Ultimate Guide to Keyword Research Tools

Keyword Research Tools

Building a foundation of awesome keywords for your niche website is critical to your success in developing successful web properties. We have discussed keyword research previously here but focusing on the best keyword research tools is a must when you are creating high quality content and want to generate high quality traffic.

Understanding keyword research – The basics

Keywords are one of the most important foundational steps to building your website. Many organizations invest significant amounts of money, time, and effort into keyword research. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend such amounts of time and effort with the excellent tools available.. Follow this guide and you will see how some of the best keyword research tools can help you succeed in ranking your website.


Choosing keywords can be a tough endeavor. It includes a significant amount of data and a significant amount of organization for the purpose of assessing whether you can rank for a keyword or not.

If you are new to keyword research, please feel free to check out the following post so that you can understand the basics of search engine optimization and keywords.

Hopefully at this point you have an adequate understanding of the importance of keywords and the value it can bring to your website.

There are certainly many tools available that can assist you in analyzing the best keywords for your websites strategic plan. However, when it comes to keyword research tools there are more basic versions that only focus on generating keywords and there are more competitive in premium keyword research tools that focus on keyword generation, competition, and profitability.

Certainly basic keyword research tools are useful and for minor research they have helped me thousands of times. However, the best tools in my mind have been the premium keyword research tools. They provide the depth of data that you need to not only find keywords but find profitable keywords and understand the competition.

Certainly the more basic tools are more likely to be free and the premium tools are more likely to be paid but it is up to you because there are trade-offs on all of these that we will outline below.

In this ultimate guide I will cover the pros and cons of these different keyword research tools, the costs associated with these tools, and ultimately provide you with the best review possible so that you can effectively build your niche website utilizing profitable keywords.

Here are the list of keyword tools that I am going to be covering in this guide. I will be monitoring the best keyword research tools so that I can update this guide on a monthly basis.

Best keyword research tools: May 2017 edition


  • Purpose: All inclusive competitor and keyword analysis tool.
  • Cool Features: Ability to track competitors keyword positions and what is driving traffic.
  • Ease of Use: Easy
  • Flaws: None
  • Pricing: Free for Limited Use or $99 per month.

SEMRUSH is one example of a product made great. It offers more features than your standard keyword research tool. The one foundational thing you need to understand about SEMRUSH is that it allows you to make any keyword research easy and able to be tracked.

Let’s use an example. We are going to use natural beauty products as a general category. To do a competitive analysis, you simply input a competitors domain name or a keyword and you get a wealth of information.

SEMRUSH Domain Analysis

Once you input a domain, the real magic happens. You get all sorts of amazing information including organic traffic, paid traffic, backlinks, top organic keywords, where the backlinks are coming from and even anchor text. Focusing only on the keywords, here is what you get and can track!

SEMRUSH Organic Keyword Search

Let’s talk about the fields and why they are important.

  • Keyword: This highlights the actual keyword the website is ranking for.
  • Pos: The Pos field shows you where the keyword above ranks in Google, or another search engine of your choosing, search results.
  • Volume: This is an excellent tool because it shows you how many times that keyword has been searched for in Google. This would be an exact match keyword not including other variations.
  • KD: This represents the competitiveness of the term for ranking purposes. The higher the number, the harder to rank.
  • CPC and Com: These two focus on (a) how much advertisers pay for the keyword and (b) the competitiveness of advertisers. For Com, the closer you are to 1 is better because it means there are a lot of advertisers!
  • Traffic %: This is the percent of traffic for the keyword that goes to that specific website or page.
  • Results: This shows you how many relevant pages there are on the topic. The lower the better.
  • Trend: This is an awesome part of this tool. It shows you whether a keyword is growing or dying. You want to make sure you are constantly monitoring this so you are not putting too many eggs in one keyword basket.

Of course this is a considerable amount of information but even better is the fact that you can analyze the top keywords driving traffic to any domain or competitor. This is an unbelievable tool.

Why you should use the tool? Writing posts for any niche website or online business is what we do. We focus on building great content but lack a focus on traffic generation. This tool allows you to focus on writing awesome content and generating traffic at the same time. It is simply worth trying out under their free trial as well!

