keyword research tools

How to use Free Keyword Research Tools

If you follow this process you will have keyword data from free tools and an in-depth keyword research document that will allow you to gather information and make strategic decisions: πŸ‘€

  1. Introduction to Keyword Research Tools
  2. How to use them for free
  3. How to do Research
  4. Gather all information
  5. Analyzing the Gathered Data
  6. Process the Information
  7. Strategy, Execution, & Adaptation
  8. Conclusion

1. Introduction to Keyword Research Tools

Starting a website, writing a blog or an article, building a landing page, creating a video; they all have one thing in common: you must do Keyword research.

I will share tools that help you gather the necessary information for free and can drastically increase search volume and overall engagement on your website:

You can use all these tools to aggregate all data found from them so we connect points and ideas to expand and refine your research.

Open all tools in different tabs in your browser so you can quickly go back and forth to check the data you are receiving. Here are some overviews of the tools mentioned:

Google Ads Keyword Planner

This tool is one of the most important ones for keyword research, and I believe for both paid and organic terms.

This will help you connect more keywords and gather data from other sources so we can compare and use the best keywords.

This is how the initial dashboard looks like, as you can see, you have the option to either discover new keywords or get search volume and forecasts.

google ads keyword planner

To discover new ideas, we will use “keyword research tools”

google keyword ideas keyword research tools

I will use get search volume and forecasts and check the results (digital marketing agency):

google search volume and forecasts tool

This tool is a great starting point to gather information from Google. I recommend to keep going and not just use this tool for making the best judgement for paid or organic keywords.

It’s always a great idea to use multiple keyword research tools so you can expand and make your research thorough .

Google Search Console

The most powerful tool is the one that the search engine that gives you the data directly from its database.

This is where you submit your site to be indexed to the most powerful search engine in the world.

Here is how GSC looks like:

It provides you with impressions, clicks, average CTR, average position, query your page showed up, device, search appearance, and the type of search you appeared on (text, image, video).

I strongly recommend to use google analytics, google search console, and google tag manager together to maximize the tools that Google gives you for free (there are more like Google Data Studio and Optimize). πŸ‘

google search console queries view

You can now see what keywords are showing up on the SERP’s (organic search engine results pages). Helping you determine what is working and what isn’t. πŸ€—

Bing Webmasters

Even Bing has a tool similar to Google’s search console that will help you gather keywords and make better choices in the the execution of your strategy, go to your Bing dashboard first: https://www.bing.com/webmaster/home/dashboard/

You will see that the Keyword Research tool is in Beta, but using Bing’s webmaster keyword research tool will help you get a different perspective:

Bing Webmaster Keyword Research tool

Here is some data gathered from the tool:

Bing keyword research tool in action

Aside from using the Google keyword planner, you can use Bing’s keyword tool and get a different set of keywords that Bing recommends you on their search engine, but can you optimize for both Google and Bing search engines? πŸ€”

Moz

Moz is a great SEO keyword research tool, and to uncover most of it’s power you have to pay to play, but we will focus on the free tools it provides so we can gather data. 😁

When you create your free account, sign in and go to this page: https://analytics.moz.com/pro/keyword-explorer

Here, you will see the keyword explorer tool:

moz keyword explorer tool

Here is a view of the keyword explorer tool in action using “keyword research tool”

moz keyword research tool word

It gives you an overview of monthly volume, difficulty, organic CTR, and priority (if you hover over these, it will provide you with their meaning).

I strongly recommend using Moz tools such as keyword suggestion and the SERP analysis, we are just gathering all the raw data for now, later on, we will simplify by sorting, labeling, integrating and prioritizing it.

SEMRush

SEM Rush is a great tool for both organic and paid ads research. Create an account and use it for free so we can gather enough data to export it.

semrush keyword research tool dashboard

As you can see in the dashboard, there’s organic and paid search volume and competition, cpc distribution, trend, and keyword suggestions.

Although we won’t be able to gather all of the data, we can at least get enough of it to compare it with other tools.

