Keyword Research Tools

The ultimate guide to finding the Keyword Research Tool

Performing Keyword Research without a Keyword Research Tools is like digging a hole without a shovel. You simply have to have the proper gear to harvest keywords, find inspiration, and gather data on keyword potential, rankings and competition.
On this page I will guide you through choosing the right keyword research tool.

What is a Keyword Research Tool?

A Keyword Research Tool is a tool that help you easier and better perform keyword research. It provides you with data on keywords on one side and inspiration for keyword on the other side.

There are hundreds of different Keyword Research Tools that all are somewhat similar, but they also have their differences so when choosing which tool you want, you should be very careful as many of them are overpriced delivering little extra value, compared to lower budget Keyword Research Tools.

Most Keyword Research Tools are SaaS, meaning that you simply log into a website and are able to perform your data crunching in the browser. However, I always recommend you to perform keyword research in Excel and therefore good export functionalities are an important factor when choosing your keyword research tool. This is just one among many of the factors that are important when choosing the tool to invest in.

Several of the Keyword Research Tools are able to do similar things, and you might be best off to simply try your way through them before choosing one over another.

What should you consider when choosing Keyword Research Tools

There are various things that influence the choice of the best Keyword Research Tool for your needs:

  • Need of depth: How broad is your keyword universe? This influences the amount of data that your keyword research tool should be able to handle. If your keyword research demands +10k keywords then some keyword research tools simply can’t run.
  • Budget: The price range of keyword research tools are substantial. The best tools are often the most expensive, but you can still get a long way with cheaper alternatives.
  • Team: Who is going to perform the keyword research? If you are more than one person involved the accessibility of the keyword research tool is important. If you i.e. choose a client side keyword research tool, a licence for all computers should be purchased and distributed and kept track of. Contrary a SaaS Keyword Research Tool will be easier for you to handle with several team members.
  • Experience: If you have been working with SEO tools before you should let this influence your tool, as there might be a similar tool or a tool from the same SEO software company that you can use. This will make your learning curve much steeper and let you easily get into the tool moving hours from ineffective to effective time.
searchmetrics keyword research seo tool

SearchMetrics is a suite of fullservice SEO tools. Basically SearchMetrics have developed three distinct functionalities the SearchMetrics suite with the ResearchCloud and what i call Projects and with their Content Experience.

Price

5/10

Data

7/10

Depth

9/10

User

5/10

Agency

7/10

SEO-powersuite-keyword-research-tool

SEO powersuite is four different tool in one enterprise. You can buy each tool individually or buy them all together in an tool bundle.

Price

9/10

Data

7/10

Depth

7/10

User

5/10

Agency

6/10

semrush logo seo tool

SEM Rush is an enterprise SEO tool where you can perform deep keyword research as well as perform SEO audits and do Rank Tracking.

Price

5/10

Data

10/10

Depth

6/10

User

9/10

Agency

8/10

ahrefs seo tool logo

Ahrefs is link and keyword tool. With the largest database of links Ahrefs allows you to perform the most comprehensive backlink audits.

Price

NA

Data

NA

Depth

NA

User

NA

Agency

NA

Spyfu seo tool logo

SpyFu is a SEM and SEO keyword tool that allows you to pull massive amounts of keywords data as well as run Rank tracking. 

Price

NA

Data

NA

Depth

NA

User

NA

Agency

NA

woorank seo tools logo

WooRank is a keyword tool and site audit tool that allows you to track chosen keywords as well as perform regular sitecrawls.

Price

NA

Data

NA

Depth

NA

User

NA

Agency

NA

se ranking seo tool logo

SEranking is all in one SEO enterprise solution that provides you with Ranktracking, crawl data and backlink data

Price

NA

Data

NA

Depth

NA

User

NA

Agency

NA

mangools logo seo tools

MangoTools is a suite of 4 tools that help you perform keyword research, SERP features, rank tracking and backlink audits.