Sign Up Here: Free SEMRUSH Trial Account


  • Purpose: Keyword Competition Tool w/Some Bonuses.
  • Cool Features: Grading scale for how hard a keyword will be to rank for.
  • Ease of Use: Easy
  • Flaws: Cannot truly track competition.
  • Pricing: Free for Limited Use or $25 per month.

KWFinder is a great offer for anyone on a budget. It provides you more than simple keyword ideas but rather actual actionable information to help you discover new keywords. Part of that actionable information includes the difficulty of ranking for the keyword.

We can walk through an example to show you all of the cool things KWFinder offers. In fact, it offers much more detail than most keyword research tools.

Once you input a keyword, the program spits back out all sorts of excellent information from actual search volumes to the difficulty grader which I think is a pretty great way of helping me choose powerful keywords. Let’s take a look.

KWFinder Keyword Analysis

Above you can see the SEO Difficulty graderEssentially, anything less than a 50 is possible and the lower the better. In fact, the website even states that if you are 20 or less on a keyword then you just need to go for it.  The better bonus is that it even provides you with keyword suggestions.

KWFinder Keyword List

Why you should use the tool? This tool truly gives you everything you need when it comes to developing a large list of keywords. Further, you get a valuable tool for analyzing competition through its SERP solution. For an entrepreneur on a budget, this is definitely worth it.

Sign Up Here: KWFinder Keyword Tool

Google Keyword Planner

  • Purpose: Google keyword analysis tool.
  • Cool Features: Ability to analyze keywords and similar keywords based upon Google search volumes.
  • Ease of Use: Easy but not as straight forward as most paid tools.
  • Flaws: Lack of competitive analysis and lack of meaningful data.
  • Pricing: Free! You cannot beat that.

Confessions! I use Google Keyword Planner on a regular basis. Of course I utilize the tools above but I truly still go back to Google Keyword Planner when analyzing my keywords. It is free, mostly straightforward, and is available to all of us.

Google Keyword Search

There is no doubt that this is the most used keyword research tool. The most used! However, it is also free and limited to Google only. You should use this tool but please remember many of the premium versions listed here will provide the depth you need to profit.  Google can do this but I would say it is more limited.

Why you should use the tool? This tool is free and ultimately gives you great information for early and beginner search engine optimization. If you are regularly building niche websites and attacking competitive niches, the other tools on this list will be better.


  • Purpose: Keyword analysis tool that provides you with a depth of information.
  • Cool Features: A cool feature is the ability to intertwine keyword research and profit analysis.
  • Ease of Use: Easy but something most are not used to so be aware.
  • Flaws: More expensive at $40 per month.
  • Pricing: $40 per month.

This is an excellent tool and one of the primary reasons individuals use it relates to the speed of the research. Literally when you work with the product the processing of searches and data is quick, easy, and beats the rest on this list. Another cool feature is that it allows you to find profitable keywords that are less competitive in a more intuitive way. For example, in many of the examples above and below you would to analyze the information. With this product, it merely lets you know what works and what does not.

SECockpit Search Image

As you can see above, the format is a little bit different than most of the keyword tools on here but that is not a bad thing. One cool feature is that it allows you to save these in a file format and continue analyzing those keywords over time.

Why you should use the tool? This tool is excellent for speed and mobile friendly research. If you are interested in those, this is definitely worth a try.

Free Trial – SECockpit


  • Purpose: Keyword generator tool.
  • Cool Features: The program spits back a ton of keywords.
  • Ease of Use: Easy
  • Flaws: Lacks any competitive analysis.
  • Pricing: Free!

UberSuggest is one of those tools everyone should use simply because it provides you with a ton of keywords. It might not offer all of the bells and whistles outlined above but it does offer an excellent tool for its sole purpose: generating keywords. I often utilize this tool for idea generation. I start here, generate some ideas, and then go back to the drawing board with SEMRUSH. The bottom line is that this tool does what it needs to do in an excellent way and its free . . .

UberSuggest Keyword Research

What I really like about this product is that it offers you an alphabetical list of all keyword suggestions. Obviously we lack the search volumes, competition, cost per click, and a lot of necessary data, but merely providing this list gives us a cool look at keyword ideas. One of the biggest problems with keyword research is creativity. Our minds are limited at times and with so much to think about, it can be tough to continue that creativity. UberSuggest definitely helps me with that.

Why you should use the tool? Much like Google Keyword tool, this tool is free and gives you great information for early and beginner search engine optimization. If you are regularly building niche websites and attacking competitive niches, the other tools on this list will be better. With that being said, please keep this in your wheelhouse!