On the bottom of the SEMRush tool it shows you your competitor’s ads, ads history, and the organic search results so you can get an idea of how it’s performing. 😏

Ubersuggest

One of the most powerful FREE online tools for keyword research, famous for it’s ability to give you a lot of data points and recommendations. Go to https://neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/ and simply type your keyword.

For the “keyword research tool” example, it gives you search volume, SEO difficulty, paid difficulty, and the cost per click. I love the graphs so we can see the trends.

In short, Ubersuggest gives you an overview of the keyword, keyword ideas, content ideas, as well as analyzing traffic and an SEO analysis of your website if you need to.

ubersuggest social media shares

A great thing that this tool has as well is the ability to show the amounts of shares on social media a website has, this includes Facebook and Pinterest so you can also gather ideas that if the content you will create will be shared on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

SEO Book

SEO Book is not secure (http://), but it is trusted by a lot of users to gather keyword data:

seo book keyword research tool intro page

Once you submit the keyword you want to get information from , you will get a list of suggestions as well as information from those keywords.

You get enough keyword information such as search volume, impressions, clicks, Bid, CPC, ad spend, and traffic value.

You can use the export button the download the list and add it to your master document, we will talk about that later on in this blog post. πŸ˜‡

seo book keyword research tool results

Answer the Public

A free visual keyword research and idea tool (pro version available).

answer the public keyword tool form

Here is an example of the “keyword research tool” key phrase:

answer the public keyword research tool results

It gives you an awesome way to visualize the terms, as well as exporting them to an excel file.

It gives you a decent number of variations of the main keyword and it helps you understand what is being most relevant in search engines:

answer the public keyword research tool alphabeticals

Keywords Everywhere

This keyword research tool is an awesome browser extension that augments the query searched on Google and gives you recommendations.

It was a free tool before, but now you have to purchase credits to load more information for the keywords that KE is showing you. It’s something! 🀨

keywords everywhere keyword research tool google search

We used to use it a lot in the past, but now with limited data for free, we just use it to compare phrases from other keyword research tools.

Google Trends

Another powerful tool from Google, Google Trends is an awesome tool to check if a phrase is “trending” and where in the world.

You can compare keywords to check which one is trending higher or lower as well.

google trends keyword research tool results

Searchvolume.io

Search volume keyword research tool is just that, it only gives you the average monthly searches on the keywords you input into this tool:

keyword volume io keyword research tool

You can compare the keywords that you got from other tools and check if they have different numbers.

LSI Graph

LSI Graph is a free to premium keyword research tools that uses Latent semantic indexing, which is a system search engines use to analyze the other words people use surrounding a give topic.

LSI keywords are words and phrases with a high degree of correlation of your target topic.

Google’s algorithm uses them to help determine content quality and relevance to the search term. Here is the Source: https://www.vieodesign.com/blog/what-are-lsi-keywords-and-do-they-matter

lsi graph keyword research tool

Although this is a free version, it shows you great results, although the other rows are limited. πŸ˜”

lsi graph keyword research tool results

As you can see on the results page, the trend, volume, cpc, competition and the latent semantic value are blurred out.

Although it gives you great results, this is the free version of the tool. which can be upgrade later on in the future if you think this tools is valuable.

Ispionage

ispionage keyword research tool

Once you create a free account, you can gather the necessary data from this tool, you get top PPC competitors, top ads in Google, related keywords, & top SEO competitors at a glance.

ispionage keyword research tool results
ispionage keyword research tool related keywords results
ispionage keyword research tool top SEO competitors results

Ispionage is great to have an overall analysis of your competitor’s website as well, although the free version is not that in-depth, it still provides you high-level details on keywords and other sites.

SE Ranking

Scroll to the middle of the home page and you will find this search tool:

se ranking research tool

Once you input the phrase you need data for, you will get a results page with the following data:

se ranking keyword research tool results top level details

You get a lot of information such as search volume, click cost assessment, traffic cost assessment, google ads competition, keyword effectiveness index, keyword popularity (from Google Trends), organic search results, advertisers, similar keywords, and most popular keyword ads.

