“How can I perform keyword research for free?”
This is a question I get asked A LOT!.
And while there are other keyword tools you can use for free…The majority of them aren’t as helpful as you might think.
So today I am going to show you the best way to use free keyword tools to do your research…
…so when your SEO keyword search queries are typed into a search engine you will be ahead of the competition.
Let’s get started!
What Will I Learn?
Did you know that it’s possible to come up with seed keyword queries ideas without using a paid or free research tool?
All you need is a few little tricks up your sleeve to generate keyword suggestions easily…
The first stage of this doesn’t involve keyword research tools and is completely offline.
Grab yourself a pen and a piece of paper and write down the primary short-head keyword that is at the core of the content you want to create.
This could be things like:
The two to three word phrase to fit the overarching idea of your content strategy and business goals.
Then using that keyword as the centre of the paper, begin to brainstorm keyword lists with question words and niches that relate to that.
You want to be using ideas of what someone might search (search Google trends or Autocomplete suggestions) for when they use this term.
For example Vegan Protein might break down into:
Don’t censor yourself here and come up with as many keyword suggestions and keyword variations as you can.
You can then run them through the next keyword tool.
Soovle is a keyword finder tool that can be used to compare related searches from lots of different search engines search results.
It’s a huge search engine database of the “search suggestions” and searches Google trends you see with Google search autocomplete suggestions.
Take some of the new keywords from your brainstorm and enter them into Soovle’s main search bar. This will bring up a lot of keyword list suggestions from each relevant search engine:
Aim to collect keywords from all of the search engines and not just a Google search.
This can be helpful if your content creation has different goals.
For example, Amazon keywords will have more buying intent than Google search ones. So keep search intent in mind.
This could translate to your blog post.
You can download the keyword opportunities into a CSV file by clicking the download button in the corner-
Take the new keywords from here you think are relevant and move on to the next keyword research software.
BoardReader is a free keyword tool that scours forums for recents blog posts about your topic.
If you enter in seed keywords into the search box it will bring up multiple threads and the latest discussions from the public:
On the surface, this may look like it’s just picked out the seed keyword you’ve typed in.
But if you use your intuition to look for what people said before or after the seed keyword, you can find a lot of long tail keywords with different types of intent.
You’ll have to do a little extra legwork to find all of these, but they are there.
There is the odd keyword research tool that means you can find a great free keyword to rank your blog post.But there is one powerhouse of a free keyword tool you can get a lot of benefit from.
What is it? Well…
There are many free keyword finder tools out there, but it isn’t easy to find the best one.
That’s why I selected the best 2 keyword finders, only for you!
It makes it possible to develop a keyword search content marketing strategy in minutes, rather than days – without spending any money.
You can use it to-
You can also use Google Keyword Planner, which is second best keyword research tool on the market that doesn’t cost a penny.
And although it doesn’t tell you how difficult it will be to rank in the search results for a keyword search term, you can’t argue with data sources coming directly from the search engine itself.
It’s great for gathering quick keyword recommendations-
I’ll also show you how to get the exact search volume for any list of keywords rather than the estimates above.
Another good thing about this tool is that it is available in pretty much every country you can think of such as France, the United Kingdom, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, India, Puerto Rico, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Hong Kong, etc…
The Google Ads Keyword Planner is a great tool for ad campaigns much like their Google Search Console.
Note: if you’re not convinced by these options, check out the free version of Keywords Everywhere.
Now before we get all doom and gloom…
I am going to show you how to use keyword premium tools FOR FREE.
But before I show you how to use the best keyword tools for free.
I wanted to talk to you about a few of the limitations of keyword data research tools that are offered for free, like Google’s Keyword Planner.
Each of these problems could make or break your SEO campaign.
So it’s important that we talk about them because this is precisely why I developed my own keyword tool research sheets.
While you can use a keyword tool like Google Keyword Planner by Google ads to do your keyword research…
…it takes an awful lot of time to do.
You have to jump through multiple hoops to get ideas and exact search volumes.
Google is very specific with the keyword results it brings back AND severely limits that number. That means you have to spend a lot of time doing repeat searches to a good list of keywords for long tails.
For example, you might need to do 5 searches to find a golden long tail-
Not only that:
But you also get intelligent keyword difficulty data-
And a full overview of the current top 10 including important metrics-
All of that not only makes keyword research a quick process, but you also pull down more intelligent data to make your decisions.
You just can’t get that kind of action with a free tool, but you can get it with a free trial of a premium tool…
People don’t search in logical ways.
Their search terms are weirdly phrased, often almost illegible sentences. Sometimes, they even purposely exclude words from Google search results…
A keyword tool like Google’s Keyword Planner really limits the number of results it returns which makes it really hard to drill down and find golden nuggets 5-10 word long-tail phrases.
Whereas with proper keyword suggestion tools, you just spend 5 seconds to apply a filter and voila-
We have found the keyword phrase “Womens wide width shoes for problem feet”
With 1,800 searches per month and next to zero competition.
Go to Google Keyword Planner and try to find that keyword.
In the example above there was also “Extra wide women’s shoes for swollen feet”
That is searched 1,300 times per month with zero competition.
But Ahrefs also tell us this falls under a parent topic of “diabetic slippers for swollen feet”.
