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Search Term Tools

Author: Cecily Crout

Search Engine OptimizationOne of the major foundation blocks of any search engine optimization strategy is the identification of target search terms (keywords) for your market.

There are a number of tools available to help you discover which search terms your potential web visitors are searching for. We have what we consider the best of them listed here.

These search term tools show the search volume for a given keyword or phrase, i.e. the number of times it’s been searched on in a given timeframe.

This should not be confused with the number of search results you get when you type in a search term at the search engines. This is the number of competing web pages that are indexed and ranking for that keyword.

Top Search Term Tools for Keyword Research

Google Adwords Keyword Tool

» Google Adwords Keyword Tool

The Google keyword tool is our preferred search term research tool, because it's fast, usable, allows download of results, and above all you know that the volume of data they have available to them is way greater than any of the other keyword services.

It's free to use, but you get a full set of results if you sign in with your Google Account.

» Go to Google's Keyword Tool

Keyword Discovery Search Term Tool

» Trellian's Keyword Discovery Search Term Suggestion Tool

A good replacement for Yahoo's Keyword Assistant, that, sadly, is no longer available. Reliant on their own toolbar data.

The free Keyword Discovery tool can be used over and over but does not offer all the features of their paid service, for which they offer a free trial.

» Go to the Keyword Discovery Free Tool

Wordtracker Keyword Tool

» Wordtracker Keyword Tool

One of the major advantages of WordTracker is that they pull information from various search databases, which is a nice contrast to the 'paid search' based search term tools and toolbar dependent search terms tools (e.g. Google & Keyword Discovery).

They offer a 7 day free trial, but you have to hand over your personal and credit card info.

» Go to Wordtracker's Free Trial page


» NicheBOT Classic

Alternatively (if you can handle the abundant information), you can use NicheBOT, a handy dandy little search term tool that combines the best of the best.

Nichebot appears to have been bought out by Trellian/Keyword Discovery, so where it used to be free all the time it's now only free for a 20 day trial.

» Go to NicheBOT's Search Term Tool

More Google Search Term Tools

Google Insights for Search

» Google Insights for Search

Google's 'Insights for Search' tool allows you to, "compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties." Basically, it allows you to get specific information about your search terms within a context, and find new keywords. The context may be your location (local or national), a timeframe (has search volume changed over time for my term?), a category (what keywords are the top keywords and which are the rising keywords in real estate?), or a complex combination. Aptly named, the insights tool allows you further insight into the nuances of your search terms and search terms for your industry.

» Go to Google's Insights for Search...

Google Trends

» Google Trends

The Google Trends tool is meant to give information and insight into broad patterns in search. At the most basic level, it allows you to glimpse up to the minute "hot topics" and "hot searches" (what are the top search terms for the past 24 hours?). On a more advanced level, you are able to see the trends for specific keywords, including which regions of the world are using the keyword the most. Similar to the "Search Insights" tool in many ways, the trends tool allows you to specify a time range, choose regions to narrow in on, and compare multiple keyword statistics (How do the trends for "SEO" and "SEM" compare over the past year in the US?).

» Go to Google's Trends...