The Best Free Tools for Finding Keywords

18 May 2021
by Archie Williamson
5 mins
The Best Free Tools for Finding Keywords

Using free tools to find keywords to include in your content marketing materials and web copy will improve your rankings for important terms and phrases that people search for on Google.

Keyword research is a core part of SEO and is one of the first tasks you should complete prior to crafting blogs, articles and other forms of content for your website. Without keyword-optimised prose and copy, you will find it very hard to rank for brand-related terms that people are searching for. And if you are not visible in search, it will be difficult to drive any meaningful traffic to your site.

While you can use paid tools to find target keywords, this may not be a viable option if you have a tighter marketing budget or if you simply want to build a culture around affordable SEO strategies that can deliver ample returns for your business. Fortunately, there are a number of feature-rich, free tools that can get the job done.

It is important to note that partnering with a digital marketing agency is effectively a shortcut to detailed, targeted keyword research. That’s because experienced third parties have access to a wide range of tools that can help you to find the right mix of keywords for your business. However, it is a good idea to at least get to grips with some of the tools and techniques that can support your own internal research activities.

Why are keywords so important?

Keywords are a jumping-off point for content marketing as they are based around search intent, the types of products and services you offer and the ways in which you can provide solutions to customer pain points. Keywords help you to create value-added content that resonates with an audience.

They are also critical for SEO, as when Google’s search algorithm deems your content to be the best for a particular term populated by your keywords, you rank on the first page of SERPs and benefit from a stream of organic traffic.

What are the best free tools for keywords?

Google Trends

One of the most overlooked tools for research is Google Trends, a free website that shows the popularity of search queries in different regions, countries, cities and languages. The data available here is staggering, with trends available all the way back to 2004. You can even compare the search volume of two specific terms over time, which is great for flagging specific trends that can inform your SEO campaign.

To use Google Trends, all you need to do is enter a search term. You will then be presented with the ‘interest over time’ for that term in graphical form, based on the country, time period and category. The peaks and troughs of each graph are great for identifying seasonal trends and terms that were very popular for only a short period of time.

When entering the term ‘Mother’s Day’ into Google Trends, for example, the interest over time peaked between 7 and 13 March in 2021, with an interest score of 100, before plummeting back down to zero a week later. That means that if you had created content tailored for Mother’s Day, it would have struggled to gain traction on or after Sunday 14 March.

Keyword generators

When brainstorming ideas, keyword generators can find over 100 keywords based on a seed word. Ahrefs’ free keyword generator is one of the most useful tools as it includes the keyword difficulty (KD) for each term so you know how difficult it would be to rank for them, and the overall search volumes for a specific country, of which there are more than 170 to choose from.

Google Search Console

You may already be ranking for keywords without actually realising it. Google Search Console’s Search Results report allows you to sort keywords that have sent the most traffic to your site, based on the click-through rate (CTR). If you see any terms here that have many impressions but a lower CTR, it might be a good idea to craft a new blog that is more relevant for that specific keyword.

Google Keyword Planner

As the name suggests, the Google Keyword Planner is a powerful, free tool for keyword research, though you do need an Adwords account to dig into the finer details. Google says all you need to do is ”enter words, phrases or a URL related to your business”. You can then sit back and see a list of suggestions along with data about average monthly searches and the competition rated by low, medium and high for each.

If you already have keywords in mind, you can head over to the Forecast section to see how many clicks and impressions you would get when using these keywords. While this is specifically for paid ads, the information can be used to inform your organic search efforts.

Related searches for secondary keywords

You don’t always need tools to conduct research. You can find both primary keywords, which are the main terms you want to rank for, and secondary keywords that play more of a supporting role, by using the autocomplete feature in Google search and looking for related searches and ‘people also ask’ within search results. This will also help you to build a list of synonyms and acronyms that can be included in your content.

What are the best practices for research?

Before starting your research, make sure you have a few topic ‘buckets’ or pillars that are a core part of your business. You can then branch out each of these into keywords. After finding keywords, you should consider factors such as user and search intent in addition to tangible metrics to determine whether they are a great match for your SEO-driven content campaigns.

You can also work with an agency if you want to add some expertise and industry know-how to your strategies. If that’s the case, contact us today and we will talk through all of the options available to you. By finding the keywords that fit your brand, you can take your search and marketing performance to the next level.


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