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With so many keyword research tools on the market and with so many guides out there, we have decided to review which keyword research tools are still being used and by who in 2020. We have gone through a lot of keyword research guides on the internet and have compiled a list of which tools are being used the most and by who. We believe the keyword research tools that are being used the most amongst the experts in the field are a pretty good bet to start off with. All the experts we mention have very in-depth guides on the tools so if you are looking at starting a site, buying a site or looking to grow your own site, they have some great content that will help you with the keyword research portion.

The keyword research tools we personally have used in the past are SEMRush, Ahrefs, Long Tail Pro, and SECockpit. We have had mixed results with them all  but use a combination of the tools to narrow down the keywords we go after. So without further ado, here are the results.

Top 9 Keyword Research Tools in 2020

1. Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is a free application that requires a Google Ads Account (also free to register). The platform is actually designed for google ad campaigns instead of SEO, however it still provides valuable data for the initial stages of keyword research by displaying a list of keyword ideas and including the search queries. 

Pros

Pros
  • Google’s Keyword Planner is THE most reliable source of keyword information online, because, unlike most other tools, the data you get from the Keyword Planner come straight from Google.” – Backlinko​

Cons

Cons
  • Keyword Planner offers related keywords, and estimates for CPC and search volume. Because search volume numbers are estimates and grouped by keyword, it can be difficult to get precise data.” – PageOnePower​

2. SEMRush 

SEMRush offers three cost plans, each going up in value as more features are included. The first is Pro valued at $99.95 a month with access to 28 advanced tools such as rankings, competitors traffic sources and social media results. Guru costs $199.95 a month and provides branded reports, historical data and extended limits in addition to all the Pro features. The Business plan is valued at $399.95 a month, which includes all Guru features with the addition of white label reports, API access and sharing options.

Pros

Pros
  • SEMrush is particularly useful for competitive keyword research. This is invaluable information as you can learn exactly which keywords are attracting the attention of your competitors’ audience (also known as your audience).” – PageOnePower
  • SEMrush is a HUGE time saver. Instead of popping random keywords into a tool, SEMrush shows you the exact keywords that a site already ranks for.” – Backlinko

Cons

Cons
  • The user interface is not very user-friendly and requires a certain degree of understanding and experience. In other words, the user interface is a little too technical for beginners” – CultOfWeb

3. Ahrefs

Ahrefs basic plan is valued at $99 per month, which includes various advanced metrics such as clicks per search, return rate and percentage of paid clicks. The platform allows you to access ten different seed words which provide thousands of keyword ideas.

Pros

Pros
  • “Since Ahrefs also offers comprehensive link data, it is a strong candidate if your budget only allows for one tool.” -PageOnePower​

Cons

Cons
  • “My one gripe with Keyword Explorer (Ahrefs) is that it’s not great at coming up with new keyword ideas. It usually generates keywords that are just simple variations of the keyword I typed in.”- Backlinko​

4. Moz Keyword Explorer 

Moz has both a free plan and a Pro membership which is priced at $99 per month. In order to access the Keyword Explorer feature there are two additional types available for the Pro membership. Level 1 is priced at $600 USD per year and includes access to 5,000 keyword reports per month and 10 keyword lists with 500 keywords per list. Level 2 is priced at $1800 USD per year and provides access to 30,000 keyword reports per month and 30 keyword lists with 1,000 keywords per list. With Moz’s free membership you can access 5 keyword searches a day. The membership program includes access to many premium SEO tools such as a keyword difficulty, monthly search volume, keyword priority and a SERP analysis tool.

Pros

Pros
  • “The “keyword priority” function of the tool can be especially helpful as it can save you time manually by pointing out which keywords have potential for the most impact.” -PageOnePower​

Cons

Cons
  • “Groups keywords with low lexical similarity: While this can save you time, it can also lead to missing keyword opportunities.” -Moz

5. Ubersuggest 

Ubersuggest is a free tool that is perfect for doing SEO within a budget. It offers many premium features for free, such as search volume, CPC and SEO difficulty. It also allows you to view competitor’s backlinks and the keywords they are ranking for, with confidence the data is accurate since it comes from Google’s suggest engine. 

