The 10 Best Keyword Research Tools

The 10 Best Keyword Research Tools

You should already be aware that thorough keyword research is important for a good performance in Google. But which keyword research tool gives you the best results to improve your ranking? If you’re wondering that now, you’ve come to the right place. I have tested the ten most popular keyword tools on the market and summarized my experiences for you in this article.

Keyword research is the first and one of the most important steps in search engine optimization. (SEO) It tells you which search terms your target group frequently enters in search engines like Google. This tells you which topics they are interested in and which terms they use. You need this knowledge to formulate your texts attractively for visitors and search engines so that your texts are found and read.

The best keyword research tool

Of course, you can manually try out which keywords get a lot of Google search results, but is that really efficient? Keyword research tools make keyword research easier for you by analyzing indexed content – huge amounts of data – and suggesting similar and related keywords for your focus keywords within seconds. They show you key KPIs such as search volume and click costs (CPCs) for each keyword, allowing you to evaluate their relevance to your website. From some keyword research tools, you can export your keywords to CSV and Excel files or even plan and manage them directly in the tool.

I myself mainly use the SEO tools Sistrix and TermLabs.io. To find out which keyword tool – in my opinion – is currently ahead, I put the ten most popular keyword research tools to the test in parallel:

  • Semrush
  • Sistrix
  • Ahrefs
  • KWFinder from Mangools
  • SurferSEO
  • XOVI
  • SE Ranking
  • LowFruits
  • Ubersuggest
  • Google Ads Keyword Planner

Some of these SEO tools offer much more than keyword research. In this test, however, I focused on this part and therefore compared the keyword research functions.

These criteria are important to me when choosing a keyword research tool:

  • Functionality: Can I use the tool exclusively for keyword research or does it help me with complete content optimization or is it even (m)an SEO suite?
  • Detail insight: Does the tool differentiate between desktop and mobile results, for example?
  • User-friendliness: Is the tool clearly laid out and available in German? Does it contain helpful instructions that show me how to get the most out of the keyword tool?
  • Modern work environment: Many employees now have a new idea of their work-life balance. It’s important to them that they can access their tools from anywhere and on any device. Keyword research tools that are also available as apps (albeit with limited features) make this possible.
  • Free version: Facts are all well and good. But how much I like using a tool depends largely on how intuitive it is and how much fun I have with it. That’s why, especially with expensive software, it’s important to me to be able to test it for free.
  • Data protection: Is the company based in Germany, inside or outside the EU? Where is the server with my data located?

Who, How and Why Keyword Research Tools

  1. Who: Every content creator needs keyword research and the right tool for it. Whether you’re planning copy, videos, or a podcast,
    keyword research tools can be used by a variety of people and businesses looking to improve their online presence. These include bloggers, website owners, online marketing agencies, and e-commerce stores, for example. By identifying relevant keywords, you can ensure that your content is aligned with the needs of your target audience and therefore rank better in search results.
  2. How: I recommend you use a keyword research tool, this will save you a lot of time and make sure you don’t miss any important topics. Additionally, you should check the search results for the target medium to match the search intent.
  3. Why: Bloggers in particular should use keyword research tools that can help them find the right keywords and topics for their content. Through effective keyword research, you’ll find out what your target audience is looking for and what questions they have. With this information, you can then create content that is tailored to your readers’ needs. Furthermore, keyword research tools can also help you keep an eye on the competition and track down new trends to stay on top of the latest trends.

1. The keyword research tool from Semrush

Semrush Keyword Research Tool
Semrush Keyword Research Tool
  • Features: Keyword overview, organic research, keyword combination generation, keyword gap, keyword manager, organic traffic insights, analyzes 164 country databases, 142 geo-databases and 729 million domains, captures more than 21 billion keywords
  • Special: Keyword-Magic-Tool
  • Price: From $ 119.95 per Monat

Semrush ‘s keyword tool is primarily used by companies with up to 50 employees, according to Capterra. However, it is also used by mid-sized and large companies with more than 1,000 employees. Semrush’s SEO suite gives you a keyword overview and has features like organic research, keyword combination generation, keyword gaps, a keyword manager, and organic traffic insights.

