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Free Keyword Research Tools For Awesome Keyword Research In 2021

YouTube video

“How can I perform keyword research for free?”

This is a question I get asked A LOT!.

The best way to do it is with my free keyword research template which will allow you to steal all your competitors best keywords easily.

And while there are other keyword tools you can use for free…

The majority of them aren’t as helpful as you might think.
 
So today I am going to show you the best way to use free keyword tools to do your research…

…so when your SEO keyword search queries are typed into a search engine you will be ahead of the competition.

Let’s get started!

3x Ways To Do Keyword Research Quickly And For Free

Did you know that it’s possible to come up with seed keyword queries ideas without using a paid or free research tool?

All you need is a few little tricks up your sleeve to generate keyword suggestions easily…

#1: Brainstorm Your Keywords

The first stage of this doesn’t involve keyword research tools and is completely offline.

Grab yourself a pen and a piece of paper and write down the primary short-head keyword that is at the core of the content you want to create.

This could be things like:

  • Vegan protein
  • Portable microphone
  • Drinks flasks
  • Picture frames

The two to three word phrase to fit the overarching idea of your content strategy and business goals.

Then using that keyword as the centre of the paper, begin to brainstorm keyword lists with question words and niches that relate to that.

You want to be using ideas of what someone might search (search Google trends or Autocomplete suggestions) for when they use this term.

For example Vegan Protein might break down into:

  • Vegan protein powders
  • Vegan protein sources
  • Where to buy vegan protein powder
  • Healthy vegan supplements

Don’t censor yourself here and come up with as many keyword suggestions and keyword variations as you can.

You can then run them through the next keyword tool.

#2: Get Suggestions From Soovle

Soovle is a keyword research tool that can be used to compare related searches from lots of different search engines search results.

It’s a huge search engine database of the “search suggestions” and searches Google trends you see with Google search autocomplete suggestions.

Take some of the new keywords from your brainstorm and enter them into Soovle’s main search bar. This will bring up a lot of keyword list suggestions from each relevant search engine:

Soovle Search

Aim to collect keywords from all of the search engines and not just a Google search.

This can be helpful if your content creation has different goals.

For example, Amazon keywords will have more buying intent than Google search ones. So keep search intent in mind.

This could translate to your blog post.

You can download the keyword opportunities into a CSV file by clicking the download button in the corner-

Soovle download keywords

Take the new keywords from here you think are relevant and move on to the next tool.

#3: Get Suggestions From Forums

BoardReader is a free keyword tool that scours forums for recents blog posts about your topic.

If you enter in seed keywords into the search box it will bring up multiple threads and the latest discussions from the public:

Boardreader Search

On the surface, this may look like it’s just picked out the seed keyword you’ve typed in.

But if you use your intuition to look for what people said before or after the seed keyword, you can find a lot of long tail keywords with different types of intent.

Think:

  • Vegan protein samples
  • Cheap vegan protein powders
  • Best vegan protein powders

You’ll have to do a little extra legwork to find all of these, but they are there.

There is the odd keyword research tool that means you can find a great free keyword to rank your blog post.

But there is one powerhouse of a free keyword tool you can get a lot of benefit from.
 
What is it? Well…

The Top Free Keyword Research Tools

There are many free keyword research tools out there, but it isn’t easy to find the best one.
That’s why I selected the best 2, only for you!

1. My Intelligent Google Sheet

So if you have a tight content marketing budget, the best keyword research tool that’s free at the moment is an intelligent Google sheet that I developed.

It makes it possible to develop a keyword search content marketing strategy in minutes, rather than days – without spending any money.

my free keyword research tool

You can use it to-

  • Develop an intelligent keyword strategy in any business type
  • Automatically finds the right target keywords with low competition and high search volumes
  • Analyse featured snippets
  • Calculate keyword intent

Click Here To Download It Now (it’s free)

2. Google Keyword Planner

You can also use Google Keyword Planner, which is second best keyword research tool on the market that doesn’t cost a penny.

And although it doesn’t tell you how difficult it will be to rank in the search results for a keyword search term, you can’t argue with data sources coming directly from the search engine itself.

