6 Best Google Keyword Planner Alternatives

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Search engines are the bridging and guiding forces of the digital world. So, search engine optimization (SEO) is the most potent strategy in digital marketing. The critical nature of SEO to page ranking metrics has led to the ban of wild west antics like keyword stuffing. 

Today, you need the Google keyword planner or keyword planner alternative for your SEO. But while the Google keyword planner is free, you need a Google Ads account to operate it. 

Then it would be best if you advertise with Google to get the most out of its keyword planner. Fortunately, there is a wide range of online keyword planner alternatives. The best of them include;

SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool

SEMrush is one of the most popular SEO software platforms. It offers SEO features like on-page SEO, competitor analysis, link building, and rank-tracking tools. It is also an excellent Google keyword planner alternative. 

Its Keyword Magic Tool uses a variety of insights to analyze keywords, easing the whole research process.

SEMrush’s research tool can ease your long-tail and short-tail keywords. It will analyze an entire niche in seconds, scraping its subtopics. In addition, you can narrow down your SEMrush results by activating its impressive search filters and parameters.

How to Use The SEMrush Keyword Tool Alternative

SEMrush keyword magic tool
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First, you can ease your keyword discovery process through general research on a main phrase. Say, for instance, you would like to write an article on digital marketing. The SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool will provide a general list of keywords. 

It further segments the list by parameters like Search Volume, Difficulty Per Country, Keyword Difficulty, or Number of Results. So please choose the most crucial filter and use its keywords to enhance content SEO. This process will improve your page’s rankings and acquire more organic traffic.

Alternatively, use this smart feature to home in on any phrases that are related to a keyword. So, if the main keyword is digital marketing, SEMrush will provide related phrases like “what is digital marketing.” Then, you can use these phrases in your content to generate relevant content that satisfies search intent metrics.

Lastly, SEMrush is an excellent keyword tool alternative to keyword planner because it provides competitor backlinks. Its Backlink tool will analyze your competitors’ URLs and display their backlink list. This data can support the development of a rewarding guest posting, tiered link-building, or broken link-building strategy.

Keyword Magic Tool Features

So, you want to create an SEO article on digital marketing. You are looking for potent keywords and have the SEMrush free alternative keyword planner at hand.

Step 1

First, key in your seed phrase and click search. SEMrush will provide keywords that infer your main keyword.

Step 2

Next, use its tools and modifiers to narrow down your results. You can configure your search using options like:

  • Questions

The questions tab offers related questions like “what does a digital marketer do?”. Generate engaging articles that answer these search queries to increase your organic traffic.

  • Broad match

This feature provides general keyword research results.

  • Phrase match

This filter excludes any verb variations of your seed phrase.

  • Exact match

The exact match option will display search results that match your keyword’s word structure.

  • Related

This filter will display any keywords that relate to your main seed phrase. For instance, “how to get certified on google” is a useful related keyword.

Step 3

You can further personalize your keyword results using SEMrush’s advanced search filters. There are seven drop-down menus that provide refined results. They include advanced volume, keyword density, intent, and cost-per-click (CPC) filters.

Additionally, you can narrow your search by excluding keyword filters, SERP, and competitive density features. On top of that, use the “By number” or “By volume” tabs to explore any niche-specific subtopics and their keyword groups.

Step 4

Use the checkboxes to select your target keyword and move them to the Keyword Manager. Alternatively, export them to a spreadsheet and use them accordingly.

SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool Costs

Semrush has a Pro, Guru, and Business package. These three tiers cost $119.95, $229.95, and $449.95 per month. Fortunately, all SEMrush packages have a free  7-day trial. 

So, kick off your keyword research on the free version, and upgrade to the Pro account to access this platform’s complete toolset. That said, you will have to offer your credit card details to SEMrush to access the free product trial.

Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

Dmitry Gerasimenko founded Ahrefs in 2010 as a large-scale web crawler. Consequently, Ahrefs’ Site Explorer is its most popular tool. Its other features include Site Audit, Content Explore, Rank Tracker, and its Google keyword planner alternative, the Keywords Explorer. Seemingly, Ahrefs is the best paid alternative of google keyword planner.

