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Best Keyword Research Tools Compared

In the vast landscape that is the internet, keywords play a crucial role in connecting your website with the customers who need it. Researching which keywords to use can take up your precious time and energy, which is why we spent hours hunting for the best keyword research tool to help you get the job done. With a suite of five excellent keyword research tools and affordable pricing plans, Mangools is our top choice for most users. 

The Best Keyword Research Tool for Most

Mangools logo

Mangools

Best for Most

With five effective research tools, solid data analysis capabilities, and an easy-to-use setup, Mangools is the best keyword research option on the market today. It also won’t drain your bank account!

Mangools has a golden child in its keyword research tool, KWFinder. For each keyword search, you’ll see the keyword difficulty, search volume, and SERP overview—all in a user-friendly layout that doesn’t take weeks to learn. Mangools’ additional tools—SERPChecker, SERPWatcher, LinkMiner, and SiteProfiler—allow you to analyze and track the competition.

Mangools’ pricing plans begin at $29.90 per month, combining powerful keyword research features with affordability. This basic plan lets you look up 100 keywords every day with a list of 200 keyword suggestions for each one, track 200 keywords per day, view 100,000 backlink data rows per month, and profile 20 competitor websites. For $10 more per month, you’ll get three simultaneous logins plus tons more keyword research data for your team to use.

The Best Keyword Research Options to Consider

  1. Mangools – Best for most 
  2. SpyFu – Best for analyzing the competition
  3. AnswerThePublic – Best for generating keyword-based content ideas
  4. Semrush – Best for big marketing teams that need a wealth of data and tools
  5. GetKeywords – Best for local brick-and-mortar businesses 

When it Makes Sense to Invest in a Keyword Research Tool

Whether you’re a lone blogger looking to grow your readership or a Fortune 500 company with thousands of employees and millions of dollars in revenue, you need a keyword research tool in your corner. 

Using Google’s autocomplete predictions and the people also ask section in your search bar to map out keywords is a solid—and free—way to get started. But it lacks the organization and in-depth data that a keyword research tool can offer. 

If you want to see who your competitors are, what keywords they’re using, and how well their page is ranking compared to yours, a keyword research tool is essential.

While we believe that most users can get what they need from Mangools, we recognize that larger companies might get more value out of a keyword research tool that goes deeper into the data behind a keyword. Think keyword intent, global volume, and competitive density.

If you’re a local brick-and-mortar business, on the other hand, you might get great use out of a keyword research tool that focuses on results in your target area.

Brands that struggle to come up with ideas to support a content marketing plan may benefit from a keyword research tool to help come up with relevant topics for blogs, social media posts, and paid ads. 

The bottom line is that no matter what your needs are, there’s a keyword research tool that can help fuel your SEO and PPC keyword strategy.

#1 – Mangools — The Best for Most 

Mangools logo

Mangools

Best for Most

With five effective research tools, solid data analysis capabilities, and an easy-to-use setup, Mangools is the best keyword research option on the market today. It also won’t drain your bank account!

Mangools offers stellar keyword research without a hefty price tag and steep learning curve. With Mangools KWFinder, put a seed keyword into the search box, choose the country and language you prefer, and you’re on your way.

KWFinder curates a list of related keywords, Google autocomplete suggestions, and keyword-relevant questions people ask on Google. 

You’ll also see a mini graph that shows whether the keyword is trending, along with the ever-important CPC, PPC, and keyword difficulty measures. 

Click on any keyword to see a more in-depth profile of the keyword, along with which sites currently rank for it. Mangools makes it easy for you to add keywords to a list and export them to your computer. 

A dashboard image from Mangools that shows data for the keyword, petsitting

And while we adore KWFinder, we can’t overlook the other four tools available in the Mangools SEO suite. 

SERPChecker lets you use keywords to see how well your competitors are ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs)—and how you stack up. With SERPWatcher, set up tracking for your keywords to keep an eye on how they’re performing. 

LinkMiner checks your competitors’ backlinks to help you build similar backlinks for your own content. Mangools uses data from the backlink powerhouse, Majestic, so you can feel confident about the backlink information you’re getting. 

Finally, Mangools’ SiteProfiler gives you a tidy snapshot of how your site—or your competitors’—is performing, complete with the Alexa rank, referring IP addresses, and Facebook shares.

Mangools also offers an SEO browser extension for Chrome and Firefox, a SERP volatility index that keeps an eye on Google’s algorithm updates, and a Google SERP simulator to help you visualize what a page from your website would look like on a SERP.