It’s great for gathering quick ideas-

Google Keyword Planner Results

BUT:

You should take a look at my full Google Keyword Planner tutorial to learn how to use it properly.

I’ll also show you how to get the exact search volume for any list of keywords rather than the estimates above.

Another good thing about this tool is that it is available in pretty much every country you can think of such as France, the United Kingdom, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, India, Puerto Rico, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Hong Kong, etc…

The Google Ads Keyword Planner is a great tool for ad campaigns much like their Google Search Console.

Bonus: if you’re not convinced by these options, check out the free version of Keywords Everywhere.

The 3x Major Problems With Free Tools…

Now before we get all doom and gloom…

I am going to show you how to use keyword premium tools FOR FREE.

But before I show you how to use the best keyword tools for free.

I wanted to talk to you about a few of the limitations of keyword data research tools that are offered for free, like Google’s Keyword Planner.

Each of these problems could make or break your SEO campaign.

So it’s important that we talk about them because this is precisely why I developed my own keyword tool research sheets.

Problem #1: It Takes A Lot Of Time

While you can use a keyword tool like Google Keyword Planner by Google ads to do your keyword research…

…it takes an awful lot of time to do.

You have to jump through multiple hoops to get ideas and exact search volumes.

Google is very specific with the keyword results it brings back AND severely limits that number. That means you have to spend a lot of time doing repeat searches to a good list of keywords for long tails.

For example, you might need to do 5 searches to find a golden long tail-

  1. Shoes
  2. Womens Shoes
  3. Best Womens Shoes
  4. The Best Womens Shoes
  5. The Best Womens Shoes For Winter

Where as with the Ahrefs trial or the free SEMRush trial, you just enter your seed keyword and get thousands of ideas-

keyword results

Not only that:

But you also get intelligent keyword difficulty data-

keyword difficulty data

And a full overview of the current top 10 including important metrics-

top 10 ranking data

All of that not only makes keyword research a quick process, but you also pull down more intelligent data to make your decisions.

You just can’t get that kind of action with a free tool, but you can get it with a free trial of a premium tool…

Reason #2: People Search In Weird Ways

People don’t search in logical ways.

Their search terms are weirdly phrased, often almost illegible sentences. Sometimes, they even purposely exclude words from Google search results…

A keyword tool like Google’s Keyword Planner really limits the number of results it returns which makes it really hard to drill down and find golden nuggets 5-10 word long-tail phrases.

Whereas with proper keyword suggestion tools, you just spend 5 seconds to apply a filter and voila-

weird keyword examples

We have found the keyword phrase “Womens wide width shoes for problem feet”

With 1,800 searches per month and next to zero competition.

Go to Google Keyword Planner and try to find that keyword.

It’s impossible.

Reason #3: You Can’t Research To Depth

In the example above there was also “Extra wide women’s shoes for swollen feet”

That is searched 1,300 times per month with zero competition.

Parent topic

But Ahrefs also tell us this falls under a parent topic of “diabetic slippers for swollen feet”.

Clicking on it reveals another 129x new keywords-

More keyword ideas

And also tells us that parent topic gets searched 8,400 per month with zero competition.

In just 1 click we have found 3x keywords with a total search volume of 11,500 with absolutely zero competition.

 And the list of keyword opportunities is literally bottomless… 
 
endless keyword ideas

You can’t do that with a free keyword tool like Google Keyword Planner (but you can do it with my free keyword spreadsheet).

Please:

Don’t treat what you’ve just read as a rant.

The bottom line is… there is some merit to a free research tool but you really are limiting yourself.

Instead:

Take advantage of some of my tricks and intelligent keyword planner to use premium keyword tools for free….

Using Premium Keyword Tools For Free

Premium tools can supercharge your keyword research.

If you’re planning on practising SEO for the long term, they’re a worthwhile investment!

But in the short term:

Did you know you can use most of these premium tools for free?

Here Is How To Do It…

Most of the best premium SEO tools come with free trials or freemium models

So why not take advantage of these before you lay down any money?

And if you are smart about it you can-

  • Prepare the list of pages you need new keywords for
  • Get started & Sign up for any of the free trials below
  • Complete all of your keyword research

That way you get all the benefits a premium research tool can offer.

