Google keyword planner free alternatives 2021

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Episode 6 – Part 2: Free keyword planning tools to find great long-tail keywords for blogs, websites and Etsy shops

I guess you came here straight from our ‘Part 1 of Keyword planning: What is Google keyword ranking and how to find keywords with low competition‘. If not, I’d recommend reading Part 1 first so you understand why Google keyword search volume, search ranking and competition are such important factors when it comes to blogging, and how to check the Google ranking for your website before diving into Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner and many other free keyword planning tools.


Free Google keyword research tools

There are quite a few free keyword research tools out there that are worth checking out to kickstart the SEO of your blog. 

Two of the most obvious and well-known keyword research services are Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends.

Both tools are very reliable because the data comes from Google itself. To use any of those free tools you will just need a Google account, if you don’t have one you can sign up here to your free Google account.

How to use Google Keyword Planner

To use Google Keyword Planner you will need to set up an AdSense campaign first, however, you don’t have to actually run and therefore pay for the campaign, but you do have to create the account and a campaign.

It’s therefore a bit more time consuming to get started with, and since they removed the exact monthly search volumes, and only show an approximate average search volume such as 1K-10K or 10K-100K, many people don’t find it overly helpful. Here you can read more about how to find growing search volume and how seasonality can influence searches.

You will have to start and pay for an ad campaign to see the exact search volume. However, the Google Keyword Planner is a great tool to get started with and it will give you some keyword ideas you might not find anywhere else.

Google Keyword Planner will give you some keyword ideas you might not find anywhere else

How to use Google Trends for keyword planning

I personally like Google Trends a lot, because it’s really easy to use and it gives good insights into what people search for while comparing different search terms.

It will not give you any indication of how many people searched for a specific term, instead it compares two or more search terms and shows you which one(s) are more popular keywords and which ones have increased in popularity over the last few months. These search terms can be the best keywords to target to increase your Google ranking, especially if you’re ahead of the curve and there is not much content online about the subject yet, but more about that later.

Let’s say we would like to start a blog with recipes, this is obviously a very broad topic so let’s narrow it down a bit: Dinner recipes, Baking recipes and Banana bread recipes – it seems like nobody is interested in baking. 

Google Trends keyword data will show you which keywords readers searching for, or not

But then add Banana bread and Pancake to it, et voila, this is what people searched for in the last few months! Google Trends does not tell you how many people searched for a specific term, but compares different search terms with each other. As you can see above the blue graph for Dinner recipes is suddenly much lower in the screenshot below compared to Banana bread and Pancakes.

In Google Trends you can compare up to 5 search terms per search. All data comes straight from Google and it’s all free!

And now when you check those two search phrases in Google Keyword Planner you will see that their competition is actually quite low, with loads more long-tail keyword ideas further down. Now, this is very basic keyword planning, but it’s a great and easy start to get an idea of what your audience is interested in.

Google Keyword Planner also offers to present data for most countries and any time frame. You can get search data for the last week, the last month or year, or decide on any customised time frame such as the last 4 years etc.

Use Google Keyword Planner to find out about keyword competition

WordStream Free Keyword Planning Tool

Then there is also WordStream Free Keyword Planning Tool which is quite straightforward and results include Search volume and Keyword difficulty under Competition. However, the keyword difficulty is quite broad, using low, medium and high as indicators instead of precise percentages. Nevertheless, it’s not bad for a free tool.

WordStream Keyword Planner is very easy to use and there is no need to register an account first. You can also email all keywords to yourself. 

WordStream is another free keyword planner which includes search volume and keyword difficulty

Etsy SEO Keyword Tool

If you’re using Etsy to sell your products you should check out eRank – a free Etsy Seo keyword research tool. This Etsy keyword tool specialises in Etsy listings, it gives you a good insight into competitors listings and which keywords and tags are popular and most searched for on the platform. It gives you a good analysis of the top 100 listings in your category on Etsy.

