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Our Favorite Keyword Research Tools (17 Tools Every SEO Needs)

Whether you’re trying to drive traffic or conversions, your campaigns need to start with strategic keyword research. Which tools should you rely on to give you the best keywords?

We asked ourselves the same question—and after researching dozens of tools, we settled on 17 keyword research tools that can give you good insight, regardless of your budget.

Why We Consider These the Best Keyword Research Tools

The best keyword research tools give you enough data to make good decisions—things like search volume, keyword difficulty, and click rate. They should also suggest keywords to help you find good variants and related keywords.

Beyond that, the keyword research tool that’s best is the one that’s best for you. It’s within your budget, has related tools that help you with all your SEO needs, or supports the type of projects you do most.

To help you find your best tool, we’ve taken all our favorites and ranked them according to price and features.

Here they are: the 17 best keyword research tools every SEO needs.

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

Paid | $$$

keyword research tool Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

Ahref’s Keyword Explorer is one of the best keyword research tools on the market. Their database contains more than 33 billion keywords, updated with fresh data every month, so you get up-to-date search volume numbers, as well as the advanced metrics you need to make smart decisions: keyword difficulty, return rate, clicks per search, % of clicks, and more.

Finding the right keywords for your project is easy with this tool. You can generate keyword ideas in one of 4 ways:

  1. Phrase match
  2. Having same terms
  3. Also rank for
  4. Search suggestions

Rank Tracker from SEO PowerSuite

Paid | $$$

Keyword Research Tool Rank Tracker from SEO PowerSuite

Rank Tracker is part of SEO PowerSuite’s collection of tools. It gives you accurate ranking data to track your SEO campaigns, and 18 keyword-suggestion tools to help you find the best keyword variants.

With this tool, you get all the keyword data you need:

  • KEI (keyword efficiency index)
  • Competition
  • Search volume
  • And more

As part of this tool, you’ll also get ranking reports, scheduled tasks, and search safety features such as proxy rotation, human emulation, and user agents.

Moz Keyword Explorer

Free to Paid | $$$

Keyword Research Tool Moz Keyword Explorer

You can get 10 free queries per month with Moz’s Keyword Explorer. But to find your best keywords, you’ll want to upgrade to their paid version.

This tool is easy to use and gives you the data you need:

  • Search volume
  • Keyword difficulty
  • Organic click-through rate
  • Priority

It also gives you a score, telling you how valuable this keyword would be for your campaign.


Paid | $$

keyword research tool SEMrush

SEMrush gives you all the information you need on the keywords you’re researching. The overview gives you data on organic vs. paid search, CPC distribution, and search trends.

Their Keyword Magic Tool was recently named the Best Digital Tool in PubCon’s 2019 Interactive Marketing Awards. It gives you the keywords you need to build your most profitable campaign.

SEMrush winning an award


Paid | $

keyword research tool LongTailPro

With LongTailPro, you enter the seed keyword and get hundreds of long-tail suggestions—less competitive keywords that you have a real chance of ranking for. You can also run keyword and competitor analysis, identify the keyword difficulty of your keywords, and track your rankings.

KWFinder by Mangools

Paid | $

KWFinder gives you many of the same features you get with the top-of-the-line keyword research tools, but at a price that fits into any budget. You’ll get:

  • Keyword difficulty
  • The keywords your competitors are missing
  • Search volume for variant keywords
  • Local keywords

You also get the full SEO suite of tools, including SERP analysis, rank tracking, backlink analysis, and website analysis.


Paid | $

keyword research tool SpyFu

For competitor research, SpyFu is your go-to tool. With this one, you get every resource you need to spy on your competitor’s Adwords and SEO campaigns:

  • Adwords competitor keywords
  • Competitor Adwords campaign and ad test history
  • And SpyFu’s Adwords advisor

In case you’re uncomfortable with spying on your competitors, be aware, it’s a useful (and common) approach to SEO strategy. If you know what your competitors are doing, you can learn what’s working for them, which means you can boost traffic and generate leads with less guesswork. The key, of course, is to use your powers for good, not evil.


