Keyword Marketing

The Best Keyword Research Tools (For Experienced Fishermen & Fisherwomen Only)

By Johnathan Dane September 18, 2013 Posted In: Keyword Marketing Comments: 82

Keyword Research Guide

Doing great keyword research is like being a fisherman. Reeling in the big profits takes knowledge, a Speedo, and a thermos.

Whether you like it or not, keyword research is at the core of pay-per-click marketing and SEO practices. If you aren’t bidding or using the right keywords, short- or long-tail, then you could be selling yourself short on your potential success.

And wouldn’t you rather reel in a big whale shark instead of a few sardines? (You can obviously tell I don’t know my fish very well.)

See, doing good keyword research is like being a seasoned fisherman, casting his net at the right place, at the right time. So whether you’re looking to patch up the holes in your current keyword selection net, or expand the size of it, consider this article a potential algal bloom of profits.

By now you should know that the Google AdWords Keyword Tool is no longer available – Google has folded the tool into Keyword Planner, a combination of the old keyword tool and the Traffic Estimator. Now, you need an AdWords account to get keyword suggestions from Google. But Google is far from the only keyword game in town.

In this article, we’ll look at my eight favorite keyword research tools, plus some fancy tricks you can use to get a wooden peg leg up on your competition. Some are free, and some are not (but well worth the money).

Keyword Research Tools

So without further ado, let’s take you from being like this guy...

Keyword Tools

To this guy.

1. FreshKey ($20 software)

FreshKey is my #1 go-to keyword research tool that allows me to see beyond the regular Google Instant suggestions and predictions that appear when I start typing things in on Google.

Not only does it give you new keyword ideas, variations, and synonyms, it also sorts the keywords depending on popularity.


Instead of just getting four new keywords from the Google suggestions drop-down, you can now potentially get an unlimited amount of keywords if you keep adding small letter variations like a, b, c, d, etc. to the end of your keyword root.

Keyword Tools

Best Keyword Tool

FreshKey will even give you ideas of which negative keywords to add before you actually have to pay for them the old-fashioned way by going through your search query report.

You can also use it to get Amazon search box suggestion terms.

You can also export the keyword results as a spreadsheet or copy them directly to your clipboard.

BOOM! You can stop reading the rest of this article now. (JK)

2) Soovle (free)

If you have multiple channels you wish to do keyword research for and want to sound like an idiot explaining the pronunciation of this tool to your watercooler buddies, then Soovle is a perfect fit.

Soovle allows you to explore the most typed in keywords on multiple search engines based on the keyword root you give it. It even includes Amazon and eBay.

Not only is it a great keyword research tool to use, but it’s also a great brainstormer as you can slowly start typing in your ideas and allow it to auto-generate its own ideas.

I would’ve never thought to call a bounce house an inflatable castle, but now I do :)


3)  Ubersuggest (free)

Meet the keyword research tool on steroids, Ubersuggest.

Ubersuggest takes any keyword you give it and immediately gives you an almost unlimited list of alphabetized and numerical keyword variations of your original keyword.

You can even take it further by adding “bounce house ab, ac, ad” to uncover more keywords that you could potentially bid on or use for SEO purposes.


4) Search Term/Query Reports (free-ish)

Now even though you won’t be expanding your keyword net by using search query report mining, you’ll at least be improving your AdWords or Bing Ads account by patching up holes.

One common thing I notice in PPC accounts is the lack of attention and detail in which the account owner or previous agency allows one or a couple of keywords to be the “catch all” for everything. A common example would be to have the keyword +bounce +house or “bounce house” and leave it at that.

The only problem is that you can’t possibly laser-target every ad to the search query, and your landing page will definitely not be as targeted as it could be either. Not even dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) would help, because who wants to click on an ad with the headline of just “Bounce House”? Let’s just say it gets tricky, and you’re a little lazy if that’s all you do.

The search term/query report is a PPC report that shows you what search terms have actually triggered your ads based on the current keywords you’re bidding on. So it won’t expand your reach since your ads are already showing for those terms, but it will help you improve your quality scores and granularity within your account.

Here’s how to access the search term report in Google AdWords:

AdWords Search Queries

Here’s how to access the search query report in Bing Ads:

Bing Keywords

5)  Google Keyword Planner (free)

Duuuhhh...! Of course this is on the list.

