Websites and blog owners, online business owners, search engine optimization professionals & agencies – everyone needs to perform keyword research to ensure that they stay ahead of their competition in Google search results.
Keyword research is important to understand what people are searching for. While Google makes it difficult from time to time, it also updates its algorithms to give a lot of vital information. One such change was the inclusion of the PAA box. PAA stands for People Also Ask. It simply shows the actual questions that people ask related to a specific topic/keyword.
Getting a hand on all these data is important because it helps content marketers to generate content that people are actually searching for. Finding such data is not easy. Scouting Google and other search engines manually is nothing more than a valiant attempt that is destined to fail. There are billions of keywords. Finding them manually is not an ideal scenario.
This is where keyword research tools come in. They use automated systems to scan through various sources at once and pull out the keyword data for specific search terms a person is searching for. This saves time and gives a greater pool of keywords and key phrases at disposal with a multitude of other SEO information that comes in handy. For instance, the Keyword Difficulty data will tell you how easy or difficult it is to rank for a particular keyword.
This is not possible with manual search. You will need a keyword research tool that will tell you all that you need to know to make informed decisions.
The problem here is that there are many keyword research tools. There are ones that are bundled with an entire SEO suite capable of performing much more than just keyword research. Then there are ones that limit themselves to only keyword research. Which one should you select? It can quickly become overwhelming.
To help you overcome this challenge, I have compiled a list of the 13+ best keyword research tools that you can use in 2021.
But before I start with the list, just know that different tools will give you different data. Now, that happens because different tools use different sources like Click Stream, Google Keyword Planner, Google Autocomplete, etc. to pull data. This leads to inconsistencies in the data shown by different tools. However, understand that not a single tool is available that can give you the most accurate data. Everything is only an estimate. The real data lies with search engines that they are not going to reveal. Thus, you are left only with speculation and estimates. That’s the best you can get.
Okay, enough of the explainers. Let’s get down to business. So, what are the best keyword research tools of 2021?
Brace for it and grab a coffee. You are going in for a ride.
Top 5 Best Keyword Research Tools
Let’s talk about the best in business (absolutely my opinion). Thousands of search engine optimization experts across the globe use Ahrefs on a daily basis to stay ahead of the competition. It is not just a keyword research tool, but also a complete SEO suite with many features that helps you to understand the new trends in market, understand what your competitor is doing, find out the complete backlink profile of your website and that of any of your competitors, find the problems with your website’s on-page SEO, and much more.
When it comes to keyword research, Ahrefs happens to be one of the most powerful tools. Not only can it help you find keyword search volumes both globally and locally, but also help you to unearth related queries, people also ask questions, keyword difficulty, SERP features, and more.
What is incredible about Ahrefs is its ability to set filters to identify the keywords with low keyword difficulty and high search volume. This way you can find keywords that are easy to rank for. Apart from that, Ahrefs will also give you the data on CTR or Click Through Rate for all keywords so that you will know which search queries drive more clicks compared to others. What is also interesting is that you can individually refresh the data for each keyword to get the most up-to-date information.
On the downside, the interface may be a bit overwhelming for beginners, but it is not really that difficult. About 10-15 minutes of tinkering around should give you a clear idea of how the tool works. What’s even better is that Ahrefs supports over 170 countries, which means that you can find relevant and lucrative keywords for each country you wish to target.
Ahrefs has four pricing plans. All plans are nearly identical. The difference is majorly in the number of reports a plan will allow to generate. The four premium plans include:
- Lite: $99 a month.
- Standard: $179 a month.
- Advanced: $399 a month.
- Agency: $999 a month.
Note that all these prices are without including the taxes. With taxes, the prices increase even further. If you go for a yearly plan, that is, you pay upfront for an entire year, Ahrefs will allow you to use the SEO suite for free for two months. That is, you pay only for 10 months and use it for an entire year.
There is no free plan available. However, you can get a 7-day trial for $7. These trials will give you full access to all the features of the plan you select. You can check out our full Ahrefs Review
#2. SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool
The next best keyword research tool, in my opinion is SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool. What is interesting is that SEMrush is not just for keyword research. Just like Ahrefs, SEMrush is also a complete SEO suite with many features that a beginner can actually find overwhelming. However, for seasoned users, SEMrush is a power tool that can help them dig up gold mines.
Using SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool, you do not expect to uncover a long list of keywords. Instead, the tool will show you the top 5 to 10 keywords that your competitors are using for ranking on search engines. You can then use the data to create your own content strategy.
