Free Keyword Tool by Backlinko

FREEKeyword Tool

Discover new keywords and performance data to use in your site content, SEO campaigns, and more.

Keyword-Research

Using Our Free Keyword Tool

For those just starting with SEO, it can be daunting to invest in expensive keyword research tools.

That’s why we’ve created this free keyword research tool, leveraging the extensive database of 25.23 billion keywords from Semrush.

This tool assists in pinpointing low-competition keywords, sparking ideas for blog content, and providing insights into monthly search volumes.

Our own experience at Backlinko.com stands as a testament to the power of keyword research.

By employing these strategies, we’ve achieved top ten rankings for over 13,000 keywords.

In the following sections of this guide, we’ll demystify the often complex metrics and jargon associated with keyword research tools. We’ll also offer strategies to maximize the benefits from your keyword analysis.

Furthermore, when you’re prepared to delve deeper into SEO, we provide a comparison of the top seven keyword research tools, guiding you to make an informed decision for advanced SEO execution.

What Is a Keyword?

Before we embark on the fascinating journey of keyword research and the best tools for it, let’s lay down the foundation by understanding what a keyword truly is.

A keyword is a word or phrase that users enter into a search engine to find relevant information online. Keywords are crucial because search engines use them to understand the content of web pages and determine how relevant they are to particular search queries.

Optimizing content for relevant keywords is a fundamental aspect of SEO, as it helps improve a website’s visibility in SERPs.

Understanding Keywords and Search Volume

As a webmaster, you want to make sure your page appears as high up in the SERPs as possible when users search for your target keyword. To give your pages the best chance of ranking on Google and other search engines, you need to carry out keyword research to find a good keyword to target.

Then, you need to create content that’s relevant to this keyword that users will find valuable. The content also needs to match the search intent of users.

The search intent of a keyword refers to the reason most users are searching for a specific keyword. There are four main types of search intent:

Search intent is one of Google’s many ranking factors, so you need to pay close attention to it if you want your pages to rank.

Another vital factor you need to focus on during your keyword research is search volume.

Keyword search volume is the average number of times a keyword is searched for during a specific time period. This is generally calculated monthly. It gives you an insight into how popular certain keywords are and how much traffic you could potentially drive to your site by targeting them.

So, What’s Considered to Be a High Search Volume for a Keyword?

Well, there’s no definitive answer to this, as it depends on several factors. These include search intent, competition, type of industry, and seasonality.

For instance, the tech industry caters to a broad target audience. If a keyword related to technology were receiving 500 searches per month, it might be deemed as having a low search volume.

However, the collectible vintage typewriter industry is, naturally, more niche, and so 500 monthly searches for a keyword related to this industry may be considered high.

Essentially, context is key. Just because the keyword search volume for a term seems low (say, 200 per month) doesn’t mean it would be considered low within that particular niche.

Factors That Can Influence Keyword Search Volume

  • Seasonality: Witness fluctuations in search volumes during specific seasons or events.
  • Trending Topics: Stay ahead by understanding how current events and trends can temporarily boost keyword search volumes.
  • Industry Growth: Ride the wave of growing industries, experiencing a surge in related keyword search volumes.
  • Local Modifiers: Discover how local additions create long-tail keywords, a crucial aspect of local SEO.

The Significance of Keyword Search Volume in SEO

In the realm of SEO, keyword search volume is a cornerstone.

Here’s why:

1. Identifying High-Traffic Potential

Keywords with high search volumes indicate a high level of user interest. If you target these keywords, you give your site a good chance of receiving a significant amount of traffic.

However, simply targeting a keyword with a high search volume isn’t enough. You need to make sure the content you create is highly relevant to the keywords you target and matches the user’s search intent.

2. Uncovering Market Trends

Analyzing the search volume of keywords over time also helps in identifying market trends. In this way, it serves as a window into the evolving interests of your target audience.

If you notice the search volume for a certain keyword steadily increasing, or suddenly spiking, it’s a good indicator of the topics your audience is currently interested in.

3. Enhancing Your Content Strategy

Keyword search volume is your compass in crafting a content strategy that resonates with your audience. Rather than creating content for keywords that you think your audience will be interested in, search volume data enables you to write content that you know they’ll be interested in.