Whether you’re a big brand or a small one, Mangools helps you build a strong keyword strategy without blowing your budget. There’s no free version of Mangools, but the site does offer a free trial—and you don’t even have to enter credit card information.

Pricing plans include:

1. Basic—$29.90 per month or $358.80 billed annually—100 daily keyword lookups, 200 tracked keywords daily, 20 daily competitor site lookups, and 100,000 rows of backlink data per month

2. Premium—$39.90 per month or $478.80 billed annually—3 simultaneous logins, 500 daily keyword lookups, 700 tracked keywords daily, 70 daily competitor site lookups, and 500,000 rows of backlink data per month

3. Agency—$79.90 per month or $958.80 billed annually—10 simultaneous logins, 1,200 daily keyword lookups, 1,500 tracked keywords daily, 150 competitor site lookups, and 1,200,000 rows of backlink data per month

A Basic plan works fine for a blogger, whereas larger brands will want an Agency plan. Not sure how much keyword research power you’ll need? Start your 10-day free trial to assess your keyword research needs with Mangools today!

#2 – SpyFu — The Best for Analyzing the Competition 

SpyFu logo

SpyFu

Best for Analyzing the Competition

Want to know the keywords your competitors are ranking for? Then you need SpyFu. It’s like a private investigator for SEO and PPC, combing through up to 16 years of keyword and domain history.

Sometimes, brands both big and small need a tool that gets them as close to figuring out their competitors’ SEO secrets as possible. 

That’s where SpyFu comes in. This keyword research tool lets users plug a domain, URL, or keyword into its search box and gain a wealth of information about it. See organic and paid competitors, find out where competitors are getting their inbound links, and build campaigns based on your competitors’ keywords. 

Our favorite thing about SpyFu is its robust historical database, which reaches back 16 years. Users can track a domain’s journey on Google from the beginning to the present, but keep in mind that you only get this feature if you purchase the Pro plan. 

Want to know which keywords a domain has bought on Google Ads? Which ad variations? Which organic ranks it has won and lost? 

SpyFu’s got it all, indexing 7 billion keyword results and 117 million domains to get you the information you need.

We also love SpyFu’s Kombat feature, which compares domains and offers suggestions for the entered domain or keyword based on competitor data. 

An image showing SpyFu’s Kombat mode that compares airbnb.com, vrbo.com, and hometogo.com

SpyFu’s new PPC keyword research tool allows you to find out which keywords you should buy based on how your competitors’ keywords are performing. You can enter your domain to easily filter out keywords you already buy, saving you time and energy. 

So if your SEO and PPC strategy involves choosing keywords based on your competitors’ mistakes and successes, SpyFu is the ideal tool.

Here’s a snapshot of what each pricing tier includes:

1. Basic—$39 a month or $399 billed annually—10,000 rows of search results, six months of historical data, and 5,000 weekly tracked keyword rankings 

2. Pro—$79 a month or $696 billed annually—unlimited search results, 10+ years of historical data, and 15,000 weekly tracked keyword rankings

A Basic plan gives you a feel for SpyFu, but you’ll have to buy the Pro plan to reap the full benefits of this tool. Sign up for SpyFu today to start spying on your biggest rivals. 

#3 – AnswerThePublic — The Best for Generating Keyword-Based Content Ideas

AnswerThePublic

AnswerThePublic

Best for Generating Keyword-Based Content Ideas

Content your audience actually wants to read is a snap with AnswerThePublic, because it’s based on topics from real searches by real people in real time. Plus it makes the research process fun!

A lot of content marketers spend time coming up with content ideas first and relevant keywords second. This strategy has its place, but searching for interesting content ideas based on a popular keyword or topic can help you create content your audience will instantly connect with—because they’re already searching for it on the internet. 

AnswerThePublic is the best tool for this type of keyword research. In a world of sometimes complicated SEO tools, AnswerThePublic is refreshingly easy to use. Just type in a topic, product, or brand and this keyword research tool will spit out a list of questions, comparisons, and prepositions backed by search engine auto-complete data. 

Say you’re a pet information website and you’re struggling to find interesting article topics. You pop dogs into the AnswerThePublic search bar and out comes a list of ideas. 

Will dogs ever be able to speak? How do dogs see humans? Which dogs don’t bark?

These AnswerThePublic results are fertile ground for our hypothetical pet information website. 

