Search optimization has become an essential part of digital marketing, especially for marketers following the inbound philosophy. Even the highest-quality and most relevant content matters little if potential customers can’t find it, and SEO helps marketers avoid that downfall.
But in order to effectively optimize your website and its content for search engines, you need to find the keywords that are at once relevant to your audience, and searched frequently enough to make a difference in your web traffic. To help you accomplish this goal, here are the 8 best keyword research tools to find the right keywords for SEO.
Without a doubt the most widely-used SEO keyword tool comes from the world’s largest search engine. Available in Google AdWords, the Keyword Planner allows marketers to determine metrics like average monthly searches, competition level (how many other marketers are targeting the same keyword), average cost per click, and more. It even takes keyword research one step further, suggesting alternative but related keywords that may be more successful.
Another widely-used and free tool, Keyword Tool.io enables marketers to do the basic research necessary to find the best keywords. The concept is simple: the tool uses Google Autocomplete to suggest long-tail keyword based on short terms, to better focus marketers looking for specific iterations or generic keywords. Because Google Autocomplete suggests the most popular searches, this tool can be a great place to start researching your keywords.
The first paid tool on this list, the SEMRush Keyword Research tool allows marketers to both evaluate their own keywords similar to Google alternative above. But it adds value by also allowing competitive research, enabling marketers to see which keywords their competitors are trying to rank for and strategize how to rank above them. It splits searches and success by organic and paid metrics, which is especially helpful for marketers looking to focus on their organic SEO strategy.
A freemium keyword research tool comes from WordStream, which offers marketers the opportunity to enter a generic keyword in a simple search box and return detailed results on related long-tail keywords, along with their search volume, competitiveness, and more. The tool offers 10 initial free searches, along with 1 keyword search per day after that.
Soovle goes beyond Google, also enabling marketers to find the most commonly searched terms on platforms like Bing, YouTube, Wikipedia, Amazon, and more. Similarly to Keyword Tool.io, this intelligence can help marketers determine an initial keyword to focus on, before delving into more detail through one of the other tools on this list.
Taking keyword research a step beyond the initial rankings, BuzzSumo enables marketers to determine the virality of content based on specific content. Simply enter a keyword into the search bar, and find the most shared content around that keyword in a time range you specify. You can use the tool both to understand what type of content gets shared the most, and which keywords you should focus on for maximum SEO exposure.
Perhaps the most comprehensive keyword research tool on the market, Long Tail Pro enables marketers to both gather intelligence about potential keywords, and filter potential results down to a granular level. For example, if you are looking to rank locally for a keyword, you can filter your results to only show the local competitiveness of your keyword. A comprehensive competitive analysis tool along with pay-per-click suggestions and even a domain search tool make this platform ideal to guide your SEO efforts.
Finally, we’ll close with another free Google product to help you optimize your SEO keyword efforts. Google Trends enables you to enter a potential keyword, and determine its popularity both over time and in specific regions. You can even add a second keyword or phrase for comparison, making this tool great if you just cannot decide between two legitimate options. Filter options range from topic categories to types of searches (such as image searches or news searches).
Each of these tools can help significantly in determining the keywords that will optimize your content for search engines.