8 Best Keyword Research Tools Tested by SEO Experts in 2024

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    A vast array of keyword research tools are available, catering to all levels of expertise, from beginners to seasoned SEO professionals. These tools vary widely, from the overly basic and somewhat ineffective to those that are incredibly useful and powerful.

    The most effective keyword research tools do more than just help you find relevant keywords; they streamline your SEO workflow, making it easier to identify and target the right keywords and provide the essential data needed to rank for them. 

    Importantly, accessing this valuable data shouldn’t require excessive financial sacrifices. Having worked with various clients and tested multiple tools for keyword research and SEO content optimization over the years, I’ve experienced the spectrum of what’s available, from the least to the most effective. 

    Based on extensive testing, here are the top eight keyword research tools, both those that stand out for their overall excellence and those tailored for more specific needs.

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    8 Best Keyword Research Tools

    Semrush – Best Keyword Research Tool Overall

    Semrush is a comprehensive digital marketing and SEO platform that provides tools and insights to help users improve their online presence and marketing strategies. It offers features such as keyword research, site audits, backlink analysis, and competitive research, which are essential for businesses aiming to optimize their online strategies and boost their website’s visibility. 

    While Semrush is renowned for its extensive suite of SEO tools, it also includes a free version that features a keyword research tool. This free tool delivers valuable insights on search volume, keyword difficulty, and competitive data for specific keywords.

    The free version allows access to a limited selection of keyword suggestions and related keywords, aiding in the identification of relevant and high-potential keywords for SEO campaigns. 

    Though it has some restrictions compared to the paid plans, the free keyword research tool from Semrush still provides useful data and functionalities that can greatly improve your keyword research efforts. 

    The SEO Content Template tool offers the capability to automatically generate a content brief and optimize content on-the-fly by evaluating your content’s readability, originality, tone of voice, and SEO compliance, complete with a visual bullseye graphic to guide you and a checklist that marks off SEO recommendations as you incorporate them.

    While upgrading does come at a significant cost, you can start with the free version at low usage levels.

    • Comprehensive digital marketing suite encompassing SEO, paid advertising, and more
    • Detailed keyword research capabilities, along with SEO audits, competitor analysis, and additional features
    • Extensive keyword database for thorough research
    • Keyword tracking to monitor performance
    • Frequent updates to tools, ensuring up-to-date functionality
    • Cost-prohibitive for small businesses and individual webmasters
    • Some complexity in mastering the different toolkits, requiring a learning period


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    Loganix – Best for Link Building

    Loganix logo

    Loganix offers a robust keyword research tool designed to streamline the identification of crucial commercial keywords for your business’s SEO efforts. This tool is invaluable for uncovering the keywords that your potential competitors are targeting, which are essential for increasing search traffic to your website.

    Keyword research can be a lengthy process involving the gathering and organizing of keyword data, analyzing search intent, and filtering out irrelevant terms. Loganix simplifies this entire process, saving time and effort for businesses, agencies, SEO professionals, and webmasters by eliminating the need for repetitive, resource-heavy tasks.

    Loganix’s keyword research primarily focuses on product and service keywords, commercial terms that are directly pertinent to your offerings. This targeted approach is key to staying competitive against new market entrants, adapting to changes in searcher behavior, and managing fluctuations in search volumes.

    • High-quality service
    • Always meets deadlines
    • Excellent customer service
    • Competitive pricing
    • Effective link-building
    • Third-party email automation
    • Affiliate program
    • User-friendly dashboard 
    • Endorsed by SEO experts and large organizations
    • Slow response times
    • Higher link-building costs compared to competitors
    • Occasional delays in service delivery


    Loganix provides a keyword research service priced at $149, aimed at simplifying the identification and categorization of valuable keywords. This service accommodates up to five topics, organizing them neatly by topic for straightforward use. Each keyword is categorized according to search intent, including transactional, informational, and navigational types.

    Clients receive an actionable, well-designed, and instructive report prepared by an experienced SEO professional. Loganix ensures a quick 2-day turnaround for all keyword research services, guaranteeing prompt delivery to support clients’ SEO strategies efficiently.

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    SE Ranking – Best All-in-One Software

    SE Ranking logo

    SE Ranking features a bulk keyword generator that allows users to analyze hundreds or even thousands of keywords efficiently. This tool quickly evaluates search queries in batches and produces a detailed report in seconds, providing comprehensive data on all examined keywords.

    With SE Ranking’s keyword finder, users can identify competitors targeting the same keywords and understand their strategies. This functionality also aids in generating new keyword ideas and boosting the efficacy of search campaigns. 

    Tailored for SEO professionals and digital marketing agencies, SE Ranking’s keyword research tool enables in-depth analysis of any keyword, reveals fresh keyword opportunities, and determines the competition level for each keyword. This capability makes it a crucial asset for optimizing and planning effective digital marketing strategies.