The Google Keyword Planner is sometimes regarded as the alpha and omega of keyword research tools. You must have an AdWords account to access it, and that doesn’t mean you have to pay anything to use it, it’s still free.

The Google Keyword Planner will show you some pretty neat stats like average monthly searches, competition level (high, medium, or low), the average cost per click, and more.

It doesn’t give you exact keyword suggestions like FreshKey or Ubersuggest, but it actually takes it a step further and suggests more synonyms and variations than many other tools available.

Is it accurate? Sort of. I always tell people to take the suggested keyword stats with a grain of salt.

Here’s how to find it. Log in in to your AdWords account and go to the Tools and Analysis tab:

AdWords Keywords

Here are some of the keyword results:

Keyword Planner

6)  WordStream’s Keyword Tool (free)

Ahhh yes... Of course I could never forget WordStream’s very own keyword tool for both SEO and PPC keyword research.

The WordStream keyword tool allows you to target certain niches (groups of related keywords), gives you further suggestions, and also allows you to group them based off of a common theme for easy ad group launches.

WordStream Keyword Tool

This keyword research tool gives you 30 searches for free, after that you’ll have to sign up for their WordStream Advisor to use it additionally.

Hidden bonus? You get a free 7-day trial on top of the 30 free searches you already did!

7) Competitor Source Code (free)

This might not be the best and most fruitful keyword research tool but it allows you to see what meta keywords your competitors could be using to try to rank organically.

Since I use Google Chrome as my browser, it’s super simple to right-click on a site and select “View Page Source.”

View Meta Keywords

After that, all you have to do is locate the keywords and read what they’ve got. That’s it!

Two caveats for this method:

  • Your competitors might not be using the best keywords
  • Your competitors might not have meta keywords enabled (since Google doesn’t include meta keyword data in its search algorithm anymore)

8. YouTube Keyword Tool (free)

This one’s for the film nerds! If you’re a brilliant marketer (which you are, you’re reading WordStream after all), then you know that YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world, potentially driving hundreds if not thousands of visitors from your videos, to your site.

Smart people know the value of YouTube and are already using it for their content marketing strategies, so it would make sense to optimize your video headlines and descriptions to get the highest possible rankings.

To do so, go to and use it just like you would the other tools I’ve mentioned.

YouTube Keywords

You can use this research to get some great ideas for video content. For example, from this research, it might make sense to create a “bounce house accident” video showcasing the safety features that could have prevented accidents in the first place, had they rented from you.

Happy fishing! :)

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment.


Wednesday September 18, 2013

Jason Chan (not verified) Said:

Great post, Johnathan. I found the new keyword planner to be really bad. I really perfer the old keyword research tool because it gave me insight. I wish they gave users the option to use the old or new keyword research tools. Ubersuggest seems really cool and I'll definitely try that one out. Thanks for the keyword tool suggestions and have a great day! - Jason Chan

Friday September 20, 2013

Johnathan Dane (not verified) Said:

Super happy it was resourceful Jason. FreshKey is also great, but Ubersuggest will work wonders :)

Wednesday September 18, 2013

Smile (not verified) Said:

Keyword research is crucial to a ppc campaign, get the keyword mix wrong and you will be spending a fortune. A keyword tool is a must !

Friday September 20, 2013

Johnathan Dane (not verified) Said:


Wednesday September 18, 2013

Leadgenix (not verified) Said:

Thanks for the advice on becoming a keyword fisherman!

Friday September 20, 2013

Johnathan Dane (not verified) Said:

It will feed you forever. Glad you enjoyed it!

Thursday September 19, 2013

Dipendra Pradhan (not verified) Said:

Thanks a lot for sharing this article with us. I was very much upset of myslef that I can't find the best keyword for my website, After checking this article I was able to find. 

Friday September 20, 2013

Johnathan Dane (not verified) Said:

That's awesome Dipendra. Glad this helped you out :)

Thursday September 19, 2013

Randall Magwood (not verified) Said:

Youtube has a research tool? Wow... i thought Keyword Discovery would definitely on the list. FreshKkey looks like something i will try though.

