When you’re doing your online marketing, you want to do your keyword research properly.
Most businesses (including us) use the Google Keyword Planner. But as you’ve probably heard, if you have a “lower monthly spend” on AdWords, you’re out of luck. Your data is not going to be accurate. And it’s crucial to businesses to know what kind of keywords their customers are looking for.
Google claims to be targeting bots and services that abuse their Keyword Planner. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help you if you don’t spend a ton of money on AdWords.
At the end of the day, Google is a company and they make their billions off of AdWords. Their keyword research tools are meant to help them with that goal. You can’t blame them for taking away their free tool if it doesn’t make business sense.
So what can you do?
Keyword Planner Alternatives
Luckily, Google isn’t the only keyword tool out there anymore. Let’s first go through some free and paid alternatives you can use:
Ubersuggest (FREE). Ubersuggest is a free tool that generates keyword ideas based on whatever you put in. It is driven by Google Instant results. An amazing feature that brings almost all the functionality from the Keyword Planner is the Keyword Keg extension for Chrome/Firefox. You’ll get the search volume and CPC for free!
KWFinder (FREEMIUM). KWFinder is a freemium tool that allows you to generate keyword ideas. But there is a limit on how many searches you can do in 24 hours. If it’s just your company, and you only have one blog to worry about, this is another fantastic option.
Long Tail Pro (PAID). LTP is a tool that is also popular among SEO’s. It’s generally accepted as a great tool, but the user interface is a bit harder to use and slow. They have a great $1 trial, so you could just do your research during that trial.
Other big names in the market include SECockpit and Market Samurai. But they are tools that are a bit older. If you already have access, they do the job, but I’d recommend using one of the tools above if you were to choose.
Two other great options are Ahrefs and SEMRush. Both are much more than just keyword tools. They can give you invaluable data on backlinks, content and competitors, since they are full-fledged SEO tools. You do have to pay much more for the privilege. These are the tools that we use in-house for our marketing.
(The guys over at Authority Hacker have an amazing deep dive into the best keyword research tools, if you’d like to read more.)
Other Ways To Do Keyword Research (That Are All Free!)
The main limitation of keyword research tools is your imagination. If you’re just entering in keywords like “business lawyer”, you’ll find keywords about that keyword exclusively.
We use a combination of looking up keyword ideas and reverse engineering the competitors in the space. That way you can get a good list of keywords that covers your bases. Here are some other tools that can help you with that.
Answer the Public. This is a tool that’s very similar to Ubersuggest. But instead of showing you a bunch of keywords based on Google Instant Results, it generates keywords that are based on common questions. This is great for content ideas, answering questions that your audience might have.
Looking through products on the websites of major retail companies. Especially if you’re selling physical goods. You can find a lot of products/categories that will reflect good keywords that you never would have thought of. We usually start with Amazon.
Research your niche on Reddit and ClickBank. Reddit is the “front page of the internet”. Whenever we’re trying to learn about any niche, that’s the first place we go. ClickBank is another great way to find keywords in your niche, due to their informational products.
Use Google! You know that Google often has an autofill feature when you’re searching, right? And at the bottom of the Google results, they give you a bunch of related ideas that you can use.
As painful as it is that Google is limiting access to its Keyword Planner Tool, it’s not the end of the world. There are other tools that can make up for it, and there are other strategies you can use to do your research as well.
If you’re not looking to do SEO by yourself and just looking to do some light research, we recommend using Ubersuggest and Keyword Keg together.
If you’re looking to do SEO in depth, we highly recommend using a paid tool like Ahrefs.