But:

Without spending a penny!
 
Mwahahahaha!

How To Get SEMRush Free

Just for being a reader of my website you can get 14 days unlimited access for free.

SEMRush

It’s one of the most powerful SEO suites on the market (full SEMRush review).

Once you’re signed up, it will become your best friend. You’ll have access to all its tools and features.

That means you can begin to get some serious keyword data researched such as search volumes (or traffic potential), level of competition, cost per click, and many more!

Inside the tool head to this section of the tool:

Keyword Analytics > Overview

On this page you’ll be able to enter your target keyword into the search bar:

SEMrush Search Bar

Hit “search” and you’ll be taken to a page of search results.

There will be lots of statistics on this page but you should focus on two keyword suggestions sections.

  • The phrase match keyword tool
  • The related keywords tool.

SEMrush Keyword Overview

Under the Phrase Match Keywords section…

You’ll find all of the keyword results that contain the phrase you searched.

When you click the “view full report” button you’ll find lots of information, including the search volume of the keyword, the cost per click and the value of that keyword to an advertiser:

SEmrush Search Volume

There won’t be variations on your keyword but it’ll expand to show the long-tail keyword suggestions.

Under the Related Keywords section you’ll find keywords that contain elements of the keyword you entered, or are close relatives of it.

Again, if you click the “view full report” tab…

You’ll be shown all of the individual keywords and their search volumes.

SEmrush Individual Search Volume

For a full tutorial of how to do keyword research and make many more improvements to your site, you should read my full SEMRush review or my SEO Powersuite vs Semrush comparison.

How To Use Ahrefs For Free Cheap

Now I am going to cheat a bit here.

Ahrefs (my go-to link building tool) used to have a 100% free trial, but the tool is so good that people were abusing it.

So now it’s a 7 day trial for $7.

But trust me when I tell you – it’s worth every dollar.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is one of my favourite tools and the amount of data they have is insane.

Their Keywords Explorer is the tool I used to drill down in the women’s shoes examples above.

weird keyword examples

In fact: My Ahrefs review shows you 25x ways you can use it to increase your search traffic (specializing in backlink analysis).

How does Ahref keyword tool work?

Once you’re in the tool keyword research is simple.

Head to:

Top Toolbar > Keywords Explorer

On the keyword explorer page you’ll be able to enter in the search box as many keywords as you want.

Whether that’s just the one seed keyword you want to know more about or a keyword list.

Hit search and you’ll be taken to the results page.

Example Ahrefs search results

Beneath all of the graphs and charts at the top of the page…

There is a section called Keyword Ideas.

Here you’ll find a huge database of data-driven keywords for you to work through:

Keyword ideas from Ahrefs

Each of these keyword lists has a different set of data for thousands of related keywords.

Including the Newly Discovered section which are the freshest related keywords in your niche.

In other words – no one is ranking for them yet.

And they have a handy browser extension for a quick glance at your competitor keywords. (I use the Chrome extension)

Learn how to do amazing keyword research with my full Ahrefs review.

How To Use Longtail Pro For Free

Longtail Pro is is a great tool for finding niche keywords.

Although it’s no way near as good as Ahrefs.

The keyword tool work with a 100% free 7-day trial you can get by clicking here.

longtail pro trial

Once you’re in:

Generating a keyword list is easy with this keyword tool.

YouTube video

 
But if you are going to take out any keyword tool trial, Ahrefs is the best shout even if it does cost $7!

If you really don’t want to spend any money, then the reader exclusive SEMRush trial is for you.

Bonus: Stealing Your Competitor’s Keywords

There is one more keyword research strategy you can use to your advantage…

Stealing your competitor’s keywords.
 
They’re proven keywords that other people in your niche are targeting! They’ve already done the research to prove their effectiveness. And no one will know you stole them!

All you have to do is piggyback onto their hard work.

All you need is my free intelligent Google sheet which makes it a 5 minute process!

Free keyword tool

It will automatically find all of your competitor’s best keywords and then filter them so you can focus on the high search volume keywords that are the easiest to rank for.

