Serpstat is free for 10 requests per day, and the paid version starts at /mo.

PPC keyword research.

1. WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool

The best part about Growthbar is that it will also create content outlines for you, including keywords to target, title, introduction, headings, word counts, images, links, and more. AI in marketing is a wonderful thing!

  • Good for: Easy and headache-free PPC keyword research.
  • Unique feature: Popular keywords database for 60 verticals, with strategic advice.
  • Price: Free for the first 25 results, free for the rest of the results via email.

Moz Keyword Explorer is free for 10 searches per month, and the paid version starts at .

Popular Keywords page, click on your vertical, and you’ll get the top 25 keywords for that vertical. This is great for identifying seed keywords and starting points for your campaigns.
Google’s Keyword Planner, enter one or more keywords into the search box and you will see the following data for the keywords you entered as well as related keywords: average monthly searches, 30-day search trends, three month and year over year change, and competition (low, medium, high).
refine keywords tool, which has been in beta since 2020, helps you to filter by specific attributes related to the keywords. For example, if you had keywords related to dry skin, you could refine by skin type, symptom, condition, branded vs non branded terms, and more.
cross-channel marketing.
  • Unique feature: Robust list organization and keyword research templates.
  • Price: Free with a Microsoft Ads account.
  • Semrush is often referred to as the gold standard for premium keyword research platforms (although ahrefs is catching up!). It offers over 40 tools and reports to help you with not only keyword research, but also content marketing, social media management, local seo, listing management, marketing analysis, PR, and more.

    how to use the Microsoft keyword research tool here.

    4. The search terms report (Google & Bing)

    For reading your readers’ minds.

    • Good for: Search ad campaign optimization and (light) negative keyword research.
    • Unique feature: Information tied directly to your account.
    • Price: Free for active advertising campaigns.

    This is probably the most decent free version of a premium keyword research tool out there.

    restricted to show only terms of a certain volume (for privacy reasons), making it slightly less useful for finding negative keywords as it once was. Alas, it’s the only thing we have. And at least Google has added new data to the report to include queries that pulled in an impression—regardless of whether the ad got a click.

    Bear in mind that Reddit is the Walmart of web forums…

    The best keyword research tools for content ideation

    These are hummers of keyword research. The all-in-one platforms, best for teams, experts and consultants in PPC, SEO, or content marketing, and/or large businesses and agencies. But it can’t hurt to explore the free trial versions. Here is the information they all share:

    5. Keyworddit

    With this tool, you can’t enter in a specific term; instead, you choose a subreddit and the tool will pull keywords from posts and comments in that subreddit.

    • Good for: Content creators and social media managers looking for topic ideas.
    • Unique feature: Reddit keyword mining.
    • Price: Free

    You should always be maintaining your keyword lists for search advertising, but you’re somewhat limited in how much you can step outside the box or branch out. For your organic content, on the other hand, the sky’s the limit! Here are some of the best keyword research tools to use for blog and social media post ideation.
    You need a keyword research tool. You think easy peesy and do the ol’ Google search. Then you see that there are PPC keyword tools and SEO keyword tooIs. Long-tail keywords and broad. Social media keywords. Questions. Prepositions. Tools with suggestions. Tools with SERP and site and competitive analyses…

    audience personas, or getting keyword ideas to feed into other tools in this list. If you click on the context button, it will show you Google search results for that keyword within that subreddit. You can also export the list.

    “Ahrefs is like a bloodhound with content research.” -Someone on the web

    6. Soovle (free)

    The Microsoft Keyword Planner Tool offers a free Excel plugin where you can paste in a list of keywords and get a monster list of keyword recommendations—with volume, clicks, searches, CPC, bid estimates, match type, and [lots of] other metrics.

    • Good for: Initial brainstorming for new keywords.
    • Unique feature: See queries for nine different platforms in one view (+90’s nostalgia).
    • Price: Free
    Soovle, enter a term into the box and it will show you the most popular queries for that term across 16 different search engines, including Google, Bing, YouTube, Amazon, eBay,,, Walmart, and more.

