15 BEST Keyword Research Tools for SEO [2018 Reviews]

Keyword Research Tools

This is a list of the 15 best keyword research tools in 2018.

These amazing tools have helped my organic traffic grow by 25.54% over the last 6 months:

Organic traffic growth

And in this guide I’ll reveal the world’s best keyword tools…

…and help you choose the best one for you.

15 Best Keyword Research Tools

1. Soovle

Scrape suggested keywords from multiple sources.

Soovle gives you suggested keyword ideas from Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon and more.

(All in one place)

That way, you can find untapped keywords that your competition doesn’t know about.

Soovle

My Favorite Feature: Saved Suggestions

Easily save your favorite keyword ideas with Soovle’s “drag & drop” saved suggestions feature.

Soovle – Save

Then, download your favorite keywords to a CSV file.

Brian's Bottom Line
Brian's Bottom Line

Soovle is one of the best free keyword research tools out there.

2. Jaaxy

Get thousands of related keyword ideas within seconds.

This is a straightforward (yet powerful) tool.

What makes Jaaxy unique?

It gives you LOTS of different keyword ideas.

(Including some that you won’t find in most other tools)

Plus, you get helpful data on every keyword that it gives you (including competition, search volume and potential traffic).

Jaaxy

My Favorite Feature: QSR

QSR stands for “Quoted Search Result”.

This is a fancy way of saying: “how many other websites are trying to rank for this exact term?”.

Obviously, the lower this number, the better chance you have of ranking #1.

Jaaxy – QSR
Brian's Bottom Line
Brian's Bottom Line

A decent freemium tool. Not nearly as good as something like SEMRush or Ahrefs. But at $50/month, it’s not a bad deal.

3. Google Search Console

Find hundreds of “Opportunity Keywords”.

The Google Search Console isn’t a traditional keyword research tool.

But it has a feature that makes finding awesome keyword ideas a CINCH.

The feature?

The Performance Report.

This report list out the pages on your site that get the most clicks from Google.

(And the exact keywords that brought them there)

So: how can you use this feature for keyword research?

It’s easy: use this feature to find “Opportunity Keywords”.

Opportunity Keywords are where you rank between #8-#20 in Google for a specific keyword.

And with little extra on-page SEO, you can find yourself with a massive rankings boost.

For example, my average rankings for the keyword “SEO tool” is 10.4.

Google Search Console

That keyword is an Opportunity Keyword. And if I optimize my page around “SEO tool”, my rankings for that term should go up.

My Favorite Feature: Google Analytics + Google Search Console

Did you know that you can combine your Google Search Console and Google Analytics accounts?

Well, you can.

And it’s VERY helpful.

When you do, you’ll get SUPER in-depth keyword data than you would with either tool by itself.

Google Analytics & Google Search Console
Brian's Bottom Line
Brian's Bottom Line

The Google Search Console is an underrated keyword research tool. No other tool can help you find Opportunity Keywords like the GSC.

4. Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

Make smarter keyword decisions.

Ahrefs recently rolled out a new and improved “Keywords Explorer”.

And what I like most about Keywords Explorer is this:

It gives you SUPER in-depth information on each keyword.

Sure, you get the data you’d expect (like search volume). But you also get a breakdown of the first page competition… and how many searchers actually click on a result.

Ahrefs

My Favorite Feature: Keyword Difficulty

Most keyword research tools give you vague difficulty info (like “easy” or “difficult”).

But Ahrefs tells you EXACTLY how many backlinks you’ll need to rank on the first page of Google.

Ahrefs – Keyword Difficulty

Awesome.

Brian's Bottom Line
Brian's Bottom Line

Ahrefs is mostly known as for backlink analysis. But I have to say: it’s got a killer keyword research tool. I find myself using it more and more every week.

5. SECockpit

Keyword research for SEO pros.

This a Swiss Army Knife of keyword research tools.

Like any other keyword research tool, you give it a seed keyword and get a list of results.

