Ok, not bragging but this is an epic list of keyword research tools for 2020. And no, we’re not listing the most obvious ones. We’ve already covered them here – Best keyword research tools.
There’s a golden rule in SEO that I follow.
Get your basics right. The rest will follow.
Well, it doesn’t get basic than keyword research, isn’t it?
Whatever empire you’re building, it has to have a foundation and if it isn’t done right, your empire is only as good as a castle of cards.
And keyword research is probably the most “painstaking” part in SEO.
You gotta spend hours together, moving keyword data in and out of tools, pivoting them on spreadsheets, running advanced operators to truncate them, cluster them metric-wise – phew! Just too much work.
Well, call me old but even in 2020, keyword research has been pretty much the same. A lot of manual work and a lot of leftover spreadsheets.
A search for “coronavirus conspiracies” on some of the leading keyword research tools showed inconsistent data. This goes out to show that one cannot rely completely on keyword research tools.
Thanks to some cool new tools, keyword research today has gotten a little more easier. But at the same time, it’s broken in a few (though very rare) cases as well.
Where do Keyword Research Tools get their data from?
I’ve often wondered this myself.
Isn’t Google AdWords Tool the best keyword tool since it’s from Google?
Why should I use a third party tool? How can I trust them?
These were the questions I had myself, when I started Keyword Research back in my early SEO days.
So, turns out that even though Google has it’s own keyword tool, it can’t be fully trusted and is not meant for SEO. (Source – Moz)
- It has rounded numbers
(I thought someone at Google was OCD with even numbers!!)
- Certain keywords are hidden.
- It uses a lot of estimation and approximation.
- Has combination inconsistencies.
- Shows ranges, not accurate numbers.
Turns out, there’s even a tool to find out hidden keywords that aren’t usually shown on Google AdWords – Searchvolume.io.
Looks like there are primarily two sources of keyword data from Google.
So, most keyword research tools mentioned here would be using either of these data and/or their own third party data and/or approximations and/or website usage statistics.
Getting keyword data from Google (or any other search engine) would be great but I’m pretty sure that is not an option right now, so we got to live with the approximations and estimates.
What has SEO Experts got to say?
I chatted with a few SEO consultants in my circle to see what they thought was the right way to do keyword research.
Turns out, there are different approaches.
Some SEOs think that they can’t rely on data from one specific tool. They end up using more than one tool and stitch the data together.
Suganthan, is one such.
Suganthan Mohanadasan, is a Digital Marketing Consultant based out of Norway, and he thinks that one cannot rely on a single tool to do keyword research nowadays.
He uses different SEO tools to get data and stitch them together the way he’d need it.
I use several tools for keyword research, apart from the most obvious Google search console and keyword planner. I use KW Finder to pull related terms, autocomplete and PAA.
Ahrefs is used to look at historical rankings of keywords.
You cannot rely on a single tool to do keyword research nowadays cause third party search volume data has become unreliable lately. So, it’s better to look at different sources to calculate the average search volume than rely on a single source for better accuracy.Suganthan Mohanadasan
Andrew Coco, an e-Commerce and Technical SEO Consultant with Shop Disney agrees.
Phil Drinkwater, a UK based SEO Consultant, thinks different.
He is a fan of SEMrush and uses it mostly for Keyword research – along with Google itself.
Keyword research is about matching the needs of a site on their SEO journey with the content you could produce, as quickly as possible. To me, SEMrush accomplishes that most successfully.
Of the tools, they have, I use three mostly. “Keyword gap”, where you can use your competitors to find keywords you’re missing, “Topic research”, to help you find some initial topics to cover on a subject, “Keyword magic”, to find associated keywords and questions on a given a starting point.
However, I also want to give a shout-out to a free tool … Google itself! Sometimes browsing Google and looking through questions they offer, as well as related searches, will find extra keywords which you might not find elsewhere.Phil Drinkwater
Keyword research is all about finding what keywords/topics work best for the business. Sometimes, you don’t need to go all the way to find what works. But sometimes, no data is enough data.
