Keywords have always been essential for SEO. They let search engines understand what your content is about thus show it in SERP for the relevant query. If you have no keywords, your page will not get to any SERP as search engines will not be able to understand it. If you have some wrong keywords, then your pages will be displayed for irrelevant queries, which brings neither use to your audience nor clicks to you. That’s why you have to choose keywords carefully and pick the best ones.
A good question is how to find those good, relevant keywords. If you think that it will cost you a fortune, then I’m here to surprise you — keyword research can be absolutely free. In this post, I will show you a set of free tools to find new keywords and pay nothing. Let’s start.
Google Keyword Planner
Keyword Planner is one of the so-called brick-and-mortar Google tools for keyword research. It is especially good for finding keywords for advertising campaigns. The tool is easy to use — all you need is a Google Ads account with 2FA (a mandatory thing now). And here we go. To make your keywords more relevant, you can specify locations and languages. The results may also be filtered to exclude branded searches and suggestions for adults.
As you see, Keyword Planner lets you evaluate keywords according to the number of monthly searches, cost per click, the three-month popularity change, and so on. The thing is that keywords found here will not be the best SEO solutions, as the tool is tailored to paid, not organic campaigns. Which is actually quite clear from the set of keyword metrics present. Still, Keyword Planner is a good starting point.
Rank Tracker by SEO PowerSuite is a powerful software with more than 20 keyword research methods under the hood, from Google’s People also ask to several competitor research techniques. Eventually, this lets you generate thousands of new keyword ideas all in one place. Rank Tracker also lets you research the keywords relevant to your location and your target language. As it’s pretty logical that the data collected from a search engine in the US will not be accurate for the queries in, say, Russian or Italian.
Rank Tracker also lets you integrate your Google Search Console and Analytics accounts and literally have all your keyword data in one place.
In addition to keywords themselves, Rank Tracker features tons of metrics to help you evaluate the keywords’ efficiency, such as the number of searches per month, keyword difficulty, competition, estimated traffic, CPC, SERP features, and many other marketing and SEO parameters.
The screenshot below demonstrates the Keyword Gap module, which lets you find the keywords that your competitors already make use of.
One more good thing about Rank Tracker is that their developers do listen to what users need. For example, they have recently brought back the Keyword Difficulty tab:
This tab lets you click any keyword and immediately get top-10 SERP positions together with the quality stats of these pages.
Rank Tracker also lets you filter your keywords with its new advanced filter system and create a full-scale keyword map. The number of keywords is, by the way, unlimited.
Answer the Public
Answer the Public differs much from other similar tools both in presentation and in the type of results. As this keyword generator is powered by Google Autosuggest, all the ideas found via Answer the Public are in fact the questions related to your initial query. This makes the tool really helpful when searching for long-tail keywords and new content ideas:
In addition to questions, the tool generates a set of phrases and comparisons related to the seed query. Everything can be downloaded in CSV format or as an image.
Free Keyword Generator
Keyword Generator is a product of Ahrefs. This tool is super-easy to use — all you need is to enter your seed keyword, select the search engine and the location, and voila! Keyword Generator will welcome you with a set of new keyword ideas and related questions with a couple of metrics such as the number of searches, difficulty, and the date of the latest data update.
Keyword Generator lets out 100 keywords and 100 question ideas for free. To see more, you will be asked to buy a license.
Google Search Console
Good old Search Console will only show you the keywords you already rank for. Still, there’s room for fruitful work. This tool can help you spot the keywords you don’t know you rank for, and improve positions for them. In other words, Search Console lets you find underperforming keywords.
Underperforming keywords are the keywords with positions from 10 to 13. They are not present in the first SERP but require little optimization effort to reach it.
Search Console also lets you check the top pages to optimize for your underperforming keywords, thus offering you a good starting point in keyword research and content optimization.
Also Asked, as you can guess from the tool’s name, pulls the data from Google’s People also ask thus welcomes you with a set of new keyword ideas. All you need is to enter your seed keyword and specify the language and region. The tool will then conduct a search and present the results as a set of clustered questions.
These questions are actually ready-made content ideas (or even titles). The only thing that can make you feel upset is that you have only 10 free searches per month and cannot export the data in any format. Well, how did you manage to, you may ask. The answer is screenshots. It’s hardly a good idea to include screenshots in the reports for clients, but it’s a way out for personal needs. All in all, Also Asked is a nice content idea generator, and the ideas it offers can be good for both blogs and ad campaigns.
Keyword Explorer is one of the in-built instruments of MOZ. This means that you will need a MOZ account to use the tool. Which is actually an easy thing. The algorithm is pretty easy — you need to enter your keyword, specify the region and language (they go together in this case), and here you are. The tool will come up with a set of keyword suggestions and top SERP results for the seed query.
Once you click See all suggestions in the Keyword Suggestions module, the tool will show you 1000 new keyword ideas, so you do have a variety to choose from.
As for the SEO metrics, you don’t have much to analyze here — the tool lets out only search volume and relevancy (a mixture of popularity and semantic similarity to the seed keyword).
Like in Also Asked, Keyword Explorer grants you 10 free searches per month. If you need more data, you’ll need to get a paid account.
Keyword Surfer is a free Surfer-powered Chrome plugin that, once installed, automatically displays the keyword data right on Google SERP as you search for anything.
As for the SEO and PPC metrics, Keyword Surfer will show the following: monthly number of searches and cost per click for the seed query, search volume, and the level of similarity for the new keyword suggestions. The number of suggestions varies according to the (probably?) term popularity, as I got 31 keywords for indian food and only 10 for gelato.
The tool doesn’t switch location according to the query language automatically, but you are free to specify it on your own to get relevant data.
In addition, the tool will offer you the traffic stats for the pages in the current SERP and the number of exact query matches they have.
In addition to keyword analysis, the tool offers you to generate an article outline based on the seed query with the Surfer AI means. A nice feature, which may be a good start when you work with content. Still, the experiment with artificial intelligence tools showed that all of them fall far behind real human writers.
To sum it up
As you can see, you can find keywords for free. And the result will be quick, of good quality, and, what’s really important, in bulk. Of course, there are more free tools and instruments for keyword research, I just took the ones that seem the most interesting and helpful. By the way, what are your favorite tools? Share in the comments.
Disclosure: Martech Zone is including affiliate links in this article.