You can use the Semrush keyword tool – and thus the keyword overview, the Keyword Magic Tool, Position Tracking, and Organic Traffic Insights – for free if you register. You can test the Keyword Manager and all other functions of a Pro Account (5 projects and 500 tracked keywords) or Guru Account (15 projects and 1,500 tracked keywords) for 7 days for free. Once the trial week is over, Semrush will charge you the respective package fee. After the trial expires, you have seven days to cancel it and request a refund.

Advantages of the keyword analysis tool from Semrush

  • Extensive keyword research functions
  • Distinguishes between desktop and mobile search queries
  • German language and beginner-friendly user interface
  • Includes user guides and video courses
  • Especially for agencies: is suitable as a basis for pitches and offers due to the holistic SEO view

Disadvantages of the keyword analysis tool from Semrush

  • Support is often described as poor and expensive
  • American company

Want to learn more about keyword research with Semrush? Check out the features in detail: here’s my guide to successful Semrush keyword research.

2. The keyword research tool from Sistrix

Dashboard of the keyword analysis tool by Sistrix
Dashboard of the keyword analysis tool by Sistrix
  • Features: Keyword overview, keyword ideas, analyzes 40 country databases of the search engines Google and Amazon, records 100 million keywords for Germany alone (according to its own information, the largest and most up-to-date database for SERP and keyword analyses in Europe)
  • Special: Keyword Discovery
  • Price: From $ 99 per Monat

According to Capterra, Sistrix’s keyword tool is used in medium-sized teams with up to 50 employees as well as in large companies with up to 1,000 employees. Sistrix’s SEO suite gives users a keyword overview and has features for querying keyword extensions, user queries, and related keywords, and allows CSV exports.

Sistrix is the best keyword research tool for the German market.

You can even use most of the Sistrix features for free without registering. Without registration, you can run ten queries in the Sistrix keyword tool – with (free) registration you can run 100. With the free trial account, you can try out all functions of your desired package for seven days.

Advantages of the Sistrix keyword analysis tool

  • Good keyword research functions
  • Distinguishes between search queries via desktop and mobile search
  • German user interface
  • Includes manuals and video tutorials
  • Especially for agencies: is suitable as a basis for pitches and offers due to the holistic SEO view
  • German company

Disadvantages of the keyword analysis tool from Sistrix

  • Relatively infrequent keyword data updates
  • Takes into account data from Google only (not Bing, Yahoo, etc.)

3. The keyword research tool from Ahrefs

Keywords Explorer by Ahrefs
Keywords Explorer by Ahrefs
  • Features: Separate keyword tools for different sources, keyword suggestions, analyzes 171 country databases and 10 search engines, keyword difficulty score, estimated number of clicks for keywords, parent topic, return rate, clicks per search, SERP overview, ranking history, segmented keywords.
  • Special: Keyword Explorer
  • Price: from € 89 per month

Ahrefs’ keyword tool is used by companies with up to 50 employees as well as large companies with over 1,000 employees and everything in between, according to Capterra. It crawls databases of 7 billion keywords and provides keyword ideas, determines difficulty scores, parent topics and considers advanced SEO metrics. The SEO suite creates a SERP overview, ranking history, and segmented keyword lists. Ahrefs stands out from other keyword research tools primarily due to detailed insights such as click counts and return rates.

The toolbox of Ahrefs includes several free tools that support you in keyword research: the keyword generator, the keyword difficulty checker, the Youtube keyword tool, the Amazon keyword tool, and the Bing keyword tool. The Keyword Explorer, on the other hand, is only included in the paid packages. It reveals additional information such as exact phrases, same terms, alternative keywords, search suggestions, new discoveries, and user questions. Meanwhile, a free Ahrefs trial version is no longer offered.

