This article introduces ten different keyword research tools and/or platforms, which offer keyword research functionality. The following tools are covered in this article:

Ahrefs | Google Keyword Planner | Jaaxy | Keywords Everywhere | Keywortool.io | Mangools | Moz |  Semrush | SpyFu | Ubersuggest

Keyword research is essential for any online marketer. It is the first step in understanding your potential customers and what they are searching for online. Good keyword research can guide you in creating tailored content that ultimately brings valuable traffic to your website. But to do keyword research that can help you grow your business, you will need a tool to analyze different keywords and search behavior.

With so many tools out there, which one should you use? To help you get started, we have compiled a list of the ten best keyword research tools available that offer free and paid subscriptions. For our analysis of the best keyword research tools in 2023, we considered our experiences, usability, functionalities, pricing, and feedback from other marketers.

What is a keyword research tool?

Keyword research is a process that marketers use to discover search queries that potential customers are using when looking for specific products or services on search engines like Google. A keyword research tool provides you with search data from platforms like Google and puts it into an intuitive format for you to browse through. Keyword research tools uncover all kinds of keyword combinations and variations people use when searching online. This data is at the foundation of a keyword research tool, and many tools have even more insights to offer. For example, some tools provide competitive domain insights, backlink analyses, traffic analyses, site audits, and more.

Why do companies use keyword research tools?

There are many reasons why companies use keyword research tools. However, these are some of the key reasons:

Keyword identification: one of the most important reasons companies use keyword research tools is to help them identify which keywords are most relevant to their products or services. By understanding which keywords are used most frequently by potential customers, companies can more effectively target their marketing efforts.

Difficulty to rank: tools can also help companies understand how difficult it will be to rank for certain keywords by analyzing the level of competitiveness. This information can be invaluable when developing a search engine optimization strategy because it allows you to identify opportunistic gaps and what keywords your competitors are pursuing.

Track progress: many tools can also help you track your content marketing strategy’s progress over time. By monitoring keyword rankings and website traffic, companies can get a better picture of the effectiveness of their ongoing content marketing efforts.

Characteristics of a great keyword research tool

There are a few key characteristics that make a keyword research tool great. A tool with these characteristics will help you succeed in keyword marketing research:

1. Keyword variety

The tool should have an extensive database of keywords. This will ensure that you can find every possible keyword combination that fits the needs of your business.

2. Related keywords

Tools should be able to generate keyword suggestions based on your seed keyword. This way, you can easily explore new ideas for related keywords that you may not have thought of on your own. In addition, great tools often provide you with a list of keyword-related questions or variations.

3. Keyword analytics

Good tools provide detailed information about each keyword, including search volume and competition level. This will help you to assess whether a keyword is worth targeting.

4. Search query types

More advanced tools differentiate keywords based on the search query type to quickly identify high-buying intent keywords or more informational ones. There are four types of search queries; informational, navigational, commercial, and transactional. Transactional queries can benefit your business because they are used by searchers who are ready to buy. In contrast, informational queries are people at the top of the marketing funnel just browsing for information.

5. Competitive analyses and keyword gaps

More powerful tools also provide insights into the traffic of competitive domains by showing for which keywords they rank, and how it compares to your domain rankings. By analyzing these so-called keyword gaps between you and your competitors, you can adapt your content strategy and compete for the same valuable traffic they receive.

6. User-friendliness

Finally, the tool should be easy to use and understand. There are various tools with a variety of features and user interfaces, and they can take some time to get used to. As keyword research can be complex, it is crucial to have a straightforward and user-friendly tool.

The best keyword research tools in 2023 (both free and paid)

  1. Semrush
  2. Ahrefs
  3. Keywordtool.io
  4. Mangools
  5. Moz
  6. SpyFu
  7. Jaaxy
  8. Google Keyword Planner
  9. Keywords Everywhere
  10. Ubersuggest

1. Semrush

Semrush is an all-in-one keyword research tool. The company offers a wide range of solutions within its platform that can be used for keyword research, pay-per-click analyses (PPC), competitor research, social media marketing, and more.

Semrush

Semrush is a very well-known tool in the marketing industry and is an excellent option if you are looking for a comprehensive solution and have a higher marketing budget.

Semrush is intuitive to use but requires some understanding of digital marketing to get the most out of it. If you are new to keyword research tools and digital marketing, you can follow some marketing- and solution-specific courses on their website to familiarize yourself with the tool.

