A blind chicken sometimes finds a grain.
This will be the case with your Google rankings if you do not use any keyword tools. Keyword tools are essential and essential for any SEO toolbox.
There are hundreds of different keyword research tools on the market. Who should find their way there?
The good news:
You don’t have to figure out which ones are good on your own! Because I’ve tried dozens of tools in my 5 years as SEO. From free to several hundred euros a month.
12 Keyword Research Tools
In this article, I’ll introduce you to the 12 keyword tools I’ve stuck with. Tools with which I have already found a number of great keywords and which I have been using for research for years.
1. Google Tools
Why look into the distance?
Google itself offers great tools for keyword research and analysis. And it’s completely free!
A. Google Trends
With Google Trends, you can see how often entered in which country and region keywords by Google users.
The research tool is very well suited to determine seasonal and regional fluctuations in keywords. Or to estimate whether the search volume for a keyword will decrease or increase.
It is also great for observing your own brand.
A big minus point:
The interest in certain keywords is unfortunately not shown in absolute, but only in relative values to the total search volume.
- Very good for finding trends
- Recognise seasonal and regional fluctuations in keyword traffic
- Search trends daily and in real-time
- Google Trends doesn’t show keyword data like absolute search volume, CPC, or competition
- only conditionally suitable to get keyword suggestions
Google Search Console
The Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) is not only an important tool to find SEO errors on your own website and to help Google to add your website to the search index faster.
It can also be used very well for keyword research and monitoring!
For each website, keywords with ranking, impressions, click rate and click numbers are displayed. This will help you find great new keywords that you’re not ranked or ranked better for.
Why is that important?
Optimising existing content often gives you quicker and easier results than writing new content.
With the new Google Search Console, which was introduced in January 2018, you will no longer only be shown data over 90 days, but even over 16 months.
In addition, the user interface has been made clearer and more modern.
An absolute must-have for every website.
- Very good for finding opportunity keywords
- Extensive statistics on impressions, clicks, positions and CTR
- Comparing periods possible
- You can view the keywords on a per-page basis
- No absolute search volume (impressions only)
- Dates go back only 16 months
- Only suitable for your own website
Google Ads Keyword Planner
The Google Ads Keyword Planner (formerly Google Adwords Keyword Tool) was the standard tool for keyword research for years.
Unfortunately, it is only of limited use as such.
Since August 2016, keyword ideas only show the exact number of monthly searches for keywords if you have an active ads campaign.
If you do not have an active campaign, you will be fed with approximate orders of 10 – 100, 100 – 1,000, 1,000 – 10,000 etc.
The search volume of keywords (e.g. singular and plural) is also grouped together, which makes the search volume even less precise. This means that the same search volume would be displayed for a keyword tool, keyword tools or keyword tool.
You can, however, trick the Google Keyword Planner a bit to get a more precise search volume for a keyword.
To do this, select it from the checkbox in the keyword ideas and add it to a plan above.
Then you get to the plan overview. There you select a year as the period at the top right (in the example, Dec. 13, 2018, to Dec. 12, 2019):
Then you divide the displayed impressions (1200) by 12 and get 100 impressions. That means the keyword tool has about 100 monthly searches.
However, I find this process too cumbersome. In addition, you should never forget that these are impressions of advertisements and not of search queries per se, which is not 100% congruent.
I, therefore, advise you to use KWFinder instead (see below).
Note: Please note that the Keyword Planner was developed for Google advertisers and not for SEO. That means values such as bids, competition or CPC (cost-per-click) always refer to the placement of advertisements in Google search.
- Google Keyword Planner is free (you only need a Google Ads account)
- Keyword data comes directly from Google
- Comprehensive filter functions
- Export and import of keyword lists possible
- Display of the CPC for each keyword (which allows conclusions to be drawn about the commercial value and the position in the customer journey)
- A limited number of keyword suggestions
- Exact search volumes only when the ads campaign is active
- no competition analysis
Google Suggest (free)
Google Suggest, also called Google Autocomplete, is not an independent tool, but a function in Google search.
Simply enter a keyword in Google, and you will automatically see further keyword suggestions.
Google also shows similar searches further down on the search results page:
Classic keyword tools
A classic keyword tool should definitely not be missing from your SEO toolbox!
