The best tools to search for keywords for SEO in 2024

paid and free keyword research tools

The best tools to search for keywords for SEO in 2024

Thinking about keywords for SEO is thinking about the search terms that people will use to reach your content. Researching keywords and phrases is an unavoidable process of your SEO strategy. For this, it is necessary to have an appropriate tool that facilitates your search and analysis.

Keyword research must consider at least four elements: relevance (people’s search intention), authority (the legitimacy of your website), volume (how many people search for a keyword), and “long tail” (niche). This is how we reviewed it in a previous article with the best tips for finding your next keyword for SEO.

Putting these four elements into perspective—relevance, authority, volume, and the “long tail”—is easier when you use an appropriate tool that simplifies and speeds up search and comparison. In the internet ecosystem, there are many alternatives to undertaking keyword research, but not all of them can fit your objectives.

Within this article, we’ll examine five top paid and free keyword research tools designed for uncovering keywords to optimize your content’s positioning. We’ve put together a selection of platforms that offer paid features and also some free features so you can test how their keyword analysis and reporting work.

Do keyword research with Semrush

It has both paid and free plans. In its free plan, Semrush includes up to ten daily analytics reports.

More than 10 million people who work in marketing have used the tools offered by Semrush. This huge platform allows you to do keyword research as if you combined Google Trends, Hootsuite and Similar Web. As expressed by ThemeIsle, Semrush is often likened to the versatile Swiss army knife in the realm of SEO tools.

This comprehensive platform from Semrush provides a collection of tools specifically designed for conducting keyword research. At Zapier, they explain that this range ranges from standard traffic and search volume data to keyword gaps. As a complement, Semrush’s SEO Content Template allows you to optimize your publications as you write your content, detecting levels of readability, originality, tone and SEO.

Hubspot mentions that Semrush offers a more sophisticated version of Google Trends that makes it easier to detect the position of keywords in search results, in addition to analyzing their highs and lows.

And if you use WordPress, you can integrate Semrush with the All in One SEO plugin, which makes it possible to search for additional keywords directly in the content manager. As indicated in WP Beginner, the plugin shows search volumes and trends and then, with a button, you can add the keyword to your content.

In its free plan, Semrush includes up to ten daily analytics reports with ten registered keywords. If you want to exceed that limit and receive more than three thousand reports per day with 10 thousand results, you have to move on to the payment plans.

Do keyword research with Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner, which provides a range of related keywords along with associated metrics.

This tool, offered by Google, stands out as an excellent and freely accessible resource for performing effective SEO-oriented keyword research. Being free, it does not impose limits or require payments to access better plans. To use it, however, you need to create a Google AdWords account, but that does not mean you have to create an advertising ad.

As explained in HubSpot, when you enter a keyword, a phrase or even the URL of your website, Google’s Keyword Planner will return a list of related keywords along with metrics that will allow you to evaluate the competition that exists and how many searches it receives.

Marketing expert Robbi Richards says the data this tool returns is based on paid searches, so it may not be the best option for obtaining information about organic searches.

Additionally, in the past, Google Keyword Planner delivered precise search volumes, but now it only delivers ranges that are quite wide. For example, from 10 thousand to 100 thousand searches, according to Ahrefs. Consider these limitations when conducting keyword research with Google Keyword Planner.

Despite this, the value of the information from the Google Keyword Planner comes precisely from the authority of the source from which the data emanates: Google, the largest search engine in the world. On the Backlink site, for example, they mention that one of their best features is the so-called “Top of page bid,” basically an average of how much brands are paying for a specific keyword.

Do SEO Keyword Research with Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a paid keyword research tool. Ahrefs provides related keywords, suggestions and reports of links between keywords that will allow you to expand your SEO strategy.

Ahrefs is a Singapore-based startup that develops SEO tools and instructional resources for marketing professionals. Its platform shares many of the qualities of Semrush but incorporates a different design.

Using Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, you will get keyword ideas by entering text in the search box. In WP Beginner, they mention that along with the results, you will be able to see the phrases or words that your competitors are using and that you have not yet. This way, you can create new content focused on those keywords related to those topics.

