When the time comes to research keywords for our SEO campaign, many of us make a B-line toward the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Granted, this is an excellent tool and one of the cornerstones of solid keyword research. But it's not the only tool you have available to you. In fact, there are plenty of free keyword research tools that go beyond this single staple.

Take for example these five keyword research tools you should have in your arsenal when developing an SEO campaign:


Google Suggest: This can be a great way to find synonyms and variations of your keyword as you expand your side-wide keyword list. Just start typing a keyword in the search bar and a drop down list of related terms will come up. Bingo.


The Google Wonder Wheel: I have to admit, when this feature went live in 2009, I wasn't sure what to expect. But now, I find myself using it time and time again to not only help me with keyword research, but also with finding related subjects to write about. Following a similar structure of a mind map, the Google Wonder Wheel pulls related categories and results depending on what you search.

internal site search

Internal Site Search: If you have a website with an internal search function built in, it may not be a bad idea to look through it to find popular searches that you can optimize for. Maybe people are looking for something specific. Maybe they're just browsing. Either way, you'll get a closer look at both keywords and the user experience.

Google Analytics: Noticing a lot of keyword-related traffic? See if you can further capitalize on it by optimizing for it as well as several variations. Granted, you may be getting some traffic from funny searches, but sort through those to find little keyword goldmines that you can use throughout your content.


The Good Ol' Thesaurus: Crack open that dusty book that's sitting on your desk or browse through an electronic copy. Either way, the trusty thesaurus can help you through the keyword research process by providing you with synonyms that you might not have thought about.

There you have it. Five keyword research tools that can help you create a more well-rounded campaign - without having to use your AdWords login.

Now, what keyword research tools do you use?

Mandy Boyle

Mandy Boyle is the Director of Internet Marketing at Net Driven. She is also a published freelance writer and co-founder of NEPA BlogCon. She enjoys theater, not taking herself seriously, and adventurous eating.

Mandy Boyle

You May Also Like

8 Responses to “Keyword Research: Beyond the Google AdWords Keyword Tool”

  1. Hi Mandy,

    What a cool, simple and straight forward Post.

    I vouch for Google suggest and the Google wonder wheel.

    The reason being that Google instant has made the searcher just go by what Google is suggesting. Hence, I think that this is a more reliable tool atleast from the SEO perspective.

    • Mandy says:

      Bharati, that's a great point about suggest!

      Al, yes – I forgot about Webmaster tools for a second. Also really valuable :)

      Christopher, glad to have been of help :)

  2. Al Sefati says:

    I like the wheel thing Google has. Also Analytic is a good one but webmaster tool that you didn't mention can also give you good keyword ideas.

    But good post overall thanks.

  3. […] Keyword Research: Beyond the Google AdWords Keyword Tool (searchenginepeople.com) […]

  4. Christopher says:

    I think the "Google AdWords Keyword Tool" and "Google Suggest" are great tools for SEO, too. I haven't use the other three tools but I think I will do this in the future :)

  5. jon says:

    Thank you for the excellent post. I haven't really checked google suggest and wonder wheel, but I'll make sure to do so.

  6. […] Keyword Research: Beyond the Google AdWords Keyword Tool (searchenginepeople.com) […]

  7. Some excellent tips Mandy. Once a campaign is up and running, I also like to look at search queries for new keyword opportunities. Thought I'd share an article I wrote yesterday on identifying new keywords themes from Google's search query report, which your readers may find interesting: