Top 15 Free Keyword Research Tools & How to Use Them

On 25 July 2022

Are you new to SEO? Or maybe you’ve just launched your first online business and are spending your resources wisely as you get your feet on the ground? 

You’ll be happy to know that you don’t need to spend a small fortune to improve your website’s SEO. Now, there are a wealth of free keyword research tools that can help you identify the exact terms that you should be targeting to boost your rankings in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). 

To help you find keywords for free, we have collated a list of the top 15 free keyword research tools. We’ll also give you a brief description of how to use them so that you can hit the ground running from day one!

15 Best Free Keyword Research Tools

  1. Google Keyword Planner
  2. Google Trends
  3. Google Search Console
  4. SEMRush
  5. AnswerThePublic
  6. Keyword Tool Dominator
  7. Keywords Everywhere
  8. Keyworddit
  9. Keyword Surfer
  10. Bulk Keyword Generator
  11. Keyword Sheeter
  12. Questiondb
  13. Serpstat
  14. Moz
  15. Google

1. Google Keyword Planner

With Google being the most used search engine out there, it’s no surprise that the company’s free keyword planner tool is at the top of our list. 

With Google Keyword Planner, you can discover new keywords that are relevant to your business. The tool allows you to research new keywords and identify their monthly search volume so that you can narrow down your target keyword list to those that will truly make a difference to your online presence. 

This free tool gives you access to real-time data directly from Google itself. And, this also applies to Google ads. That’s right, with Google Keyword Planner, you can see bid estimates for each keyword so that you can determine your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ad budget. 

In addition to allowing you to do comprehensive research for both your SEO and PPC efforts, Google’s free keyword research tool allows you to make a plan with keyword lists that you can then share with the rest of your team. You can create a plan, save it, modify it, and launch campaigns all from one easy-to-use interface. 

How to Use Google Keyword Planner

Using Google Keyword Planner is very simple. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Create a Google account or sign into an existing one and click on ‘Tools & Settings’ followed by ‘Planning’.

Step 2: Click on ‘Keyword Planner’.

Step 3: Click on ‘Discover new keywords’

Step 4: Type in your main keyword and choose your search location. Then, click on ‘Get results’.

From here, the tool will provide you with a table highlighting the data surrounding your keywords. This includes everything from the average monthly search volume, the three-month change, competition, the top of page bid low and high range, and more. 

With Google Trends, you can quite literally find out what the world is searching for at a specific time. The free tool allows you to identify trending topics within your industry by tailoring your searches to different regions across the world. 

You’ll have access to trend maps that provide you with real-time data collected directly from Google. You’ll also be able to specify your search options based on whether you want to see data for Google Search, Google Images, YouTube, or Google Shopping.

Google Trends offers several benefits including:

  • Market and product research
  • Keyword research
  • Trend variations by region
  • Keyword stability
  • Content niches and ideas within your industry

Google Trends uses a scoring system whereby it ranks specific terms from 0 to 100 instead of using the more traditional monthly search metrics. According to the tool, a score of zero would mean that there is not enough data surrounding this term to determine its relevance. A score of one would mean that it has low relevance and a score closer to 100 would mean that the term in question is of high relevance. 

Wondering what the benefit of this scoring system is compared to using monthly search volume?

Relative scores allow you to search for multiple trends, related or not, to compare them. With Google Trends, you can compare different combinations of terms, allowing you to see precise questions and opening up the doors for a more creative analysis of your content creation.

Using Google Trends is as easy as learning your ABCs. Here’s how to get started:

Step 1: Navigate to the tool and enter a search term or topic. Then, click ‘Enter’ on your keyboard. 

Step 2: On the next page, you’ll be able to choose your preferred region, a date range, categories, and whether you would like to look at trends specific to web searches, images, news, Google shopping, or YouTube. 

Once you have chosen your search parameters, scroll down the page to see a list of related topics and related queries. 

3. Google Search Console

Google Search Console is the perfect tool to identify how you are performing at the moment so that you can make adjustments to further improve your website’s SEO. From this tool, you’ll be able to analyze everything from your Google positions for specific keywords, impressions on your pages, and your Click Through Rates (CTRs).

While you do not need to sign up for Google Search Console to be included in the SERPs, the tool helps Google crawl your site efficiently. With it, you’ll also be able to:

  • Address indexing issues on your website
  • See and analyze search data specific to your website
  • Receive emails alerting you of any spam or indexing issues on your website
  • Identify backlinks to your website
  • Fix issues for mobile usability and AMP.