Advantages of the keyword analysis tool from Ahrefs

  • Extensive keyword research functions
  • Differentiates between desktop and mobile search queries
  • Instructions and video tutorials are available
  • Especially for agencies: is suitable as a basis for pitches and bids due to the holistic SEO look

Disadvantages of Ahrefs’ keyword analysis tool

  • Relatively few SEO reporting features
  • Not available as a trial version
  • Not available as an app
  • User interface is only partially available in German
  • Single subscriber plans
  • Company headquarters in Singapore

4. The keyword research tool from Mangools: the KWFinder

Dashboard of the KWFinder by Mangools
Dashboard of the KWFinder by Mangools
  • Features: Automatic keyword tracking, keyword research and analysis, analyzes various country databases
  • Special: KWFinder
  • Price: from $ 29.90 per month

KWFinder is part of a SEO tool set from Mangools. This also includes a SERP checker, a SERP watcher, a LinkMiner, and a site profiler. KWFinder deals with keyword research and analysis. It consists of three functions: Keyword Suggestions, Autocomplete, and Questions. It provides information about search volume, competition, and trends. About the competition analysis, you can find out the keyword difficulty.

Compared to other keyword research tools, KWFinder only allows a few queries for free. Without registration, you can perform two queries per day, with (free) registration the number increases to five queries. With the free KWFinder trial version, you can try the complete Mangools toolbox for 10 days for free.

Advantages of the KWFinder from Mangools

  • Is clear and beginner friendly
  • Includes help section with KWFinder guide and keyword research guide
  • Fast help via chat support
  • Great value for money
  • Available as an app
  • Slovakian company

Disadvantages of KWFinder by Mangools

  • Relatively low feature set
  • Relatively weak competitor analysis features
  • Doesn’t differentiate between desktop and mobile search queries
  • No German user interface

Want to learn more about keyword research with Mangools (KWFinder)? Check out the features in detail: here’s my guide to successful keyword research with Mangools’ KWFinder.

5. The keyword research tool SurferSEO

Dashboard of the keyword analysis tool by SurferSEO
Dashboard of the keyword analysis tool by SurferSEO
  • Features: Keyword Server Extension, similar keywords, user questions
  • Special: Content Editor
  • Price: from $ 49.00 per month

The SurferSEO keyword tool focuses on holistic content optimization. It identifies topic clusters, suggests content ideas, analyzes search volume and keyword difficulty.

SuferSEO’s Chrome extension is available for free. With it, you can view search volume, CPCs, estimated traffic, word count of competitor websites, number of keywords used, and a full list of keyword ideas with overlap points and search volume. You can try a SurferSEO trial for 7 days for free. As soon as the trial week is over, SurferSEO will charge you. After the free version expires, you have seven days to cancel it and request a refund.

Advantages of the keyword analysis tool from SurferSEO

  • Motivates with permanent performance information
  • Is beginner friendly
  • Displays not only related search queries, but real LSI keywords
  • Improves the complete content structure
  • With the new GrowFlow module it becomes a holistic SEO suite
  • Polish company

Disadvantages of the keyword analysis tool from SurferSEO

  • Contains relatively few metrics
  • Allows a maximum of 50 queries per day
  • Visualized 100% result can lead to unrealistic goal setting
  • Free testing only goes with effort to apply for a refund
  • Not a replacement for a keyword research tool, but a supplement

Want to learn more about keyword research with SurferSEO? Check out the features in detail: here’s my guide to successful keyword research with SurferSEO’s keyword tool.

6. The keyword research tool from XOVI

Dashboard of the keyword analysis tool by XOVI
Dashboard of the keyword analysis tool by XOVI
  • Features: Keyword overview, keyword analysis, planner, opportunity keywords, ranking live check, keyword analysis, directory analysis, ranking changes, ranking distribution, keyword phrases, competitors, international markets, ranking value, keyword research, ranking comparison, question feature, analyzes 96+ country databases and in the two most popular search engines Google and Bing
  • Special: Keyword Planner
  • Price: from € 99.00 per month

According to Capterra, XOVI is used especially by larger companies with 200 to 1,000 employees. XOVI’s keyword tool shows you for which keywords you rank. It analyzes search volume, user queries, CPCs for desired keywords and searches your competitor websites and the keyword set they contain. With the keyword tool you get keyword suggestions, opportunity keywords and content ideas.

You can test the XOVI keyword tool for two weeks free of charge. Depending on the package, you can perform 2,500 to 10,000 keyword queries per week with the tool.

