SEMrush is a fantastic keyword research tool. We’ve used it for years and our only gripe really is that it’s pretty costly, especially if researching keywords and creating content is your main function. Here at LDA, we’re always looking for the latest and greatest tools so today’s post is focused on some alternative options for keyword research if SEMrush is out of budget, or just old to you.
What We Look for in a Keyword Research Tool
First, here’s what we look for in any keyword research tool.
- Keyword search estimates: Usually, the tools get this information from the Google Search API
- Keyword ideas or related keywords: Each tool has it’s own method for finding related keywords. Some give great suggestions and others not so much.
- Keyword filters: A subset of the above, various filters allow us to group keyword ideas to uncover the best opportunities. For example, filters to show queries which are questions, or local, etc.
- Competition level: Most keywords are competitive so we don’t really feel that this is a major item of interest any more. If you’re playing SEO today, you need to accept that most spaces are saturated so just move along and play the game.
- PPC costs: We always take the PPC cost estimates with a grain of salt but it doesn’t hurt to know the ballpark CPCs for keywords which we’re trying to rank. In general, the more competitive are more expensive but niche has a lot to do with it as well.
Now, here are a few tools worth considering as an alternative to (or addition to) SEMrush, specifically for keyword research.
Mangools for Keyword Research
We hadn’t heard of Mangools prior to a few months back, and can’t figure out why. Mangools is a full suite of SEO tools and we think their keyword research tool the best. Where SEMrush is great with data (they have a lot of it), Mangools focus is finding niches. While the keyword research data is all there, they set some interesting filters which really set them apart.
- Autocomplete research tool: This allows you to search for a phrase and then get data on all of Google’s automcomplete options which are related.
- Question research tool: This allows you to search for a phrase and see related questions.
- Free trial
Both of these features are so simple, yet so useful and not something we commonly see in using keyword research tools.
SpyFu for Keyword Research
SpyFu is another SEMrush alternative for researching keywords. We love the interface of SpyFu and to be honest, the only reason we’d switch is price. It’s shares a lot of the same keyword research features as does SEMrush including:
- Basic keyword research: Search volume, competition, trends, related keywords, etc.
- Keyword competitors: Who ranks for the same keywords as you? They call this feature Kombat and we talk more about it in our full review.
- PPC data: Estimates on CPCs for keywords which you are researching.
- PPC ad research: Which ads each competitor is running for the keywords which you are searching
SEO Power Suite for Keyword Research
Not in an insulting way, but SEO Power Suite offers a ton of keyword data but in a very old school way. That’s right, it’s desktop software (PC, Mac, Linux). We generally like the cloud (so we can work from anywhere) but if you want a really powerful research tool at a great price (1-time fee), it’s an option.
- Organic Traffic Estimates
- Rank Tracking
- Keyword Competitors
- Local Rankings
- Ranking History
We use SEMrush and we like, mostly because of it also provides a lot of data on display ads, Google Ads, etc. so there isn’t a lot out there which covers all these bases in one tool. That said, it’s always worth trying a little something new.
Rick Maggio brings over 15 years of tactical, hands-on experience managing digital advertising campaigns both small and large. Rick has worked in agency-land and on large in-house marketing teams and loves sharing his extensive experience with the LDA community.