How to Use Google Search Console

To use Google Search Console, you first need to sign into your account. You may be asked to verify that you are the website owner before being able to proceed. 

Instead of allowing you to do new keyword research, Google Search Console gives you the chance to verify which keywords and queries relevant to your website are performing best so that you can make on-site content improvements. Here’s how to use the tool:

Step 1: From your dashboard, click on ‘Performance’ on the left hand side. 

Step 2: On the next page, scroll down and choose your search type and date range. The data for the relevant queries will appear in the table below. From there, you will be able to identify which keywords you should be optimizing your content for. 

4. SEMRush

SEMRush is among the most popular SEO tools out there. It boasts incredible features that can help you layout your entire site from start to finish. While the majority of these are only available with a paid subscription, the company does provide a free service with limited features. 

With SEMRush’s free tool, you can analyze the current data on your website, do keyword research, and create a comprehensive content strategy for your site. Moreover, the tool integrates with Google to provide you with the best, most up-to-date results possible. 

What makes SEMRush stand out is that it provides you with an extremely detailed analysis of different keywords. In addition to search volume, you’ll be able to see keyword difficulty and average cost per click to better plan out your paid advertising efforts. 

Despite having access to all of the SEMRush suite, the free version does come with a limit of only ten requests daily. You can also only use the SEMRush dashboard for one website on the free plan.

That said, with a free account you can also perform the following for your domain:

  • Do keyword research & track keyword rankings
  • Perform a site audit
  • Manage your social media accounts
  • Undertake a competitor analysis
  • Check your local listings

How to Use SEMRush

SEMRush isn’t the most intuitive tool when it comes to keyword research. Because of its many functionalities, it can take some getting used to and, you may find it overwhelming if you’re only just dipping your toe in the SEO pool. 

That being said, getting started is relatively simple. Here’s how:

Step 1: Once you create an account, you’ll be redirected to your dashboard. From there, click on ‘Keyword overview’ in the left-hand side toolbar and type in the keyword for which you would like to generate data followed by ‘Search’.

Step 2: Here, you will be able to see a full overview of your chosen keyword. If you scroll down the page, you will see a list of keyword variations, questions, and related keywords for you to expand your keyword research. 

5. AnswerThePublic

With just one search term, AnswerThePublic can provide you with a wealth of insights directly from trends from Google searches. The platform takes your keyword and finds all of the useful phrases and terms that people are asking related to your search term. It’s the perfect tool for filling in content gaps that you may not have thought of previously. 

In addition to search terms, the tool collates all questions, comparisons, alphabeticals, and prepositions related to your initial term. It automatically demonstrates its findings in a visual format, however, you do have the option to generate a regular list. 

How to Use AnswerThePublic

To use the free version of AnswerThePublic, you do not need to create an account or sign in. Here are the steps you should take to perform a search query using this tool:

Step 1: Simply navigate to the website and type in your search term. Then, choose your preferred location and language from the drop-down lists and click ‘Search’. 

Step 2: You’ll then be taken to a page with your results. These results will list the questions, prepositions, comparisons, alphabeticals, and related search terms. Each section will give you the option to change between ‘Visualization’ and ‘Data’ depending on your preferences. And, you can also download all of the data from your search to a CSV file. 

6. Keyword Tool Dominator

If you run your business on Amazon, Etsy, or YouTube, you probably already know that the way people search on these platforms is different from the way they search on Google. That’s where Keyword Tool Dominator can come in handy. 

This nifty tool allows you to dig through the Amazon, Etsy, Bing, eBay, Google Shopping, Home Depot, Walmart, and YouTube databases so that you can tailor your product listings and video descriptions to reach your desired audience. 

However, Keyword Tool Dominator does differ slightly from others on this list. Instead of providing you with keywords and their search volumes, you’ll only be able to see a list of relevant search terms. And, the free tool also only allows you to make three requests per day. 

It’s worth noting that Keyword Tool Dominator does have a Google keyword search tool, however, this does not provide the same value as Google’s own keyword planner. 

How to Use Keyword Tool Dominator

To use the free version of Keyword Tool Dominator, you do not have to create an account or sign in. Here’s how to do a keyword search:

Step 1: On the home page, simply click on ‘View all FREE keyword tools’. 

