Practical Ecommerce

SEO: 8 Free Tools to Find New Keywords

Discovering new and more valuable keywords can be one of the hardest parts of optimizing your content for search engines.

To some extent, your site is probably optimized today based on how your business and your industry thinks about the products you sell. Invariably, customers search for your products differently, and breaking out of your current mindset to identify the keywords real customers use can be challenging.

In “SEO 101, Part 3: Keyword Research Planning,” I detailed the basics of keyword research. The list of tools in this article will break you out of your keyword rut, making it easier to identify and plan lists of keywords to research.

Keyword Suggest Tools

The suggest-type of keyword tools literally scrapes the related searches that Google, Bing, YouTube, and other search engines provide to help searchers find what they seek.

1. Übersuggest. This clever tool scrapes Google Suggest for the keyword ideas that Google shows to its searchers. The image below illustrates a search in progress for “shoes for m.”

Google Suggest results for "shoes for m".

Google Suggest results for “shoes for m”.

Each new letter the searcher types in changes the words shown in Google Suggest. Übersuggest scrapes all of the suggestions Google Suggest offers up for any keyword you enter. Typically the resulting list contains over 100 keyword phrases. Some of them won’t be relevant to your product offering, but you’ll have plenty of new keyword suggestions to feed into your keyword research tool.

2. Keyword Tool IO and SERPs Keyword Tool do much the same thing as Übersuggest, but also offer suggestions for YouTube, Bing, and a couple of others.

3. SEOChat Suggestion Keyword Finder. SEOChat builds on the suggest-type keyword tools by running the suggested keywords themselves through the keyword suggestion tool twice more. The result is a larger and deeper set of keywords gathered from Google Suggest.

Stalking Competitors’ Keywords

The previous suggest-type of keyword tools relies on you to input a keyword to start the process to find more keywords. This can lead to a process of discovering more of the same keywords that you already use. To break out of the rut more thoroughly, try researching competitors’ keywords straight from their pages.

4. Google AdWords Keyword Planner. You’re likely already using the Keyword Planner for your search marketing keyword research, but did you know you can use it to determine the keywords your competitors are using on their pages?

In “SEO 101, Part 5: Google Keyword Planner,” I detailed the basics of using the keyword tool to input individual keywords. An alternate way to use it to find keywords is to paste a URL into the “Your landing page” field and click “Get ideas” as shown below.

In Google Keyword Planner, enter any URL — including a competitor's — in the "your landing page" field, for keyword ideas.

In Google Keyword Planner, enter any URL — including a competitor’s — in the “your landing page” field, for keyword ideas.

That URL can be yours or a competitor’s or any URL you like. The resulting page of keywords shows up to 800 phrases that appear on the page URL you entered and the phrase’s average monthly search volume, as shown below.

Keyword ideas for the URL "shop.nordstrom.com/c/womens-shoes-shop" from Google Keyword Planner.

Keyword ideas for the URL “shop.nordstrom.com/c/womens-shoes-shop” from Google Keyword Planner.

5. Link Sleuth. Technically not a keyword research tool, this free website crawler will identify HTML and server-level data for almost every page on almost any site. In particular, Link Sleuth will provide you with a list of the title tags, meta descriptions, headings and meta keywords for any public (not password-protected) site you want. With some analysis work, this mass of data can reveal the keywords that your competitor is targeting across its site. Start with the meta keywords column because, if they’re being used, they will identify the exact keywords the site is targeting. Because more effort is required, this tool is more of a last resort when all your other keyword analysis efforts have failed to produce satisfactory results.

Note, however, that Link Sleuth is a homegrown tool that hasn’t been packaged with a shiny marketing wrapper, like the other tools listed here. Because it’s a personal site rather than a professional one, Link Sleuth contains some strongly held beliefs that do not reflect my views or the views of Practical Ecommerce.

6. Screaming Frog SEO Spider has more features and is developed professionally by an SEO company in the U.K., but the free version is limited to crawling 500 URLs. That may be enough for your uses, but not if you’re planning to identify keywords or other information on large ecommerce sites.

Database Keyword Tools

Keyword tools fall into several different types. The first relies on you to enter a keyword you’re interested in, after which the tool queries its own database for keywords it considers relevant. These tools are not typically tied to a search engine’s search data.

7. WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool. Claiming a trillion keywords in its database, WordStream looks within to find other related keywords and their monthly search volumes. WordStream also hosts Niche Finder, which shows keyword suggestions for more profitable niches related to any keyword you enter. Offering 30 free keyword suggestions, this tool is more of a trial than a free tool. In fact, it’s really a tool to entice you to sign up for a free trial of their full toolset. But it’s a good way to get the ball rolling for free.