Like Suganthan, you got to use whatever you can.
With that, let’s look at what are the best options we have today.
Best Keyword Research Tools in 2020
I’ve tried to include new, fun tools and less of the obvious, “everybody knows” tools. (You know who I’m talking about.)
1. Twin Word
Twin Word is a keyword research tool, quite unlike many other tools. Because…
- Their keyword data comes directly from Google!
- It lets you filter keywords by “User intent”.
- The “Title Score” filter lets you find keywords that are best for your titles.
- It clusters keywords by “Topic ideas”.
Sweet deal, isn’t it?
They even have a trend spotting tool here.
Speaking of trends…..
2. Trend Spotting by Exploding Topics
Exploding Topics is a trend spotting tool by the awesome Brian Dean from Backlinko.
What does it do?
It analyses millions of content and search trends on the internet and finds you trends early on (way early), so you get the first mover advantage.
Of course, if you want data on trends, then obviously Google trends is your best bet.
But Exploding Topics is different. It has a curated list of keywords/topics under various categories with a trend graph. So you know whether it is moving up or down.
Sign up for their newsletter and they’ll send you trends under your category of interest via mail.
It isn’t your typical “keyword-only” search tool, but perhaps more insightful when trying to catch the big wave, before it happens.
The first time I used Ubersuggest, I had concerns.
I mean, there were so much incomplete data. But it’s probably one of the most popular (and free) keyword research tools out there today.
And it’s great!
Jijo Sunny, CEO of BuyMeACoffee loves Ubersuggest for it’s UX and design.
We use Ahrefs org-wide for all things SEO.
But personally, I jump in and try Ubersuggest because it’s very easy to use + I like the design.Jijo Sunny
What I really love about Ubersuggest is that it gives a very comprehensive look at every metric you need for your content/SEO efforts.
Search volume, trends, CPC, SEO difficulty and Paid difficulty (PPC).
Also, I love the “Content Ideas” part where it shows some of the best content crafted specifically for the keyword with it’s metrics.
4. Find Less Explored Keywords
Ok, I’m biased here.
What I really like about Rankz keyword hunt tool is the ability to sort keywords by difficulty to find less explored keywords.
It lets you check the current Google search results pages right from the dashboard and do a basic competition analysis in one glance.
It shows the history and basic metrics like number of backlinks, overall traffic and number of keywords for which the page ranks for on Google.
This can help you find “untapped” keywords for your content marketing efforts.
And the UI is gorgeous. ❤️
5. A Keyword Research Tool just for YouTube
When it comes to YouTube keyword search, there aren’t many dedicated tools.
It’s usually a compromise with an additional data source added in but the experience is just like regular Google keyword research.
While we all know that YouTube keyword search is different.
And, TubeBuddy is one tool that’s disrupting this space.
It has a Chrome plugin that would find you the following stats.
- Keyword search volume
- Competition and difficulty
- Most used tags on popular videos (for a search term)
- Related keywords
If you’re a serious YouTuber, TubeBuddy can assist you along your journey. Especially with a lot of competitive analysis.
6. Keyword Sheeter
Ignore the weird name. Keyword Sheeter is a lesser known keyword research tool that lets you export a ton of Google keyword data into “sheets”.
Type in your main keyword and the tool will generate you keyword ideas. You can also add negative and positive filters, which are basically exclusions and inclusions.
It has six different types of reports you can generate.
- No limits.
- Export raw keyword data to excel sheets.
7. Amazon Keyword Research Tool
This is a keyword research tool specifically for Amazon. (Here)
Give in your primary keyword and it sits out all the high value keywords from Amazon in a jiffy.
You can export all the keywords to a spreadsheet as well for further mincing.
- Great for product specific topics / searches on Amazon.
8. BiQ Keyword Intelligence
BiQ Cloud is an interesting new keyword research tool that lets you find content ideas based on a keyword.
