If you know where to look, there are tons of free SEO keyword research resources out there to take advantage of. But if you don’t know where to look? It’s a little tricky, to say the least!
That’s why today I’m going to go over 17 free tools that you can use to do your SEO keyword research when you’re optimizing your website, blog post or other content. They’ll help you choose search terms that will actually make you money and stop leaving potential customers behind.
SEO keyword research on Google
Google is its own goldmine of SEO resources! If you only used one platform to research keywords, it could reasonably be Google and you’d do all right. So here’s what you have available to you on Google in terms of keyword research!
1. Google Trends
Google Trends is unbelievably helpful. You can research SEO keywords over the course of time to make sure you release content when it’s most popular, but you can also see what does best overall so you can optimize every blog post you release. Above you’ll see that I typed a few vegan lifestyle-related terms into Google Trends and the clear winner is vegan recipes when it comes to popularity of search keyword. I could have zoomed in closer to understand what times of year we see spikes in popularity, which is especially useful if I’m doing holiday-themed recipes or whatever on my hypothetical vegan blog.
I highly recommend logging into this totally free service and trying some searches out, because this may become your new go-to keyword research tool!
2. Google Search autofill
I know, it sounds ridiculously simple, but keep an eye on autofill! That is exactly what people are looking for related to the initial search keyword you enter. If you are writing a blog post about vegan recipes once again, why not type those terms into Google and see what people are looking for? (Above, you can see that people are searching for specific types of recipes, like recipes for kids and freezer-friendly ones!) Then you can tailor your post to what’s most in demand and grow your traffic hugely!
3. Google “People also ask” area
When you complete a search on Google, the results will have a People also ask section in the middle. This is a great, free SEO keyword research tool, because it’s telling you what others have searched for. This is especially handy when developing products, because you can develop products that solve these problems for future clients and everyone wins!
4. Google “related searches”
When you do any search in Google, you will see an area at the bottom of the page that is called Searches related to [search keywords]. There are also results tagged with Related search that can be handy. These are also great places to find related search terms to optimize your website content!
5. Google “intitle” function
Have you ever wondered what successful blog posts in your niche are called? Great! Google has a function called intitle that you can use to search specifically the title of pages. To use it, think of your search keyword and place “intitle:” just before it, like in the example above.
It will return only results that have the specified word(s) in the actual title. This is really good news, because your SEO keyword research is going to be incomplete if it doesn’t include titles. (They’re the highest-priority area of your website or blog post for search engines!)
6. Google Images suggested search terms
Once you’ve done your web search in Google with your targeted keywords, click on the “Images” tab to look at the Google Images results. You’ll see that below the search field, you have related search terms that Google has recommended. These can tell you specifically what people are looking for when they search for your keyword!
SEO keyword research on Pinterest
Pinterest is another wealth of information around the questions that your customers are asking. If you know how to use it well, it can be an amazing, free SEO keyword research tool, just like Google!
7. Pinterest search autofill
Much like Google, Pinterest has a search autofill function. This is a great keyword research tool because once again, it’s making predictions based on what people are actually searching for. This is a good way to tailor new products, choose keywords people are actually using as search terms and do whatever else you need SEO keywords for!
8. Pinterest “Ideas for you” keywords
Pinterest also has an Ideas for you section below the autofill function. This section is tailored to what you’ve been searching, pinning and following, so depending on how much you use Pinterest for other uses than work, you might have less luck with this. However, if you have a separate business account, you’ll be all set! It will recommend useful search terms that people in your area are using as keywords! You can see that it’s recommending things to me that are related to freelancing and so on, because these are related to things that I help my clients with and pin info about on a regular basis.
9. Pinterest “trending ideas” keywords
You can sometimes find relevant SEO keywords in the Trending ideas section below the Pinterest search autofill. Depending how popular your subject is, you might find relevant ideas there right away. (In the photo above, you can see that anyone who’s doing food blogging, interior design and fashion advice coud be all set!) And even if you’re not directly related to the terms there, it might serve as good inspiration for future content that you can produce that bridges more than one topic!
10. Pinterest search term suggestions
After you do a search on Pinterest, they will suggest search terms below the search field. These are all clickable keywords that other people are using, making them very appropriate for SEO! Find some that are appropriate for content you already want to create, or use them to see which direction you should take your next blog post or product! You can see above that vegan recipes gives suggestions like easy, beginner and breakfast. You could use a blog post title like easy vegan breakfast recipes for beginners and cover a few different bases at once to drive more traffic to your blog!
Standalone SEO keyword research tools
There are also tools that are not connected to a specific search platform that can be very useful. The issue with using, say, Google tools is that it only gives you data for Google. On the other hand, if you use a standalone tool, they will usually give you data for other major search engines like Bing as well. Below I’ve listed the most effective standalone tools I’ve used for free SEO keyword research, so check them out!
