5 Best Keyword Research Tools for SEO in 2018 (Free & Premium)

5 Best Keyword Research Tools for SEO in 2018 (Free & Premium)

When we talk about the keyword research tools, Google Keyword Planner is the first name that you might get in mind. With the brand name of Google, GKP has always been the most popular tool in the keyword research process.

If you know the importance of keyword research you might understand why companies invest a lot of amount on finding the most profitable keywords.

There are many keyword tools available in the market. And if you are serious about your online business, you need to find and use the best keyword research tools for SEO and hence traffic.

In this article we will see some very popular and handy SEO keyword tools that can help you to analyze your targeted keywords better.

best keyword research tools seo

Types of Keyword Research Tools

Mainly two types of keyword research tools are available out there –  basic keyword research tools and competitor keyword research tools.

Basic Keyword Research Tool: With this you can get a range of keyword ideas depending on your seed keyword.

Competitor Keyword Research Tool: With this you can find competitors keywords through reverse engineering and target their highest traffic fetching keywords.

SEO is a serious job. You have to take care of lot of things – from page loading speed to anchor text for backlinks, the list is huge.

However, keywords are the backbone of any serious SEO campaign. Whether you want to do a traditional keyword research or want to find competitors SEO keywords, you need to have an effective tool in your kitty. So let’s discuss some of the most popular keyword analysis tools in detail.

Most Popular SEO Keyword Research Tools of 2018

Google Keyword Planner

Any keyword tool list is incomplete without Google Keyword Planner. This is the free tool from Google which shows you a list of related and LSI keywords depending on your main keyword.

Previously it used to show exact keyword search volume, however, Google has stopped it now. Instead you can see the search volume ranges and their CPC bids. Note that the Competition level it shows is for Adwords and not keyword competitiveness as a publisher.

How to Use Google Keyword Planner?

First of all, open Keyword Planner and click on Sign In. Look of the New Keyword Planner is a bit different. You will see a Tool icon in the top right. Click on that and you will see different options there. Click on Keyword Planner under Planning.

google keyword planner tool

In the next page provide your target keyword/s under Find new keywords and click on Get Started. It will show a huge list of keyword ideas in the next page.

google keyword research tool

You can Download Keyword Ideas from here or select only those keywords which you think are highly related and are needed for your keyword strategy. Now sort and analyze your data for further use.

Keyword Planner by Google doesn’t show you the keyword difficulty. GKP is primarily created by keeping the Google Adwords campaigns in mind. Though it is great to start as a newbie, it does not however show you some of the very important matrix for your targeted keywords.

So if you want to get these important keyword stats then checkout the advanced keyword research tools discussed below.


SEMRush is the best competitor keyword analysis tool and is my favorite. You can also use it as a traditional SEO keyword research tool. Give your competitor URL and see which keywords your competition is getting most traffic from. You can then analyze those keywords further.

How to Use SEMRush?

Go to SEMRush and provide your competitor URL/ keyword there. Click on Start Now and in the next screen it will show you all the needed data. You can do a Domain Overview or Keyword Overview depending on what you need to analyze.

In the Keyword Overview, it shows you the keyword research data which you can also download as PDF. They have launched the Beta version of Keyword Magic Tool which shows better analysis of your keywords. SEMRush also shows you the related keywords to your seed keyword.

If you want to find competitor keywords, you can go for Domain Overview. Here we have taken Backlinko.com as an example.

seo keyword research tool

According to SEMRush competitor research, Brian Dean’s organic traffic for the day is 1.5K. Click on that number and you can see his keyword stats like keyword ranking, volume, keyword difficulty along with other stats.

semrush competitor keyword research tool


Rank Tracker is an effective SEO keyword tool from SEO Powersuite that lets you do keyword research like a pro. You can easily find out the most traffic generating and buyer intent keywords with RankTracker. This keyword analysis tool makes use of 20 keyword research methods to give you the best keywords to work on.

How to Use RankTracker?

Launch RankTracker and create a project by providing your site URL. Click on Authorize Google Analytics and AdWords Account and it will show you a list of keywords fetched directly from Analytics and Adwords.

Once you are inside the RankTracker tool, click on the +Add Keywords icon and add couple of Seed keywords. Now click on Suggest Keywords button and you will be prompted to choose the Keyword Research method.

You can opt for Google Adwords Keyword Planner as a starting point or any other method as you may wish.

seo powersuite keyword research

It will give you the keyword suggestion along with the search volume, competition and KEI (Keyword Efficiency Index). RankTracker automatically group the keyword suggestions into semantic keyword groups so that you can easily manage your data while focusing on the entire topic.

seo powersuite keyword efficiency index

You can also check the keyword difficulty by navigating through the Keyword Map.


KWFinder is another tool I use on a regular basis. It is an easy to use keyword research tool and is one of the best Google Keyword Planner alternatives.

How to Use KWFinder?

Visit KWFinder official site and you will see the Enter the keyword field. There are 3 different options (Suggestions, AutoComplete, Questions) to do your keyword analysis. Enter your seed keyword and click on Find keywords.

kwfinder keyword analysis

I have opted to see keyword suggestions first. In the left hand side, it will show you a list of keywords, their exact search volume, keyword difficulty score along with search trends for last one year. In the right hand side, you will see the keyword difficulty in bold along with monthly search volumes at top.

kwfinder keyword research tool

Below that, it will show you the analysis from Google SERP. You can see some important matrics like Moz DA, PA, SEO difficulty rank, Backlinks of top 10 results for that specific keyword.  You can also click on AutoComplete and Questions and find more long tail keywords.

Long Tail Pro

Many bloggers and internet marketers consider LTP as the best keyword research tool of current market. And I agree. Long Tail Pro helps you to find the most profitable keywords and many new keyword ideas which you can target.

How to Use Long Tail Pro?

Download Long Tail Pro with Free Trial option. Once you are in the tool, provide your Seed keyword and click on Generate Keywords & Fetch Data. It will fetch a list of related keywords with some important matrix like Local Search volume.

long tail pro keyword research

In Long Tail Pro keyword research you can calculate the KC or Keyword Competitiveness of every keyword in the list. Also analyze the SERP Data for your targeted keywords with matrix like KC, TF, CF, backlinks (.edu/ .gov), indexed pages, site age etc.

long tail pro keyword competitiveness

Best Keyword Research Tools for SEO: Who Wins?

So, which is the best keyword research tool in 2018?

All those mentioned above are best in their own way. However, you don’t have to use all of them together. Rather pick the one that best suits your need.

Here is my verdict,

  • If you want to drive traffic from competitor keywords, then SEMRush is the best SEO keyword research tool for you
  • If you want to find out the low competition long tail keywords, then Long Tail Pro is what you need
  • If you are a beginner with limited budget, then KWFinder is a good option

Have you used any of these keyword research tools? How was your experience? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

5 Best Keyword Research Tools for SEO in 2018 (Free & Premium)
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