In 2018 there are now dozens of both free and paid keyword research tools available. Many of them are good but also very expensive. Having worked in SEO and PPC for close to a decade I’ve had the chance to try out several of them. In order to help you get the most bang for your buck, I decided to write this guide outlining the top 3 keyword research tools of 2018.
Finding A Good Keyword Research Tool
Kind of ironic researching a research tool, eh? Well, when you are looking to find a good keyword research tool there are a number of factors and features to consider.
First, you want to look at what search engines the keyword tool is pulling its data from. While some tools, such as Google’s keyword tool, make it pretty obvious which search engines they pull from – others you will have to do a bit of digging to figure out. (Don’t worry, I’ve done that digging for you and will let you know under each tool what they use).
Next it is important to look at the various features that the tool offers. Does it just give you search volume estimates? Does the keyword tool provide any form of competitive research? It’s a good idea to stack up the features a tool has, then consider what features of those you actually need or would use. There’s no sense in paying $100 a month for a tool with dozens of features that you will never use.
Finally comes price. I run this website to help college students learn how to build a profitable website that earns them money so they aren’t stuck working crappy part time jobs with crappy pay. That said, there’s also an understanding that many probably currently are working those crappy paying jobs, at least until their site’s really start earning. For this reason, I am going to make a point with this guide to help you find which keyword research tool will give you the most bang for your buck and help you find success with affiliate marketing.
Without further adieu, let’s examine the top keyword research tools:
Price: $99/mo, $199/mo, $399/mo
SEMRush is one of the industry leaders in keyword research. The platform is truly robust, so they are actually justified in asking for $99/mo for their baseline service. Unless you run a private internet marketing firm or are a company, you likely don’t need to look at the higher tier plans.
- Competitive Research Tools – Look into the keywords your competitors are optimizing for and bidding on to help structure your marketing strategy. You get a full suite of competitive research tools at your disposal.
- Keyword Research – Data compiled from Google & Bing. Get an understanding of the general search volume certain keywords are getting and what the competition is like for keywords.
- Position Tracking – Monitor how your website ranks for certain keywords
- Backlink Audit Tool – Check for good and bad backlinks, also see where your competition is getting links from
- PPC Keyword Tool
- Domain vs Domain Comparison – Stack 2 or 3 domains each other and see how they perform in all forms of search (probably my favorite SEMRush feature)
Overall SEMRush has an excellent suite of very robust tools. I’ve found that SEMRush has stronger accuracy for paid search research than it does for organic research, but that’s just my own personal experience with the tool.
If you have clients and are trying to help imporove their digital marketing strategies then SEMRush could serve you very well and the $99/mo price point is worth its weight in gold.
However, if you are working on building out affiliate marketing sites for yourself and don’t have a strong budget (yet), SEMRush probably isn’t your best choice. Additionally, SEMRush was designed for search marketing as a whole – it has little to no extra features catering towards affiliate marketers.
Read My Full SEMRush Review
Price: $39/mo, $78/mo, $299/mo
SpyFu is another very popular option for keyword and competitive research in digital marketing. While their price points are a bit easier to digest than SEMRush, the SpyFu tool-set is not quite as robust. My personal opinion is that SpyFu does not have quite as user-friendly of a design, however the tool is still strong and worth considering. I’ve found SpyFu far outperforms SEMRush when it comes to competitor research and finding strong backlink opportunities.
SpyFu has built itself around reporting. Most of the best tools that SpyFu offers come in the form of reports. For folks that like that have more of a “product” when completing their research, SpyFu compiles various PDF reports for chosen domains.
- Organic and PPC Keyword Research – Like the others, SpyFu compiles its keyword data from Google & Bing
- Backlink Information & Contact Info – This is my favorite feature of SpyFu. You can get contact info for site you want to get a backlink from. This provides you with an opportunity to reach out and offer to do a guest post or other backlinking strategy.
- Reporting – SpyFu has a plethora of reports available and they (almost) all come with a downloadable PDF option. These PDFs can also be branded if you pay for their higher tier price point
- PPC Account Scanning – You can scan your AdWords campaigns and get recommendations for negative keywords to add to help optimize your campaign spending
- Tracking – Keep track of keywords and rankings for multiple websites. This allows you to keep tabs on competitors performance as well as your own
Overall I would recommend SpyFu is SEMRush doesn’t quite fit within your budget and you want a decent look at keyword opportunities. The data is not quite as in-depth or robust as SEMRush, but it is still enough for lower volume users. SpyFu also offers the ability to lower your price point by paying annually instead of monthly, which SEMRush does not offer.
Price: Free Trial, $49/mo, $99/mo
I’ll be honest, I saved the best for last here. As mentioned earlier, this guide is meant to fit you with the top keyword research tool to fit your needs and your budget. As this site is catered toward teaching how to make money with affiliate marketing, I rank tools that at least give affiliate marketing some consideration with their design higher.
Jaaxy offer a full suite of tools design ed to help users not only find strong keywords, but also to find domains, affiliate programs, niche ideas and much more. In addition to these features, Jaaxy comes at a much more affordable price point than the previous 2 options.
- Free Starter Trial – Get to know how Jaaxy works before you decide to spend money on it
- Keyword Research Data – Data is pulled from all 3 major search engines: Google, Bing and Yahoo
- Keyword List Manager – Develop lists of keywords around a central theme. This will become hugely useful when you start writing in-depth content
- Keyword SEO Strength – See how strong a keyword is on a grade scale of 0-100 (100 being easy to rank for, 0 being very competitive) alongside the actual number of articles ranked for a given keyword (QSR). You’ll also gain insight into the average monthly searches for a keyword and the estimated traffic you would receive if you ranked on the first page for a given keyword.
