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Keyword research tools Which ones to use?

Earlier, I wrote a post about the use of long tail keywords. Focusing on long tail keywords could be a good strategy, especially when trying to rank in a highly competitive market. But how do you decide on which (long tail) keywords you want to rank? This post will give you some handy tips and keyword research tools to make your keyword research a bit easier.

Repeat keyword research regularly!

Keyword research is an activity you undertake every now and then. If you have a clear definition about the product or service you want to ‘sell’ with your website, you should be able to come up with keywords, related keywords, and even more related keywords to make your awesome website (more) findable. As your product and the market will evolve, your keyword strategy should do the same.

Resemble the vocabulary of your audience

The keywords you want to focus your SEO on should closely resemble the vocabulary of your audience. In order to come up with the proper keywords you really have to get inside the heads of the people who search for your website. What terms will people use? How do people search? Which question does your website answer? You should create a list of all search terms people could use and think of combinations and nuances within these search terms.

Keyword research tools to use

Making a list remains hard. And up until a few years ago, doing your keyword research was much easier. You could simply check Google Analytics to see which terms people used to find your website. That is no longer possible. So you’re pretty much left in the dark about the terms people use in search engines to end up at your website. Luckily, there are some other tools which can make your keyword research a bit easier, and could help you speed up the process a bit:

Google Adwords Keyword Planner

Use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner to find new and related keywords, but ignore the search volume data! The search volume data in the planner is really only useful for keywords that you’re actually spending money to advertise on. Otherwise, these volumes are not reliable. While not really helpful to decide which keyword is most used by your potential audience, Google Adwords Keyword Planner makes a useful tool in coming up with ideas for potential keywords!

Yoast Suggests

Joost developed his own keyword research tool to come up with keywords as well! Yoast Suggests uses the Google Suggest functionality you know from searching in Google. It finds the keyword expansions Google gives and then requests more of them. So if you type ‘example‘, it’ll also give you the expansions for ‘example a…’ till ‘example z…’ etc. Just go on and try it and fill out some of your potential keywords. It’s a great way to quickly find more long tail keywords you can focus on.

Answer the public

Another tool we love is Answer the public. It’s a bit like our suggest tool, but it really focuses on questions people have about a certain topic. It shows all kinds of combinations with prepositions and comparisons. And it’s visualization is pretty awesome!

Google Trends

Google Trends allows you to compare the traffic for sets of keywords. You can even see the difference for numerous geographical regions. It’s very important to check Google Trends if you expect that some of your keywords are seasonal, for instance, due to regulations, holiday seasons etc.

Your internal search engine

What are people looking for on your site? These terms are keywords in the vocabulary of your actual audience and should definitely be added to your keyword list. Do not forget to look at the keywords people filled in that didn’t get any results: this was stuff people were expecting but didn’t find. You can look into the results of your internal search in Google Analytics at Behavior → Site Search → Search Terms.


Moz has a very nice tool which gauges how competitive your keyword is. Keywords that are very difficult to rank for, are probably not the ones you want to go after (unless you have a very authoritative, high-ranking website already). The Moz tool will probably help you speed up your keyword research. It does come with a little price tag, however.


These keyword research tools should make it easier to create a list of relevant search terms. You should make sure to create awesome landing pages for keywords you want to be found on. You should also think about cornerstone content articles and a great internal linking structure in order to make your SEO strategy complete. In our SEO copywriting course we dive much deeper into keywords, landing pages, and long tail keywords.

Read more: Keyword research: the ultimate guide »

56 Responses to Keyword research tools: which ones to use?

  1. Aman
    Aman  • 4 years ago

    Of course, Google’s keywords planner is the best at the moment but you can also use moz to find the keywords and competitors of you website.

  2. wayzon
    wayzon  • 4 years ago

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  3. Tony Guo
    Tony Guo  • 4 years ago

    In this post given heading is Keyword research tools.which one use.but only one keyword tools focused and discussed about this .but Lots of tools available for Keyword research like Keyword chat,word steam, ERPWoo Keyword Finder,Keywordtool.io,Niche Laboratory and more.