Just like Ahrefs, SEMrush will also show you the total global search volume, the search volume for a specific country, keyword difficulty, CPC or cost per click, SERP features, and other data that can become handy in helping you to devise your own SEO strategy.
What is interesting is that SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool will also help you in identifying long-tail keywords, ad group ideas, organic traffic analysis, annual keyword trends and more.
However, when it comes to the overall usability SEMrush is far more difficult than Ahrefs. Understanding and working with the SEMrush interface will require you to spend a significant amount of time learning the interface. Also, I found that the keyword difficulty score that SEMrush assigns is not very accurate as that of Ahrefs, but it is close enough.
The SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool is not a standalone tool. It is a part of the SEMrush SEO suite. So, you must have a subscription to SEMrush to use the tool. There is no free plan available, but you do get to take the SEO suite for a test drive for 7 days without paying a dime. However, you must attach your credit card before you can access the trial.
What is really bad is that even during the trial you cannot unleash the full power of the SEO suite. It will only allow 10 keyword queries a day, thereby stifling your keyword research efforts. I really hate that.
Once you decide to pay for SEMrush, you will get to choose from four pricing plans which are:
- Pro: It costs $119.95 a month.
- Guru: It costs $229.95 a month.
- Business: It costs $449.95 a month.
Yes, SEMrush is more expensive than Ahrefs, and somehow, I do not find it highly justified. In terms of accuracy, Ahrefs tends to be better. But again, SEO suites only provide estimates. They really cannot provide accurate data. If you have the financial power, you can always take SEMrush for a ride. It is quite a powerful tool.
#3. Moz Keyword Explorer
The third most powerful tool that I have encountered so far is Moz Keyword Explorer. Again, that is purely my opinion. Yours may entirely differ. What I like about the new Keyword Explorer is how it allows you to sort the suggested keywords. By default, it will include a mix of various sources.
However, you are always free to include only keywords along with all of the query terms, or you can simply broaden the search results based on other parameters. This gives you complete control over your keyword research.
There are also options for segmenting keywords by search volume. You also get tons of additional data including keyword difficulty, which will tell you how difficult it will be for you to rank for the keyword.
It will also display the organic CTR or click through rate which will tell you what percentage of organic search traffic clicks you can expect from the keywords. The higher the number, the better it is.
You will also give your SERP data which will show you the top 10 competing websites and the AdWord competitions you may have to face while trying to rank for those keywords.
Overall, Moz Keyword Explorer is a very powerful tool that you might want to use. However, you must understand that using Moz Keyword Explorer will cost money. There is, of course, a free version available that allows only 10 searches per month, and that totally sucks.
Moz Keyword Explorer Pricing
Moz Keyword Explorer is not a standalone tool. You cannot buy a subscription just for the Keyword Explorer. It is a part of Moz Pro. So, you must subscribe to one of Moz Pro’s paid plans to get full access to the Keyword Explorer.
What is interesting though, is that you can always get a 30-day free trial for Moz Pro. That is one of the longest trials I have ever encountered for any SEO tool.
Once the trial expires, you are required to subscribe to one of their paid plans that include the following:
- Standard: $99 a month ($79 a month when paid yearly).
- Medium: $179 a month ($143 a month when paid yearly).
- Large: $249 a month ($199 a month when paid yearly).
- Premium: $599 a month ($479 a month when paid yearly).
Moz’s pricing is almost at par with Ahrefs. However, it might still be a pricey option for people on a shoestring budget. This is where other SEO tools pitch in.
Let’s have a look at them.
#4. BiQ Keyword Intelligence
I tried out BiQ during its initial days and I realized that they needed more time to refine their product. However, that was a long time ago. Over time, BiQ has become quite powerful and covers a whole lot of features at a very reasonable pricing.
Just like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz, BiQ is a complete SEO suite. It can do a lot of things like website performance monitoring, rank tracking, and yes, keyword research.
Their keyword research module is called Keyword Intelligence. What is interesting is that BiQ will show you a lot of relevant data about the keywords you search using their platform. First thing first, you can set the target country and preferred language, and type in a few keywords. The tool will then spit out related keywords, content ideas, popular questions (PAA), and trending searches.
What is unique about BiQ Keyword Intelligence is that it will show you keyword intent. There are three intents – transactional, navigational, and informational.
