Free Keyword Research Tools are always in demand, because many of them do a better job than some expensive tools do! That’s my experience. Keyword research is important because by finding out what people are searching for, you put yourself in a strong position to help them achieve their goals – as well as yours. Of all keywords, a “long tail keyword” (i.e. more specific and longer phrases of searched keywords like “left-handers garden scissors” instead of just “scissors”) is like traffic gold.
Individually, long-tail keywords may bring back a lower number of searches in the search engines, but when a lot of long-tail keywords are aggregated for their traffic potential, it would add up to a lot. Besides it’s easier to rank for those long-tail keywords because of lower competition. To help you plan your website content based on good long-tail keywords, that help searchers find you, and also help you find the traffic you need, we have created this list of 10 best free keyword research tools as part of our Content Tools & Resources guide.
What better tool can you think of, than the one Google itself has created, to help content-marketers see which search keywords are most popular and most competitive for a specific niche? The good news is that it’s all free. But before you are tempted to use the Google Keyword Planner for your keyword research, there is one thing you have to be aware of …
The Keyword Planner is essentially a tool to help advertisers of Pay-Per-Click campaigns find the best keywords (and groups of keywords) to bid on. So keep in mind that the tool is a bit skewed towards people who pay for visibility, than those who look for free organic traffic alone. You’ll find that the data the tool gives is very specific to the PPC bidding rates, and a little less specific on the kind of data that an organic SEO seeker wants to know. But nevertheless, there’s nothing to beat the Google Keyword Planner any day. Most content marketers of repute, who use very expensive keyword research tools, still always seem to say that they look in on the Google Keyword Planner in addition to all the rest of the keyword research they do.
Google Trends is a brilliant tool if you have two or three keyword ideas in mind and are not sure which one has the upward traffic potential and future-popularity predicted. Notice in the image above, four likely competitive keywords have been compared, to see which one should ideally be used in your content. The terms are more or less similar in meaning, but popularity and “trends” show which form of the concept a lot of people use more commonly now – and will use more of in the future too.
If you knew that, it’s half the game won, because you would not be using a term that’s become “passé” and has been replaced by new jargon that is more in vogue. You can also compare somewhat similar ideas to see which one to go with (e.g. slimming foods or diet foods or health foods or weight-reducing foods). From time to time, people have subtle fluctuations in language usage that they value more, even if three or four closely similar concepts are involved. Google Trends, to me, is one of the best tools to see what ideas within a niche are becoming more valued, more used and more searched for.
Oops, the name is dead give-away, isn’t it? The Keyword Shitter is such a simple but high-speed tool, that it “runs” out (pardon the awful pun!) a mega list of long-tail keywords if you just give it one medium-tail keyword. What it does is not rocket-science. It just gives you all the Google Auto-Complete keyword suggestions that you get when you type a search word in Google. But the speed of it all is like … well, I won’t use any more crude language!
Please do be warned … this tool will generate a LOT of keyword suggestions. I got 770 words in a search for “content marketing strategy” – and it was still going on and on and on, till I had to click “Stop Job!” It doesn’t give you any numbers or statistics to compare keywords with, but boy, it does a complete job of emptying its bowels at rocket speed!
This completely unpretentious-looking tool is one of the most powerful I have come across, and it’s a staple tool I use to generate endless keywords for my own content marketing. How does it work? Well, if you’ve done keyword research before you’ll see a recurring theme with most long-tail keywords. The anatomy of any long-tail keyword is something like this: “what people are looking for + what type of solution they’re looking for + what purpose they want from it”. This is the most natural way people look for what they are seeking specifically … e.g. “cheap” + “socks” + “for daily wear” or “easy” + “website themes” + “for small business”.
The Permutation Generator Tool has three columns on top for you to input your own three sets of modifiers for the relevant “what”, “why” and “how” for your own business. Hit “Generate Permutations” and it will then give you all the possible combinations of the three top columns combined. See how I’ve demonstrated my audiences pain-points in Column One, the concepts I cover in my niche in Column Two, and the content formats I create in Column Three. Then I’ve generated all the possible permutations of the words in these three columns to get a huge long-tail keyword list! Easy, right?
