In August 2013, Google officially shut down their External Keyword Tool. This free keyword research tool was one of Google’s oldest and most useful tools for search engine optimization (SEO) – so many people in the industry gasped at the news. Fortunately, there’s no need to panic. Several terrific free keyword research tools are still available for anyone interested in fine tuning their website strategy.

Google Keyword Planner

The Keyword Planner is part of a suite of tools that helps marketers get the most from their AdWords account. The downside is that to use this tool, you have to sign up for a free AdWords account. The upside is that the tool is just as easy and comprehensive as the External Keyword Tool was.

Most exciting, the Keyword Planner offers better targeting options, allowing you to drill down and target individual cities and regions within a country. You can also search for ideas related to a specific keyword, related to your website, or related to a general category that you identify.

Keyword Planner

The interface of the Keyword Planner is just a little bit different from the External Keyword Tool, but it’s generally pretty intuitive and after just a few minutes, I felt quite comfortable with it. If you’re already logged into an AdWords account, you’ll find the Keyword Planner listed under Tools and Analysis in the top menu.


Many professional SEOs (like me) use Wordtracker’s subscription keyword research service, but Wordtracker recently upgraded its free keyword research tool – and I have to say, it’s pretty good. Simply go to the home page, enter your starting keyword, and click Continue. The tool will identify the top ten related keywords and will walk you through the search volume, competition, and analysis ratios for each one, as shown in this screen shot below:


While this tool doesn’t provide as many options as Google’s Keyword Planner, it’s an easy, user-friendly option ideal for anyone not interested in combing through thousands of keywords.


Although Soovle doesn’t provide hard data on keywords, this free tool does an amazing job of delivering an enormous range of unique keyword ideas.

Simply start typing in your base keyword, and Soovle will automatically begin populating the page with the most explored keyword ideas from across the internet – including Google, Wikipedia,, Bing, YouTube, Ebay and more:


Particularly if you’re on online retailer, these insights can be immensely valuable for jumpstarting your own keyword brainstorming. Plus, it’s just plain fun to say “Soovle.”


Jonathan Dane from Wordstream calls Ubersuggest the “keyword research tool on steroids.” Similar to Soovle, Ubersuggest is a brainstorming tool rather than a data tool – but trust me, the amount of ideas it can generate are more than any single person could possibly use in a lifetime.

Enter your starter keyword, and Ubersuggest will provide an astonishing list of suggestions not only from search engine queries but also from specific geographic regions or specific verticals, such as shopping, news or video. You can click on any suggestion for yet more suggestions, and you can add suggestions you like to a list that you can easily cut and paste into another document for your files:



Clearly, no matter what you need your keyword research tool to do, a ton of options are out there. Are there other tools out there you would recommend? Which are your favorites, and why?