“How can I perform keyword research for free?”
This is a question I get asked A LOT by new people looking to learn SEO.
They want to know how to find the most profitable keywords, for the least amount of time and money invested.
But answering this question is hard.
While there are effective keyword tools you can use for free…
The majority of them aren’t as helpful as you might think.
So today I am going to show you the best way to use free keyword tools to do your research.
3x Ways To Do Keyword Research Quickly And For Free
Did you know that it’s possible to come up with ideas without using a paid or free keyword research tool?
All you need is a few little tricks up your sleeve to generate ideas easily…
Step #1: Brainstorm Your Keywords
The first stage of this is completely offline.
Grab yourself a pen and a piece of paper and write down the primary short-head keyword that is at the core of the content you want to create.
This could be things like:
- Vegan protein
- Portable microphone
- Drinks flasks
- Picture frames
Then using that keyword as the centre of the paper, begin to brainstorm keywords and questions and niches that relate to that.
You want to be using ideas of what someone might search for when they use this term.
For example Vegan Protein might break down into:
- Vegan protein powders
- Vegan protein sources
- Where to buy vegan protein powder
- Healthy vegan supplements
You can then run them through the next two tools.
Step #2: Get Suggestions From Soovle
Soovle can be used to compare related searches from lots of different search engines.
It’s a huge database of the “search suggestions” you see when you Google search.
Take some of the keywords from your brainstorm and enter them into Soovle’s main search bar. This will bring up a lot of suggestions from the relevant search engines:
Aim to collect keywords from all of the search engines and not just a Google search.
This can be helpful if your content has different goals.
For example, Amazon keywords will have more buying intent than Google ones.
This could translate to your content.
You can download the keywords by clicking the download button in the corner-
Take the keywords from here you think are relevant and move on to the next tool.
Step #3: Get Suggestions From Forums
BoardReader is a tool that scours forums for recents posts about your topic.
If you enter a keyword it will bring up multiple threads and the latest discussions:
On the surface, this may look like it’s just picked out the main keyword you’ve typed in.
But if you use your intuition to look for what people said before or after the keyword, you can find a lot of long tail keywords with different types of intent.
- Vegan protein samples
- Cheap vegan protein powders
- Best vegan protein powders
They are some of the tools and ways you can perform keyword research completely free.
But there is one powerhouse of a tool you can get a lot of benefit from.
What is it? Well…
The Best Keyword Research Free Tool
The best keyword research tool that’s free at the moment is an intelligent Google sheet that I developed.
It makes it possible to develop keyword strategies in minutes, rather than days – without spending any money.
You can use it to-
- Develop an intelligent keyword strategy in any niche
- Automatically find the best keywords with low competition and high search volumes
- Analyse featured snippets
- Calculate keyword intent
The “Other” Best Keyword Research Free Tool
You can also use Google Keyword Planner, which is second best keyword research tool on the market that doesn’t cost a penny.
And although it doesn’t tell you how difficult it will be to rank for a keyword, you can’t argue with data coming directly from the search engine itself.
It’s great for gathering quick ideas-
You should take a look at my full Google Keyword Planner tutorial to learn how to use it properly.
I’ll also show you how to get the exact search volume for any list of keywords rather than the estimates above.
The 3x Major Problems With Free Tools…
Now before we get all doom and gloom…
I am going to show you how to use premium keyword research tools FOR FREE.
But before I show you how to use premium tools for free.
I wanted to talk to you about a few of the limitations of keyword research tools that are offered for free, like Google Keyword Planner.
Each of these problems could make or break your SEO campaign.
So it’s important that we talk about them because this is precisely why I developed my own keyword research sheets.
Problem #1: It Takes A Lot Of Time
While you can use tools like Google Keyword Planner to do your keyword research…
…it takes an awful lot of time to do.
You have to jump through multiple hoops to get ideas and exact search volumes.
Google is very specific with the results it brings back AND severely limits that number. That means you have to spend a lot of time doing repeat searches to find long keywords.
For example you might need to do 5 searches to find a golden long tail-
- Womens Shoes
- Best Womens Shoes
- The Best Womens Shoes
- The Best Womens Shoes For Winter
Not only that:
But you also get intelligent keyword difficulty data-
And a full overview of the current top 10 including important metrics-
All of that not only makes keyword research a quick process, but you also pull down more intelligent data to make your decisions.
You just can’t get that kind of action with a free tool, but you can get it with a free trial of a premium tool…
Reason #2: People Search In Weird Ways
People don’t search in logical ways.
Their search terms are weirdly phrased, often almost illegible sentences.
Tools like Google Keyword Planner really limit the number of results it returns which makes it really hard to drill down and find golden nuggets 5-10 word long tail phrases.
Where as with a proper keyword research tool, you just spend 5 seconds to apply a filter and voila-
We have found the keyword “Womens wide width shoes for problem feet”
With 1,800 searches per month and next to zero competition.
Go to Google Keyword Planner and try to find that keyword.
