Google’s Keyword Tool is now Keyword Planner…that’s the latest.
For a long time, this tool has been the ultimate (it still is, if you put in a decent budget) tool for keyword research.
Content marketers, SEOs, webmasters and advertisers love(d) it for the obvious reason: it provided tons of data for free. That has since changed. Google now requires that you have an AdWords account to be able to dive into its keyword planner.
And if you’re like many startups that are reluctant to spend their limited cash on something as basic as keyword research, you still won’t be able to access much of the tool’s in-depth research functionality even with an AdWords account.
Not all is lost though. There are multiple free and paid keyword research tools that provide both alternative keyword research perspectives and exact replicas of the data you’d pull out of Google’s keyword planner.
Most of these tools have access to the Google Keyword Planner API. They obtain their data from there and organize it in useful and easy-to-consume forms.
In this article, you find 15 of the top free and freemium keyword tools that you may use in place of Google Keyword Planner – to guide your choice of content topics and drive your PPC and social media campaigns.
7search.com is one of the less commonly mentioned keyword tools on the web. Yet it is one of the best there are, especially since it is free and boasts a simple interface.
7search keyword research tool provides you with keyword ideas and search volume for your target keywords.
Information about your competitors can be really valuable when it comes to marketing. With regards to keyword research, Wordtracker is the tool that gives you such information.
This free keyword tool reveals high-performing keywords fast and via an easy-to-use interface.
The interface displays information regarding what people are searching for, multiple suggestions for valuable long-tail keywords, and the level of competition for the respective keywords.
Once you have set up your free account, you can analyze what your competition is doing and access top level keyword performance metrics to use for your SEO, pay per click (PPC) or content strategy.
3. Google Trends
Google Keyword Planner is what comes to the mind of most people with regards to keyword research.
Unknown to many of these people, Google has several other powerful tools for keyword research, and Google Trends is top on the list of these alternative keyword tools from the tech giant.
With this tool, you can compare the performance (in terms of popularity) of your keyword over other keywords.
Even more importantly, you can see the keywords that are rising in popularity in your niche or within your target market(s). This way, Google Trends allows you to exploit the top keywords in your area.
Simply, Google Trends provides the kind of depth and detail that you won’t find with any other free keyword tool.
You can tell exactly where your main markets exist. With such invaluable geotargeting data, you can run extremely targeted PPC campaigns with the least possible data.
This is a Google-data driven keyword suggestion tool that is probably the best of its kind.
Ubersuggest not only generates a multitude of useful keyword phrases, it breaks them down alphabetically for easy use.
A good strategy is to use it alongside Google Keyword Planner since it provides you with keyword phrases that are not available through the Google Keyword Planner.
Notice that despite the recent changes that have reduced the usefulness of Google’s keyword research tool for non-paying customers, creating an AdWords account still remains free.
And without a budget, you can still get essential keyword information that’s useful at the early stages of SEO.
Having obtained grouped data on what people are searching for within your niche, volume of search and the levels of competition for each keyword, you can then take your keyword research higher a notch with Ubersuggest.
Use the tool to get new guides and niche insights plus topics that go along with your current idea or product.
To use Ubersuggest, type in your keyword and click the “suggest” tab. The simple prompt will generate a list of long-tail keywords grouped under respective letters of the alphabet.
With its organized approach, the tool gives you an easier way to review every keyword that could be perfect for your site or campaign objective.
Ubersuggest does not however give any idea of the competitiveness of the keywords in its results. This is apparently its biggest limitation.
If you’re looking to get a near-exact replica of Google Keyword Planner then WordStream is the tool you’re looking for.
It allows you to customize your keyword searches by filtering targeted keywords or get niche-specific results. WordStream can help you identify a profitable niche or provide you with useful guidance on a niche that you have identified.
It offers options for finding keyword groupings and negative keywords in addition to the keyword niches that it provides.
There’s also a paid version that delivers a ton of results for particular keywords – the top 100 of these are available for free.
Even with little knowledge or experience in keyword research, this tool has a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for you to use it.
6. SEO Book
The SEO Book keyword research tool provides daily traffic estimates from the world’s biggest search engine Google, as well as from WordTracker, Bing and Yahoo.
While SEO Book does not indicate the levels of competition for each keyword, it links to other keyword tools such as Google Keyword Planner. With this option, it’s easy to use the other keyword tools to get the missing information (on keyword competitiveness).
SEO Book can therefore be a valuable tool for carrying out in-depth research on your target keywords. This is particularly great because the tool is free.
Pro tip: to access the tool you’ll need to create your free account.
