10 Great Alternatives to the Google Keyword Research Tool

Pam Dyer Marketing Director, SolutionsIQ

Posted on January 5th 2014

10 Great Alternatives to the Google Keyword Research Tool

Keyword research is a fundamental part of content marketing. 

seo content marketing 10 Great Alternatives to the Google Keyword Research ToolIt is an indispensable tool for developing a potent inbound marketing strategy and improving SEO. Search engines favor compelling content, but you won’t generate much traffic if you don’t include the words and phrases people are most interested in and actively searching for. Because many of the available keyword research tools are confusing and counterintuitive, the process can be challenging and time-consuming.

The valuable insights offered by keyword research will inform your strategic process by identifying exactly what your customers want, need, and are concerned about. The demise of Google’s Keyword Tool, the most popular of its kind, has left marketers scrambling for alternatives. Viewed as an essential mechanism for conducting research on keyword phrases, it offered lots of useful information about popularity, competition, and phrase variations. It has been rebranded as Google AdWords Planner, which offers much less functionality and requires users to have an AdWords account in order to use it. 

What to do?

10 best alternatives to the Google Keyword Tool

Here are ten keyword research tools that I’ve found to be good replacements for Google’s Keyword Tool. Check them out and see if they’re a fit for your keyword research routine:

Free keyword research tools

  • WordStream Keyword Tool has a huge database and enables you to customize searches by filtering adult keywords or “nichefying” results. It also offers options for identifying negative keywords, keyword grouping, and finding keyword niches. The full, paid version delivers thousands of results for some keywords, with the top 100 available for free.
  • Wordtracker reveals high-performing keywords in minutes via its easy-to-use interface. It shows you what people are searching for, gives you a multitude of suggestions for keyword phrases, and computes how much competition you might face for the terms you select. A free account is required.
  • SEO Book Keyword Tool offers search volumes by market for Google, Yahoo, and Bing and links them to related global search results; links to Google Trends, Google Suggest, Google Synonyms, Yahoo! Suggest, and Keyword Discovery keyword research results; links to vertical databases like Topix, Google Blogsearch, and Del.icio.us; and much more.
  • Ubersuggest makes good use of Google Suggest and other suggest services. You can instantly get thousands of keyword ideas from real user queries. It also offers vertical results for images, news, shopping, video, and recipes.
  • Keyword Eye helps you simplify your keyword research. The visual tool displays keywords in increasing or decreasing sizes based on their search volume or AdWords competition. 10 free keyword searches per day are allowed, with 100 results delivered per report. You also receive great data about your competitors.

Paid keyword research tools

  • MOZ retrieves the top 10 rankings for any keyword, then assigns that keyword a difficulty score based on the pages that currently rank for that word. View search volume data for your keywords, then pull up the SERP to see the top 10 results for each term. Competitive keyword analysis metrics show you where a competitor is ready to be bumped out.
  • KeywordSpy tracks all search advertising activity in any given industry, which empowers you with marketing analytics, SEO intelligence, competitors’ keywords and their ad copies, and much more valuable information.
  • SEMrush helps you discover your competitor’s organic and paid keywords in search. You can search by your competitor’s domain or search for competitors using specific keywords. You can see volumes, trends, and other data across ten different Google regional domains and Bing. You can also enter your site or that of a competitor to see the top 10 organic keywords for which it ranks.
  • Keyword Discovery helps you identify the keywords that your customers are using, related keywords you need to look at, and common spelling mistakes, as well as how your industry’s keywords are impacted by seasonal search trends. 
  • Advanced Web Ranking offers a keyword research tool that brings data from Google AdWords, Google Webmaster API, Google Trends, Google Suggest, 7Search, SEMRush, Wordtracker, and Yahoo API Related Keyword Search together in one place, helping you to identify efficient keywords and find your competitors’ best keywords.

10 Great Alternatives to the Google Keyword Research Tool is a post by Pam Dyer on Pamorama | Social Media Marketing Blog.