  4. souvik ghosh
    souvik ghosh  • 4 years ago

    Great article. I have got another tool, Webbee Spider, which scrap competitor’s keywords from titles, h1 and anchor texts. A combination of semRUSH, Keyword Planner and this tool can be used for keyword research. See the comment by some Moz contributor.

  5. Tim
    Tim  • 4 years ago

    I’m thinking it could be build into the SEO module, so you can just push a button and get the most resent keywords people are using with the keyword you have set in Yoast SEO.

  6. Sophea
    Sophea  • 4 years ago

    Sorry, I have a question about Yoast SEO, I after update to new version it lost the redirect 301 in advance tab. Did your team remove it?


    • Anna
      Anna  • 4 years ago

      Redirects are the feature of Premium version. If you had a premium and you updated plugin, there is a chance your license key is disappeared (happens in my case every time after update). You should activate your license key again so it may solve the problem.

  7. shootorder
    shootorder  • 4 years ago

    Yes, Awesome information shared.

  8. Lisa
    Lisa  • 4 years ago

    Didn’t know about ‘Yoast suggests’, awesome, thanks!! :D

    Joy Della Vita Travelblog

  9. Marie
    Marie  • 4 years ago

    Hi and thanks for the article!
    There is a thing that puzzles me enormously about keywords:
    Say a terrific keyword would be “designer amsterdam” according to Yoast suggests et al – and say that similarly virtually nobody searches for “designer in amsterdam”… This happens all the time in my country at least – this kind of variation.

    Well – it is very hard to incorporate the exact keyword “designer amsterdam” in my blog post , in the meta description etc whereas “designer IN amsterdam” is easy.

    What should I do? Go for the keyword “designer in amsterdam” that nobody searches for and maintain good language in my post, or should I go for “designer amsterdam” and just pretend that the lack of “in” in my texts is just a typo?

    I am looking very much forward to your answer, best Marie

    • Anna
      Anna  • 4 years ago

      Hi Marie! In my opinion, you should maintain a good language in your post. Finally, Google will catch your page which is well optimized for that topic “designer in amsterdam”, if somebody just searching the phrase “designer amsterdam”.

  10. Minyak Argan
    Minyak Argan  • 4 years ago

    What is another tool that can improve my SEO? I’m so confused about SEO logic.

  11. Satu Jam
    Satu Jam  • 4 years ago

    Google keyword tool has bad experience nowadays. Thank your for this post and your amazing plugin. All of your tool help me out from headache.

    • Digiyan
      Digiyan  • 4 years ago

      What makes Google Keyword Tools bad?

  12. Dan Western
    Dan Western  • 4 years ago

    Hey Marieke,

    Thanks for sharing this article! I’ve been sticking mainly to the Google keyword planner for all my keyword research, but I’ll have to start utilizing the others you’ve mentioned here!

    Thanks again,


  13. Amadeo Brands
    Amadeo Brands  • 4 years ago

    Great tools…
    Still I don’t indsrstand way Google dumd down his keyword tool? 4 years ago the keyword tool was a lot better with better suggestions and more data …
    Any idea way? Or is this a mis preseption by me?

  14. Brenda
    Brenda  • 4 years ago

    Thank you for the info, i usually use keyword planner. and yoast sounds cool.

  15. Better Home Gardening
    Better Home Gardening  • 4 years ago

    keyword planner is an effective tool.

  16. Ali Qayyum
    Ali Qayyum  • 4 years ago

    i love to prefer google keyword planner and google trends. which helps me lot for getting right keywords for my products.

  17. andre
    andre  • 4 years ago

    Thanks for the great post. when im about to search a new keywordset, i always try to get info from the clients customers . they use different terms more often then i thought. these insider infos are really valuable imo.

