12 Best Free Keyword Research Tools for Your Bootstrapped Startup

Small business and solo-preneurs work with minimum resources, low budgets and stringent timelines. As such, Keyword Research as part of SEO is often sidelined or completely ignored. Instead, a list of keywords is created by taking them off a competitor’s website, sometimes followed by a session of brainstorming. While that may work in some cases, it is more likely to fail since it is not supported by verified data. Here is a list of 11 free, tried-and-tested tools that will ensure you create a keyword list that is highly accurate, in the least amount of time.

Google Keyword Planner

This is the most popular and hence, most frequently used tool. Google Keyword Planner works excellently with both primary keywords as well as long-tail keywords.

Login to your planner tool using your google ID. If you already have a list of keywords in hand, you can check the search volumes for the keywords by entering them into the ‘Find Keywords’ tab. Or you can use your brand name/product to ‘Get Ideas’ for more, related keywords.

The tool provides a downloadable CSV of your keywords. Ideally, you should version your keyword list as per the primary keyword used, for clarity, as you grow your keyword list.

Semrush Keyword Research

Semrush has already been established as one of the best SEO assessment tools in the market. As a keyword research tool it does not fail either, offering a large number of features.

You can find keywords that perform well across different search engines, including Google and Bing, along with in-depth information about them. Also analyze the common keywords used by top 100 domains for a search query on Google.

  • Multilingual Keyword Research Capabilities

Semrush offers 28 regional keyword databases, which is a great asset if your website is multilingual.

  • Long-tail Keyword Research

Find a ready-made list of low-volume, long-tail keywords to target low-lying fruit with less competition.

Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz Keyword Explorer provides all the features that most popular keyword research tools provide. It does throw some more cool features into the bargain.

  • Prioritization of keywords based on various parameters such as search volumes, difficulty and opportunity
  • Insights on why some pages have higher SERP rankings based on social data

Consider Moz as a tool that will not only help you research keywords but also help you draft your overall SEO and Content Marketing strategies.


KWFinder is excellent for researching long tail keywords. It provides the search volumes, CPC and trends for existing and related keywords.

Score point: If you click on any one keyword, KWFinder shows you the difficulty level in terms of interest and searches, as well as the current Google search results for that keyword. This is an excellent way of assessing your competitors’ rankings and strength of content, which becomes vital when you formulate your own content marketing strategy.

Keyword Tool

The Keyword Tool is ideal when used in tandem with the Google Keyword Planner. Keyword Tool uses Google Auto-complete to create a database of long-tail keyword suggestions. In most cases, Keyword Tool provides better long-tail keyword suggestions than Google Keyword Planner.

Keyword Tool also provides long-tail keywords for Youtube, Bing, Amazon and app-stores, giving it another edge over Google Keyword Planner.

Keyword Tool

Majestic Keyword Checker

Majestic Keyword Checker is a slightly advanced tool for keyword research. It provides all the basic information pertaining to search volumes, geography, etc. Additionally, it provides you information on how many times the Keyword or Key Phrase was found InAnchor, InTitle and InURL.

A word of caution – this tool is Paid.

Niche Laboratory

If a basic keyword list  is what you are looking for Niche Laboratory does the work pretty well, especially if you are a solo-preneur and have no knowledge of SEO.

Just go the website, enter your product name or domain into the search box and you will get a result with information about your keyword and associated long-tail and LSI keywords. You can then use this list as a starting point with other, more complex keyword research tools.

Google Trends

Yes, Google Trends doesn’t seem like the obvious choice to build up your keyword list.

But Google Trends provides valuable information on the current popularity of keywords in the market. This information includes geographic keywords distribution as well as the current top and upcoming keywords related to your keyword.

Google Trends is also an ideal place to build up your LSI keyword database.

Google Correlate

Google Correlate is not your average keyword planner tool. It provides search patterns that are reflective of real world trend. Google Correlate is ideal to find LSI keywords.

Since LSI keywords change all the time based on the current trend, you would do well to update your keyword list with Google Correlate periodically.

Google correlate

Xenu Link Sleuth

If you’re a brand new startup sitting with a blank keyword list, Xenu Link Sleuth may not be a bad place to start with. This is a desktop app, downloadable for free, that allows you to get the titles and descriptions of all the pages of a website.

Simply install it, enter your competitor’s website and bingo! you have a whole list of pages with their titles and descriptions. Browse through this list to create your own keyword list.

Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool

The SEO Spider Tool is pretty much similar to the Xenu Link Sleuth. You have to install the desktop application and allow the tool to crawl a website to retrieve ALL information from the website.

The flipside is that the Spider Tool gives you a gold mine worth of information, and you have to know how to sift through it to extract the necessary information.

The plus is that the Spider Tool also provides information on headings and titles, so you know which keywords are your competitors giving priority to.


If LSI is what you are after, Wikpedia may prove to be a highly useful tool. Especially if you are a brand that sells a tangible product. Just go to that product page on Wikipedia, and check out the related terms in the description.

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