Step 2: Choose the tool most relevant to your search query and business. For example, if you are running an Amazon store, click on ‘Amazon keyword tool’.

Step 3: Input your search term, choose the relevant country or marketplace, choose your department if you’re searching on Amazon, for example, and click search. If you’re looking for more precise terms, you also have the option of adding additional words that results must or must not contain. 

The tool will then provide you with a list of keyword ideas relevant to your primary search term. Each keyword will be allocated a score ranging from zero to 100 depending on its popularity – zero being unpopular and 100 being extremely popular. 

7. Keywords Everywhere

Unlike the other tools in this list, Keywords Everywhere is a browser extension. One of the benefits of this add-on is that it allows you to see which keywords your competitors are ranking for so that you can identify gaps in your content marketing strategy. 

With this tool, you’ll be able to see related keywords, PASF ( People Also Search For) keywords, as well as long-tail keywords. You’ll also be able to see monthly traffic estimates as well as the top 5000 keywords of any domain or specific URL. 

While you do not have to sign up or add any credit card details to get started with Keywords Everywhere, the tool is limited. The free version of the extension only allows you to see the different keywords rather than their actual volume, and other data. 

How to Use Keywords Everywhere

Instead of allowing you to search for specific keywords. Keywords Everywhere’s free version allows you to do basic competitor analysis. Here is a brief description for how to use the Keywords Everywhere extension:

Step 1: To use the free version of Keywords Everywhere, you first need to download the browser extension that is relevant to you. 

Step 2: Go to a web page for which you would like to acquire keyword data and click on the K icon in your toolbar in the top right of the page. Then, click Organic Ranking Keywords (URL).

From here, a new page will open showing you the various keywords that the page in question is ranking for as well as its SERPs rankings. Other data, such as traffic, volume, CPC, and so on is only available with a paid account.

8. Keyworddit

If you’re just starting out and want to do some more extensive research into your niche, Keyworddit is a great tool to begin with. Harnessing the powers of Reddit, this free keyword tool digs through the titles and threads of comments on Reddit to provide you with a list of up to 500 keywords. 

For example, if you would like to start a blog that helps people to prepare healthy meals in advance but know little about the topic, you can pull ideas from /r/MealPrepSunday as a starting point. The tool will then provide you with a long list of keyword ideas as well as their monthly search volume. Each keyword will also have its own link which, when clicked on, will provide you with additional context for the keyword in question.

Using the example of /r/MealPrepSunday, you would be able to see that people looking into meal prep also search for terms such as:

  • Mashed sweet potato
  • Raw food diet
  • High protein diet
  • Granola bar recipe
  • Etc. 

Aside from giving you specific keyword ideas, Keyworddit allows you to view the language that people use in their search terms so that you can be sure to use the correct tone and wording in your content. 

How to Use Keyworddit

Here is how to use Keyworddit:

Step 1: From the Keyworddit homepage, simply type in the name of a subreddit for which you would like to acquire data and click ‘Get keywords’. 

Step 2: Scroll down the page and you will see the list of keywords, their volume, and context. Here, you can also export the data to a CSV file.

9. Keyword Surfer

If you want to know the volume for a specific keyword directly from your Google search results, Keyword Surfer is the perfect tool for you! 

Fast and effective, this free keyword tool allows you to do keyword research and get data-driven content guidelines so that you can write the best, most competitive content from the get-go. 

This 100% free chrome extension allows you to see search volumes for specific keywords as well as cost-per-click (CPC) for specific terms directly in your search engine. 

How to Use Keyword Surfer

Using Keyword Surfer is extremely straightforward. Here are the exact steps you should take to download the extension and use it:

Step 1: Download the extension (only available in Chrome). 

Step 2: Navigate to your Google search engine and type in the term for which you would like to see the monthly volume. The data will appear in the Google search bar. There, you will see the volume of searches based on your chosen location as well as the CPC for that specific keyword.

10. Bulk Keyword Generator

Bulk Keyword Generator is designed to provide you with keywords specific to your industry. This free, local keyword research tool allows you to select a specific industry and city before generating keywords that your customers would potentially use to find you on search engines such as Google. 

How to Use Bulk Keyword Generator

To start using Bulk Keyword Generator, you do not need to create an account or sign in. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: From the homepage, choose your industry from the drop-down list. Once you have chosen your broad industry category, you’ll be given a list of specific types of businesses to choose from. You can choose multiple options in this section. Then, click ‘Select Service Types’.