This Etsy SEO tool is very easy to use

The Etsy keyword tool eRank is quite easy to use. Simply type the search term you would like to be found under into the keyword box on top of the screen and eRank will show you how many times people have used this search term per month, the number of clicks and click-through rates (CTR), and also the estimated Etsy competition for your keyword. So it’s very similar to other keyword planners but all data is specific to the Etsy platform.

Find all Etsy SEO markers such as Google Trends, Google search volume and competition in one table on eRank

It also offers another great feature for Etsy sellers, it shows you a table with the most popular related tags and long-tail keywords for the search term you’re trying to rank for. You can also filter keywords, sort the columns easily by clicking its header and download the full list with one click. It’s an Etsy keyword tool but also offers Google search volume, basic Google competition indication, Google CPC (cost-per-click) and Google trends all in one table.

eRank will show you the top 100 listings for your keyword so you can check them out and use what’s working for them in your own listings.

You can sign up for a free eRank account and use their Etsy keyword tool for up to 50 keywords per day, analyse 100 active listings, and you also get 10 daily rank-checker lookups and can use the keyword explorer to find seasonal keyword trends up to 5 times per day – and all that for free, so check it out! They also offer paid plans, but eRank’s free Etsy keyword plan offers a lot, especially if you’re just getting started with Etsy and would like to improve your Etsy SEO.

Answer the Public – A different type of keyword research

Answer the Public is a bit of a different tool, it does not give you any keyword difficulty or search volume but it’s a really cool tool if you’re looking for ideas of what to write about.

Answer the Public finds questions, prepositions, comparisons, alphabeticals, and related searches. You can type in any keyword and will be presented with a massive visualisation of all sorts of different questions. You can also click on ‘Data’ and all information will be displayed in columns, and click the different options on top to view prepositions, comparisons, alphabeticals, and related searches. 

The keyword research tool Answer the Public is great to get fresh ideas for blog titles

Answer the Public is really cool to get fresh ideas, once you find a few interesting ones you can write them down or you can download the full list. Then type them into Google keyword planner or Google trends or any other keyword research tool I mention below and see how popular they are. It’s a great tool for brainstorming at the beginning of any keyword planning.

Soovle – get keyword ideas from Google and Co.

Another very similar tool is Soovle. It’s very similar to Answer the Public with keyword ideas from Wikipedia, Google, Amazon, Answers, YouTube, Bing and Yahoo. No keyword difficulty or search volume but lots of ideas.

Soovle is another free and very different keyword research tool to give you new blogging ideas, and it’s very easy to use

If you are enjoying this post, would you mind sharing it with your network? Yes, it’ll mean a lot to me. However, sharing helpful content on social media will benefit you too. People will realise you are someone to go to for great information. Just one click:

Check out fantastic Google keyword planner free alternatives to get some new blogging ideas #keywordplanning #SEO #blogging Click To Tweet

Google – your biggest keyword research service itself

And then there is Google itself. The search engine actually gives you lots of useful information for keyword planning.

First of all, there is ‘Autocomplete‘. Simply type your keyword into the search bar and see what Google offers in its auto-complete function. These search suggestions are based on current search popularity, here you can see what people are asking Google about – use it!

Then there is the ‘People also ask’ box in the top third of search results. The best thing about these Google questions is that when you open one of the questions, Google will offer you a few more related questions and that way you can create a really long list with related questions.

Google’s autocomplete can be a great help with keyword planning
Google related questions can give you a lot of keyword suggestions, find out easily what people are searching for on Google

These questions are the popular questions asked by readers on Google, so they can be really valuable for your blog site, as you can use people’s questions in your titles and headings. 

If your site gives answers to questions people are interested in, then it will be much easier for Google to rank your site well.

Free keyword planning tools conclusion

So as you can see, there are lots of free keyword research tools out there and they can give you a lot of blogging ideas, however, they are also somehow limited in what they offer, which is fine as they’re free. They are a great starting point for any blogger. However, you want to make sure that you get the keyword planning basics to find low competition long-tail keywords right, which is all covered in Part 3 of Keyword Planning – How to find long-tail keywords to kickstart your traffic.

You might also be interested in what paid keyword research tools can do for you, especially if you’re interested in accurate search volumes, keyword difficulty, Google ranking and keyword tracking software to generate more traffic.

