7 Best Keyword Research Tools (Updated 2021). Detailed Reviews & Comparison

The Best Keyword Research Tools
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Most people start a blog with the intention of monetizing it to generate passive income.
Attracting organic traffic is important in order to monetize your blog, for which it is necessary to rank in search engine results.

Keyword research is the first step in optimizing your blog for SEO and improving search engine ranking.

Keyword research is necessary to make sure that you are targeting the right keywords.

So what are the best keyword research tools to get the job done in 2021?

We will give you a list of the 7 best keywords research tools available in 2021 along with detailed reviews and comparisons, so you can make the right decision.

THE 7 BEST KEYWORD RESEARCH TOOLS IN 2021

1. JAAXY
2. AHREFS
3. MOZ
4. SEMRUSH
5. GOOGLE KEYWORD PLANNER
6. KWFINDER
7. SECOCKPIT

Let’s discuss each one in detail.

Note that the tools are listed in random order and are not ranked. This is because each has its strengths and while some may be really good but expensive, on the other hand, the cheaper tools but may lack features.

Example: SEMRush is without a doubt the best Keyword Research tool out there. Nobody else comes close. It is a weapon of choice for professional SEO’s and agencies, but it is not cheap and not something that a new blogger can easily afford.

Whereas other tools may be slightly cheaper, they may lack important features. So it depends on how much you can invest and which tool works best for you at a particular stage in your blogging career.

Whichever tool you choose to go with, I strongly suggest that you try SEMRush once, by signing up for their 14-day free trial so you can experience its power and understand the incredible value that it can impart to your SEO efforts.

1.
Jaaxy

Jaaxy tries to come close to SEMRush and succeeds, almost.

Keyword Research Tool - Jaaxy - Results Screen

Jaaxy gives you important data for a keyword, plus throws up lots of related keyword ideas along with associated data for each of these keyword suggestions.

Jaxxy not only gives you the usual data like:
Average search volume per month for a keyword.

It also dishes out some unique information like:

Potential traffic

This is the number of visitors that you can expect should your post rank at the number one spot for that keyword (Listed under the head ‘traffic‘).

Quoted Search Results

This is the total number of websites that are ranking on Google for your exact keyword.

Where it gets a little vague is with details such as:

Keyword Quality Indicator

This It is shown in the form of a color code. Green means great, Yellow is okay and Red means poor. There is no explanation for what this really means or the metrics upon which this is based or how it is calculated. Hence, this can at best be taken as a broad guideline.

Keyword difficulty (Jaaxy lists this under the heading ‘SEO’)

Jaaxy shows this in a rather odd fashion, where on a scale of 0 to 100, a higher score means that it is easier to rank for the keyword (i.e. higher is better), rather than the more logical approach used by the other tools.

Our Verdict

Jaaxy may not be the best among the competition and may have its quirks but it does a decent job and at a starting price of $49/month it is one of the most affordable keyword research tools around.


2.
Ahrefs

Ahrefs is mostly known for its backlink research capabilities, but the keyword research tool packs quite a punch as well.

In the example below, we have used the same keyword ‘cryptocurrency’ (as we did with Jaaxy).
Ahrefs shows us that the global search volume for this keyword is 696,000/month.

The Ahrefa Keyword Research Tool Results Screen

You get all the data that you would expect from a keyword research tool like search volume and keyword difficulty.

But Ahrefs goes a little further.

Ahrefs further breaks up the average search volume by country.

Out of the global average search volume of 696,000/ month,
The United States accounts for 30% (i.e. 213,000 searches / month),
India 9% (69,000 searches / month),
The United Kingdom 7% (54, 000 searches / month), and,
Indonesia, Canada & Vietnam account for approximately 3% each.

Ahrefs can show you data from 171 countries, so even if you are not from the US, you can still get relevant data for your country.

Ahrefs tells you the number of clicks that result from the search.

Ahrefs tells you that from the 213K searches / month for the keyword in the US, there were just 162K clicks.
Which means a click per search (CPS) ratio of just 0.76%.

Ahrefs can show you the return rate (RR) for a keyword.

The average search volume that most keyword research tools give you doesn’t account for repeated searches, so this number may be inflated.