Friday September 20, 2013

SEOWebTouch (not verified) Said:

Keyword selction is the most imprtant things before running a campaign in PPC and SEO. An these tools are very helpful to find which keyword will be good for your business that will increase your business leads..

Friday September 20, 2013

Angelo Hudsen (not verified) Said:

nice info., is this tools that you have shared is accurate same as Google keyword adsense?

Tuesday September 24, 2013

Johnathan Dane (not verified) Said:

Not quite the same Angelo. But you should see if they'd work for your needs.

Friday September 20, 2013

Pay per click advertising (not verified) Said:

Hello Johnathan,

I never knew that we do have these much keyword research tools. I hardly have used maximum 3 of them. Thanks for sharing.

Friday September 20, 2013

Jared (not verified) Said:

I've been playing around with the new Keyword Planner from Google and must admit I find it more useful than the previous Google Keyword tool.

Saturday September 21, 2013

Michael (not verified) Said:

I purchased Freshkey yesterday but have not received the download link - pretty poor - a dodgy outfit.

Will ask my credit card company to chargeback

Tuesday September 24, 2013

Johnathan Dane (not verified) Said:

Sorry to hear about that Michael, I purchased another one about a week ago and got the link just fine. Did you check your spam?
I'd reach out to them as well if you can't find the email.

Saturday September 21, 2013

Harry (not verified) Said:

I was wondered that you didn't said something about MarketSamurai. Many SEO blogs used this tool and its free for the first 12 days. Maybe you cehck that out :)

Tuesday September 24, 2013

Johnathan Dane (not verified) Said:

If we included all keyword research tools, then I'd be dead by the time it was done. But thanks for sharing, I'm sure some readers will check it out.

Sunday September 22, 2013

Daryl (not verified) Said:

I find the Keyword Planner rather useless. A lot of things are missing compared to the Keyword Tool. This is rather frustrating as I need proper matrix to keep going!!!

Monday September 23, 2013

Läckage (not verified) Said:

it´s really Interesting to see ... thank you it's well done :)

Monday September 23, 2013

amanpreet (not verified) Said:

 Content is really worth reading and beneficial.This is really helpful. Thank you.

Monday September 23, 2013

Anonymous (not verified) Said:

Nice article. I like the way of using screenshot so its easy to the reader to follow what you express to them.

Tuesday September 24, 2013

Johnathan Dane (not verified) Said:

Thank you anonymous

Tuesday September 24, 2013

Valentino Crawford (not verified) Said:

Great post...I didn't know that there were so many keyword tools I'd never heard of! That FreshKey looks promising :)

Thursday September 26, 2013

Asher Elran (not verified) Said:

From this list after Google keyword tool ubersuggest is my next favorite one. It gives you a huge list of suggestions for any keywords.

Friday September 27, 2013

JACKHUNT (not verified) Said:

nice info., is this tools that you have shared is accurate same as Google keyword adsense?

Friday September 27, 2013

Ian (not verified) Said:

Good resouces. Since google has moved from adwords keytool to keyword planner, it makes me so confused to use. And now, the problems seem to be fixed. Thank you for sharing this list with us! 

Saturday September 28, 2013

Thoufeeq (not verified) Said:

Its great to know about freshkey. 

Monday September 30, 2013

Bill - Annapolis Wedding Photographer (not verified) Said:

This is a great list of keyword tools. I have been using the Google and Bing Tools for a while. I will definitely be trying out the other ones. I just started using Youtube more so that one is definitely going to be helpful.

Tuesday October 01, 2013

Rojgar Gujarat (not verified) Said:

It is very useful for keyword research. Thanks for sharing awesome post.

Tuesday October 08, 2013

Fervil Von (not verified) Said:

Great keyword research tools Jonathan, its my first time to know about Freshkey so it would be nice to try it too. Any reviews about wordtracker? I wonder how good it is since and I'd like to know about your rating on it why it isn't included in your list? Thanks for sharing this.

Thursday October 10, 2013

Jason (not verified) Said:

Is there a reason you did not mention Market Samurai?  Most top notch bloggers out there are using that tool.  Just curious.

Friday October 11, 2013

Anonymousivan (not verified) Said:

Fresh key is one-time payment option ?