  • Purpose: Keyword generator tool for multiple search engines.
  • Cool Features: Allows you to search for keywords on Amazon.com
  • Ease of Use: Easy
  • Flaws: Lacks any competitive analysis.
  • Pricing: Free with premium option!

KeywordTool is a pretty cool free tool that you can use for multiple purposes. First, it does the obvious and generated hundreds of keywords for you to analyze. Keep in mind that only the pro version gets you the competitive statistics on each keyword. Second, you can search multiple search engines for keywords. This is a really cool feature given the tool is basically free for common keyword research. Finally, one of the coolest features is that you can generate keywords for Amazon. We have written on choosing the right Amazon affiliate product, but this tool gives you a very specific research resource for your Amazon affiliate sites.

KeywordTool Research

A really cool feature is the Amazon feature above. Remember, this is basically a free keyword research tool and it definitely can give you some good product ideas. The Amazon feature can help you understand the common keywords that folks are searching for when they are looking at products on Amazon. Although the tool lacks some of the bells and whistles of other tools, for it being free and offering the Amazon search it is not a bad deal.

Why you should use the tool? Much like Google Keyword tool, this tool is free. It offers Amazon keyword generation. And above all it is free. Bookmark it and use it when you need it!


  • Purpose: Premium keyword and competitive analysis tool.
  • Cool Features: Allows you to track a competitors every mention and movement
  • Ease of Use: Easy
  • Flaws: None at this point
  • Pricing: Free with premium options! $33 per month.

SpyFu is one of those tools that just amazes you. You get all of the information you need on a competitor and then some more. SpyFu is one of my favorite tools because it packages so much into the plan it offers. First, they give you the list of all keywords a competitor is ranking for. This is awesome because you can start to focus on those competing sites to build your own content to compete. Second, they offer search engine optimization research and backlink research on competitors. At this point, you know your competitors keywords, SEO strategy, and backlink profile – Amazing! Finally, some of the best things SpyFu offers is the ability to track all of this over a period of time. In short, it is the ultimate spy tool for competition

SpyFu Overview Page

Let’s look at the overview page. First, it highlights the organic search keywords and traffic for the domain. This is pretty cool because it shows you what opportunities exist for particular domains. Second, it shows the keywords that competitors also rank for. This is a cool feature because it highlights the competition within the space. Finally, the ranking history goes back to the first result in Google! This is pretty cool because it is giving you all of the history of the competition. Sit back, read, and compete! Let’s move onto the keyword research tool it offers though.

SpyFu Keyword Research

So when looking at the above you see all sorts of options when it comes to keyword research. Not only does it focus on monthly local and global search but keyword difficulty, cost per click, and you can find lists of related keywords. With this type of information you can truly become the master of your domain. You do need to make sure you know how to utilize that data though. Nevertheless, this tool is combining the best of other tools outlined above to give you an understanding of not only search volume but profitability as well.

Why you should use the tool? My issues is more of why not? The price is actually pretty good considering what features you get, the keyword research is amazing, and you are getting more valuable information everyday through tracking and research. If you have the budget, this is definitely one of my top tools and one that you should at least keep close in the event you switch up keyword research tools.

Moving Forward

Definitely DO NOT get all of these tools. Look into them and understand the pros and cons. We will be updating this list as new tools come out but make sure you do your own analysis. Part of this is about comfort. All of these are great tools but you have to be comfortable with what you are getting. Even if you focus on free tools only, that is not a bad deal either so long as it fits within your business strategy.

My recommendations are either SEMrush or SpyFu because they are the tools that offer the most bang for your buck. If you are building niche websites and online businesses, these are the tools experts are using. For research that focuses on small day to day issues, it is certainly appropriate to focus on the free tools. I still do!

Alex Ryan

Alex Ryan

Online Entrepreneur at Niche Website Blog
Alex is the founder of Niche Website Blog, a blog about online businesses, blogging, and financial freedom. He discusses how his entrepreneurial ventures have evolved and how he paid off debt, created online businesses, and ultimately creates financial freedom.
Alex Ryan

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1 comment… add one
  • Roy Molyneux

    With this range of tools, there’s no reason why we can’t find the keywords that we are looking for. Even the free versions offer so much. Thanks for this summary.

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