The tool will also throw in additional information like total search volume, average CPC (cost per click), and average competition. Now, this is where things get interesting. BiQ Keyword Intelligence replaces the absolute score of keyword difficulty with a percentage score of competition. The higher the percentage, the higher the competition, and hence, higher the keyword difficulty. Which means that if the competition percentage is high, you will find it difficult to rank for the keywords.
As always, the best thing to do is to go ahead and use a low competition keyword with higher search volume.
Where it lacks is that it will not show you SERP results. It will only show you content ideas, which simply means that it will scout Google search results and return a list of web pages with content around your keyword. You can then build a content strategy based on that.
There are options for various filters, too that you can use for filtering out the results and keeping only the options that you need or want.
Overall, BiQ Keyword Intelligence is a powerful tool that you can always use if you are on a shoestring budget.
BiQ Keyword Intelligence Pricing
BiQ Keyword Intelligence is not a standalone tool. It is a part of the overall BiQ SEO suite, and hence, if you want to use it, you must subscribe for the entire suite. There are three pricing plans available that include:
- Growth Plan: $55 a month (or $46 a month for annual billing).
- Advanced Plan: $85 a month (or $71 a month for annual billing).
- Professional Plan: $115 a month (or $96 a month for annual billing).
KWFinder is a product of Mangools. Again, just like all the four options you have read so far, KWFinder is not a standalone tool. It is a part of Mangools SEO suite. I reviewed KWFinder, and it happens to be a great keyword research tool for beginners.
Function-wise, KWFinder is almost the same as the four options you have read so far. You can set location and language and then search for a keyword. It will show you a multitude of data including overall search volume (globally or location-based).
It can show you related keywords, autocomplete suggestions, and PAA (People Also Ask questions) with additional data like keyword difficulty, PPC (Pay Per Click), CPC (Cost Per Click), and trends.
It will also show you SERP data with interesting information like DA & PA (Domain Authority and Page Authority) from Moz, CF & TF (Citation Flow and Trust Flow) from Majestic, Facebook shares and more for most popular web pages ranking for your searched keywords.
What you will instantly like about KWFinder is the neatness with which it arranges all the data. It is so clear that a noob with zero experience in keyword research will instantly get a hang of the interface with absolute clarity.
KWFinder also offers a range of filtering options that you can use to get exactly the data you need or want. You don’t need to look into everything. Just as with the previous four, you can use these filtering options to find the keywords with low Keyword Difficulty and high search volume.
The tool even allows you to create lists for different sets of keywords that you can quickly access directly from inside the tool, without the need for downloading everything.
Now, as I told you, KWFinder is not a standalone tool. It is a part of Mangools SEO tools. So, you must get an overall subscription of Mangools to use the KWFinder tool.
Interestingly, Mangools is one of the cheapest options you will find, which I think is quite underpriced for the set of features you get. There are three pricing plans to select from. They are:
- Mangools Basic: $29 a month for a yearly billing cycle, or $49 a month for monthly billing cycle.
- Mangools Premium: $39 a month for a yearly billing cycle, or $69 a month for monthly billing cycle.
- Mangools Agency: $79.90 a month for yearly billing cycle, or $129 a month for monthly billing cycle.
There should not be any doubt that Mangools is a powerful tool at a low price, and its simplicity makes it a great choice for rookies. However, it is still not as close to Ahrefs or SEMrush in accuracy. But again, no one is absolutely accurate.
Other Best Keyword Research Tools
Okay, now that I have talked about the top 5 keyword research tools in great depths, I will quickly walk you through the other great options that you can use for conducting keyword research. Some of the names here will be lesser known because not many people speak about them. Yet, they happen to be great tools.
You may use Soovle for harvesting keyword suggestions from a variety of sources. Soovle provides keyword suggestions from Google, Yahoo, Bing, YouTube, and Amazon, among others.
This way, you may discover vast untapped keywords that your opponent is unaware of.
What's the greatest part?
Store your preferred keyword recommendations quickly and easily with the “drag & drop” stored suggestions function that the platform offers. Then export your preferred keywords in a CSV file format!
Hell yes! It is that easy.
On the side note though, Soovle’s interface can look very busy, and cause a hell lot of distraction. If you are okay with all those distracting dances of keywords, Soovle will be a great place to start with basic keyword research.
Do not forget that Soovle will not show you things like keyword difficulty, CPC, search volume, SERP overview, etc. You just get the keywords.
Soovle is a completely free tool. You do not have to bother about the budget.