Pam Dyer

Marketing Director, SolutionsIQ

Pam Dyer is an integrated marketing executive dedicated to helping companies grow via innovative branding and audience engagement programs. She delivers results by leading teams to create forward-looking strategies and translate them into measurable tactics, iterating as needed to achieve corporate goals. She is a big-picture thinker and relationship-builder who thrives in environments where collaboration is embraced. Pam has a passion for achieving business results through supporting people, growing teams, and sharing success.

Pam authors an award-winning blog, Pamorama, which helps businesses optimize their brands, create customer engagement, and drive sales by using social media channels and content marketing programs. She has educated thousands of people about how to create, manage, and measure outreach initiatives on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, and other social networks. Pam has a global footprint and routinely receive questions and comments from her audience, the majority of whom are in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, the Philippines, India, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates. Her content is syndicated via Social Media Today, Business2Community, Yahoo! Small Business Advisor, CustomerThink, Google News, Mediabistro, and other outlets.

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Randy Milanovic
Posted on January 5th 2014 at 8:56PM

Excellent Pam. I also use MOZ as well as HubSpot tools. 

Anoop Srivastava
Posted on January 6th 2014 at 3:58AM

Thanks Pam for sharing it. I am using free keyword tool Ubersuggest after google add the keyword tool in Google Adwords account.

Erin Camfield
Posted on January 7th 2014 at 11:01AM

Thank you for this information. I am new to SEO and have been wondering about best alternatives to Google AdWords. Do you know if Google AdWords is still free or do you have to buy the ad? When I've tried to set this up for a website I'm working on, it asks for my billing information before I can get started. Didn't know if I was doing something incorrect or just not going far enough into it. Thanks again!

Posted on January 9th 2014 at 6:47AM

Thanks for sharing such an informative article. As per the above said MOZ is the best paid tool for keyword search....!

Dan Gronsbell
Posted on January 10th 2014 at 10:19PM

The issue with off the shelf keyword tools, whether it is Google or otherwise, is that they only tell you traffic.  There are several fatal flaws:

1. They do not tell you whether you can afford to go after a term based on your budget.  Just because a term has traffic does not mean you should chase it.  You can go broke doing this.  Just because a competitor is targeting them does not mean that you should if you do not have a similar budget.  

2. To build an authority site keywords the goal is not to select random keywords but to create thematic keyword groups, or silos.  Some call it siloing because they throw a bunch of terms together in a category but this is not proper siloing based on search behavior patterns/relationships.  This shows the SERPs that you have got all the closely knit terms tied to common search behavior.

3. They do not tell you where the terms fit into the buying cycle.  Many terms have no history of conversion.  There are scientific ways of verifying whether a term is towards the end of the buying cycle process.

4. Lastly is keyword depth.  The depth, or range, of keywords that fall under each silo is also really important.  It is common for authority sites to have 4 levels in order to include all valuable variations.

I am making these points because marketing research is the foundation of one's marketing, and keywords are of course critical to such a foundation for SEO and content marketing strategy.


Aki Balogh
Posted on May 7th 2014 at 9:25PM

"To build an authority site keywords the goal is not to select random keywords but to create thematic keyword groups, or silos."

Dan, well-said. Whether for SEM or SEO, keywords should be used to provide comprehensive coverage of a topic, not used in isolation.

Check out MarketMuse.co -- it's a tool that measures the relevance between keywords, not just permutations on a seed term.

As Google provides further updates beyond Hummingbird, providing comprehensive coverage of 'thematic silos' or 'keyword niches' will become more and more important.

Cassian Lang
Posted on January 11th 2014 at 7:20PM

That's really useful, thanks Pam.

Would you feel comfortable about revealing which of the 10 you use, or making recommendations?

Cheers, Cassian Lang

Abhijit Gupta
Posted on February 20th 2014 at 7:46AM

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.

hamza malik
Posted on April 28th 2014 at 4:09PM

I am yet to find a keyword tool that covers all the v=bases I always seem to need to use more than one

Posted on August 17th 2014 at 11:22AM

Thanks for the sharing.

I have another great alternative - SimilarWeb.com, you can reveal with this tool all the not provided keywords, see what are trending keywords from each category and more.