Local keyword research helps you to grow your search traffic, research your competitors, and dominate your niche within your local market.
Let’s face it. Good things don’t sell themselves. No matter how mind-blowingly awesome your products and services are, you need to find strategies that’ll put them right in front of your customers, especially when they are searching locally.
The simplest way to accomplish this is to find the search queries your customers are using, and then optimize your site with those keywords.
Here’s where keyword research tools come in.
With the many keyword research tools available today, both the paid and free ones, it sometimes becomes difficult to find exactly which ones would suit your business needs.
We’re going to discuss the most popular keyword research tools that are helping a lot of online marketers make an impact in the digital marketing world.
Whether your business is still in the beginning stages and wants to find seed keyword ideas, or you’re looking to expand your already flourishing business in other territories, these five top keyword research tools would help you discover high intent keywords for your content marketing and SEO strategy.
Top 5 Keyword Research Tools
We’ll explain how each of these five tools works, the pros and cons of using them, and the pricing. Not all the tools are paid for. Some of them are free to use.
Never underestimate the free tools we’ll mention here because when you use them correctly, they'd do wonders for your SEO strategy.
The paid tools are, often, worth the price, especially if you want extensive and fancy features for your keyword research efforts.
Let’s get started!
So far, Semrush is one of the best keyword research tools on the market. It is like the one-stop-shop for everything SEO. They have the Keyword Magic tool, Keyword Gap tool, and the Position Tracking tool.
Let’s discuss each of them briefly.
Keyword Magic tool is a valuable resource that helps you analyze niche market, find relevant keywords and sub-topics, and at the same time helps you save as you search. It helps you uncover keywords that may have escaped your competition, and thereby giving you a competitive edge.
The Keyword Gap tool, on the other hand, helps you analyze up to five URLs for top ranking keywords. This helps you find the keywords that your competitors are ranking for that you don’t know they even existed.
The last one I want to talk about is the Position tracking tool.
This helps you track the daily keyword rankings of a website. This can be set such that you can track keywords based on locations and on any device (desktop, mobile, laptop, etc).
These tools combined is a powerful resource that’ll help you not only find relevant keywords but also helpd you find insights to help you craft a winning marketing strategy.
Unlike other popular keyword research tools, Semrush gives you a detailed insight into what your customers are looking for online.
With this indispensable information, you can easily provide your customers with exactly what they want, and hence more traffic to your website and your business.
Apart from keyword suggestions, Semrush also helps you find the keyword difficulty score, monthly search volume, and related searches.
- Provides extensive keyword research
- Generates content templates from your keyword research to help you craft beautiful content
- Tracks your past and current rankings and shows you what to do to improve
- It’s not so user friendly, especially for beginners
- The data is sometimes not accurate
- It takes a while to master how to use the tools
Semrush is quite expensive when compared to other keyword research tools on the market. Considering all they have to offer, it’s worth the price.
Not sure if it’s for you or not? Don’t worry. They have a seven-day free trial to help you decide that.
Here are the pricing plans you can choose from based on your needs.
Pro: The Pro plan starts at $99.95 per month and it’s billed annually. This plan is suitable for freelancers, startups, and marketers with a very limited budget.
Guru: Most suitable for SMBs and growing marketing agencies. It starts at $199.95 per month and it’s also billed annually.
Business: This plan is for agencies and businesses with an extensive web presence, such as e-commerce stores. It starts at $399.95 per month and it’s billed annually.
An Enterprise Plan is for when you have an extensive strategy that is above the capabilities of the above plans. In that case, Semrush would design a customized plan for you and your business.
2. Ahrefs Keyword Explorer
Ahrefs is similar to Semrush, with a few differences and key advantages. It provides over 1,000 keyword suggestions that can help you plan high intent blog keywords for a year.
What is more, it uses clickstream data to provide unique click metrics. Among the many keyword research tools available, Ahrefs provides a more accurate keyword difficulty score.
This is so useful because it’ll help you know your chances of ranking for a particular keyword.
Another interesting feature of Ahrefs is that it is supported in over 171 countries. So, you can easily perform local keyword research in many different countries. (Read the whole review)
- Provides extensive SERPs overview
- Has click metrics for improving click-through rate
- The ranking metrics are trustworthy
- It’s not so easy to use at first
- It’s a bit expensive compared to other tools
- It’s sometimes slow when scanning big sites
Ahrefs has a free plan for freelancers and small businesses. However, they also have paid plans with more advanced features.
The Lite plan is great for hobby projects and small businesses. It starts at $99 per month.
Standard: If you’re an SEO professional or an in-house marketer, this plan is for you. It starts at $199 per month
The advanced plan provides very advanced metrics for your business. If it's in your budget, then go for this one. It starts at $399 per month.
Starting at $999 per month, the Enterprise plan is ideal for marketing agencies and enterprises.
Neil Patel’s own Ubersuggest is both a free and paid Chrome extension and a powerful Keyword research tool.
When you type a keyword into Ubersuggest, let’s say “keto diet”, and click search, it’ll give you a list of suggested keywords.
This feature is great if you already know the topic you want to cover. It also helps when you’re doing local keyword research.
In that case, you’ll have a lot of high intent blog keywords for your next SEO strategy.
However, if you want to brainstorm ideas for new keywords, then you’ll need some extras added in the keyword research tool.