Pros

Pros
  • “For low budgets, you can optimize a low competition, low cost per click option that still gets good Results.” – Neil Patel

Cons

Cons
  • “Can be difficult to find results related to specific niche markets, such as English speakers in Egypt. “ – Binpress

6. AnswerThePublic 

AnswerThePublic is free, however they have a Pro plan for $99 a month with the main difference between the two being limited versus, unlimited daily searches. AnswerThePublic differs from other keyword research tools as in response to an inputted seed keyword idea, the output is a variety of questions that include the inputted keyword

Pros

Pros
  • “While you can use AnswerThePublic for any kind of keyword research, it really shines as a way to help you find the questions people are actually asking. This is important because people don’t just type queries into search engines anymore; they also search by voice, often via their mobile devices.” – Optimonster

Cons

Cons
  • “The free version only allows three searches a day and setting a different language and location requires an upgrade to Pro.” – BforBloggers

7. Keywords Everywhere 

Keywords Everywhere is a Chrome extension priced according to credits of keyword data, currently it is $1 for every 10,000 credits. It offers a variety of effective keyword research features such as search volume, competition and average CPC. The extension is unique in the fact that these features appear immediately when you type anything in on Google, Amazon and eBay etc,.

Pros

Pros
  • “While you can use AnswerThePublic for any kind of keyword research, it really shines as a way to help you find the questions people are actually asking. This is important because people don’t just type queries into search engines anymore; they also search by voice, often via their mobile devices.” – Optimonster

Cons

Cons
  • “The free version only allows three searches a day and setting a different language and location requires an upgrade to Pro.” – BforBloggers

8. KWFinder 

KWFinder is a paid tool with three separate subscription options, Basic ($29.90/month), Premium ($39.90/month) and Agency ($79.90/month). With the Basic plan you have access to 100 keywords every 24 hours, 200 keyword suggestions per search, 100 SERP lookups every 24 hours, as well as many more additional features. 

Pros

Pros
  • “KW Finder filters keywords that aren’t profitable. It helps you get rid of low-traffic, high difficulty score, or any other keywords you don’t want to rank for.” – Toolsrush

Cons

Cons
  • “It’s not a full replacement for tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush(Get SEMrush 30 day free trial here)because it doesn’t let you perform competitor research” – Digital GYD

9. LongTailPro

Long Tail Pro is a premium tool priced at $47 per month. It is most commonly known for displaying keyword competitiveness in an efficient and easy way. It also allows you to export keywords in excel, find long-tail high-CPC keywords, find available domain names and more.

Pros

Pros
  • “Long Tail Pro is a great all-in-one tool that will help you brainstorm for keyword ideas, but will then go the next critical step and help you analyze the difficulty of ranking for that keywords.” – Niche Pursuits

Cons

Cons
  • “The limit on seed keyword could be higher.  Again, I just want MORE of a good thing. The limit is currently 5, I wish it were 10 or more.” – Niche Pursuits

Chart of the Keyword Research Tools Used By the Experts

Here is a table that displays which blog talks about which keyword research tool that we mentioned above.

Indepth Guides Created By Experts

Below we have listed all the keyword research guides we talked about above. For each keyword research guide done by an expert we do a brief recap of what they talk about and some thoughts on their process and tools they use.