In the above example, Ahrefs shows that the return rate (RR) is 1.8.
Although the return rate is a relative figure, it does give a good idea of the likelihood of repeated searches that may occur for a keyword.

This is what Ahrefs says about the return rate.

Return Rate (RR) shows how often the same person searches for a given keyword over a 30-day period.
RR1 means that people typically don’t search for that keyword again within 30 days.
But RR2 and RR3 don’t mean that people search for a given keyword two and three times per month respectively. It just means that the second keyword tends to get more repeated searches than the first one.

The keywords “world cup” and “bitcoin price” have Return Rate (RR) of 2.8 and 2.7 respectively, which means that people are doing roughly the same amount of repeated searches for these keywords.
But both searches are lagging behind the keyword “Facebook,” which has a super high Return Rate (RR) of 3.7. This is probably because a lot of people search for “Facebook” in Google, rather than typing the URL directly into the search bar.
Ahrefs


The return rate (RR) is quite a useful metric which is unique to Ahrefs.

Ahrefs tells you the number of backlinks that you will require to rank among the top ten results for a keyword.

Ahrefs not only tells you the Keyword difficulty but also tells you the number of backlinks that you will require to rank among the top ten results for the keyword.

In the example above for the keyword ‘cryptocurrency’, Ahrefs tells you that you will require backlinks from 353 websites to be able to rank in the top ten results.

Ahrefs gives you lots of keyword ideas along with the respective search volume

Keyword ideas generated bt Ahrefs with Search Volume

Ahrefs gives you a large number of related keyword ideas along with the respective search volume

For example, for the keyword ‘cryptocurrency’, Ahrefs gives you a total of 19,561 keyword ideas along with the average search volume per month for each one of them.

Ahrefs also gives you the #1 ranked website for a keyword along with the monthly organic traffic to that page.

Ahrefs shows you a six month SERP (Search Engine Results Page) history for a keyword.

As can be seen in the example below, the 6 month SERP history for our test keyword ‘cryptocurrency’ shows the fluctuation in position of the current #1 website on various dates over a 6 month period.

For example, on January 21 it was at the 5’th position on the SERP, and by 22’nd February it had moved up to the 2’nd position.

SERP Six Month Position History - Ahrefs Keyword Tool Screen 2
SERP Six Month Position History - Ahrefs Keyword Tool Screen 2

Our Verdict

Known mainly for their backlink research capabilities, the keyword research tool by Ahrefs packs quite a punch. it provides in-depth and detailed data compared to Jaaxy. Starting at $99/month it is definitely more expensive but worth every dollar. Ahrefs offer a seven day trial for $7. Try it out to get a feel for its capabilities before you decide.


3.
Moz

Moz gives you all the data that you would expect from a keyword research tool.

Monthly Volume

Moz displays the search volume in a range from the minimum search volume per month to the maximum for a keyword.
In our example for the test keyword ‘cryptocurrency’ the average search volume per month ranges from a minimum of 118K to a maximum of 300K.

Moz Keyword Research Tool Results Screen

Keyword Difficulty

Moz gives you the keyword difficulty score based upon the page authority & domain authority of the pages that rank at the top for a keyword.

Organic CTR (Click Through Ratio)

Moz displays an organic CTR value based on the structure of the search results page for a keyword.
Moz’s organic CTR is a metric that tells you what the chances are that a search will result in a click on any of the organic results for a keyword.

If the search results page for a keyword contains a lot of paid ads, search features like featured snippets, ‘people also ask’ etc., appearing before the organic results, then the chances of a search resulting in a click on any of the organic results will be very low and the CTR value will be low.

Priority

This is a metric developed by Moz, which takes into account all the other metrics like search volume, difficulty and CTR and gives you one figure which helps you rank a list of keywords.

Obviously it would make sense to pursue keywords with a higher priority than those with a lower priority score.

Keyword Suggestions

Moz did come up with some unique and out of the box keyword suggestions along with the search volume.
For our test seed keyword, Moz threw up 1000 keyword suggestions (Much less than the 19,561 unique keyword suggestions by Ahrefs for the same keyword).