Key functionalities

Semrush offers features that cover several areas of interest, such as SEO, content marketing, market research, advertising, social media marketing, and search engine reputation management. More specifically they offer the following functionalities:

  • Keyword research
  • On-page SEO performance audits and improvement suggestions
  • Competitor analyses to gain insight into competitors’ winning strategies
  • SEO content templates and a content writing assistant
  • Local SEO to optimize websites for local searches specific to your area
  • Rank tracking of keywords that you target
  • Social media posting and scheduling of posts
  • Creation and analysis of ads within the Facebook family
  • Backlink analytics, audits, and gap analyses
  • Market analyses to discover the market size, market potential, and relevant key players with insights into their traffic generation strategies
  • Paid keyword analyses and ad copy analyses of competitors’ ads
  • Competitor social media activity tracking

Pricing

Semrush’s pricing starts at 120 dollars a month, typically covering the basic needs for keyword research for smaller businesses. If you want more functionalities, you need to look at the Guru or Business packages that start at 230 dollars a month. Additional costs can occur once you start using the platform to unlock some functional limitations. Customer support at a basic level is always included through a chat functionality within the platform.

Semrush pricing

2. Ahrefs

Together with Semrush, Ahrefs is probably the most well-known keyword research tool. Ahrefs offers an all-in-one SEO toolset that helps with site audits, analyzing competitors, keyword research, and tracking progress.

Ahrefs’ interface is straightforward for beginners and experts alike. However, if you find it challenging to use Ahrefs, they also offer all kinds of resources on how to use the platform as well as courses to learn more about digital marketing.

Key functionalities

Ahrefs’ platform includes different tools. The key tools and their functionalities include:

  • Dashboard: SEO dashboard gives you an overview of all vital information in one place, such as your website’s health score, domain rating, referring domains and backlinks, and organic traffic and keywords. You can modify dashboards and use different folders to structure your projects.
  • Site explorer: site explorer is a functionality that can give you a detailed look at organic search traffic, paid traffic, and backlinks of any website. This allows you to spy on your competitors and explore keywords you may not have thought of yourself.
  • Keywords explorer: with keywords explorer, you can discover thousands of keywords ideas, their traffic potential, and how hard it is to rank for them. Where many tools base their data on Google’s search engine, Ahrefs also provides keyword insights from engines like YouTube, Amazon, Bing, Baidu, and more.
  • Site audit: Ahref’s site audit functionality runs analyses on your website to find technical on-page SEO problems that may hinder you from ranking. The issues are shown in a clear way and provide enough information for you to improve them.
  • Rank tracker: rank tracker is there to help you track your efforts over time and compares the results to those of your competitors. The functionality follows keyword visibility, average positions, traffic volume, search engine results page (SERP) features, and more.
  • Content explorer: finally, Ahrefs’ content explorer helps you find the best-performing content in your industry or niche.

Pricing

Regarding pricing, Ahrefs offers a Lite package that starts at 99 dollars a month and includes functionalities for smaller teams or companies. Their most expensive packages for larger enterprises and agencies begin at 999 dollars a month and include all functionalities. Between this range are the standard and advanced packages, which are 199 and 399 dollars. Depending on your needs, you can choose the package with the functionalities that suit your team best.

Ahrefs pricing

3. Keywordtool.io

Keyword Tool is excellent for discovering keywords and checking search volumes and trends on many platforms. Unlike Semrush and Ahrefs, the tool offers a free functionality that allows you to identify keywords across different search engines. However, you need to update to a paid subscription to uncover keyword volumes and other relevant data.

KeywordTool platform

Keyword Tool is a perfect solution for basic functionalities such as keyword research and question analyses. Moreover, because there are not too many functionalities in the solution, its user interface is very easy to use and straightforward.

Key functionalities

Keyword Tool enables you to find keywords and check search volumes. More specifically, they also offer some of the following functionalities:

  • Keyword analyses on different platforms: Google, Youtube, Bing, Amazon, eBay, App Store, Google Play Store, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Trends
  • Uncovering of question search queries related to keywords
  • Preposition analyses related to keywords
  • Analysis of keyword trends and how search volumes have changed over time
  • Analysis of average competitiveness for keywords
  • Analysis of the average CPC for keywords
  • Access to data through APIs

Pricing

Fewer functionalities are also reflected in Keyword Tool’s pricing. When billed annually, the cheapest subscription costs 69 dollars a month, the pro plus 79 dollars a month, and their most expensive package costs 159 dollars a month. The Pro Plus package is sufficient and best if you also aim to analyze CPC data. You can look at Keyword Tool’s Pro Business package for bulk search volume analysis and APIs. The basic package will suffice when you have a smaller team, and when CPC and APIs are no requirements of yours.