8. Trellian Keyword Discovery. Another tool that searches its own database for keyword suggestions, Trellian returns related keywords and the number of times it is searched for per month according to its own database of users. I wouldn’t recommend using this as your keyword research data. Instead, use it as a source for keyword ideas to enter into the Google Keyword Planner.

Jill Kocher
Jill Kocher
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Comments ( 16 )

  1. Aly Ahmed January 18, 2015 Reply

    Absolutely good article written by you. Literally, I was looking for few good tools to come up with good keywords selection.

    After searching a bit, I found your article on the internet and I have no worries from now on about the tools to use. Keep up the good work Jill Kocher.

    P.S. I don’t know that you would help me out in this or not but please check my blog to see how much good content do I have and which strategies can I practice to get more grip on blogging? Looking forward to have a reply from you.

    Thanks

  2. Ahmed Ezat January 18, 2015 Reply

    Thanks for sharing Jill, I’d like to add another great tool which is WebCEO, that generates keywords data directly from Google with KEIs too and competitors keywords research .

    Best Regards
    Ahmed Ezat
    Founder of http://www.controlrank.com

  3. Phil Mark January 19, 2015 Reply

    Nice Tips Jill. For Keyword suggestion, I use sg.serpstat.com which offers the “questions only” option for more relevant title creation.

  4. Austin January 19, 2015 Reply

    Thanks so much for this one Jill. Very insightful

  5. Nirmal Mali January 20, 2015 Reply

    Hi Jill, Thanks for this wonderful writeup. I am actually busy in researching keyword for my clients website. Your article has given me few good ideas about the keyword tools and its usage. Hope this will help me a lot.

    Thanks again Jill. Great Day Ahead.

  6. Bernice Sadler January 20, 2015 Reply

    Great article. I haven’t used keyword planner with landing page thing yet, i think that would be worth trying it.

    I have also used an SEO spider (https://www.eebew.com/spider/user-guide/keyword-intelligence-mode/) that is excellent in crawling competitors’ keywords but, just like others, it is also limited, for 200 URLs only. I think they are new in market, i just read their post about keywords intelligence. That was really awesome. Recommended for your free list.

  7. John Dougherty January 24, 2015 Reply

    Well done Jill – and thanks. I have what is probably a very simple problem: sometimes after pasting ubersuggest.org results into Keyword Planner the download button does not appear on the Keyword Ideas tab of the results.
    I am pasting less than 200 actual words at a time. Are there any characters I need to filter out?

    • John Dougherty January 24, 2015 Reply

      Answering my own question: I encountered a dialog suggesting maybe I was overusing the resource, http://goo.gl/moGGdB “It seems like you already have a lot of keyword ideas. Did you mean to look up search volume and other stats for these terms, instead? Or would you like to look for more?” The first time I selected “Get ideas” still no download button; so I tried “Get search volume” and voila! It returned the Keyword ideas with the Download button, plus an error message, “Keywords cannot contain non-standard characters like: ! @ % , * along with the line # and offending keyword therein. I think maybe the download button just comes and goes regardless of data quality, maybe toggled by the server load? I dunno.

  8. Barbara McKinney January 26, 2015 Reply

    SEO keywords are the key words in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site via search engines.You need to know how people are looking for the products, services or information that you offer, in order to make it easy for them to find you. Implementing keyword SEO will help your site rank above your competitors.

    • Austin January 26, 2015 Reply

      Nice one Barbara. Absolutely agree with you. Funny enough, most of us have lost sight of this basic definition of the word “keywords”

  9. Gracious Store January 27, 2015 Reply

    Thanks for these keywords tips! The results of keywords from these tools how are they different from the keyword results from Google keyword planning tools?

  10. lutfar August 7, 2015 Reply

    Thanks jill, I am a newbie blogger and learning SEO. Just trying to get few strategys for Google new keywords! Here i have found few important tools for seo ! thanks again . my blog http://topseomarketingplan.com/

  11. inna August 20, 2015 Reply

    Thanks for sharing Jill, I’d like to add another great tool which is WebCEO, that generates keywords data directly from Google with KEIs too and competitors keywords research .
    http://www.socialposter.org

  12. Andy November 15, 2015 Reply

    Hi Jill, here is another great tool to find Keywords http://www.onlinevalue.com/

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