The ranking of your site strongly depends on the list of keywords you choose. In most cases, it comes neither easily nor intuitively and you need to get a lot of information to be sure that the ones that you choose are suitable.

All SEO-specialists know that there is nothing more crucial than keywords. Even the quality of texts, UI, and other factors are of secondary importance.

However, keyword research can be done without costly software if you know the tools to use.

If you don’t, that’s okay – we have prepared a list of them for you. Here you will find applications that have different pricing (some of them come for free) and a set of instruments. So just follow the guide.

Basically, there are two types of tools that perform a keyword research:

  • Basic: This one uses the main (seed) keyword to search for other profitable ones
  • Competitor-based: Checks what keywords help other services and resources receive traffic

Most experts claim that the second one is much better.

For instance, if you are about to run an essay writing service, then you should know what keywords are used by the websites that are already working and bring money to someone. This really makes sense especially when your SEO activity has just started.

In this article, we will review both kinds of tools. Some of them come for free, the others are paid. Make sure to choose the one that suits you best.

SEMRUSH ($199, two weeks of free trial)

SEMRUSH is the easiest and most typical tool for keyword research. It is popular among SEO-specialists and those who don’t have enough background.

There is a special feature that SEMRUCH can boast of. Most other tools require users to insert a seed-keyword and then start a research basing on that word.

At the same time, SEMRUSH allows you to find the ranking keywords by an URL of your site or the site of your competitor.

Doing so, you can easily find long- and short-tail keywords to target.

It also provides information about the following aspects:

  • Adsense CPC
  • Reports of a search tool
  • Traffic statistics

These are very important for your own campaign, therefore, we highly recommend you to check this tool out.

Google Keyword Planner (free)

No doubt, this one is the most widely-used keyword research tool of all. The best thing about it is that it’s free and works as a part of Google AdWords. It means that you have to create an AdWords account before you start using Google Keyword Planner.

Most SEO-professionals choose this program because it provides a really large scope of information gathered from Google.

However, in some cases, this feature can become a restriction – no other search engines can be checked by means of Google Keyword Planner.

At the same time, this one is perfect for the beginners and those who need a basic research for their work. There are more advanced apps that provide stronger analysis and we are going to discuss them later.

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer tool (a week of trial for $7)

ahrefs

This one is another top keyword researcher. It provides enough details for a really extensive analysis. In addition to the keyword difficulty, Ahrefs also shows the number of clicks you may probably receive from a search tool.

This is an important detail. Sometimes, keywords have high traffic but don’t bring any clicks from the search tool.

To do so, Ahrefs takes data right from the results provided by Google.

Also, Ahrefs saves your time since it has a convenient dashboard to let you compose a list of words without opening an Excel document.

The amount of data you receive from this application is enough to perform a keyword research from the ground up.

The tool is paid, but you can order a trial version that costs $7 for 7 days.

KW finder (has both free and paid versions)

keyword finder

If you don’t need anything but a keyword research and not going to go any further with your analysis, then this might be a perfect choice for you. This program is comparatively new, however, it is known as one of the most highly-developed SEO apps on the market.

The main function of the KW Finder is to provide you with a keyword that will cause a better traffic that is targeted.

There is a question-based research for keywords and you will easily find long-tail ones that have relevance to the problem-solving.

Yes, we all know that nothing helps SEO-specialists to get more targeted traffic than problem-solving data and content.

There are two versions of the program. One of them comes for free and provides the basic set of functions that will do for those users who have just started their SEO career. There is also an extended version that requires payment.

However, we recommend you to try a free version before you order a paid one.

LongTailPro (paid)

This one is a paid research tool which is extremely popular among SEO-pros of all niches. It is based on cloud software and helps users to get information about the keywords for your website even if you work in a small field.

There are different versions of the program but the platinum one is the most effective. With this version, you receive a really detailed analytical application.

The additional function includes a checker for competitors’ websites which makes it simpler to find and choose the right keywords.

Serpstat ($19 per month)

Serpstat keyword research

The other advanced SEO program we have found is Serpstat. With this tool, you will be able to perform a really good job researching keywords.

Also, you will have an access to the following information:

  • CPC
  • The volume of search
  • Competition rate
  • The level of keyword difficulty

There are other search engines available for analysis via Serpstat, so you won’t limit your research to Google. There is even a section of keyword trends that help you realize what is going on in this sphere.

The keyword difficulty rate provides you with a list of the 10 most popular pages that have the best keyword ranking + external backlinks and referring web addresses.

You will need this data if you want to know whether you should rank for that keyword you are thinking of or not.

Also, Serpstat will provide you with a list of sites that use your keyword for advertisement and show you what kind of advertisement they publish.

This feature is quite unique and you will hardly meet it in any other keyword research tool.

This app is used by both small startups and large companies to make profound keyword research, link building, and development of SEO strategies, so you are recommended to try it as well.

SpyFu ($79-$999 per month)

SpyFu keyword research

In fact, SpyFu is considered as the best keyword researcher of all. So if you want to be ahead of the entire market, you should buy it for the keyword analysis. This is especially true for those who work in the narrow field.

There are two key reasons why SpyFu is useful:

  • Getting sufficient information about your competitors and their strategies
  • Discovering the markets that are emerging, untapped and under-served

There are several modules to use in this tool:

  • Keyword history
  • Comparison of the websites
  • Domain history
  • Related keywords

There is also a limitation we should mention here. SpyFu cannot offer a depth of keywords like many other tools do.

At the same time, the tool developers are working on this point and we are expecting that this will change in the nearest future.

As for the pricing, there are three options that vary in accordance with a number of tools and instruments available. Two basic versions come for $79 and $99 per month. You will receive a 40% discount if you subscribe for one of them for a year.

There is also an Agency version of the tool and this one is the most profound and most expensive. You will need to pay $999 per month for it.

Despite the high prices, this one is a very serious and solid product, so you will need it for large and perspective SEO projects.

With its help, you will easily check the competitors’ platforms and get information about the interesting areas of the market that may worth your attention.

If you don’t know which tool to choose, start with testing those that come for free and move to those that seem the best to your personal needs. Those free tools will provide you with a good basis for getting to work with more advanced programs that are costly.

So take a closer look to all of them and choose the one that will improve your SEO strategies.

Some final recommendations: if you are working in a narrow field, choose Ahrefs; if you need a simple solution, get SEMRUSH. So change your SEO and make it the strongest on the market!

About the author:  Jennifer Pauli graduated from Corvinus School of Management and finished the faculty of Journalism at Corvinus University of Budapest. Currently, He is an editor, business writer, and copywriter, working with well-known companies, blogs, and personalities. Follow her on Twitter, G+ and read the personal blog

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