5 Most Effective Keyword Research Tools for 2020 (Free & Paid)

Keyword research is the daily bread of any search strategy. Building a campaign around the keyword you wish to rank for is crucial, and several SEO keyword tools will help you find low hanging fruit. This guide will present 5 best paid and free keyword research tools on the market, recommended by the top experts.

When you develop website content, you need to target keywords that get some monthly searches but aren’t going to be extremely hard to rank.

If you aren't bidding on or using the adequate keywords, you're not serving the best content to the right audience at the final stage in the buyer trip. It means less traffic, customers, leads, and conversions.

There’re various ways which you can find keywords and do keyword research, and they all include use of keyword research tool. And there are lots of different solutions to choose from.

Below are 5 best keyword tools (free and paid) to kickstart your SEO instantly.

  • Google Keyword Planner;
  • SEMrush;
  • Ahrefs Keyword Explorer;
  • KWFinder;
  • Keywords Everywhere.

Google Keyword Planner

Google’s Keyword Planner is a part of the AdWords PPC platform. While it can be used to find keywords for paid campaigns, it’s also great for organic search.

It’s the best free keyword tool and has been around for almost twenty years. AdWords started in 2000 with a few hundred advertisers but has grown to 95% of Google’s revenue.

It allows for various research features like discovering new keywords, multiple keyword lists, keyword forecasting, obtaining keywords insights, and more.

Key Features

Search for new keywords via phrase, website, or category

It induces lists of keywords from a seed keyword, a landing page URL, or a product category from Google’s product taxonomy. The generated list has trend data and search volume.

Get search volume data and trends

This Google keyword research tool allows you to upload an existing list of keywords to get volume and trend data directly. Excellent for adding volume data to a keyword list from other tools.

Multiply keyword lists to get new keywords

The keyword multiplier tool is used to make extensive lists of keywords by producing all potential combinations of terms from 2-3 lists of phrases.

Use click and cost performance forecasts

The forecast tool enables you to upload a list of keywords and get forecasted clicks and impressions based on a particular budget and targeting criterium. It’s primarily for advertisers, but it can also help estimate future search volume.

Search for keyword and ad group ideas

At the top of the form, there’re three search fields that you can employ to look for keyword ideas. You can create a list of keywords from either:

One or more keywords or phrases are “seed keywords.”

  • URL to a web page;
  • Category from Google’s product taxonomy;
  • Seed keywords.

Keyword filters

Keyword filters refine your search based on monthly search volume, suggested bid, competition level, and the ad impression share, which relates to how many searchers are bidding on a specific term.


SEMrush was launched in 2008 and became the best keyword research tool within the last few years. It’s a full SEO suite that provides keyword research, backlink analysis, traffic evaluations, and more.

It has many tools to help you research keywords and blog article topics. From the Organic Research tool to the Topic Research tool to the new Keyword Magic tool, you’re bound to find plenty of keywords to build content around.

Key Features

Keyword Magic

With over two million keywords in its database, you'll find numerous keywords for your business. You can generate up to 50 target keyword lists if you're supporting multiple clients or if your business includes many facets.

Type in any keyword, and you'll get instant results such as:

  • Long-tail keyword to follow;
  • Average monthly volume of searches;
  • Trend graph;
  • Keyword difficulty;
  • CPC.

Keyword Analyzer

The keyword analyzer tool allows you to further explore up to 1,000 chosen keywords of your selecting. From here, you can:

  • Segment keywords further for analysis;
  • Export keywords to a spreadsheet;
  • Send keywords to other tools like the Position Tracking tool.

Keyword Gap

The Keyword Gap tool helps to see how your website stacks up against others that are targeting the same keywords as you.

The Keyword Gap tool provides (by default) a list of keywords both you and your competitors have in common. You'll see your ranking for the keyword vs. their ranking.

You'll receive info such as volume, difficulty to rank for, AdWords competition, and CPC. Use it to find keywords you rank for below your competition and make changes to those pages to boost your rankings.

