Struggling with traffic?
Wishing the Google gods would just NOTICE YOU ALREADY!?
Or maybe you just need to find interesting topics for your blog readers?
Either way… If any or all of these apply to you… You’re gonna need to brush up on your keywords research skills.
When we started our very first blog, we wrote blog posts based on topics that we believed our readers wanted.
We didn’t ask them what they wanted. We didn’t do any keyword research.
Just thought up cool ideas and started writing.
The problem with this is two-fold:
- You’re making assumptions about what your readers want and you could be totally wrong.
- You’re not creating content that is searchable.
Keyword research is SUPER important when you’re creating content because it helps you create content with a purpose.
i.e. Content that people want, need, and are SEARCHING for!
When you choose keywords that people are actively searching for, your content is more likely to be found on search platforms like Google, Pinterest, and YouTube.
So, how do you find these keywords people are searching for?
Well, that’s what this whole article is about!
We’ve rounded up some of the BEST keyword research tools and we’ve included both free and paid options!
Honestly, we use a combination of tools when it comes to keyword research because every software is a little different and comes with different capabilities.
The following are in no particular order, so let’s jump right into the 11 best free and paid keyword research tools for bloggers!
Table of Contents (Jump Down)
Now that you know what the tools are, let’s break them down further, so you can decide which one, or which ones, are right for you.
P.S. Make sure to select AT LEAST one of these keyword research tools to use when you are planning and writing your new blog content!
You’re probably thinking… “Say what!?”
Believe it or not, you can use Pinterest as a keyword research tool for bloggers simply by searching for words or phrases using their search feature.
If you’re using Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog, this is absolutely the FIRST place you should start!
Pinterest is the #1 source of traffic for our first health and wellness blog, Avocadu, and it’s what we used to get ideas for new content.
When you type a word or phrase into the search bar (i.e. “baby diapers”), Pinterest will suggest related keywords based on popular user searches on the platform.
Then, if you click on one of the related keywords that Pinterest auto-populates (i.e. “baby diapers cloth”), it will suggest additional keyword ideas.
Let’s say you’re a mom blogger, and you’re looking for new keyword phrases to write about baby diapers.
In just a few minutes, you can find new ideas and keywords that people are actually LOOKING for to include in your blog content, leading to more organic page views.
Similarly, there’s a website called Pinterest Keyword Tool that gives you popular keywords for Pinterest search optimization.
What’s Pinterest SEO?
Basically what we just talked about. It’s just strategically using keywords that you know people are searching for because it will help your content get found in search more.
In the example below, I typed in “healthy recipes,” and was given six popular keywords that people are looking for on Pinterest.
If you’re a blogger driving traffic with Pinterest, learning these popular keywords is invaluable to your content planning strategy!
Keywords Everywhere is a free browser add-on for Chrome and Firefox that gives you an analysis of search volume, cost per click (CPC), and competition data of keywords on multiple websites.
Let’s say you search the phrase “dog training” on Google.
Before you even hit the “enter” key, you can view search volume, CPC, and competition data for that particular keyword or phrase!
This is how it would appear on your computer if you have the Keywords Everywhere addon installed:
Once you hit enter, you can see more information about additional related keywords:
I love this tool because of how quick and easy it is to use!
You don’t have to visit any particular website or login anywhere.
You can also turn it on or off anytime you want in your extension settings. Just click the little K icon in the top right-hand corner of your browser and go to the settings.
You can install the Keywords Everywhere extension on your browser for free here.
With Google Trends, you can see what the world is searching, and find out related topics and queries as well.
You can see exactly WHERE in the world people are searching for WHAT topics.
Below are the results for the phrase “video games for kids” in the US vs Worldwide:
But perhaps one of my favorite features is…
Google Trends also tells you the interest over time of the keyword or phrase you’re searching.
This lets you know if the search is steady, climbing, or if interest is fading.
It’s great to write articles on trending topics because search volume can be higher than normal, BUT you would never want to hit the tail end of a trending topic because then you’re just wasting your time.
It can also just help with the timing of your post… For example, the graph below shows the search volume for “greek yogurt” over an 8-year period.
This graph shows us that there is a steady drop in searches for greek yogurt towards the end of the year and a huge jump at the beginning of every year.