Price

NA

Data

NA

Depth

NA

User

NA

Agency

NA

seoprofiler logo seo tools

SEOprofiler is an all in one SEO enterprise tool that lets you track keywords, perform site audits and do backlinking audits in one place

Price

NA

Data

NA

Depth

NA

User

NA

Agency

NA

Metrics and data used for keyword research

Search volume is the foundation of keyword research tools

The most important metric to know on keywords is the volume. The volume is how many searches a given keyword has every month in that particular country or worldwide. This is a metric that most tool gets directly from Google as Google in Keyword Planner gives estimates on monthly searches based on the last 12 months.

There are alternatives to this as Wordstream provides a great alternative to Google Keyword Planner for volume data. It is however few Keyword Research Tools that uses Wordstream data for their search volumes, as the cost of data is high for the tools.

There is one major difficulty with using search volumes from Google Keyword Planner in your keyword research, and you should be aware of this when deciding on the tool you want to use. Data on search volumes from Google Keyword Planner is bundled together when keywords are identical. The problem is that keywords will get a much higher potential as the potential is calculated as many times as the keyword is bundled. As an example, “keyword research tool” and “keyword research tools” is bundled as the same keyword with 1.200 search for each, which totals 2.400 even though it might be 1.000 for “keyword research tool” and 200 for “keyword research tools”. If potential is calculated on the total amount of search, 2.400, instead of the actual number, 1.200, our estimations on potential will quickly get unrealistically high. we risk focusing on wrong keywords if we in this example choose “keyword research tools” with 200 search, rather than “keyword research tool” with 1000. Very few keyword research tools take this into account and let you bulk keywords together in the keyword research as well.

Competition on keywords

The next very important data point in your keyword research is the competition metric. This is one of the most different metrics across all the Keyword Research Tools.

  • Ad Competition: The most widespread, but also weakest measurement of keyword competition in keyword research, is the use of Ad Competition. This is a metric also given by Google Keyword Planner on the competition for a given keyword in Google. This is a metric ranging from 0 to 1 where “1” is high Ad Competition often resulting in 4 competitors being shown. “0” is low often resulting in none competitors being shown. The reason why this metric is mediocre, at best, is that the competition in Google ads and in SEO is not identical. Keywords that are highly commercial often have a very highAd Competition, but this doesn’t mean that it is difficult to get good organic rankings on that specific keyword. So before choosing a Keyword Research Tool you should investigate what kind of competition metrics the tool uses. If it is Ad Competitor I would recommend you to use another one.
  • Indexed pages: This is one of my favourite competition metrics for keyword research, as it is, perhaps, the easiest way to measure organic competition. For each keyword you basically find out how many other pages that are in index for that particular keyword. You can do it with the commando intitle:”keyword” and intext:”keyword” and get great metrics on competition.
  • Optimized pages: This way of finding competition in your keyword research is by looking at how many pages are ranking for the keyword which have it in the headings, in the copy, in images etc. By looking at the pages that are ranking for the keyword, crawling them and determining how well they are optimized, keyword research tools can provide you with a competition metrics for that particular keyword. This of course is a time consuming thing to do, as it requires the keyword research tool to crawl a lot of pages and use more data when providing you with keyword metrics.
  • Authority: The final way of measuring the competition in Keyword Research Tools is to look at the authority of other pages on page 1 on a specific keyword. By looking at how many inbound links a given domain has to the page that ranks and to the domain itself, Keyword Research Tools can measure and give a metrics on the keyword competition in a precise way.

The truth of keyword competition is somewhere in between all the different solutions. So if you were trying to do the best possible keyword research, you would perhaps collect all four types of metrics. However, less can do when getting an understanding of how difficult a given keyword would be to rank for.

Good rankings for your website and competition is important for your keyword research

Being able to get rankings and quick SERP data for the keywords in your keyword research is, of course, of great importance. Here, there is a big difference in the speed, depth and correctness of rankings that Keyword Research Tools provide. While some tools check rankings down to rank 500, other just scratch the surface and check page 1 and 2. This is one of the metrics you need to look at when choosing a Keyword Research Tool.

