Best Keyword Research Tool

Which Best Keyword Research Tool Should You Use? (7 of ‘Em)

Your SEO strategy is only as good as your chosen keywords. Therefore, using the best keyword research tool to help you get the job done is a top priority.

With the many keyword research tools in the market, it’s fair to ask this question more often than not. Each tool possesses unique features and options some will find useful while others not so much. It all depends on the user and how useful and convenient he or she finds the tool.

Therefore, the best SEO keyword research tool is subjective – it is up to the user to decide which tool is right for him or her.

In this post, you will learn:

  • the different keyword research types
  • the seven of the best keyword research tools
  • which among the tools is perfect for which type of person

What is the best keyword research tool for you?

This question is easier asked than answered. As mentioned, there are so many tools coming out the woodwork it’s hard to keep track of all. However, if you want to succeed with your SEO campaign and rank on top of search results to generate lots of organic traffic, then you need to find those keywords that will take you to the top. That’s why it is crucial to continue looking for the best

Intro: The different keyword research types

To continue, we need to discuss the two methods on how to do keyword research.

The first is the traditional keyword research. This process entails users to plug in a seed keyword on a tool like Google Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest and evaluate the results based on its search volume.

ubersugget results

They can use a premium Google keyword research tool (some of which you will see below) to find the keyword difficulty and competitiveness, a metric that determines how easy or difficult it will be to rank for that keyword.

The second method is the competitor-based keyword research. Instead of researching using a seed keyword, you are researching using a seed website or a competitor site. Upon plugging in the seed website to a keyword research tool, it unveils the different keywords that the site is already ranking for. Using these proven keyword opportunities, you can filter the best ones using the mentioned different keyword research parameters above.

While competitor-based #keyword #research offers the most help for people, there will always be a place for the traditional method. #SEO Click To Tweet

Over the years, competitor-based keyword research proves to be a more effective method for finding the best keywords to optimize because:

  • You are optimizing your site for proven keywords – You are working with conjecture with traditional keyword research. While all signs points for a low-hanging fruit keyword you can rank for your site, the jury’s still out on whether you truly can rank for it. With competitive-based research, you know you can rank for the keyword because your competitors already are.
  • You get to identify your competition immediately – Part of your research allows you to unearth other competitors ranking for the same keywords as your seed website. As a result, it allows you to see the other websites you’re up against and measure up the competition.

While the competitor-based approach offers the most help for website owners and marketers, there will always be a place for the traditional method. It’s even better if you can do both methods and cover all your bases so you can find the best keywords to optimize for your site.

Now we’ve explained different the two keyword research methods, it’s now time to choose the SEO keyword research tool for you. There are tools that can only perform traditional keyword research and others that can do both. Either way, it is important that you try them out after reading this post to help you determine the best keyword research tool you are most comfortable with.

Without further ado, below are some of the best keyword research tools in the market:

1. Keyword Revealer

Keyword Revealer is my favorite traditional keyword research tool to date. It’s easy to use and convenient if you want to check the search volume of a seed keyword and its suggestions.

keyword revealer

You can evaluate the difficulty of each keyword as it analyzes the top ten organic search results for that keyword and compute the difficulty score for ranking on top of Google. It’s a great index to help you determine which keywords you should choose and optimize for.

The Brainstorm feature of the tool lets you branch out from your seed keyword to uncover long-tail keyword opportunities. You can click on each keyword from the branch to uncover more keywords that will help aid in your research.

keyword revealer brainstorm

If you optimized your site pages using the keywords in your research, you can use the tool’s Rank Tracker feature to see how you content fares on organic search. Check the movements and position of your page on SERPs over time to get a better idea of your site’s performance.

As solid and powerful Keyword Revealer is, I have gripes about some of its features. For example, it would be nice if the difficulty score shows on the results page instead of evaluating them one by one for each keyword. However, as a whole, Keyword Revealer should play a big role in your keyword research arsenal. You can sign up for free and enjoy limited searches a day but the paid plans will give you more juice in find the best keywords for your site.


2. Long Tail Pro

One of the oldest and considered the best keyword research tool in the market, Long Tail Pro remains as relevant as it did before. In fact, it’s even better with more features and better interface that people will enjoy.