One of this tool’s outstanding features is it effectively crawls search engines beyond Google. It can analyze Google, Edge, Amazon, or YouTube keywords, giving an excellent overview of keyword use. Its ability to analyze keywords on various search engines is Ahref’s main selling point.  

In contrast, Semrush provides keywords results from Google. However, unlike SEMrush, which offers its user a limited but free alternative to its keyword planner, the Ahrefs Keywords Explorer is a premium tool. 

Ahrefs keywords explorer
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How to Use the Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

Step 1

The Ahrefs Keywords Explorer tool is accessible via its website’s main navigation. And the Ahrefs interface is a breath of fresh air if you compare it to SEMrush. It is a simple, pleasant dashboard that is easier to use.

First, select your search engine of choice to kick off your keyword search process. Ahrefs tools crawl search engines like:

  • Google
  • Amazon
  • Yahoo
  • YouTube
  • Bing
  • Baidu
  • Naver
  • Yandex

This variety implies that a YouTube content creator, for instance, can use Ahrefs Keywords Explorer to search for the best video content keywords and direct more traffic to their channel. 

Alternatively, an Amazon drop shipping site can seek Amazon shopper-centric keywords and expand its online sales.

Step 2

Ahrefs provides various tools that will help you narrow down your keyword search. They include:

  • Keyword difficulty

Ahrefs ranks its keyword search results out of 100. A high score is a signal of a competitive keyword. It means that competing for that particular keyword is an uphill task. This tool will also provide data on the number of backlinks you need to list amongst the top ten sites ranking for that keyword on Google.

  • Volume

The Ahrefs keyword tool alternative to keyword planner also provides the search volume analysis of a keyword. This feature reveals the number of users that search that keyword in a month. Consequently, you can steer clear of low-volume search keywords and only use phrases with high intent metrics. 

Another useful feature under the search volume tab is organic results data highlighting your keyword’s organic use metrics each month. Other valuable insights under this tab include PPC advertising cost and keywords ‘clicks per search’ data. There is also valuable trend data that shows’ declines or spikes in keyword volumes in graphical format.

  • Traffic potential

The traffic potential section evaluates the value of a keyword in terms of the traffic its searches generate on the internet. It will help you estimate the amount of traffic you gain when using a keyword.

  • Keyword ideas with the alternative questions tab

The keyword ideas section includes a search within related, matching terms or search suggestions. Other sections include territory and global volume

Ahrefs Keywords Explorer costs

This research tool’s Lite package has a $99 plan charge, while its Enterprise plan levies a $999 monthly bill. The Lite Package, however, has access to the Keyword Explorer.

Surfer SEO’s Keyword Research tool

Surfer SEO is an on-page optimization tool that offers users tools like a content editor and the Grow Flow AI-based platform growth management tool. In addition, Surfer SEO also has an on-page SEO full audit and keyword research tool. 

While its browser-based keyword tool is a paid alternative to google keyword planner, the Keyword Surfer Extension tool is free. The extension, however, is basic and useful for basic research. So is its AI content outline generator.

Surfer SEO Keyword Research tool
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The Surfer SEO keyword research tool is less feature-packed than Ahrefs or SEMrush. It also delivers minimal volume keywords. To this end, this keyword research tool is optimal for beginner SEOs or hobbyists. 

For instance, if you query a low keyword on Surfer SEO, it will offer fewer in-depth insights than you would find on Ahrefs. Surfer SEO, however, provides excellent data on high-traffic keywords.

How to Use The Surfer SEO Keyword Research Tool

Step 1

Key in a seed keyword to start your research.

Step 2

Use the SERP similarity feature to define keyword overlaps within the list of suggested keywords.

SERP similarity will help you increase your content’s visibility using long-tail keyword variations. Unfortunately, this tool does not have a difficulty score, making it difficult to choose your ranking keywords.