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    Mangools – Best for Affordability

    Mangools logo

    Mangools boasts a refined keyword analysis tool that aids users in finding keywords they’re more likely to rank for easily. It streamlines keyword analysis by prioritizing low SEO difficulty and high search volume, delivering precise search volumes and highly accurate assessments of keyword difficulty.

    The platform features a competitor keyword research tool, enabling users to uncover the keywords their competitors are successfully ranking for. By simply inputting a competitor’s domain or URL, Mangools’ keyword finder tool exposes the optimal keywords that competitors are using effectively.

    Mangools also provides detailed insights into search volumes, including historical data, which helps users perfectly time their content creation. Users can monitor seasonal keywords and pinpoint trending topics to boost their website’s organic traffic.

    Particularly useful for those focused on local SEO, Mangools’ keyword finder tool supports targeted research for location-specific long-tail keywords and SERP analysis. It offers precise local search results from over 50,000 locations, enhancing efforts in local search optimization.

    • Cost-effective
    • Excellent UI/UX
    • Unique, high-quality SEO tools
    • Reliable link index
    • Occasionally unreliable


    Mangools’ pricing structure varies based on different usage types, such as backlink rows, SERPs lookups, keyword lookups, and more. The plans start at $49 per month, which includes 100,000 backlink rows. Mangools offers a 10-day free trial to test out their features before committing to a subscription.

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    Serpstat – Best Keyword Suggestion Tool 

    Serpstat logo

    The Serpstat Keyword Research tool provides a robust platform for a variety of keyword search and research activities. One standout feature is the ability to conduct competitor research through URL analysis, which helps uncover keywords that may be missing from your campaigns. 

    The tool allows for the exploration of search questions to delve deeper into specific keyword niches, generating further keywords and ideas to attract targeted traffic to your website. An intriguing option within Serpstat is the “tree view,” which displays how keywords are distributed across your pages. 

    While the typical strategy targets specific keywords on specific pages, sometimes an unexpected page may gain better ranking potential, such as going viral. This feature assists in identifying other potential pages that could be optimized to enhance your rankings for certain keywords.

    Beyond these, Serpstat also includes a search for related keywords, enhanced by various filters to refine your search to the most impactful keywords for targeting.

    Serpstat’s starter plans offer full access to its tools and data for a single user, with pricing scaling based on the number of users, making it adaptable for teams of different sizes.

    Overall, Serpstat’s versatile approach to keyword research and its comprehensive toolkit empower website owners and SEO professionals to refine and enhance their SEO strategies effectively.

    • Comprehensive SEO ranking tool
    • Affordable
    • User-friendly
    • Free trial available
    • Technical audit explanations
    • Limited, inflexible SEO reports


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    Rank Math – Best for Integrations

    Rankmath logo

    Rank Math, though not primarily a keyword research tool, offers fundamental features that greatly aid in optimizing websites for increased traffic. The tool allows users to assign up to five focus keywords per post, enabling optimization across multiple keywords. 

    This approach can attract significantly more traffic compared to optimizing for just one focus keyword. Both the free and PRO versions of Rank Math support this feature, with the PRO version offering the ability to use an unlimited number of focus keywords.

    Rank Math enhances keyword discovery by generating automatic suggestions from Google. As users type in the Focus Keyword field, Rank Math pulls suggestions directly from Google, which can then be easily added to their content with a simple click. This feature allows for the addition of multiple focus keywords, streamlining the content optimization process.

    Keyword research with Rank Math is user-friendly, removing the complexity of guessing potential keywords for each post. The PRO version further integrates with Google Trends, allowing users to track search trends and compare keyword performance over time, providing deeper insights into effective keyword strategies.

    Rank Math’s Content AI significantly contributes by suggesting relevant or crucial keywords based on the content’s focus keyword. This feature uses data to recommend keywords that haven’t been used yet, presenting new avenues for improving content rankings.

    • Free version available
    • Lightweight and fast
    • Integrates with popular tools like Google Analytics
    • Works with major page builders (Elementor, Divi)
    • Competitive pricing
    • Pre-configured settings
    • Excellent customer support
    • Instant indexing for quicker website ranking
    • Easy migration from other SEO plugins without losing settings
    • Limited AI credits
    • FAQ & Table of Contents not supported in Classic Editor
    • Features can be overlooked during installation


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    Moz Keyword Explorer – Best for Accessing Keyword Metrics

    MOZ logo

    Moz’s SEO platform includes several tools tailored for keyword research. Unlike some more complex SEO tools that offer a multitude of data points, such as SERP position history or the total number of keywords for which a competitor ranks, Moz opts for simplicity. This streamlined approach is particularly advantageous for those who aren’t professional search marketers, as it provides essential metrics without overwhelming users.

    The Keyword Explorer tool allows you to input any keyword and receive information on its monthly search volume, difficulty, and organic click-through rate (CTR). Further down, you’ll find an analysis of the current top-ranking results for that keyword and suggestions for related keywords.

