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What is the Best Free Keyword Research Tool?


We all know, or we should, just how important Keyword Research is to any online business. Without it we won’t be able to write the sort of content people are looking for, and we’ll stand little chance of appearing find the right keywords for your campaignprominently in the Search Engine Results Pages, or SERPs.

Unless we do our homework on this, our valuable and well-researched content runs the risk of being buried forever beneath all those well-aged and authority sites that control most of the top rankings.

If we seek, find, and qualify good low competition keywords, however, we can rise above the tide. To do this we need at least one good Keyword Finder.

For the purpose of this article, I’ll assume you understand the basics of what a keyword research tool does. If not, please read this post for a detailed explanation.


So let’s look at some Keyword Research Tools.


Keyword tools fall into three basic groups:

  1. Free. The program is offered totally free of charge, usually by a company that wants to establish a good relationship with you. They’ll happily give you full access to one basic program to build loyalty with an eye to future sales. There’s nothing wrong with this. These types of tools, however, are usually pretty basic, and may not be able to fulfil all your needs.
  2. Freemium. This portmanteau word refers to tools that give you basic access for free, and charge a fee (Premium) for advanced features. Most paid tools offer a free trial that may or may not have all paid features.
  3. Paid, or Premium. Generally speaking, you do get what you pay for. While a free or freemium keyword research tool is going to prove helpful, the best ones you will have to pay for. If you’re like me, however, and like to hold on to every dollar you can, you’ll need to know which ones are worth the money and which aren’t.

This post deals with Free Keyword Tools

choose the right keywordsI’ve assembled a short list of nine free keyword tools that can help you with your article research.


1. Google AdWords: Keyword Planner.

Because this tool is created by Google, you’d be excused for thinking it’d be the “Bee’s Knees”. And to an extent, you’d be right.

Google Keyword Planner has been one of the most popular keyword tools for years. It has fallen out of favour in recent times, though. This is due to a major revamp which now restricts the amount of data available to all but the biggest spenders in terms of Adwords outlay.

When I first started out with affiliate marketing I used this tool almost exclusively. I still sometimes refer to it as a backup for other tools in my arsenal.

An obvious advantage of Google Keyword Planner is that the data is pulled directly from Google, the world’s leading search engine. (Reportedly around 70% of all online searches)

GKP is designed for use with Google Adwords, and you’ll be asked to set up an account before you can use the tool.

The information supplied covers

  • Average monthly searches
  • Competition rating, and
  • Suggested bid for Adwords

If using it for Adwords, bear in mind that you don’t have to bid what they suggest. They are in it to make a profit for themselves after all. Also, whether your ads show or not has less to do with what you bid than it has with how you optimize for a high click-through rate. More on this in a later article.

To sum up, Google Keywords Planner is nothing special but it does do what it says. (Mostly)

My Rating? — 6 out of 10


2. Google Correlate

Again, created by Google, and gleaning all its data directly from the Google search engine.

The purpose of this tool is to find keywords that are searched for together. Just enter your primary keyword and Correlate finds related terms. This tool can be extremely useful for finding Long-Tail keywords you might not otherwise think of.

Definitely an invaluable tool, but as an adjunct to a main keyword finder.

My Rating? — 8 out of 10

Edit: Google Correlate has been scrapped. Apparently, it was being ignored by just about everyone and Mr Google has decided to do away with it altogether. When time permits, I’ll find another free tool to replace it in this post.


3. AdWord & SEO Keyword Permutation Generator


This tool takes a slightly different approach.

You get to enter one or more keywords into each of three boxes. You then hit “generate permutations” and the program will mix up the various keywords and show you the results.

Many of these won’t make sense, and can’t be used. However, if you’re willing to persevere and spend enough time experimenting you just may come up with something really good, that you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.

You can then run the new keyword(s) through a standard research tool to check for suitability.


My Rating? — 6 out of 10 (It works, but can become a huge time sink)


4. IMforSMB Bulk Keyword Generator


Now I have to admit that prior to researching this post I’d never heard of this one.

IMforSMB is designed for finding keywords for local service businesses.

You select a category, choose service type and as much detail as you can, and click “Generate Keywords”.

The results generated aren’t likely to be anything you wouldn’t come up with yourself, given enough time, but this tool will save you heaps of time, effort, and possible frustration.

If your particular business isn’t listed, simply select the closest alternative and replace the business in the listed keywords with your own.

My Rating? — 6 out of 10


5. Keyword In


When you visit this site you’ll be presented with columns, into which you place a selection of your choice of keywords and modifiers.

The program mashes the terms together and generates a list of potential long-tail keywords based on your input.

As with AdWord & SEO Keyword Permutation Generator above, the results won’t all make sense. (In fact, probably most won’t) Spend some time, however, and experiment with the settings, and you just might find that gem you’re looking for.

In terms of straight out simplicity and ease of use, this tool wins hands down. Is it something we need to be using? Try it and see what you think. Everybody’s experience will vary.

My Rating? — 6 out of 10


6. Soovle


This is another one that I wasn’t aware of prior to researching this article.