Surfer SEO costs

Surfer SEO offers a chrome extension for keyword research and it is free for all. If you subscribe to Surfer’s content optimization annual Basic package, then it will  cost you $49 per month. Then, its Annual Pro package for $99 a month, while the Annual Business costs $199.

Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz launched in 2004 as an SEO consultation service. However, it has expanded its services by launching its Pro app. Moz offers its users SEO tools like a Link explorer, domain analysis, and competitive research tools. 

It also offers a free alternative of keyword planner, the Moz Keyword Explorer. Like the SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool or Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, the Moz Keyword Explorer is a complete keyword research tool. 

Then, like the Ahrefs tool, it has an easy-to-use interface that lowers the keyword research curve via digestible visual graphics. This SEO tool is, hands down, Moz’s strongest selling point.

On top of that, the Moz Keyword planner is highly accurate, unlike other keyword planner alternatives. This is because it does not source its search volume numbers from the Google Keyword Planner. Instead, the good guys at Moz individually collect their volume data to provide highly accurate search metrics.

How To Use Moz Keyword Explorer

Step 1

Type in your keyword in the search box. Moz will display a data list that includes metrics like:

  • Monthly volume

The keyword monthly volume features highlight the lowest and highest search scores for a keyword monthly. This tool’s data has a 95% accuracy rate.

Moz keyword explorer
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  • Keyword Difficulty

Keyword difficulty scores are an estimate of your keyword’s competitor ranking difficulty. As an illustration, the digital marketing keyword has a 73 difficulty. This score means you need many site backlinks to compete for this keyword. 

However, unlike the Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, this tool does not offer you insights into the volume of backlinks that you need to rank for that phrase.

  • Organic click-through rate (CTR)

Moz’s organic CTR feature estimates a keyword’s organic clicks on search engine result pages.

  • Priority

This feature assigns a score of 0 to 100 to keywords based on their organic click-through rates and volume metrics. If your keyword search shows a 100/100 priority score, it has extremely high search volumes and low competition. The digital marketing keyword score has a 74//100 rating, meaning it is vital to your niche. 

  • Keyword Suggestions

This feature takes a keyword, researches it, and recommends new alternatives but related target keywords. Use them in your keyword list for better SEO results.

Moz keyword analysis
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  • SERP analysis

Moz’s SERP analysis is a Rich Snippet feature that displays all authority domains ranking for your keyword. In addition, it will reveal their page and domain authority score and link list. SERP analysis is a vital tool in link building.

Moz Keyword Research Tool Costs

The Keyword Research tool is a freemium feature since it is part of the Moz Pro family of tools. Moz Pro has a 30-day free trial period, but you must provide your credit card details to access it. Moz Pro’s cheapest plan is $99 per month. The medium plan costs $149, while the Premium plan costs $599 monthly.

Google Trends

Google Trends is a limited but free alternative to keyword planner. Use its ‘search trends’   tab to research your keyword, and it will reveal valuable keyword data like total search volume over time.

It is also an excellent comparative research and keyword planner alternative. It can help pinpoint spikes in keyword use as a response to event triggers like the US football season or the World Cup.

How to use Google Trends

Step 1

Visit the Google Trends website. You will first view data on trending topics and searches in your locality. Then, analyze the trending search data and access more top-relevant terms. The trending searches tab can highlight the top “how to” questions in your territories for enhanced keyword research. 

Alternatively, input a keyword in the search box. Google Trends will display your keywords search volume data in various locations. You can modify your search’s industry, time frame, category, or location to narrow down your results.

If you compare it to the SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool or Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, Google Trends does not offer much data. That said, it provides valuable seasonal marketing insights. 

For example, its trending topics features can guide your seasonal products marketing strategy, ensuring that you have the right keywords in place when a seasonal keyword is trending.

Google Trends
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Step 2

You want to perform keyword research on the digital marketing keyword on Google Trends. So, you manually search those keywords on the search tab. Google Trends will provide a keyword analysis using metrics like:

  • Interest over time

This metric rate assigns search interest by region or time a score of 0 to 100. Therefore, if your keyword has high search interest after comparison to the highest score on the interest over time chart, it will have a high score out of 100. To illustrate this point, the digital marketing keyword search interest over time score was a high of 98 from August 14 to 20, 2022. However, in early February 2023, it was 80.

