO scores from 1-100, where the keyword with the score 100 is the easiest to rank.

Jaaxy is a premium tool, however it has a free version for you to try to decide if it is worth your money. Find out more about Jaaxy here.

I like

  • Does not rely on Google, hence can be trusted for some non-shady keywords. (tools that rely on Google might not show some potential keywords).
  • The brainstorm feature lets you get new keyword ideas which can then be seeded to find new keywords.

I don’t like

  • The very feature that it does not rely on Google for finding keywords might turn away bloggers who solely aim to rank for Google search results.
  • The free version is very limited (allows only 30 searches per user).

Try Jaaxy

10. Keyword Revealer (Freemium)

A fancy keyword research tool worth trying is Keywordrevealer.com. This is so fast that it doesn’t have an okay button for starting your research campaign.

How it works:

Whenever, you start typing the seed keywords and filters, the keyword revealer finds out the relevant keywords instantly.

Its keyword competition indicator is like a speedometer in your car dashboard and indicates if a keyword is worth ranking.

Another cool feature of keyword revealer tool is it literally brainstorms keyword ideas for you if you get stuck finding new keywords with buyer intent.

Keyword revealer tells you the CPC and estimated potential earning a keyword will give you.

I like

  • The keyword difficulty level it predicts is very useful in deciding if you should target a keyword or not.
  • It shows the average adwords CPC for each keyword and how much you can profit from those keywords.
  • Also shows if EMD domains are available for each keywords.

I don’t like

  • The number of returned keywords for each seed keywords is way less than Long tail pro or Google keyword planner.

Try Keyword Revealer

#11. Keyword Eye (Free)

Keyword eye is another tool that gives you a complete suite of keyword research features and all for free.

How it works:

Keyword Eye lets you filter your researched keywords based on language, country just like any other premium tool. But, it also can be set to calculate or research about the specific keyword and its potential too.

The related keyword data is available in appealing visual designs like keyword cloud etc. From here, you can right-click to further research specific long tail keywords.

The research options include, checking the keyword in soovle.com (which shows search queries for that keyword in various search engines), check it in reddit, Google “allintitle” and find its synonyms etc.

The above-mentioned feature was what I did not see in any of the keyword research tools discussed so far. These features not only save you time but also can help you cherry pick the best keywords for SEO.

I like

  • It returns data in a visual graph (not quite a pro feature, but is refreshing).
  • You can further research each keyword for their synonyms, auto suggests (based on Amazon, Google etc), check for user search strings (on soovle.com) etc without leaving the site.

I don’t like

  • The display where you get keywords is quite narrow. Might be tiring to scroll till the end of results.

Try Keyword Eye


In the above list of tools, I have tried to include both free and paid versions of the best keyword research tools in the market.

I have used each of them before writing this post and I can conclude that you should try to use one paid one (my favorite is SEMRush) and most free ones like ubersuggest or keywordtool.io to brainstorm related keywords.

You can then use these related keywords and find more hidden keywords using a premium keyword research tool.

Final words: How to use the researched keywords to grow your blog:

Only finding the best keyword using a premium tool is not enough. You have to use your keywords strategically to grow your blog.

Most keyword research tools pull out huge list of related keywords but not all keywords are worth working on. Some keywords might be having fewer searches related to others but they perform well and convert your visitors satisfyingly. This is because they have buyer intent.

Just look for an example:

A post on “how to do keyword research”, would drive me visitors that already have a tool or a means to do research but don’t know how to do it.

While, a post on “Top tools for keyword research”; would bring me traffic from users looking to buy keyword research tools.

So which one should I target?

Check out this guide from KissMetrics, on how to do keyword research the smart way.

11 Best Keyword Research Tools (Free and Premium)

FREE Mini Course: Enroll into our FREE 23-Minutes Crash Course For Keyword Research Using Reddit. Click here to start your course now! (It’s absolutely FREE!)

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