With this data, I can conclude that it’s probably a good idea to post a new article on this topic right at the beginning of the year when the search volume is highest!
Because there is no sense writing about greek yogurt in October when everyone is up to their eyeballs in searches for pumpkin spiced EVERYTHING!
Am I right?
Throw a few ideas in Google Trends before you find a spot for them in your content calendar!
Using longer-tail keywords can be a great strategy to get more Google SEO traffic.
Here are some examples to show the differences between short, medium, and long-tail keywords:
- Short-tail keyword: yoga-poses
- Medium-tail keyword: beginner-yoga-poses
- Long-tail keyword: beginner-yoga-poses-for-flexibility
Longer-tailed keywords generally have lower search volume but also lower competition.
Some people use the long-tail keyword strategy to create a bunch of content that has an easier chance of ranking (rather than creating fewer, more competitive articles that have a chance of getting higher traffic).
You can use Long Tail Pro to find these less competitive keywords
(That could hopefully translate to a boatload of high-converting traffic.)
When you type in a keyword like “home decor,” this tool will spit back related long-tail keywords that would be much easier to rank for on Google.
If you receive too many long-tail keywords, you can add filters to your limit results based on your average CPC bid, search volume, rank value, and more.
Long Tail Pro has a free 7-day trial if you want to test the various elements they offer as well.
So when you type something into Google, what happens?
Google usually starts trying to autocomplete what it thinks you’re searching for.
That can get really funny (or really awkward) depending on what you’re typing in…
That is the idea behind Keyword Tool, but it gives you MORE search suggestions (up to 20).
This is also a great tool to look for long-tail keywords like we explained in with Long Tail Pro.
You can use this tool completely free, even without creating an account.
Or you can pay for their Pro version to unlock some additional features and which provides about double the amount of suggested keywords.
Ubersuggest is one of my favorite free tools for keyword research because of how SIMPLE it is!
It’s a very easy-to-use tool and provides you with some important information without getting too lost in the data overwhelm.
This keyword research tool that not only gives you long-tail keyword suggestions but also tells you a percentage of how likely you are to be able to rank for the keyword you type in.
Here is an example of a search for “swing dancing”:
Ubersuggest told me that this keyword is easy to rank for and that there is a 73% chance I can rank in the top 20.
Then, you can click to view more keyword ideas, which gives you some additional information about your keyword, and other websites that are ranking for that particular keyword:
Ubersuggest is an awesome free tool and where I would suggest any beginner blogger on a budget get started!
After your site is verified, you can start monitoring your site’s performance in search:
The Google overlords also will tell you which search terms and phrases bring up your content in search, which can help you come up with similar or better content to boost your rankings!
It can also help you create sales-centered content so that you can use certain articles to drive more traffic to your paid products (affiliates or your own).
More on that in our full guide on how to make money blogging.
You can also see mobile coverage and issues:
Google will also alert you via email when new issues are detected so that you can fix them ASAP and make sure they don’t affect your rankings!
So if you haven’t verified your website with Google search console yet, you should do so now!
This is the first keyword research tool on our list that goes MUCH further than anything we have seen so far!
Moz Keyword Explorer tells you…
- the monthly volume of the number of searches for the keyword,
- how hard it would be to rank in the top 10 spots for the keyword,
- the organic click-through rate (CTR),
- and sooo much more!
Here is an example with the keyword “cat costumes:”
They also give you a SERP analysis to spy on, errr, I mean see what other websites are ranking for keywords.
There are loads more bells and whistles in this tool, and it has a pretty hefty price tag accordingly.
But if you can afford this tool and really learn how to use it to grow your business, it’s 100% worth it! You can try it out here.
And if it’s not in your price range at the moment, you can also check out their free SEO tools!
Disclosure: We are an affiliate for SEMRush, which means that we may receive a commission if you sign up through our affiliate link. This is at no additional cost to you and helps us continue to offer free content on our site. P.S. We only recommend products and services that we have personally used and continue to stand by!
This is one of my favorites and one that we have personally been using for a couple of years now!
Like many of the tools mentioned so far, SEMRush helps you…
- find related keywords
- find the right keywords that are appropriate for your target audience.
- get information on CPC and search volume
…BUT it also comes with a whole host of other features:
We personally use it a lot to track our domain authority and rankings for Google.