    Ahrefs actually started as a backlink analysis tool, so it’s no surprise that with the largest backlink index in the world, it is the best tool out there for link building. For any link, you can find out when it went live, whether it’s do-follow or no-follow, its anchor text, and more. You can also check a site’s ranking history for any keyword, automate internal linking, analyze and monitor outbound links, see which links are bringing in the most traffic to any site, and find link opportunites and backlink prospects
    Serpstat teeters on the edge of both premium and budget-friendly keyword research tools. The biggest focus of this tool is competitive analysis. You can compare your site to a competitors and get a report on the top competing sites for any keyword. You’ll see how many keywords each site is targeting with organic content and paid ads, how many keywords they have in common with your site, and even examples of ads for that keyword.

    AnswerThePublic, type in a phrase or term and it will show you the questions people are asking related to your entry. You won’t get any volume or click data, but you will get some cool visuals.
    QuestionDB, enter a broad keyword into the box and you’ll get queries from question websites like Quora and Reddit. It will show you related topics mentioned in the questions and also give you the option to strip the queries down to keywords only.
    SEO content, including blog posts, product pages, your homepage, and more.

    9. Google Search Console

    You can also use it to make sure a keyword that has solid volume in a keyword research tool is worth targeting. For example, “google goggles” has a search volume of 14K. But the Google Trends report shows dwindling interest:

    • Good for: Optimizing existing SEO content and finding spinoff content ideas.
    • Unique feature: The most accurate and real-time reporting on organic.
    • Price: Free for anyone with a website.

    Keyword research is just one of the many ways to use Google Search Console for SEO. Head to “Search results” in the left-hand pane and you’ll see the top queries that are leading your site to appear in the SERP, with clicks, impressions, click-through rate, and position for each.
    The search terms reports in Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising show you the actual queries that have triggered your ads to show and get clicked on. It can help you to identify your top-performing keywords, new keywords to add to your list, and negative keywords too. With this information, you can make granular adjustments to improve your CTR, Quality Scores, and ROI.

    Google Trends, you can identify recent and popular keywords that don’t yet show volume in keyword research tools because they haven’t been around long enough. 

    Similar to the content ideation tools above, Ubersuggest allows you to filter keyword suggestions by comparison, question, and preposition variations. And similar to the premium tools below, it offers the core keyword, SERP, and site analysis data as well as project creation.

    rank for those keywords now to accumulate traffic, backlinks, and authority ahead of time. 
    SEO beginners who don’t have an advanced SEO strategy or a large budget.

    11. Free version of Semrush

    Keyworddit searches through Reddit posts, titles, and comments to find keywords and provide you with their search volume. If you’re unfamiliar, Reddit is a massive online community where people can join groups (called subreddits) for just about anything. Some subreddits are massive, like r/funny while others can be pretty niche like r/businessowners.

    • Good for: Light SEO work for beginner to intermediate experience levels.
    • Unique feature: Assistance with writing SEO content.
    • Price: Free

    The search terms report is a free feature available for active Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising accounts.
    With WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool, enter a keyword or URL and you’ll get a list of relevant keyword suggestions, including related and long-tail variations, along with search volume, competition, and CPC for both Google and Bing. You can also filter by location (for over 23 countries), or industry (by 24 different verticals). The tool will provide the top 25 keywords right away. To get the full list, just enter your email address and you’ll get it sent to you for free.


    However, it lacks quite a few of the functionalities offered by Semrush or ahrefs, like SERP position history or the number of keywords a ranking result ranks for. The platform hasn’t been updated much since Rand Fishkin left the company in 2018. Nevertheless, it is a good platform to use if you’re looking for a less overwhelming and more intuitive platform. 

    • Good for: Finding long-tail keywords for SEO and PPC.
    • Unique feature: Suggestions for eight different platforms.
    • Price: Free with no numerical data, paid starts at $69/month with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

    We’ve got posts!

    Growthbar provides the standard information you can expect from an SEO platform: keyword suggestions with monthly search volume, cost per click, difficulty scores, rank tracking, and site analyses with domain authority, keywords, backlinks, and even Facebook and Google Ads. Platform subscribers get a free chrome extension that provides this data as you search. 

    Keyworddit is free with no catches.

    great copywriting on their website, KWFinder’s easy-to-use interface provides all of your keyword/SEO platform basics: suggestions, long-tail variations, volume, cost per click, competition, SERP analysis, and site analysis. You can search by keyword or domain as well as location.
    competitor keywords per lookup. The paid version starts at $29/month.

    15. Serpstat

    • Good for: Intermediate SEO, PPC, and competitive analysis.
    • Unique feature: Shows a competitors graph as well as ad examples for a keyword.
    • Price: Free for 10 requests per day, paid starts at $55.