This tool is one smart one – don’t be fooled by the opening video of an old man with a whole bunch of rapidly changing dumb expressions on his face! What this tool does is to search the Google Auto-Suggest database and give you all this … first it will juxtapose all questions words to the “seed keyword” you put in (like who, what, why, where, how, which, when, are, and is). Then it will juxtapose all possible prepositions to the seed keyword (like or, can, is, near, without, with, and to). Then it will juxtapose all comparison words with the seed keyword (like versus, vs, and, like, or). And finally it will go down an alphabetical list and put in all words starting with a, b, c, d and so on with the seed keyword …
It will then give you all the combinations available in the Google Auto-Complete database that it can, to match the formula it follows as described above. And what’s more, you’ll get these as visualizations (like a wheel of options) or as lists. I defy you to create content for all the combinations it produces! The tool used to be fully free – but it now provides a throttled version free, but charges for the unlimited version. But what the heck, you can get by with the free version for quite a long while.
The Suggestion Keyword Finder (from SEOChat) is a simple looking tool that mines Google Auto-Complete suggestions (just the top ten results to start with for Level 1). Since there are only ten results returned you can be sure they are the best ten on volumes. But the tool goes much beyond that.
See the radio buttons for Level 2 and Level 3? Clicking those give you deeper drill-downs of the Level 1 keyword results, so with each level you are getting longer-and-longer-tail keyword variations of Level 1 words. This means it can actually extract up to 1,110 keywords. Level 1: 10 keywords; Level 2: 100 keywords; Level 3: 1,000 keywords! The value of this tool is apparent – it it doesn’t go as deep as other tools, but its results are relevant, popular and valuable.
Google Correlate is an often bypassed tool – but it can actually be very powerful for generating a huge keyword list. The best value you get from this tool is the ability to see which keywords get searched together by people. With this information on “relationships between keywords searched together”, you can grow your long-tail keyword list into previously unsuspected directions.
In the example shown above, we used the basic keyword “wheat germ”, and you can see that those who searched for “wheat germ” also tend to search for “wheat pizza dough” … but more interestingly, they also search for “bikram yoga”. See where it’s taking you? You begin to see the mind paths of the searcher. Every now and again, this tool will throw up some keyword association gems that you may have never thought of.
Soovle is again a tool that provides Auto-Complete suggestions – but it does so from a variety of sources, not just from Google, to help you boost your search volume. While you can use it just for Google suggestions, it mines other sources that include Yahoo, Bing, YouTube, Wikipedia and Amazon.
Just type your seed keyword into the box provided and see how all the “sources” provide their own best results The advantage here is that you’ll know exactly how popular a keyword is across many different places on the Net where people search, and so you’re not just looking at Google, but getting the extra validation as well. Sometimes you’ll find a pattern repeating from all the sources, but it’s when some sources show a deviation from the Google results that things get interesting and intriguing!
The LSI Graph is a keyword tool that gives you LSI keywords when you put in a seed keyword. But what are LSI Keywords? Rob Powell explains this beautifully: “LSI keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing) are keywords semantically related to your main keyword. A lot of people think that LSI keywords are synonyms. But this is incorrect. LSI keywords are simply words that are frequently found together because they share the same context. For example, ‘apple’ and ‘itunes’ are LSI keywords because they share the same context and are frequently found together. But they are not synonyms.”
Why does it help to know the LSI keywords related to your seed keyword? Because Google sees articles with a number of LSI keywords as validating the intention of the searcher better. If a searcher typed “apple computers” into Google, how would Google know which blog posts to rank as an answer? Unless there were some other LSI words along with “apple” in the blog posts (like “computers” or “oranges”) Google wouldn’t know if the article was about “apple as computers” or “apples as fruits”. Only after seeing the LSI keywords can Google match the best answer to the searcher’s intent. The LSI Graph tool is free for a limited use (good enough for most of us) but it also has priced plans.
I’ve left my favorite free keyword research tool for the last. It’s Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest. This tool provides you with a load of keywords that are not available through the Google Keyword Planner. Type in your seed keyword and click “suggest.” This generates a list of keywords that pours forth till you almost shout “Stop!”. What I like best about Ubersuggest is that it breaks down results by the alphabetical sequence of the long-tail versions of the keyword i.e. seed keywords followed by suffix keywords starting with “a”, then with “b”, then with “c” and so on.
In addition to this method of research, you can also input the URL of a competitor’s site and get an exhaustive list of his articles and his keywords used … and by doing just this much you should be swamped in keywords and article ideas for a lifetime. What else do you need then? Ubersuggest begins and ends your free keyword research. So now get started content writing. Don’t be one of those just hooked to keyword research as a means of procrastinating on the content creation!
So what are your thoughts on this topic? Do share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of aspiring digital solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us in the comments field below this post.
Other articles in our series “Content Tools & Resources”:
- Best CRM For Solopreneurs: To Make Customer Nurturing Easier!
- 25 Content Marketing Books That Bend Your Mind Towards Success!
- 10 Best Free Content Syndication Platforms You Should Exploit!