Check out Part 4 of Keyword Planning: Long Tail Pro vs. KWFinder – all pros, cons and how to bag the greatest discount. This 4 part series on Keyword Planning is part of our WordPress tutorial series ‘How to start a blog in 2021‘.


What about you, which of the free keyword research tools do you use?

Please let me know in a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!

You might also be interested in How to find your niche before you start blogging. Or perhaps ‘Where to find the best and fastest WordPress themes‘ and ‘How to deal with website maintenance and save loads of time‘ so you can spend more time blogging and creating content knowing your site is secure.

I’ve got lots more, easy to follow, tutorials such as how to get WordPress FTP access or upload a text file to WordPress without plugins to get started with Google AdSense.

Check them both out or click the button below for the full index of the How to start a blog in 2021 Index- step-by-step WordPress tutorials so far and I’ll keep updating this index as the guide develops. 

Keyword planning: What is Google keyword ranking and how to find new keywords with low competition

Some of the links below might be affiliated links. No extra cost for you, sometimes with discounts and always the correct product. Read more

Episode 6 – Part 1: Keyword ranking and tools for keyword planning 2021 – check Google keyword ranking for your blog and improve it by finding the best keywords

Every week I have students who say ‘I don’t need a blog, just a website for the business will be fine‘. But let’s think about what a blog actually is. It’s the News section of your website, so it’s there to host new content. New content is loved by readers and also by Google.

Did you know that there is no difference for Google between posts and pages on your website?

Yes, that’s correct. So if we all start with a simple website with an average of 15 pages (About us, Our Services, Contact us etc.) and we create one blog post per week, our site will have over 60 pages (that includes posts and pages) after one year.

Whereas our competitor who started with a similar website with 15 pages and didn’t blog will still only have the same amount of content a year later.

Who do you think readers will trust more? And who do you think Google will display in search results more often?

That’s right, the website with frequent blog posts of course. It’s still the same ‘Content is King‘!

However, our content has to be good quality content and to be able to write good quality content we have to do some keyword research or our post will never be found.


Why start a blog if you have a website already?

  • Websites that also have a blog are shown to have 434% more indexed pages.
  • Companies who blog get 97% more links to their websites.
  • Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trustworthy source for gathering online information.
  • 66% of bloggers today are publishing a few times per month, rather than a few times per week back in 2014.
  • 77% of internet users read blogs.

Source: Blogging statistics by Optinmonster

Important metrics for keyword planning

Google keyword search volume

The keyword search volume is really important as it indicates how many times people have searched for this specific search term. Knowing what people google for can make all the difference as to whether your article will be displayed by Google or not.

The Google keyword search volume metric will be shown by all keyword planning tools, however, some of them like the Google Keyword Planner will show you just a range of the search volume such as 1k-10k, or 10k-100k. As you can imagine, knowing the exact number here can make a huge difference – one keyword search volume might be 11,000 per month but a similar keyword search volume might be 90,000 per month.

They will both be displayed in the range of 10k-100k but it can make all the difference whether you have 11,000 or 90,000 people searching what you’re writing about and therefore driving traffic to your site. 

Check Google ranking for your website

Before you get started with keyword ranking it’s a good idea to check the Google ranking for your website. There are lots of tools out there and most keyword planning tools include Google keyword ranking checkers as well.

I use Rank Math on my websites, this plugin is a fabulous help to write SEO friendly content, it tells you how often your chosen keywords are included in your headers and content and it includes rank tracking software too. However, if you don’t have an account with an SEO plugin or keyword research tools yet you can use Seobility or TheHoth for free.

Seobility is a free all-in-one SEO software with tools for better website optimisation:

  • Website Crawling and Site Auditor
  • Google Rank Tracker with Daily Updates
  • Backlink Checker and Link Building Tools
  • Continuous Monitoring and Whitelabel Reporting

TheHoth is another free tool to check your Google keyword ranking

  • Free Google SEO Ranking Checker
  • Free Backlink Checker
  • Very easy to use
  • You don’t have to sign up for an account, however you have to sign up for their newsletter to get the results

I sometimes use these tools for client’s websites, however, I personally prefer to have it all in my WordPress dashboard instead of opening another site. As a dashboard integration Rank Math is certainly my favourite plugin, not just to check your Google keyword ranking but every day when writing content. I use their premium version, however their free version offers a lot of functionality. I’ll create a video tutorial on how to use Rank Math soon. (link)

Can keyword search volume be influenced? 

