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17 Best Keyword Research Tools for Businesses

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Keyword research is a routine part of online content creation. Whether you’re making videos for YouTube or creating a new company blog, you need to target the right keywords to help your pages rank. Keyword research tools help simplify that process for you. 

This post will break down the best keyword research tools as well as the basics of keyword research for your business. You can go through the following sections to learn more:

What is a keyword research tool?

A keyword research tool is any software or website that helps you find the best keywords to target. They also offer insight into what queries your audience enters into Google or another search engine. 

The importance of keyword research tools

If you want to have success with your content, you need to know what keywords to target so you can rank for them. Keyword research tools help you identify which terms your audience is searching so you can include them in your content. 

Other benefits of keyword research tools you experience include:

  • Less time spent on manually finding keywords 
  • Better understanding of keyword competition and cost-per-click (CPC)
  • Easier access to related keywords 
  • More information on your competitors’ approaches 
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The best keyword research tools

Now, let’s look at the best keyword research tools for whatever purpose you need. We’ve broken them down into categories for you: General, YouTube, and Google tools you can use for keyword research. 

General keyword research tools

First, we have general keyword research tools — those that can fit any purpose or budget. 

Moz Keyword Explorer

Price: Free basic plan

Features: 

  • Keyword analysis by search volume
  • Question format keywords
  • Predictive keyword metrics

Moz Keyword Explorer is one of the best free keyword research tools. With this tool, you can access up to 1.25 billion keywords, according to Moz. This tool is a simple, straightforward option for keyword research that only requires a free account. 

Ahrefs

Price: Starting at $99/month

Features:

  • Thousands of keyword suggestions per query
  • 10 different search engine options
  • Keyword difficulty score
  • Search engine results page (SERP) metrics and positioning

Ahrefs is an all-in-one keyword tool that focuses on search engine optimization (SEO) across the board. The keyword difficulty score tells you how challenging it will be to rank for a term, which can help you tailor your approach. You can also use this tool to find related keywords and rank them on importance. 

Semrush

Price: Starting at $129.95/month

Features: 

  • Free trials on multiple tools
  • Keyword suggestions and generation
  • Multiple marketing channel options (paid ads, SEO, and more)

The Semrush keyword research toolkit includes several tools you can try for free. Between all the options, you can generate keywords for your campaign, compare organic traffic results, cluster keywords together, and look at competitor rankings. 

Ubersuggest

Price: Free basic plan

Features: 

  • View average number of backlinks and domain authority for sites ranking 
  • See historical keyword data (requires upgrade for more than six months back)
  • Compare organic clicks to paid ones

Ubersuggest is a free tool from Neil Patel that helps users find more information about their keywords as well as related terms. The free plan offers basic research features, and you can unlock more information about each term by signing up for a paid plan. 

Answer the Public

Price: Free

Features: 

  • Question keyword and phrase targeting
  • Data from autocomplete searches 
  • Free searching for businesses

Another Neil Patel tool is Answer The Public. This tool lets you enter a topic, brand, product, and other terms to see what people are asking about it. This unique feature makes it one of the best free keyword research tools for question keywords specifically. 

Long Tail Pro

Price: Starting at $59.99/ month

Features: 

  • Keyword grouping to organize topics
  • Custom “average keyword competitiveness” metric
  • Up to 400 long-tail keyword per entry

Long Tail Pro is an excellent tool for finding long-tail keywords. This tool lets you find, group, and compare long-tail keywords to give your content a better chance at ranking. Since long-tail options are often encouraged for businesses, this tool is super helpful for filling in the gaps. 

Serpstat

Price: Free trial available, starting at $59.00/month

Features: 

  • Access to keyword metrics 
  • Competitor keyword collection
  • Keyword niche finder for specific objectives

Serpstat is another great keyword research option for companies and teams. With the niche finder, you can explore specific areas of the internet. This is a unique feature that companies in small or specific industries can benefit from.

Keywords Everywhere

Price: Starting at $15/year

Features: 

  • Available on Chrome, Firefox, and Edge
  • Integration with your search browser and multiple websites
  • Keyword suggestions, metrics, and more

Keywords Everywhere is an exceptional browser add-on that makes it easy to search for keywords while on any site. As you enter terms into a search bar — whether in your browser or a supported site — you can access keyword suggestions and metrics right on the page.

KeywordTool.io

Price: Free basic plan

Features: 

  • Keywords based on autocomplete data
  • Keyword research capabilities for different sites
  • Global and local focuses available

KeywordTool.io makes it easy to find keywords. You can use the location preference setting to choose the area you want to focus on and narrow it even more by selecting a website. If you want more metrics, you must sign up for a plan, but you can get suggestions for free. 

Mangools KWFinder

Price: Free basic plan

Features: 

  • Multiple location and language options
  • Intuitive interface for search
  • Local keyword research and SERP analysis

Our last general tool is Mangools KWFinder. This tool is praised for its intuitive interface and affordable price for teams. You can use this tool for everything from generating new keywords to comparing local terms and how they rank in the SERPs. 

YouTube keyword research tools

Next up are YouTube tools, which can help you find the best keywords for your YouTube videos. 