  • Interest by subregion

This section will reveal regions where your keyword is more at a specific time. Like its predecessor, it assigns a 0 to 100 score on interest. As per Google Trends keyword, the digital marketing keyword had a score of 100 in New York and a low of 42 in Oregon in early February 2023.

  • Related topics

Related topics provide keyword research data about the top and rising keyword searches. Top searches provide viral keyword options. Rising searches, however, are “breakout” topics that increase search frequency over a period.

keyword comparison on google trends
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  • Compare

Have competing keywords and are trying to decide which one would work best? Compare their keyword use potency using the Google Trends’ Compare feature.


Keywordtool.io is also a freemium keyword planner alternative. It was launched in 2014, and like the Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, this keyword tool does not just scrape Google search engines but Bing, Amazon, eBay, and YouTube.

How To Use Keywordtool.io

The free Keywordtool.io platform is easy to use. When you input your keyword, it will list metrics like:

  • Keywords

Keywordtool.io sources its data from Google autocomplete. Use the suggested keywords to amplify your SEO tactics.

Keywordtool.io dashboard
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  • Search volume

This feature highlights your keyword’s search volumes over a month. The digital marketing keyword’s search volume in the image above, for instance, is a high of 2,240,000 searches. The keyword digital marketing agency has 135,000 keyword volume searches. Unfortunately, you would need to buy access to the Keyword Tool Pro to perform a keyword search volume comparison with this data.

  • Trend

The trend metric displays a keyword’s performance in terms of search volume over 12 months.

  • Average cost per click (CPC)

The average CPC feature displays advertiser spending estimates on a keyword. Use it to estimate your keyword’s money-making potential. For instance, the digital marketing keyword has a $1.61 CPC. In contrast, the lower search volume digital marketing agency keyword has a $2.64 CPC.

  • Competition

This feature collates data on advertiser bidding action over a keyword. It assigns keywords a competition score of 0-100. It reveals your keyword’s competitive metrics. To illustrate this point, the digital marketing agency keyword has a 38(medium) competition score, while digital marketing has a 34(low) score.

Keywordtool.io costs

The Keywordtool.io Pro Plus package retails at $79, while the Pro Business package goes for $159 per month. These packages offer CPC and Google Ads competition analysis to users. Their ProBasic option has a $69 per month charge. However, it does not provide CPC and Google Ads competition features.


The team at Neil Patel acquired Ubersuggest from Alessandro Martin, an Italian developer, in 2016. They have, since then, perfected its keyword suggestion features, and today you can enjoy seamless cloud-based research on it. 

Ubersuggest offers its users three free daily searches. But, then, its premium features like historical keyword data and searcher’s age range have a seven-day free trial. If you are a prolific researcher, you should upgrade to its paid version.

Ubersuggest dashboard
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How to use Ubersuggest

The Ubersuggest interface is erringly similar to the Keywordtool.io search platform. Its search metrics include keywords, search volume, trend, average CPC, and competition data. But unlike Keywordtool.io, it breaks down competition data into extra features that include:

  • Paid Difficulty (PD)

Paid difficulty estimates the competition in paid search data.

  • SEO Difficulty (SD)

This feature highlights your keyword’s organic search competition giving it a score of 0 to 100.

Ubersuggest costs

Ubersuggest is one of the most affordable keyword planner alternatives. You will pay $12 for its Individual package on a single website. The Business package costs $20 per month, while the Enterprise package costs $40. That said, Ubersuggest does not provide the array of SEO tools you will find on Ahrefs, Moz, or SEM rush.


The Google keywords planner is an awesome SEO tool but does not provide keyword traffic volumes for low-spend accounts. Fortunately, the keyword planner alternatives above are excellent competitor spy tools. 

They will become rocket fuel to your SEO strategy and enhance your page rank on search engines. Take advantage of their trial or free services and use them to supercharge your SEO strategy.

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