Ubersuggest not only gives you keyword suggestions. It gives you other types of keywords, including;
- Related searches
- Prepositions, and
We love comparison keywords a lot, and here’s why.
When someone searches for a comparison of something, let’s say “keto diet vs paleo”, it means that the person has a lot of knowledge about what they’re looking for.
They only need a little extra nudge to choose one. People like this are not far from making a purchase.
Hence, keywords from the “comparison” section would help you make sales, especially if you have those products. That’s one reason why I like Ubersuggest.
We’ve covered very few of the features. But you can learn more about the features from this article in Backlinko.
- So easy to use and provides data that’s easy to interpret
- It’s cheaper compared to other keyword research tools
- It also provides social media metrics
- Search results are limited when you’re on the free plan
- It’s sometimes slow when you're running two projects at the same time.
Ubersuggest offers both a free and paid plan. They have pricing plans for individuals, businesses, and enterprises/agencies.
Individual: $12 per month
Business: $20 per month
Enterprise/agency: $40 per month
They also have a lifetime plan if you want to use Ubersuggest forever
4. Google Keyword Planner and Trends
Google Keyword Planner is one of the most accurate tools for metrics you can have from a keyword research tool. It has two main search features; the “find keywords” and “get search volume and forecast”.
Let’s say you want to find new keywords for your website. After opening Google Keyword Planner, click on “find keywords” and type a seed keyword into the search box. That’ll give you hundreds or even thousands of related keywords to build content around.
However, if you already have a set of keywords that you want to analyze, use the second option; “get search volume and metrics”.
Instead of new and related keywords, “get search volume and metrics” gives you an estimation of the number of searches and the PPC data for your chosen keywords.
Google Trends helps you to see the past and current popularity of keywords.
It’s pretty easy to use. First, type your keyword into the search box, press enter, and Google Trends will start showing you graphs of how popular a keyword is over a time frame.
This insight helps you to know if the keyword is profitable and worth pursuing or not. It also helps to see what time of year your keyword was most popular.
With Google Trends, you’ll be able to see if your keyword is evergreen or if it’ll disappear tomorrow.
For instance, if you search for a keyword like “gift cards”, Google Trends would show that this keyword was mostly popular around festive seasons like Christmas, Easter, or Valentine's.
This helps you to plan when to run promotions for your Gift Card niche.
- You can enter up to three different keywords for relevant keyword suggestions.
- You can analyze up to four years of historical data
- It allows you to find keywords based on geographical location. This feature is good for local businesses who want to rank at a specific location.
- Keyword planner is designed mainly for PPC campaigns, hence it’s a bit tricky to use, especially if you want to use it to find organic keywords to rank for.
- It is sometimes difficult to find Keywords that are relevant to your business
- Among the over ten search engines in the world, Keyword Planner only “pulls” metrics from Google alone.
Both Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends are free to use. You only have to sign up for a free Google account, and then you can start using it to find keywords.
Answer The Public is great for finding content ideas. It aggregates Google’s autocomplete suggestions and helps you find long-tail keywords to structure your content and SEO strategy around.
One cool feature is that it helps you anticipate the specific questions or search queries your audience might or might already be using.
In most cases, these insights are missed, and that is why we could not leave AnswerThePublic out of our top 5 keyword research tools.
What’s more, this tool gathers data from Google and Bing in about 191 countries. This makes it a great tool for running local keyword research.
Apart from finding long-tail keywords, AnswerThePublic provides related search terms.
For instance, if you type hiking boots in the search box, you’ll find terms like “hiking boots for kids”, “comfortable hiking boots”, and many more.
You’ll also find related keywords like “hiking gadgets”, “essentials in a hiking bag”, and so on.
- Helps you find long-tail keywords
- It gathers keywords from both Google and Bing, hence extensive and detailed keyword suggestions
- Very easy to use
- It normally provides relevant questions, not actual keywords
- Does not provide competitor analysis
AnswerThePublic has both free and paid plans. The free plan has limited searches you can run.
If you’re just one person and want to do simple keyword research for your website, then the free plan would be more than enough for you.
With the paid plan, you’ll have an unlimited number of searches. Also, you’ll get to use up to three users in one account.
The Pro plan starts at $79 per month and it includes unlimited searches, data comparison over time, and awesome customer service.
They also have the Expert Subscription. It starts at $199 per month and comes with unlimited users and up to 20 search listening alerts directly in your email. So cool!
Final Thoughts on Keyword Research Tools
Performing local keyword research is something that you can’t ignore because the life of your online business depends on it.
Ahrefs is our favorite, and the tool we most frequently use for keyword research. Apart from the slightly daunting price, it has all the metrics and data you’ll need to perform extensive, successful, and fulfilling keyword research.
If you’re on a budget or are now starting your business, then you can combine Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner and use them simultaneously.
Now it’s your turn.
Which keyword research tool has been your all-time favorite? Which of them would you recommend to your friend? We’d be happy to hear from you. Feel free to leave your opinion in the comments.
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Robb Fahrion is a Co-Founder and Partner of Flying V Group. He is passionate about helping businesses grow using the power of the internet. Robb graduated from Chapman University in Orange, CA and currently resides in Costa Mesa, CA. Robb enjoys writing about digital marketing, helping his clients turn their dreams into reality, and he is a HUGE Mike Trout fan.