Identifying relevant key phrases for your marketplace is a crucial starting point for your SEO and PPC marketing.

Here’s a selection of some of the best free keyword research tools out there…


Wordtracker is one of the most popular keyword analysis tools being used today. It offers a subscription model, as well as this free keyword tool.

It displays the number of searches for the keyword entered, as well as related terms, so this can be useful when trying to think of the terms you want to target.

On the negative side, it only samples data from a couple of meta-search engines, while you cannot target information from a specific country.

Google Keyword Tool

This free keyword tool displays keyword data from the last 12 months and, as with Wordtracker, displays some useful related search terms to help you brainstorm.

It can also tailor results to the UK, and obviously has the largest search userbase, so the results should be relevant.

The drawback is the vagueness of the results. Instead of giving actual search volumes, you only get rough estimates.

Keyword Discovery

This keyword tool normally charges $49.95 a month, but there is a free trial version available for use.

It has some useful features, such as the ability to see the search trends for your chosen keywords over a 12 month period, receive results from a particular country,  and search for common misspellings connected with your chosen keywords.

You do need to subscribe for access to all of these features, though the free version is still useful.

Google Traffic Estimator

The traffic estimator lets you see traffic for a search term without having to actually add the term to an account or campaign. This toll displays clicks per day, average CPC, cost per day and average estimated position.

It can also be customised to show just results from one or more countries, though it doesn’t give you an estimate of search volumes, and can be less reliable for low volume keywords.

Google Suggest

Google Suggest is a useful tool for brainstorming keywords related to the areas you are looking to target, but it doesn’t give information on search volumes related to these keywords.

To get an idea of popularity, you could use Google Trends, which will help give you an idea of a keyphrase’s popularity over time.

As the UK search market is so dominated by Google, it is important to be cautious when using keyword tools that gather their data from other search engines, as these may give a skewed picture of keyword popularity.

Related research:

Paid Search Marketing (PPC) – Best Practice Guide

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Best Practice Guide 2007

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