Saturday October 12, 2013

Rhea (not verified) Said:

Along with Soolve and Ubersuggest, there's a similar tool called KeywordSuggest ( What I like about it is that you can use the * character behind your search terms, for example * reviews, and you'll get niche like suggestions. You can even dig deeper like l* reviews and get suggestions like lawn mower reviews. Unfortunately, this feature works only for Google and Amazon, but it has proven very useful in my research.

Thursday October 17, 2013

Liza (not verified) Said:

Great list of tools for Keyword research. i was looking for an alternative other than boring Keyword Planner. Soovle and Ubersuggest seems cool. Wish Freshkey was free. Thanks a ton for sharing this!

Monday October 21, 2013

Josh (not verified) Said:

Though it pulls much of its info from keyword planner, I really like long tail pro because it also tells you roughly how competitive a keyword is.

Tuesday October 22, 2013

mike (not verified) Said:


thank you for posting this reviews.

I think those are great keyword tools but there is always the competition dimension missing. When I do keyword research I like to immediately filter my keywords by AllIntitle and Average PR in the Google SERP. This way I can immediately see what keywords have potential to be kept in the list and what others I need to get rid of directly.

There is a very nice keyword research tool named iLovePage1 (guess why !! :D) not mentioned that can quickly do it.

I find it very interesting because in just one step it allows me to get to gold seed keywords in seconds.

I think you should try it out and add it to this list.

thank you,


Sunday October 27, 2013

Casanova (not verified) Said:

Thanks for the great ideas Johnathan!

I’ve been doing keyword research all weekend and these ideas should definitely help my strategies.

I’ve been using this one for a while too – it’s like google instant and bing suggest all rolled into one….ubersuggest.

Monday October 28, 2013

Christian (not verified) Said:

Keep up the great articles.  You can never have enough keyword/SEO reading material.  Long-tails have been helping out a lot.

Monday November 04, 2013

John O'Riordain (not verified) Said:

Awesome list, thanks!

Here's another awesome tool I'd recommend using: RankTracker . It's very user friendly and its 'Suggest Keywords' feature is a killer.

Monday November 11, 2013

care (not verified) Said:

Thanks for the great ideas

Thursday November 14, 2013

Ghautham (not verified) Said:

Keyword is definately  a good one but I was not pleased with keywordspy and semrush due to the irrelevant stuff i get when I do a research. Although both say that they update on a regular basis, you find a lot of irrelevant or generic keywords(which include stop words), which may not be effective for your campaigns

Monday November 25, 2013

Amit Kumar Mondal (not verified) Said:

Thanks for this nice information

Thursday December 05, 2013

Anonymous (not verified) Said:

Every way has its pros and cons. Those who say this way bad should think of how you can take full advantage of it.

Saturday December 07, 2013

Kat (not verified) Said:

Do none of these research the competition? I can just use Google instant for keyword suggestions, but what I want to know is how well they will or won't rank.

Monday December 16, 2013

JustPassingthrough (not verified) Said:

Freshkey would be nice if you didn't have  to sit through nearly an hour of informercial videos just to get the damned key and the URL to use it.  I was so angry by the time I'd sat through nearly 2 hours of videos that I emailed them and told them that I told them to give me my money back.  What a load of horse-pucky.  I already bought the tool, stop pimping me.  

I think you should update this article to warn people that their "Dare to Be Great" approach can be really vexing for people who simply want the keyword research tool.  I mean, they already got our money.  It's obvious that they refuse to send the license until you've suffered through the videos, pimping their other products.  I'm sure it makes them a lot of money, and it's equally obvious that the keyword tool is a loss-leader just so that they can drag you into the sales channel, with NO escape, but I'm sure I'm not the only person who ever turned right around and told their credit card company to cancel the transaction. Too scummy for me.  Probably a great tool, but...either charge more for it, or stop with the timeshare salesman tour approach.  ("you've won a free trip to Ibiza!  All You have to do is take our tour of our timeshares!")

Absolutely infuriating.





Tuesday December 17, 2013

JustPassingthrough (not verified) Said:

Update:  24 hours later, and, it should be noted, I still don't have my software license key from Freshkey.  Their alleged call center isn't working (when you dial the number, there's simply one long continuous ring), and nobody is returning emails (2 of them, as of this morning, 3).  I admit it, I've been had.  I'd purchased a copy of their other product, as well, to assess for recommendation (or not) to my clients, and this is NOT off to an auspicious start.  