The ThemeIsle site highlights the following features of the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer:

  • Precision in keyword difficulty
  • More than a thousand-word suggestions
  • Available for more than 171 countries
  • Offers click metrics
  • This enables you to explore further within the search results

The precision in the difficulty of the keyword is very relevant. As Brian Dean indicates on the Backlink site, many tools in this area provide general information about the difficulty of a keyword, for example, with adjectives like “easy” or “difficult” or with scores. Ahrefs provides precise information on the number of backlinks required for securing a position on the initial page of Google search outcomes.

What additional functionalities does it offer? Robbie Richards says that for your searches, Ahrefs provides related keywords, suggestions and reports of links between keywords that will allow you to expand your SEO strategy in different browsers, such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, YouTube and Amazon.

The Ahrefs keyword explorer is not free: if you want to start with the cheapest plan, you should consider an initial investment of $99 per month.

Do keyword research with Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz is also a paid keyword research tool. You can use Moz to see who is ranking in search results for a given keyword.

Moz stands out as a comprehensive tool for implementing SEO strategies. Its database is impressive: it houses more than 43 billion links, offers around 500 keyword suggestions and analyzes more than 8 million search results (SERP) daily.

Zapier mentions that, unlike other tools, the Moz platform is one of those that offers the best user experience since it is manageable with information and focuses on the basic elements. If you search for a keyword with Moz, you will get its monthly search volume, difficulty, and organic click-through rate (CTR).

One notable feature is its capability to propose lateral keyword suggestions. Brian Dean uses this example: If you enter the keyword “weight loss,” Moz will return the usual suggestions (“weight loss foods,” “weight loss pills”). But what is really useful are the “outside the box” suggestions that are linked to the search you did: “foods that help reduce fat,” “health tips for men,” etc.

Another notable feature of Moz is its potential for competitive analysis. According to HubSpot, you can use the tool to see who is ranking in search results for a given keyword. This data is accompanied by other information, such as the authority of the website and the number of sites that link to that website.

The Moz platform is not free, but if you want to try the tool, you can do up to 10 mention searches with up to a thousand keyword suggestions and SERP analysis. The cost of its initial plan is similar to that of Ahrefs: $99 per month.

Do SEO Keyword Research with QuestionDB

QuestionDB is free if you only want to see a maximum of 50 results per search.

This is not a typical tool for doing keyword research for SEO. Unlike the examples we mentioned above, QuestionDB gets its data from the entire web, not just search engines like Google or Bing. That means it also covers popular sites like Reddit or Quora, which are real gold mines, as they claim on Zapier.

Rather than focusing on keywords, this platform shows you the questions that people ask on websites and in forums. As mentioned on the Semrush blog, QuestionDB is a useful tool for creating new content that answers the questions people are asking on the internet.

How does it work? To start, choose a broad keyword. Consider this scenario: suppose you operate within the realm of marketing and explore the term “SEO.” Upon inputting this term into the search engine, a compilation of associated questions will be presented to you. For that particular keyword, it finds almost 200 results (“Is there an SEO tool for weekly positioning?”). It suggests related topics such as “websites.”

In Backlink, Brian Dean highlights that QuestionDB allows you to filter results by popularity and also by topics. In Ahrefs, they show how, when searching for “protein powder,” QuestionDB groups together questions that are related to vegan protein. In addition, it will indicate the source where the question was asked, which opens an additional source of information for your SEO keyword research.

When you’re done, all the questions that appear as a result can be exported into a CVS file with comma-separated values so you can continue doing further analysis.

Utilizing QuestionDB comes at no cost when your preference is limited to viewing a maximum of 50 results for each search. It is a good alternative to explore how your database works.

In summary:

Within this article, we introduce five paid and free keyword research tools that enable you to commence your journey into keyword research:

Semrush (Both free and paid)

Google Keyword Planner (free)

Ahrefs (paid)

Moz Keyword Explorer (Both free and paid)

QuestionDB (Both free and paid)



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