Keyword research isn’t just about a “keyword”; it is about phrases and questions your target audiences are using to find the answers, products, and services they need. These phrases and questions a critical component of any form of a marketing campaign.
While gathering this data can be very time-consuming when you have completed your keyword research, you should have valuable information you need for:
Creating better SEO strategies
Content ideation — video, text, social, etc.
Local search campaigns
Keywords and phrases to ignore
Keyword Research Tools
There are a lot of free tools for you to use that can help you gather this essential information. I am going to break down 12 keyword tools that are free, easy to use, and full of valuable data marketers and businesses can use to improve their marketing strategies. Here are the keyword tools I will break down for you:
- Google Trends
- Semrush Free Option - Keyword Magic Tool
- Keyword Tool Dominator
- Google’s “People Also Ask”
- Also Asked
- YouTube Autocomplete
- Side-by-Side SEO Comparison Tool
- Amazon Autocomplete
- Google Ads
Google Trends will help you see the relative popularity of keywords, provide valuable data on regional variations, and is a great source for evaluating seasonality and trends in changes with search engine volume for specific keywords over time.
This data is valuable because it will help you avoid jumping on a trend that has passed and will let you see what matters to Google users now.
You can compare multiple keywords to help you determine audience interests over time.
Google Trends will also give you a set of related queries that will give you additional ideas for keyword research, content, and marketing strategies while giving you regional insights:
Keyword Interests or Trends by Country or Worldwide:
This data will help you determine keyword/topic interests by region, which is extremely valuable information.
Semrush Free Option - Keyword Magic Tool
The Semrush Keyword Magic Tool is a simple tool to use for keyword research, and it provides a good deal of information. Free users can perform 10 requests per day, but keep in mind that each query in this tool counts towards your daily limit of 10 queries in Domain and Keyword Analytics.
Each query allows you to see broad match keywords, phrase match, exact match, related, and questions about the keywords.
For more information on what information you get with a free Semrush account, check out this article.
Reddit is a massive platform utilized by millions daily to discuss issues they are having, find answers, or to find solutions they need. QuestionDB has created a massive database based on questions asked on Reddit that assesses relevance by a keyword also by the category.
The tool recommends using a broad keyword term. Here is a short set of questions people asked for related to the term “BBQ”:
Note: I tested a question, “How to cook brisket”, and only got one result; one or two words is how to get the best results.
This is a great tool for discovering phrases you might not have thought of or have forgotten.
AnswerThePublic has a free version of their tool, and with it, they allow you to see visualizations of questions and phrases asked around a particular root keyword. The related phrases are fantastic for research and ideation. Note that you have to pay for the Pro version to get regional information for each root keyword. Let’s look at how the tool works. They break the info down into related questions, prepositions, queries by alphabetical order, and related searches.
With the keyword “spring break vacations”, they provided the following related questions:
And queries broken down by prepositions:
Queries in alphabetical order provide endless ideation:
And you can see related searches as well:
Keyword Tool Dominator
This tool lets you see keyword data from some very large platforms. They have keyword research tools for each of the following: Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Walmart, Google, Google Shopping, YouTube, and Bing.
Important Note: With a free account, you are limited to 3 searches per day per tool. You can download the data for each search.
Each tool gives you an overview of keywords, and you can choose by region in some of the tools. Here is an example of the keywords provided for the query "Nike":
The tool also provides frequency data in a graph.
I searched for "Baby Yoda" using the Google Shopping Tool. With this tool, you can quickly see what products people are looking for the most related to trends:
Google’s “People Also Ask”
If you are searching for questions people are asking, Google is a great resource. If you enter a query with your keyword, often a section displays called “People also ask”. It looks like this:
Here you will see popular keyword queries related to your keyword that people have searched for on Google. The more "People also ask" entries you click, the longer the list will become. You can keep clicking selections until you have an extensive list of related questions.
Also Asked was created to help marketers understand how questions are topically grouped. These questions can help with keywords and related keywords, and also give you a direction on what questions to answer in content.
Here are a couple of the questions that came back for the query “SEO”:
Does SEO work anymore?
Why is SEO so expensive?
Can you pay Google for SEO?
If you are writing about SEO services, reviewing all of these questions could help you determine which phrases to focus on and what questions to answer in your content.
Wondering about the differences in interests on different platforms? Soovle will generate a quick list of top terms for Wikipedia, Google, Amazon, answers.com, YouTube, Bing, and Yahoo.
Just enter a keyword, and terms will generate over each platform’s logo:
When searching on YouTube, they provide autocomplete options that are related to your query and searched for by users. You can review each of the provided queries and look for keywords that are relevant to the users. You will also see what users are searching for, which gives you direction for marketing strategies.
YouTube Competitive Research
You can look at competitors’ channels and gain some great insights on keywords and related topics that perform well with your target audiences.
Go to their main channel page. Click on videos, then “sort by” and select “most popular”:
You can then review which videos performed the best, and examine each video for keywords within the title, the video itself, and the description. Also, check out the comments — which phrases are people discussing? Save these as possible keywords.
Side-by-Side SEO Comparison Tool
You can look at all this information in source pages, but this tool saves you a lot of time and gives you charts you can use in reports.
This tool allows you to compare URLs and gather data on the keyword strategies of other sites. If another site is consistently ranking highly for terms you want, you can quickly see their on-page keyword strategies at a glance.
Which keywords are they using in headings? Which phrases are they using the most?
The on-page analysis data shows you a lot of information on how they are using keywords. How many keywords per page, how many linked keywords (check out the anchor text on these pages), keywords in head tag elements, and meta descriptions.
No need to explain how many people shop on Amazon; we all know, but just imagine the number of searches performed a day on their site. Keyword phrases they suggest as autocompletes is a goldmine of data that anyone can use:
Something to keep in mind with Google Ads data, it can be somewhat biased toward pay per click but is still a great source of keyword ideas. To use it to gather keyword ideas for a website, it is best to have access to an account that spends money on Google Ads. If you don’t have access to such an account, Google tends to give broad ranges of keyword traffic rather than more accurate data.
In my keyword research guide, I shared this exact example. Google doesn’t always give you the best data if you are doing keyword research from an account that does not actively spend money on Google Ads.
In the image below, you can see the results from an account that does not spend money on Google Ads. Google gave a range of traffic between 1000 and 10,000 queries per month. That is a pretty broad range and doesn’t really give an accurate picture of what the traffic potential is for this term.
Now let’s look at data taken from an account that does spend money on Google Ads. Google gave a more accurate estimate of the number of queries per month at 5400.
To get recommendations for keywords related to your site, simply select “Discover new keywords” and enter your website URL, and Google Ads will return a list of terms they think are relevant for your site.
I hope these 12 tools can help you begin finding the keywords and phrases that will help you develop effective content and marketing campaigns. Below are some resources that can help you expand your keyword research strategies.
Additional Keyword Research Resources:
- Reddit Keyword Research Strategies
- Quora Keyword Research Strategies
- YouTube Keyword Research
- The 2021 Keyword Research Guide for SEO
- How to Use SEMrush for Keyword Research