But what makes SECockpit unique is the built-in features that allow you to get A LOT of depth on search trends, organic competition and traffic estimates.

Which means that it’s a tool largely designed for SEO professionals.

Sure, newbies can get value out of it, but there’s no doubt that SECockpit is targeted for people that sleep, eat and breathe SEO.

If you’re brand new to SEO, the sheer number of features in this tool might be overwhelming for you. But if you’re looking for lots and lots of depth, you’ll probably get your money’s worth.

With that, here’s how it works.

When you login you’ll automatically go to your Dashboard, where you can create projects around sets of keywords…or jump right in with a single keyword search.

SECockpit – Dashboard

To start the keyword research process, click on “Start a Keyword Search”:

Then, enter a seed keyword in the field marked “Keyword Phrase”:

You can get even more results by choosing to include Google Suggest, Related Searches and synonyms pulled from Google Ads:

When you’re done, click on “save and close” and the tool will get to work:

Here’s what you’ll see:

If you’ve ever used the Google Keyword Planner, the data here should look familiar to you.

In fact, the columns “Phrase”, “Monthly Searches” and “CPC” are pulled directly from the GKP:

(The only difference is that CPC is called “Top of page bid” in the GKP)

So: what does the other information in SECockpit mean?

Well you’ll notice a bunch of green bars under the column labeled “Niche”:

This bar is a single metric that takes into account first page competition, monthly search volume, and commercial intent. In other words, whether or not that search query is a good overall choice. The larger the bar, the better the keyword.

Next to monthly searches you’ll notice a series of orange bars labeled “Top Results”:

This bar indicates the difficulty of ranking for that particular keyword based on the current top 10 results.

And you can get a SUPER in-depth overview of a keyword’s first page competition in Google by clicking on a keyword.

When you do, SECockpit will display important competition metrics for the top 10 pages in the results… including Domain Authority and total backlinks:

SECockpit – Competition metrics

This is a great way to quickly size up competition without having to look one-by-one at Google’s search results.

And you go back to the keywords page, you can actually add at least 20 more columns to the results:

For example, you can see a ratio of the keyword’s competition in comparison to its search volume. Or you can get a comparison of the estimated traffic you’ll get from hitting the top 3 for that keyword. And lots more.

My Favorite Feature: Filtering

You can use over 100 filters to find the keywords that you want.

For example, do you only want keywords that get searched for at least 10k times per month? Done.

Or maybe you want terms that have the best ratio of search volume and competition. You got it.

SECockpit – Filters
Brian's Bottom Line
Brian's Bottom Line

Clunky? Yes. Intuitive? Heck no. Feature-rich? Absolutely. If you want lots of advanced features, and don’t mind a steep learning curve, definitely check out SECockpit.

6. Google Keyword Planner

Tap into Google’s massive keyword database.

The GKP is pretty vanilla compared to most other keyword research tools.

So why use it?

Because the data you get from it comes straight from Google.

(So you know its legit)

Google Keyword Planner

My Favorite Feature: “Top of page bid”

This is how much people advertisers are bidding on a keyword.

For example, of you see a top of page bid of $10, people are spending an average of 10 bucks per click.

Obviously, the higher this number, the more commercial intent that searcher has.

Google Keyword Planner – Top of page bid
Brian's Bottom Line
Brian's Bottom Line

The data in the GKP is the most reliable out there. That said, because it’s designed for ads, using it for SEO can be tricky. This Google Keyword Planner Guide shows you how the GKP for SEO-focused keyword research.

7. KeywordTool.io

Get boatloads of targeted keyword ideas.

Here’s another Google Suggest scraper (just like UberSuggest and Soovle).

What makes KeywordTool unique?

Two things:

First, KeywordTool gives you A LOT of keyword suggestions.

KeywordTool

For example, I just did a search for “SEO”… and got 1,375 relevant keywords.

Not bad.

