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Top 3 Alternatives to Google's Keyword Research Tool

google adwordsUnfortunately for everyone doing keyword research, Google is taking down their Adwords Keyword Tool, which many of us have been using and loving for quite a while. It’s unclear exactly when this is happening, but as of this writing it will be “in the coming months.” 

Arguably one of the biggest downfalls of losing Google Adwords’ Keyword Tool is that the tool is currently the best available free tool for keyword research out there. We’ll have to mourn the loss momentarily but our keyword research must continue! 

Thankfully, there are more fish in the sea. Keep reading and I’ll show you some viable free alternatives to our beloved Google Adwords Keyword Tool, along with pros and cons of each. 


If you’re interested in how your competition is ranking, then this tool is for you. Here you can enter your domain and up to three competitors along with a slew of keywords.

serp checker

Main Use

The best way to utilize SERP Checker is to see how your main competitors rank on keywords compared to your website. You’re not going to be very successful trying to see what keywords you should try to rank for without other research prior to using this tool. Alternatives are not shown so you will need to know variations on your keywords ahead of time if you want some comparative data to look at. 

SERP Checker is great if you and your team have brainstormed a bunch of potential keywords that need some research to gauge their viability. Compared to other free tools, this one allows you to enter in the most keywords at the same time. What’s even better is that you can export your results to Excel for easier interpretation and presentation to others. 


  • Allows research to be done on your domain and up to three competitor domains
  • Multiple keywords can be researched at the same time
  • Results are easily exportable to an Excel document
  • Shows your historical rank/trends 


  • Only shows data for “exact searches”
  • Does not show alternative keyword suggestions
  • No indication for competitiveness on keywords

Search Position Finder  – 

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Search Position Finder does look a little childish and your co-workers might think you’re on a kid’s website if they see it on your screen. This isn’t going to be your comprehensive tool by any means, but it should still be mentioned. Simply put, this tool will give you the fastest results for a keyword on your website.

search position finder

Main Use

You shouldn’t be using Search Position Finder for your main keyword research; you should just have it bookmarked in your internet browser and use it for those moments when a new keyword pops into your head and you want to know where your website or a competitor’s ranks for it on Google. 

If you’re just getting into keyword research, Search Position Finder may be the simplest way to get your feet wet since you won’t have screens full of data to interpret. That being said, there isn’t much in the way of metrics here but this tool never tries to fool you into thinking it’s more than a basic starting point.


  • Allows you to search on multiple search engines besides Google
  • Appears to show “natural” search position instead of exact, phrase, general
  • Simple interface with few buttons and options 


  • Can only search for one term at a time
  • Results only available for one website at a time
  • No indication for competitiveness on keywords
  • No alternate keyword suggestions available
  • Results can’t be exported


Here’s a nice online tool that gives you a large amount of data free. Luckily, it’s also rather easy to use but information can be overwhelming at times. A paid option is available if you need even more data. 

keyword spy

Main Use

Out of all of the tools listed here, Keyword Spy one is by far the most comprehensive. This is your ticket if you don’t have the budget to spend on a full-fledged SEO tool, nor the time to fool around with multiple tools. The main drawback to this tool is the fact that it only displays 10 results and that you will manually have to pull data for further analysis – no exporting here. 

There is a tendency with Keyword Spy to focus on PPC at times, so you’ll need to look past that occasionally and interpret the results for organic search. If you do want to spend a little money on PPC, though, just use Google’s other Adwords tools for that since they’re free and easy to use.


  • Lots of additional information available – not just keywords
  • Suggestions to similar keywords and misspellings are provided
  • Competition is listed and gauged (PPC & organic)
  • Integrates aspects of other tools into a single tool 


  • Can’t export the large amounts of data that are shown
  • Doesn’t list which search engine is being used
  • Can’t specify exact URLs
  • Tends to focus on PPC in some areas
  • Only displays 10 results at a time – unless you go with the paid version

There are a multitude of other free tools out there for you to sample and use but these three give you a great start. In my opinion, using SERP Checker and Keyword Spy in conjunction will give you enough data to make some keyword decisions. Don’t be surprised, though, if more and more free tools start gravitating towards paid services since Google’s tools are evaporating around us.