Domain overview

With SEMrush, you can also learn a plethora of information about your website, including keywords you already rank for.

To collect information about your domain, enter your root domain into the Domain Overview tool. Here are some of the metrics this keyword tool can provide in their domain search when you type in your site address:

  • Overview of the traffic amount that keywords known to SEMrush is driving to your site by organic traffic;
  • The amount of traffic you might be getting with paid search.
  • Number of backlinks from referring domains;
  • Referring domains that are bringing traffic to the site sorted by those with the most backlinks pointing to your webpages;
  • Your most popular indexed pages backlinked by other domains.

Organic Research

With the Organic Research, you can learn a lot about the keywords you, or your competitors, currently rank for.

In the Overview tab, you get a great graph displaying your keyword growth over time. In the Positions tab, you have a complete table of all the keywords you currently rank for in the top 100 results.

By default, SEMrush sorts the keywords in order of those driving the highest volume of monthly traffic. Still, other data points can be used to list the keywords, including:

  • Position of the keyword for organic search results with an arrow displaying the previous position;
  • Difference in position losses or gains compared to the last indexing;
  • Estimated number of keyword monthly searches;
  • CPC to advertise for the keyword;
  • URL page the keyword is associated with;
  • Costs per click average.

Position tracking

As soon as you know the keywords you want to track, add them to the position tracking tool. Here you receive weekly updates on how you and your competition are ranking for those keywords.

It'll show you all the different SERP features the keyword is triggering and who has those SERP features. You can review the specific pages you're ranking for those keywords to see if they need improvement.

If you're a local business, you can Geo-target those keywords to see how you're ranking at a local search level.


SEMrush offers a free account to get a feel for the platform and to determine if it’s right for your needs.

With a free account, you will get the following features:

  • 10 searches by day: Search up to 10 different reports for any websites in a 24-hour. If you had entered a URL and then click the keyword report, it would count for two searches. It’s fine if you casually use SEMrush.
  • 10 results by search: You can view the top 10 keywords you rank for, 10 backlinks you have, etc.

If you want more, there are four different plants available:

  • Pro - $99.95 per month or $83.28 per month paid annually; track 500 keywords, 10 000 results per report, 3 000 reports per day, 5 projects, 5 scheduled PDF reports, 1 user included (1 additional user available for purchase), 1 plagiarism check per month, and more;
  • Guru - $199.95 per month or $166.62 per month paid annually; track 1 500 keywords, 30 000 results per report, 5 000 reports per day, 50 projects, 50 scheduled PDF reports, 1 user included (2 additional users available for purchase), 5 plagiarism checks per month, branded reports, historical data, and extended limits;
  • Business - $399.95 per month or $333.28 per month paid annually; track 5 000 keywords, 50 000 results per report, 10 000 reports per day, 200 projects, 50 scheduled PDF reports, 1 user included (9 additional users available for purchase), 10 plagiarism checks per month, API access, white-label reports, extended limits/sharing options, and Google Data Studio Integration;
  • Enterprise: For pricing info for Enterprise plan, contact the vendor.

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

In Ahrefs' keyword research report, you get the best idea of which keywords you need to optimize for improving the site ranking. This keyword research tool uses its own crawler to gather the search volume data from keyword planner.

What differentiates Ahrefs from other tools, is that it lets you know what keywords your competitors are using for optimization.

It definitely helps you to use similar keywords or its variations so that there is a scope for boosting your website ranking. It provides an analysis report for paid keywords too.

Keyword explorer let you perform keyword research on the following platforms: Google, Bing, Amazon, YouTube, Yahoo, Yandex, Baidu.

Key Features

6-Keyword generation algorithms

It uses six different suggestions algorithms. You can opt for one that works best for you or get keywords ideas from all these techniques combined.

