Note: This post reviews web-based suggest keyword tools. It doesn’t cover desktop tools (like keyword snatcher) or plugins (like keyword sniper).
A rose by any other name may smell just as sweet, but good luck trying to find good results for “thorny red flower” on the first page of the SERPs! Until Google gets even better with its relationship-mapping (thanks Hummingbird, you’re a great start!), long-tail optimization will be a huge part of SEO.
Whether your goal is to optimize content for the search engines or getting fresh new content ideas, using the right keywords and phrases is a big factor of success. The trick is knowing which keywords to incorporate in your content. If you’ve done a Google search for “keyword research”, than you probably know there are tons of methods, some using hardcore SEO tricks or simple keyword research tools. The most popular keyword tool by far is the one and only Google Keyword Tool called Keyword Planner. Conceived originally for AdWords, this once external keyword tool is loved by SEOs for the metrics it provides. It’s biggest shortcoming? It mostly reveals only head or body keywords, and you have to wrestle it out of an AdWords account.
But what about those times you need more detailed, long-tail keywords?
Google Suggest is the “autocomplete” product that attempts to fill in your searches as you’re typing (through the Google suggestion box illustrated below). Have you noticed how detailed and long-tailed those suggestions usually are? They’re based on real searches done through Google. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get those keywords?
Luckily, some smart developers created SEO keyword tools based on Google Suggest and APIs.
Today I’ll share some of the best, free Google suggest keyword tools that are out there, and I promise not to make your head explode. First up is Übersuggest, an ad-heavy yet effective tool designed by Italian SEO pro, Alessandro Martin of Reprise Media.
Übersuggest Keyword Suggestion Tool
The beauty of the Übersuggest SEO keyword tool lies in its simplicity. Choose the language you’d like to search in — there were 42 different languages at the time this article was written— and the type of niche you’re writing for (web, shopping, recipes, videos, images, etc.). Let’s say you own a salon and are running thin on ideas for your blog. Take a phrase like “hairstyles” and enter it into the tool. Click suggest and you’ll be shown a list of the term appended with letters and phrases.
Pros: Übersuggest is a great way to find new content, topic and keyword ideas that are based on actual searchers’ queries. Click the + icon to add the keyword to a running list, or click on the keyword to expand the term for even more long-tail keywords. There is a “get” button to let your copy your running list to your clipboard.
Cons: This tool is not a keyword analysis tool, as it doesn’t give you search metrics (like estimated searches or competition), but can inspire really good ideas. Also, it can be quite slow at times. Sometimes even offline. Finally, when you add terms, it’s possible to inadvertently add duplicates. There is no .CSV export.
Übersuggest uses an “unofficial Google API” to bring you different phrases and combinations using your targeted term that come from real searches. Sometimes it’s noisy and sometimes it’s gold.
Übersuggest Pro Tips:
- Try searching head terms as well as long-tail phrases to get the most variety. You can even enter in whole sentences and ask entire questions!
- Enter who/what/where/why/when and subject to get results that are popular questions. For example, enter: how doghouse to get results like “how to heat a doghouse”. Or, even better, keep reading to learn about the “Answer The Public” engine.
- Don’t just stick to the alphabet; Übersuggest works with numbers, too. Sticking with our original example, search “3 hairstyles” and “3 hairstyles that” to see what I mean.
- Übersuggest cleverly hacks Google’s API, so if you get an “API error” message, simply wait for a bit and then resume your requests.
- Runs on an unofficial Google API, so if you’re doing a rather large number of requests you may receive an API error message. If this happens to you simply try again later.
- Add the Übersuggest CPC & Search Volume Enhancer plugin to Chrome to see keyword CPC and search volume data in your Übersuggest results.
Keywordtool.io Keyword Suggestion Tool
Next up is another great little Google keyword suggestion tool with a less-creative name: Keyword Tool. This tool is a lot like Übersuggest, minus a few key differences. Keyword Tool also takes your base term and appends it with letters and phrases but— unlikeÜbersuggest— will enhance your base term with letters and phrases too, resulting in many more suggestions.
Keyword Tool looks much more aesthetically pleasing than Übersuggest and gives a ton more results, but those aren’t the only differences. Keyword Tool works by using Google’s, YouTube’s, Bing’s, and the App Store’s Autocomplete data to suggest long-tail keywords and phrases.
The tool also prepends and appends your base term with different letters and numbers (like Übersuggest) and lets you choose to use a specific Google domain (of its 192) and language (83 available) combination.
To export the keywords and phrases that you’d like to use, simply click on the little + sign next to the desired term, or hit the “Copy All” button at the top of the page and then paste them into your notes or spreadsheet.
Pros: More attractive and relatively faster than Übersuggest. Easier to see results in one screen without clicking.
Cons: Slightly more confusing “copy” feature within a list that lives in a small tab at the bottom right of the screen. Also no search metrics.
Keyword Tool utilizes an external API that provides keyword suggestions you’d never be able to find in AdWords. Google AdWords keyword tool hides keywords what the Keyword Tool’s API easily finds by using autocomplete data.
Keyword Tool Pro Tips:
- The top three pro tips for Übersuggest work here (see above).
