What does the keyword seed mean?
9 Free Keyword Research Tools (The Better Alternatives to Google Keyword Planner)
Do you remember the good old days when GKP was awesome?
You could enter any “seed” keyword and get tons of keyword suggestions as well as search volume.
Now Google has generalized these numbers. 🙁
Do not get me wrong. It is still a useful tool. It suggests some good keywords, breaks them into groups (which is useful), and is 100% free.
However, if GKP does only one If you are using a keyword research tool, you are missing out.
Yes, you can use a tool like Ahrefs Keywords Explorer which has a ton of data, features, and filters. But what if you're just starting out and can't justify paying any SEO tools?
Here are some free keyword tools to help you start your SEO without investment:
- Google Trends
- Keyword shitter
- AdWord & SEO Keyword Permutation Generator
- Answer the Public
- Google Correlate
- Keywords Everywhere
- Wordtracker Scout
- Google Search Console
Let's dig deeper into each of these tools.
1. Google Trends
Let's get started with a useful keyword tool from Google: Google Trends.
Google Trends shows in a curve how search trends change over time.
If you enter a search word, you can the relative popularity see this request in the past 12 months.
For example, let's look at the trend data for “protein powder”.
It seems that the popularity of this search query has been fairly stable all year round.
If you take a closer look, you can see that there was a decline between August and December. The popularity rises again in January.
This is likely due to the fact that many people want to implement their New Year's health resolutions in January.
If we review Google Trends data for the past five years, we can see that this is actually an annual spike.
(This information is not included in the Google Keyword Planner.)
So, if you have a fitness blog, it might make sense to publish an article on protein powders in early January.
However, Google Trends has another ace up its sleeve: similar searches.
Further down on the page is a widget that shows the relation of the search term to similar search queries:
Similar search queries are displayed with increasing popularity.
I've found this to be particularly useful for quickly revealing search queries that I would never have thought of otherwise (e.g. “vegan protein powder” ... who would have thought of vegan powder!?)
However, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Google Trends ...
So I recommend that you read our entire guide on Using Google Trends for Keyword Search.
2. Keyword sh! Tter
It doesn't take much imagination to guess what this tool does.
Enter a “Seed” keyword (or many) and hit “Sh! T Keywords!”.
Then the tool starts to work. But be careful! The tool generates en masse Keyword suggestions.
After ~ 30 minutes I had ~ 20K suggestions ... and there would have been more!
The tool makes use of Google Autocomplete.
Google Autocomplete = these are the search results that appear when you start typing a query into the search box.
Basically, it's pretty easy.
Search volumes or trends are not displayed, and keywords are not grouped in any way (as with Google Keyword Planner). Instead there is a special feature: positive and negative Filter.
The easiest way to do this is to use an example:
We add that positive Add the “buy” filter and search for “protein powder” again.
Now you can see that only queries with the word “buy” appear.
The Negative filter does the opposite - it excludes queries containing the filtered words.
This can be useful for finding related questions with high purchase intent (e.g., "buy protein powder ”,“ protein powder store”Etc.).
3. AdWord & SEO Keyword Permutation Generator
This tool combines lists of keywords in every possible conversion and combination.
The graphic below shows how the tool uses the three lists of my keywords and combines them into a list of variations and changes:
This is incredibly helpful when you are transactional or informal Combine modifications (such as “best”, “cheapest”, “buy” etc.) with a list of different topics.
This is also useful for local SEO.
For example for plumbers who offer their services in different cities or regions.
You could use the tool like this, for example:
I searched for "counties in Florida" and found this list.
With the free scraper plugin for Chrome you can skim off the entire list.
Note. Check out my web scraping guide to learn how to skim off information like this.
There isn't much more to be said about this tool.
The functionality is pretty simple and you don't really get any more data (e.g. search volume, trends, CPC, etc.).
But that's not what the tool is designed for - it just saves time.
This tool generates keyword combinations for business purposes and locations.
And this is how you use it:
- Enter your business category (e.g. plumber)
- Choose from a list of related individual services.
- Click "Generate Keywords"
And you already have a list of niche and location-relevant keyword combinations. 🙂
4. Answer the Public
Answer the Public finds Questions, prepositions, comparisons,Alphabetical lists and related searches.
Confused? Let's look at one at a time.
We start by entering the “seed” keyword - let's stick with “protein powder”.
(Yeah, I used a GIF to show how damn cool the page looks.)
The first thing you see after entering your “Seed” keyword are the questions.
These are search queries that are combined with question words in the respective selected language. So in English who, what, why, where, how, which, when, are and is. In German these are the corresponding counterparts, such as When, who, how, that and so on.
E.g., "Which one Protein powder tastes best? "
You can choose between a visualization or a list if you prefer (which is what I do).
Next up we have those Prepositions, such as. for, can,is near, without, with and to (at, for, similar, near, to and so on in German).
These are search queries of the format [seed] [preposition] [_____].
e.g. “protein powder without carbs ”or“ protein powder for weight gain. "
Then come the comparisons (versus, vs., and, like, or).
