Free Keyword Research Tool: (AI-Powered) SEO Keyword Research & Ideas

Researching the best keyword ideas for your blog? This free keyword research tool will help you find blog ideas, identify low competition keywords, find monthly search volume, see the ranking difficulty, and much more! Simply type your keywords below to get started.

Examples: California Hikes iPhone Apps Email Marketing Tools

Rank Faster in Search Engines with this Free Keyword Tool (to Get More SEO Traffic)

Like it or not, if you want to start a blog and get traffic from search engines (like Google & Bing), you’ll need to research the right keywords to try and rank for. The best keyword ideas for most bloggers will have medium search volume and low keyword difficulty. That’s exactly why I wanted to build this free keyword research tool. To show you those keyword suggestions (with metrics) for free with just a quick keyword search.

How to Choose Which Keywords to Write About (Diagram) Full Size Blue
The best keywords most often live at the intersection of low competition & medium search volume.

Here’s why: If you start out by competing right away with entrenched websites who’ve been covering similar keywords for over a decade & working on their SEO, it’s highly unlikely your blog posts will outrank theirs. They’ve been doing it for much longer and likely have a lot of resources fueling their business.

Of course, your blog content must not only be well-optimized for on-page SEO, but you’ll also have to invest time & effort into promoting your content in ways that’ll attract backlinks, build the authority and trustworthiness of your website in the eyes of search engines like Google. More on that later ๐Ÿ˜Š

What is a Keyword Research Tool?

A keyword research tool is a tool that helps you identify the right topics & opportunities you should write about, by analyzing keywords for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. It’s the backbone of a proper keyword research process.

This free keyword research tool functions by typing in a main keyword or phrase, then it generates a list of related keywords and their search volumes, competition levels and (soon) a rankability score. This data will help you identify the most effective keywords to use in your content & guide in optimizing your blog posts for search engines. Use the list of keywords to see how much estimated organic traffic you can expect to generate from relevant Google searches on the topics you plug into the tool.

Example of Using a Free Keyword Tool (Search Results with Monthly Search Volume and Difficulty Score)
Example of a search for “California Hikes” using my free keyword tool.

The best keyword research tools will show you these kinds of metrics:

  • Estimated Monthly Search Volume: Estimated monthly search volume is a metric that shows the approximate number of times a keyword or phrase is searched for on a search engine per month. This is useful for identifying the popularity and potential traffic of a keyword and determining its competitiveness.
  • Keyword Difficulty: How difficult will it be to rank on the first page of Google search results for this keyword? This is useful for identifying the feasibility and potential success of ranking for a keyword in search engine results.
  • CPC (Cost-Per-Click): Cost per click is a pricing model used in online advertising like Google AdSense, where the advertiser pays each time a searcher clicks on an ad (called PPC from the advertiser’s perspective). This pricing model is used on Google’s search engine results pages and the CPC for a particular ad is determined by factors like the keywords, targeting, & competition. Advertisers can use CPC data to determine the potential cost and return on investment of their ads over time.
  • Country-Specific Results: Search volume and difficulty for just about every keyword phrase will vary by country (where the searcher is located). By default, all results from a search with this keyword tool will show US (United States) monthly search volume and keyword difficulty. However, there’s a dropdown menu near the search bar, where you can select to see country-level data for any nation in the world, to help with your local SEO strategy.

The free keyword research tool we’ve built is designed to not only show you exactly how much estimated monthly search volume there is for a particular keyword, keyword phrase or topicโ€”but to also show you how difficult it’ll be to rank on the first search engine results page (SERP) for that keyword. You can see these data points for any country in the world. After feedback from my readers, we decided to hide the CPC metrics that show you cost-per-click to run Google ads and be competitive in top placements for these keywordsโ€”mostly because bloggers don’t really care about CPC.

How to Optimize Your Blog Posts for Google Search (SEO) with this Keyword Planner

Now that we’ve covered the basics of keyword research & what this keyword planner tool can help you accomplish, let’s dive into the exact strategies that’ll help optimize your blog content to rank for new keywords & rank higher in organic search queries today.

1. Do Keyword Research to Be Sure You’re Pursuing the Best Keywords

The best keywords to pursue for your blog (especially if you’re relatively early on in your blogging journey), are going to be as close to the intersection of medium to high search volume and low keyword difficulty.

The Best Keywords to Rank for SEO Traffic (Keyword Tool Example Diagram Overlap)
The best keywords to rank for live at the intersection of medium volume & low competition.