An AnswerThePublic search based on dogs

Poking around in the Preposition and Comparison sections is fun, too. You may discover that people want to know if dogs can smell cancer. Or if there are dogs with human eyes. Or what the differences are when you compare dogs vs. wolves

Put simply, AnswerThePublic makes keyword research fun. We could honestly get lost in these fascinating search results all day long. 

With AnswerThePublic, it’s easy to build keyword-rich outlines for blog posts, landing pages, articles, and social media posts. And you can trust that people will actually want to read the content—it’s what they were searching for in the first place. 

You can use AnswerThePublic for free, but the free version comes with a finite number of daily searches. 

AnswerThePublic offers three paid plans:

1. Monthly—$99 a month—unlimited searches for up to three users, five search listening alerts, and CSV export to save your ideas for later

2. Annual—$948 billed yearly, equivalent to $79/month—the benefits are the same as the Monthly tier except that five users can work at the same time

3. Expert—$199/month—unlimited searches, unlimited users, 20 search listening alerts, and CSV exports

The Monthly or Annual plan works well for small to mid-sized businesses, but larger brands with bigger marketing teams will benefit the most from the Expert plan. Try AnswerThePublic for free today!

#4 – Semrush — Best for Big Marketing Teams That Need a Wealth of Data and Tools 

Semrush logo

Semrush

Best for Big Marketing Teams

With over 21 billion keywords in its database—that’s billion with a B—50+ SEO tools, and six keyword research tools, Semrush is the ideal option for businesses that want to go all-out on their keyword research.

Semrush is pricey, and it’s got more tools than some people will ever need. But with a database of over 21 billion keywords and 808 million domains, it’s a keyword research beast.

We could spend an entire article—or five—exploring the 55+ SEO and PPC tools that Semrush offers. 

So we’ll focus on the keyword research tools you get with Semrush. There are six of them. Yes, six. 

The Keyword Magic tool lets you enter a seed keyword and search through thousands of combinations. Keyword Gap profiles up to five sites at a time, including yours, to help you figure out which keywords your competitors are ranking for so you can go for them, too. 

The Semrush KeywordGap tool showing results for five athleticwear companies

Keyword Overview gets at the heart of what larger brands needs, offering an unmatched variety of metrics. For each keyword you enter into the Keyword Overview tool, you get:

  • Keyword volume
  • Keyword difficulty
  • CPC
  • Competitive density
  • Global volume
  • Intent
  • Result on SERP
  • Top product listing ads
  • Top ads
  • Keyword variations
  • Keyword questions
  • SERP analysis

It’s a lot of information. And it’s exactly what some of the biggest brands with the most sophisticated marketing strategies need.

Dashboard image of Semrush’s Keyword Overview tool

Keyword Overview even allows you to search and compare up to 100 keywords at a time. 

Semrush’s Organic Research tool analyzes competitor sites so that you can learn from their SEO strategies. The Keyword Manager tool helps you organize your keyword research and share it with your team. And finally, the Organic Traffic Insights tool uncovers hidden keywords from Google Analytics. 

Remember, these tools only cover keyword research with Semrush, and you can’t purchase the keyword research tools on their own—you have to get all of Semrush along with it. SERP tracking tools. Backlink analysis tools. Content optimization tools. Social media management tools. 

If you want a one-stop SEO and PPC strategy shop backed by a boatload of data and metrics that other keyword research tools don’t provide, then Semrush is for you. 

Here’s a snapshot of what the paid plans include:

1. Pro—$119.95 per month or $99.95 a month billed annually—get five projects, 500 tracked keywords, and 250 monthly keyword metrics updates

2. Guru—$229.95 per month or $191.62 a month billed annually—15 projects, 1,500 tracked keywords, historical data, and 1,000 monthly keyword metrics updates

3. Business—$449.95 a month or $375.95 a month billed annually—40 projects, 5,000 tracked keywords, historical data, and 5,000 monthly keyword metrics updates

One downside of Semrush is that on each pricing plan, you must pay an additional monthly fee per user. This can get pricey, but for brands with big budgets, it’s worth it. 

Semrush offers a seven-day free trial, so you can check out its features risk-free and see if it’s a fit for you and your team. 

#5 – GetKeywords — Best for Local Brick-and-Mortar Businesses 

GetKeywords logo

GetKeywords

Best for Local Brick-and-Mortar Businesses

If attracting customers in your city is your primary goal, GetKeywords is the tool for you. It does everything a good keyword research tool should do—only scaled down to local markets.