  • Phrase match — Apply this method to get keyword ideas that include an exact match with seed keywords or key phrases;
  • Having the same terms — Produces a list of keywords and key phrases that has the terms of your seed keywords;
  • Also rank for — This comprehensive algorithm uncovers keywords that bring traffic to the top 10 pages ranking for your seed keywords. It's a goldmine of even more keywordsrelated with a given topic. With this, you can go far beyond your seed keywords;
  • Search suggestions — Displays a list of keyword ideas that show up in Google's Autocomplete when you type a search query;
  • Questions — Use this feature to get search queries that are phrased as a question.

In-depth keyword research

It speeds up the complete process by integrating full SERPs, Search Suggestions, Parent Topic, phrase match ideas, and pages also rank for directly in the Dashboard.

Keyword difficulty

Keyword difficulty uses a 0 to 100 scale based on their link data to score what it would take to rank for a specific keyword.

Use this feature heavily to sort not only low-hanging fruit but also to create realistic content promotion strategy to get your content visible.

Estimate return on investment

Its number on clicks, return rate, and clicks per search are accurate enough to make these kinds of judgments.

With return rate and clicks per search, you can get a great snapshot of what sort of visibility and traffic grades you'll get if you rank good for a specific keyword.

Keyword suggestions

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer runs on a huge database of more than 7 billion keywords, updated with fresh data every month.

Location-specific keyword ideas

Its generator displays keyword suggestions for 170 countries. Take the advantage of your local keyword research with this function.


  • Lite - $99/per month or $82 per month billed annually (start trial for $7); 1 user, 25 reports per day, 5 keyword lists, up to 10,000 keywords in batches, 100 SERP updates per month, 1,000 rows per report, 200,000 rows per month, and 6-months SERP position history;
  • Standard - $179/per month or $149 per month billed annually (start trial for $7); 1 user, 100 reports per day, 20 keyword lists, up to 10,000 keyword in batches, 1,000 SERP updates per month, 5,000 rows per report, 500,000 rows per month, and 6-months SERP position history;
  • Advanced - $399/per month or $332 per month billed annually (subscribe); 3 users, 200 reports per day, 100 keyword lists, up to 10,000 keywords in batches, 5,000 SERP updates per month, 25,000 rows per report, 2 million rows per month, and full SERP position history;
  • Agency - $999/per month or $832 per month billed annually (subscribe); 5 users, 1,000 reports per day, 250 keyword lists, up to 10,000 keywords in batches, 20,000 SERP updates per month, 100,000 rows per report, 5 million rows per month, and full SERP position history.


KWFinder is a keyword research tool that finds the right keywords for your site and content. It provides hundreds of suggestions with every keyword research.

KWFinder offers many vital details for each keyword, including trends, search volume, cost per click, and keyword difficulty.

And unlike most keyword research tools, it offers three types of keywords, Suggestions, Autocomplete, and Questions.

Key Features

Find hidden long tail Keywords

KWFinder makes it easy to find new long-tail keywords for any niche. To get started, log in to the KWFinder dashboard and type in your main seed keyword and push the button “Find keywords” to start your keyword search. To be more specific, you can choose the location and language before searching.

Within a few seconds, this SEO keyword research tool will return with a comprehensive report which contains different keyword ideas for the seed keyword.

You'll also discover the following SEO metrics to help you get the right keywords:

  • Search volume trend for the last year;
  • Average monthly search volume for the last 12 months;
  • Average cost per click in Google AdWords;
  • Keyword SEO difficulty – The average LPS (link profile strength) of URLs ranking in the #1 Google SERP (Min = 0, Max = 100).
  • Competition level in PPC in Google AdWords (Min = 0, Max = 100);

Organize keywords with keyword lists

Once you've entered your seed keyword, you'll discover a plethora of keyword ideas from the report that is generated. Pick the keywords you want to target and click the "Add to list" button.

Enter a name for the list and then select "Create list and add keyword" to create your keyword list. It’ll save your keyword research, and you can access your keyword lists any time. Plus, the keyword lists can be exported, renamed, or even deleted.