It lets you find trending searches and related keywords as well.
9. Keyword Research for Reddit
Keyworddit is one of a kind tool that lets you mine keywords from an unusual place – Reddit.
Reddit is a great place to find what real people are searching for. Keyworddit mines hundreds of Reddit threads and comments to give you the best keywords in a niche.
10. Research Questions
Keywords are for SEO, topics are for content.
For content marketers, topics and questions matter more than keywords isn’t it?
This tool, called Question DB is an excellent tool that will help you find just that – topics and questions related to a particular keyword.
What I really like about this tool is that it finds relevant questions from multiple sources like Reddit, Stackexchange, and the like.
11. “People Also Searched For” Keywords Finder
Let’s be honest.
Most of us keep copying the “people also searched for” results on Google, because we know it’s the real deal.
“People also searched for” topics gives insights into the search intent (sort of).
Like, why is someone searching for a particular keyword? Is there a specific problem/question that he/she is trying to find a solution to?
If yes, what might those be?
With a little bit of creativity, one can guess out the search intent behind each keyword, using “people also searched for” questions.
This tool finds out what are the “people also searched for” results for a particular keyword.
What I really like about this tool is that it has plenty of filters for additional digging in.
For example, it can narrow down results based on “buyer intent” or “product info”.
You can add negative keywords, set up “strict” filter (for removing NSFW words), see overall trend, on page difficulty and few other valuable metrics.
12. “People Also Asked For” Keywords
If you’re a content marketer, you know the drill.
You pick up a keyword. Then you figure out which are they related keywords. Then apply negative filters. Questions.
Then assume what the search intent is and come up with topic ideas, keyword clusters, etc. The whole nine-yard hub and spoke strategy.
How about clustering questions instead of keywords?
So you could cater to the real search intent with your content?
Well, this tool helps you do just that.
It’s called Also Asked and here’s what it does.
Type in a keyword and it will give you all the questions asked/searched related to that keyword and… all the similar questions too.
Kinda like a nice tree-like hierarchy.
So first, you type in the keyword.
Second, the results!
Wait, what???? Whoa.
Clicking on each question will further narrow down the hierarchy.
Isn’t that sweet? 🙂
13. Popular Questions on a Topic
This is an obvious one repeated on most lists and I wanted to avoid it but….
Answer the Public is a less used tool that will tell you what kind of questions get asked on the internet about a topic.
It breaks down the questions in to clusters of “how”, “when”, “what” etc.
It’s a great way to visualise possible search intent entities on any topic.
Amit Panchal, a Digital Marketing Consultant based out of India, loves this tool.
Love their visualisation option.
It gives a 360 degree visualisation of all the possible questions clustered.
14. Keywords from all search engines
Ok, Soovle. I’ll be honest. It looks ugly.
But, it’s probably the best tool I can think of that can show you keywords/questions asked on a particular topic across different search engines/websites at once.
Just type in your primary keyword and the tool will instantly show you what are the related hot keywords/questions on websites such as..
- Yahoo etc..
15. YouTube Keyword Research Tool
This one’s tough.
There’s only one or few tools that lets you research YouTube keywords at scale. And one such is KeywordTool.io.
Wish this tool were a bit more accurate though and gave more features open in the free version.
It only shows the keyword (can be fetched directly from YouTube suggestions) and not the search volume or CPCs. You’d need to upgrade to a paid plan for that.
Also, many times you don’t get results for questions and prepositions. 🙁
16. Keyword Research Right Inside Google Search Results
Remember those SEO Chrome extensions? Yeah, cluttered.
Not any more.
There’s a new Chrome extension that does even more cool things and has far better design.
It’s called SEO Surfer.
It’s a neat Chrome extension that does the following.
- Gets you site specific metrics like domain traffic, number of words used on page, number of times keyword is repeated etc.
- Related keywords and their search volumes.
- Estimated search volume for searched keyword and its CPC.