KeywordTool pricing

4. Mangools

Mangools is an excellent SEO tool that offers several features, from keyword research to competitor domain analyses. The tool has a paid subscription model that is reasonably inexpensive compared to the previous tools, while the solution still has a lot to offer. And if you are unsure about Mangool’s capabilities, they are one of the few providers to offer a free trial of 10 days. So you can test it for yourself.

Mangools platform

Mangool’s solution has a very modern feel to it. The user interface is intuitive, easy to navigate, and suitable for both experts and inexperienced marketers. They also offer free tool guides and other learning materials on their website for those who are just starting with keyword research.

Key functionalities

Mangools offers several solutions and has divided them into five core categories:

  • KWFinder: KWFinder helps you discover new keywords, see what competitors rank for, and get search volumes with historical data. It can also run local keyword research and Search Engine Result Page (SERP) analyses.
  • SERPChecker: SERPChecker provides you with SERP overviews to better understand the ranking of other domains for specific keywords. This way, you can spy on your competitors and see what it requires to outrank them.
  • SERPWatcher: SERPWatcher tracks your ranking, enabling you to track your content’s performance over time.
  • LinkMiner: LinkMiner lets you analyze the backlinks of any website, so you can keep track of your own backlinks as well as those of competitors.
  • SiteProfiler: SiteProfiler is a tool that lets you check the authority of any domain. More specifically, you can analyze the health of a domain, what content generates most of its traffic and its competitive domains.

Pricing

Mangools is competitively priced, especially for the functionalities you get in return. Their starter package Mangools Basic starts at 49 euros a month when you pay upfront annually, and it includes all necessities. The Premium package costs 69 euros monthly with unlimited keyword suggestions and competitor keywords. Finally, the Agency package costs 129 euros a month, offering more seats and fewer restrictions in terms of keyword lookups.

Mangools pricing

5. Moz

Moz is a well-known name in the marketing industry, with tons of informative resources. Moz also offers several paid and free SEO tools to get you started with keyword research. The paid solutions differ based on your company’s profile and whether you need local SEO solutions or general solutions for all markets. If you are unsure which solution is fitting, you can start a free 30-day trial with Moz to figure things out.Moz platform

Moz’s solutions are relatively intuitive to use and have a clean look that provides comprehensive information. In addition, Moz offers a one-on-one walk-through and 24-hour online support as part of the paid packages. This way, you will be able to get the most out of the solutions no matter what your understanding of SEO is.

Key functionalities and pricing

Moz offers three main paid products that can help you with SEO depending on your needs:

  • Moz Local: Moz local is a solution that helps businesses analyze their local SEO presence and reputation. The tool allows you to create and manage local business listings on Google and other websites, monitor, read and respond to reviews, and receive alerts and notifications to improve response times to customers. They also provide features to analyze traffic, clicks, and impressions.

Moz Local starts at 14 dollars a month for the cheapest package and can cost up to 33 dollars a month for the Elite package.

  • Moz Pro: Moz Pro is an SEO tool that helps you identify the right keywords. The tool lets you understand where your website visitors come from, do keyword research, analyze how your rankings are performing over time, audit your website, find suggestions to optimize your pages, and identify what kind of backlinks your competitors use.

Moz Pro starts at 79 dollars monthly for the Standard plan and can cost up to 479 monthly for a Premium plan. The Medium plan costs 143 dollars a month, and the Large plan costs 239 dollars a month. Depending on the size of your team and how much you will use the tool, you can select the plan that fits all your requirements.

Moz pricing

  • STAT: STAT is a solution built for enterprises to track SERP performance and gain complete insights into SEO. With the solution, you can track SERPs globally on a daily basis and gather intelligence on competition.

STAT’s price starts at 720 dollars monthly for 6,000 keywords and it includes expert support that provides training, tailor-made insights, and reporting.

In addition, Moz offers various free tools that can help you get started with keyword research. All of the free tools require you to create an account first. Some of the functionalities include:

  • Keyword Explorer to discover keywords.
  • Free Competitive Research to review other domains and find interesting opportunities for your website.
  • Link Explorer to uncover backlinks that could be valuable to your website.
  • MozBar is a Chrome extension to examine the search and page metrics of any site you visit.
  • My Online Presence to analyze your local appearance on search engines.
  • Free Domain Analysis by entering any website to identify top-ranked pages, keywords the domain ranks for, and more.
  • MozCast helps you track the impact of weather patterns on your website’s performance.

