Nick is the Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of From The Future. When he's not elbow deep in data, he's spending time with his wife, his dogs, or his cars.
In case you missed it – Google is shutting down free access to Keyword Planner.
Which I’ll admit is kind of crappy, but there are plenty of alternative keyword tools out there.
So if you’re looking for free alternatives to keyword planner, I’ve pulled together a list of other keyword tools that fit into 3 categories.
In addition, I’ll share an exciting development I discovered; a workaround to still use Keyword Planner like you used to.
This workaround will allow you to still use Keyword Planner without having to run an AdWords campaign (yes, you read that correctly – there’s a workaround that let’s you still use Keyword planner without inputting any billing information).
This was shared with me by one of my master keyword research customers, Andrew McWhaw.
But – since SEO’s can’t have nice things, and I would like for this to continue to work – I’m not going to share it publicly.
UPDATE: Reports are that the workaround has already been shutdown by Google.
The following keyword tools are free to use, and deliver some real value – though some advanced features may require a paid account.
One of my favorite keyword tools out there, Jason and CCarter understand search and data analysis and put a lot of time into building a truly powerful keyword suite with some robust scoring.
Not only will you need to create a free account to get any of the keyword data with this tool, but to unlock the real power here you’ll have to also verify your account either by phone or SMS (both automated) – but it’s still free. From there it may take 1 business day for them to manually verify your account – but again, it’s not that bad for free data.
Once in you’re limited to 10 results per query and 50 queries per month.
One of my favorite features of this tool is that it only grabs very closely related permutations of the query you enter and it shows you daily volume as well as Google Trends data graphs.
The following list of tools you can use right away without the need to create an account.
A free keyword idea generator that includes functionality for positive and negative filtering as well as an option to download essentially unlimited results. I also published a guide on how I’m going to rank for keyword tool.
Wonderful (pun intended) tool that scrapes Google for people also ask and people asl search for results, and then pulls back the average monthly search volume, average cost per click, and ad competitiveness, all of which can be selected as you desire and quickly (almost instantly) downloaded into a CSV.
This tool is SLICK!
It’s as free Chrome Extension that adds keyword search volume and CPC data right on the screen for other tools including Google Search Results pages, Google Analytics, UberSuggest, Soovle, Answer the Public, Keyword Shitter, Majestic anchors and MOZ’s Open Site Explorer.
Update: Now also available for FireFox.
Easily one of my favorite features of this tool is the list builder. This is functionality that TermExplorer’s latest version also has (but is paid only) and I find really useful for building targeted term and topic lists quickly.
Just an FYI – you’ll get a modal window asking you to create an account (still free) but you can close it by clicking the “no thank you” gray linked text at the bottom.
Another decent tool that you can dive right into, like keyword.io it also lets you build a list of saved keywords and export to CSV – my only gripe is the dataset is very limited – likely due to either 1) an smaller index overall or 2) a limited index for free users.
The following keyword tools provide results in some limited form without payment, but provide pretty much no useful data for free. With that said, I’ve paid for each of these tools at some point in the past and did find them each to offer their own unique value.
What initially caught my attention about this tool was the individual scraped indexes from both YouTube, Amazon, and the AppStore – and while other tools now boast similar data, this is still my go to source for AppStore keyword research.
In addition, it has a built-in “questions” feature that’s wonderful for digging into TOFU topic content.
Wordtracker definitely has some cool features, my favorite of which is probably KEI. The only issue I have with the tool is the data seems to be sort of stale.. maybe it’s daily data they’re reporting on which is why all the volume estimates always seem low; but it’s not clear.. which is my only gripe.
So WordStream seems to scrape a crap ton of data resources which is cool, and I like that they include their own tracked keyword search volume against Google’s stated volume.
SE Ranking has some slick functionality to extend keyword research as well.
Our data driven approach to keyword research.