Step 2: Next, you’ll be asked to input specific locations that are relevant to you. 

Step 3: Once you have added your locations, scroll down the page. The tool will automatically generate your list of keywords and you’ll also be able to export your keywords to a CSV file. 

It’s worth mentioning that the industry drop-down list is limited and does not include all types of services and business areas. Moreover, the location-based search results appear with the primary keyword and the location, however, this is not typically the way real people search for services in their location. 

With the above in mind, this tool is a good alternative for inspiration rather than specific keywords that rank on Google. We highly recommend you use this tool to get ideas and use another tool such as Google’s Keyword Planner to gain a more thorough insight into the keywords that are best suited for the SEO of your individual website pages. 

11. Keyword Sheeter

Keyword Sheeter works by pulling thousands of Google autocomplete predictions to one comprehensive sheet for your own personal analysis. This tool allows you to generate thousands of keywords in a matter of minutes. It’s perfect if you’re just getting started and want to gather as much keyword data as possible.

Despite its ability to pull a mound of data in a matter of seconds, Keyword Sheeter is quite basic. It does not provide individual keyword volume nor does it group keywords together.

That said, the tool does include positive and negative keyword filters which allow you to request keywords that include or exclude specific terms. For example, let’s say you want each keyword to include the word ‘protein’. All you have to do is type the word ‘protein’ in the positive filters and every keyword that the tool generates will include this keyword. 

If instead of adding it to the positive filter list you added this same keyword to the negative keyword filter list, it would only show keywords without the word ‘protein’. 

How to Use Keyword Sheeter

While it is basic in nature, Keyword Sheeter’s basic interface also makes it extremely easy to use. And, best of all, you don’t have to create an account or download an extension to get started. Here’s how to do keyword research using Keyword Sheeter:

Step 1: From the home page, you’ll be asked to input your list of keywords. Here, you can choose a location, what your keywords will be used for (i.e. a book, YouTube, products, news, etc.), as well as your preferred language. If you’re ready to generate your keywords, you can simply click on ‘Sheet Keywords’. If you would like to add some positive or negative keyword filters, you can add these in the individual text boxes below the main keyword search box. 

Step 2: Once you have clicked to generate your list of keywords, the tool will continue adding relevant search terms until it either no longer has any more to add, or you click on the ‘Stop’ button in the top right of the search box. 

12. Questiondb

While not a keyword finder per se, Questiondb pulls popular questions about specific topics from Reddit. The tool gives you the option to group questions by popularity or by topic depending on your needs. For example, if you search for ‘nutrition’ and ask the tool to sort findings by topic, it would create individual categories such as ‘vegan nutrition’, ‘vegetarian nutrition’, and so forth. 

Although the tool does not provide you with specific keywords and their respective volumes, it is extremely helpful in helping you identify topics for your blog that answer your audience’s pain points. Moreover, each generated query has a source link to the right of it, allowing you to navigate to the thread where you can read about peoples’ opinions on the matter in question.

How to Use Questiondb

To use Questiondb, you do not need to create an account. Here are the steps you can take from the homepage:

Step 1: Simply type in your chosen topic in the search bar on the homepage and click ‘Generate’. 

Step 2: The tool will generate a list of search terms relevant to your keyword. Here, you can toggle between ‘Keywords’ and ‘Questions’ from the drop down list on the top right.

Above the list of terms or questions, you’ll also be given a list of related topics that are mentioned in the questions. You can use these terms to generate new search results relevant to your topic. 

13. Serpstat

Serpstat is a fairly underrated piece of software that deserves a mention in our comprehensive list of free keyword research tools.

Providing detailed reports that include everything from monthly volume to keyword difficulty, pages that rank for specific keywords, and more, this tool combines data with easy-to-digest reports that you can maneuver to optimize your website’s SEO.

The company offers a tool that allows you to get a full view of potential search questions in order to identify gaps in your content strategy. Moreover, it has a broad suite of analytical tools that can help you take a deeper dive into your audience and competition so that you can tweak your marketing efforts to come out on top of the SERPs!

Similar to SEMRush, Serpstat only provides limited functionalities for free users. 