VidIQ

Price: Free basic plan, starting at $7.50/month

Features:

  • Research directly in YouTube
  • Inline keywords available for competitor analysis
  • Autocomplete keyword suggestions 

VidIQ is the first YouTube keyword research tool on our list. This tool lets you complete your keyword research while browsing YouTube, all while looking at the ranking results. You can also use this tool to measure your competitor’s keyword usage with inline keywords.

Plus, the autocomplete feature lets you see the best keyword suggestion for your search.  

TubeBuddy

Price: Free basic plan, starting at $7.50/month 

Features:

  • Trending keyword and tag suggestions
  • Data sourced directly from YouTube’s API
  • Access to search trends, topics, search volume, and more

TubeBuddy is another handy YouTube keyword research tool that helps you find the best terms and tags to target in your videos. You can use the tool to see trending topics, as well as what other people are ranking well for. This tool is ideal for staying on-trend and finding current information. 

TubeRanker

Price: Free trial available, starting at $19/month

Features:

  • Access to monthly search data
  • Optimization tips for existing videos
  • Keyword comparison options

TubeRanker is the final YouTube tool on this list. Much like the other tools, you can use this one to find keywords and access metrics about your term. The feature that sets this tool apart is the other tools that go with it — like the hashtag generator and rank tracker. 

With the combined set, you get an all-in-one YouTube SEO kit for your videos. 

Google keyword research tools

Finally, we have Google tools that you can use for keyword research. 

Google Keyword Planner

Price: Free with Google Ads account

Features:

  • Forecasting on your keyword success based on your ad spend
  • Keyword suggestions based on starting terms
  • Bid estimates for PPC keywords

Google Keyword Planner is a free tool for those with a Google Ads account. You can use it for general keyword research, but it’s really ideal for those who use Google Ads already. You can use this tool to find new keywords, analyze their cost, and optimize your ads. 

Google Search Console

Price: Free

Features: 

  • Insights on queries, click-through rate (CTR), and website indexing
  • Optimization analysis and opportunities
  • Simple interface for all users to access

GSC is a free tool that lets you analyze your website’s SEO effectiveness. You can also use this tool to find keywords through a bit of research. For example, you can use GSC to see what keywords you rank for and receive traffic from, meaning you can target those and similar phrases. 

Google Trends

Price: Free

Features:

  • Data on current trends in searches across the world
  • Explanations behind trends
  • Information on what topics people follow

Google Trends is a great tool for staying up on current, well, trends. This tool pulls in data on searches within a specific time frame and points to recurring themes. You can use this information to write timely content that people actively seek. 

Google search 

Price: Free

Features:

  • Autocomplete terms
  • People Also Ask (PAA) questions 
  • Featured snippets

Rounding out our list of the best keyword research tools is Google search. If you want to find related keywords, Google is a great place to start. Searching for a starting term can help you find ranking articles, related terms, PAA questions, and more — all of which can turn into helpful keywords. 

Plus, if you want your content to rank on Google, it helps to see what works for other pages!  

What makes a good keyword research tool?

Your keyword tool should fit your business’s needs. A good research tool will have the following benefits and features: 

  • A price that falls within your budget
  • Real-time analytics on keyword performance
  • Related keywords and main terms
  • Competitor analysis features
  • Platform-specific keyword search (YouTube, search engines, etc.)
  • Integration with other tools
  • Automation features 

Above all, a good keyword research tool should suit your business. If a tool isn’t a good match, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a bad option overall — you might just need something different. 

AI in keyword research

AI for keyword research is the process of using artificial intelligence to find keywords. These algorithms are common nowadays — AI is present in many of the keyword tools listed above, such as:

  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Ahrefs
  • Semrush

AI algorithms make it easier to search through data automatically and quickly. Keyword research tools use AI to search and find keywords with the most potential impact for your business. They also use AI to come up with keyword ideas based on the starting term. 

As AI algorithms become more advanced, you can expect to see the features improve. 

FAQs

Here are a few common questions about keyword research.

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is the process of finding keywords that your target audience searches for on a given platform. With keyword research, the goal is to develop a list of keywords you can then use to create content. 

Why is keyword research important?

Keyword research is essential for any online operation. Since keywords are the terms that users search online, you need to know them to create content that ranks. They are also the backbone of SEO and help your pages rank in relevant search results.

Keyword research helps you avoid creating content for the wrong audience as well. If you know what your ideal user wants to see on your site, you will have better luck attracting and converting them.

Should I use a free or paid keyword research tool?

Whether you use a free or paid keyword research tool depends on your budget and needs. 

Many free tools have basic keyword research capabilities that can help you get started with keyword research. However, if you want something more in-depth and have the room in your budget, investing in a paid one helps you get more data on keywords. 

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Stack your keyword research tool with a CRM

As you drive more traffic to your site with effective keyword research and integration, you need a customer relationship management (CRM) platform that can capture and store customer data. 

Nutshell is the perfect platform for capturing customer data. Once you capture the data, you can use Nutshell to manage your sales pipeline and encourage leads down the funnel.

That’s just the beginning. Start a free trial to see what Nutshell has to offer, or check out a live demo

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