What are the Best Keyword Research Tools?

free keyword research tools
Last Updated: December 20, 2023

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best keyword research tools

For better or worse (we think better), keyword research is at the core of your SEO campaigns and overall digital marketing strategy. If you are not targeting the right keywords for your industry or niche, you are essentially flushing your money down the toilet.

Not only is keyword research important, but having a diversified set of keyword that you target is important. You want to make sure that you have a good mix of both short and long tail terms as well as research terms and buying terms.

So you know that keyword research is important, but what are the best keyword research tools? We are always looking for the best tools to help us succeed and we have compiled a list of some of our favorite below.

Our favorite keyword research tools are:

  1. WordStream
  2. Ahrefs
  3. Google Trends
  4. SEMRush
  5. SECockpit
  6. Google Keyword Planner
  7. Soovle
  8. Keywords Everywhere
  9. Ubersuggest


The WordStream keyword tool allows you to target certain niche industries or topics, gives you additional ideas, and also allows you to set them based on common themes. This is super helpful if you are also using the tool to plan PPC campaigns.

This tool is super helpful for planning your keywords used for SEO, but the tool is primarily built to assist and optimize paid campaigns. So if you run both types of campaigns, this could be the perfect all in one campaign for you and your team.

This particular keyword research tool gives you your first 30 searches for free. Once you have hit the limit, you’ll have to register for an account to continue using the service. Give it a try before you take the plunge — you will be glad you did.


The Ahrefs Keyword Explorer is another one of our favorite keyword tools. This tool allows for you to get an extremely in-depth analysis of the keyword you are searching for. When looking for keywords, this tool will give you the following useful information:

  • Search Volume
  • Keyword Difficulty
  • Average Cost per Click
  • Global Volume
  • Position History
  • Top Results for the Parent Topic

In terms of comprehensive level, Ahrefs is on of the best keyword research tools.

Google Trends

There are two ways to utilize Google Trends for keyword research:

When searching for a particular keyword, you can find related queries that will help you with deeper targeting.
When searching for a particular keyword, you can see the popularity of the keyword over time.

The second function of the tool can be particularly helpful when you are trying to decide between multiple keywords. If you are trying to target, “best IT company charlotte NC” but notice that “top IT company charlotte NC” is trending higher, it can help you make quick and impactful decisions.


In our opinion, SEMRush is one of the best keyword research tools and overall Digital Marketing performance tracking tools on the market. It allows you to evaluate results from all of the following marketing channels:

  • Organic
  • Paid
  • Social Media
  • Local Listings
  • Content
  • And more …

When looking at the keyword research tool on its own, the tool is pretty robust. When typing in the keyword or topic you would like to research, the tool populates the following information for you:

  • Organic Search Volume
  • Paid Search Volume
  • Volume Trend
  • Phrase Match Terms
  • Broad Match Terms

Our favorite function is the Keyword Magic Tool. This advanced tool allows for you to search from millions of keywords, filter down to the ones you want and export the terms into Excel so that you can manipulate the data outside of the platform.

The one hold up for some, may be the price. The base package for the tool comes to $99 a month.


If you are looking for the best keyword research tool with tons of features, SECockpit could be the tool for you.

The tool has five main, lightning-fast features:

  1. Keyword Research
  2. Keyword Ideas
  3. Competition Analysis
  4. Keyword Organization
  5. Keyword Analysis

Another thing to keep in mind is that SECockpit is one of a suite of tools from Swiss Made Marketing. The other tools include a YouTube specific keyword tool, a website traffic analysis tool, a competitor backlink research tool and several others.

One thing to keep in mind though, is that SECockpit is not a free keyword research tool. Packages range from $39 to $99 a month, with discounts applied if you pay yearly. But considering it’s vast range of features, the cost is certainly worth it.

Google Keyword Planner

The Google Keyword Planner tool is among the most used and popular keyword analysis tools on the market.

The sole reason for this being so popular is it’s absolutely free and is directly integrated with Google AdWords (huge perk!!!).

To begin using this tool you will need to make sure you have a Google AdWords account (which you may create one for free through your gmail).

Our favorite feature: Directly connected to the Google platform which in case you forgot, is the largest search engine in the world!

Some downfalls: The tools is basic, which is not a bad thing, but if you are looking for robust analytics, we recommend one of the other tools on this list.


Have you ever used Google’s autocomplete feature to come up with keywords for a blog post topic? If you haven’t, this is one of our favorite ways to come up with content topics.

If you like that trick, you will for sure like this tool.

Simply speaking, this free keyword research tool provides autocomplete tips from various sources, not just from Google, to help you boost your search volume.

While this tool uses Google to provide information, it also uses other search engines such as Yahoo, Bing, YouTube, Wikipedia and Amazon. All of the top bases are covered.

The first thing you have to do is select your source. Google is the default, but you can change this easily to your desired choice. The search results aren’t the most advanced, but you’ll probably find a few suggestions which make sense for the blog. As you switch from resource to resource, your results will change.

Using Soovle is as easy as typing in your keywords and reviewing the outcomes. It’s quick, it’s efficient and it is going to steer you towards some good keyword phrases — particularly for blog content. Simply put, this is one of the best free keyword research tools you will find.

Keywords Everywhere

If you are looking for a keyword research tool that can be used as a browser extension, look no further than Keywords Everywhere. This tool is easliy installed on Chrome or Firefox only and can immediately be put to use as one of the best keyword research tools.

This tool is what is known as a “freemium” tool. Meaning, there are free features and paid features.

The free features include:

  • URL Analysis
  • Insight Report on YouTube searches
  • Ability to see Google Related Keywords and “People Also Search For” keywords

By upgrading to the paid verion of the tool, it takes the above free tools and adds more data for you to analyze. The paid version also allows you to integrate the tool with 16 other website from Google Analytics to Amazon to Google Trends.


Here is another one of the great free keyword research tools. Ubersuggest takes keyword research one step further and provides you with keywords which aren’t available via the Google Keyword Planner.

As a result, we find the tool most effective after you have already used Google Keyword Planner.

Once you type in your topic or keyword, the tool will spit back out the following information:

  • Search Volume
  • SEO Difficulty
  • Paid Difficulty
  • Cost per Click
  • Chance you can rank for the term

Are You Looking for Free Keyword Research Tools?

There are plenty of free keyword research tools on the market — many of them made the list above. If you are trying to keep your costs low, try one of the following tools:

  1. Google Trends
  2. Google Keyword Planner
  3. Soovle
  4. Keywords Everywhere
  5. Ubersuggest

The Best Strategy: Use Multiple of the Best Keyword Research Tools

While we realize that it is a few more steps, often times, the best strategy is to use a few of the tools to complete your research. This is especially easy considering that multiple tools are completely free.