6. SpyFu

SpyFu’s solution has a range of functionalities that can help you with keyword research. Their primary angle is discovering new keyword opportunities by spying on competitive domains. SpyFu’s intel provides you with insight into your competitors’ PPC keywords and keywords that rank organically. SpyFu has many free functionalities on its website but has paid subscription models for when you need to uncover more extensive insights.

SpyFu platform

You can test SpyFu’s functionalities for free on their website by entering a domain URL in the search bar. By doing so, you will notice that the user interface is intuitive and straightforward. However, the platform requires some knowledge of content marketing and advertising to understand the marketing language used in the reports.

Key functionalities

SpyFu mainly focuses on competitor keyword research. The solution’s functionalities can be categorized into seven different areas:

  • SEO Research: with SpyFu’s SEO Research, you can analyze basic SEO information of domains, such as organic keyword performance, top keywords, competitors, keyword overlap, keyword gaps, backlinks, ranking history, top pages, and keyword trends.
  • PPC Research: PPC Research is a tool to analyze Google Ads that competitors run, what keywords they target, how successful they are, how much traffic they bring in, as well as their history.
  • Keyword Research: Keyword Research’s functionality analyzes specific keywords like any other tool. It provides essential information on search volumes, clicks, keyword difficulty, similar keywords, and keyword-related questions. The tool also shows you a SERP analysis of your searched keywords.
  • Backlinks: with Backlinks, you can analyze which backlinks your competitors benefit from and use them to your website’s advantage.
  • Tracker and Reporting: SpyFu’s Tracker tool tracks how your keywords perform and provides you with regular updates. With the Reporting feature, you can build customized reports and get expert help if necessary.

Pricing

SpyFu’s pricing starts at 33 dollars a month for the Basic package, which includes a limited number of search results, domain overviews, and historical data periods. For larger domains, the Professional package is available at 58 dollars a month, providing API access and all features without any limits.

SpyFu pricing

7. Jaaxy

Jaaxy offers tools for keyword research and competitive domain analysis based on data from Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Their tool is pretty simplistic and easy to use but does require some time to get used to. Jaaxy offers free credits to those who sign up for the platform so you can quickly test the solution. Nevertheless, you can only view a limited amount of data with the free trial.

Jaaxy platform

Key functionalities

Jaaxy offers various features. These are the ones you should be aware of:

  • Keywords: like other tools, the keywords functionality uncovers data on specific keywords such as traffic, keyword difficulty, how many competitors rank for the keywords, and related similar keywords.
  • Alphabet Soup: Alphabet Soup gives you alphabetical keyword combinations with the initial keyword you searched for in your analysis. This way, you can identify potential new keyword combinations or phrases.
  • Site Rank: Site Rank allows you to track your domain’s SEO performance for specific keywords and those of competitors.
  • Search Analysis: Search Analysis is a tool to analyze SERPs for different keywords. It will give you an overview of the leading domains ranking for your researched keywords.
  • Brainstorm: Brainstorm gives you new keyword ideas related to your keywords that are based on data from Google Trends.

Pricing

Jaaxy offers a limited free trial with 30 credits. Its paid subscription starts at 49 dollars a month and includes the most relevant functionalities. Their Enterprise package costs 99 dollars a month.

Jaaxy pricing

8. Google Keyword Planner

Google also has its own keyword research tool that was initially developed to discover keywords for search advertising. However, you can also use it to get new keyword ideas for SEO. When you create a Google Ads account, you automatically gain access to Keyword Planner.

Google Keyword Planner platform

Keyword Planner is very intuitive to use when you are used to navigating Google’s advertising platform. And if you do not have any previous experience using it, there are plenty of online resources to help you get started.

Key functionalities

Google Keyword Planner has two main functionalities:

  • Discover new keywords: with this function, you can get ideas based on a given keyword or a specific domain. Google analyzes the keyword or domain in question and uncovers keywords that are closely related to that keyword. The suggested keywords include search volumes, historic volume trends, and what advertisers are bidding on the keywords to rank at the top of the page.
  • Get search volume and forecasts: this functionality gives you insight into the exact seed keyword you type, instead of suggesting other keyword ideas. The same data is shown here; volumes, volume trends, and cost-per-click data. You can modify the columns to include even more detailed information.