Second, you can easily filter, drill-down or expand the results to find the right keywords for you.

KeywordTool – Filtering

My Favorite Feature: Analyze Competitors

This is a very cool feature I don’t see in many other keyword research tools.

Just enter a competitor’s site… and the tool will generate a list of keyword ideas based on that site’s content.

For example, when I pop Backlinko into the tool, I get keywords that I’d expect.

(Like “SEO” and “blog”)

KeywordTool – Analyze competitors

But I also came across terms that I don’t use anywhere on my site… but are closely related to the type of stuff that I write about.

(Like “digital marketing” and “how to check backlinks”)

KeywordTool – Untapped terms
Brian's Bottom Line
Brian's Bottom Line

One of the best overall keyword research tools on the market. Worth a try.

8. Moz Keyword Explorer

Find keywords that will generate the most traffic.

Moz’s Keyword Explorer does an awesome job of finding “lateral” keyword ideas.

For example, take a seed keyword like “weight loss”.

Like most other tools, you get a list of closely related keywords:

Moz –

But what makes Moz unique is that it’s SMART.

Which means you get outside-the-box suggestions that you probably won’t find anywhere else.

Moz – Outside the box keywords

My Favorite Feature: “Organic CTR” and “Priority”

These two awesome features let you know how many clicks you can expect to get from your target keyword.

Moz – Organic CTR

Organic CTR is the number of clicks you can expect to get if you crack the top 10. For example, if a SERP has a ton of PPC ads, news results, and a knowledge graph, your CTR is gonna be low.

Priority takes into account CTR, search volume and difficulty. It’s an “overall” score of whether or not you should target a particular keyword.

Moz – Priority

So if you’re overwhelmed by keyword data, you can use this single metric to find keywords that are going to bring you the most traffic from Google.

Brian's Bottom Line
Brian's Bottom Line

Moz’s keyword tool is pretty darn awesome. Unfortunately, it’s not a standalone tool (you have to pay for their entire suite of SEO tools to use it.

9. Keywords Everywhere

Get search volume (and more) wherever you go.

Keywords Everywhere is a free keyword research tool that displays keyword data on top of 10 websites …including Ebay, Amazon and Answer The Public.

That way, you don’t need to copy and paste keywords into the Google Keyword Planner all the time. The data shows up in your browser. Very cool.

Keywords Everywhere

My Favorite Feature: “People Also Search For”

Get a list of keywords related to your search term… in the Google search results.

Keywords Everywhere – People Also Search For

What’s cool about this feature is that you can find keywords that your target customer searches for when they’re not searching for what you sell.

For example, when I search for “SEO Tools”, I see terms like “Google Keyword Planner SEO” and “”Free SEO analysis”.

(Both of which get decent amounts of searches every month)

Keywords Everywhere –

Nice.

Brian's Bottom Line
Brian's Bottom Line

If you’re serious about keyword research you NEED to install this extension. It rocks.

10. Keyword Snatcher

Find 2,000 keyword ideas with a single search.

If you want a lot – and I mean a lot – of keyword ideas, Keyword Snatcher is a dream come true.

In fact, you’ll usually generate at least 2,000 keywords from a single seed keyword.

Here’s how it works:

Just open up the tool and choose the sources that you want Keyword Snatcher to pull its suggestions from:

I recommend keeping them all checked so you can generate as many keyword ideas as possible.

Next, enter a seed keyword into the field and click “Get Suggestions”:

And after a long wait, you’ll get an insane amount of suggestions:

Keyword Snatcher – Suggestions

The big downside of this tool is that it doesn’t show you helpful information about the keywords that it generates (like search volume and keyword competition). It’s simply a keyword idea tool.

To get that information, you need to extract the list of keywords by clicking on “Download Suggestions” and saving your keyword list as a text or CSV file:

Then, copy and paste those keywords into the Google Keyword Planner.

Google Keyword Planner – Volume & Forecasts

My Favorite Feature: Word Count

This nifty sorting feature lets you focus on keywords that are a certain length.