    One standout feature of Moz is the “Priority” score, which significantly simplifies the keyword research process. This score is automatically calculated based on the keyword’s volume, organic CTR, and difficulty, as well as your “My Score”, a personal relevance metric you set based on your own expertise and understanding of your business’s needs and industry context.

    The Keyword Gap feature, which is part of the Competitive Research tool, enables you to identify the keywords your competitors rank for that you don’t, offering strategic insights to enhance your SEO strategy.

    • More approachable data presentation than many other tools
    • “Priority” score makes it easy to find the keywords worth chasing
    • Broad set of tools available for free
    • Less data than more robust tools
    • Free plan only includes 10 queries per tool per month

    Google Search Console – Best for Monitoring Keyword Performance Data

    Google_Search_Console logo

    Google Search Console is a free web service provided by Google that equips website owners and webmasters with tools and reports to monitor and optimize their site’s performance in Google search results. 

    It delivers valuable insights into search traffic, indexing status, site errors, and security issues, aiding users in enhancing their online presence. 

    This tool is instrumental in identifying and resolving any potential problems that might impact a site’s visibility, making it an essential resource for anyone looking to improve their website’s search engine ranking and overall health.

    • Identifies keyword opportunities from your site’s data
    • Provides metrics like impressions and CTR
    • Requires pairing with another tool for complete keyword metrics
    • Only analyzes the site owner’s website performance

    Best Keyword Research Tools – Buyer’s Guide

    How Do You Choose the Best SEO Keyword Research Tool?

    When selecting an SEO keyword research tool, it’s crucial to first understand your specific needs. Budget options may provide only basic features, which could be insufficient if you need more advanced capabilities for your SEO activities.

    Higher-end SEO software often includes various ranking and content tracking features, along with a broad array of tools to address different requirements. Hence, it’s essential to know the features you need from your keyword research tool to ensure it matches your SEO strategies and objectives.

    This method ensures you choose a tool that fits both your budget and effectively aids your digital marketing efforts.

    How to Use Keyword Research Tools Effectively

    1. Understand Keyword Metrics

    When using keyword research tools, understanding their metrics is crucial:

    • Search Volume: This metric shows the average monthly searches for a specific keyword. It helps you identify and prioritize keywords that could potentially bring the most traffic to your website.
    • Keyword Difficulty: This measures the competitiveness of a keyword, giving you an idea of the effort required to achieve a high ranking for that term. Targeting keywords with reasonable competition can enhance your chances of SEO success.

    By effectively balancing search volume and keyword difficulty, you can strategically choose keywords that offer the best opportunities for enhancing your website’s visibility and growth.

    2. Incorporate Keywords into Your Content

    Identifying the right keywords is just the first step. To fully leverage your keyword research, you must integrate these keywords effectively into your content. This includes optimizing:

    • Title tags
    • Meta descriptions
    • Headings
    • The body of your content

    It’s crucial to maintain a natural and approachable writing style when incorporating keywords. They should blend smoothly into your text, enhancing rather than detracting from the reader’s experience.

    Focus on creating content that not only utilizes keywords efficiently but also genuinely engages and resonates with your audience. This strategy will help you maximize the effectiveness of your keyword research and improve your overall content impact.

    Can You Use AI for Keyword Research?

    The appeal of using AI for keyword research lies in its simplicity. You can request straightforward, simplified results and receive clear, actionable answers. For example, Bard does an effective job of synthesizing data from various sources and strategizing for both high-traffic and long-tail keywords, provided it’s accurate in its analysis.

    ChatGPT, not being connected to Google Keyword Planner, delivers slightly less impressive results, yet can still offer some basic guidance. However, both ChatGPT and Bard tend to falter with more complex inquiries, often reverting to very general advice.

    The reality is, AI chatbots aren’t fully equipped for comprehensive keyword research. They currently lack the capability to build and save keyword lists, conduct detailed analyses and reports, track rankings, perform competitor gap analysis, or optimize content extensively.

    If you’re in a tight spot and need quick, basic insights on a keyword, an AI chatbot can be useful. However, for now, I wouldn’t recommend relying on AI chatbots as your primary tool for keyword research, especially when there are many effective and free keyword research tools available that are specifically designed for this purpose.

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    Best Keyword Research Tools – FAQs

    Conclusion – Best Keyword Research Tool

    Selecting the right SEO keyword research tool is crucial for enhancing your content strategy, attracting more targeted traffic, and improving your search engine rankings. Whether you’re an individual blogger, a growing business, or a large digital agency, it’s essential to choose a tool that meets your specific needs.

    Options range from comprehensive platforms like Semrush, which offers detailed competitor analysis and keyword suggestions, to more specialized tools like Loganix, designed to integrate smoothly with content creation efforts. Each tool brings unique strengths to different facets of keyword research.

    When choosing a tool, consider its features, user-friendliness, integration capabilities, and pricing to ensure it aligns with your SEO objectives. The most effective keyword research tool is one that not only delivers deep insights and valuable data but also integrates effortlessly into your workflow, maximizing the potential of each piece of content you produce.

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