In the modern digital landscape, all website owners and content creators can agree on one thing: online visibility is paramount, and utilizing the right keywords is a must for showing up on search engines. That's why businesses and individuals alike are in constant pursuit of the perfect set of keywords to enhance their online presence and attract the right audience.

But what keywords should you be using to get your digital content front and center? The right keyword tool can show you, and we're here to help you find the best tool for you. From the importance of SEO tools to a handy list of the top 10 keyword research tools available, we've got you covered.

The Importance of a Good SEO Tool

A workbook titled 'SEO copywriting for digital marketing success' laying on top of a wooden clipboard on a wooden desktop. The front of the workbook is affixed with a sticky note which reads 'boost your blog!', and other visible items on the desk include a keyboard, plants, pens and notebooks.
In the Skillshare class "SEO Copywriting for Digital Marketing Success," teacher Ruth Clowes shows students how to use SEO copywriting skills to effectively implement their target keywords.

Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is the key to unlocking the full potential of your online content. And while every website's SEO needs are different, any robust SEO strategy includes the effective use of keywords to increase website traffic and improve search engine rankings.

Choosing the right SEO tool can make all the difference when developing your SEO strategy. That's because a good SEO tool not only simplifies the keyword research process but also provides valuable insights into competitor strategies, content ideas and overall website health.

A worthwhile SEO tool should complete its job quickly and efficiently, whether it's designed to calculate keyword search volume, analyze competitors or identify trends. And if the tool combines multiple features, it should have a streamlined user interface that makes it easy to switch between functionalities, compare statistics and generate reports.

10 Best Keyword Research Tools

Now that you understand how SEO tools can help you optimize your online content, let's delve into the specifics of the ten best paid and free keyword research tools. Each of the 10 tools on this list comes with its own set of unique features, advantages and use cases, so you're sure to find one that will help you achieve your SEO goals.

1. Semrush

The breakdown: Semrush stands out as a comprehensive suite of SEO software that offers a wide variety of features. Its keyword research tool is particularly robust, and provides detailed insights into keyword difficulty, search volume and competitor strategies.

How it works: Just input a seed keyword and Semrush will generate a lengthy list of related keywords. You'll also be able to analyze competitor keywords and discover new keyword targeting opportunities.


  • Extensive keyword database
  • Competitor analysis features
  • Backlink analysis
  • User-friendly interface
  • Other powerful SEO tools included in the Semrush suite


  • Premium subscription required for full access
  • Can be a steeper learning curve for beginners

2. Soovle

The breakdown: Soovle takes a unique approach to keyword research by aggregating keyword suggestions from various search engines such as Google, Bing and YouTube. It's an ideal starting point for users seeking diverse keyword ideas on multiple platforms.

How it works: Type in a query and Soovle will display autocomplete suggestions from multiple search engines simultaneously, which can help provide a broader perspective on popular search terms that go beyond Google.


  • Completely free to use
  • Generates simultaneous suggestions from multiple search engines
  • User-friendly interface


  • Limited in-depth analytics
  • Fewer advanced features compared to more premium tools

3. TopicRanker

The breakdown: TopicRanker is designed to identify trending topics and keywords in real time, which makes it a valuable tool for maintaining a competitive edge. It's especially useful for content creators aiming to capitalize on the latest trends as they happen.

How it works: The tool constantly analyzes current online discussions and identifies topics gaining popularity. It also provides insights into emerging keywords that can be leveraged for content creation.


  • Real-time trend identification
  • User-friendly interface
  • Subscription-based pricing


  • Limited historical data
  • Requires a paid subscription to use
  • May not suit long-term keyword strategies

4. Google Search Console

The breakdown: Google Search Console is a free website analytics tool provided by Google that offers essential insights into how the search engine perceives and indexes your site. By using Google Search Console to view the keywords driving traffic to your site, you can gain valuable knowledge about the keywords that are and aren't working for you.