Classic keyword tools not only output keyword ideas, but also show other important properties of these keywords, such as monthly search volume, search volume trends, CPC and the associated SERPs.
Price: from € 29.90 / month
The KWFinder (short for Keyword Finder) has been my standard keyword research tool for about 4 years now.
And not without reason:
It shows not only similar keywords or autocompletes suggestions with search volume, trends and CPC, but also the corresponding search results for each keyword.
These are displayed together with various link key figures and Facebook shares in a table to the right of the keyword suggestions.
The user interface is modern, clear and is one of the few tools that can also be used excellently on a smartphone.
The Keyword Difficulty Score is useful for beginners. You can recognize keywords with weak competition by light and dark green scores, which is very good for an initial assessment:
The import function is also ingenious, with which you can check the search volume, CPC etc. of hundreds of keywords at the same time:
So you can z. B. Export keyword lists from AnswerThePublic, SEORCH or another tool and query the keyword data in KWFinder.
In the basic plan for around € 30 a month, you can do 100 keyword queries a day, which is more than enough to start with.
You will also receive many other useful tools as part of the mangools Suite, such as B. the SERPWatcher for keyword monitoring.
- Modern, clean and mobile-optimized user interface
- Can also be used very well with a smartphone or tablet
- Import function for the mass query of keyword data
- Accurate competition assessment with the keyword Difficulty Score
- Try it free for 10 days
- Many and good keyword suggestions
- Generates suggest and question keywords on request
- Display keywords on a domain basis
- Creation of keyword lists possible
- Many other useful tools within the mangools Suite, such as B. a keyword monitoring tool and a backlink checker
- Very good browser extension
- A limited number of keyword suggestions and searches depending on the plan
- Domain-only keywords (not page-based)
- no free version for a long time
Price: a limited free version, from € 24.16 / month
Ubersuggest was originally just a simple suggest tool (something like SEORCH).
Since internet mogul Neil Patel took it over, it has been revamped:
It has not only got a new modern interface but now also shows you search volumes, the strength of the competition and an overview of the search results.
I mainly use it to get a quick overview of long-tail keywords and their search volume.
The Top Pages function is also useful. You can see which pages of your competing domain get the most traffic and for which keywords they rank:
However, I prefer SEMRush and ahrefs to the competition analysis because the pages are searchable, and the data is more accurate.
Unfortunately, UberSuggest has only been available to a limited extent in the free version since February 2020, and the price of the premium version has risen rapidly to over € 20 a month.
- Clear and modern user interface
- The search results are shown on the right
- Many keyword suggestions including search volume, search volume trends, CPC and difficulty
- Can display top pages of a domain including the individual keywords for which each page is ranked (by far the best function of UberSuggest)
- Other useful tools, such as B. an on-page audit
- Is being developed at a fast pace (to a complete SEO suite)
- Rapid price development (price for the cheapest tariff recently jumped from € 90 to € 290 a year)
- the free version only partially usable (no export function, only 20 keyword suggestions with search volume)
- no import function
- Requires a link to your own Google account and approval of the data from the Google Search Console
- Partially slow performance
- Top pages not searchable and not sortable (annoying with very large websites)
If you enter a keyword in a suggest tool, you will get a list of keyword suggestions (without search volume and other data). You can enter this in turn as a list in KWFinder or another tool.
Price: from € 11.90 / month
HyperSuggest is a great tool that I only discovered for myself last year and have been using ever since.
I especially like that HyperSuggest can generate autocomplete suggestions from many different sources such as:
- W questions (from Google search)
- Google Images
- Google shopping
- Google News
The tool is easy to use and clear.
Generated keywords can be copied to the clipboard or exported in various formats (CSV, Excel, TXT, JSON, XML or SQL).
I mainly use HyperSuggest to get a quick overview of the long-tail keywords of a topic or to supplement my keyword clusters with data from YouTube, Amazon or eBay.
Unfortunately, the free version of HyperSuggest is only of limited use, since only the first 10 keyword suggestions are displayed.
However, full access to the keyword generators for Google search, W questions and Google Images is relatively cheap at € 11.90 per month (with annual payment).
Additional add-ons are also available, e.g. B. to display the exact search volume.