As a professional blogger of more than a decade, I’ll be the first to tell you that finding the right keywords that fit in that often narrow gap of medium search volume and low competition, can be a bit of a challenge. This means that many of the best keywords you’ll pursue are going to be what’s considered long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords are great, because there are almost always a significantly lower number of search results on a particular SERP (Search Engine Results Page). If you’ve done your homework and have a blog strategyโ€”or content strategyโ€”that you’re executing on to grow your content marketing ROI, then keyword data is going to be incredibly important for you to keep an eye on.

2. Look for Medium Search Volume & Low-Competition Keyword Ideas

The real usefulness of a keyword tool, is in showing you the right keyword phrases to target for your blog content. Sure, it makes sense to pursue the most popular blog post ideas millions (even billions) of people search for answers about, but unless your blog is very well-established & highly authoritative, it’s going to take years of dedicated effort promoting that content in order to see the organic search traffic you’re hoping for.

Very High Competition Keyword Phrases (Difficulty Level Very High) Keyword Tool Example Optimized
Very High competition keyword phrases are extremely difficult to rank for (they take time + many links)

My blogging philosophy is all about balance. Yes, plant those seeds for longer-term traffic growth on extremely competitive phrases in your blog’s niche, but don’t have the expectation that they’ll rank high in Google search in the short-term.

Focus most of your time on pursuing keyword phrases at the intersection of medium search volume and low competition wherever possible. That’s the sweet spot for actually getting traffic quickly. Because if you want to build momentum (and motivation), you need real people visiting your blog soon. You won’t ever get to a place of being able to compete with entrenched websites who’ve been in your niche for 10+ years, until you lay the foundation for early traffic growth with realistic keywords you can rank for soon.

Here are the traffic ranges we (usually) use to define low, medium, high and very high search volume with my free keyword tool:

  • Low Search Volume: 0 to 1,000 monthly searches
  • Medium Search Volume: 1,000 to 5,000 monthly searches
  • High Search Volume: 5,000 to 10,000 monthly searches
  • Very High Search Volume: 10,000+ monthly searches

Understand where your blog is at in the grand scheme of its developmentโ€”if you’re relatively new or in the middle of your journey, the majority of your organic search traffic will come from these low & medium search volume keywords. Invest in your blog’s future with more competitive (higher volume) keywords, but know that it’ll take monthsโ€”or in most cases, years, to start ranking for High & Very High competition keyword phrases.

3. Evaluate the Metrics to Find Relevant Keywords

When you type in a search term with this free keyword tool, you’ll immediately see dozens of related keywords and recommendations for other keywords you should consider writing about.

Example of Keyword Research Using ryrob Keyword Tool (Sales CRM)
Example search for “Sales CRM” in this free keyword tool showing list of related keywords.

The best keyword research tool is more than just another part of your SEO tool stack. It’s the foundation of making sure you’re blogging about the right keyword ideas in the first place. Taking the example above of a search for “Sales CRM,” an extremely competitive keyword phrase, you’re instantly shown dozens of options for related keyword phrasesโ€”many of which are less competitive than just these top results.

Search Volume: Number of Monthly Google Searches for a Keyword

As we touched on above, the Search Volume metric in this free keyword tool displays the number of estimated monthly searches on Google for the corresponding keyword phrase. It’s your proxy for how popular a given keyword phrase is (or not).

Keyword Difficulty: How Hard it Will Be to Rank for this Keyword

Keyword Difficulty gives you an estimate of how challenging it’ll be to rank for the corresponding keyword phrase. With this free keyword research tool, you’ll be presented keywords with these difficulty scores:

  • Low: Most blogs (even relatively new sites) should be able to quickly compete on this keyword phrase
  • Medium: Well-established blogs will compete quickly on these keywords, but newer blogs will need to put a meaningful amount of effort into promoting their content & naturally building backlinks with strategies like guest blogging & writing for publications to increase your organic search rankings.
  • High: This should be your stretch goal level of difficulty to aim at ranking for within the next 6 to 12 months if you’re investing a lot of time and effort into growing your blog. It’ll be a challenge to rank for these terms, no doubt. But if you’re consistently promoting your blog content for months, you can expect to see some movement and first page of organic Google search result rankings on high difficulty terms, depending upon your how authoritative your blog is in the eyes of search engines.
  • Very High: There’s no way around it, you’ll be competing with extremely well-established websites & businesses that have a vested interest in defending their search rankings for these keywords. Often, you’ll be going up against companies that generate millions (or billions) in annual revenue. It’s not impossible to rank for very high difficulty keyword phrasesโ€”my blog ranks for many of themโ€”but it’ll take A LOT of time, effort and high quality backlinks from very high authority websites in order to get there. Think years of investing time, effort and resources.

