The 5 Best Free Keyword Research Tools

Scott McMullanApril 14th, 2021

The importance of keyword research cannot be understated. How will you be able to craft a good SEO/PPC strategy without first of all understanding all the possible keywords people are using?

The root of all search is about satisfying human queries, position your business as a helpful resource/solution to peoples problems, and you're on your way to a successful digital campaign.

Most SEOs will prefer a paid solution such as Ahrefs our personal favourite or Semrush. What if you don't have the dollar for that? Don't worry. We've compiled our favourites below.

We recommend using a selection of these to build out as complete a picture as possible. As we're taking the free approach, there's not just one tool for the job. We've laid things out top to bottom and recommend approaching each tool in this order to build out a keyword map.

We've used the Ecologi domain in 4 examples because we just love those guys and what they are doing for the environment. Be sure to check out how to offset your carbon footprint with what they do.

Strap in and follow along to see how we exposed some excellent opportunities for their site.

1. WordStream Keyword Generator

WordStream provides a very fast and easy to use tool that can help shape your PPC and SEO strategy. What we like about WordStream is it provides recommendations to you based on three simple inputs:

  • URL of your website
  • Your businesses location
  • A related industry

WordStream Keyword Research

It will then provide you with hundreds of relevant keywords based on these inputs. The three metrics it provides against each keyword for both Google and Bing are:

  • Total Search Volume
  • Competition
  • Cost Per Click

This data will let you filter out keywords that may be expensive, or maybe the competition is too high from an SEO/PPC perspective.

Wordpress example data

There is a limit of 30 searches per month, but that should be more than enough for one website. We also recommend sticking a few competitors in there to see what crops up.

We have created an extract of the data when we ran it for Ecologi that you can view in the following spreadsheet:

Link To Example Data

2. Ubersuggest Keyword Planning Tool

Love or loathe Neil Patel; he's got a pretty sweet offering in the form of Ubersuggest. There are two options here. You can either pop in a keyword or a URL. It will then show you keyword suggestions based on that cluster. There's heaps of other functionality, but we'll just concentrate on the keyword aspect here.

Ubersuggest Start

For Ecologi, we took a keyword exposed to us from WordStreams recommendations, "gifting trees". There were around 1,600 searches for this term in the UK each month.

UberSuggest Results

We can now see different keyword suggestions such as:

  • How to gift a tree
  • Trees for gifting
  • How to send a tree as a gift

Along with side the following metrics:

  • Total Search Volume
  • Cost Per Click
  • Paid difficulty which refers to the competition from a Paid perspective
  • Search difficulty, which is the competition in Organic

Clicking on any of these keywords, you can also see what the SERP results look like and who ranks. It is a great place to begin your research around what intent this keyword has and your competition for the term.

Uber Suggest Results

We've bundled this data into the sheet to show you what the information looks like. To export to a CSV, you need to signup for a free seven-day trial:

Link To Example Data

3. Google Keyword Planner

This one is definitely worth a mention and has long been a tool marketers have leveraged to understand search demand.

The keyword planner gives you two options that we'll talk you through, discover new keywords, and get the search volume and future forecasts of any keywords you have to hand already.

Google Keyword Planner

To discover new keywords, all you need to do is plug in a seed keyword, and Google will generate ideas they believe to be relevant as well as low and high range bids, competition and average searches per month.

Google Keyword Planner Results

You can also get search volume for the terms you've collected in other tools. Just drop a file in or a list of these keywords to gain similar insights. Combine these search volumes with additional tools to get a more accurate picture of search volume.

Link To Example Data

4. Google Trends Keyword Research

Now that you have started generating some good keyword ideas to concentrate on, it is always a good idea to see the trend. You do not want to be creating content around specific keywords when the volumes may be on a downward trend. A great tool to check this with is Google Trends.

By plugging in your country and the keyword, you'll be able to see the trend over the past five years. Unfortunately, you may not get data back from some keywords as they may be under the threshold of what is detected in the tool. We plugged in both gifting trees our example from before and tree planting:

Google Trends

We're not seeing any data for the keyword gifting trees but don't despair if you get no results back. You already know there is volume there, so you may need to take an educated guess on what the trend is. For something with more volume, "tree planting", you can see the interest over time had been steadily increasing with a peak in September 2019.

You'll not get an idea of volume but a score of interest based on a scale of 0 - 100. 100 is the most popular it has ever been. You can also split this data out by area as well as by platform such as :

  • Web Search
  • Image Search
  • Google Shopping
  • News
  • YouTube

No data extract for this one. You just need to use those eyeballs!

5. Google Search Console Keyword Research

This tool is for diving into what you already have ranked on your website and can provide many ideas.

You don't want to be creating new pieces of content for a keyword you already rank for. Maybe you want to optimise things a bit further for those keywords you already rank for. This is the tool to use when you want to check what is happening already.

We, unfortunately, do not have access to Ecologis Google Search Console, so we'll use an example from our site.

Currently, let's say we have two keyword ideas:

  • Google Analytics API Python
  • Best Free Keyword Research Tools

We can Search in the interface for both:

Google Search Console Results

Here you can see we already rank on the front page for "google analytics API python". It is probably best to try out some other optimisation tactics to boost this keyword rather than create a new piece of content.

Our search for "Best Free Keyword Research Tools", on the other hand, returns nothing. (wink wink) This is why we're creating this piece of content. It's an excellent opportunity with decent volume that we've identified.

If we specifically look at the page that ranks for "google analytics API python", we can see that we're ranking for around 539 keywords. This is a wealth of keywords, some of which we can split out into separate articles to drive more clicks, or maybe we want just to update our content to include some specific information around these terms to boost rankings.

We've included this data in the spreadsheet below for you to look at:

Link To Data

Conclusion

Keyword research is time-consuming, and you can get lost down the rabbit hole quite easily. Just keep your eye on the prize and start filling your content gaps asap.

If this is way over your head or you'd like some help, make sure to get in contact. We can offer a free video consultation to get you up to speed with the keywords you might want to rank for.