Every week, we get notifications from SEMrush on whether we have moved ahead or fallen behind our competitors in terms of domain rankings.
We also get emails when there are issues detected on our websites (broken links, 404 error pages, etc.) so that we can fix them before they hurt our rankings.
You can also conduct backlink analysis, gather long tail keyword phrases, and get the best keyword ideas for your website.
It has become a SUPER important tool in our business and growth.
It’s also pretty expensive, so if you’re choosing between this and Moz, we recommend SEMrush 100%.
This is another tool that we pay for and use almost on a daily basis!
With Ahrefs, you also get a LOT more than keyword research. You also get competitive analysis, backlink research, content research, rank tracking, and web monitoring.
The #1 reason we love this software is the organization of backlink information.
You can easily see all the information on backlinks, including who is linking to you and what links you have gained and lost, and even what links you lost.
Link-building is perhaps THE most important (and also painful) part of building your SEO strategy.
The 2nd best feature we love is the keyword explorer.
It gives incredibly accurate data on keywords for YouTube, Google, Amazon, and more. It supposedly is even more accurate than Google Keyword planner.
Lastly, it’s SUPER easy to use!
It’s simple to set up, see what your competition is ranking for, and come up with creative ideas to get backlinks and new keywords.
It’s also a bit more “intuitive” than SEMrush (although we do use both tools).
The Ahrefs keyword explorer will give you thousands of relevant keyword suggestions from their mammoth database of over 3 billion keywords.
(yes, billion with a B!)
Like other tools mentioned here, Ahrefs will also give you a difficulty score to let you know how hard it would be to rank for a keyword, which helps you make smarter choices about the keywords you want to use.
One of the coolest features of Ahrefs is its content explorer. When you put a keyword into the tool, it will show you what content has performed best on social media, organic search, and in terms of the number of backlinks the content had.
Ahref’s web monitoring tool is pretty neat too. It allows you to set up alerts for any keywords that are related to your blog.
Then, if someone mentions the keywords you want to rank for on their website, you’ll get an email notification with a link to the page. Think of it as Google Alerts for your preferred keywords, but better.
I know what you’re thinking, the old man that appears on the homepage is sort of… okay very… creepy.
But, This tool will provide you with NUMEROUS keyword suggestions in a unique organization that makes them VERY easy to utilize.
Honestly, The organization of Answer The Public’s results is the most valuable part of using this keyword planner.
While you could probably find similar keyword results on any of the keyword tools I mentioned already, it’s the way ATP delivers their results that make it an awesome keyword tool.
ATP delivers results for your chosen keyword by using 5 different categories.
After inputting your chosen term, these categories will fill with results in a very visual, easy to digest, manner.
Then, breaking them down further, it will divide the suggestions into specific categories within those 5 categories.
It makes the process of deciding how you’re going to use your keyword as simple as possible.
And you get your results in a perfectly organized, flower-like, flurry of suggestions:
This tool is crazy quick, super simple, and with the variety of suggestions it gives you in an organized manner, it can really get you out of a rut if you’re experiencing keyword research frustration.
Which Free and Paid Keyword Tools for Bloggers Are Right For You?
As you can see, there are a ton of different keyword research tools for bloggers out there, all with different features, functionality, and price tags!
Here are our personal favorites that we use regularly in our business:
- Paid: Ahrefs
- Paid: SEMrush
- Free: Pinterest
- Free: Ubersuggest
- Free: Google Trends
- Free: Google Search Console
We use all of these tools regularly when we are planning out and writing content for our blogs!
A few of the paid tools offer free trials, so I would suggest testing them out and seeing which one best meets your needs!
But even if you use just one of these keyword tools for bloggers, you’ll be that much closer to boosting your search engine rankings and getting MORE traffic to your blog!
Are you currently using any of these keyword research tools or do you plan to try one out? Did we miss one? Or just want to tell us that you loved the article!?
Please leave us a comment below! We’d love to hear from you!
Alex and Lauren are the co-founders of two six-figure blogs and have been featured on Forbes, Yahoo! Finance, and others. Last year, more than 5 million people read their blogs. Read their inspiring story on how they went from broke and frustrated to $100,000/month blogging in 3 years.