It doesn’t get much easier than that so download my free sheet now.

Wrapping It Up

Researching new keywords for free is a tough topic to cover.

But for successful content marketing campaigns with a tight marketing budget, it can be done…

The keyword research tool doesn’t give you the information you need to make intelligent search query decisions.

So if you are going to use this type of keyword tool…

I highly recommend that you use my keyword research template to find the right keywords to rank for.

It’s built around my personal SEO keyword research process while solving a lot of the common problems you find with a free tool.

It will save you a bunch of time and tells you how hard it is to rank in your country (no matter if you’re from the United States, United Arab Emirates, Dominican Republic, India, or whatever).

It also helps you create a content calendar and find awesome SEO keywords that Google Keyword planner can’t find and it doesn’t have to cost you anything.

That makes it the top free keyword tool in my opinion!

And, don’t forget, if you’re on a budget and want to complete your list of keyword tools, have a look at Keywords Everywhere or my free seo tools list.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments, leave your name and email address.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best free keyword research tool?
The best keyword research free tool is the intelligent Google sheets that I had developed. You can download them from my blog 100% free of charge and they will automatically find the right keywords with a low competition level and high search volumes.

What tools do you use for keyword research?
There are lots of excellent keyword tools to choose from like Ahrefs, Semrush, Semrush alternatives and Long Tail Pro. Truth be told, any of these tools will be suitable for you but personally I use my own intelligent Google sheets which you can download above free of charge.

Is Google keyword tool free?
Yes, the Google Keyword Planner is free as part of Google Adwords. Just sign up and create a campaign to start using it. However, it lacks critical features like difficulty scores nor does it present any information about how many backlinks you’ll need to compete so I don’t use it to find seo keywords.

How do I find my competitors keywords for free?
You can either take advantage of the trials of SEMRush and Ahrefs or use Google’s Keyword Planner.

With the Google Keyword Planner you just need to enter your competitor’s website URL and Google will scan the page to look for possible keywords. This is different than SEMRush or Ahrefs which will return the actual keywords your competitors currently ranking for.

47 Responses

  1. Viom Institute
    9.9.2021

    Thanks for sharing such free keyword research tools & how it use properly. Very useful post.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2021 at 9:07 am

      No worries!

  2. Simran Tiwari
    7.20.2021

    Hi Mathew!
    Till now I was just aware of keywords everywhere keywords tool.io and uber suggest but after going through your post learned a lot.
    Will be thankful to you. I hope to see your amazing posts super soon

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 21st, 2021 at 9:02 am

      Glad it was helpful, Simran!

  3. Abhijit
    5.7.2021

    Helpful for performing keyword research

  4. dream
    1.14.2021

    I have been exploring for a little bit for any high-quality articles or blog posts in this kind of house .
    Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this web site.
    Reading this info So i’m glad to express that I have a very just
    right uncanny feeling I came upon just what I needed. I so much indisputably will make certain to don?t
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    • Matthew Woodward
      January 15th, 2021 at 10:06 am

      Glad you found what you were looking for. If you have any question, let me know :)

  5. hose
    9.15.2020

    good

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 18th, 2020 at 9:19 am

      Cheers!

  6. Aayush
    8.12.2020

    Hi Mathew,

    I never knew Keywords Research can be so easy. But with your spreadsheet, you made it really easy to understand for new and pro bloggers. Thanks, A lot

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 12th, 2020 at 12:38 pm

      No problem! Always happy to help.

  7. PIYUSH KUMAR SHARMA
    7.26.2020

    very informative and useful article

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 27th, 2020 at 10:04 am

      Cheers!

  8. golaunche
    7.21.2020

    amazing content, I use your spreadsheet and I work very good in the agency where I work
    thank you soo much

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 22nd, 2020 at 9:52 am

      No worries! Always happy to help!

  9. Vlad
    5.19.2020

    I will use SovIe for sure!

    Man, you are killin’ it! Thanks so much for this valuable content.

    Looking forward to putting into a test your knowledge.

    Thanks!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2020 at 5:17 am

      Looking forward to hearing about your results Vlad!