- While the free version of Keyword Tool is extremely helpful, you’re given the option to purchase full API access from Google, Bing, YouTube and the App Store. Using the paid Keyword Tool API you’ll be able to: research a list of keywords at once instead of one at a time; negative match keywords that you want to exclude entirely from your keyword suggestions; and you won’t have to manually copy and paste your keywords, it’s done automatically.
- The makers of Keyword Tool created a Google Spreadsheet template for those who are technically challenged and still want to use the API. If this sounds familiar, you can contact them for the template via their onsite contact form or by emailing email@example.com.
Answer The Public
Answer The Public takes a very cool spin on “suggest” data, targeted at finding and answering searched questions through Google and YouTube. Pick your subject (keyword) and pick your region.
The results are solid (and similar to Keywordtool.io and Übersuggest):
But this tool does something extra-special. Click the Build visualisations button and enjoy this useful display:
Pros: Lets you pull from Google and YouTube. Lets you sort by “top,” “alphabetical,” “questions,” and “prepositions.” Also creates amazing visualizations. Allows export to .CSV.
Cons: Seems to record your “recent reports” which might be a turn-off for some doing competitive keyword research, but that’s a super-minor con in my opinion.
Keyword Tool Pro Tips:
- Enter in a string of related keywords – it does a good job of parsing them.
TinySuggest is a very light, quick keyword tool. No frills might be the best way to describe this tool. Pick your subject (keyword) and language, and go.
Pros: You can download via .CSV. Might be useful when you just need some results fast.
Cons: Runs slower than the others (but closer to Übersuggest). There really isn’t any categorization. Some of the results were noisy.
Keyword Tool Pro Tips:
- See tips from other tools – not much new here.
Billed as an Übersuggest alternative, SERPs Suggest uses Google Suggest, Bing Suggest, YouTube Suggest & Yahoo Suggest to suggest similar keywords and keyphrases to a base term. Note that this is the only tool to make use of Yahoo Suggest.
Unlike any of our other tools, however, SERPs Suggest will give you cost-per-click (CPC) and estimated search volume.
Pros: Provides a different data set with Yahoo suggest. Provides CPC and estimated search volume.
Cons: The downside to this keyword suggesting tool in particular is that there is no way to export data or specific keywords other than good old copy and paste. Plus, it doesn’t break the keywords up like Übersuggest and Keyword.io (but that may not be important to you).
SERPs Suggest Pro Tips:
- Like some of the others, adding “what/where/why/when” keywords to SERPs Suggest provides some quick questions that might provide topic ideas.
Another awesome Google Suggest keyword tool that was recently brought to my attention (thanks to the comments and Twitter) is Keyword.io. Keyword.io works by using Google Autocomplete, Google Analytics and Google AdSense data to give you real-time user queries and relevant terms related to your search phrase.
Keyword.io prepends and appends your search phrase with different letters from the alphabet as well as prepends your phrase with questions like “how”, “what”, “why”, and “where” to help you better meet searcher intentions. But that’s not all. This nifty tool goes a step further by providing links to the top 10 pages in Google that are relevant to your search phrase including word counts, and a chart of different statistics illustrating how they relate to your search phrase—like frequency, specificity, number of pages, etc.
Keyword.io also uses TextRank and TI-IDF to find and recommend other relevant terms related to your search phrase that you can further improve your copy’s contextual relevance with.
Pros: Unlike the other tools mentioned here, Keyword.io is free to use and export data from (just signup for a free account first), plus it even keeps track of your past analyses.
Cons: The term statistics chart can be a little difficult to read and interpret.
Keyword.io Pro Tips:
- The top three pro tips for Übersuggest also work here (see above)
- Keep an eye on this keyword tool— we’ve gotten word that the creator will be adding search volume metrics to it in the near future.
This next tool takes the power of Google Autosuggest and frankensteins it with the expansion capability of Übersuggest. Plus, it adds an extra layer of keyword volume data and highlights keyword opportunities in yellow. Brought to you by our friend Sean Malseed of RankTank and co-collaborator Jeff Louella.
Pros: Not only is Goobersuggest free to use and export data from (there’s an awesome Keyword List tab to make copying and pasting into Excel even easier), it’s super-easy to localize for international keyword research. Also, if you have an SEMrush API key, the tool will automatically surface strong keyword opportunities— keywords with high search volume but a low number of results, what we like to call low-hanging fruit.
Cons: Since the tool uses Google Sheets, it can be a little wonky from time to time. Also, you’ll need an SEMrush API Key if you want to get the enhanced search volume and keyword opportunity functionality.
Goobersuggest Pro Tips:
- The top three pro tips for Übersuggest also work here (see above)
- It’s super-easy to localize the tool for different countries. Perfect for international SEO & keyword research.
When the original Google keyword tool isn’t cutting it, maybe one of these can fill in. But to answer the question posed in the title, our nod goes to KeywordTool.io for general keyword research – but just barely. With the speed, improvement in interface, and reliability, this tool is a strong contender in our opinion. Answer The Public is also pretty incredible and in some cases (especially topic creation) is our go-to tool. We really like SERPs Suggest’s data feature as well. But our true recommendation? Give them a spin for yourself and draw your own conclusion.
If you know of another Google suggest keyword tool that you’d like to share, let me know in the comments!