The same format here too [seed] [preposition] [_____].
e.g. “protein powder versus meat ”or“ protein powder or chicken breast. "
And finally, one more thing an alphabetical list and List of connections.
The alphabetical list includes the Google autocompletions.
And the Connections, well who knows?
In my experience, the list always provides around 20 related categories. I have no idea where these are from. But from time to time a couple of interesting approaches come around.
We don't know exactly where ATP got their data from. As far as we know, it could be Google Keyword Planner and Google Autosuggest.
Answer the Public gives 195 suggestions for search queries based on questions for the word “cat”.
Let's see how Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer compares with this.
Keywords Explorer> All> contains the same question types as ATP.
The overview of the new Keyword Explorer V3 already shows an overview:
The tool displays a total of 559,545 questions, which is more than 2,800 times as many as ATP!
I admit we're showing our big data muscles here.
For most users, ATP's suggestions will be sufficient.
But when websites get bigger, Keywords Explorer 🙂 is still there
5. Google Correlate
Yep - another Google tool.
According to Google, Correlate finds search patterns that correspond to real world trends, i.e. trend correlation.
Google Correlate is part of Google Trends. But I felt it deserved a separate mention. The reason for this is that the search for keyword ideas is different than Google Trends.
But let's dive right in by looking for - yes, you guessed it correctly - for protein powder.
Google returns ten search queries with trends related to the query “protein powder”.
Looking at the list, we notice that not all queries contain the “seed” phrase.
That's because this is correlation data. In other words, they are keywords where the search trend correlates with that of the seed keyword.
Because of this, this tool can uncover some unrelated keywords.
Google says that “mobile homes for sale” has some connection with “protein powder”.
So it is possible that not only “high quality jewels” are thrown out, but every now and then an exciting idea is included.
A good example of this is the “Ninja Blender”.
It would never have occurred to me, but when I think about it I can see why these two searches correlate with each other. Ninja-Blender is the brand of a blender and people use blenders to make protein shakes.
So it could be that there are searches for “Ninja Blender Recipes”.
I decided to check out the “ninja blender protein recipes” in Ahrefs Keywords Explorer.
The search volume isn't too high, but the Keyword Difficulty (KD) is low. Therefore, it would probably be easy to classify yourself for a ranking.
When we review the search results, it becomes clear that this keyword has the potential to generate more traffic from long-tail keywords.
We see this in the fact that the top-ranked page ranks for 207 keywords. So she gets around 162 visitors from organic search every month.
6. Keywords Everywhere
Keywords Everywhere is a free add-on for Chrome (or Firefox). All favorite websites are enhanced with search volume, CPC and competition data.
These websites include: Google, eBay, Amazon, Answer the Public, Keyword S ** tter, and more.
Here's the tool in action on Google Search:
... and in the keyword shitter:
Do you think what i think?
Keywords Everywhere + Keyword Sh! Tter = a less limited Google Keyword Planner 🙂
Use Keyword Shitter to get thousands of Google Autocomplete suggestions - and then Keywords Everywhere to get the search volumes for them.
To do this, copy all of the Keywords Everywhere data from Keyword Sh! Tter and paste them into a table list.
The only drawback - apart from the update frequency and accuracy - is that the results are formatted strangely.
But that's not something that a little Google Sheets magic couldn't fix!
Make a copy of this Google Sheets. Then paste the Keywords Everywhere data into the first sheet (“PASTEHERE”).
Then go to the “RESULTS” sheet and you will see a clearer list of results. 🙂
This is a very useful tool because it transforms traditional browsing into keyword research.
Think about it: how many Google searches do you do per day?
For me there are hundreds.
Now every time I search - whether in Google, YouTube, Amazon, Ebay, etc. - I see data that match my search query.
But where is the data obtained from?
I contacted Akash, the founder of Keywords Everywhere, to find out.
And he said this:
The search volume, CPC and competition data displayed by Keywords Everywhere come directly from the Google Keyword Planner.We have a cache of over 2 billion keywords that are updated every month.Keywords with a volume of more than 50 receive new numbers from GKP once a month. Lower volume keywords are updated every two / three months.
TLDR; These numbers come straight from the Google Keyword Planner.
There are two things to keep in mind:
- The numbers aren't as accurate as those from a paid tool (like Ahrefs Keywords Explorer) for a number of reasons.
- You should never blindly trust search volume for expected traffic - no matter what source that number came from.
But at least these estimates can be used and are many times better than the vague information provided by the GKP.
7. Wordtracker Scout
While we're on Chrome Extensions, here's another one - Wordtracker Scout.
When you throw the extension on any website, it will show the most relevant keywords of it. (It's like a keyword density checker, only better).
It shows the data as a word cloud that can be played with in order to refine it using suggestions relevance or Word count.
See it in action on Bodybuilding.com's list of the best protein powders here:
If you navigate to the “Keyword” tab, you get more information about the keywords. Searches (Number of searches), Competition (Competition), Opportunity (Possibilities) and a few other dates.
There are also a few other data views for different countries.
This data can be copied (just click the “Copy” button) and pasted seamlessly into a Google Spreadsheet.
But where does the data actually come from? This isn't data from the Google Keyword Planner, is it?