Now more than ever, there are thousands of ecommerce brands that operate fully online. But what about local businesses? GetKeywords is a keyword research tool that understands the unique needs that brick-and-mortar brands have. 

What we like about GetKeywords is that it pays attention to city-level SEO needs. Filter your location to the city you do business in—or the state or country, if that suits you better—and see if people in your area are searching that keyword. 

A GetKeywords search result page for pet sitter in Anchorage, Alaska

You’ll see related keywords, top questions, search trends reaching four years back, top advertisers, and top locations in and around your chosen area. 

As with other keyword research tools, you’ll also get key metrics: keyword difficulty, search volume, PPC, and CPC. GetKeywords even shows you how many people are searching via mobile phone vs. desktop. 

While the most in-depth, locally relevant data comes from Google, users can also search keywords in Amazon’s database. 

All of the information GetKeywords serves up is presented in a visually pleasing, user-friendly dashboard. 

Pricing is simple:

1. Startup—$39 per month or $24 a month billed annually—search 25 keywords a day with city-level data and do 50 daily SERP searches with trend analysis

2. Growth—$49 per month or $29 a month billed annually—search 100 keywords a day with city-level data and do 200 daily SERP searches with trend analysis

3. Executive—$69 per month or $39 a month billed annually—search 500 keywords a day with city-level data and do 1,000 daily SERP searches with trend analysis 

GetKeywords offers a 7-day free trial for each of its plans. Whether you’re a small or large local business, you can benefit from the insightful, locally relevant data GetKeywords has to offer. 

Methodology for Choosing the Best Keyword Research Tool

Let’s face it: choosing a keyword research tool sounds simple, but it can be exhausting. How can you choose which one is right for you? 

We’ve narrowed down several criteria to consider before you make your final decision. 

Low Learning Curve 

Most of us don’t have time to spend hours watching YouTube videos and reading guides that teach us how to use keyword research tools. We need to grow our business quickly, get started as soon as possible, and learn as we go. 

That’s why we love Mangools. It’s easy to learn how to use each of its five core tools, and it’s user-friendly to boot. 

AnswerThePublic, GetKeywords, and SpyFu are also quite user-friendly. Even better, each of these tools has an intuitive interface that helps make the data digestible and actionable. 

Semrush has a steeper learning curve but is invaluable for those big brands that need a more sophisticated set of tools—so we’ll forgive the extra work it takes to learn how to squeeze every ounce of usefulness out of that platform. 

Scope of Database 

Another important part of picking the right keyword is the database a research tool is pulling from. How big is it—is it Semrush big, with 21 billion keywords and 808 million domains? Do you need it to be that large, or is a smaller option, like SpyFu’s 7 billion keywords and 117 million domains, enough? 

Not every keyword research tool provides complete information on the scope and size of its database. Mangools, for example, pulls from Majestic, which has a backlink database pulled from 8 trillion URLs, and Moz, which offers 500 million keyword suggestions. 

You can also ask yourself how far back you want a database to go—16 years, like SpyFu, or four years, like GetKeywords? 

When you’re starting out, tools with smaller databases that go back fewer years will work just fine. But if you plan to scale and become as large as possible, you may need a more extensive database to keep up with—and ahead of—the competition. 

Focus of the Tool 

Each of the keyword research tools we picked provides similar data but plays to a different strength. Think about your team’s strategy. Do you want a budget-friendly tool that excels at keyword research but also comes with a compelling SEO suite? That’s where Mangools shines. 

Or, do you need a tool that’s focused on local searches, like GetKeywords? 

If your SEO strategy strongly centers around figuring out what your competitors are doing and working to do it better, SpyFu literally has reconnaissance vibes in its name and logo. It’s your best bet. 

For a strategy that focuses on creating stellar content that’s highly relevant to the customer, AnswerThePublic may be the only tool needed. 

In short, a tool that aligns with your team’s central marketing strategy is the most likely to give you the biggest bang for your buck. 

Mangools logo

Mangools

Best for Most

With five effective research tools, solid data analysis capabilities, and an easy-to-use setup, Mangools is the best keyword research option on the market today. It also won’t drain your bank account!

Summary 

What’s the best keyword research tool for bloggers, microbusiness owners, and medium-to-large brands? 

Mangools is our top recommendation for most users. It has all the features you need and more, it’s easy to use, and it’s affordable.  

Still, there are other amazing options to consider. We recommend using the methodology in this guide to find the best keyword research tool for you. 


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