Localized results for local keywords

If you run a local business, you must nail down your local SEO. KWFinder can help you do that by providing you precise local search volume and all other metrics for local keywords. Also, the tool comes with thousands of locations you can base local keyword research on.

Accurate keyword difficulty

Its keyword difficulty metric is the most precise on the market. The calculation is related to the SEO rank made of #1 Google SERP. It considers the link profile and selected Moz metrics of each URL.

Autocomplete and Questions features

You can use KWFinder’s Questions, and Autocomplete features to generate even more unique keywords. When you use the Autocomplete feature, it’ll take the main seed keyword to prepend and append it with different words.

Therefore, it’ll generate hundreds of suggested keywords in a few seconds. At the same time, when you choose questions features, this tool will prepend the main seed keyword with question words.


You can start with a 10-day free trial before choosing the right plan for you.

  • Mangools Basic - $49.00 per month or $29.90 per month paid annually; 100 keyword lookups/24 h, 200 keyword suggestions per search, 25 competitor keywords per search, 100 SERP lookups, and 200 tracked keywords daily;
  • Mangools Premium - $69.00 per month or $39.90 per month paid annually; 500 keyword lookups/24 h, 700 keyword suggestions per search, unlimited competitor keywords per search, 500 SERP lookups, and 700 tracked keywords daily;
  • Mangools Agency - $129.90 per month or $79.90 per month paid annually; 1,200 keyword lookups/24 h, 700 keyword suggestions per search, unlimited competitor keywords per search, 1,200 SERP lookups, and 1,500 tracked keywords daily.

Keywords Everywhere

Keywords Everywhere is a unique free keyword research tool. Unlike other tools, it’s an add-on for Chrome and Firefox browsers, which shows keyword analysis on the go in websites and other keyword tools/search engines. It typically displays these details about keywords:

  • Search volume;
  • Competition rate;
  • CPC information.

With Keywords Everywhere, you can quickly get the search volume for any keyword by going directly to Google and typing it in. Technically, you don't need to search for the keywords. This keyword research tool instantly shows the search volume for that keyword in the Google Autocomplete section, along with lists additional keywords.

Key Features

Additional keyword suggestions

Once you search for a keyword in Google, the tool displays related Keywords on the right-hand side of the search results. The keywords presented in this widget are phrases that online users often search for in addition to the keyword that you searched.

So, if you scroll all the way to the bottom of the search results, you’ll discover even more keyword suggestions. These are searches that relate to the search you made. It displays the search volume for the keywords, so you don’t need to go and research them yourself.

Available on multiple platforms

This SEO keyword tool can be used on various platforms, not just when you search on Google. It’s available on Keyword Planner, Bing, Search Console, Analytics, Google Trends, Google Trends, YouTube, Amazon, and Majestic. It displays the monthly search volume, CPC, and competition for queries.

Download the list in Excel, CSV, or PDF file formats

Whether you are using the tool in Search Console, Analytics, Google Search, Majestic, or any of the websites or platforms it supports, you can download a list of keywords in Excel, CSV or in PDF file formats. It’s especially useful for creating a large list of keywords since it makes it easy to copy and paste the data.

Star favorite keywords for later

This feature is available in the Google Search function. Once you star the keywords, the tool will compile them into a list for later.

As you’re finished with your keyword research, you can go to the extension icon at the top of your browser, click on "My favorite keywords," and then it’ll take you to your list of keywords that you favorited where you can edit them and export into a file.

OrganicSoft Inc – Strategic SEO Company

We’re a agency that San Diego SEO services with attention towards helping small to medium-sized businesses maximize their online exposure and entices a wider audience.

Our SEO experts are here to do all the heavy lifting and help your business ensure stable organic growth while you concentrate on what matters the most – your customers. Plus, we invest in proven keyword research tools to better serve our clients in their keyword research projects and other SEO initiatives, so they don’t have to invest in the technology themselves.

We monitor social media trends and hashtags to identify new trending phrases online. For more information, visit https://organiksoft.com/ or call (858) 800 2526.