- Alphabet Soup – The alphabet soup method for finding keyword is nothing new. However Jaaxy automates that process, allowing you to quickly and easily find hundreds of strong keywords to optimize your content around.
- Affiliate Program Finder – Type in a keyword, choose the affiliate program database and Jaaxy will give you a list of relevant affiliate programs to sign up for as well as what that program’s commission payout is – allowing you to maximize your ROI
- Domain search – In addition to your keyword lists you will also be able to see if a given keyword is available for a .com, .net or .org domain.
Overall I put Jaaxy at the top of my list for anyone looking for a strong keyword research tool – especially if it is for the purpose of affiliate marketing. The suite of tools is designed to give an affiliate marketer all the resources they need to build successful and profitable websites over and over again.
I also trust and standby Jaaxy’s accuracy. I’ve even gone so far as working to persuade the company I work for to switch their keyword research tool over to Jaaxy from SEMRush because I believe its data is far more reliable and also provides greater brainstorming ability in finding new keyword opportunities.
Give Jaaxy a Try:
There are a number of great keyword research tools out there and I can assure you the 3 listed in this post are the top choices for professional internet marketers. The choice boils down to what features are offered, what features you will use and how much will you be paying to use those features. All 3 of the keyword research tools discussed will provide you with accurate data for the search engines that they crawl.
After reading this post, which keyword research tool do you think would be the best fit for you? Do you have experience with any of the tools? If so, I’d love to hear your feedback or any questions I may have left unanswered. Leave your comments below and I will get back to you ASAP.
Hi Deven; I have read your post I really like it, as it helps me to understand more about Keyword tool.
Could it be that SemRush is designd for those people with upward to fifty and over websites?
While Spyfu is traling close behind SemRush, would you not expect the people who know and understand Keyword tool to keep searching?
In the group of all three, would you not say that Jaaxy is for the people with a low budget and high expectation as well as all others?
I’m not sure I would agree that SEMRush is more for enterprise-level users, though they do have the toolset to cater to such a user. I think SpyFu does a great job at backlink digging and getting you in touch with other webmasters within your niche, whereas SEMrush tells you what they are doing to help you better structure your internet marketing strategy. With all that said, I do believe that Jaaxy provides the most bang for your buck by far – especially if you are working in affiliate marketing. Even better, Jaaxy is free for Wealthy Affiliate members.
Thanks for the comment!
Thank you for all the information. I am very new in WA and I have been using Jaxxy and is very easy to use.
I am new and I do not have a lot of money, so Jaxxy was my betters option.
It was very helpful all the information about SEO. you gave very information.
I like your page because it is very easy to follow and read.
You just keep it simple!
I agree, Jaaxy is incredibly easy to use and one of the best keyword research tools available. It may not have all the features that SEMRush or SpyFu have but for the purpose it serves it doesn’t need them. And by not having all those extra bells and whistles that most folks don’t use, they are able to offer their great product for a very affordable price. I am glad you found my review helpful. If you should have any questions along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out! Thanks for the comment!
Thank you for your review of keyword online options. I had never heard of SEMRush before. It looks like quite a few good tools for researching keywords but the price is kind of pricey for my budget, especially just starting out in affiliate marketing.
I had also not heard of SpyFu either. While there aren’t as many tools included, it’s more aligned with my budget.
After using Jaaxy for free, I ended up upgrading to get additional options. I’m very happy with the quality and price for what I’m getting. Plus since it was the first one I tried, I think I feel more comfortable with it.
Do SEMRush and SpyFu have any free trial options? It would be nice to try without having to commit with the additional costs.
I agree, Jaaxy definitely caters itself to affiliate marketing very well and is extremely easy to use. Personally, I use SEMRush for competitive research, site audits and content ideas. Jaaxy is my go-to for keyword research.
To answer your question, SEMRush does have a free account option to get a feel for the software. It is not really a free trial, so much as a limited version of the software. Much like Wealthy Affiliate’s Starter Membership, there is no time constraint that would make it a trial, you just don’t have as many features and tools at your disposal.
SpyFu does the same thing as SEMRush. There is a free account for SpyFu, however your software is limited. Hope this helps. Thanks for your comment!
As someone who’s been very active in the field of affiliate marketing for 2 years, I really heavily on keyword research. I can never resist a post that compares keyword tools. Your article has further confirmed my decision to use Jaaxy. I’ve found this tool to be very robust and an excellent way to identify low-competition keywords that are easy to rank for in the search engines. I’m an annual member. So, it’s even more budget-friendly than your prices suggest. I totally agree that Jaaxy deserves a grade of A. Thanks for the enjoyable post!
I’m glad you enjoy using Jaaxy. It definitely does a great job taking care of the needs of affiliate marketers. Thanks for the comment!
Now you have given me a dilemma. I am relatively new to blogging and know I need a keyword research tool. I have tried a free version of semrush but if I’m honest the amount of data confused me. It night give me information but what to do with it was beyond my experience.
I have not heard of Spyfu but do have a Jaaxy account which I used as a free trial. It was really helpful and am tempted to subscribe.
Do you know if Spyfu has a free trial so I can make a final decision?
SpyFu does have a free trial option for you to try everything out and decide if it is the right fit for you. You can find that here: https://www.spyfu.com/freeacco…
Thanks for the comment!
Jaaxy is really awesome. And the best part is its free for WA Members. Very well explained on all the three keyword researchers. SEMRush is great. But its very costly. I don’t think I can afford it. Jaaxy is just fine, thanks to Wealthy Affiliate. And I love your site. I wish If I could find such a site in my college days.
I agree – Jaaxy is excellent and it being free for Wealthy Affiliate members is amazing. That said, I do love SEMRush, but can certainly understand how it may be out of some folks price range. It isn’t cheap, especially if your website isnt earning much yet. Thanks for the comment!