How to Use Serpstat

Serpstat has a very similar interface to other keyword research tools on the market. Here’s how to perform keyword research using this tool:

Step 1: Once you have created an account and signed in, click on ‘Keyword research’ followed by ‘Keyword selection’ on the dashboard on the left side of the page. 

Step 2: Next, enter your keyword and click on ‘Search’. 

Step 3: You’ll be redirected to a table which will include a list of keywords as well as their monthly volume, keyword difficulty, CPC, and PPC competition, among other information. 

To see a full list of results and to filter through searches, you will have to upgrade your plan. 

14. Moz

Moz offers a comprehensive suite of SEO tools that can help you identify keywords within your industry for you to rank for. But, the company also has a free keyword research tool that allows you to make ten queries a month. 

With Moz’s free keyword tool, you can analyze keywords by search volume and generate and save keyword lists. The tool also offers an effective scoring system that can help you prioritize keywords by topic so you can plan out your content strategy each month.  

But, that’s not all. You also have the option to find keywords in question format. These highly relevant, long-tail keywords can help you find broadly related topics so that you cover all of the bases in your content strategy. 

Plus, you’ll be able to maintain a competitive edge thanks to its competitive analysis feature which allows you to see what others in your industry are ranking for. 

What we love most about Moz’s free tool is its SERP analysis feature which helps you understand why your pages are ranking where they do, breaking down all of the various elements so that you can get a 360 view of why your site is performing the way it is, and of course, ways to improve it. 

Last but not least, you can export data with keyword research suggestions and lists into well-formatted CSV files. 

How to Use Moz

Signing up for Moz’s free keyword research tool is simple. All you need to do is create an account using your email, name, and password. Then, to undertake keyword research follow these steps:

Step 1: Type in your chosen keyword and click ‘Search keywords now’.

Step 2: Next, you will be redirected to a dashboard providing you with a full overview of your chosen keyword, including its search volume, difficulty, organic Click-Through Rate (CTR) and priority. As you scroll down the page, you will also see keyword suggestions and SERPs for this keyword. 

15. Google

We’ve spoken about free Google-specific keyword tools but what about using Google itself? That’s right, the standalone search engine can provide powerful insights when it comes to your audience. 

There is no denying that Google is the king of the search engine world. With millions of people using it each day, Google now allows you to learn about your audience and the keywords they search for, directly from the search engine itself. Best of all, it’s completely free to use!

How to Use Google

Google has a wealth of built-in features that many marketers take for granted. While these are not designed as obvious tools to support you in your keyword research, they can help you learn a lot about your audience and what they’re searching for in your industry. Here are some examples of how you can use Google as a keyword research tool:

Example 1: Google now has an autocomplete feature that automatically generates a list of keyword ideas when you type in one simple term. And, they’re not just any ideas either. These are tried and tested keywords used by your audience on the daily.

Example 2: You can also get ideas from the ‘People also ask’ section. This box provides you with a list of questions relevant to the keyword you type into Google. And again, these aren’t randomly generated questions. No, these are questions that your audience has already typed into Google in the past meaning that you can target these exact questions in blog posts in order to address your audience’s pain points.

Example 3: Google is also a gold mine when it comes to highlighting user intent. And, user intent is essential to capturing the correct audience. For example, if you want people to buy your vegan protein, you don’t want to target the keyword ‘how to lose belly fat’ on your homepage. 

Why? Because this keyword has an educational intent rather than a commercial one. 

The best way to understand the intent for different keywords is to check the SERPs. If the pages that appear for your keyword are selling products or services, you know that the intent is commercial. Similarly, if the pages appear as blog posts then you know that the keyword in question is of educational intent. 

While all of the tools mentioned above can support you in finding exact keywords and their monthly search volume, don’t forget to use Google during your search. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and use the tools that they use to find you. By doing so you’ll learn more about their behavior and how to reach them organically. 

Improve Your Website SEO With SerpBot

While knowing which search terms to target is essential to boosting your SEO and overall online presence, the process can be time-consuming, with a lot of trial and error involved. 

That’s where Serpbot comes in!

At Serpbot, we will check your rankings in real-time from different locations, using multiple languages so that you can see where you are ranking in the SERPs on a daily basis. We then help improve your search engine position by providing you with real clicks to your website which, in Google’s eyes, boosts your popularity and relevance, and in turn, your ranking. 

To find out more about how we can help you boost your search engine rankings, contact us today at [email protected]