Updated August 2018
A wise marketer once said, “successful marketing campaigns are built upon solid keyword research.”
Okay, I may not be able to give you a name on who uttered those words, but any digital marketer worth their salt would easily agree with that statement. 🙂
Keyword research is so crucial, that it’s probably been mentioned in millions of marketing blog posts, online courses, and eBooks.
Whether you’re developing online content or trying to do SEO — you need to give your keyword research its due diligence, otherwise, your marketing efforts might all go to waste. And for this, you will need a trusty keyword research tool by your side.
Allow me to share with you three of the best free keyword tools that you can use today:
1. Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner
Big ol’ Google will always have something for marketers to make their tasks easier.
When it comes to keyword research, they offer the Keyword Planner as the free keyword tool in their AdWords platform.
As the name suggests, the Keyword Planner can help you find lucrative keyword opportunities regardless of your niche. All you need is a valid Google account and a few ideas for your “seed keyword” to get started.
To launch the Keyword Planner, log in to your AdWords dashboard, click “Tools, billing, and settings”, and then select “Keyword Planner” under the “Planning” column.
The best thing about Keyword Planner is that it can provide you with tons of keyword ideas based on a single seed keyword, phrase, or domain URL. Just type in anything that you deem relevant in your niche and click “Get Started” to proceed.
The more keywords you use in your initial search, the more refined your campaign will be. But for the sake of this guide, let’s go ahead and use “online marketing” only — plain and simple.
On the next page, Keyword Planner will present you with a long list of keyword ideas along with a few important metrics to consider:
To help you pick the most profitable keywords out of the bunch, here is a brief explanation on each metric in the AdWords Keyword Planner.
- Average Monthly Searches
The average search volume for keywords is a direct measure of its popularity. Keywords with lower average monthly searches are generally less competitive, but they can still be profitable to some low-volume niches.
Picking a highly competitive keyword is usually a bad idea for small brands and startups, especially if you’re preparing for SEO. However, Keyword Planner is somewhat limited in terms of gauging keyword competitiveness. You should always go for low-medium competition as a rule of thumb.
- Ad Impression Share
This particular metric is only useful if you have an active AdWords campaign. Put simply, it measures the amount of impressions you receive in relation to the total number of searches for that keyword.
- Top of Page Bid (High/Low)
The “top of page bid” figures measure the cost that advertisers have historically paid to be at the top of SERPs or search engine results pages. Again, this isn’t particularly useful for keyword research, but it can give you an idea on how profitable a keyword can be.
- Account Status
Lastly, the “Account Status” column indicates if you already use a particular keyword in your AdWords campaign.
If you think the Google AdWords Keyword Planner is simple and easy to use, you should check out Ubersuggest.
Currently hosted at Neil Patel’s official website, Ubersuggest is a lightweight, free keyword tool software that generates fast but reliable results.
On the main page, simply enter a keyword or phrase, pick a language, and click “Look Up” to begin your search:
Take note that you can choose if you’d like to scrape keyword ideas for different platforms, like the web, images, and YouTube.
You can also target local keywords or those in a specific language — useful if you’re interested in local SEO or marketing.
In terms of results, you should know that Ubersuggest assimilates keyword suggestions from Keyword Planner and Google Suggest. However, Ubersuggest does a great job of producing more unique and longer variations of keywords.
Ubersuggest also loads results faster and can be used without an account. However, it offers very little information on their metrics.
This makes Ubersuggest a viable tool in case you need quick keyword ideas for eye-catching content and social media posts.
But if you need keywords for something more extensive, such as an SEO or display advertising campaign, then you’ll need something with more firepower.
Looking for a keyword research tool with more features to rank above your competitors? Get a free trial of LongTailPro here, longtailpro.com
Lastly, KeywordTool.io has everything you can ask for when looking for a powerful keyword tool free of charge.
The KeywordTool.io interface bears a resemblance to Ubersuggest, specifically the way you can narrow down your keyword search.
You can pick a language, specify a location, and scan other keyword markets on other platforms — like Amazon, YouTube, and Bing.
However, unlike Ubersuggest that depends heavily on Keyword Planner and Google Suggest for ideas, KeywordTool.io generates hundreds of long tail keyword suggestions using Autocomplete.
For example, if you used “online marketing” as your seed keyword, you’ll see the following results:
Notice that most of the initial top results are strictly longer versions of your seed keyword. That’s because KeywordTool.io makes sure you see these variations first, which are incredibly helpful if you’re trying to expand ideas for content.
Unfortunately, the free version of KeywordTool.io does not include important metrics such as the search volume, competitiveness, and average cost-per-click. You can, however, switch to the “Questions” tab for search phrases that are suitable as content headlines right off the bat.
When to Go Premium
Now that we’ve covered the top three free keyword tools in the market, it’s time for the million-dollar question.
“Why should I upgrade?”
Keep in mind that the problem with free platforms is that your competitors can also use them at any time. As such, newer brands would still be at a huge disadvantage to companies with deeper pockets and more experience.
Sure, using free keyword research tools is a great way to concoct unique content ideas or get your SEO campaign rolling. But for the long haul, you should definitely upgrade to a premium keyword research tool.
LongTailPro, for example, is one of the most popular keyword research platforms that has numerous advantages over free options:
Clear-Cut Keyword Competitiveness Scale
With LongTailPro, you have clear guidelines on what keyword competitiveness or KC to shoot for. Small brands should prioritize keywords with an average KC of 30 or less, while established companies can go up to 50 for the long-term.
Advanced Keyword Filters
To help you spot keyword opportunities that match your brand’s needs, you can take advantage of LongTailPro’s advanced filters. For example, you can set your preferred search volume range, adjust your suggested bid price range, or specify terms that you’d like to exclude or include in your research.
As the cherry on top, LongTailPro is more than capable of tracking your keyword positions on the SERPs. All you need to do is enter your domain URL and add your target keywords in the “Rank Tracker” section.
Once your domain and target keywords are all set, you can then track your rankings on different search engines — be it Google, Yahoo, or Bing. You can also accurately monitor any changes in your keyword positions, which is useful if you’re trying to measure the effectiveness of your SEO strategies.
Here’s a brief demo of Long Tail Pro:
Choosing A Great Keyword Tool
AdWords Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, KeywordTool.io — these tools are a great start for keyword research.
But if you are looking for a tool that provides more features, LongTailPro is clearly a step ahead from the tools mentioned above. Not only does it have unique metrics that help find profitable keywords, it’s also equipped with features that can help you track and measure your results.
If you want an competitive edge, this is the tool you’re looking for.
If that isn’t good enough, it comes with a free trial that will enable you to test and familiarize yourself with LongTailPro.
Don’t miss out and avail your risk-free, 7-day free trial today.