Reason #3: You Can’t Research To Depth
In the example above there was also “Extra wide womens shoes for swollen feet”
That is searched 1,300 times per month with zero competition.
But Ahrefs also tell us this falls under a parent topic of “diabetic slippers for swollen feet”.
Clicking on it reveals another 129x keywords-
And also tells us that parent topic gets searched 8,400 terms with zero competition.
In just 1 click we have found 3x keywords with a total search volume of 11,500 with absolutely zero competition.
And the list of keyword opportunities is literally bottomless…
You can’t do that with a keyword tool like Google Keyword Planner (but you can do it with my free spreadsheet).
Don’t treat what you’ve just read as a rant.
There is some merit to free keyword research but you really are limiting yourself.
Take advantage of some of my tricks and intelligent keyword planner to use premium keyword research tools for free….
How To Use Premium Keyword Tools For Free
Premium tools can supercharge your keyword research.
If you’re planning on practicing SEO for the long term, they’re a worthwhile investment!
But in the short term:
Did you know you can use most of these premium tools for free?
Here Is How To Do It…
Most of the best premium SEO tools come with free trials or freemium models
So why not take advantage of these before you lay down any money?
And if you are smart about it you can-
- Prepare the list of pages you need to do keyword research for
- Sign up for any of the free trials below
- Complete all of your keyword research
Without spending a penny!
How To Get SEMRush Free
Just for being a reader of my website you can get 14 days unlimited access for free.
It’s one of the most powerful SEO suites on the market (full SEMRush review).
Once you’re signed up, you’ll have access to all its tools and features.
That means you can begin to get some serious keyword research done.
Inside the tool head to this section of the tool:
Keyword Analytics > Overview
On this page you’ll be able to enter your target keyword into the search bar:
Hit “search” and you’ll be taken to a page of results.
There will be lots of statistics on this page but you should focus on two sections.
- Phrase match keywords
- Related keyword.
Under the Phrase Match Keywords section…
You’ll find all of the keywords results that contain the phrase you searched.
When you click the “view full report” button you’ll find lots of information, including the search volume of the keyword and the value of that keyword to an advertiser:
There won’t be variations on your keyword but it’ll expand to show the long-tails.
Under the Related Keywords section you’ll find keywords that contain elements of the keyword you entered, or are close relatives of it.
Again, if you click the “view full report” tab…
You’ll be shown all of the individual keywords and their search volumes.
For a full tutorial of how to do keyword research and make many more improvements to your site, you should read my full SEMRush review.
How To Use Ahrefs For
Now I am going to cheat a bit here.
Ahrefs used to have a 100% free trial, but the tool is so good that people were abusing it.
But trust me when I tell you – it’s worth every dollar.
Ahrefs is one of my favourite SEO tools and the amount of data they have is insane.
It’s also the tool I used to drill down in the women’s shoes examples above.
In fact: My Ahrefs review shows you 25x ways you can use it to increase your search traffic.
Once you’re in the tool keyword research is simple.
Top Toolbar > Keywords Explorer
On the keyword explorer page you’ll be able to enter in as many keywords as you want.
Whether that’s just the one keyword you want to know more about or a list.
Hit search and you’ll be taken to the results page.
Beneath all of the graphs and charts at the top of the page…
There is a section called Keyword Ideas.
Here you’ll find a huge database of data-driven keywords for you to work through:
Each of these columns has a different set of data for thousands of related keywords.
Including the Newly Discovered section which are the freshest keywords in your niche.
In other words – nobody is ranking for them yet.
How To Use Longtail Pro For Free
Longtail Pro is is a great tool for finding niche keywords.
Although it’s no way near as good as Ahrefs.
Once your in:
Generating a list of keywords is easy
But if you are going to take out any trial, Ahrefs is the best shout even if it does cost $7!
If you really don’t want to spend any money, then the reader exclusive SEMRush trial is for you.
Bonus Section: How To Steal Your Competitor’s Keywords
There is one more keyword research strategy you can use to your advantage…
Stealing your competitor’s keywords.
They’re proven keywords that other people in your niche are targeting! They’ve already done the research to prove their effectiveness.
All you have to do is piggyback onto their hard work.
All you need is my free intelligent Google sheet which makes it a 5 minute process!
It will automatically find all of your competitors best keywords and then filter them so you can focus on the high search volume keywords that are the easiest to rank for.
It doesn’t get much easier than that so download my free sheet now.
Wrapping It Up
Doing keyword research for free is a tough topic to cover.
Although it can be done…
The keyword research tools don’t give you the information you need to make intelligent decisions.
So if you are going to use this type of keyword tool…
I highly recommend that you use my keyword research template.
It’s built around my personal keyword research process while solving a lot of the common problems you find in free tools for keyword research.
It will save you a bunch of time, tells you how hard it is to rank, helps you find awesome keywords that Google Keyword planner can’t find and it doesn’t have to cost you anything.
That makes it the best free tool in my opinion! What do you think?