Our Verdict

Moz does a decent job, but at a starting price of $99/ month ($79/ month if paid yearly) it is not the cheapest tool on offer. At this rate, we believe Ahrefs gives you more bang for the buck as it gives a much more in-depth and detailed data than Moz.


4.
SEMrush

For anyone involved with digital marketing and SEO, SEMrush is the holy grail of keyword research tools.
This is because no one else gives you this kind of detail like SEMrush when it comes to keyword research.

Keyword Gap Analysis

This is a pretty nifty feature that is unique to SEMrush.

Most keyword research tools require you to enter a keyword for which data is then presented.
SEMrush can also work this way if you want it to.

But SEMrush can do something different. It can tell you what are the keywords that your competitors are ranking for that you can also target.

It makes sense to work this way. It will be easier to rank for keywords from your competitors with websites that are the same size, age, and authority as you, rather than for keywords where the top positions are held by older, established sites.

SEMrush Keyword Gap Tool Results Page

As can be seen in the example above, you can compare your website against up to 4 competitor websites.

In the left hand corner under ‘Top Opportunities For You’, those keywords are listed along with the respective search volume that your competitor is ranking for and you aren’t.

These keywords offer the maximum opportunity to rank and should be the ones that you should target.

If you look carefully there are two tabs ‘missing’ and ‘weak’. While under the ‘missing’ tab is the list of keywords as explained above, click the ‘weak’ tab and you will find the list of keywords for which your competitor ranks higher and upon which you have to work upon.

This information is a goldmine for any SEO, and for this feature alone SEMrush is worth every penny.

And that is not all, SEMrush gives you a lot of additional information as you can see below.

Keyword Overview

SEMrush Keyword Overview Results Screen

Using the same test keyword that we have been using, you will notice the wealth of information that SEMrush provides.

Average monthly search volume (USA): 201K.
Keyword Difficulty: 90%

Global average monthly search volume: 632.1K (Broken up countrywise)

Total number of websites listed for the keyword in the SERP: 119M

Keyword Variations

On the same screen above at the bottom you will find keyword ideas (keyword variations) related to your chosen keyword.

And SEMrush dishes out an incredible 118.4K keyword ideas (That is even more than the 19K that Jaaxy lists).

Keyword Magic Tool

The Keyword Magic Tool gives you a detailed insight with metrics like search volume, trends, keyword difficulty, SERP features, and the number of websites in the search result for each of the related keywords.

SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool Results Screen

Our Verdict

SEMrush is the go-to keyword research tool for hardcore SEO professionals and anybody who is serious about blogging, SEO, or digital marketing. At the starting price of $100/ month (billed annually), SEMrush does not come cheap but it is the gold standard of keyword research tools. A must have if you want to seriously succeed in blogging, SEO and digital marketing.


5.
Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is not a natural keyword research tool. It was not designed to assist in keyword research for SEO.

Rather, it is meant to assist Google’s customers in finding new keywords related to their industry and get an estimate on the number of searches and the cost to get their ads to show on the search results page for that keyword

Using Google’s keyword planner is free. It can give you a lot of keyword ideas related to any keyword that you choose.

This is what the home page looks like.

Google Keyword Planner home page.

Upon clicking on “Discover new keywords” and using the same test keyword as with the other tools, this is what we get.

Google Keyword Planner Results Page

There are a bunch of keyword ideas but Google displays the associated search volume as a range.

As you can see, the search volume for our test seed keyword is between 10K – 100K. This is limited to Google and the range is also too wide.

A paid keyword research tool not only gives you the exact number of searches, but also the results are not just limited to Google.

Our Verdict

Google Keyword Planner can give you a lot of related keyword ideas for free, but for you will require a paid keyword research tool to get more specific numbers (instead of a range) for the search volumes and for insights involving data from other search engines


6.
KWFinder

At $29.90/ month (billed annually) KWFinder is the most affordable keyword research tool available.

That does not mean that it is short of features. It can give you tons of keyword ideas both by keyword and by domain.

This is the home screen of KWFinder. We liked the fact that it is simple, uncluttered and very practical.

Just enter your target keyword and click ‘Find keywords’. It’s simple.

KWFinder Keyword Research Tool - Home Page

We tested it with our test keyword just like we did with the other keyword research tools.
This is what we got.