In most cases, the difficulty level can be boiled down to how many backlinks your blog post can attract from other authoritative blogs, website & publications. One of the primary ways Google’s search algorithm determines which content pieces should rank at the top of search results, is authority. And authority is largely defined by the number and quality of links your content has from other authoritative (trustworthy) websites.

Country: How Does Your Local SEO Competition Stack Up?

We built this keyword research tool to showcase country-specific monthly search volume & keyword difficulty, because not everyone is based in the United Statesโ€”or targeting readers based in the country.

Country Selection Dropdown Option for Country-Specific Keyword Tool (Monthly Search Volume)
Use the flag dropdown menu to select which country you’d like to see search data for.

For that (obvious) reason, there’s a handy dropdown menu near the search bar that allows you to select & filter your keyword data for any country in the world. By default, our keyword tool shows search data for the United States (US), but you’re always just one click away from seeing results for search activity in any other nation.

Bonus: Use My Free SEO Checklist Alongside this Keyword Planner Tool

Once you’ve used my keyword research tool to decide what to cover for your blog, you’ll need to actually to write the blog post. Then, it’s time to optimize your articles for maximum organic search ranking ability (also known as search engine optimization, or blog SEO).

Here’s my step-by-step SEO checklist to use before hitting publish on a new blog post:

  1. Be sure to install and use the Yoast plugin for WordPress
  2. Double check youโ€™re writing about a useful keyword phrase for your readers
  3. Optimize your headers to encourage rich snippets and quicker indexing
  4. Make sure you only have an H1 header once (your post title at the top)
  5. Follow proper header hierarchy (H2 sub-header sections with H3 subtopics within)
  6. Use your primary keyword phrase naturally in-text (keyword density)
  7. Include a healthy mix of internal and external links (at least 3-5 external links)
  8. Write an enticing, keyword-rich meta description thatโ€™ll attract readers
  9. Use image alt descriptions to your advantage (with keyword rich descriptions)
  10. Decide on an appropriate length for your blog post (usually at least 1,500+ words)
  11. Write an SEO (meta) title thatโ€™s designed to rank (use my blog title generator tool)
  12. Place your keywords in the slug / URL / permalink (see my permalinks guide)

Incorporating these foundational SEO best practices into your writing process will help immensely when it comes to optimizing your content & ranking high in Google search over time. And the more you apply these strategies to long-tail keywords, the quicker you’ll see more traffic from relevant keywords in your niche.

The Features of This Free Keyword Tool for Bloggers

We’ve explored a lot already, but let’s quickly touch on the features of my free keyword tool.

Keyword Explorer (Estimated Search Volume)

The purpose of the Explorer tab of this free keyword research tool (the default tab you’ll land on) is to show you the two most important SEO metrics when deciding which keywords to pursue in your blog content strategy:

  • Monthly Search Volume
  • Keyword Difficulty

With these two metrics, you can make an informed decision about which keyword phrases to pursue for your blog. As we’ve covered, I always recommend a strategy of focusing primarily on medium search volume and low competition keywordsโ€”with a smaller proportion of more competitive terms that offer longer-term traffic value as your blog grows & becomes more authoritative.

Keyword Ideas (Suggested Blog Topics & Ideas)

Rather than just typing in popular keywords and hoping to compete against a sea of well-established sites, we built this keyword generator to show you less competitive keywords to write aboutโ€”while still giving you the opportunity to generate meaningful organic traffic.

Keyword Ideas Tab (Screenshot of Free Keyword Research Tool) Business Ideas Search
Keyword Ideas Feature: Example of a search for “business ideas.”

In the future, we’re hoping to add features like autocomplete keyword suggestions, incorporate YouTube keywords & Amazon keywords, csv keyword list download functionality, provide click-through rate (CTR) estimates for top-ranking content & a way to show you a rankability score that quantifies how likely your site will be to rank for each particular keyword phrase. I recommend you always double check this data with Google Search Console once your blog content starts to rank & get traffic, to make sure you’re optimizing for the right search terms.

Keyword Tool FAQs & SEO Tips

Here are just a few of the most frequently asked questions I get from readers (on social media, in my blogging courses and in the comments across my blog) when it comes to doing keyword research, using this keyword tool & how to optimize content for organic search.

Is this a Good Answer the Public Alternative Keyword Tool?