(Like terms that are at least 4-words long)

This makes finding long tail keywords MUCH easier.

Keyword Snatcher – Word count
Brian's Bottom Line
Brian's Bottom Line

Not the best keyword tool ever made. But it’s one of the few out there that don’t require a monthly subscription.

11. Google Trends

Find new keywords and search trends.

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

First, you can search for a specific keyword…

Google Trends

…and take a look at the “related queries” section.

Google Trends – Related Queries

Second, you can see if whether or not a keyword is growing in popularity.

Google Trends – Interest over time

Why is this important?

Well, let’s say you’re debating between two keywords:

“Content Marketing” and “Inbound Marketing”.

As you can see, interest for “Inbound Marketing” is growing fast… and fewer people are searching for “Content Marketing” than ever before.

Google Trends – Interest over time – Comparison

This isn’t to say that “Content Marketing” is a bad keyword. It’s just one factor to keep in mind.

My Favorite Feature: YouTube Search

See whether a given keyword is growing on the world’s 2nd most popular search engine: YouTube.

Google Trends – Interest over time – YouTube
Brian's Bottom Line
Brian's Bottom Line

If you write lots of evergreen content, you NEED to use Google Trends. That way, you can see if a keyword is going to bring you traffic over the long haul… before you write a word of content.

12. SEMRush

SEMrush works a little differently than the other tools I’ve shown you so far.

Instead of entering a seed keyword and getting a long list of keyword ideas, SEMrush shows you keywords that your competition already ranks for.

(These are usually outside-the-box keywords that would be impossible to find using any other tool)

Here’s how it works:

First, enter a competitor’s domain name in the field at the top of the page.

SEMRush

If you’re doing SEO in a country outside of the US (for example, in Google.co.uk), you can choose to see information about that specific market. Just choose that country from this menu:

SEMRush – Select country

Next, take a look at the “Organic Search” section:

SEMRush – Organic search

Here’s what the different terms in that section mean:

  • SEMrush Rank is where the site ranks in SEMRush’s database (like Alexa, the lower the number, the better). SEMrush rank is based on total estimated organic traffic.
  • Keywords is the estimated number of monthly organic visitors that come from Google.
  • Traffic Cost indicates how valuable this traffic is (based on Google Ads CPC).

So if you see a domain with a lot of Organic Search Traffic but a low Traffic Cost, you know that they’re ranking for keywords that don’t convert into buyers.

But the real value of SEMrush comes from the “Organic Keywords” data:

SEMRush – Organic keywords

This box will show you 5 of the top keywords that your competitors are ranking for. To see more, click on “View full report”:

SEMRush – View full report

And you’ll get a list of all of the keywords that the site or URL ranks for:

SEMRush – All keywords

This page alone will usually give you a handful of solid keywords.

But if you want more ideas, go back to the domain’s overview and check out the “Competitors” in the sidebar.

And you’ll see that site’s first page competition:

SEMRush – All competitors

When you click on one of THOSE results, you can see the exact search queries they’re ranking for.

There will be some overlap from what you just saw, but you’ll also usually dig up some real gems.

You can also start your SEMrush search with a keyword instead of a competitor’s site:

SEMRush – Keyword search

SEMrush will show you a “Phrase match report”, which is a list of long tail keywords that include the keyword you entered:

SEMRush – Phrase match report

This is really helpful for finding long tail variations of Head and Body Keywords.

For example, if you wanted to rank for the keyword “weight loss”, you’ll quickly find that it’s simply too competitive.

But SEMrush will show you long tail variations, like “weight loss calculator”, that are MUCH easier to rank for:

SEMRush – Phrase match report –

My Favorite Feature: Keyword Magic

This tool pulls keyword suggestions from SEMRush’s massive database of 800+ million terms.