Mangools Recap 

The Mangools research guide is summarized into four different chapters that illustrate how to find the best keywords for SEO. Chapter one revolves around keyword research basics, depicting what keyword research is (i.e., finding the phrases people use to search for information on the internet); why it is important (to understand the language of potential visitors in order to optimize site content); how to do it (tips & tricks); when to do it (is usually the first step of search engine optimization of any website and is needed when you are looking for a new niche / new content ideas, or optimizing your existing content); and who should do it (any website owner, blogger, online marketer or SEO specialist). It also provides a definition of “keyword”, a history of how keyword research has evolved over time, and a description of the stages of keyword research (1. Finding the keywords, 2. Analyzing the keywords, and 3. Using the keywords). Chapter 2 provides practical advice on how to find keywords, as in order to write compelling content that covers the needs of people interested in your niche, you need to know what they are looking for. Chapter 2 also discusses the difference between short-tail and long-tail keywords and delves into a variety of tools and platforms where you can find keywords, such as KWFinder, Google Keyword Planner, AnswerThePublic, and Google Search Console. Chapter 3 outlines how to analyze keywords in order to select the ones that will bring the most value to you. The key aspects are popularity, difficulty and relevance of the keyword. Chapter 4 then examines some useful tips on how to use the keywords properly within your content.

Kinsta Recap

Kinsta compares keyword research and displays it in an organized and comprehensive step-by-step keyword research guide. The guide includes keyword research fundamentals, search volume and long tail keywords, search intent, the role of LSI and synonyms, how to do keyword research and finally the best keyword research tools. Section 1, keyword research fundamentals, covers what keyword research is (finding keywords to target in a SEO campaign), as well as its role in digital marketing. It delves into the importance of it in order to understand the keywords income potential and competition for it. Section 2 depicts the relevance behind search volume, specifically how it can be deceiving, and offers insight into targeting keywords not solely on search volume. The section also explains what long tail keywords are and how to use them, particularly if your aiming for your website be the google result for a highly specific search. The third section describes search intent, to help you determine what the user is looking for by characterizing the differences between and providing examples for high buying intent, research intent, and informational intent. Section 3 defines the role of LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) in keyword research, specifying that it essentially represents synonyms – words commonly found together within a keyword research topic. Section 4, how to do keyword research, outlines a numbered process consisting of first finding keyword ideas, second checking the keyword difficulty and search volume, third determining their search intent, and fourth finding and utilizing keyword silos. Section 5, recommends five keyword research tools: Ubersuggest, Keyword Shitter, Keywords Everywhere, Ahrefs and SEMrush – relaying their helpfulness and how to use them. Finally section 6 compares them all, exposing that Ahrefs and Keywords Everywhere are the best two. Ahrefs is praised for  being a complete SEO software allowing for the ranking of a site, and Keywords Everywhere is recommended for letting you see search volume and keyword ideas whenever your using Google’s search engine. 

Neil Patel Recap

The Neil Patel guide to keyword research is a three-part series covering the ins and outs of keyword research and framing it as the basis of any and all online marketing campaigns. The guide begins will outlining the overarching goal of keyword research – finding your target audience and determining the keywords that will take you to them. The very first chapter begins by illustrating how to   set up a spreadsheet for your keyword research as well as keyword discovery. This involves brainstorming the main focuses of your site and translating them into suitable phrases. This chapter also revolves around keyword discovery tools listing a variety of free and premium ones such as Ubsersuggest, Google Search Suggestions, Google Keyword Planner and Moz. This guide in particular goes extremely in-depth in analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of each tool, and also incorporates and extensive “how to use” portion for each of them. Chapter two helps with analyzing and choosing the best keywords by using Moz to demonstrate a data analysis that narrows down your potential keyword options. To interpret this data, the chapter suggests putting it back into the spreadsheet to provide a digital display of which keywords have the most searches and most competition. In terms of finally deciding on a keyword the guide presents a list of criteria: 1. Keywords that match your intent (commercial or information etc.) 2. High search volume with low competition 3. High search volume with competitors who have a low domain authority and backlinks. Chapter three is dedicated to representing the 40 top keyword research posts of 2017. This list includes 19 other keyword research process/guides, 15 other keyword research tools, 5 other guides for keywords around content and product development, 2 other sources for keyword metrics and ranking reports, and finally 2 free e-books on keyword research. 