While SEMrush has a free option, it’s sadly fairly limited. You can use 10 searches before upgrading, so use them wisely! It allows you to understand your competitors a bit better if you type in their website, or you can type in your own if you’ve been around a while and you think there will be lots of data. (I don’t recommend wasting one of your searches on your website if it’s less than a couple of years old!) It breaks down data by common SEO metrics: backlinks, most active pages, and so on. This tool is super helpful to understand what really “sells” (figuratively or literally).
Buzzsumo will give you a little bit of info at a time (free users are limited to a few searches a day), but it can be very helpful if you’re trying to figure out what content is most shared online. It incorporates social media (including Pinterest) and gives you data on what’s most popular by platform. You can upgrade to a paid account if you want to see more data, but I’ve found that using it a few times a day, a few days a week gives me more than enough data to make informed decisions.
Ubersuggest is handy if you want to research SEO keywords that are doing well in your niche. It will suggest search terms that should do well for you, based on what niche you’re in. Also a program that has a paid version, you have limited searches on the free version, but I just do with this one what I do with Buzzsumo (a little at a time) and it works great for me.
Product SEO keyword research
It’s a whole other can of worms to research which products will and won’t sell! But don’t worry, the tools below are especially handy if you’re in the business of developing and/or selling products. Use them to research keywords that will get customers to your page and make them more likely to buy your product!
14. Amazon Search categories
Seems painfully obvious now, doesn’t it? But it’s nothing to feel bad about! (I had to be told this once myself!) Amazon is a huge marketplace where people regularly have to use search terms. As such, you can bet your butt that every product that does well on Amazon is optimized for searching! Type a general word related to your product or field. For example, I’ve typed in vegan recipes above. Once you have search results, check out the incredible amount of information that shows up in the sidebar! You’ve got all the categories that vegan cookbooks fall under, and you can use this to help label your products for potential buyers.
15. Amazon bestsellers
You can also use Amazon search results to look at which products are bestsellers. They are labeled with a little orange block like in the image above. They’re products that have sold a bunch of times. You can also find other products that sell well by looking for products with a large number of reviews (ideally, similar to how many the bestsellers have). In my example above, either of the other cookbooks pictured are popular enough that it’s worth looking at them for inspiration. (Each has around 2,000 reviews.) Each product title also has tons of keywords to learn from. Really, the possibilities are endless!
16. Keywords that increase conversions
There are certain words that we know increase conversions. (If you’re not sure what conversions are, that’s OK! They’re basically just the percentage of people that visit your site who actually buy something.) And if we are using those words as keywords, guess what? People with the intention to buy are more likely find your site. Makes sense, right?! 🙂
So what are these magical words that increase conversions? Well, they’re exactly what you might expect!
- Reviews of…
- Price comparison
- Free trial…
- Where to buy…
Basically, these are words that describe what the customer is going to do with the end product, or what concerns a customer wants addressed before buying. So if you’re selling products, it only makes sense to think like your customer and include one or more of these keywords!
17. Real-world demand research
At the end of the day, numbers and automation can only do so much. The first place I usually tell my students to start when they’re still building a new business is Facebook. Yup. Not the analytics, not the competitors’ stats, none of that stuff. I tell them to join a few relevant Facebook groups. Basically, hang out where your customers are! Now, this is not about selling at all. You don’t want to spam people, you want to learn. Search the group for questions people have had related to your niche. Observe the group and see what questions people are asking right now! If the group is related to your niche, you will find that lots of people have questions that you can help them solve.
Above, you can see I’ve taken screengrabs from Facebook. These are all from only one of the groups that I’m in on Facebook, and it’s just a regular group with other women entrepreneurs. Just in the past few days, I found 6 different posts that request information that someone could create content around: how to process payments at fairs; legal advice for your business or blog; how to make the most of an Etsy shop; Photoshop tutorials; in-person sales advice; and recommended social media scheduling software. You can definitely find something that links back to your business if you’re in the right place! Use this info to develop new products and index them with appropriate SEO keywords!
How do you usually research your SEO keywords? If you have a tool you love (in the list or not), let us know in the comments!
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5 thoughts on “17 free SEO keyword research tools”
I’m story writer, I’m not selling anything on my site. I have been looking for ways to drive engagement. Tagging my stories has been a challenge for me. This will help me develop some functional tags.
I’m glad you found it helpful, Blair! 🙂
i think that google keyword planner is the best tools for the keyword research that is amazing..!!!
What a fantastic list of resources! Found this post very helpful and comprehensive. Thank you so much for sharing these gems.
Thank you, Arina! I’m so glad you found it helpful!