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Free Keyword Research Tools

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Keywords are the words users enter when performing a search. Understanding how people search and what phrases they use to search is an important part of SEO. There are services that track search data and use the data to provide estimations of search volume. This information can be used to find keywords that are actually searched and to compare search volumes between two keywords.

Keyword research provides a more efficient way to write copy for a website. If you randomly think of keywords, you have no idea how much the keyword is searched or how high the competition is for that keyword. The best approach is to research keywords and the competition for that keyword and make an informed choice on the keywords you’re going to target.

The purpose of this post is to show you a couple of free keyword research tools that can be used to generate keyword ideas and compare search volume. I will make another post after this to show you how to compare the competitiveness of the keywords. For now, just get comfortable using these free tools. As your SEO work progresses, you may consider one of the paid keyword research tools.

Before we start, read this post on Long Tail Keywords. You’ll be able to see the long tail in the screen shots I’ve provided for each of these tools. You may also want to read my more general post on Keyword Selection and Difficulty.
Google Adwords Tool

Google Adwords Keyword Tool

This tool is provided by Google. It provides information like monthly and average search volume, average CPC, and advertiser competitiveness. This tool is really useful for those interested in Adsense/Adwords, but can be used to gain information about organic search too.

Here is a screen shot of the Adwords Keyword Tool in action:

Free Keyword Research Tools

Unlike other keyword tools, this tool uses bars to represent volume. This is good because it is difficult to be accurate with exact numbers. The best way to use volume information is to compare relative search volume.
You can sort the data in a variety of different ways. You can add the keywords to a list and export it. This tool provides search volume and information about the CPC and competition if you use Adsense and Adwords.
Wordtracker Keyword Tool

Wordtracker Keyword Tool

Wordtracker is a popular tool that provides related keywords and search volume. The numbers aren’t exact, but are estimations of search volume. They provide an idea of relative search volume. Each keyword is linked, which can be used to refine your search. When you click them, you can perform a search on that keyword.


Keyword Discovery Keyword Tool

Keyword Discovery is a lot like Wordtracker. It provides similar information, but the numbers are different. Don’t worry so much about the numbers. Just use them to compare volumes. Clicking a link is similar to the Wordtracker function. You can refine your search.

Free Keyword Research Tools

SEOBook Keyword Tool

This tool from SEOBook uses data from Wordtracker. The best thing about this tool is that it links out to various keyword tools. You can use this tool to pull in data from Wordtracker, and then easily link out to other sources. This is a great, free tool to speed up your research. The tool can be used to export the list to be used in Excel.

Free Keyword Research Tools

Google Trends

Google Trends is another tool provided by Google that can be used to track and compare search volume over time. Its a little like the stock market for search. You can compare up to 5 keywords I believe. You can select different time frames and countries. This is a great tool to see how a keyword is changing. If it’s on the rise, you may consider getting in on that keyword.

Free Keyword Research Tools

Google Trends Top 100

This tool from Google updates every hour with the top 100 most popular searches over the last hour. It ranks them 1 to 100. When you click a link, it takes you to a page that shows a graph of the keyword, related blog posts, related news, related keywords, and the top SERP results. This is a great tool for people writing about current events and news.

If you’re doing trends keyword research, check out Google Trends Keyword Tool

Free Keyword Research Tools

Using the Tools

It is difficult to pick one “best” tool. The best way to use these tools is to cross compare the information. The tools provide different results, so a lot of information can be gathered from comparing them. They help provide idea and volume information, but you shouldn’t select a keyword based off this information alone. It is important to check the keyword difficulty / competitiveness. I will write a post soon about selecting a keyword from these lists using competitive analysis.

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