KWFinder Keyword Research Results Page

KWFinder gives you a bunch of related keywords along with the respective search volume, trends, and keyword difficulty.

And that’s not all, you can get more related keywords which are grouped under 3 headings, ‘Related keywords’, ‘Autocomplete’, and, ‘Questions’.

Each tab throws up hundreds of keywords.

That’s not all, the ‘Search by Domain’ feature lets you harvest keywords from your competitor’s website or blogs.

As seen in the image below, you can enter the domain name of a competitor’s website and KWFinder will list all the keywords that the domain is ranking for.

KWFinder also lists the position, search volume, and keyword difficulty of each of the listed keywords.

KWFinder Keyword Research by Domain Name

Our Verdict

KWFinder may not have all the features like SEMrush but it still does enough to make an impact. At $29.99, it is the most affordable keyword research tool in the market, while still matching the big boys when it comes to features. The best keyword research tool for the beginner blogger & SEO.


7.
SECockpit

SECockpit is not a dedicated keyword research tool, but rather an all-in-one SEO tool, much like SEMRush. Keyword research is one of its many features.

SEOCockpit’s user interface is not intuitive and difficult for a beginner to comprehend.

We tested it with our test seed keyword and below is a screenshot of the result.

SEOCockpit Keyword Research Results Page

SEOCockpit displays a decent number of keyword suggestions as seen above.

Green bars on the left of each ‘keyword suggestion’ under the heading ‘niche’ indicate if the suggested keyword is a good overall choice, taking into consideration the total search volume and a detailed analysis of the top 10 organic search results for that keyword.

Hover the pointer over the green bar and it displays a percentage value.

The higher this number (i.e., the longer the green bar) the better.

The orange bar under the heading ‘Top results’ indicates how easy or hard it will be to rank for that keyword. The longer the orange bar, the harder it will be to rank for that keyword.

Double click on any of the keyword suggestions and a detailed analysis of that keyword is displayed.

By double clicking the first suggested keyword on the list (i.e., ‘crypto new’) brought up the screen below.

Detailed Metrics on SEOCockpit for selected keyword suggestion.

Under the heading ‘Title’ is a list of all the webpages that are ranking on page #1 of search engine results for that keyword.

All other metrics like ‘mozRank’, Page Authority, Domain Authority, Baclinks, Linked Domains & Total Backlinks have been sourced from MOZ.

In addition to the above, SEOCockpit can show you data for up to 46 different metrics as shown below.

This abundance of detail may be confusing to a beginner. SEOCockpit is a handy tool for hardcore SEO professionals.

Column Choices for SEOCockpit Keyword Suggestions

Our Verdict

Starting at $25/ month, SEOCockpit is definitely value for money. The sheer detail and abundance of data may be confusing for a beginner, but it’s a very useful tool for hardcore SEO professionals.


Conclusion

SEMrush is the best keyword research tool, but loses out on overall ranking due to its high pricing.

KWFinder is not too far behind in the features department, but it is much more pocket friendly, making it a good choice for beginners.

Ahrefs is another great choice with lots of features with good affordability making it a good choice as well.

We have summed up all the tools discussed, in the chart below.

Which tool will you pick? Let us know in the comments.

TOOL

EASE OF USE

UTILITY

AFFORDABILITY
OVERALL RATING
3.5/5
3.5/5
3.5/5
4/5
3.5/5
4/5
3.5/5
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Meet the Author

  • Howdy! I am Sanjeev P. I am passionate about creativity — creativity fulfils me. I am a professional blogger, content writer and love my espresso. I genuinely believe that we all have inside us the ability to change the world. I am enthusiastic about pursuing my dreams, and it is my mission to help you achieve yours. I am eager to know more about you. Let us embark on a beautiful journey together.

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2 thoughts on “7 Best Keyword Research Tools (Updated 2021). Detailed Reviews & Comparison”

  1. Hey,
    For Keyword Research, I have used ubersuggest and auto-suggest. These tools are best to buy a keyword selection.? The above-said tools are premium or free tools.

    1. Ubersuggest is decent, though the free version has limited utility. Google’s auto-suggest feature is free and a good source for keyword suggestions, but does not give you details like search volume, keyword difficulty etc., which you get with a paid keyword research tool.

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