I'll report back on any further updates.  As-is right now, by this evening I'll be alerting my credit card company to cancel the transactions and put that company on whatever possible fraud lists that they have. Very disappointing, the tool looked great, but I don't even have a URL for it.  All this aggravation for $20?


Wednesday December 18, 2013

Marshall (not verified) Said:

This post is awesome!!

This is what i am looking for


Tuesday December 24, 2013

Arindam Dutta (not verified) Said:

Thanks for your post. I always select wordtracker for keyword research and Keyword Research Tool will help you research appropriate words and phrases to include in your web-page's body text to promotion.

Thursday January 23, 2014

Steve Fort (not verified) Said:

The free tool like soolve is superb. Thanks for sharing these much free resources. I bookmarked your site. :-)

Wednesday February 05, 2014

Jon W (not verified) Said:



This almost makes me laugh because I had no idea of all the free keyword research tools out there.  I had been using google's keyword planner, but upgrade to Market Samurai, which is a paid tool.  I have heard of Long Tail Pro, another paid keyword research tool, but am already invested into Market Samurai.

Thursday February 06, 2014

Abhijit Gupta (not verified) Said:

Thank you very much for your list of SEO tools. The list is excellent and very helpful. Really it's very informative posting. I like this posting. Thanks for posting with us. 

Thursday February 20, 2014

Abhijit Gupta (not verified) Said:

Really it's very informative posting. Thank you for this information. I am new to SEO. It is a helpful piece of information for me and others. This post is really is most helpful.

Tuesday February 25, 2014

Jonah (not verified) Said:

Speaking of keywords, Colibri has a great keyword related feature. It will find you similar keywords and show you on which keywords your competitors are positioning. It’s very helpful and easy with them. It also have other nice features

Monday March 03, 2014

Rafay Ansar (not verified) Said:

Amazing list, thanks Johnathan Dane a lot for helping. Nice Article....:)

Wednesday March 12, 2014

Rajan (not verified) Said:

Thanks for all these keyword tools list. These make work easy

Friday March 14, 2014

Ranjeet (not verified) Said:

very nice article

Monday March 17, 2014

Abhijit Gupta (not verified) Said:

Thanks for sharing such an informative article. I am using free keyword tool MOZ and Google Adwords tools. Google Analytics, Google Webmaster, Keyword Density Analyzer Tool are most important. These will help you lot in your SEO. 

Friday March 28, 2014

Talha (not verified) Said:

Nice post! very insightful information about keywords tools.

Monday April 07, 2014

création site maroc (not verified) Said:

Thank you for this article which puts in place good practices. for me, I still always includes a part of highly competitive keywords, not to be in the top positions but to be present. Without concentrating the entire campaign that allows for more diversification anchors that link to the url.

Monday April 14, 2014

Prashanth Raj (not verified) Said:

Thanks for your research. I know it takes time. I've to admit that you've gathered a superb collection of useful tools. I've bookmarked it right away.

But, I've an addition to make (for your kind consideration) which is all about grammar:

While "the quality of your grammar is no direct ranking signal" (Quote by Matt Cutts), proper grammar and spelling can "make or break it" when an authority website (e.g. The Huffington Post) considers linking to your content. They surely won't link to a source with low-grade grammar and spelling mistakes. Some might disagree, but this is what I experienced. 

Friday April 18, 2014

Peter Tiffany (not verified) Said:


What a great article!  I did some PPC campaigns several years ago and am now getting ready to jump back in, and with the PPC world very

well matured at this stage, it was fantastic to see your thoughts on a really nice collection of free and paid for tools.  Very nicely written, concise and to

the point.  I feel like I now have all I need to successfully get back into PPC.   I look forward to reading more of what Wordstream has to share.

Monday April 21, 2014

Mary (not verified) Said:

Soovle is very very cool keyword search tool.  I love it!  Youtube keyword tool is temparorily disabled.


Monday April 28, 2014

jillfleeger (not verified) Said:

Thanks for that great work. I prefer to utilize a big mix of SEO Tools to get the best results. It’s really essential to use different tools for tracking, link research, and all the other thing we SEOs do all the time.