SEMRush – Keyword Magic
Brian's Bottom Line
Brian's Bottom Line

SEMRush is my favorite keyword research tool. Not cheap. But if you’re serious about SEO, it’s a must-have.

13. KWFinder

A powerful keyword tool that’s also easy to use.

KWFinder is quickly becoming one of my go-to keyword research tools.

Why?

Because is has lots of the pro features that other tools have. But it’s VERY intuitive.

KWFinder

My Favorite Feature: Keyword Difficulty

As you might expect, this tells you how hard it will be to rank for that keyword.

But unlike most other tools, KWFinder automatically shows a Keyword Difficulty score next to every keyword.

(So there’s no need to click on every single one to see its difficulty score… which gets old fast)

KWFinder – Keyword difficulty
Brian's Bottom Line
Brian's Bottom Line

At $25/month you really can’t go wrong with a KWFinder subscription. Great value.

14. Suggestion Keyword Finder

Find lots of keywords ideas (for free).

Suggestion Keyword Finder is a decent free keyword research tool.

Sure, it doesn’t have any advanced features.

But if you’re simply looking for a big ol’ list of keyword ideas, it does the job.

Suggestion Keyword Finder

My Favorite Feature: Level 2 and 3

“Level 2” and “Level 3” results generate new keyword ideas based on your initial list of results.

For example, if the tool suggests “paleo diet recipes”, hitting “Level 2” will generate suggestions based on THAT term.

Suggestion Keyword Finder – Level 2
Brian's Bottom Line
Brian's Bottom Line

Considering that Suggestion Keyword Finder is a completely free tool, you get a decent amount of keyword suggestions.

15. Serpstat

Analyze the first page competition.

Serpstat is a SEO software suite with tools for content, link building, and more.

Which means Serpstat doesn’t specialize in keyword research.

Even so, it still has a VERY solid keyword research tool.

SerpStat

My Favorite Feature: Competitors Graph

This lets you easily visualize the sites that are competing for a given keyword (and related terms).

So if you see big bubbles for “Wikipedia” or “Amazon” it’s probably time to look for a different keyword.

SerpStat – Competitors graph
Brian's Bottom Line
Brian's Bottom Line

Is Serpstat one of best tools on the market? No. But at $19 a month, you get a lot of features for your money.

Conclusion

There you have it: 15 of the best free and paid keyword research tools.

Now I’d like to hear your take:

Are there any quality tools here that I missed?

Or maybe you have a question about one of the tools I reviewed.

Either way, leave a quick comment below right now.

17 Comments

  1. There is no better SEO Keyword Research tool other than Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs. Other give more keywords but they are more effective (according to my keyword research experience).

  2. Mr. Dean I wanted to drop in and personally thank you for everything you do for us rookies in the online marketing field. I have learned so much from your lessons/guides/articles/videos you name it! I also been using Raven Tools and find it pretty helpful as well in regards to keyword research, what say you? Look forward to all your future posts! Also, it says a lot about you that you actually take the time and respond to the comments that users leave you in your articles, don’t really see that too often these days! All the best!

  3. Brian, thank you for all of these informative guides! I started out as a digital marketing intern and everything that I learned from your site has helped me land a job as a marketing specialist. I’m truly grateful and enjoy everything that you published so far. If you have a chance, I’ve started using this tool called SEOClarity, I was wondering what’s your take on it? Have you used it before or know anyone that has?

    Thanks again!

    Nathalie

  4. Brian, I´m beyond grateful with this article. It´s really complete and very, very useful, and specially your hint on Google Search Console.
    I’d like to suggest an article: how to index on Bing? And is it worth it?
    Thanks!!

  5. Dear Brian

    Thank you for this fab article!
    I use Jaaxy (I’m at Wealthy Affiliate, so it comes with the membership), and I like it a lot.
    However, now that I see you recommend the SEMRush – it will be my next investment in keyword research tools.

    Thank you for the amazing info you share with us!
    Best,
    Alenka

    P.S. Love your YT videos 🙂

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