Lt. Wordtracker gets the data from their "huge database ... from literally billions of real searches from real people."
I reached out to Wordtracker for more information.
I received the following statement:
[Wordtracker Scout] uses the Wordtracker dataset, which is obtained from a variety of third-party sources that, for example, provide us with second-level search engines.
This post will show you how to use Wordtracker Scout.
8. Google Search Console
Most keyword tools (free and other) find keywords for targets.
But what about the keywords that already have an existing ranking?
Can you learn something from them?
For this reason, the Google Search Console should not be forgotten as a keyword tool.
Go to Search Console> Performance> Search Queries
Now you can see which searches are responsible for the most clicks on your page in the last 28 days.
You see that too Impressions, CTR and average position for every request.
This report can say a lot - but only if you know what to look for.
At the beginning we look at the impressions column. If GSC shows an average position of ~ 7 or below then our page will show up for the majority of searches.
The result? The impressions correspond fairly accurately to an expected search volume.
Take, for example, "free SEO tools."
Our post ranks on average at position 3.1 and was displayed 9,373 in the last 28 days.
If we check that in the Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, we see that this number is not far from the actual search volume.
Unfortunately, we only received 663 clicks for this search query. 🙁
This keyword = low-hanging fruit.
If we ranked higher for this query, we could “steal” a larger proportion of the ~ 9.6K monthly searches for us.
So this is a keyword that we should try to rank up for. Maybe through link building.
I recommend playing around with the data from GSC; there is a lot of knowledge about your keywords there!
Google is maybe the most powerful keyword research tool in the world.
There is the “autosuggest” function for generating an almost unlimited number of keyword ideas. But that's only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using Google for keyword research.
To get started, note the “Users also ask” box that appears on some searches.
Google shows the field “Users also ask” for the query “protein powder”
These are questions that Google knows searchers are looking for these answers.
And here's a quick trick:
Click on one of these questions and Google will download more:
Keep doing this and you can create an almost infinite list of questions users ask.
However, using Google as a keyword research tool doesn't end there.
Let's say there is a keyword that you want to rank for. There are many factors when it comes to SEO, but one thing is certain:
If you want to rank in 2019, your content must match the search intent.
However, that does not mean that you should try visiting your fitness center's home page for the query, "How can you lose weight?" to optimize.
People who do such a search are not in the Buy mode, but in Learning mode.
Google is your best friend when it comes to understanding search intent. Just look at the search results and the presence of SERP features.
For example, imagine that we are a manufacturer of an email marketing tool and want to get a ranking for “email marketing”.
When we look at the search results for this query, we notice two things:
First, there is a featured snippet, a preceding area or position 0 in Google.
That is already a sign that the search is a informative Search intent. It tells us that the seekers are here in the Learning mode are located. You want blog posts and manuals, but not product pages.
Second, there is a step-by-step guide for beginners.
It shows me that most searchers are email marketing noobs who want to learn the basics of email marketing first.
So that's exactly what we should create if we want to rank for it.
If we look for something else, like "clothes", we see the complete opposite:
All results are e-commerce product or category pages.
Google even shows shopping ads.
That tells us that the seeker is in Buy mode is located.
Bottom line? Don't Miss Out on Google as a Keyword Research Tool Keyword research is not just about finding keywords. Rather, it's about understanding who is looking for those results and what those people are trying to find.
Free Tools vs. Paid Keyword Tools: How Different Are They?
It's pretty simple - free keyword tools are a bit limited when compared to paid tools.
That's not to say that free tools don't have their place. However, the amount of keyword ideas and data they access pales in comparison to the paid tools.
Because of this, paid tools allow you to dive even deeper and do more in-depth marketing research.
I'll show you this using the example of “protein powder” in the Ahrefs Keywords Explorer:
~ 110K phrase match suggestions from our 7.6 billion keyword database.
No free keyword tool has such an extensive database.
We also show all types of data points including:
- Estimated Monthly Search Volume;
- Keyword Difficulty (KD);
All are searchable, filterable and available within seconds.
Doing this with free keyword tools is next to impossible.
Also, to make real decisions about a keyword's competitiveness, you should analyze the top 10 ranking pages.
You can do that to some extent in Google, but in Keyword Explorer we show backlink data, traffic stats and more for the top 10 search results.
Simply scroll down to the SERP Overview.
FYI: As far as we know, no other keyword tool - free or paid - can do that.
Do not get me wrong. You can find some great keywords using free keyword tools.
However, this can very be time consuming. And Time = money.
The reality is that the time spent searching Google Autocomplete for custom queries is a waste of time. The same goes for merging data from many free keyword tools into spreadsheets. You should make an effort to use this time for more important things, like creating content or building links.
Additionally, paid tools like Ahrefs Keywords Explorer lead to huge amounts of data. That makes them much more efficient at finding low-competition keywords. You already know, the type of keywords that might be worth targeting.
Bottom line: Free keyword tools are good, but not as good as paid tools. (Surprising, right?)
Let me know in the comments if you know of any other cool free keyword tools. I will consider these and add them to the list. 🙂
Translated by seybold.de, specialist in search engine optimization for over 20 years.
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