The Best Keyword Research Tools
Identifying the right keywords to target, based on their relevance, popularity and competitiveness, is a crucial part of SEO. Find the right keyword research tool for you below.
Updated: August 2023
Looking for that perfect keyword research tool to help your SEO efforts?
Knowing what keywords and topics your customers are searching for can help you create content that meets their expectations and answers their questions.
There are lots of different keyword research tools that can help you identify the most popular search terms in your industry, the best long tail keywords and the ones that are least competitive.
Read our independent reviews and find the right keyword tool for your needs.
Best keyword research tools
Our favourite: Semrush
Semrush provides a lot of granular competitor keyword data to help SEOs identify the best target keywords for their campaigns.
- Google Keyword Planner
- Google Search Console
- Google Trends
- Long Tail Pro
- Topic Ranker
- Keywords Everywhere
- Keyword Snatcher
- WPBeginner Keyword Generator
- Keyword Surfer
Why SEOs need keyword research tools
We can all make a good guess at what keywords our audience are using in search engines when they look for our product or service.
But you can’t build an effective long-term SEO strategy purely on guess work. You need real data in terms of how popular certain keywords are and how competitive they are. You also need to be able to generate long lists of relevant keywords based on your ‘seed’ keyword.
That’s where keyword tools come in.
These tools can be used to analyse what search terms your competitors are ranking for, generate new target keywords, identify long tail keywords for your niche and much more.
They can also provide valuable metrics such as how many times each keyword is searched for on Google each month, how difficult it might be to rank for each keyword, how the search volume fluctuates over the year, what SERP features show for each keyword and much more.
What to consider when choosing a keyword research tool
Keyword research tools are all designed to help SEOs boost their organic traffic by increasing their search engine rankings.
However, they all go about this slightly differently. Some, like Semrush and Ahrefs, are all-in-one SEO tools that have keyword research features alongside other specialisms such as link building and technical SEO.
Others are more specialist, with some focusing on niche and long-tail SEO keywords while others are more useful for building our semantic topic clusters.
It’s important to pick the keyword tool that is right for your particular needs, as making the wrong choice can be costly – both in terms of money and time wasted.
Before picking a keyword research tool, you need to consider what data you need it to provide. Are you happy with a lot of keyword suggestions and variations, or do you need exact search volumes and ‘difficulty’ scores for each? Are you OK with exporting your keywords and data into Excel to carry on your research, or would you prefer a tool that has grouping, sorting and filtering features built-in?
You should also bear in mind what you get for your money with any paid tools, and be careful to pick the right account level or package that gives you the data you need.
To get you started, read our independent reviews of the best keyword research tools now…
Best Keyword Research Tools
- One of the most popular SEO tools on the market
- Full suite of competitor research tools – analysing keywords and pages as well as backlinks
- Complete set of tools to grow your search traffic, research your competitors and monitor your niche
Google Keyword Planner
- Can be used as a free keyword research tool
- Get keyword suggestions with accurate search volumes
- Keyword ideas also come with future forecast and trend data
Google Search Console
- See what keywords your website is currently ranking for
- Get keyword data like impressions (search volume) and average position
- Great for identifying new keywords to target
- Auto generates keyword ideas from a range of different search engines
- See search suggestions from your seed keyword from Google, Bing and Yahoo all in one place
- Also brings in keyword suggestions from YouTube, Amazon and Wikipedia
- Platform to manage all aspects of keyword, website, competition, and market research
- Keyword research designed particularly for affiliate marketers to find new niches and long tail keyword ideas
- Monitor and track ranking positions in all major search engines
- Simple but very effective tool to find new keywords using Google Autocomplete
- Generate up to 750+ long-tail keyword suggestions for every search term you input with the free version
- Get even more keyword ideas with the Pro version
- Get real-time search data on keyword topics
- Can also see search trends going back to 2004
- Compare keywords and topics over time for accurate trend analysis
- Find relevant questions that are searched for based on your seed keyword
- Free version can provide a lot of long tail 'questions' to use for blog posts, resources and FAQs
- Paid plans come with more keyword ideas and full search volume and 'difficulty' data
Answer The Public
- Generate questions that people are searching for for any topic and seed keywords
- Uses autocomplete data from search engines to identify every useful phrase and question people are asking around your keyword
- Register to get three free searches a day, or choose a paid plan for more access
- Helps you find ranking opportunities quickly for your website
- Looks at weaknesses and gaps in the search results
- Great for building out complete SEO campaigns to make sure you are targeting everything
- Find low-competition keywords and niches to target
- Keyword data from all major search engines like Google and Bing, as well as Amazon and eBay
- Also provides local SEO keywords for every city/town in the world
- Generate new keyword ideas from 'People Also Asked' features on search engine results pages
- Get three free searches per day
- Find long tail keywords, FAQ ideas and an insight into search intent to inform your content
WPBeginner Keyword Generator
- Instant keyword ideas for any topic
- Free to use keyword research tool
- Great as a starting point to get more ideas from your seed keyword
- Get an insight into the strategies that are working for your competitors
- Reverse engineer their SEO and Content Marketing keyword strategies
- Get new keyword suggestions - head terms and long tail ideas
- Free Chrome browser extension for keyword research
- See the search volume and a complete list of keyword ideas with overlap score and search volume in SERPs
- Comprehensive keyword research without leaving the search results page
About the Author
Luke Glassford is an SEO expert with over 15 years’ experience.
During his time working in SEO, Luke has set-up an SEO agency, worked as an in-house SEO for a major national company and managed his own successful SEO consultancy - using a lot of different SEO tools along the way!