Looking for the best keyword research tools for your blog? To get your articles ranked on Google, you need a good SEO keyword research tool.
There are lots of free keyword research tools available like Google Keyword Planner.
But I don’t recommend them. They don’t provide enough data (such as keyword volume, LSI keyword phrases, keyword difficulty, etc).
With regard to Google’s Keyword Planner I don’t recommend it for organic search.
Because the Keyword Planner is designed for people using Google’s paid ads and most of the metrics in the Keyword Planner are drawn from pay-per-click. This means they are not necessarily going to help you in identifying good keywords for organic search.
That’s why you need to look beyond tools like Keyword Planner. When it comes to keyword research, you need as much keyword data as possible such as:
I recommend the following tools as they provide most of the keyword information listed above:
Don’t worry if you don’t have the budget to spend on the above tools, as I’ll show you how to use them almost for free (except Ahrefs).
- SEMrush (you can grab their 7 days Pro account trial from here) - use their tool for keyword research for 7 days, and if you don’t want to continue, just cancel within 30 days so you won’t get charged
- Ahrefs (you can try their 7 days trial account for $7) - if you are not ready to spend money yet, no worries as you can still find great keywords using the other tools listed here.
- Ubersuggest (free and paid)
- KeywordTool.io - a freemium tool, but the free account will do the job for basic keyword research purposes.
The above SEO tools are used by almost all bloggers nowadays.
Of course, keyword research is only one part of SEO. To rank for a keyword, your website has to be well managed (that inlcudes website hosting and speed) because Google watches everything on your site.
But in this article I'm going to show you how to do keyword research using the above-mentioned SEO tools.
How to Use SEMrush for Keyword Research
SEMrush is recommended by many pro bloggers. One good thing about using SEMrush is it gives you access to the “Keyword Magic” tool which can be used as an all-in-one tool for keyword research.
Just one seed keyword is enough to come up with a ton of keyword ideas when you have access to the SEMrush Keyword Magic tool.
Here’s how to use the SEMrush keyword magic tool for finding better keywords.
Once you are on the SEMrush dashboard, go to Keyword Magic Tool which you can find under “Keyword Research” section.
To begin with, enter a seed keyword of your choice:
As you can see above, you can also choose a database, by country. Make sure to pick the database where your target audience is located.
You can see that the SEMrush keyword magic tool generated over 129,000 keyword terms for our target keyword which is “WordPress themes”.
To simplify our keyword research process and to find the best keywords, we’ll use some filters.
Click on “Advanced Filters”,which you can find next to the Broad Match, Phrase Match, Exact Match keyword tab.
Now, choose the volume filter and enter min 100 and max 1000. Apply the filter. This filter shows you only those keywords that have monthly searches between 100 and 1000.
You can add more filters like KD (keyword difficulty) to find low competition keyword ideas.
After applying the KD filter (we chose 50 as the keyword difficulty which will ensure that we find low competition keywords), SEMrush has given us keywords with good search volume and low competition.
Now, you can select the most relevant keyword for your blog post.
Finding Competitors’ Top Performing Keywords with SEMrush
One good reason to use premium tools like SEMrush is competitor research. With competitor research, you can quickly find a list of the keywords that your competitors are ranking for.
Here’s how to use SEMrush to find competitor keywords.
Go to the Organic Research section under the Competitive Research tool from SEMrush. Enter any of your competitors' domains.
As you can see, SEMrush gives you a list of all the keywords that the site is ranking for. In the above example of shoutmeloud.com, SEMrush is giving us over 100,000 keywords that are generating traffic from search engines.
Click on the keywords tab and you’ll find a huge list of keyowrd ideas.
You’ll see a ton of useful data including:
- a list of all the keywords that your competitors have used to get SERP features (such as featured snippets)
- Position (your competitor’s position in the search results for a given keyword)
- Difference (shows changes in your competitor’s rankings for a given keyword)
- Traffic % (the percentage of traffic driven to the particular site with the given keyword)
- Monthly search volume
- KD % (Keyword difficulty score)
- CPC value
- URL of the web page that ranks for that keyword
That’s a lot of useful data, right?
Now, you can again use the Keyword Magic Tool to easily find low competition and high CPC (cost per click) keyword terms for each keyword that you got from the competitor analysis.
How to Use Ahrefs for Keyword Research
Ahrefs is another popular SEO tool that can be used for keyword research. And like SEMrush, it's a premium SEO tool.
One of the main reasons for using premium tools like Ahrefs is that they provide you with a huge number of keyword ideas, many more than you would get from free tools like Ubersuggest.
So let’s now talk about how you can use Ahrefs to find potential keywords for your website.
Before starting, you need to pay $7 to try Ahrefs for a 7 days trial because, as I said, Ahrefs isn’t a free tool.
Ahrefs offers you an exclusive tool called “Keywords Explorer” which can help you with keyword research.
To start, go to Ahrefs Keywords Explorer and enter your keywords.
Let’s say you want to rank for a keyword term like “free blogging platforms”.
Here’s what Ahrefs keyword data looks like:
As you can see, Ahrefs has given us multiple streams of data:
Keyword difficulty (Ahrefs gives you a KD score for each keyword and estimates how many backlinks you’ll need to rank in the top 10 for this keyword)
Search volume (gives you average monthly number of searches for the keyword in the selected country)
Clicks (refers to the average monthly number of clicks that people make while searching for the target keyword)
CPC value (shows the average price that advertisers pay for a click on their ad in paid search results for a keyword in a given country)
Global volume (shows how many times per month, on average, people search for the target keyword across all countries in our database)
Again, that’s a lot of useful keyword data!
