Keyword research is a practice search engine optimization (SEO) professionals use to find and research alternative search terms that people enter into search engines while looking for a similar subject. Search engine optimization professionals research additional keywords, which they use to achieve better rankings in search engines. Once they find a niche keyword, they expand on it to find similar keywords. Keyword suggestion tools usually aid the process, like the Google Ads Keyword Planner, which offers a thesaurus and alternative keyword suggestions or by looking into Google Suggest.
Usually, the various search engines provide their own keyword suggestion tools, which also include the number of searches for each of those keywords. The keyword researcher uses this information to select the correct keyword, depending on the SEO goals of the website. Around 20–25% of searches are very specific long tail keywords entered into Google every single day. It’s easy to rank said keywords when there is the right amount of content and back links to match. Keyword research is a valuable and high return activity in the search marketing field
Mention the term Keyword Research Tools to any blogger, and they’ll most likely think of the Google Keyword Planner.It has Google on the label, so it must be good, right? Well, it’s worth checking and using for initial keyword research, but remember that the tool is, and always was, intended for Google Adwords campaigns. So, while some of the data is useful, most is irrelevant.And since Google made it even harder to get accurate data by introducing search volume ranges and grouping keywords with similar meaning, you should consider looking elsewhere. In this post, we’re going to take a look at five other Keyword Research Tools. Some are lightweight and budget-friendly, while others are heavy-weight and more expensive. So wherever you are on your blogging journey, you’ll find a tool that suits you.
There are two methods of keyword research used in the tools:
Traditional keyword research tools let you enter a ‘seed’ keyword, and then they return a load of keywords. From there you evaluate how difficult it will be to rank for each suggestion.
Competitor-based keyword research tools use reverse-engineering. They assess what keywords your competitors are already ranking for and evaluate if you could do better.
Each method has its benefits, and if possible, you should consider using both when researching your keywords.
Google Trends visualizes how search trends change over time.
Enter a keyword, and you will see the relative popularity of that search query over the past 12 months.
To demonstrate how this can be useful, let’s check the Google Trends data for “protein powder.”
It looks like the search popularity of this query is relatively stable throughout the year.
But if you look closely, you’ll see that there is a gradual decline between August and December, with popularity spiking in January.
This is likely because many people are on a ‘health kick’ in January.
If we check Google Trends data for the past five years, we can see that this is, in fact, an annual spike.
2. SpyFu Keyword Research
SpyFu is an outstanding resource for understanding not only the competitive landscape and difficulty of a keyword but also offers suggestions based on your specific domain and best of all. SpyFu premium users have the option to import keywords that may not be tracked due to low search volume. The proprietary keyword research tools are constantly getting better thus makes planning and tracking your campaign easier and more comprehensive than ever.
SpyFu offers reports for keyword overview, related keywords, advertiser history, ranking history, backlinks, keyword groupings, SERP analysis, AdWords Advisor ( for those running a paid campaign ) and many other tools related to online marketing.
3. Keyword Shi**er
It doesn’t take much of an imagination to guess what this tool does. Just enter a “seed” keyword (or many) and hit “Sh*t keywords!” It will then start doing its business, so to speak.
Be warned, though, this tool will generate a lot of keyword suggestions. I left it running for ~30 minutes and had ~20K suggestions… and it was still going!
It works by mining Google Autocomplete.
By now you have most likely already heard of MOZ, or have used their services. The free Keyword Explorer adds a flavorful dashboard rich with infographics for those visual learners out there. The dashboard’s layout makes information overload less of a risk over the Google and SpyFu option but the lack of comprehensive data makes this tool a slightly less shiny option despite being a powerhouse in the digital marketing world.
Boasting a suite of client advocates including ebay, amazon, Disney, HP and more, SEM Rush comes in on our list at a well deserved 4. What the dashboard lacks in sexiness it makes up for in data comprehensiveness. The dashboard offers exact match keyword reporting as well as suggested related keywords based on a volume to competitiveness ratio.
This tool combines multiple lists of keywords into every possible permutation. Let me demonstrate with an example. Here, the tool took my three lists of keywords and combined them into a list of permutations.This is useful should you want to add transactional or informational modifiers (e.g., “best,” “cheapest,” “buy,” etc.) to a list of topics. It could also be used for local SEO purposes.For example, let’s say you run a plumbing company that offers services in multiple counties.
Here’s how you could use such a tool:
IMfor SMB makes the list due to it’s unique method in which keywords are recommended. This tool allows the user to generate keywords based on the business type and location. This tool would be relevant for those who simply don’t know where to begin. One tool I personally appreciate is the export option for CSV for the user who likes to run their own custom reports.
Sticking with Chrome extensions, here’s another cool one—Word tracker Scout.
Hit the extension while browsing any webpage and it will pluck out the most relevant keywords from that page. (It’s like a keyword density checker, but better.)
It displays the data as a word cloud, which you can also manipulate to refine the suggestions by relevance and number of words.
Most keyword tools (free or otherwise) are made for finding new keywords to target. But what about the existing keywords you already rank for? Aren’t there insights to be gleaned from these?
Definitely. Google Search Console is, therefore, a keyword tool that should not be overlooked. SIDENOTE. I’m going to abandon the “protein powder” example for this tool, as I don’t have access to Google Search Console data for a site ranking for such keywords. So I’ll use the Ahrefs blog instead.
Jaaxy is an oldie but goodie for those who crave the sweet nostalgia of good old fashioned keyword research. Jaaxy’s unique and rich keyword suggestion features have allowed it to survive the diverse and ever-evolving landscape of marketing tools. Jaaxy’s forte lies in it’s ability to give niche metrics for some of those less competitive, yet highly sought after longtail keywords.
Ranking this proprietary tool at number 6 is most likely doing them a disservice considering the scope of data offered in their suite of free metrics. SERPSTAT’s main unique advantage is the option to offer keyword statistics for each individual page. This is impressive considering the algorithm needed to figure this out is too sophisticated to undertake by most keyword research companies.