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Join The Conversation

  • Nov 8 Posted 3 years ago wsieroci

    Thanks for posting this Sam. It is very interesting article. You could check Metrics11. 

  • Sep 27 Posted 3 years ago Pulkit Sharma

    I think that the best alternative to Google Adwords tool is Keyword Planner. It is a bit different and you have to log in, but it is almost the same thing really.

    I also like Rank Tracker, it has been updated to work with Google Keyword Planner, and has many other keyword research options, such as harvesting competitors' keyword meta tags, collecting ideas from Google suggest and others.


  • Sam Lowe's picture
    Sep 10 Posted 3 years ago Sam Lowe

    I agree, I wasn't too happy when I saw that page either!

  • Romona Foster's picture
    Sep 10 Posted 3 years ago Romona Foster

    Thanks Sam. It was quite upsetting today when I went to find the Google Keyword Tool and found this page instead.

  • gardenbuildingsonline's picture
    Sep 7 Posted 3 years ago gardenbuildings...

    I'm not very impressed with Google and all these updates, the old keyword tool was of great use to website owners and the new tool that has been intergrated with adwords just doesn't do the same job, obviously Google are trying to drive people to use the paid adwords instead of letting you search for keywords so it's rather frustrating, will be looking for some good alternatives anyone know of any that work just aswell as the Google Keyword tool. I used the keyword tool for my garden sheds website but am now left with no options and the few alternatives iv'e checked out so far are not giving me great results.

  • Aug 29 Posted 3 years ago Kendra Wilson

    Believe me guys, <a href="">Webfire</a> is the best bang for your buck.

  • Pushkar Gaikwad's picture
    Aug 27 Posted 3 years ago Pushkar Gaikwad

    Hi Sam, I found the post through twitter, are we talking about keyword research or finding search enigne positions of keywords/urls of your site and competitors ? if it is the former, I want to suggest inBoundio too, I have built it so you can do quick keyword research though the original software is a simplified marketing software. 

  • SydneyHadden's picture
    Aug 22 Posted 3 years ago SydneyHadden

    Great article, super comprehensive.

    It's going to be frustrating to switch to new resources but probably good to get people using more resources for a broader view. That being said, I hope brands are considering the key elements behind keyword research and not just language used in house. This article about keyword research tips would probably help alot of people out there trying to figure out the best strategy.

    Thanks for your post. 


  • Sam Lowe's picture
    Aug 21 Posted 3 years ago Sam Lowe

    I totally agree Ruth that it seems to lean further towards a ppc tool and so are many other tools. Luckily, with just a little creativity we can adapt the results to organic SEO purposes. 

  • Sam Lowe's picture
    Aug 21 Posted 3 years ago Sam Lowe

    You bet David, Keywordspy can actually look at search volumes, but only for 10 keywords at a time. I have yet to find free keyword tool that does a job better than that. Many paid tools offer this feature since it is more advanced.

  • David Thompson's picture
    Aug 20 Posted 3 years ago David Thompson

    I use(d) the Keyword Tool to be able to get keyword search volumes ... any free tools you know of designed to target that area of functionality rather then site/ranking data ?

    - David

  • Sam Lowe's picture
    Aug 20 Posted 3 years ago Sam Lowe

    Thanks for the comment Tracy, and I agree that Wordtracker can definitely be a powerful tool. The monthly/yearly fee can be a little steep, but Wordtracker can really nail down some in-depth analytics.

  • Tracy Sestili's picture
    Aug 20 Posted 3 years ago TRACY SESTILI

    Nice post Sam. I think this will benefit a lot of folks. Another one I like is WordTracker. 

  • Ruth_MOABSauce's picture
    Aug 20 Posted 3 years ago Ruth_MOABSauce

    That's very interesting I find with the Google Keyword Tool every time it upgrades it seems to lean further to a ppc tool. I find some of the data changes for keywords too, depending which account I am in at the time. Having other recommended keyword tools is really helpful thank you. 


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