Growth Strategies

Top 4 Free Keyword Research Tools for Startups

Free Keyword Research Tools

There are literally hundreds of keyword research tools that can be used to research keywords from the most basic to the most advanced. These free keyword research tools can also be basic, unhelpful, or extremely valuable.

The best keyword research tools streamline and simplify your workflow. They make it easier to identify the keywords you should target, and they give you all the information you need to rank for those keywords. They shouldn’t make you sell your firstborn child or empty your bank account to get that data.

I have worked with clients for years who have used a variety of keyword research tools and optimized SEO content. I’ve seen what works (and what doesn’t)–and know how crucial it is to select the right keyword research tool. For this reason, I looked at over 70 tools that offer a free keyword research tool. Here are the top four free keyword research tools after extensive testing. They include the best-of-the-best and apps designed for specific uses.

Top 4 Free Keyword Research Tools for Startups

1. Moz

Moz offers several tools for keyword research. Moz does not include as many data points as other SEO tools with full features (like the SERP position history, or the number of keywords that a competing result is ranked for), but I would consider this a positive. This makes it easier for users who aren’t search marketing professionals to use, while still getting the metrics they want.

You can use the Keyword Explorer to search for any keyword and get information about its volume, difficulty, and organic clickthrough rates (CTR). You can scroll down to see the current ranking of it and suggestions for keywords that are similar.

Moz’s “Priority Score” simplifies keyword research, letting you know whether or not a particular keyword is worth your time. Moz calculates the score automatically based on the keyword’s volume and organic CTR. It also takes into account your “My Score”, a metric that you create yourself to indicate how important a keyword is for your business.

You can also find out which keywords you rank higher than your competitors by using the Keyword Gap tool (part of the Competitive Research Tool).


  • Data visualization that is more accessible than other tools
  • The “Priority Score” makes it simple to identify the keywords that are worth chasing
  • A wide range of free tools are available


  • More robust tools require fewer data

Pricing: free and paid plans are available

Also read: Best 10 Content Research Tools and Alternative Tools Like BuzzSumo

2. Google Keyword Planner

When it comes to PPC keyword research Google Keyword Planner has to be one of the most useful free keyword research tools. You can use it for free, even if you do not purchase Google Ads.

Google Keyword Planner has two main features. One for keyword exploration and discovery, and the other for in-depth research into search volume and forecasting.

This feature, “Keyword Ideas”, is similar to other tools in this list. Your search for a term will generate other keywords, as well as details about monthly search volume, changes over time, competitions, ad share, and bid ranges. You can refine the list of keywords by brand or nonbrand keywords, source websites, and much more. The “Forecast”, if you also use Google Ads, allows you to plan your budget and paid ads in advance.

Keyword Planner helps you to optimize your organic search strategy by highlighting areas where organic ranking can help you reduce PPC costs.


  • Free forever even if you do not use Google Ads
  • Helpful forecasting features for budgeting if you do use Google Ads
  • You can get keyword suggestions from your website only


  • It’s not helpful for organic keyword research

Pricing: free

3. Ahrefs Free SEO Tools

The Ahrefs free suite is not available, but the company provides a set of SEO tools that are ideal for simple keyword research. This suite of tools includes a Free Keyword Generator as well as a Keyword Difficulty Checker and Keyword Rank Checker. It also offers keyword research for YouTube and Amazon.

The keyword generator provides up to 150 free keyword ideas (100 phrase-match keywords and 50 questions-based keywords) along with monthly search data for each keyword and keyword difficulty of the top 10 results. The keyword difficulty tool provides a score for difficulty, an estimated number of links needed to rank, and SERP analysis.

The suite is very comprehensive, and while it doesn’t provide the same depth of information as a paid account does, its breadth makes it a great asset. Together, Ahrefs’ free tools are able to handle everything a basic SEO operation requires–keyword analysis, sure, but also website audits and ranking and traffic monitoring. If your budget changes, then you can upgrade to an even better tool.


  • The free tools are suitable for a wide range of SEO uses
  • Easy to use
  • Included keyword research for other search engines (YouTube Amazon Bing)


  • Free data is limited

Pricing: free and paid plans are available

Also read: 9 Ways to Use Machine Learning Algorithms for SEO and Marketing

4. Semrush

Semrush offers a more advanced keyword analysis tool. It provides granular data on current results and SERP features, such as featured snippets, site links, images, etc. Semrush also offers a wide range of keyword tools. These include standard data such as traffic and search volumes, content-driven keyword analysis, and competitor keyword gap analysis.

Semrush offers a wide range of tools, including a standard Keyword Overview tool, the Keyword Magic Tool, for exploratory keyword research. It also includes a Keyword Manager, position tracking, and competitive Keyword Gap analysis. And Organic Traffic Insights can be used in conjunction with Google Analytics and Search Console to uncover the notoriously difficult “not provided” terms.

The SEO Content Template Tool is a bonus that allows you to create a content summary and optimize your content while you are writing. It grades content in real time for readability and originality as well as SEO. A handy bullseye image helps you find the perfect balance. The tool also visually marks off SEO suggestions (like adding your target keywords, related keywords, and relevant images and links) as you write.

This means upgrading is expensive, but you can start using it free for low volume.

Semrush can be used to do more by connecting with Zapier that Keep track of SEO tasks in Semrush, your project management software, automating audits and recrawls on sites, connecting to Google Analytics goals, and more. Here are some examples.


  • Keyword data in granular detail
  • A wide range of keyword research tools
  • A free plan is pretty generous


  • Keyword research can be overwhelming to those who are not experienced.
  • Most expensive upgrade

Pricing: free and paid plans are available

Conclusion — Top Free Keyword Research Tools

In conclusion, free keyword research tools provide valuable insights and assistance in identifying relevant keywords for optimizing online content. While they may have limitations compared to paid tools, they offer a cost-effective option for individuals and small businesses to enhance their SEO strategies.

Written by
Isla Genesis

Isla Genesis is social media manager of The Tech Trend. She did MBA in marketing and leveraging social media. Isla is also a passionate, writing a upcoming book on marketing stats, travel lover and photographer.

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