Yes, absolutely. We built this free keyword tool, in part, to be a great alternative to Answer the Publicโ€”a longtime free keyword research tool that recently changed ownership and now limits searches dramatically. This Answer the Public alternative has no search limits and provides you with not only valuable insights like monthly search volume & a difficulty score, but we take it a step further by offering you dozens of free blog topic ideas for inspiration on how to best approach a particular keyword (just click on the light bulb icon next to your keyword of choice).

While this keyword research tool is designed to be great for beginners to get actionable insights & ideas, it shouldn’t be directly compared to in-depth (paid) SEO tools like the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, Moz Keyword Explorer and SEMRush. There will also always be a robust free version of this toolโ€”which almost no company offers. We don’t (yet) have a Google Chrome extension either, but that’s a feature request we’re considering, to help make sure this stays one of the best free keyword research tools.

How do I Interpret the Keyword Metrics in this Tool?

The Monthly Search Volume metric gives you an estimate of how many people search this exact seed keyword phrase in Google search each month. While the estimates aren’t perfect for all specific keywords, this free keyword tool uses a technology (API) that connects to a Google search insights product. The Difficulty rating functions on a scale from Low to Medium, High and Very High, which denotes just how challenging it’ll be for your blog to rank on the first page of organic Google search results for the particular keyword phrase.

Why do the Best Free Keyword Research Tools Have So Many Limits?

The short answer is that these keyword tools cost money to operate. My free keyword generator is 100% free without restrictions or limits to readers of my blog today, because it isn’t yet being used by millions of people every day.

There may come a day in the future when this free keyword research tool is so popular that I’ll need to either charge for usage beyond a certain number of keywords searched each dayโ€”or offer paid plans with additional features to help make this tool more valuable to a wider audience. Costs for running this tool include things like the API for the database & software that analyzes Google’s billions of search queries, then synthesizes all that data into actionable insights you can hit the ground running with.

Google Keyword Planner is another 100% free to use keyword research tool worth considering, and you don’t have to spend any budget in Google AdWords campaigns in order access it either. You just need a Google accountโ€”like with Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

How is this Free Keyword Research Tool Different than Google Keyword Planner?

I’m a little biased, but I’d like to think this keyword tool we’ve built, presents digestible information to you in a way that strips out unnecessary metrics (that very few people care about and aren’t necessary to creating top-ranking blog content). Google Trends is another Google product that can present directionally useful data to fuel your keyword research, but I like to think our tool packages that information in a more actionable format.

We’ve also connected the keyword research process to a blog idea generation feature with the “Ideas” tab of this tool, so that you can quickly click on a keyword phrase that looks interesting, and get hundreds of ideas & ways to write about that particular topic. I wanted to build this tool to function the way I think about keyword researchโ€”remove the b.s. and focus on what matters most: creating useful content for your (future) audience.

Does this Keyword Tool Take Search Trends into Account?

Yes, we’ve built this free keyword tool to use an API that tracks up-to-date data on how many searches are being done for a particular keyword phrase at a given time.

So if you search for “board games for kids” today and see that it has 1,300 in estimated monthly search volume, you could come back during the holiday season and see that this search query all of a sudden has 20,000+ monthly searches happening because the Christmas season is right around the corner. Consider the searches you do here as up-to-date.

If your blog is already established and you’ve been seeing traffic & results from your digital marketing efforts, be sure to double check the keyword data here and compare it with what you’re seeing in your Google Search Console dashboard. Estimates here can vary from real world results.

Should I Look at United States (US) Keyword Data or Focus on My Country?

There’s no definitive answer on this oneโ€”it’s a personal choice based on your overall blog strategy. If you want to attract the (most often) largest possible audience on broadly understood topics, then use this keyword research tool on its default settings, which will show you search data for the United States.

If on the other hand, you’re pursuing a strategy that involves speaking to a more country-specific or localized audience of readers, then you should definitely filter the search data to see results for your own country. For example, if you’re hoping to attract a local audience that’s interested in fun things to do in your areaโ€”without concern for tourismโ€”then filtering down to your country-level search data will give you the most accurate picture of which topics are most searched by the people around you.

Can I Use this Tool for Youtube Keyword Research?

Right now, the data this keyword tool uses is based on Google search results. We’re working on adding a tab that offers a YouTube-specific data set to factor into your video keyword research, so stay tuned soon.

Can I Use this Tool for Amazon Keyword Research?

Right now, the data this free keyword tool uses is based on Google search results. We’re working on adding a tab that offers an Amazon-specific data set to factor into your eCommerce-focused keyword research, so stay tuned soon.

Tool built by the incredibly talented @Sup.