Alternatives to the Google Keyword Planner for Small Businesses
In the Internet world, and especially for small businesses who have to work harder to stand out, keyword research is still extremely important.
Keyword research is a must not just for PPC ad campaigns but for effective content creation in general, whether that content is a simple product description or an original blog post or article.
While most people who say that Google is the best source for keyword research that can be complicated.
The problem is that Google never really intended for their Keyword Planner to become what it did, a go-to free resource for almost any kind of keyword research. The tool is really a Google AdWords offering that was designed to help people do better planning for their PPC campaigns, but as it turned out, it worked wonderfully well for all manner of research.
And if you are running a small business and the best tool is available at no charge why would you ever consider looking at an alternative? However to use the tool effectively you must be an active AdWords customer and even if you are, it’s functionality is hard to navigate and often even harder to understand.
The good news is that there are other keyword research tools out there. But, like anything else, they vary greatly in quality, whether they are free or paid offerings. There are some though that stand out over others. Here are our picks:
This is a good basic tool that will allow you to do a small number of keyword searches a day free of charge. It is not as expansive as the Google tool (warning, none of these tools really are, because they don’t have the ability to offer the search insight that a search engine itself can) but for small chunks of basic research it is a decent option.
Ubersuggest is a little more complex than Wordtracker and offers you a lot more free searches. For a PPC campaign it may be of little use, as it draws its suggestions from many sources, not just Google and Bing. For the blog writer however it is a bit of a dream come true, as it suggests so many different keyword suggestions based on a single search term you can generate enough to keep you going for weeks in just one session.
The SEM Rush interface looks a little daunting at first but once you get used to it it can be very useful. The biggest difficulty though is that its traffic estimates and search volumes are usually a month behind, so if you are looking for ‘hot right now’ keywords then it may not offer you the best ones. As a content research tool though, it is an excellent choice.
Back when they were SEO Moz this company offered some of the best SEO tools around in general. Now that they have been rebranded as MOZ, reflecting that growing your website is not all about your rank in the SERPs anymore, they seem to be even better. The MOZ package offers several different keyword tools that are designed to work together to give you the best possible results.
The price is what turns many small businesses off about MOZ, as it is $99 a month. However, the number of tools – including social media analytics and tools and easy link tracking – is very extensive. When the new MOZ debuted they did bring back the 30-day free trial, so taking that for a spin to see if you really need this level of research ability for your site is something well worth considering.