11 Best Keyword Research Tools for Content Marketers

Keyword research is the initial step in both content planning and the SEO content creation process. While other aspects of SEO, like link-building and on-page optimization, can be accomplished to some extent without additional tools, effective keyword research is nearly impossible without the right tools.

Keyword research tools not only assist you in making informed decisions on the keywords you should target but also help you group relevant keywords.

In this article, let’s explore the 12 best keyword research tools used by millions of contet marketers.

1. Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer + Site Explorer

As a member of the Ahrefs team, I may lean a bit toward this tool, but I will strive to be as objective as possible.

Ahrefs is a multi-tool covering different aspects of SEO, including keyword research.

Its Keywords Explorer runs on a database of 20 billion keywords and can get you thousands of keyword suggestions based on just one seed keyword and cluster them. It also provides the important SEO metrics for each keyword, such as the search volume, keyword difficulty, traffic potential and more so that you can take informed decisions when choosing the keywords to target.

Its Keywords Explorer operates on a database of 20 billion keywords and can generate thousands of keyword suggestions based on just one seed keyword. It also provides essential SEO metrics for each keyword, such as search volume, keyword difficulty, traffic potential, and more. This allows you to make informed decisions when selecting the keywords to target.

Another aspect of keyword research involves analyzing the keywords for which your competitors’ websites are ranking. That’s where Site Explorer’s Organic Keywords report shines. You can see the keywords driving traffic to your rivals, their ranking history, and their best-performing pages.

Pros of Ahrefs:

  • Vast keyword database with regular updates.
  • Unique keywords metrics, such as the number of clicks and traffic potential.
  • Rich in suggestions methods and filtering options.
  • User-friendly interface with comprehensive data visualization.

Cons of Ahrefs:

  1. May be pricey if your only focus is keyword research.
  2. Does not have a free trial.

When it comes to pricing, the Lite plan, the most affordable one, is priced at $99 per month, while the Agency plan, offering the most extensive features, is $999 per month.

For occasional keyword research, you can use Ahrefs’ free Keyword Generator.

2. Google Keyword Planner

Part of the Google Ads suite, the Google Keyword Planner offers insights into keyword trends and performance metrics, helping users discover new keywords and understand their potential impact in terms of search volume and competition.

Pros of Google Keyword Planner:

  • Ideal for beginners and small teams with a limited budget.
  • Offers reliable and up-to-date search data from Google.
  • Shows how keyword search volumes change over time.

Cons of Google Keyword Planner:

  • Focused on paid search.
  • Not as effective for finding niche, long-tail keywords.

As a free tool, Google Keyword Planner is accessible to everyone, but it’s particularly suitable for those who are planning or managing Google Ads campaigns.

3. ChatGPT

ChatGPT, a tool that’s been all the rage this year, can serve you well in finding long-tail keywords, relevant search terms, and common queries to enhance your content creation process. You can also rely on its vast plugin ecosystem to find new keywords.

Pros of ChatGPT:

  • Utilizes AI to suggest additional keywords and search terms.
  • Can be used for a variety of content-related tasks beyond keyword research.
  • Easy to interact with and understand, even for beginners.

Cons of ChatGPT:

  • Suggestions should be cross-checked with other SEO tools for accuracy.
  • Using plugins requires a paid subscription.

ChatGPT offers a subscription model starting at $20/month, with a custom enterprise plan available for larger or more specialized needs.

4. Mangools Keyword Finder

Mangool’s Keyword Finder is a streamlined tool designed for efficient and effective keyword research. It’s particularly noted for its ease of use and precise keyword difficulty assessments, making it a favorite among SEO beginners and professionals alike.

Pros of Mangool’s Keyword Finder:

  • Reliable keyword difficulty scores to aid in strategy planning.
  • Access to historical search data enhances trend analysis.
  • Localized keyword research capabilities support targeted SEO efforts.

Cons of Mangool’s Keyword Finder:

  • Free version’s daily search limits might be restrictive for some users.
  • Advanced users may find it lacking in some sophisticated features.

Pricing for Mangool’s Keyword Finder varies, with the Basic plan starting at $29.90 per month and the Agency plan at $79.90 per month.

5. Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest, acquired by Neil Patel, offers a comprehensive suite of features that cater to various aspects of SEO, including keyword research, competitor analysis, and site audits.

Pros of Ubersuggest:

  • Offers extensive keyword suggestions, search volume, and trend analysis.
  • Enables reverse engineering of competitors’ SEO and content strategies.
  • Provides valuable insights into top-performing content for specific keywords.

Cons of Ubersuggest:

  • While estimates are generated using numerous data sources, the accuracy may vary.
  • Some users have reported the user interface as sluggish.