  18. Keyword Ranking Tool
    Keyword Ranking Tool  • 5 years ago

    Thanks for the info, here I can suggest the Ranking Analysis Tool to track the url which is ranked in the search engine.

  19. Mike Z
    Mike Z  • 5 years ago

    Thanks for the info and the suggest tool. Do you guys also have a strategy on which keywords to exclude in campaigns?

  20. Coupons India
    Coupons India  • 5 years ago

    Really , Long Tail Keywords are the best option to Rank a site for a Competitive Keywords

    Example : If you want to Rank for xxxxxx coupons

    Then a newbie Must have to try Rank for

    xxx coupons for footwear

    xxx coupons for men

    That is the Correct Strategy. Well Written author Thanks for sharing

  21. Aman kinha
    Aman kinha  • 5 years ago

    hey i use only google keyword planner.

  22. Reid Yamamoto
    Reid Yamamoto  • 5 years ago

    I just tried your suggest tool and it’s very easy to use and displays the data nicely. I MOZ Pro to find weakness in keywords I want to rank for and it works great.

    Thank you for the use of the tool!

  23. Akshay Hallur
    Akshay Hallur  • 5 years ago

    Great post.
    I didn’t know about the tool developed by Yoast.

    I personally use Ubersuggest combined with Ubersuggest search volume and CPC Adder Chrome extension. It suggests keywords from Google Suggest. The additional Chrome extension adds search volume and CPC To the suggested terms.

    I also use keyword planner many of the times.

    I recommend SEMrush as professional keyword research. Although it is basically a competitor’s research tool,it can also act as an effective keyword tool.

    Thanks have a great weekend.

  24. Sarkari Naukri HQ
    Sarkari Naukri HQ  • 5 years ago

    These days, we are using many keyword tools. Some are well known.
    KWD researcher

  25. Apk
    Apk  • 5 years ago

    So far, I’m just using google search to find some keyword. And maybe I will try your keyword tool too

  26. Debbie Sessions
    Debbie Sessions  • 5 years ago

    The simplest KW research tool is google. Type in your topic and scroll to the bottom to see what related results show up. Use those to either write an article or to supplement other articles with some of the keywords. Yes, they are primary phrases so you may not rank for them right away but building your site with these in it will help get rank for them eventually. Also look at what other articles that show up for the keyword use.

  27. Kroeriks
    Kroeriks  • 5 years ago

    Nice reading!
    Bad timing for my part tho. New to the game, reading day and night learning how it works and what to avoid, 2 day from releasing blog and they change the rules of the game! :)
    Mentioning SEO tool, a big comfort is the tool I discovered last week., no more fighting with google keyword planner.
    This SEO tool has a free version, worthy by far, I tested the payed versions, and will most likely subscribe until the day I leave my keyboard! :) Such a timesaver and nichefinder. http://www.jaaxy.com/?a_aid=80c96171 I am sure there are other tools out there as well, and I am still a newbie, but this toll made me feel like a pro overnight.
    Not to mention, together with Yoast WordPress SEO to organize all the goodies :)
    I am not sending you over to buy, thats to transparent in a fora like this, but just check it out, the free version.

  28. Daniele
    Daniele  • 5 years ago

    Hi guys,

    I used MarketSamurai for few years, but disappointed by the performances lately.
    What’s your opinion on that tool?


  29. Sagar
    Sagar  • 5 years ago

    ahhh! Finally, I found amazing SEO post! I will try this out for my site, hope it works fine for me. Thanks for posting this great post!

  30. Gege Riyadi
    Gege Riyadi  • 5 years ago

    yes I’ve tried several keyword research tool what you described above, but it looks like I have not been up to use it. and I am interested in your ebook, hopefully I can learn about the optimization wordpress from u

  31. Lisander
    Lisander  • 5 years ago

    I never knew Yoast had this tool. But I’m using different tools for keyword research, but I will trow Yoast Suggests in the mix and see how it works out.

