There are many tools out there that can calculate the difficulty to rank different keywords. The problem is that most of the really good programs available on the market cost a good amount of money – so what if you just have a few keywords you want to research? Luckily, there are many tools that can provide invaluable information about the competition and the difficulty of the keyword you are trying to rank – without having to break the bank in the process. Below you will find a handful of free tools or tools with free trials that I use to do keyword research.
Ahrefs has a free trial of their keyword tools for all users as long as you sign up and verify using an email. With Ahrefs, you can see around 10-15 organic keywords from your site and what they rank for. I personally use Ahrefs primarily to check what backlinks I have received, they are the most accurate I have found in terms of reporting. Another cool feature is you can use the calendar view under backlinks to see when they were added and from what URL based on the date they were added. Really useful if you want to see your newest backlinks!
SpyFu is really one of the best tools I’ve found that provides a ton of keyword information, completely free. I went in-depth talking about SpyFu in my tutorial videos: (Link opens Youtube video)
- How to spy on competitors keywords using SpyFu
- Using SpyFu to look for profitable niche opportunities
You can also check which keywords are being used by your competitors, and also compare two sites to see which keywords they share, as well as an estimate to the number of visitors they receive each month based on their SEO scores.
SEMrush is probably one of the leading keyword/SEO research tools on the market – and rightfully so. It is used by large and small SEO companies from all over the world, and features a wide variety of keyword tools. By signing up for the free trial, you get access to 10 additional requests on top of the 5 free requests you get originally. Requests can be for keyword difficulty, keyword spying on your competitors, as well as a few others listed on the features page. You can also use the search bar below to check your site and keywords
4: KW FINDER
Mostly an unknown tool, but I find KW Finder as an easy way to search for CPC data that Google AdWords also provides, but without the need to login and go through multiple steps to see the keyword volume and other stats. You will want to check the data with another tool if you’re going to do ad spending, because sometimes I have found the data to be slightly inflated. Otherwise – it’s a handy tool for getting search volume data and providing a quick gauge at how difficult it is to rank a keyword.
Moz is pretty expensive and really only intended for serious internet marketers and agencies, but it does have a few tools that provide limited amounts of data if you’re looking for some insight on keywords. The Open Site Explorer provides a list of inbound links (similar to that of Ahrefs) and also a top pages section to see the best performing parts of your site, just to name a few features. As with most top-tier programs, the more data and searches comes with a monthly plan – and Moz starts off at $100+ a month for their cheapest plan. I think I’ll stick with SpyFu for now.
We couldn’t have a keyword competitor list without having Google Keyword Planner on the list. Google Keyword Planner is as close to the authority as you can get in terms of search volume, CPC, and related keywords. Tools like Long Tail Pro work directly off the data that Google Keyword Planner provides. If you are just starting out, this is the program you should become familiar with before any of the other ones. It’s also the only tool that is completely free for all features. You do not need to spend money on advertising to use this tool, you just need to create a Google AdWords account (no funding necessary).
And that’s about it! All of these free tools will point you in the right direction and enable you to check up on the competition and determine which keywords are best to focus on for your next SEO goal. Do you have a (free) tool that could fit into this list? Leave a comment below or send me a message in the contact form and I’ll be sure to add it to the list as long as it’s not spammy.