Clicking on it reveals another 129x new keywords-
And also tells us that parent topic gets searched 8,400 per month with zero competition.
In just 1 click we have found 3x keywords with a total search volume of 11,500 with absolutely zero competition.And the list of keyword opportunities is literally bottomless…
You can’t do that with a free keyword tool like Google Keyword Planner (but you can do it with my free keyword spreadsheet).
Don’t treat what you’ve just read as a rant.
The bottom line is… there is some merit to a free research tool but you really are limiting yourself.
Take advantage of some of my tricks and intelligent keyword planner to use premium keyword tools for free….
Premium tools can supercharge your keyword research.
If you’re planning on practising SEO for the long term, they’re a worthwhile investment!
But in the short term:
Did you know you can use most of these premium tools for free?
Most of the best premium SEO tools come with free trials or freemium models
So why not take advantage of these before you lay down any money?
And if you are smart about it you can-
That way you get all the benefits a premium research tool can offer.
But:Without spending a penny!
Just for being a reader of my website you can get 14 days unlimited access for free.
For those who don’t know, Semrush is an SEO keyword tracker/SEO keyword analysis tool.
It’s one of the most powerful SEO suites on the market (full SEMRush review).
Once you’re signed up, it will become your best friend. You’ll have access to all its tools and features.
That means you can begin to get some serious keyword data researched such as search volumes (or traffic potential), level of competition, cost per click, and many more!
Inside the tool head to this section of the tool:
Keyword Analytics > Overview
On this page you’ll be able to enter your target keyword into the search bar:
Hit “search” and you’ll be taken to a page of search results.
There will be lots of statistics on this page but you should focus on two keyword suggestions sections.
Under the Phrase Match Keywords section…
You’ll find all of the keyword results that contain the phrase you searched.
When you click the “view full report” button you’ll find lots of information, including the search volume of the keyword, the cost per click and the value of that keyword to an advertiser:
There won’t be variations on your keyword but it’ll expand to show the long-tail keyword suggestions.
Under the Related Keywords section you’ll find relevant keywords that contain elements of the keyword you entered, or are close relatives of it.
Again, if you click the “view full report” tab…
You’ll be shown all of the individual keywords and their search volumes.
For a full tutorial of how to do keyword research and make many more improvements to your site, you should read my full SEMRush review.
And if you want to see how Semrush stands against the competition, you should take a look at these posts:
Now I am going to cheat a bit here.
Ahrefs (my go-to link building tool) used to have a 100% free trial, but the tool is so good that people were abusing it.
But trust me when I tell you – it’s worth every dollar.
Ahrefs is one of my favourite tools and the amount of data they have is insane.
Their Keywords Explorer is the tool I used to drill down in the women’s shoes examples above.
How does Ahref keyword tool work?
Once you’re in the tool keyword research is simple.
Top Toolbar > Keywords Explorer
On the keyword explorer page you’ll be able to enter in the search box as many keywords as you want.
Whether that’s just the one seed keyword you want to know more about or a keyword list.
Hit search and you’ll be taken to the results page.
Beneath all of the graphs and charts at the top of the page…
There is a section called Keyword Ideas.
Here you’ll find a huge database of data-driven keywords for you to work through:
Each of these keyword lists has a different set of data for thousands of related keywords.
Including the Newly Discovered section which are the freshest related keywords in your niche.
In other words – no one is ranking for them yet.
And they have a handy browser extension for a quick glance at your competitor keywords. (I use the Chrome extension)
Longtail Pro is is a great tool for finding niche keywords.
Although it’s no way near as good as Ahrefs.
Once you’re in:
Generating a keyword list is easy with this keyword tool.
But if you are going to take out any keyword analysis tool trial, Ahrefs is the best shout even if it does cost $7!
If you really don’t want to spend any money, then the reader exclusive SEMRush trial is for you.
There is one more keyword research strategy you can use to your advantage…Stealing your competitor’s keywords.
They’re proven keywords that other people in your niche are targeting! They’ve already done the research to prove their effectiveness. And no one will know you stole them!
All you have to do is piggyback onto their hard work.
All you need is a competitor keyword research tool such as my free intelligent Google sheet which makes it a 5 minute process!
It will automatically find all of your competitor’s best keywords and then filter them so you can focus on the high search volume keywords that are the easiest to rank for.
It doesn’t get much easier than that so download my free sheet now.
Researching new keywords for free is a tough topic to cover.
But for successful content marketing campaigns with a tight marketing budget, it can be done…
The keyword research tool doesn’t give you the information you need to make intelligent search query decisions.
So if you are going to use this type of keyword tool…
I highly recommend that you use my competitor keyword analysis tool free keyword research template to find the right keywords to rank for.
It’s built around my personal SEO keyword research process while solving a lot of the common problems you find with a free tool.
It will save you a bunch of time and tells you how hard it is to rank in your country (no matter if you’re from the United States, United Arab Emirates, Dominican Republic, India, or whatever).
It also helps you create a content calendar and find awesome SEO keywords that Google Keyword planner can’t find and it doesn’t have to cost you anything.
That makes it the top free keyword tool in my opinion!
What do you think? Let me know in the comments, leave your name and email address.