If you want to get your business in front of as many people as possible, driving organic traffic to your site and bolstering conversions or improving sales, then having an SEO strategy in place isn’t optional. 

There is so much that goes into having your pages and website ranked number one, from the design you choose, to the development of your website, to its architecture, to the content you create, to your marketing strategy. The point is, there is a lot of work that goes into SEO. However, not every aspect of SEO is created equal. 

So, you might be wondering if keywords are still relevant for SEO purposes, given that keyword stuffing is very much considered a black hat SEO tactic. Those caught doing it are penalised heavily by the search engines. 

The Google algorithm now understands and favours websites that use natural language, and match the search terms that their audiences are using to search with. In fact, Google’s algorithm is so good at identifying natural language, that it can also determine similar phrases and terms in search queries. Hence why you should be including long tail keywords in your content and on your individual pages too. 

For those people who believe Google favours context over exact keywords, you are underestimating the ongoing importance of keywords in SEO. More specifically the importance of including keywords in page titles, sub-headers, URLs, meta descriptions and titles and alt text on images. Because whilst Google may have created a smart algorithm, you can still make life easy for the spiders that crawl your site by signposting where they’re heading to next. You’d do it in real life if you were map reading, so do it on your website. And not just for the autobots, but for the actual users who want to navigate your site too.

So how do you figure out what are the right keywords, both long and short tail, for your site? For the products or services that your business offers? 

Whilst there are lots of keyword research tools out there, not all of them are free. When you’re trying to build your business you don’t always have surplus cash to spend on the ‘best’ SEO tools. And you know what? Sometimes the free tools work just as well, if not better. 

So to that end, we have rounded up 5 of the best free keyword research tools in 2019, to help you execute your SEO strategy. 

1. Google Keyword Planner

This tool has to take the number one spot because it is the very tool you need, created by the very people you are trying to impress, to help you achieve that aim.

Not only is the Google Keyword Planner an excellent choice when researching keywords, but it will also continue to help you throughout your entire SEO journey. Even once your site is firmly established this tool will keep on giving -whether that’s with ongoing keyword research or pay per click campaigns. 

The aim of this awesome free tool is simple: to help you pull the information you require direct from Google.

You simply enter a keyword or keywords that you want to rank for into the search box and the results will show you: 

  • Relevant keywords
  • The average monthly searches
  • The competition for these keywords
  • The suggested bid (if you want to use them in adverts)

Side note: when deciding which keywords you want to use, opt for the ones with the lowest competition.

2. Rank Tracker

This powerful, free keyword research tool has by far one of the largest databases packed full of keywords out there. Incorporating the keyword research methods that Google Keyword Planner, Google Search Console and Google Analytics all use, it provides an unlimited number of keywords to analyse. 

This free keyword research tool will expand your keyword list to include a plethora of relevant long tail keywords including the most popular keywords in your given niche. It will also show you some revealing insights into how your audience are searching for you. 

Not only will Rank Tracker provide you with more keyword options than you can shake a stick at, they’ll also include misspelt options that people use to search with too. Don’t dismiss these, just because people are sloppy with their spelling, if it’s low hanging fruit you’re after, go for these easy pickings. 

3. Google Search Console

Yes, this is another Google product, but if you’re going to conquer Google, why not use all the tools they provide you? 

This free keyword tool is a great place to uncover the exact keywords that users are searching for and clicking on. In fact, one of the best features of GSC is the performance report it generates. This report shows you which of your website’s pages were the most clicked on pages and the precise search terms that users searched for in order to find you. Not only that, but each query will be given alongside the number of impressions, the CTR and the average rank position metrics, so you know how you’re doing in comparison to the competition. 

Side note – combine GSC with Google Analytics for more in depth and accurate keyword data.  

4. Keyword Sh!tter

Yup, this one doesn’t require much imagination to guess how it will help your keyword research in 2019. 

Keyword Sh!tter does precisely what it says on the tin. You simply enter the keywords that you want to use, hit the search button (affectionately named Sh!t Keywords) and wait for the free tool to spew out a lot of keywords. 

Side note – it doesn’t stop until you tell it to, so if you want to let it run to see what gems it might unearth, don’t let us stop you. And if you’re wondering how it works, it digs into Google Autocomplete to unearth its keywords suggestions. (For the uninitiated, Google autocomplete produces the results when you start typing a search into the search bar). 

5. Answer the Public

Knowing what keywords your audience uses to find you is one thing, but users don’t tend to search by just one word, we type actual questions into the search bar. 

So Answer the Public takes your keyword and turns it into the type of search questions that users might search for. But it doesn’t just provide questions. This free keyword research tool will insert prepositions, as well as presenting results alphabetically and providing related search terms. 

The great thing about this free keyword research tool is the random gems it occasionally kicks out. So if you want to target keywords outside of the box, this is definitely the tool for you.