Google keyword search volume can be greatly influenced by seasonality – the keywords you’re targeting might be more in demand in summer or winter, or during holiday season or around specific events. 

Google keyword search volume for ski boots is obviously much stronger in winter months
Google keyword search volume for Instant Pot increases at Christmas every year

How to find growing keyword search volume? 

Trends can also play a big role in Google keyword search volumes changing – when a specific kitchen machine or diet gets hyped up in the media, suddenly lots of people search for it and therefore push the search volume up.

Trends can grow and disappear very quickly, so they can be difficult to keep up with. However, if your blog is about something you’re passionate about you are probably up-to-date on trends in your niche anyway and it’s well worth your time to create useful content if you see a trend emerging, as at the beginning of trends your competition will usually be limited. This brings us to the next metric – Google keyword competition.

There was a huge trend for Keto diets in 2018 and 2019, many bloggers who jumped on this bandwagon did very well as there wasn’t much competition
Sourdough became very trendy in spring 2020 at the beginning of lockdown and it’s still twice as popular in 2021 compared to previous years

What is Google keyword competition

Keyword competition is the other side of the coin, if there is strong demand for certain content and keyword search volume is high then very likely your competition will be high too. However, this is not always the case.

With a good keyword planning tool it’s easy to find specific keywords – often long-tail keywords – to focus on; keywords that have a healthy amount of Google search volume but low competition.

For new websites, it wouldn’t make sense to try to compete with the big players, the websites that have dozens of editors, huge marketing budgets, strong domain authorities due to highly valued backlinks and long-established domains. It would be very frustrating because as a new blogger you probably won’t be able to win this battle and would never see your site anywhere close to page 1 in Google. 

How to find keywords with low competition? 

Here is where good Google keywords research tools will make all the difference, so you can slowly move onto page 1 in Google with articles targeting specific long-tail keywords.

In the beginning, these long-tail keywords will often have only a few hundred searches per month but also low keyword competition, and if you create good and informative content about this topic, Google will have no issue moving your post onto page 1 of search results quite quickly.

And believe me, it feels so great when you see your new blog suddenly appearing on page 1 in Google – it’s just incredible! You can then build your domain authority and target more competitive keywords in the long run. Also, you can and should target multiple related keywords per article. And don’t underestimate a low figure of 30 or 100 searches, each long-tail keyword brings more readers and they all add up.

There are lots of long-tail keywords related to Nutribullet with low competition. These are great for bloggers who are just getting started in this niche and want to increase the Google ranking for their website slowly but surely

Free Google keyword research tools

There are a few free keyword planning tools out there that are worth checking out to kickstart the SEO of your blog. 

Two of the most obvious keyword research services and well-known ones are Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends.

Both tools are very reliable because the data comes from Google itself. To use any of those free tools you will just need a Google account, if you don’t have one you can sign up here to your free Google account.

Want to find out more? Read Keyword Planning Part 2: How to use Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends and many other FREE keyword alternatives as part of our WordPress tutorial series ‘How to start a blog in 2021‘.


What about you, do you do any keyword planning when blogging?

Please let me know in a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!

You might also be interested in How to find your niche before you start blogging. Or perhaps ‘Where to find the best and fastest WordPress themes‘ and ‘How to deal with website maintenance‘ so you can spend more time blogging and creating content knowing your site is secure.

I’ve got lots more, easy to follow, quick tutorials such as how to get WordPress FTP access, how to create Pinterest Rich Pins with Rank Math in 5 minutes, or upload a text file to WordPress without plugins to get started with Google AdSense.

Check them both out or click the button below for the full index of the How to start a blog in 2021 Index- step-by-step WordPress tutorials so far and I’ll keep updating this index as the guide develops.