How it works: You can use Google Search Console to monitor your website's performance in search results pages (SERPs), identify indexing issues and gain valuable data on the keywords people use to find your site.


  • Free to use
  • Includes direct insights from Google
  • Fantastic for overall website health monitoring


  • Limited keywords insights compared to premium tools
  • Doesn't suggest potential keywords to target
  • Doesn't include competitor analysis

5. Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

The breakdown: Ahrefs is a comprehensive suite of SEO tools, and its Keywords Explorer is a powerhouse for in-depth keyword research, data-driven suggestions and detailed SEO metrics.

How it works: Use Keywords Explorer to explore keyword ideas, analyze competitors and assess keyword difficulty.


  • Comprehensive keyword analysis
  • Includes data for multiple search engines
  • Can be used for competitor analysis


  • Premium subscription required
  • Higher cost than some of its alternatives

6. SECockpit

The breakdown: SECockpit is a cloud-based keyword research tool that's especially popular among small businesses. It offers a range of advanced features for comprehensive keyword analysis, but is also fast and easy to use.

How it works: Enter a seed keyword and SECockpit will show you detailed keyword data. You can customize your results to see low-competition keywords, find the most profitable keywords possible and more.


  • Advanced keyword analysis features
  • Efficient and accurate results
  • Pulls keyword data from multiple sources
  • Includes a built-in rank tracker


  • Requires a paid subscription to use

7. Google Keyword Planner

The breakdown: Google Keyword Planner is a free tool provided by Google that can provide you with insights into keyword search volume, competition and potential traffic.

How it works: Input any keyword or website URL to generate keyword ideas and access data taken directly from Google's search engine.


  • Totally free to use
  • Direct integration with Google
  • Beginner-friendly interface


  • Limited compared to premium tools
  • May lack some advanced features


The breakdown: is a free and easy-to-use tool that generates keyword suggestions based on Google's autocomplete feature, making it an excellent choice for quick and diverse keyword ideas.

How it works: Users input a seed keyword, and the tool provides a list of Google autocomplete suggestions, which can help to identify long-tail keywords worth targeting.


  • User-friendly interface
  • Free version available
  • Quick and diverse keyword suggestions


  • Full functionality requires a paid subscription

9. Moz Keyword Explorer

The breakdown: Moz Keyword Explorer is part of the Moz Pro suite of SEO tools and includes detailed keyword analysis, difficulty scores and SERP analysis.

How it works: Input a seed keyword and you'll be able to explore related suggestions, assess keyword difficulty, see the search volume for each keyword and gain insights into SERPs.


  • Detailed keyword analysis
  • SERP analysis features
  • Part of a comprehensive SEO suite that can help address your other SEO needs


  • Requires a paid subscription
  • Relatively high cost compared to some of its alternatives

10. Jaaxy 

The breakdown: Jaaxy strives for both simplicity and efficacy, which makes it a solid choice for beginners and experienced users alike.

How it works: Simply input a keyword and Jaaxy will deliver information on search volume, competition and potential traffic. The tool also features additional metrics like the Quoted Search Results (QSR) to precisely assess your competition.


  • User-friendly interface
  • Accurate keyword data
  • A wealth of long-tail keyword data


  • Paid subscription required for full access
  • Limited advanced features compared to more premium tools

Become an SEO Expert with Skillshare

Mastering the art of keyword research is crucial for anyone looking to succeed in the online realm. By choosing the right SEO tools, you can streamline this process and stay ahead of the competition. Whether you opt for paid options like Semrush and Ahrefs or free alternatives like Google Keyword Planner and Soovle, the key is to find the tools that align with your specific needs and goals.

Ready to deepen your understanding of SEO and enhance your skills further? Consider exploring online SEO classes on Skillshare. From understanding Instagram marketing and Instagram SEO to creating an affiliate marketing site and everything in between, we have the classes and resources you need to become truly proficient at SEO. 

Written By
Carrie Buchholz

Carrie Buchholz

Carrie Buchholz is a freelance writer who lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and dog.

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