With Jaaxy, you can instantly generate dozens of similar keyword suggestions. This is a simple but effective tool.
Jaaxy provides you with a plethora of unique keyword suggestions, including ones that you won't discover in the majority of other tools.
Additionally, you get valuable data on each term it creates, such as competitiveness, search volume, and prospective traffic.
Jaaxy includes a feature known as QSR. QSR is an abbreviation for “Quoted Search Result.” This is a new phrase meaning “how many other sites are vying for the same keyword?” Clearly, the smaller this number is, the higher your chances of ranking #1 are.
Unlike Soovle, Jaaxy isn’t a free tool. It does provide a Starter Pack which is essentially a trial that will allow only 30 keyword searches. After that is over, you must select one of the two paid plans available. They are:
- Pro: It costs $49 a month.
- Enterprise: It costs $99 a month.
SECockpit is a keyword research tool for SEO professionals.
This is a keyword research tool equivalent to a Swiss Army Knife. As with any other popular tool for keyword research, you enter a seed term and SECockpit returns a list of results.
However, what distinguishes SECockpit is the built-in tools that enable you to go down into organic competition, search trends, and traffic estimations.
That is, it is a tool that is primarily targeted towards SEO pros. Yes, novices may benefit from this instrument. However, there is little question that SECockpit is aimed to those who hardcore SEO professional.
If you're new to SEO, the sheer breadth of this tool's functions may be intimidating. However, if you're searching for a lot of depth, you're likely to receive your money's worth.
SECockpit allows you to increase the number of keywords it returns by allowing you to include synonyms from Google AdWords, Google Suggest, Amazon Suggest, YouTube Suggest, and Google Related Search.
It pulls a lot of data directly from Google Keyword Planner and gives a lot of information including commercial intent of the keywords, search volumes, and first page competition. And yes, there are over 100 different filters you can use for filtering and drilling down on what you need.
SECockpit offers three pricing plans, and they are:
- Personal: $25 a month or $39 a month for yearly or monthly billing plans, respectively.
- Pro: $42 a month or $59 a month for yearly or monthly billing plans, respectively.
- Agency: $75 a month or $99 a month for yearly or monthly billing plans, respectively.
While the prices are quite reasonable, what you are not going to like about SECockpit are the stringent limitations set on Personal and Pro plans. So, check those limitations before you decide to pay for their services.
Another powerful Google Suggest scraper is KeywordTool.io. Utilize it to get a plethora of targeted keyword suggestions.
What distinguishes KeywordTool from the competition? There are two points!
To begin, KeywordTool provides a plethora of keyword recommendations, and to further refine, filter, or extend the results, you can quickly dig down, filter, or expand the results to discover the optimal keywords for you.
Additionally, it enables you to analyze the terms used by your competition. Simply input the URL of a competitor's website and the tool will provide a list of keyword suggestions based on the content of your competitor's site.
KeywordTool.io is a free tool. However, they do have a pro version available that offers the following pricing plans:
- Pro Basic: $89 a month for monthly billing.
- Pro Plus: $99 a month for monthly billing.
- Pro Business: $199 a month for monthly billing.
Now, for the number of features it provides, I feel that the product is overpriced. The only benefit of using KeywordTool.io Pro is that it will allow you to search way more keywords than any other tool (except the free ones like soovle). This is ideal for those who are looking for bulk keyword research.
QuestionDB is not your traditional keyword research tool. It helps you find questions that people ask on one of the most popular platforms in the world – Reddit.
Yes, QuestionDB pulls questions from Reddit, and allows you to sort the results based on popularity. Once you have all the questions in place, you can go ahead and create content around them, and answer all those burning questions.
QuestionDB is an absolutely free tool. You don’t have to spend a dime, and there are no limitations on the number of searches you can conduct. The number of results you will get will be restricted to 50.
However, you can increase the number of results per search to 800 results by upgrading to their paid plan that costs $10 a month.
#11. Keywords Everywhere
Keywords Everywhere is a premium keyword research service that shows keyword data from the top ten websites on the Internet, including Amazon, eBay, and Answer The Public.
This eliminates the need to manually enter keywords into the GKP or Google Keyword Planner. Your Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browser will display the data. Extremely cool.
Additionally, it has a “People Also Search For” section that displays other searches linked to your seed keywords. Additionally, it provides statistics on search traffic, cost per click, and even competition (which is essentially the keyword difficulty).
What's nice about the “People Also Search For” section is that it allows you to discover keywords that your target client searches for when they're not looking for your product or service.
