Using keywords in SEO is like fishing. You need to know how to bait the hook and where to cast the line to reel in the big profits.
Keyword research is at the core of PPC campaigns and search engine marketing. If you’re not using the right keywords as bait, then you’re unlikely to be able to get the attention of your desired audience.
Researching and selecting keywords that your audience will search for and then integrate those keywords naturally within your content, your on- and off-page SEO strategy, and your Google Ads campaigns will be the most effective way to attract customers and increase profits.
But first, let’s explain what types of keywords we’re looking for and how we’ll use them after the research is done.
What Are SEO Keywords?
When people talk about “SEO keywords,” they’re talking about the keywords that they want to rank well for. When you partner with an SEO company, one of the first things they’ll do it get to know you and your business, and then dig into keyword research.
Once you have a list of keywords you want to rank for or maybe keywords that you’re already ranking for but want to move up higher in the SERPs, which could be hundreds, then you’ll have to prioritize your keyword research list by importance to you, keyword search volume and competition levels.
You may have one keyword with 10,000 searches per month, but the competition is really high. Would you rather try ranking for that keyword, which could take months, or go after keywords with maybe 300 searches a month, but have little competition?
Using keyword tools will help you out with your final list of keywords you should go after first.
Why Are Keyword Research Tools Important?
Keyword research tools are important because they allow you to get a better idea of who you’re going against for certain keywords and how much work is required for you to rank in the top results. The higher you rank, ideally you should see more clicks and hopefully more conversions.
Your keyword research will impact your entire digital marketing strategy. It will not only help your SEO efforts, but it will provide you with blog post ideas for your website and it can provide a list of keywords that your PPC management team can bid on as a short-term strategy.
When you’re reviewing the data populated with your keyword tool of choice, keep in mind that you will have primary keywords and secondary keywords.
A primary keyword may be “plumbing company.”
Secondary keywords include: plumbing companies, plumber near me, how to fix a water leak, water heater repair service, etc.
As you can see, there are variations of your keywords (products and services) and long-tail keywords. These secondary keywords may or may not have the same search volume as your primary keywords, but if you’re able to optimize your service page for a primary keyword and a few secondary keywords, your page will be a favorable choice to Google if the content is relevant to the search query.
Top Free [and paid] Keyword Tools for SEO
We’ve collected a list of our favorite keyword tools (as you’ll see, some of the keyword tools are paid, but they come with free trials and are absolutely worth trying out) that you can use to boost your website ranking and attract more leads and customers!
The Google Ads Keyword Planner is a great place to start with during your keyword research journey. The tool is built by Google, which is typically the search engine where most of our SEO efforts are spent, so it makes sense to at least see what the data looks like.
You can use this data to not only build a keyword list for optimizing your website, but you can save keyword lists and use them in your Google Ads campaigns, too.
Keyword data collected:
- Average monthly searches and trends over time
- Average cost-per-click if you were to bid on them
- Level of competition
- New keyword ideas
Cost: Free with a Google Ads account (which is also free)
WordStream has its own keyword tool for both PPC keyword research and SEO. This marvelous keyword tool helps you target specific niches and gives you suggestions based on the industry and related searches that you may not have thought of.
Cost: Free trial
Twinword is a free keyword tool we’re really impressed with! With a decent free version (10 searches/day) and a very granular set of filter options that enable you to really dial in how relevant your search terms are, Twinword is definitely a good option to keep in your toolkit.
With the ‘user intent’ filtering options, Twinword makes for a great blog topic research tool as well.
Cost: Free with paid options
This awesome, free tool by Google lets you explore the popularity of a specific keyword or topic over time in Google searches.
You can also compare different keywords to see what’s more popular and see where in the world your keyword is most popular. Google Trends also shares related queries, which can help you find new opportunities.
If you have various channels you need to do some organized keyword research on, Soovle is the answer. This free application allows you to delve into the most typed on different search engines based on the keyword root.
The side-by-side site page comparison tool by Internet Marketing Ninjas allows you to compare the SEO on 5 URLs simultaneously. Just collect the URLs of whatever pages you’d like to compare (ex. your Service page and your competitor’s Service page) and then run the check.
It’s fast and, when it’s done, it will have nice tidy graphs that you can easily use to check metadata, keyword density, source code, link structure, and much more.
This keyword tool lets you type in a keyword or phrase and then it spits out a bunch of suggestions and ideas in question form. It works by mining Google’s auto-complete function.
Ubersuggest will take a keyword and give you a list of similar keyword ideas with metrics like volume, CPC, and competition. You can choose to search for web keywords, news keywords, and even YouTube keywords.
The tool will also give you suggestions based off of the phrases Google autocompletes for you while you’re typing in your query.
This tool is an extension or add-on for Chrome or Firefox that’ll let you see keyword data as you’re just going about your regular browsing.
It’s very neat, but a little hard to explain – head to their website to see how they provide you with awesome, helpful keyword data.
Youtube.com had a free keyword tool once upon a time, but then they consolidated it with Google Ads in 2014. But don’t lose hope!
A great free keyword tool alternative for Youtube users and marketers, Youtube Keyword Tool will help you find and select the best keywords, phrases, and topics for boosting your video audience.
Google doesn’t have all the fun! Bing is still going strong and as such should be targeted for SEO success…and it has a plethora of excellent SEO “Webmaster” tools (so yes, you will need to create an account if you don’t already have one) along with a great free keyword tool for SEO.
Premium Keyword Research Tools [Free Trials]
7-Day Free Trial
This keyword research tool will help you find keywords for your niche. The analytical feature is available if you buy the platinum version.
If you need to evaluate your competition’s strategy, SpyFu has what you need. This SEO optimization software includes technology to help you understand your competitor’s platform and modules that compare websites and domain histories.
Wordtracker is a good choice for small businesses who are researching keywords and developing an SEO strategy. Wordtracker is a great tool to use when you’re looking for long tail keywords to use in your strategy for either the web, YouTube, or Amazon.
30-Day Free Trial
With this program, you can type in a keyword phrase and get keyword ideas, a snapshot of the search engine results page that comes up for that keyword search, where the keyword is mentioned, and more.
Much more than just a keyword tool, Raven’s complete in-depth SEO and domain research tools are some of the best on the market. The site auditor will notify you regarding any and all on-site issues that can harm your rankings, as well as recommend numerous solutions for improving your SEO efforts and results. It even generates SEO reports to keep you up-to-date whenever you want.
SEMrush will help you discover your competitor’s organic and paid keywords in a search. The keyword research tool enables you to identify the best keywords for PPC campaigns, gather and multiply your keywords and keyphrases, select long-tail keywords for greater success, and (one of their strongest features) target multinational and multi-lingual markets.
Free Trial (30 Searches)
Jaaxy is an impressive platform for both keyword research and general SEO. The tool comes with comprehensive features, including keyword analysis and tracking, competition research, and industry or niche analyzing and targeting.
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No time for keyword research but still want the results?
We’re experts in keyword research! We use many of the paid and free keyword tools regularly and are always ready to put our expertise to work on a new keyword research project.
If you need help identifying the perfect keywords, boosting your site rankings, and attracting your audience, contact us and start increasing your profits!