    • Michiel Heijmans
      Michiel Heijmans  • 5 years ago

      Do let us know, Lisander ;)

  32. peter
    peter  • 5 years ago

    Great Post. I use “Yoast suggests” in the seo plugin for a long time now and it works bether than the google webmaster app.

  33. Ed Forrester
    Ed Forrester  • 5 years ago

    Great Post. Do you guys recommend any paid tools to do some of the heavy lifting with Keyword Research?

    • Michiel Heijmans
      Michiel Heijmans  • 5 years ago

      We also use Searchmetrics.com in our site reviews.

  34. edsbali
    edsbali  • 5 years ago

    After using keyword research tool, if we had to use a keyword in a certain time, and then after doing research again, there is a change in the keyword word combinations, do we need to rename the url of the page that already exists?

    • Michiel Heijmans
      Michiel Heijmans  • 5 years ago

      Why not set up a new page? As long as the keyword combination makes sense, of course.

      It could also be that Google recognizes the new combination as a synonym. I think changing the entire page/post would be a mistake, as that would mean losing all traffic for that keyword.

  35. Rick
    Rick  • 5 years ago

    Hi Marieke, nice post! Still one question though: could you maybe explain why the estimated search volume of Google keyword planner isn’t useful for SEO purposes? I assumed that the volume indicates how often people use a specific keyword per month. Why isn’t that useful with regard to SEO? Thanks in advance!

    • Mike
      Mike  • 5 years ago

      Same question here! Always use it to prioritize keywords!

  36. Oscar
    Oscar  • 5 years ago

    Find keywordtool.io useful, and Google itself!

  37. Tommy
    Tommy  • 5 years ago

    Just doing a website for summer houses, didnt think at all to alter the keywords seasonally!! Thanks!!!!

  38. Gert-Jan
    Gert-Jan  • 5 years ago

    I can highly recommend Uber suggest; http://ubersuggest.org/
    (don’t know which one was first; Yoast suggest or Uber suggest, they kind of look the same)

    • Michiel Heijmans
      Michiel Heijmans  • 5 years ago

      They are based on the same concept, right?

  39. James Roberts
    James Roberts  • 5 years ago

    Hi Marieke, thanks for the info. Bought the book and find it to be a very useful resource.

    • Michiel Heijmans
      Michiel Heijmans  • 5 years ago

      Great to hear, James! Thanks for your comment!

  40. Wesley
    Wesley  • 5 years ago

    KWFinder.com is a nice free tool as well, that includes CPC.

    • Alex Stivers
      Alex Stivers  • 5 years ago

      KWFinder is really awesome tool. Thanks

    • Auke
      Auke  • 5 years ago

      Thanks, wonderfull tool!

    • Matt O'Gara
      Matt O'Gara  • 5 years ago

      That is a friggin’ cool tool. Love it. Thanks. The best thing to do is use a combo of all of the tools… Use Yoast’s to get ideas (very good for this) then the others to drill down on searches & costs.

    • Cheryl K. Washington
      Cheryl K. Washington  • 5 years ago

      Amazing tool. Thanks

  41. Adriaan
    Adriaan  • 5 years ago

    Thanks for the article, i didnt know yoast had a keyword tool, looks very good. But how do you come up with the suggested keywords? Also, i like google keyword planner, helped me get the first google visitors to my site.

    Thanks for all your work yoast team!!

    • Michiel Heijmans
      Michiel Heijmans  • 5 years ago

      Hi Adriaan,

      The keyword suggestions are like the suggestions Google provides when searching for a keyword. In the drop down, similar suggestions appear.

  42. Christopher Pontine
    Christopher Pontine  • 5 years ago

    Hey Marieke,

    I utilize the Google Suggest Search and type in my keyword I like and see what other great ideas Googles gives me (same idea as the Yoast idea). Thanks for the great article I’m totally going to check these all out.


    Christopher Pontine