5 Free SEO Keyword Research Tools You Should Be Using

If you are responsible for the marketing activity within your business, you’ll know that keyword research – the process of discovering which search terms users are inputting into search engines – is the first step of any good SEO strategy.

Conducting thorough keyword research means you are able to create content that is relevant, that people are actually looking for, and that allows you to rank well in search engines for topics related to your niche. Researching the keywords you want to rank for is one of the first steps in understanding how to create content that produces powerful results for your business.

As data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz said, “Google searches are the most important dataset ever collected on the human psyche”.

This is true.

By examining what the general public is looking for on Google and other search engines, brands and businesses are in a position to pivot their content – and potentially their products – to answer these questions and solve these pain points. You can, therefore, use keyword research to optimise your on-site content based on user intent.

The power of keywords shouldn’t be undermined. However, not every company has the marketing budget to invest in keyword research tools.

Having a small budget shouldn’t stop you from being able to conduct great keyword research that transforms your in-house SEO performance. By using a free keyword research tool, you can take the hard work out of looking for keywords without having to invest money into doing so.

5 free SEO keyword research tools you should be using

Knowing which keyword research tools are worth using can be time-consuming and, as an in-house marketer, you may not have the time to examine the best tools to use. So, we’ve done the hard work for you.

Below you’ll find five of the best free keyword research tools you can use to level up your SEO strategy without having to dip into your marketing budget.

Google Search Console

Have you ever considered using Google Search Console as part of your keyword research strategy? Many marketers overlook how valuable Google Search Console can be for optimising content marketing or SEO projects.

Google Search Console helps you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google Search results. Using Google Search Console alongside Google Analytics can provide powerful insights into your website’s search performance. In fact, there are many free SEO tools provided by Google that help support your day-to-day SEO activities.

Google Search Console shares search metrics for your on-site content such as average Google positions, impressions and CTRs. This allows you to easily see how often your site appears in searches, which search terms your site shows for, and how often keywords related to your business are used. This is a great way of monitoring what you are already doing, and working out where it is best to focus your time, attention and money in terms of keyword use.

Google Search Console - search queries report - free seo keyword research tool

The Search Queries report provided by Google Search Console lets you easily monitor the search terms being used by your Organic website visitors. Through analysing these search queries, you may be able to determine which existing on-site content is underperforming and is in need of updating. Alternatively, you can use this data to discover keyword opportunities for new content and to further boost your SEO performance.

Keyword Surfer

Looking for a quick and easy solution to keyword research? Keyword Surfer is a Google Chrome and Firefox extension that allows you to easily find the keywords you need to be using.

keyword surfer search results for the term mountain bike

Keyword Surfer changes the way you use Google itself: type your keyword(s) into the Google search bar, and you’ll be presented with a list of similar keyword suggestions, search volumes, on-page data, visibility metrics and more.

This extension also shares the estimated number of monthly traffic for the domains displayed in the search results and the total number of on-page words and keywords. This is ideal for gaining an insight into the performance of web pages currently ranking for your chosen keywords.

The Keyword Surfer free extension is one of the fastest ways to find relevant keywords for your business, without even having to open another program. It is a quick and accessible way to ease yourself into finding keywords to boost your SEO strategy or content marketing campaign.


This free keyword research tool provides a constantly updated list of phrases and questions that genuine people are searching and asking. AnswerThePublic is an effective SEO keyword research tool for finding effective long-tail keywords for your content marketing strategy.

AnswerThePublic free SEO keyword research tool for content marketing

Simply input a keyword and you will be rewarded with an in-depth list of suggested keywords with varied phrasing. AnswerThePublic offers a user-friendly way to see questions, prepositions and comparisons related to the keyword you have chosen; the results are laid out in a visually appealing format that makes it easy to figure out which keywords you should be using.

They provide alphabeticals, too, and you can download everything as a CSV so it is ready whenever you might need it. This can be imported straight into Google Ads, for example, meaning you can further streamline your marketing efforts with ease.

AnswerThePublic is a must-have keyword tool for planning user-centric content marketing campaigns. The rise of voice search also increases the value of AnswerThePublic, allowing you to use this tool to understand how people are phrasing their questions or searches when using voice search.


Drawing from a regularly updated database of a trillion keywords derived directly from Google search data, Wordstream’s keyword tool makes keyword research easy. With resources to inform you about keyword grouping, negative keywords and keyword niches, this tool allows you to quickly and easily find the right keywords for your business.

Wordstream free keyword research tool for SEO

Enter your business’ URL or desired keyword, choose whether you want to add your location and industry to give the tool some extra information, then hit ‘Find My Keywords’ – it is as simple as that.

Unlike other free tools which often limit the number of results, the Wordstream keyword tool offers hundreds of relevant keyword results when you download the keyword list in CSV format.

The great thing about the Wordstream keyword tool is that it will display competition, CPC,  and search volume information for both Google and Bing search results.

If you enter a competitor’s URL into the search bar, you will also be presented with contextual keyword suggestions to help you conduct competitor analysis and see how your website competes with other businesses in your industry.

The thing that really sets this tool apart from other free keyword research tools is the ability to filter the search results by industry type. This enables you to make sure the search results only display keywords relevant to your chosen industry.

Google Ads Keyword Planner

The Google Ads Keyword Planner is a tool that allows you to discover new keywords and examine keyword behaviour. If you run Google Ads for your business then you’ll likely already be aware of the Google Ads Keyword Planner tool.

Google Ads Keyword Planner screenshot - free keyword tool for PPC and SEO

While it is designed to be used for PPC campaigns, this keyword tool is great for organic research too. You can access the Keyword Planner tool within the Tools section of Google Ads. This tool is really easy to use – simply type in words or phrases linked to your brand, products and services, and Keyword Planner will find the keywords most relevant to your business.

Once you’ve inputted your chosen terms, you will then be able to see various insights for the provided keywords. This tool will display the average search volume for each keyword, and how this has changed over a set time period meaning you are equipped with more information for deciding which keywords to prioritise throughout the year.

The Keyword Planner tool also shares information on Competition so that you can determine which keywords are worth pursuing. Another great feature of this tool is that it also includes your organic average impression share and position so you can see how well your current content ranks for these phrases.

Google Ads Keyword Planner also gives users a suggested bid estimate for each keyword allowing you to plan your PPC advertising budget if you do intend to run a PPC campaign to complement your SEO campaign. When you’re done, you can also add the keywords to an advertising plan which you can save and share with your team.

Supercharging your SEO with keyword research

Keyword research is an incredibly important part of any SEO strategy. These five keyword research tools are a great way to figure out exactly what you should be doing when it comes to using keywords to promote your business using organic search. User friendly and free to use, they definitely make life easier for any marketing team or small business!
If you are looking to hand your keyword research, and other aspects of your marketing strategy, to an experienced SEO agency, contact us today to discover how we can support your in-house marketing team.

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