Advantages of the keyword analysis tool from XOVI

  • No need to create a new dashboard for each project, as it contains domain-independent templates
  • Keyword rankings are updated daily
  • Includes a starter guide, webinars and training sessions
  • German user interface
  • Especially for agencies: is suitable as a basis for pitches and offers due to the holistic SEO view
  • German company

Disadvantages of the keyword analysis tool from XOVI

  • No differentiation between desktop and mobile search results
  • Relatively few filter functions
  • Not available as an app
  • Is not my price-performance winner

7. The keyword research tool from SE Ranking

Dashboard of SE Ranking's keyword analysis tool
Dashboard of SE Ranking’s keyword analysis tool
  • Features: Keyword overview, keyword ideas, organic results, organic SERP history, ads history, expand database, keyword manager, keyword ranking check, keyword cluster tool, analyzes country databases in over 100 regions and the search engines Google, Bing, Yahoo and YouTube.
  • Special: Keyword research tool
  • Price: from $ 39 per month

According to Capterra, SE Ranking’s keyword tool is mainly used in companies with less than 50 employees. SE Ranking’s keyword tool shows you the search volume, CPCs and difficulty level for your keywords. It helps you come up with new keyword ideas based on search queries as well as related terms with low search volume. Long-tail keywords exploration, competitor analysis and keyword exports are also possible with the keyword tool. With the Pro and Business accounts, you also have access to the organic SERP history.

You can use the SE Ranking keyword research tool free of charge. You can test the Essential 250 Plan including the White Label Feature for two weeks for free. This gives you access to the complete SEO package, including keyword ranking check and keyword cluster tool.

Advantages of the keyword analysis tool from SE Ranking

  • Top price-performance ratio
  • German user interface
  • Available as an app
  • Helpful support chat
  • Help area and SE Ranking Academy
  • Especially for agencies: is suitable as a basis for pitches and offers due to the holistic SEO view

Disadvantages of SE Ranking’s keyword analysis tool

  • Trackable keywords are limited
  • No distinction between desktop and mobile search results
  • Based in the UK

8. The LowFruits keyword research tool

Dashboard of LowFruits' keyword analysis tool
Dashboard of LowFruits keyword analysis tool
  • Features: Keyword suggestions, user questions, related terms, hidden keywords, grouping, competition
  • Special: Placeholders, comparisons and defaults
  • Price: From $ 25

Belgian developer Paul P. is the founder of LowFruits.io. has developed the tool for SEO beginners and SEO professionals. With LowFruits keyword tool you can generate keywords and long tail keywords, analyze SERPs and competitors. Besides, LowFruits groups keywords automatically and allows you to track keywords.

You can use the tool in a limited functionality for free. Unlike traditional trial periods, your time does not expire. Instead, you have 10 credits at your disposal. So you can use LowFruits for free until your quota is used up.

Advantages of the LowFruits keyword analysis tool

  • Good price-performance ratio
  • Great supplement to conventional keyword research tools
  • Competitor analysis takes into account not only backlink metrics like DR or DA but also criteria that show SERP weaknesses
  • Includes user guides
  • Belgian company

Disadvantages of the keyword analysis tool from LowFruits

  • Does not differentiate between search queries via desktop and mobile search
  • User interface is not available in German
  • Not available as an app
  • Feature set is too small to function as a single keyword tool

9. Ubersuggest’s keyword research tool

Dashboard of the keyword analysis tool by Ubersuggest
Dashboard of the keyword analysis tool by Ubersuggest
  • Features: keyword overview, keyword ideas, keyword visualization, keywords by traffic, similar websites, content ideas, keyword lists, keyword rank tracking
  • Special: AnswerThePublic
  • Price: from € 29 per month

Ubersuggest’s keyword tool runs mostly in companies with less than 50 employees, according to Capterra. The keyword analysis tool shows you the monthly search volume, the difficulty level in the keyword ranking and for paid ads (paid campaigns) as well as CPCs. In addition, the tool compares the number of backlinks, domain authority, the most successful websites and the search volume development, age groups of searchers and the click rate of the keywords.

You can test the keyword tool of Ubersuggest for seven days for free. Independently, you can perform up to three keyword searches a day.