Niche Pursuits Recap

The Niche Pursuits Keyword Research guide, created by Spencer Haws a Co-Founder of Motion Invest, is a very in-depth and comprehensive overall tutorial on how to find low competition keywords and analyze the first page of google for SEO. The guide has five different overarching sections, each possessing many different subsections. The main goal for the entire article is for people to understand that the top reason websites fail is due to keywords that are too difficult to rank, and to prevent this from occurring. The first section, “what is keyword research and why does it matter?”, covers the basic definition of finding out terms that are searched for on google, and how this knowledge will help to improve a websites content. The second section is titled “how to do niche keyword research”, and delves into brainstorming for keywords, using seed keywords to find related keywords and finally the steps involved to analyze the first page of google for your keyword. Within this step are many other sections for guidance such as, google ranking factors to analyze, the importance of links and authority, and finally keyword analysis guidelines. The third section revolves around keyword research examples, providing both keywords that should be targeted and ones that should not be. The fourth section breaks down all the various good and free keyword research tools, including how to use them and the pro’s and con’s of each. Some popular ones consist of Google Keyword planner, Keywords Everywhere, Answer the Public and Ubersuggest. The fifth section further breaks down keyword research tools, however these ones offer more premium features and therefore have a paid rate on a monthly basis. Premium tools that are recommended include Long Tail pro, KWFinder, Semrush and Ahrefs. 

Backlinko Recap

Backlino is a definitive guide to keyword research in 2019 and is sectioned into six different chapters. Chapter 1 is keyword research basics, which provides an outline what keyword research is, why it is important for SEO and how it can help a site’s traffic grow with real-world examples. Chapter 2 concerns how to find keyword ideas, and instructs for you to first brainstorm a list of topics and then use Google and Youtube Suggest to receive some general initial ideas. This chapter also illustrates how to effectively find keywords on both Reddit and Wikipedia, as well as how to find popular topics using forums. Chapter 3 is an extensive list of keyword research tools, depicting how to use them, their pros and cons, and a comparison between them all. This list refers to the following tools: Keywords Everywhere, Ubersuggest, Google Keyword Planner, Semrush and Ahrefs. Chapter 4 summarizes keyword difficulty and how to know if a keyword is too competitive to rank for. This section suggests that long tail keywords are usually less competitive but further breaks keywords down into their three types – head terms, body keywords and long tail keywords – to be more specific when analyzing the difficulty/competition for each keyword. The authority of sites on Google’s first page is also taken into account to evaluate a keyword’s difficulty, for example, if the first page includes sites such as Wikipedia, the keyword is too competitive. Chapter 5 dictates precise criteria for how to choose a keyword, by analyzing aspects such as search volume, the organic click-through-rate, difficulty, CPC (cost per click), business fit, and keyword trends. Finally, chapter 6 reviews some additional advanced tips and strategies, such as Barnacle SEO, GSC Keyword Research, optimizing content around synonyms and related keywords, and lastly, Ahrefs content gap. 

WordStream Recap

Found in WordStream’s Blog section is a large and easy guide to keyword research designed for businesses. The guide begins by explaining what keyword research is and why it is important, specifically noting that our economy is running on the internet, making it imperative for businesses to have an online presence and stating that “keywords are the building blocks of your business.” Keyword research is significant for SEO in particular, as it allows for optimizing an engine search. In addition, keyword research is also important for fueling your content strategy and for paid campaigns. The relevance of keyword intent is discussed, as marketing cannot be conducted without an end goal for how it is perceived. The article then goes into how to begin keyword research, with the first step being brainstorming a list of broad topics related to your business and the second to utilize keyword tools to find more specific keywords. Next in the guide is the recommended five keyword tools for conducting keyword research: Wordstream’s Keyword tool, Google Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Explorer, SEMrush and Google Suggestions. How to conduct competitive keyword research is then examined by providing insight into seeing what your competitors are ranking for. The keyword research tool AnswerThePublic is then referred to when describing researching question keywords, which allows you to target the exact problems potential consumers will be searching for. In terms of Paid Search Marketing (PPC), the guide provides a list of tips to consider: 1. Research the associated costs for each keyword, 2. Make sure to do negative keyword research, 3. Bid highest on commercial intent keywords, and 4. Group your keywords properly. 