Keywords Everywhere Pricing
Keywords Everywhere has six pricing plans that include:
- $10: 100,000 credits.
- $50: 500,000 credits.
- $100: 1 million credits.
- $200: 2 million credits.
- $500: 5 million credits.
- $1000: 10 million credits.
Remember – 1 credit equals 1 keyword. These are one-time payments, and all the credits expire after one year. If you need more credits, you must purchase credits again.
What is awful though, is that every keyword suggestion it shows counts a credit. So, don’t think that these credits will last too long in case you are engaged in bulk keyword research.
#12. Answer The Public
Answer The Public is another tool if you want to use Google and Bing autocomplete data to get keyword and content ideation. It gives a visual representation of the data and shows you questions people ask based on the seed keyword you provide.
It is a great tool to find the burning questions and create content around them so that you can grab more and more visitors for your website.
Answer The Public Pricing
Answer The Public is available for free use with extremely limitations. When I say extreme restrictions, it means that you cannot conduct more than two searches in a day. If you want to go beyond that, you must upgrade to one of the paid plans that include:
- Monthly: $99 a month.
- Annual: $79 a month ($948 upfront payment).
- Expert: $199 a month.
#13. Keyword Snatcher
With a single search on Keyword Snatcher, you may get 2,000 keyword suggestions.
If you're looking for a large number — and I do mean a large number – of keyword suggestions, Keyword Snatcher is the perfect tool for you.
Indeed, a single seed term will often create at least 2,000 keywords.
Simply launch the application, choose the sources from which you want Keyword Snatcher to get recommendations, enter the seed keyword, and click the Get Suggestions button. That is all!
Now, just wait till you get the keywords. On the flipside, you will not get statistics on particular keywords such as CPC, search volume, keyword difficulty, and so on.
There are, however, a couple of filters you can apply and find key phrases with a certain number of words and containing certain specific words.
Keyword Snatcher Pricing
Keyword Snatcher is a premium tool, but unlike other options, there is no recurring payment. Pay a one-time fee of $47 and you get to use the tool forever.
Ubersuggest is yet another tool that you can use for finding keywords and even performing other SEO analysis like webpage errors, traffic volume over time, and more.
But be warned! Ubersuggest is far from being nearly accurate. In fact, its data is quite distorted, especially when it comes to offering information on competition analysis. It also shows very skewed data on search volumes, CPC, etc.
Honestly, I would avoid using Ubersuggest for anything other than just finding keywords and related searches. You may try it out because it is one of the cheapest options you will get as of today.
Paid plans of Ubersuggest start at $12 a month and go all the way up to $40 a month.
After using Ubersuggest for over a year, I can say with absolute surety that it is nothing more than a marketing gimmick by ace marketer Neil Patel. Initially when I started using Ubersuggest, it felt great, but as I started using alternatives and compared their data with what Ubersuggest had thrown at me, I was in for a surprise. The data was nowhere even close to being consistent with the likes of Ahrefs, SEMrush, Moz, KWFinder, or BiQ Keyword Intelligence.
So much is the inconsistency that it even shows wrong data on website traffic when compared to a tool like Google Search Console. So, use the tool at your own risk.
Remember, a low price doesn’t mean a great deal, especially in terms of SEO. Never forget the saying – ‘the more sugar you add to your tea, the sweeter it gets.’ Ubersuggest is a perfect example of that.
#15. Google Trends
Last but not the least on this list, Google Trends happens to be a handy tool for your SEO efforts. It is not exactly a keyword suggestion tool like the ones I have mentioned above. In fact, you need to feed a keyword or a key phrase to the tool, and it will show you the search trends of that keyword over a certain time frame.
This will give you an idea of when certain keywords become more popular, and you can create your content calendar accordingly to make the most out of the keywords you plan to use during specific times of the year.
Google Trends Pricing
It is a free tool with absolutely no restrictions. Use it as much as you want for as long as you want. The only thing that will hold you back is the speed at which you can conduct searches. You cannot get trends for multiple keywords at a time. You can just feed one keyword at a time and get the trends.
This list of best keyword research tools is not a complete one. There are many more that you can use. However, these are the most powerful ones you will get. Select the one that you think is the best fit for you. I will strongly recommend going for any one from the top 5 choices. They are, without an iota of doubt, the best in business.
Finding the right keywords will help you climb up in Google search results. So, what are you waiting for? Take your keyword research to a whole new level now!