This knowledge can guide your entire content campaign and help to ensure user engagement remains high and your rankings continue to improve.

Strategies to Leverage Keyword Search Volume for SEO Success

Harnessing the power of keyword search volume can significantly bolster your SEO efforts.

Here’s how:

1. Comprehensive Keyword Research

Search volume data is an integral part of in-depth keyword research. It’s one of the best ways for you to gauge the interests of your target audience and ensure the content you create matches their search intent and provides value.

Getting users to convert with high-quality content is more important than driving huge numbers of users to your pages that are unlikely to convert. As SEO expert Leigh McKenzie says:

“I would rather have 100 readers that convert at 10% than 10,000 readers that convert 0.01%. If you’re going after a lower quantity of traffic but users are really satisfied with it and want to convert, then that’s success. It’s not all about huge volumes of traffic. Start with creating the best quality content and trying to convert it as best as possible, which will compound more over time.”

2. Analyzing Competitor Keywords

Competitor keyword research is the process of analyzing and identifying the keywords that your competitors are targeting in their online content, including websites, blog posts, and online advertising. This type of research helps you understand the terms and phrases your competitors prioritize to attract and engage their audience.

This analysis will allow you to identify keywords that your competitors are targeting successfully and where they may be underperforming. The insights you gain will help you discover potential opportunities or areas to differentiate your strategy.

For example, let’s say your competitor is focusing on high-search-volume keywords that are highly competitive, yet they are not ranking well for them. In such a scenario, instead of also targeting these high-search-volume keywords, consider aiming for keywords with lower search volume that are easier to rank for.

3. Utilizing Long-Tail Keywords

As long-tail keywords typically have lower search volumes than short-tail terms, they also tend to have less competition.

Keyword Search Volume

By identifying less competitive long-tail keywords and incorporating them into your keyword strategy, you can maximize the results of your SEO efforts. Concentrating solely on high-search-volume keywords that are highly competitive won’t yield quick and favorable rankings.

Therefore, it’s essential to diversify your keyword strategy by targeting a well-balanced mix of long-tail keywords and search queries with higher search volume. This approach will significantly increase your chances of achieving success.

4. Continuous Monitoring and Analysis

Once you’ve done your keyword research and created the content for your search terms, you’ll need to keep a close eye on them. This means tracking the search volumes of your target keywords to gauge their efficiency.

You should use a tool such as Semrush’s Keyword Overview to monitor increases and decreases in the search queries you’ve targeted. Then, you can assess how these fluctuations are affecting your other performance metrics like click-through rate and conversion rates, as well as the ranking positions of your pages.

Selecting the Right Tool

Now that you’re up to speed on keyword search volume, it’s time to take a look at the seven best keyword research tools currently available for gathering search volume data. I’ll be focusing on the free versions of these tools unless there is no free version available.

Let’s dive into the best free keyword research tools available to help you improve your SEO strategy.

1. Semrush

Semrush

Good For: Accuracy, trending terms, database coverage

Best Feature: Keyword Magic Tool

Free Plan: 10 keyword searches per day with the Keyword Overview or Keyword Magic Tool, analyze up to 10 competitor domains per day with Domain Overview, track up to 10 keywords per day with the Position Tracking tool, and much more.

As the study we mentioned before shows, Semrush’s algorithm updates mean that it’s the most accurate tool for search volume data, and its database has much better coverage than other tools.

For example, 3.82% of the keywords in GKP’s database were “not found” and this rose to a MASSIVE 18.22% for Serpstat. Meanwhile, only 1.78% of the keywords in Semrush’s database were “not found”. In my opinion, this makes it the best keyword research tool available.

2. Google Keyword Planner (GKP)

Google Keyword Planner

Good For: Pay-Per-Click (PPC) keyword research

Best Feature: Forecasts for PPC campaigns

Free Plan: The full version is completely free

GKP is a feature that’s included within the Google Ads platform. I’d say it’s the best free keyword research tool for paid ads, but it’s not as good for organic keyword research.

Still, in Semrush’s keyword search volume study, GKP achieved a 40.94% search volume accuracy score in the head-to-head with Semrush, which got 59.06%. Although it was still way behind Semrush, it did a lot better than many of the other tools.