Thursday June 05, 2014

Fiona Williams (not verified) Said:

Thanks for these tips. Keyword research is the corner stone towards a successful blog or website. It is the very basic one should do well to be successful in SEO. Will surely check your suggestions. 

Monday June 09, 2014

Christof (not verified) Said:

Thanks for this article i will take note of this research tools!

Tuesday July 01, 2014

Jeffrey (not verified) Said:

I was cracking my head trying to find a good keyword search tool. Thanks for the list of them. My turn to explore it. 

Thursday July 03, 2014

M.jamshed (not verified) Said:

Thank you very much for your list of SEO tools.The list is  very helpful. Really it's very informative posting. I like this posting. Thanks.


Monday July 07, 2014

Ajay Mehta (not verified) Said:

I think apart from the above tools SEMrush is also an amazing tool to be used for analyzing keywords. Most of the time I use keyword planner or SEMrush.

Thursday July 10, 2014

ketul (not verified) Said:

This post is really informative. Google analytic is a amazing tool that provide data for complete site analysis. 

Thanks for sharing it. 


Thursday July 10, 2014

Katie Chestnut (not verified) Said:

I'm just curious if FreshKey also gives you traffic estimates like the Google Keyword Planner? I'm looking into purchasing it, and want to make sure it gives me all the information I want. 

Friday July 11, 2014

Serrurerie paris 4eme (not verified) Said:

Thanks for this very useful and helpful tools, Thank you also for this great Article

Wednesday August 13, 2014

allen (not verified) Said:

I'm just curious if FreshKey also gives you traffic estimates like the <a href="">Google Keyword Planner</a>? I'm looking into purchasing it, and want to make sure it gives me all the information I want. 

Monday September 01, 2014

Jack@allkeywordtools (not verified) Said:

FreshKey is new to me. I guess with this post it's a good keyword tool to try. Thanks for sharing this.

Saturday September 20, 2014

Taki Elias (not verified) Said:

Thanks a lot for your list of best SEO keyword analysis tools.This list is very helpful. Really exclusive post for seo learner. Need post like Keyword analysis process. May we get it soon please ?

Tuesday September 23, 2014

Mian (not verified) Said:

Hello, i am a newbie and currently using Adwords tool. so far its working for me. and Thanks for the Article, it helped me to keep going. 

Tuesday October 07, 2014

Ed (not verified) Said:

It might be worth mentioning that the Youtube Keyword URL no longer works and has integrated to AdWords :( I've been hunting for insightful kwd tools this afternoon and was rather hopeful that there was a secret one here (

Wednesday October 22, 2014

Selene (not verified) Said:

Thanks for the info.

I wanted to use the Google keyword service, but didn't know where it was on their website for bidding on keywords.

It has completely changed its looks and your instructions are know longer correct, but they still helped me because

they let me know what direction to look.  Thanks for your straight forward, light hearted approach........Selene


Wednesday November 05, 2014

Saif Ullah (not verified) Said:

Thanks so much for sharing such an informative article. I am using free keyword tool MOZ and Google Adwords tools. Google Analytics, Google Webmaster, Keyword Density Analyzer Tool are most important. These will help you lot in your SEO.

Monday December 01, 2014

D. Freeman (not verified) Said:

Thanks Jonathan. That's lots of great tools you listed out here. I also discovered yet another amazing tool called Serpstat. It has the ''questions only'' option and gives more relevant content titles, thereby making content plan creation alot more easier. 

Friday December 05, 2014

Praveen K (not verified) Said:


nice to read this article about keyword research tool, its interesting to go for research with some tools online ..


Thursday December 11, 2014

Maverick (not verified) Said:

Very often I use most fo the listed tools to select best keywords for my website. Among those Google keywords planner, ubersuggest, wordstream (paid) I use frequently. Google trends also help me a lot in finding trending keywords and relevant searches according to set locations. 

Leave a Comment

Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.
Free Keyword Tool

Get thousands of relevent keyword suggestions - more,
faster, free!

Free Keyword Niche Finder

Discover profitable pockets of keywords for your

Free Negative Keyword Suggestion Tool

Identify wasted spend before it happens and increase
your paid search ROI.

Contact Us | Company | Support | Site Map | Trademarks | Privacy Policy © 2007-2014 WordStream, Inc. All rights reserved.