  10. Trishul Homecare
    1.2.2020

    Hi Mathew!
    Till now I was just aware of keywords everywhere keywords tool.io and ubbersuggest but after going through your post learned a lot.
    Will be thankful to you. I hope to see your amazing posts supers soon.

  11. Justin
    12.2.2019

    You read my mind with your latest facebook post as I went to your group to ask a question on replacing my now outdated kw tool…going to get my ahrefs and semrush subs renewed. Thanks

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 3rd, 2019 at 6:50 am

      Good decision Justin.

  12. rishabh singh
    10.23.2019

    hats off for your hard work Matt.It helped a lot

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 24th, 2019 at 4:06 am

      Thanks and I’m glad it was helpful Rishabh!

  13. Shoyab
    9.4.2019

    Hi, Matthew I am using most of the tools which you discussed in your post but soolve is a new things for me. I am going to give it a try thanks for sharing your article with me.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 4th, 2019 at 11:14 pm

      Happy to help Shoyab :)

  14. Moss Clement
    8.17.2019

    Hi Matt,
    Your article is interesting and I have used several tools on your list. However, there is one software that stands out to me; Soolve. I’m yet to give it a try and from the screenshot, it is an impressive SEO tool since it collect keywords from different search engines, giving you a comprehensive data for your blog posts.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 20th, 2019 at 6:09 am

      Yep it’s a nifty little tool. Let me know how you get on with it Moss

  15. Jayanta Bhowmick
    7.27.2019

    Hi Matthew
    I use Semrush and keyword everywhere.
    You mention about semrush which is the best tool for keyword research.
    Keyword everywhere is also a very good tool for beginners as it is available for free of cost.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 30th, 2019 at 9:57 am

      Thanks for the recommendation Jayanta

  16. Osi Smog
    6.10.2019

    The article was very helpful sir, am sure going to try your spreedsheet out.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 12th, 2019 at 4:41 am

      You won’t regret it Osi :)

  17. Yulka
    6.4.2019

    I think K-Meta Tool deserved the opportunity to appear on your list

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 5th, 2019 at 2:27 am

      Why would you recommend them?

  18. Niketan chandi
    5.15.2019

    Nice keyword tool …

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 15th, 2019 at 1:59 am

      Hope it proves helpful.

  19. Chuck
    5.14.2019

    amazing content, i use your spreadsheet and i work very good in the agency where i work
    thank you

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 14th, 2019 at 11:28 am

      That’s great to hear! Let me know if you have any idea of how to improve it

  20. Reece major
    5.14.2019

    Hi Mathew,
    Great article again, just a quick question, what do you think of MoZ?

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 14th, 2019 at 11:29 am

      In what respect? As a tool, as a company, their data?

  21. Marty McLeod
    5.14.2019

    Nice! Good stuff, Matthew. :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 14th, 2019 at 11:29 am

      Thanks Marty!

  22. D Acharya
    5.14.2019

    Sir,

    I always read and watch your topic very attentively.

    I have a request please make a video or post about How to remove Bad Backlink completely form google webmaster ? It is very critical issue.Some backlinks are too bad which naver remove by Google disavow tool.

    I think it will be very helpful topic for everyone.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 14th, 2019 at 11:31 am

      I disagree, since the latest penguin update removing backlinks is pointless UNLESS you have a current manual penalty for your link profile.

      Do you have a manual penalty that explicitly states links are a problem?

  23. Jihad Hossain
    5.14.2019

    Great Content Mathew.
    Especially the keyword planner video also all of your tricks help me a lot.
    In the end, Great shoutout for your free intelligent spreadsheet template. It’s really amazing.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 14th, 2019 at 11:29 am

      Thanks glad it helps you out!

  24. Peter Nyiri
    5.14.2019

    My Matt, your spreadsheet is really brilliant.

    Also your affiliate marketing strategy and the way you use free information to make people want the products you offer.

    I don’t see UberSuggest as a recommendation from you. What do you think about it?

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 14th, 2019 at 11:30 am

      Thanks Peter!

      I haen’t found their data to be reliable and certainly not the type of data to make a decision off.

What are your thoughts?

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