Answer The Public
Price: Free, pro version from $ 79 / month
Answer the Public is a great keyword tool for finding long-tail keywords.
It collects suggestions from Google search and organizes them according to prepositions and questions:
It is also very suitable for finding out the different search intentions behind a keyword and getting to know the target group better.
The diagram above shows, for example, that users who search for the very general keyword search engine optimization on Google:
- are travelling on the Jimdo and WordPress platforms
- are mostly beginners
- small and medium-sized companies, such as B. Doctors, hotels, lawyers, photographers etc.
- want to read a manual or overview
First, this helps you to tailor your content better to the needs of search engine users and to answer their questions better.
Second, you can better understand the different aspects of a topic. This makes it easier for you to structure the content of blog articles and to find subheadings.
The only drawback:
AnswerThePublic does not display keyword data such as search volume, CPC and Co. So you need third-party tools for this.
The SEORCH is also great to give you a quick overview of a topic.
In addition to a W question tool and a ranking checker, it also offers a suggest function.
This shows you keyword suggestions from various services, such as B. Yandex, Amazon, YouTube, Ebay, Wikipedia and Bing:
- Professional tools
Professional tools offer two decisive advantages when compared to classic keyword tools:
First, they have a larger database. That means you will see keywords there that you would not find on Ubersuggest or KWFinder. In addition, the associated data, such as B. the search volume, more reliable.
Second, they allow keyword analysis at the domain level. This means that you can display the keywords for which a website and its subpages rank.
Price: from $ 83 / month
SEMRush has always been the tool for competitive analysis. SEMRush’s focus is on SEA, i.e. paid search engine advertising, but it is also useful for SEO.
So it shows For example, the general visibility of a domain and all keywords for which a domain is ranked. Sortable by search volume, estimated traffic per keyword and much more:
You can also display which subpages get the most traffic and for which and how many keywords they rank.
For example, it can be found that Spiegel Online receives a large number of search engine visitors via a gross-net calculator (a fourth page from above):
My favourite function at SEMRush is by far the Keyword Magic Tool. It is a classic keyword tool that provides keyword suggestions and shows search volumes.
But with an ingenious twist.
Because it groups long-tail keywords by main categories (left column). Here’s a quick way to see which aspect of a keyword is most interested in:
Price: from $ 82 / month
Ahrefs is currently the best all-around tool for SEO on the market.
There are tools that can do certain aspects better, such as B. On-page analysis or keyword research. But other professional tools such as SISTRIX, XOVI, Moz, Majestic, SEMRush etc. cannot match the complete package from ahrefs.
The speciality of ahrefs has always been backlink analysis, in which it overtakes all other tools by far thanks to its huge database of over 2 trillion links.
The same applies to keyword research: ahrefs has a huge database with over 10 billion keywords.
Research is possible using the Keyword Explorer :
This shows not only various keyword ideas for an entered keyword (keywords with the same words, search suggestions and keywords for which the top 10 websites also rank) but also data such as B .:
- Search volume
- the generic term (for a better classification in a certain topic)
- CPC (cost per click)
- the keyword difficulty
- what is the relationship between click and no-click searches
Keyword analysis at the domain level shows clear superiority over SEMRush. The overview of the top pages looks similar, but for some pages, ahrefs finds significantly more keywords.
ahrefs find z. B. 2,967 keywords, which is almost 1,300 keywords more than SEMRush:
Price: from $ 10 (once for credits)
Keywords Everywhere is a very useful little browser extension for Chrome and Firefox.
It shows keywords and related data (such as search volume and CPC) wherever it might be useful.
Keywords Everywhere supports the following websites or services:
Here are answers to common questions about keyword tools:
What are the alternatives to AnswerThePublic?
An alternative to AnswerThePublic is UberSuggest, which has recently divided keyword lists into the categories Suggestions , Similar , questions , suggestions and comparisons .
On the other hand, you can also use the functions Autocomplete and Questions from KWFinder.
Why do some tools not show certain keywords?
When using a tool to search for keywords, you shouldn’t forget the following:
Keyword tools are never 100% accurate or show you a complete picture of all the searches people type on Google.
Each tool has a limited keyword database with a few million or possibly billions of keywords. Anything beyond that is not recorded.