PageOnePower Recap

PageOnePower is an extremely comprehensive and thorough keyword research guide, broken up into eight detailed sections. Before the first section begins however, as all reliable keyword research guides do, PageOnePower introduces what keyword research is, and why it is important for SEO purposes. This guide defines keyword research as consumer research to identify and analyze the behaviour of consumers and how this behaviour will influence SEO strategies. The importance of keyword research is summarized in this article by stating that it leads to growth of an online sites brand presence through optimizing search traffic and determining competition. The first section revolves around understanding important keyword attributes, which are metrics such as keyword type, searcher intent, search volume, keyword difficulty and associated SERP features. The section then further delves into the details of each, for example within keyword type the tree main ones (head, body and long-tail) are characterized. The second section is how to start keyword research, with the first tip being to evaluate the keywords your website currently ranks for, in order to set achievable goals for future success. The third section focuses on building a list of seed keywords, and recommends doing so by researching niche topics and exploring related search terms on Google. The fourth section surrounds grouping keywords by opportunity, allowing you to narrow down your previous list of seed keywords. This section further details the characteristics and differences between high-opportunity keywords, medium-opportunity keywords and low-opportunity keywords to ensure you are aware where your keywords fall. The fifth section depicts how to create SEO keyword research reports, outlining the main aspects which include the executive summary, key takeaways, methodology and exported keyword lists. The sixth section discusses advanced keyword  research techniques by citing other research guides that focus on specific research tools. The seventh section is the keyword research glossary which provides reference to many complex terms associated with keyword research. The eighth and final section illustrates and abundance of keyword research tools such as Keywords Everywhere, Keyword.io, SERPs Keyword Research Database, Google Keyword Planner, SERPWoo, Moz Keyword Explorer, Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and SEMrush. 

Content Marketing Institute Recap

The Content Marketing Institute provides an article that is a nutshell guide to proper keyword research. The article begins with a disclaimer stating that keywords themselves are not “the end-all, be-all strategy in creating online content,” if used accurately however, the research does allow you to effectively target your consumers. Following this declaration, semantic search (intent-based search) is then introduced and discussed. Semantic search is portrayed as extremely relevant for keyword research, as it transforms dry keyword phrases to match the searchers intent and context. The article then moves into three ways to find intent-based keywords, such as creating a list of foundational keywords, utilizing auto-suggest, and prioritizing the best keywords. To bring keyword research to the next level, this guide refers to modern tools for improving research. These tools consist of surveying your users (through sites like Seed Keywords), using keyword data from your competitors (through sites like SEMRush), and purposing your writing to be for humans. Next, comprehensive details of five keyword research tools are mentioned, these tools are: Wordtracker, Google Keyword Planner, Authority Labs, Keyword Spy and BuzzSumo. Although this guide is quite shorter than most keyword research guides, it concisely summarize all the amazing benefits received through conducting keyword research for SEO, while providing a basic foundation of knowledge on the topic. 

Optimonster

Optimonster produces a detailed and expensive keyword research guide, with a preliminary focus on the thirteen best keyword research tools to boost organic traffic. At the beginning of the guide, Optimonster clearly identifies the why keywords are so important – to inform Google that your site is relevant to the content consumers are searching for. Upon understanding why we do keyword research, the guide illustrates how to get started by brainstorming seed keywords. For this step, it is recommended to create buyer personas/customer avatars, as this will allow for you to clearly imagine what you would type into Google as the consumer looking for your content. The guide then goes directly into a comprehensive list of all the excellent keyword research tools ranging from paid to free ones, all with differing features. Some tools listed are as follows: SEMrush, Ahrefs, MonsterInsights, AnswerThePublic, SEOBook Keyword Suggestion Tool, Google Keyword Planner, Rank Tracker, Google Search Console, Moz Keyword Explorer, Serpstat, and Mangools. Optimonster provides a much higher level of detail in regards to each keyword research tool than most other guides, and they do so by including the pro’s and con’s of each, as aspect of keyword research each tool is best at. The guide concludes by offering two keyword research tools to recommend overall, SEMrush for a premium tool and AnswerThePublic for a free one. 

 

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