It is neatly designed, there is no cluttering and the data is very reliable.
What I love about Surfer SEO is that it gives you just what you want, right within Google search without any clutter or delay.
17. Related Keywords & “People Also Searched For” in Google Search
This is another Chrome/Firefox extension – Keywords Everywhere.
But this time, it’s for related keywords and “people also searched for” results.
Many SEO practitioners in my circle are huge fans of Keywords Everywhere, like Maxine – who’s Outreach Manager at an SEO agency in Brighton, England.
She uses Ahrefs mostly but also uses Keywords Everywhere.
If I’m honest my Ahref tab never leaves my browser.
Keywords Everywhere is also a brilliant Chrome Extension which enables you to quickly understand search terms in an instant whilst working in the SERP – a brilliant time saver in order to work efficiently!Maxine Bremner
18. K Meta for Everything Keyword Research
This tool does only one thing – Keyword research.
And it does it really well.
K Meta does bulk keyword research, related keywords search among other things.
It finds you keyword search volumes, CPCs, trends and the like.
19. Wordze – Comprehensive Keyword Research in One Place
One tool to find keyword data from Google, Bing or YouTube – That’s Wordze.
Usually, you’d have to find data from three different sources but with WordZe you can do it in one place and have the keywords exported as text or CSV easily.
Now, the obvious & popular tools
I wanted to avoid listing them, because all of us already knew about SEMrush and Ahrefs right?
Then I realised that some of them were unknown to some of our internal folks. So, here goes.
SEMrush is probably the most popular SEO tool out there (along with Ahrefs of course). It does a lot more than just keyword research though.
I love it, but usually don’t get around using most of it.
Love their keyword research feature for competitive analysis and PPC.
I was pleasantly surprised by this. Ahrefs has an amazing competitive intelligence tool, with unmatched data, but keyword research?
Well, who knew?
Which is better? SEMrush or Ahrefs?
I have to slip this in.
On Twitter, there’s always these heated debates on which tool is better. Ahrefs or SEMrush. And often, SEOs call out tools for what they do (or not do).
Continuing from Lily’s thread above, here are some interesting tweets I found.
SERPstat is a lesser known tool than the above two tools but… I don’t think it’s any less in features.
Especially in keyword research. It does everything SEMrush and Ahrefs does in keyword research.
23. Moz Keyword Explorer
Ah! Good ol’ Moz!
I feel dated when I say this but yes, this is where it all began.
Moz has stuck to its core and offered the keyword explorer tool for free for ever since I can think back.
Does it offer the most updated and accurate keyword data?
Does it offer better data than Ahrefs or SEMrush?
But we still love Moz for democratizing this space. 🙂
24. SE Ranking
SE Ranking does PPC keyword research better than organic, but if you know which website you are tracking/competing with, it can find you some good info.
Notice the “Low Search Volume” column?
That’s what I like! 😉
SpyFu too, like SE ranking, is more of a competitive analysis tool where you type in a domain name/website and it finds all the relevant organic and PPC keywords associated with that website.
Not a keyword “finder” so to speak, but useful nevertheless.
So, there you have it folks.
25 Keyword research tools in 2020, that are useful for some pure organic keyword discovery.
While some tools like “Exploding Topics” are doing some really cool stuff, and are promising, most tools are sticking to the basics.
Primary keyword > Related Keywords > Search Volume/CPC.
And like we saw in the above tweets, not all tools are perfect.
When one is good with keyword data, another is great with backlink data.
Heck, many of them suck with trending keywords even.
What can we really make of it?
We can’t really rely one one source of data or tool for keyword research. Perhaps stitching together/comparing different sources of data may be the way to go, if you need comprehensive data.
But then, that would take us back to spreadsheets. Lot of them.
I wish if we had more innovative tools that not just relied on search engine data but also other platforms like social media.
Oh! Wait. May be that could be another article.
Watch this space. 😉
Did I miss anything?