It’s also one that I’ll be adding to my arsenal of keyword tools.

We’ve all (hopefully) heard of Google’s autocomplete feature. When you enter any search term into the search box Google tries to guess what you may be looking for, based on its database of previous searches worldwide. It then “autocompletes” suggestions for you in the search box.

Soovle does basically the same thing, but it uses the databases of Wikipedia, Yahoo, Answers.com, YouTube, Bing, and even Amazon as well as Google. The results from each source are shown in individual groups and you can select and/or search straight from the listings.

You can choose which source you want to be highlighted by selecting the icon just below the search box.

Top marks for simplicity, and again, you just need to play around with your entered keywords and settings to find a gem or two which you can then run through your main keyword tool for traffic and competitiveness.

My Rating? — 8 out of 10


7. SEO Chat Suggestion Keyword Finder


Note that this is a keyword finder, as are most free keyword tools. That is to say, it won’t give you any metrics on search results, competition, etc. Having said that, it can be a useful addition to your arsenal.

A good feature of this is that it provides three levels of results. You simply enter the basic keyword you’re researching, select from levels 1, 2, or 3, click “Submit Query” and see a list of generated keywords.

Level 1 is fairly narrow, whilst the other levels will give more diverse results.

A great tool for finding Long-Tail keywords which can then be checked with your primary research tool for suitability.

My Rating? — 7 out of 10


8. WordStream Free Keyword Tool


I was unsure as to whether to include this one here or to save it for the Freemium list.

It’s true, you can use it for free directly from their website, though with limitations.

In the end, I decided to include Wordstream’s offering as even the free version does offer some good features.

You get 30 free searches. The site displays 10 results, but if you don’t object to letting them add your email to their list they’ll send you the full results direct to your inbox.

The Wordstream tool works much like Google Keyword Planner. It’s user-friendly with not much of a learning curve.

There’s also a Free Keyword Niche Finder, designed to assist you in finding a profitable niche. Very handy if you’re still undecided or just on the lookout for a new direction.

The free version offered here is intended to introduce you to the range of software tools Wordsearch produce. All their tools are powerful, informative, and accurate. All, as far as I know, have free versions.

My Rating? — 8 out of 10

9. Bing Keyword Research Tool


We’ve all heard of Bing. The “other” search engine.

Now let’s face it, if we ignore Bing we are virtually turning our back on up to 30% of internet users.

Microsoft Internet Explorer, which comes pre-installed with Windows, uses the Bing database, and many Windows users are quite happy to simply use Microsoft Explorer as their browser. After all, it does the job for most. (My preference is for Firefox, but we all have our own reasons for deciding which web browser we use)

Bing’s offering works in pretty much the same way as Google Keyword Planner. The difference is that the data comes from Bing’s own database. This tool uses only organic search metrics, completely disregarding any paid search results, so some say that it’s possibly more accurate than the Google tool.

And besides that, I really doubt there’d be much difference between Google’s search metrics and Bing’s.

Aside from the Google Adwords tool, this is the only truly free program to give a good breakdown of the search results. Other tools in the genuinely free category are only keyword finders.

My Rating? — 8 out of 10

(It gets an extra point over Google because you don’t have to open an ad account to use it)

10. KW Finder

This is actually a sample of the paid version of KW Finder Pro. You can use it for free, and as far as I can see there’s no time limit. The only restriction is that you only get 5 searches every 24 hours but you do get 50 results per search.

When you follow this link, you’ll be taken to their home page, where you’ll find a search box for you to enter the keyword/s of your choice and retrieve the search metrics.

Unlike most free access K/W tools, this KW Finder trial gives you full access to all features.

This gets a 9 out of 10 Rating.

My most recommended free tool by far. Here’s the link again.

This list represents a cross-section of the types of free keyword tools available. I’m sure there are possibly a dozen or more others that I’ve not included.

Free Keyword Tools are mostly just trial versions of Paid Tools. They usually only work as suggestion tools initially, requiring you to sign up to the trial period to access the metrics. I’ve avoided including any in this category here. With the exception of Wordstream, that is.



Do you use a free keyword tool? If so, which one?

What’s your opinion on free Vs paid keyword research tools?

Feel free to chip in below with your views or comments.

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you found this post useful. Stay tuned for the third instalment ? my Paid Keyword Research Tools review.

Let me guide you and help you avoid online scams.
The Busy Bee


Cheers for now.

Ross.         > .




  1. Rooma says:

    Hi, Thomas your posts are informative. I am also looking for work from opportunities, wanted to try WA after reading your post, but it says free starter plan not enabled for your country i.e India.

  2. Ross says:

    Hi Rooma. Yeah, it’s a bit of a problem. There have been a few scam operators coming from India and some other places as well, so the powers-that-be within WA have decided to restrict free access to some zones.
    You can still sign up though. I’d recommend trying the $19 starter price for one month. I’d definitely recommend Wealthy Affiliate to anyone wanting to build an online business regardless.
    Good luck, and thanks for commenting.

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