    A free tool that comes with strategic advice? Sold!

    Image source

    You get what you get and you don’t get upset. 

    16. Ubersuggest

    Be prepared to time travel back to the 90s—but also to get new ideas.

    • Good for: Intermediate SEO and content marketers.
    • Unique feature: SEO difficulty score, social shares, content ideas.
    • Price: Free version is very limited (one site, three keywords per day), paid starts at $29/month with free seven-day trial available.

    For a streamlined SEO with a side of hand-holding.

    Ubersuggest chrome extension—which provides keyword data as you search on Google, YouTube, and Amazon—is quite useful.

    The best all-in-one keyword research tools (premium)

    I’ll cover the full version of this tool later on, but the free version of Semrush provides your basic keyword data like volume, difficulty, and CPC. It offers 10 queries per day, one project where you can track 10 keywords and audit 100 pages of your site, one SEO Content Template, one on-page SEO Checker Campaign, and one use of the SEO Writing Assistant.

    • Keyword analysis: volume, competition, cost, interest trends, often separated by organic vs paid, and more.
    • SERP analysis: top-ranking pages for a keyword, including their domain rating, referring domains, backlinks, traffic, keywords, rank tracking, rich snippets, and more.
    • Keyword gaps: keywords your competitors are ranking for that you are not.
    • Site analyses: for your and competitors’ sites.
    • SEO audits: complete technical and content SEO audits for your site.
    • Integration with apps, plugins, CRMs, and reporting tools.

    17. Semrush

    “Google autocomplete is a window into the soul of our society.” – Someone on the web.

    • Good for: Advanced SEO and PPC for experts, agencies, and large businesses.
    • Unique feature: Content marketing toolkit, social media marketing, shows intent of keywords.
    • Price: Free version is pretty useful, paid starts at $119.95/mo with a seven-day free trial.

    You can then filter by URL where you can first see how effective your keyword targeting is. From there, you can plug the other queries into a keyword research tool to see whether you should incorporate them into your post. For example, here are the top queries for our post on how to do keyword research for SEO and PPC:

    Image source

    18. Ahrefs

    You can customize the tool to show you only the search engines you want, drag queries into a saved suggestions box, and click on any one query to be brought to the SERP for that platform. 

    • Good for: Advanced SEO, link building, and click data.
    • Unique feature: Unmatched backlink index, unique click metrics, and Return Rate.
    • Price: No free version, seven-dollar seven-day trial, paid starts at $99/mo.

    And that wraps up the 18 best keyword research tools, for any level, any purpose, and any business. I hope you found it helpful! Here’s the full list:
    One of it’s distinguishing features is unique click metrics. For any keyword, you  can learn how many searches result in clicks, the average number of clicks per search, the click distribution between paid and organic results, and how often people search the same keyword in 30 days (Return Rate (RR)).

    Moz Keyword Explorer, offers your basic keyword data along with rank tracking, site audits, and page optimization reports. It provides a Priority Score to help you identify whether a keyword is worth targeting, based on that keyword’s data and your “My Score”— a score you give on how relevant the keyword is to your business.

    While it doesn’t provide volume, competition, or cost data, it’s great for coming up with content ideas as well as understanding intent in some cases. Like who knew that YouTubers look for lawn mower sounds for sleep?
    “Semrush is like a lighthouse as I surf through the Ocean of Websites.” -Someone on the web

    The best keyword research tools [recap]

    Sort of like lawn seats…

    1. WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool
    2. Google Keyword Planner
    3. Microsoft Advertising Intelligence
    4. Bing and Google search terms report
    5. Soovle
    6. AnswerThePublic
    7. Keyworddit
    8. QuestionDB
    9. Google Search Console
    10. Google Trends
    11. Semrush (free version)
    13. KWFinder
    14. Growth Bar
    15. Serpstat
    16. Ubersuggest
    17. Semrush
    18. Ahrefs 
    19. Moz Keyword Explorer

    Can’t get enough keyword research?

    Keyword Tool uses Google autocomplete (which uses search behavior and data) to generate long-tail keyword suggestions for any term. Google autocomplete typically only gives you about five suggestions, but this tool shows you the hundreds of suggestions available. It will prepend and append the term with words and prepositions, and you can find suggestions specific to Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon, eBay, Play Store, Instagram (Instagram SEO is a thing!), and Twitter.

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