If you hover over the colored boxes, you will see the details of the text ad. πŸ˜€β†“

se ranking most popular keyword ads

Kparser

kparser keyword research tool dashboard

Kparser is a really simple tool to use, just enter the keywords you want to search information about and it will output all the necessary data for you:

kparser keyword research tool results

It doesn’t seem complicated but as you can tell on the free version, it only gives you suggestions and a kparser rank.

Kparser rank means the index, which is based on the frequency range of each word from the phrase among the obtained results.

As you can see on the results page, they are really great suggestions, such as Amazon, YouTube, Moz, Neil Patel, and the most relevant variations.

Wordstream

Wordstream’s free keyword tool is a great tool for improving your keyword research without spending a dime. πŸ€‘

Once we input the key phrase, it will show you the volume of the most searched keywords:

wordstream keyword research tool results

However, if you put your email on the bottom of the results, you will get your keyword list through a spreadsheet attachment.

These are great tools to use for free without spending a nickel except your time and willingness to do the work.

An SEO or PPC manager/specialist can find these tools really helpful if they are in a limited budget to gather information about keywords and their performance in the search engine.

Having the broadest perspective right now will help us narrow down the results and refine the research if necessary.

2. How to Use them for Free

There are different ways to gather free information from these tools, one of them us just going to their website like Ubersuggest and inputing the domain or keyword you want to search for.

Some of them require you to sign in, and others want to upsell you to their pro tools version. πŸ’²

If you want to use them for free, just create an account and keep using them until they let you (they might limit your use).

Another way would be to use their free trail like kwfinder and ahrefs.

Ahrefs has a 7-day trial for $7 dollars, you can maximize your use during this time and gather as much information as possible before it ends.

Although there might be more keyword research tools on the world wide web, I am highlighting the ones that are most popular and relevant.

There’s always new tools coming to town, and I suggest looking at pages that review keyword research tools to find more data across the web.

3. How to do Research

You want to start by setting up a master keyword on your search term, we will use “keyword research tool” as we continue with examples.

When using all the tools, try to extract as much data as possible, this includes PPC data and CTR as well as their specific tool rankings.

Use critical and creative thinking to comprehend and understand the results of the tool. Some questions you might ask yourself are:

  • What is the plan and objective of your research?
  • Does the data look accurate?
  • Am I inputting the right keyword?
  • Why is there no information on a specific keyword?
  • Should I re-evaluate my master keyword?
  • Is this keyword with high volume and low competition?
  • Is the term trending?
  • Is my master keyword cyclical and seasonal? (like black Friday)
  • Do I have an open mind and a different perspective than before?
  • Should I broaden or narrow my search?
  • Are there any suggestions that could improve my research?
  • Should I hire a consultant to confirm my research?
  • Are there instructions in the tool site to improve my results?
  • What am I missing? CTR? Volume? keyword suggestions?
  • Does this tool can help me spy on my competitors’ keywords?

There could be more questions, but these general ones will enhance your thinking skills and determine what’s best for your research.

It’s time to gather and organize all the data so we can go from solving a huge problem and breaking it into pieces, the “divide and conquer” strategy.

4. Gather all Information

First off, gather all the necessary information from all of the tools and put them in a local or cloud folder, call it “{your keyword} keyword research”.

Download all files to this folder, I recommend using either google sheets or excel to start working on the gathered data.

This step is where yo put all your data into one file:

  1. Create a new google sheets or excel file and call it “{your keyword} master keyword research {date}”.
  2. leave the first spreadsheet blank for now.
  3. put all the excel files from all the tools that you gathered information from into the master file. excel add new spredsheet button
  4. Gather all the files and organize all the keyword data from largest to smallest.
  5. I recommend adding data bars on your search volume so you can quickly understand the mean, median, and mode. Here is a screenshot:
  6. excel data bars
  7. On the Overview tab, which is the spreadsheet you left blank, put in the master keyword, as well as creating a graph from Google Trends data, and add the top 10 search results from Google/Bing with Moz information.
  8. This will give you page authority, total links to page, and domain authority at a glance.
  9. Refine and remove any unnecessary information that you extracted by accident from the tools.

