A lot of people tend to ask me where they can perform keyword research for free.
Here’s the thing.
Finding the most profitable keywords, with the smallest time and money invested…is not an easy task.
Don’t get me wrong. There are highly effective free keyword research tools available. It’s just the majority of these free tools aren’t as helpful or can take a long time to figure out.
Below, I’ll show you my favorite free keyword research tool and I’ll compare it against the best-paid tools in the market. This way, you can make a well-informed decision on which option to go for.
Best Free Keyword Research Tool
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is one of the most powerful SEO tools available.
It’s made by the world’s largest search engine and can show you almost everything you need to know to find profitable keywords.
With Google Keyword Planner you can see:
- The search volume of each keyword
- How many advertisers are willing to pay per click
- Relevant keywords you can use in your content
- The performance of the keywords in different locations
It’s a fantastic tool that can help you search for new keywords, multiply keyword lists to gain new keyword ideas, and organize your keyword lists effectively.
Best Paid Keyword Research Tools
SEMRush is an intuitive all-in-one SEO suite that’s easy to use which starts at $99.95 per month.
It can help you reduce the amount of time spent searching for keywords while giving you more informed data. By entering one target keyword, you gain thousands of related keywords and their relevant metrics.
The SEO Keyword Magic tool allows you to look at your niche from different angles. Their keyword lists are also easily exportable into CSV files, which can contain up to one million keywords at once.
You can also find hidden long-tail keywords via the Phrase Match Keywords and Related Keywords Section.
Ahrefs is one of the most comprehensive suites of SEO tools in the market. It’s a necessity for anyone who’s serious about their SEO and starts at $99 per month.
It can turn a small number of keywords into thousands (even hundreds of thousands) of new keyword suggestions. They’re able to do this by taking your seed keywords (the focus words of your website) and turning them into actionable suggestions…giving you new keywords to target.
Their Keywords Explorer 3.0 tool has a list of approaches to keyword generation.
If you select All keyword ideas, you can see that Ahrefs will return an extremely large amount of keywords.
You can filter through the data and targeted keywords, like adjusting keyword difficulty. By applying this filter, you can find low-competition high-reward keywords that you can work on right away.
Longtail Pro is an SEO tool specifically focused on keyword research and starts from $37 per month. It helps you identify low-competition, high-traffic long-tail keywords and can offer additional numerous cool features like profitable keywords, target competitiveness, and keyword-rich content ideas.
When it comes to keyword research, Long Tail Pro can highlight the competitiveness of keywords you should aim for by analyzing:
- You target keyword
- Your domain’s metrics
- Your competitor’s metrics
In the above example, this Target Keyword Competitiveness (TKC) metric, illustrates that I should be able to rank for any keyword within this bracket (0-45) quickly and easily. By looking at both the TKC metric and search volume number, I can quickly identify which keywords I can easily rank for and whether they have a high level of traffic.
You can also use Long Tail Pro to find keyword-rich content ideas. For example, if I type in a seed keyword into the software, it will return a large list of relevant keywords related to the seed topic that I can write about.
The Problem With Free Tools
While free tools don’t cost a cent, they can be extremely limiting. Below are three major issues with free tools and how they can make or break your SEO campaign.
- It Takes A Lot Of Time
Free tools like Google Keyword Planner tend to take a lot of time. You generally need to go through multiple repeat searches to get ideas and exact search volumes.
- People Search in Weird Ways
People don’t search logically and search terms can be phrased in weird ways. Using Google Keyword Planner can be extremely limiting because they limit the number of results it returns. This makes it difficult to find 5-10 golden long-tail keyword phrases.
- You Can’t Research To Depth
Google Keyword Planner doesn’t have additional research features (e.g Parent Topic) that other paid tools have. This can limit and slow down your keyword research process.
The Problem With Paid Tools
When it comes to paid tools, the only problem they have is the fact that they…are paid!
They can shave hours from keyword research and equip you with vital data so you can make smarter decisions about your SEO strategy.
But I get it.
Their monthly subscription can be pretty expensive, especially if you’re a new business with a tight budget. Below, I’ll show you how you can use these powerful premium tools for free or for a heavily discounted price. This way, you can try the tools and do keyword research for your business, with premium tools, without having to pay too much.
How To Use Premium Tools For Free
- Get SEMRush For Free
SEMRush currently offers 7-days unlimited access under their free trial. You can cancel the subscription anytime so you won’t be charged $99.95/month after the 7 days.
To create a list of keywords, go to Keyword Analytics. Under Overview, enter your target keyword into the search bar.
Here, make sure you focus on two keyword suggestion sections:
- Phrase Match Keywords
- Related Keywords
Under Phrase Match Keywords, click on View full report to see further long-tail keyword suggestions. To find keywords that contain elements of the word you entered, click on Related Keywords.
- Get Ahrefs For $7
While Ahrefs had a 100% free trial, they’ve recently changed this to a 7-day-trial for $7.
To find keywords with Ahrefs, head to the top toolbar and click on Keywords Explorer and enter a seed keyword.
Under the keyword ideas section, you can find a large database of data-driven keywords.
Under Newly Discovered, you can also find related keywords in your niche that no one is ranking for yet.
- Get LongTail Pro For Free
With LongTail Pro you try the 7-day free trial.
Once you’ve signed in, all you need to do is add your website URL (so you get your Target Keyword Competitiveness score), and add in the seed keywords.
Below you’ll find a list of keywords with data on Keyword Competitiveness, search volume bid, competition level, number of words, and rank value.
You can also switch to Competitor Keywords mode to find your competitor’s top terms and phrases.
When it comes to doing keyword research, there are many free and paid tools available.
Free tools like Google Keywords Planner can be extremely limiting, while paid tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs, and LongTail Pro can be expensive, especially for startups and new businesses.
You should pick the option most suited for your business.
If you’re still not sure which option is best for you, try both the free and paid tools today!
Matthew Woodward began his SEO and internet marketing blog in 2012 and since then he has picked up multiple awards. And more importantly… he has been able to help thousands of people build and grow their online businesses.