Paid | $

keyword research tool Jaaxy

Developed by affiliate marketers for affiliate marketers, Jaaxy helps you manage all aspects of keyword, website, competition, and market research. Data is pulled from Google, Bing, and Yahoo, giving you 99.7% search engine coverage.

We’re not sure you need to be an affiliate marketer to get value from this tool. Keyword research is keyword research, after all.

Market Samurai

Paid | $

keyword research tool Market Samurai

Market Samurai is a simple, intuitive keyword research tool that fits into any budget. Simply type in your seed keyword and click “Generate.” You’ll get a list of keywords that have high traffic, high profit potential, and suitable phrase match competition.

We like this tool because once you have your keywords chosen, it will help you do competitive research, publish high-quality content that drives traffic, and monetize your traffic. An all-in-one package at a reasonable price.

Keyword Snatcher

Paid | $

keyword research tool Keyword Snatcher

Keyword Snatcher generates thousands of keywords for your campaigns by pulling data from Google, Yahoo, Bing, Amazon, eBay, and YouTube. Users love how easy it is, and they appreciate having such a comprehensive list of keywords to target in their content.

With this tool, you’re just getting keyword suggestions. There’s no data about search volume or keyword difficulty. But for a comprehensive list of keywords you could be targeting in your content, this is the tool of choice.


Paid | $

keyword research tool SERPStat

With SERPstat, you can find long-tail keywords and keyword variations while exploring trends and keyword suggestions. You’ll also get performance indicators, such as search volume, cost-per-click, and competition level. All plans give you access to 230 Google and 9 Yandex databases.



keyword research tool Ubersuggest

Getting started with Ubersuggest is easy. Just type in a domain or seed keyword to get started. You’ll get a domain overview, top SEO pages, keyword suggestions, content ideas, and backlink data—similar to a paid tool, but completely free. This one is definitely worth checking out.

Answer the Public


keyword research tool Answer the Public

As part of your keyword research, you need to figure out what people are asking when searching for your keyword. Answer the Public doesn’t just list the questions people are typing into search engines, it organizes them by the type of question.

The results will give you a good understanding of the search intent related to your keyword, and the information you need to include on your pages to rank well for that intent.



keyword research tool FAQfox

Like Answer the Public, FAQfox helps you get a better handle on user intent, so it’s easier to find your best keywords. This tool does that by identifying your customers’ core wants and needs, so you can choose the keywords that are most likely to resonate with them.

Google Keyword Planner


keyword research tool Google Keyword Planner

Google’s Keyword Planner is the original keyword research tool. It helps you discover new keywords, figure out how often keywords are searched, and how those searches have changed over time. That helps you identify the keywords that are most likely to give you the best traffic and conversions.

Seed Keywords


keyword research tool Seed Keywords

Seed Keywords helps you find keyword ideas when you’re just starting a campaign, trying to figure out which search terms to optimize for. It lets you create a scenario, such as “When looking for the best pizza in your town, what do you search for?” Seed Keywords then gives you a link you can send to your friends, so you can get their input.

The concept is simple: to discover what real people are searching for, ask real people.



keyword research tool Soovle

Soovle pulls data from a wide range of search engines to tell you what people are searching for related to your keyword. Just type it into the search bar, and “Soovle it.” The results aren’t pretty, but for free research, it’s a good option.

Back to You

Effective SEO depends on strategic keyword research. The best tools are often the most expensive, but as you can see, there are plenty of keyword research tools available for every budget and need.

Whether you’re trying to understand what your market is searching for, find the keywords that are the easiest to rank for, or identify your most profitable keywords, there’s a tool that’s right for you.

Amanda Powell

Amanda Powell

Amanda is the Director of Marketing at DigitalMarketer, where she helps drive the mission to double the size of 10,000 businesses. She’s lived and worked in Austin for the last six years, implementing marketing and content strategies for local businesses and large software companies alike. With a background in journalism, she's focused on helping professionals grow themselves and their businesses by asking the right questions and launching the right campaigns.

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