Advantages of the Ubersuggest keyword analysis tool

  • Extensive functions
  • also provides results for image, shopping, YouTube or news search
  • Search results can be analyzed for a specific desired location
  • Good price-performance ratio
  • Available as an app
  • Contains knowledge databases
  • German user interface
  • Differentiates between desktop and mobile search results
  • Especially for agencies: is suitable as a basis for pitches and offers due to the holistic SEO look

Disadvantages of Ubersuggest’s keyword analysis tool

  • Features like copying keywords at the same time does not work well
  • Number of projects is limited in cheaper variants
  • American company

10. The Google Ads Keyword Planner keyword research tool

Dashboard of the Google Ads keywords planner
Dashboard of the Google Ads keywords planner
  • Features: Identify keyword ideas, search volume and trends
  • Special: Keyword Planner
  • Price: free

With your Google Ads budget you basically bid on keywords. The higher the bid, the higher the probability that you will rank at the top. The tool also suggests a bid. You can use the Keyword Planner not only for your ads campaigns (SEA), but also for your organic search engine optimization (SEO). In the Google Ads Keyword Planner, you can select groups of words, websites or a product category to generate new keywords. The related keywords are displayed including search volume, competitive situation and trends. The keyword tool is less comprehensive than the alternatives, but you can exclude certain keywords (e.g. free) and upload your own keyword list.

Advantages of Google Ads Keyword Planner

  • Is free of charge
  • Allows location based queries

Disadvantages of the Google Ads Keyword Planner

  • Google Ads account is required
  • Accuracy depends on budget (Google reduced keyword data accuracy in 2016 for accounts with low Adwords sales)
  • Focus is on commercial topics

11. Morningscore keyword tool

The result of the keyword search.
The result of the keyword search.
  • Features: Comprehensive keyword analysis, ranking monitoring, competition analysis
  • Special: Inclusion of SEO value estimation for keywords
  • Price: From approx. € 29 per month for the basic version, extended versions available

Morningscore’s keyword research tool is an excellent choice for anyone looking to take their SEO strategy to the next level. It offers in-depth keyword analysis to help you choose exactly the right terms for your content. It also allows you to monitor your search engine rankings, so you can keep up to date with how well your website is performing. A highlight of the tool is the competitive analysis, which gives you insights into your competitors’ strategies.

A special feature of Morningscore is the ability to estimate the SEO value of keywords. This feature helps you better understand the financial value of your SEO efforts and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Vorteile von Morningscore

  • In-depth keyword analysis helps you select the most effective search terms
  • Ranking monitoring helps you to keep an eye on your search engine rankings at all times
  • Competitor analysis provides valuable insights into your competitors’ strategies

Nachteile von Morningscore

  • none

My expertise in keyword research

As an online marketing expert with 20 years of experience, I can draw on extensive knowledge in the field of keyword research. In my many years of work, I have managed numerous projects in which identifying and analyzing relevant search terms were of great importance. In doing so, I have not only used standard tools such as the Google Keyword Planner or Ahrefs, but also developed my own strategies to determine the search intentions of users even more precisely and to create precisely relevant content based on this. I, therefore, have a sound understanding of search engines and how they work, as well as the methods and tools necessary for successful keyword research.

My conclusion on the most popular tools: The best keyword research tools I’ve worked with?

Thorough keyword research is a crucial part of your search engine optimization and content planning. All the tools we tested have these four things in common:

  1. They spit out lots of keyword ideas.
  2. The user interfaces are appealing and easy to understand.
  3. You can do international keyword research with them.
  4. Each tool has a reason for me and is worth a test run.

The direct comparison showed me that I made a good choice with my two main tools. Still, I can well imagine adding some more keyword research tools to my toolbox. If you’re at the very beginning, here’s what I want you to take away:

To be successful in the long run, one-time keyword research will not be enough. It is important that you regularly check the website situation and optimize it if necessary. That’s why you should designate a keyword research tool as your SEO centerpiece. The analysis with your main keyword tool is best rounded off with a few more keyword tools and the Keyword Search Console, because the results from the different tools are not completely identical. I recommend you to test the tools that meet your individual requirements for free. Only in this way you can compare them and find out which tool you like the most. If you have any specific questions, feel free to contact me.

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