Pricing

Google Keyword Planner is free of charge but requires you to create a Google Ads account for your business. You can find more information on how to start an ads account on Google’s support pages.

9. Keywords Everywhere

Keywords Everywhere is another excellent tool that can be used for keyword research. It differs from other tools because it offers keyword research on the go. You can download their browser extension for free and use it while browsing search engines. It will automatically recognize your search queries on different search engines and offer insights related to that query. Even the free version can provide valuable insights.

 

Keywords Everywhere platform

Keywords Everywhere is quite intuitive because it integrates flawlessly with different search engines. However, the data that is shown can only be exported to an Excel sheet or PDF, and several Excel sheets can become challenging to manage.

Key functionalities

Keywords Everywhere’s extension works on Google’s search tools, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Answer the Public and Soovle, and shares some of the following insights:

  • Search volume: like other tools, search volumes can be found for each keyword. It also offers insights into volume trends dating back to as far as 2004.
  • Cost per click: the cost-per-click can be analyzed based on your search queries to investigate how much advertisers are willing to pay for them.
  • Competition: Keywords Everywhere gives you a picture of how competitors are performing. You can analyze any webpage or website and see how it ranks in the top 20 first results of SERPs.
  • Related keyword data: the extension highlights related keywords, relevant other searches, keyword difficulty, and long-tail keywords.
  • API Key: an API is offered to organizations that want to integrate the solution with their keyword research technology stack.

Pricing

Keyword Everywhere’s pricing model differs from other vendors as the company charges you for the credits you use. There are no monthly subscriptions. One credit equals one keyword, and credits expire after one year. Keywords Everywhere claims that the average user only pays 10 dollars a year with this model. The cheapest offer is 100,000 credits, which costs 10 dollars. 500,000 or 1,000,000 credits cost 50 or 100 dollars respectively. Also, more extensive packages are offered for more extensive keyword research operations.

Keywords Everywhere pricing

 

10. Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest is a keyword research tool that is part of Neil Patel’s Digital marketing company. The company is known for its many exciting resources regarding digital marketing and SEO for marketers. Their tool, Ubersuggest, can help with keyword research by providing insights into competitive domains, top SEO pages, keyword suggestions, content ideas, and backlink data.

Ubersuggest platform

Ubersuggest offers an intuitive and modern user interface that you can quickly try on its website. You can also create a free account to uncover some additional insights. On top of the keyword research tool, an extension is offered that works similarly to Keywords Everywhere’s extension.

Key functionalities

Ubersuggest has a diverse range of functionalities that you can benefit from:

  • Site Audits: with Site Audit, you can identify and fix SEO issues on your website. The feature gives you an overview of SEO health and specific issues, instructions to resolve issues, and compares it against Google’s standards.
  • Keyword Research: keyword research gives you insight into basic keyword properties like traffic volume, trends, CPC, and keyword difficulty. The tool also provides keyword ideas and suggestions based on your primary keywords. In addition, the tool analyzes competitive domains to identify keyword gaps, competitive traffic, and keywords in common. A few content ideas and channel suggestions to create content based on the keywords are also offered.
  • Traffic Estimation: this feature gives you data on any other domain, how its traffic has developed over time, and what the top keywords and pages on those domains are.
  • Backlinks: Backlinks allows you to identify backlinks your competitors have built and compares them with what the backlink opportunities for your domain.
  • Labs: Ubersuggest’s last feature is called Labs, which helps you generate keyword ideas based on domain analyses of competitors. It also includes an AI writer that can assist in composing blogs, articles, or other types of content.

Pricing

Ubersuggest starts at 29 euros a month for managing one website. All packages include a 7-day trial where you can cancel the subscription anytime. Businesses that need to work with several websites pay 49 euros a month, and large agencies or enterprises pay at least 99 euros a month.

Ubersuggest pricing

What is the best keyword research tool for you?

Deciding on the right keyword research tool for your team depends on your requirements and budget. Of course, tools like Ahrefs and Semrush offer very comprehensive features, but they can get quite expensive, and only some businesses or entrepreneurs require such advanced solutions. There are plenty of great alternatives that are cheaper and still offer functionalities for effective keyword research, such as Keywordtool.io, Mangools, SpyFu, Ubersuggest, and Keywords Everywhere.

The great thing is that many tools also offer free trials or test versions, so we recommend testing different tools first to see which ones fit your requirements best. If you feel that keyword tools are not for you, you can also look for services that do the keyword research for you, such as Balanced Growth Boutique.

Mikko Rindell