Upon entering the seed keyword, you can immediately see all the data you need about the keyword suggestions such as search volume and keyword difficulty. It evens highlights keywords that should optimize for your site due to the relative ease of ranking for them.

long tail proWhen you click on a keyword, you can see the competition analysis that breaks down the top ten results according to different metrics such as keyword competitiveness, Majestic Flow Metrics, and others. It shows sites that are potentially weaker and stronger than you so you can get a better idea whether or not to optimize for the keyword.

competition analysis long tail pro

Aside from these features, you can also perform a backlink analysis on a website or track your ranking on any Google database of your choice. All these help you complement your keyword research by taking a more wholistic approach to the process.

Long Tail Pro costs $37/month or $297/year. However, click on the link below to get a 30% discount off your subscription.


3. Serpstat

Serpstat is a growth hacking tool for SEO and digital marketers. It offers features to help supercharge your SEO and content marketing efforts. It also serves a keyword research function that conducts both traditional and competitive-based research.

Using Serpstat for traditional keyword research is similar to how you use the previous tools in this post. Enter the seed keyword to brainstorm for keywords to use. The results page shows the different metrics to help you decide which keywords to optimize for in your site.

serpstat keywords

You can also search questions asked about the keyword to help you cover all the bases and create more focused content.

For its competitive-based keyword research, Serpstat lets you see which organic keywords your competitors are ranking for and which position on SERPs.

serpstat organic keywords

You can also compare the seed website to other sites that share similar keywords using the Competitors feature. From here, you will see potential competition to watch out for and the keywords they’re also ranking.

serpstat competitors

The page shows the common keywords that the competitors share and keywords that one site is ranking and the other isn’t (Missing Keywords). If your site has authority, plug it on Serpstat to see your competitors based on the keywords you’re ranking for.

Serpstat is a solid SEO tool and not just a keyword research one. It’s also very affordable and competitive if you’re looking for a product that’s a bang for the buck. If you don’t have the cash yet, you can sign up for a free account and enjoy limited features.


4. Ahrefs

Ahrefs is arguably the best SEO tool at the moment. With its slick interface, comprehensive data, regular updates, and vibrant community, you cannot go wrong with this tool. The tool is also one of the most expensive, so it might be the wisest choice to subscribe to this tool if you don’t have the cash flow yet. However, if you want to play SEO, then you got to pay, and Ahrefs provides you the best tools and resources to conduct your research and gather data to develop your SEO strategy.

ahrefs keyword research

Ahref’s keyword research tool offers some of the best data and information out there. The keyword ideas provide you a multitude of keywords to choose from to optimize your site with. Scrolling down the page, you will see the SERP overview broken down into parameters exclusive to Ahrefs.

The tool’s Site Explorer allows you to analyze the site’s SEO performance. For this purpose, you want to check the organic keywords it’s ranking for and their movements.

ahrefs top pages

The Top Pages show you the different pages of your site that is generating the most traffic and is ranking for the most keywords. This paints you a clearer picture of the keyword distribution on your site or competitor’s so you know how to approach your SEO campaign.

ahrefs competing domains

The Competing Domains and Competing Pages sections of Ahrefs will comprise bulk of your competitor-based keyword research. If you enter your site or competitors here, you will see a list of competitors the site has based on the keywords the site is ranking for on Google. It shows the number of common keywords and keywords unique to the competitor. This part will help you see the keywords other sites are ranking for and your site must rank for as well to remain competitive with them.


Find out the best #keyword #research tool you should use to help you unearth the best keywords to optimize your site for. #SEO Click To Tweet

5. SEMrush

Like Ahrefs and Serpstat, SEMrush is an all-inclusive SEO tool that lets you perform different SEO tasks to help you build a solid SEO strategy.

It’s one of the premier SEO tools alongside Ahrefs. SEMrush has been long enough in the SEO game to know what people want from their SEO tool.