3. Moz

Moz

Good For: Quick and easy (but fairly limited) search volume data

Best Feature: Keyword “Priority” score

Free Plan: The 30-day Moz Pro trial gives you access to all of the tool’s features

Moz is a good all-round SEO tool that has a pretty decent keyword research tool. However, in the search volume accuracy tests in Semrush’s study, it only scored 24.29% compared to Semrush’s score of 32.39%.

4. Ahrefs

Good For: Keyword Difficulty score

Best Feature: Keyword volumes for Google, Bing, YouTube, and Amazon

Free Plan: This is a free browser tool

In the head-to-head with Semrush, Ahrefs was WAY behind in accuracy. It was accurate 39.53% of the time compared to Semrush’s score of 60.47%. Still, the Free Keyword Generator is easy to use and quickly gives you access to keyword search volumes.

The biggest downside is that you can only view this data for 10 keywords. To access more data, you need to pay for an Ahrefs account.

5. Serpstat

Serpstat

Good For: Both SEO and PPC keyword research

Best Feature: Allows you to access data from many different databases

Free Plan: 10 keyword searches per day

Serpstat has a wide array of features you can use for your SEO and PPC campaigns.

6. Sistrix

Good For: Analyzing both Google and Amazon keywords

Best Feature: Ability to bulk upload up to 10,000 keywords

Free Plan: Free 7-day trial of any of the paid plans

The Sistrix “Toolbox” contains a simple keyword research tool. It enables you to retrieve volume data for keywords across search engines and Amazon. All you need to do is sign up for a free trial and log in.

7. Mangools

Mangools

Good For: Getting a wide variety of data about keywords

Best Feature: Keyword “Trend” data column

Free Plan: 5 keyword searches per day, 25 keyword suggestions, 50 daily tracked keywords

In terms of free keyword research tools, Mangools is pretty competitive with what it provides as part of its free plan and trials. Still, in its head-to-head with Semrush in the previously mentioned study, Semrush’s search volume data was closer to the GSC reference data (61.46% of the time) than Mangools’ data (38.54% of the time).

Which is the Best Keyword Research Tool?

Based on the results of Semrush’s study and my own experience, Semrush is (by some distance) the best keyword research tool available. Its user interface is intuitive and enjoyable to use, and it can’t be beaten when it comes to its search volume data accuracy, the size of its database, and its trending terms precision.

How do you use Semrush to access search volume data?

Well, there are several different features for this. To begin with, let’s take a look at the Keyword Magic Tool.

First, sign up for a Semrush account, and then log in. Click “Keyword Magic Tool” at the left of the page.

Semrush – Keyword Magic Tool

Type in a keyword and click “Search”.

Keyword Magic Tool – Search – Running shoes

You’ll see a list containing your keyword and other related keywords. The “Volume” column tells you the average monthly search volume for each term, and the “KD %” column gives a score out of 100 to each term, indicating how hard it would be to rank for it.

You can see that the volume for “running shoes” is really high and the keyword difficulty percentage is 95, meaning it would be incredibly hard to rank for this term.

Keyword Magic Tool – Running shoes

The long-tail keyword “white running shoes” has a lower difficulty score of 27 and has a relatively high search volume, so that will be a good keyword to target instead.

White running shoes – Volume and KD

Next up, let’s check out Semrush’s “Keyword Overview” tool. You can then enter up to 100 keywords, and choose your location.

On the next page, you’ll see the search volume for your location and the keyword difficulty percentage. You’ll also see the volume for other locations.

Keyword Overview – Expensive watches

Now, let’s take a look at the Keyword Gap tool, which allows you to compare your keyword profile with your competitors’.

Enter your domain and up to four competing domains, and click “Compare”.

Semrush – Keyword Gap

On the next page, scroll down to view a table of keywords you share with your competitors. You’ll see the search volume for each term and the search engine rankings that you and your competitors occupy for these terms.

Keyword Gap – Results

This allows you to benchmark the performance of your keywords against your competitors. You can also identify how search volume correlates to your search engine rankings.

The variety of tools on offer is just one of the reasons why we think Semrush is the best keyword research tool around.