Like most free keyword tools, Keywordtool-io relies on Google Suggest API, Bing, YouTube, Amazon and more databases to provide keyword suggestions.
This way, the tool has access to a wealth of keywords from some of the leading top-level domains. You can customize results in terms of language and location to get the most useful keyword suggestions.
There’s a paid alterative that lets you access useful estimations of search volumes. This can be a more important data set if your research requires something more than pure keyword suggestions.
8. Keyword Eye
This tool makes keyword research a simpler activity. It displays keywords in rising or falling sizes on an easy-to-read visual interface. These keyword results are based on AdWords competition or search volume.
Keyword Eye allows 10 free keyword searches a day. Each keyword report delivers 100 results. With this tool, you can obtain great amounts of data about your competition.
This tool provides users with keyword difficulty scores in a user-friendly interface. You can filter keyword ideas by a host of different metrics to improve the usability of keyword results.
KWFinder lets you focus keyword searches in most of the World’s top languages or up to five different countries. Since the tool is only partially free, there’s a limit to the number of keyword searches that you can run for free.
SEMRush is touted as the perfect free alternative to Google’s Keyword Planner. It has the finest selection of data including: Related keywords, Search volume, Phrase match keywords, Paid CPC, Organic search results and Ad copy for the keyword typed in.
It also has the option to put a competitor’s URL into its search bar and dig into a wealth of data about the keywords that the competitor is ranking for.
This activity also lets you know the number of backlinks the competitor has, their monthly search volume, where the backlinks originate from, and more.
With such rich information about your competitor’s organic and paid campaigns, you can be perfectly placed to design a more informed keyword strategy to beat your competition.
You may desire to get richer or more in-depth data from your keyword research. Such data is in most cases available on paid or freemium keyword tools. Here are our top picks as far as paid keyword tools are concerned.
Moz’s keyword tool is a recent innovation, and it’s one of the greatest that exist. The tool allows you to target practically any location on the planet with your keyword search.
It is replete with filtering options to let you choose question phrases containing your keyword or to exclude your exact query term to obtain more ideas.
Following a keyword search, the Keyword Explorer returns ideas related to the search query, a score of keyword difficulty, plus estimates of search volume.
You can also see recent mentions of the keyword and the domains that currently rank for it.
Ideally Moz displays the top 10 rankings for your target keyword, along with an assigned keyword difficulty score. This score is based on the webpages that are currently ranking for that specific word.
In addition to the basic data on difficulty score and volume, this tool lets you see an opportunity metric: a relative CTR analysis of the organic results on a search engine results page, or SERP. This means you can get a better assessment of how difficult it may be for you to rank on Google’s first SERP with a chosen keyword.
Further, the Keyword Explorer shows you how important a given keyword is to your campaign, plus a combination of all the keyword metrics.
This means you are able to prioritize keywords based on how much effort it will take to rank for them against the amount of potential traffic they can generate.
No tool could help you make better use of your resources.
Ahrefs have one of the most powerful keyword research tools on the web. It provides search volumes and keyword ideas for all match types.
If you are carrying out a keyword research for SEO, you will find the keyword difficulty score metric particularly useful.
KeywordSpy is a keyword tool that tracks all search activity on ads in any industry, providing you with valuable marketing analytics and search engine optimization (SEO) intelligence.
Even better, the tool offers important data regarding competitors’ ad copies and their keywords, plus a lot more valuable information to inform your own campaigns.
14. Keyword Discovery
This keyword tool pulls its data from a huge number of search resources. This makes it a powerful resource for identifying the search phrases that people are using at any particular time.
Keyword Discovery also provides you with related keywords and other keywords that could be relevant to you. This way, the tool is indispensable when it comes to discovering ideas that you might have no other means to discover.
15. Bing Keyword Research Tool
Let’s face it, most people prefer Google to other search engines. And those who use Google will hardly pay much attention to Bing. However, you could be missing out on a huge wealth of data by leaving Bing’s keyword tool out of the picture.
To use the tool, you require a website that is verified in Bing’s Webmaster Tools. Once you do, you can dive right in to dig out both exact-match keywords and broad search volume. This is what sets the tool apart from others.
One major limitation of Bing Keyword Research Tool is that it does not indicate the level of competition.
With a bit of experimenting, you’ll realize that every one of these keyword tools is great for basic brainstorming on search phrases. For beginners, some of these tools may be slightly easier to use than others. It is important therefore to try them out to see what works best for you. Moreover, do not turn a cold shoulder on Google Keyword Planner as it remains the most recommended tool for a more in-depth keyword research – particularly if you have a budget.