When providing data on rankings you should also consider other data points in your keyword research. This could be what URL are ranking so you, based on your keyword research, can analyze what parts of your website are performing well - and whether there is a mismatch between intended URLs you want to rank with and actual URLs you rank with.

Don’t forget to pull data on rich search results

Google’s SERP is in constantly development and many new search formats have emerge. It is becoming increasingly important that you bring in this data into your keyword research, so that you know how your keyword universe is affected by i.e. knowledge graph, shopping, maps, flight search etc.

Many Keyword Research Tools provide you with this data, but not all, and many of them haven’t found out how to present this data for you, so that you can drive the decisions based on you keyword research.

Getting out competitor rankings for your keyword research

It’s also important to find out how your competitors are ranking for the keywords in your keyword research. Keyword Research Tools often let you do this, but the way they let you do it is often different. Here, you should consider whether you have the flexibility to drill down into the keyword research and get an understanding of why a competitor might perform better that you.

Tools should help you find new keywords

Getting data on the exact keywords you want is one thing, but getting inspiration to what keywords should be part of your keyword research is another. The tools ability to let you harvest opportunities and find low hanging fruits in your keyword universe, is one of the most important features in Keyword Research Tools. If you are just looking at keywords you think your potential customers are using, then you might choose the wrong keywords and be leaving out on huge potential.

There are a lot of ways to harvest keywords for your keyword research i.e by:

  • Google Keyword Planner: When looking up a given keyword in Google Keyword Planner the tool gives you a lot of suggestions similar to the chosen keyword. This your Keyword Research Tool can use to get suggestions and show them to you.
  • Google autosuggest: When your are typing in a keyword in Google it automatically pops up with autosuggestion for what keyword you meant. For instance, when typing in “keyword research tool a” 10 suggestions is presented for me and one of them is “keyword research tool adwords”. Tools can leverage this and scrape Google for suggestions that can be presented for you.

Looking at existing keyword data

Some Keyword Research Tools connect with SearchMetrics and Google Ads for even more suggestions.

From SearchConsole Google provides you with data on how well you are ranking at the moment, your rank and your position. This data can either be manually extracted from SearchConsole and inserted into your Keyword Research Tool or driven in via API in the Keyword Research Tool itself. What is important here is, that the manual way only allows you to pull out 1000 keywords from SearchConsole while the API has a limit of 5000. You will thus get a more comprehensive dataset when pulling out data via Keyword Research Tools that utilizes the Search Console API.

Data from your Google Ads account can be very useful and take you a long way when performing keyword research. In your Google Ads account you can see what exact keywords you have bought and the amount of impressions they have. This is great data to start using, in order to expand your keyword research.

What's the difference between a Keyword Research Tool and a Ranking Tool?

Basically, a Keyword Research Tool help you gather data so that you can choose what keywords to focus on and prioritize. A Ranking Tool help you gather rankings for those keywords on a daily, weekly or as per request and visualize developments in rankings.

Often however, the Ranking Tool and the Keyword Research Tools are the same, as it is often convenient to build in a ranking to a tool that are already gathering data on keywords. Often however, you will need both a tool to gather information on keywords for your keyword research, as well as a ranking tool to keep track of the development in those rankings.

Working with data in Keyword Research Tools

One thing you should also consider is how the tool manage data and how easy it is to edit in the data. This could for example be when you are working with large datasets where you perhaps need to merge tags. If the Keyword Research Tool is not able to handle uploads of keyword lists and merging of data you risk ending up using a lot of time on manual tagging and manual structuring of your data - and your time is often way more expensive and valuable than the cost of a great Keyword Research Tool.

Thus, you should decide whether you want to work with your keyword data solely in the Keyword Research Tool or whether you want to extract it into Excel or Sheets to do the work here. If you choose to export your keyword research data you can have less requirements for tags data merging and backup functions. Here, the important point is to think about how you will work with your keyword research data before choosing the best tool for you.