Lee Odden

Reader Poll: Best Keyword Research Tools

reader poll

With any kind of online marketing you need a place to start. Find out what kinds of search queries people are typing into the search box and you’ll know what kind of content to optimize, create and get links to.

For the most part, keyword research software and tools fall into a handful of categories. Paid and free are two as well as those that are specific to SEO or for PPC. There are a few dominant players in each category but with some interesting innovations in the past year or so it’s worth re-visiting what’s out there and which tools our dear Online Marketing Blog readers prefer.

What is Your Favorite Keyword Research Tool?

  • Keyword Discovery (18%, 28 Votes)
  • Wordtracker (18%, 27 Votes)
  • WordZe (15%, 23 Votes)
  • Google Keyword Tool (14%, 22 Votes)
  • SeoDigger (12%, 19 Votes)
  • Overture Keyword Selector (6%, 10 Votes)
  • SEO Boook Keyword Tool (3%, 5 Votes)
  • KeywordSpy (3%, 5 Votes)
  • SpyFu (3%, 4 Votes)
  • Digital Point Keyword Suggestion Tool (3%, 4 Votes)
  • NicheBOT (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Hitwise Search Intelligence (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Google Suggest Scraper (1%, 1 Votes)
  • comScore qSearch (0%, 0 Votes)
  • AdGooRoo SEM Insight (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 154

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You really don’t need to look down here until you’ve voted. Now scroll back up and vote thank you very much 🙂

For reference, here are links to each tool mentioned above along with some commentary:

  • Wordtracker – Subscription fee and fairly reasonable – an “OG” of keyword research tools
  • Keyword Discovery – Subscription based and prices have increased within the past 3 years, GRRR, but very popular amongst the natives on SEO island
  • NicheBOT – Search an array of keyword research tools at one time
  • WordZe – A pay for service with options like keyword difficulty and trends – interesting
  • Google Keyword Tool – Free from Google – ’nuff said
  • Spy Fu – Free and paid options available with an interesting way to research competitor keyword ads and the CPC prices they’re paying
  • SeoDigger – Free and kinda cool way to see what phrases your competitor sites are ranking for on at Google – that’s right, you heard me
  • Hitwise Search Intelligence – You will pay and then pay some more for this best of breed keyword and competitive intelligence service
  • comScore qSearch – Sell all that you own as well as your mother’s retirement and kids college fund so you can afford this top shelf, yet amazingly featured service
  • AdGooRoo SEM Insight – A paid for service and a pretty popular competitive research tool for keywords on PPC campaigns
  • SEO Book Keyword Tool – Free and way more information than you’ll likely need – but that’s the kind of guy Aaron is
  • Google Suggest Scraper – Free but isn’t there an ethical cost? 🙂
  • Digital Point Keyword Suggestion Tool – Free unless you donate, in which case, it is a paid for service
  • KeywordSpy – A paid for service and too new for me to write anything more
  • adCenter Labs Keyword Tools – Free except there is the cost of your fake privacy from all those Hotmail accounts you’ve set up
  • Overture Keyword Selector – Free but virtually worthless since it’s no longer updated

Are there niche tools you’ve used that other search marketers should know about? Please mention them in the comments.

Also for reference, here are the last two poll winners:

Poll: What’s Bugging You About Search Marketing? – “Disinformation, Rumors, Divisions, That Sort of Thing” received 26% of the votes with quite a bit of commentary and notice from prominent blogs such as Bruce Clay.

Poll: Best Search Engine Marketing Email Newsletters – A bit of late competition between Search Engine Land and WebProNews on this one. Search Engine Land’s SearchCap came in as the winner receiving 46% of the votes.

PoorSo SoOKGoodAwesome (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Yes you are right. But for a new comer I suggest to work with free tools like Google Sandbox. The writer can have idea about keywords by Overture. When ever he / she write about any topic must looks for the keywords (according to the topic) which have least competition, it will boost up the ranking also.

  2. Great tools! Wondering if anyone is using the SEOmoz tool:
    Of course you need to be a Premium Member, but it may be worth it.

  3. I have to say that keyword research is my favourite thing about SEO. I will enjoy going through this list.

    I notice Keyword Elite is not there.

  4. I like to scrape the meta keywords from my clients’ competitors’ sites:


    If companies (or the SEO company they’ve hired) are still relying on meta keywords for ranking, you might as well take advantage of their keyword research. It’s amazing how many people still think meta keywords make a big difference. Mining meta keywords from other sites is a great way to generate keyword ideas.

  5. Lee you came up with a great list and I know it’s hard to cover absolutely every keyword research tool. But if you did, I use Good Keywords. It pulls info from Overture and a couple other places and is super easy to use, plus every other keyword phrase is hilighted pink, who wouldn’t like that…kidding.

  6. Hi Katy, I agree I probably should have included Good Keywords, but I was avoiding any client side or local applications and chose to stick with web based tools. The problem with tools that take info from Overture is that Overture is no longer updated.

  7. Avatar David Brown says

    Lee I can’t believe that Epiar.com is not on the list! That’s the Bentley of Keyword research! IMHO 😉



  8. Avatar Brian Mark says

    David, they don’t offer a self-serve model. Their in-house system is top notch, no doubt about it. But it’s not a tool you can subscribe and then use to do your own research.

  9. Great information on your site here. I just was reading a few blogs and some how found myself here.

    I am not into all these high tech stuff so I can’t really say much but I do enjoy learning a little at a time on it.

    Thanks for such a nice site to read!

    Dora Renee’ Wilkerson

  10. David, the list is pretty much focused on self serve. When I re-run this poll or the huge survey we’re planning on search marketing resources, I’ll likely include Epiar’s MarketView.

  11. Thank you for including keywordspy.com

  12. Missing from this voting was keywordintelligence.com

  13. Avatar www.bloggingmix.com says


    I’ve tried all the keyword search tools and I think that wordtracker is the best tool. Good luck to your blog. Hope you can visit my blog and give me some feedback. Thanks.

  14. i’m little surprised that “Keyword Elite” is nowhere to be seen as a contender ? hmmmm..

  15. I am very little agree with Lee Odden.

    Its his very own choice.

    i choose google suggest tool..

  16. I am completely dazed and confused with keyword research. I just started in the affiliate marketing business, I know I need a lot of luck, and I have no idea what to use for my keyword research. Though your poll and reviews have helped, I don’t know where to start.


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