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What are some of the best tools for keyword research?

Every digital marketer has their own preference when it comes to selecting and using a keyword research tool. To briefly explain their differences, we have compiled a list (and their differences) of some of the better-known and well-established tools.

Typically favoured by paid media marketers, Google Ads Keyword Planner will help identify and scope keyword opportunities for a particular niche.

Key features

  • Linked with Google Ads – there is the opportunity to build lists directly within the tool and save keywords to plans, plus the data comes straight from Google so no APIs to contend with or questionable data. However, as this tool mainly caters to paid media it means that the additional information supplied is limited outside of sample CPCs. Other tools cater more for SEO keyword research.
  • Trend data – three month change and YoY percentages for a particular keyword help demonstrate keyword growth or decline for monthly search volumes.
  • Seasonality graph – search volume graphs identify how searches change over time – perfect for paid marketers looking to understand where and when they need to be visible and more aggressive in bidding.



Considered the most visual keyword tool, keyword research feels easy with SEMrush due to the multitude of keyword information that’s supplied and in easy-to-interpret formats.

Key features

  • Single seed keyword – using an individual keyword, SEMrush’s keyword magic tool will generate keywords within your niche with varying intents. i.e., keywords generated will be both informational and transactional in nature which allows you to see a broad spectrum of search behaviours.
  • Easy filtering – keyword magic tool means you can further define your search by exploring ‘broad match,’ ‘phrase match,’ ‘exact match’ as well as other filters such as keyword intent, keyword difficulty, and SERP features.


Marketed as ‘the most complete keyword research tool on the market.’

Key features

  • Search tools – Ahrefs provides keywords for Google but also for YouTube, Amazon, Bing, and more.
  • Keyword overview – thorough analysis of individual keywords, their difficulty, global and country volume data as well we traffic potential and parent topics. The volume of information provided can be overwhelming but invaluable for robust keyword research and developing SEO strategies.
  • Keyword ideas – keywords categorised by ‘match’ as well as by ‘questions’ to cater for informational intent as well as ‘also rank for’ and ‘also talk about’ to help shape semantic keyword understanding.
  • Practice makes perfect – Ahrefs is often adapting its keyword research functionality meaning there are different ‘legacy’ versions available which can be complicated at times and sometimes inaccurate.


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