Ubersuggest is available through a subscription starting at $29/month, as well as a lifetime offer with prices ranging from $290 to $990.

6. Semrush

When it comes to keyword research, Semrush is quite similar to Ahrefs, providing robust keyword analysis, suggestions, and insights into competitors’ keywords.

Pros of Semrush:

  • Offers a detailed overview of keyword performance.
  • Provides competitive analysis for better strategic planning.
  • Also includes tools for social media marketing.

Cons of Semrush:

  • Some users don’t find its interface user-friendly.
  • Some keyword databases are only available as an upsell.

Semrush offers various subscription plans, starting at $108.33/month and going up to $416.66/month, billed annually.

7. AlsoAsked

AlsoAsked is a unique keyword research tool that delves into Google’s “People Also Ask” data, offering insights into search intent and user queries. It’s designed to uncover long-tail keywords and zero-volume searches, providing a deeper understanding of what your audience is really asking.

Pros of AlsoAsked:

  • Offers live, geo-specific “People Also Ask” data.
  • Helps identify long-tail and zero-volume keywords.
  • Enhances content depth and relevance with thematic insights.
  • Features like PNG and CSV exports, Deep Search, and Bulk Search add versatility.

Cons of AlsoAsked:

  • Is limited to “People Also Ask” questions.

Pricing for AlsoAsked begins at $15/month, going all the way to $59/month.

8. Keywords Everywhere

Keywords Everywhere is a browser plugin that enriches Google’s SERPs and other popular search platforms with keyword suggestions and metrics.

Pros of Keywords Everywhere:

  • Offers passive SEO insights on your browser while you surf the web.
  • Useful for Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and more.
  • Provides volume, CPC, competition, and 12-month trend data for keywords.

Cons of Keywords Everywhere:

  • Usage is limited by the number of credits you have.
  • Lacks competitor analysis capabilities.

The pricing for this tool starts at $15/year for 100,000 credits and goes up to $960/year for 8 million credits, with each credit corresponding to data for one keyword.

9. Long Tail Pro

Long Tail Pro is a specialized keyword research tool that focuses on uncovering long-tail keywords, which are often less competitive and more specific than shorter, more common keywords.

Pros of Long Tail Pro:

  • Excels in finding long-tail keywords for niche markets.
  • Offers insights into competitors’ keyword strategies.
  • Includes a feature to track the ranking of keywords.

Cons of Long Tail Pro:

  • May not have as extensive a keyword database as some larger tools.
  • Might not be as effective for broader keyword strategies.

The pricing for this tool begins from $37/month to $89.99/month and is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses, bloggers, and niche marketers who want to capitalize on less competitive keywords.

10. WordStream

WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool is a keyword research solution primarily focused on Google search ads.

Pros of WordStream:

  • Provides hundreds of keyword suggestions along with actionable data like competition level and estimated CPC.
  • Offers industry-specific keyword suggestions for more targeted research.
  • Allows filtering of results by industry and location, enhancing relevance.

Cons of WordStream:

  • Limited utility compared to premium tools, especially for advanced SEO research.
  • Teams may need additional tools for all of their SEO needs.

WordStream’s Keyword Tool is free, making it a great choice for individuals or businesses starting out in SEO or PPC.

11. Keyword Surfer

Keyword Surfer is another solution that integrates directly into your Google search experience. It’s designed to generate keyword ideas and show search volumes directly in Google search results.

Pros of Keyword Surfer:

  • Integrates with Google search for real-time data.
  • Offers search volume, CPC, and keyword suggestions within search results.
  • Allows bookmarking of important keywords and exporting collections.
  • Streamlines content creation research without leaving the search page.

Cons of Keyword Surfer:

  • Limited to Google search results data.
  • Some users report issues with accuracy.

Keyword Surfer is a free tool, making it accessible to everyone. It’s particularly suitable for content creators, SEO specialists, and marketers who need quick, on-the-go keyword insights.

Wrapping up

From the comprehensive SEO toolkit of Ahrefs to the simplicity and direct integration of Keyword Surfer with Google Search, there is a range of keyword research tools that cater to various needs.

Each tool has its pros and cons, making them suitable for different users. High-end tools like Ahrefs are ideal for SEO professionals and large-scale marketers, while free or low-cost options like Keyword Surfer or Also Asked are perfect for beginners or bloggers on limited budgets.

Nick is a product marketer and a seasoned SEO specialist at Ahrefs. He is also a regular contributor to the Ahrefs Blog, dedicating his remaining time to enhancing the Ahrefs SEO Toolbar.