We will explain more on analyzing the data next.

5. Analyzing the Gathered Data

Now that we have organized and refined the data, it’s time to analyze it visually by going through each spreadsheet, taking notes, coming up with questions, and answering them to our best of our ability.

This is where you need to put your critical thinking hat and start making assumptions and theories, comprehending the keywords and why they showed up in your research in the first place, and most importantly to use the trifecta of marketing (that’s how I call it): Marketing, Execution, and Adaptation.

Once you start understanding the analysis, this is where you start comprehending what’s best for your objectives.

Are you using your research for informational, transactional, or navigational purposes?

How will you satisfy the users’ query coming from a search engine?

Are you in charge of Content Design? if so, you have to architect the information to be as useful as possible.

Try to find keywords with high volume and low competition, these keywords are called “gems” because if you can create a valuable resource towards this search query, it is most likely that your content will show up on search engines result’s pages with high relevance.

If you are researching for pay-per-click advertising, check your budget and compare it to the cost-per-click information on the gathered data.

Always try to compare your competitors. They might be doing research themselves. Piggy-backing from their strategy can probably help your objectives as well.

Once you have a thorough understanding of your analyzed data. it’s now time to process it by reducing and simplifying the research.

6. Process the Information

Now that we have done the analysis of the gathered data, it’s time to process it by coming up with ideas and taking notes.

This is where I recommend getting a pen and notebook so you can use your mind freely on a piece of paper, (although you can you One Note as well).

This is where ideas come from. Visual thinking is a great way to process information as well as to connecting words and concepts.

I would like to recommend these books to facilitate the process of thinking through this step:

Use the recommended methods to process the information thoroughly and in-depth.

There are many methods to process the information such as comparison charts, decision trees, sketching, venn diagram, SWOT analysis, storyboards, collaboration techniques, simulations, journey mapping, and many others.

Now that you have written down or sketched out the processed information, it’s time to create the blueprint of your amazing research! πŸ₯³

7. Strategy, Execution, & Adaptation

Now this is the part that you have to put the pieces together for your content design.

content strategy

Strategy:

This is where it starts, the blueprint for your research. Now that you comprehend and understand, and processed the information, it’s time to start strategizing by sketching out content maps.

Using information architecture to organize the data is crucial so users can understand and flow of the content as a story, even the usability.gov knows!

Strategies are meant to adapt, so bear in mind that it can potentially change in the future.

Execution:

I am going to steal Nike’s phrase: “Just do it” because at the end of the day, execution beats everything.

Once you have the template you want to go for, follow it to the letter and create your awe inspiring, wonderful content resource that will amaze the people that consume it.

I recommend, like mentioned before, the divide and conquer method. Break your resource into chunks and then start doing the creatives with the highest level of confidence.

Be genuine, unique, and study your audience. It is important to understand them and have empathy (put yourself in their shoes).

Remember that work is divided into 4 parts: diligence, prudence, organization, and striving to perfection.

Adaptation:

This is the third part of the equation, to adapt means to change, and to change accordingly is to understand what works and what doesn’t.

Using a reporting tool such as Google Analytics and A/B testing tools such as Optimizely can help you improve conversion rate optimization.

Gather the metrics and understand them. Then make a conclusion on what to change to improve your content resource to the audience.

Is my blog A better than blog B? Is my landing page converting properly? Am I getting enough traffic to my site? Past benchmarks can help you compare the data.

Use the insights and recommendations tab on Google Analytics to further improve your findings and enhance the user experience.

8. Conclusion TL;DR

Although you can just go by one keyword research tool, such as the Google keyword planner, you can always expand your research by the free tools mentioned in the first part.

Gathering all your data into one master file will help organize and simplify the research.

Analyzing, comprehending, and processing the information with design thinking methods will help you come up with ideas and start creating blueprints for your content design.

Using strategy to create the plan gathered from the research, executing the plan in order, and then using reporting tools to optimize your content resource will help you win traffic (or your chosen goal) in order to adapt.

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