As far as keyword research is concerned, SEMrush serves up useful data for brainstorming keyword ideas and finding low-hanging fruit keywords for your website. Typing your seed keyword on the Keyword Analytics page will reveal phrase match and related keywords. Clicking on either one will show you the search volume and difficulty.

semrush keyword gap

The Keyword Gap feature lets you find common keywords of a maximum of five sites. You can enter your site here along with your competitor sites to see the organic keywords you all share. However, it’s best to enter your biggest competitors and find keywords they are ranking for and see how can size up to them.

semrush topic research

Lastly, the Topic Research feature lets you enter your seed keyword and brainstorm for topic ideas for your content. Each topic is a keyword along with its search volume. Under it shows published pages online about the topic to give you inspiration. This feature helps you kill two birds (keyword research and content marketing) with one stone!

The most affordable plan in SEMrush costs almost $100. However, you can sign up for a free account to avail of limited searches in a day.



6. SE Ranking

Another all-inclusive SEO tool in the list is SE Ranking. Compared to others in the list, this tool is perfect for SEO agencies that busy themselves with tracking the SEO performance and provide comprehensive reporting for their clients.

Part of SE Ranking’s arsenal are the Keyword Suggestion Tool and Competitive SEO/PPC Research.

The Keyword Suggestion Tool lets you search for a site and check the number of organic keywords it is ranking for. Clicking on the Organic Search Traffic > Competitors link will show you the site’s top competitors and their missing and common keywords.

se ranking top organic traffic competitors

Clicking on any of the entries under the Missing Keyword column will show you keywords that your competitor site or your site must rank for so you can stay toe to toe with them. To do this, you optimize for keywords will high search volume and relatively low competition.

se ranking similar keywords

The Keyword Research tool is simple and straightforward. It shows you the volume and KEI (keyword effectiveness index) of a keyword. From here, you can easily decide which keywords to optimize for your site.

If you want to filter the results for long-tail keywords, just click on the “Long-tail keywords” tab to show them. Use any of the results here to create highly targeted content for your website with the purpose of increasing conversion.

While SE Ranking doesn’t offer a free account, it is the most affordable SEO keyword research tool and competitive research tool in the market ($7/month or $84/year, onetime payment).


7. KW Finder

Rounding out the list is KW Finder which is the keyword research tool of the Mangools suite of SEO tools.

KW Finder built a reputation as an SEO keyword research tool to reckon with in such a short span. There are three tabs to choose from in your keyword research: Suggestions, Autocomplete, and Questions.

KW Finder

The Suggestions and Autocomplete tabs feature your usual keyword research fare. Enter the seed keyword on the search bar to show related keywords to choose from. The tool organizes each keyword according to search volume and keyword difficulty. The great thing about KW Finder is, once you click on any of the suggestions in the result, you will see the additional data on the same window.

kw finder questions

The Questions tab is like the Questions feature on Serpstat. Enter the seed keyword to reveal questions you can answer on your content or optimize on any of your site pages.

You can sign up for a free KW Finder account and get limited daily searches which should be enough to help you find the best keywords for your site.


Are you ready to choose the best keyword research tool for you?

The description of the best SEO keyword research tools above should help you make an informed decision on which SEO tool is the right now for you. Ideally, you want to use both traditional and competitive-based approaches for keyword research to get the best results. However, it really depends on what you want from your keyword research tool.


  • If you have cash to spare, the Ahrefs and SEMrush (affiliate link) will cover all your keyword research needs. Your SEMrush free account allows you limited searches in a day, so try that out first before moving onto Ahrefs.
  • If you’re working with a limited budget, Serpstat (affiliate link) is your bet as your best keyword research tool. If you’re looking for something much cheaper, SE Ranking (affiliate link) has got you covered.
  • Long Tail Pro (affiliate link) is your choice is you want a traditional keyword research tool that will provide the best SEO data.
  • Keyword Revealer (affiliate link) and KW Finder (affiliate link) have free accounts that let you conduct a few searches a day. You can try these out alongside tools like Serpstat and SE Ranking if the latter tools don’t produce the data you need for your research. If the free account isn’t enough, you can sign up for a paid subscription and increase your daily searches.

What do you think of this post? What for you is the best keyword research tool? Comment with your thoughts below!

About the Author: Christopher Jan Benitez

A freelance writer for hire by trade, Chris mostly writes content about digital marketing for his clients. He wants to share his knowledge about the topic gained over the years to a greater audience which is why he's writing here at OMHub!

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