To begin our keyword research with Ahrefs we need to look at a list of all the keyword ideas it generates for our seed keyword.
Just click on the All Keyword Ideas tab and Ahrefs will give you a HUGE list of potential keywords.
Here’s an example:
As you can see above, for the keyword “free blogging platforms”, Ahrefs Keywords Explorer generated over 8,000 keyword suggestions.
Using the above filters, you can easily find keywords with high search volume but low competition.
You can also use their other keyword tool features to narrow down your search:
- Phrase match keywords
- Having the same terms keywords
- Also rank for keywords
- Search suggestions
- Newly discovered keywords
Just click on any of these options to get more keyword ideas.
Finding Competitors’ Top Performing Keywords with Ahrefs
As I mentioned earlier, with premium SEO tools like Ahrefs you can easily find your competitor’s top performing keywords.
Here’s how you can use Ahrefs to discover competitor’s keywords.
First, go to the Site Explorer tool, and then click on the Organic keywords list.
Then, use keyword filters like KD, search volume, CPC, etc to target overlooked yet easy to rank for keywords!
Here’s what the Organic Keywords list looks like:
How to Use Ubersuggest for Keyword Research
If you are looking for a FREE keyword research tool, Ubersuggest is one of the best tools available.
Ubersuggest is completely free to use and provides a ton of useful keyword data.
To get started, visit Ubersuggest and enter any seed keyword of your choice.
Here’s what it looks like:
Just hit the Search button and Ubersuggest will instantly give you an overview of the keyword (as shown above).
Although Ubersuggest is a free tool, it also offers excellent keyword data including:
- Search volume
- SEO difficulty
- Paid difficulty
- CPC value of the keyword
Scroll down and you’ll find even more keyword ideas based on your seed keyword.
As you can see, Ubersuggest gives us a lot of keyword suggestions along with PD (paid difficulty) and SD (SEO difficulty) scores so you can easily determine the difficulty of keywords.
When we click on the View All Keyword Ideas, it generates over 120 keywords for our target keyword.
You can also click on the “Related” tab to find a list of related keywords. These keywords can also be used as LSI keywords - they help you optimize your posts without exceeding the recommended keyword density for your main keyword.
If you want to rank for multiple keywords, try using preposition keywords. These include words like at, for, in, off, on, over, and under.
These preposition keyword terms can be used to describe a location, time, or place.
Click on the Prepositions tab and voila, you’ll see a new set of keyword ideas.
If you’re doing product reviews or comparisons, you need to find related keywords that are commonly used in comparison articles.
Fortunately, Ubersuggest also offers “comparisons” keywords which look like this:
So there you go. Ubersuggest will help you discover a lot of new keywords including:
- Related keywords
- Question based keywords
- Preposition keywords
In fact, there’s no other free tool that offers you this number of options for keyword research.
Ubersuggest is a great keyword research tool if you’re looking for a free tool in 2020 to increase your search traffic.
Finding Competitors Top Performing Keywords with Ubersuggest
So what about competitor research?
Yes, you can find your competitor’s keywords using Ubersuggest.
Just enter your competitor’s domain in the Ubersuggest tool and it shows you a list of the top keywords that site is ranking for.
Here’s an example:
As you can see above, Ubersuggest has listed all of the keyword terms that the “Shoutmeloud” website is ranking for along with their search volume, position for the keyword, estimate of visits and SEO difficulty.
To recap, with Ubersuggest you can take a single keyword from your competitor’s site and discover a wealth of new keyword ideas.
How to Use KeywordTool for Keyword Research
If you’re looking for another free tool for keyword research, I recommend you try KeywordTool.io. It is considered one of the best free alternatives to Google’s
Although it’s NOT a completely free tool (it’s a freemium tool) it allows you to do basic keyword research for free.
Here’s how to use KeywordTool.io for finding low competition keywords.
To start, visit KeywordTool.io and enter any keyword. You can also pick any database of your choice (in this example, let’s go with the US database).
Once you hit enter, you will get a ton of keyword ideas. The good thing about using this tool is it generates keyword ideas within seconds (some other tools take longer).
As you can see above, with the free version you’ll only get access to the keyword themselves and you won’t get much associated data (search volume, keyword trend, CPC value etc which are only included in their premium version).
By clicking on the tabs along the top, you’ll get different keyword suggestions for YouTube, Bing, Amazon, eBay and so on.
You can also use this tool to find question-based keywords. Here’s what it looks like:
Another benefit of using this tool is that it not only generates keyword ideas from Google but it also pulls in suggestions from YouTube, Amazon, Bing, eBay etc.
So if you’re doing YouTube SEO, for example, you can find keywords only for YouTube.
Can you find competitors' keywords using KeywordTool?
The free version of KeywordTool.io is a standard keyword research tool. It doesn’t do competitor research (unlike SEMrush and Ahrefs) .
Although the PRO version does do competitor analysis it’s NOT accurate and is of limited use as it only pulls in data from Google. So I wouldn’t recommend this tool for competitor analysis. But all in all, KeywordTool.io is an excellent tool to begin your keyword research for free.
However, if you need more data such as CPC, search volume, and more keyword suggestions, you should consider their premium version.
These four keyword research tools will help you find keywords you can rank for and will help you grow your blog’s traffic.
But of course, it all depends on how you use these tools.
The advantage of the paid keyword tools – such as Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer and SEMrush’s Magic Keyword Tool – is that they pull in huge amounts of data. This makes them much more effective when it comes to uncovering low competition keywords that other people have missed.
In summary, free keywords tools are helpful when you’re just starting out. But as your website grows, you need premium tools. This is especially true if you want to keep up with the competition.