5 Google Keyword Planner Alternatives

Frustrated with Google’s new Keyword Planner? Here are five alternatives to try for your keyword research.

Soundtrack for this post: “Search and Destroy” by the Stooges

First the Gmail Promotions Tab, now this. It was a busy summer for Google and apparently “killing” email marketing wasn’t a big enough check on their to-do list. They also had to drive another nail into the coffin of the SEO industry by shutting down its popular (and highly effective) Keyword Tool, too.

It’s almost enough to wonder — has Google declared war on marketers?

(Well, maybe just a certain kind of marketer, but that’s a topic for another post.)

That said, there’s no denying Google’s replacement tool — Keyword Planner — leaves a lot to be desired for those who had gotten used to using Keyword Tool as their primary go-to for keyword volume research for organic search. It’s true that the old tool wasn’t exactly built for that task, either (the focus was always on advertising), but Planner is geared even more strictly toward PPC. The fact that you have to sign in to an AdWords account to access it is pretty telling.

If you’re like many marketers and are confused, frustrated, and wondering “what now?” here are five alternatives to Google Keyword Planner you can turn to.

5 Keyword Research Alternatives to Google Keyword Planner

1) WordTracker


Pros: A nice, simple search tool that provides data on volume, competition, and also recommends highest potential keywords. The free version is a good replacement for the basic functions you may be missing from Google’s Keyword Research Tool.

More results and advance features are available via a 7-day free trial. After that it’s $69 a month.

2) SEMrush


Pros: Phrase match and related keyword results can give you a variety of ideas (though only the first 10 are free). Also includes the top sites ranking for organic search for the term. Nice for competitor research and guest blogging / link building ideas.

Best of all, the basic version is free.

3) Moz Keyword Difficulty and SERP Analysis

Moz header

Pros: One of the tools offered by Moz (formerly SEOmoz), this is really better for doing research on keywords you already know you want to target (not for identifying new target keywords). It’s also great for competitor research, providing the Page Authority and Domain Authority (plus the number of root domains linking to both) for the top 10 pages ranking for any particular keyword.

You can check out the Keyword Difficulty and SERP Analysis tool (along with the other tools in the Moz bullpen) via a 30-day free trial. From there, the Pro-level plan is $99 a month.

4) WordStream


Pros: Not a lot of detailed info here (at least for the free version), but if you’re simply looking for keyword ideas this is a good option. Be sure to prioritize your searches, though — only the first 30 are free.

5) Bing Keyword Search

Bing Search

Okay, I know what you’re thinking — Bing? Yes, it’s easy to forget about the other search engine, but the truth is Bing may just stand to be the biggest beneficiary of the dissatisfaction with Google’s new Keyword Planner Tool. It may be pulling data from fewer searches, but it still provides a great alternative. The only catch is that you have to sign in to a Bing Webmaster Tools account with a verified site.

Bonus: Google Search

Google Search

A tip of the hat to Ruth Burr at the Moz blog for including this great tip for quick and easy (and free) keyword ideas. Simply start a Google search but don’t hit “enter” — the suggestions Google provides can be great indications of the terms searchers will use.

Taking this one step forward, once you find a keyword you want to research further do hit “enter” and take note of how many results show up.

Further Reading

For other keyword research ideas, try Chapter 6 of Neil Patel’s Advanced Guide to SEO.

Though far from popular, Keyword Planner is still a viable resource for many marketers. If you’re determined to make the best of it, see this post from Jayson DeMers at Search Engine Journal.

What keyword research tools have you turned to with Google’s Keyword Tool being shut down?





Jonathan Crowe
Jonathan Crowe
Senior Content Manager

Jonathan Crowe is Senior Content Manager at Barkly. He was previously the Managing Editor of OpenView Labs.
You might also like ...
4 Tips for Setting Your Company's Annual Rhythm

Every company starts the new year with big goals and aspirations. But how many of those companies actually accomplish them?

by Kristin Hillery
Startup Strategy
We Explored 3 Product Positioning and Branding Failures. Here’s What NOT to Do.

B2B brand and product positioning will only continue to become more important with the rise of the End User Era.

by Margaret Kelsey