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Are you looking for the best keyword research tool out there — but there are too many confusing options?
You’re not alone.
A popular thread in the SEO Copywriting LinkedIn group is “what’s your favorite keyphrase research tool?” People recommended 11 different tools, ranging in price from free (if you’re willing to forgo search volume information) to around $100 a month.
What’s more, there are way more than 11 keyphrase research tools on the market – so, is it any wonder it’s hard to find the best one for you?
Trying to make a choice? Here are some things to think about:
What’s your budget?
The reality is, you can’t conduct keyphrase research for free — especially if you’re working with more competitive industries. Consider what you can pay as a monthly (or yearly) cost, figuring you’ll need at least $50 a month for something decent.
If you have zero room to move, start increasing prices $25 or more a month to cover your keyphrase research costs. The cost shouldn’t be enough to freak out your clients, and it should mostly (or completely) pay for the tools you need.
Do you need the basics or all the bells and whistles?
Some keyphrase research tools just provide keyword data (such as KeywordTool.io.) Other tools are more robust and provide positioning information, competitive intelligence and site audit capabilities (like SEMrush.)
If you don’t need the bells and whistles, and you focus mostly on blogging/web content writing, save yourself some money and look for a basic platform. You can upgrade later.
If you’re helping clients with their content strategy, running content site audits and working with larger clients, a more robust tool will be your best friend. Yes, they cost more (Moz Pro, for example, is $99/month, paid monthly.) But, they will make it easy for you to find the competitive data you need more quickly.
Is it a platform you enjoy using?
Most keyphrase research tools give you a free trial, whether it’s a limited freemium account, or a 7-day free deal (sometimes, you can even find 30-day trials!). In many cases, you’ll have to give up your credit card information. It’s worth it.
The last thing you want to do is get stuck with a keyphrase research tool you hate using. Check out a few platforms and get a feel for the process. Is it easy to use? Is the data easy to find and understand? Does it provide all the data you need — or, does it confuse you with “too much” data? The best keyword research tool is the one you enjoy using.
Is the price too good to be true?
Beware of inexpensive tools that say they’re “just as good” as a more robust alternative. These tools may provide basically the same information as Google’s Keyword Planner, just in a different package. (Side note: I beg of you. Don’t use Google’s Keyword Planner for keyphrase research. Please.)
You’re looking for companies with high-quality databases, not one with a limited data set that won’t give you the information you need. To be sure about your choice, ask yourself…
Do other experts recommend the platform?
Search experts love test-driving (and recommending) good SEO tools. If you see experts recommending the same tool, it’s definitely one to check out. On the flip side, if a company’s testimonials are sketchy-sounding, like from “Bob S. site designer,” you may want to investigate further before typing in your credit card number.
(And yes, good, low-cost (and even free) keyphrase research tools is a topic I cover in the SEO Content Writing: Step-by-Step course.)
What keyword research tools did the LinkedIn group recommend?
Here’s the list of recommended keyword research tools. Starred entries (*) are better for content brainstorming than finding search volume information.
*KeywordTool.io (free) KeywordTool PRO does provide search volume information.
*Answer the Public
Amazon reviews (as one poster called them, “keywords straight from the prospect’s mouth!”)
Quora (to see your audiences’ pain points based on their queries.)
What about you?
What’s your favorite keyword research tool? Share it in the comments!