Every year, age-old digital marketing principles serve decision-makers as irreplaceable strategy cornerstones—cornerstones which, together, form strong foundations upon which innovations can grow. Still, this doesn’t mean times haven’t changed.

As social media networks further blend ideologies, cross-channel traffic becomes even more difficult to track—and even more difficult to glean insights from. Where PPC is considered, AdWords is still going strong—dishing out the resources needed to craft multifaceted campaigns.


Keyword Research in 2020


Keywords in general are invaluable to any digital marketer intending to make a splash in the e-commerce ocean—as well as its conjoining data streams. Doing good keyword research has always been important, but it’s imperative in 2020. Cross-channel traffic, these days, often enters the omnichannel realm—wherein showrooming, Instagram promotions and Google Maps insights take center stage.

Unfortunately, many marketers assume the buck stops where brick-and-mortars begin: Instead of expanding their SEO tactics into in-store advertisement—indeed, it’s possible—they simply dive back into the closest channel, missing opportunities to reach massive audiences.

Still, it’s possible for industry newcomers to open omnichannel doors quickly. Perceivably, omnichannel market doors have tall entry barriers. In many cases, however, this isn’t the case. They were never there to begin with.


Building Your Campaign Core: Adaptable Toolkits


This isn’t to say mass-audience visibility is achieved without difficulty, however. It’s tough to know when, where and how to cater to your brand’s potential consumers. It’s also tough to find out while also growing your current fanbase. Fortunately, though, one needn’t complete high-jump challenges to bring their e-commerce-only brand into the physical world. They only need to double down on keyword research tools.

Again, keyword research is the lifeblood of any PPC, SEO or content marketing campaign. Because the consumer’s day-to-day life is accompanied by a smartphone or tablet, the gap between keyword targeting and geo-location services begins to close—considerably so.

But what keyword research tools are experts using, exactly? Today’s options are large in number and varied in features. While a startup or entrepreneur might need tools featuring in-depth SERP overviews, established brands might need tools capable of dissecting the integrity of their current keyword pool. In some cases, both need research tools capable of identifying negative keywords. In many cases, as recent years have shown, keyword exclusions can’t be ignored.

Figuring out the best keyword research tool for your own business might seem like a tall order, but it really isn’t. While each tool is complex, their use tends to be easy. The creative experts behind these tools, after all, have crafted them to be approachable by those in need of a campaign turnaround. In most cases, they’re even designed to help novice SEO marketers build a campaign from scratch.


2020’s Best Keyword Research Tools


So, fear not: If you know where your primary audience is, you’re set. If you know the general ins and outs of your target consumer’s purchasing journey—even better. If your business isn’t ready for omnichannel marketing’s on-the-go shoppers, that’s okay.

The research tools below are designed to open new doors of opportunity, of course. And—yes—they’re also packed with features to guide you once you’re on the other side.

At any time, however, you can simply drive your SEO campaign in another direction if you’d like. The tools are ever-adaptable, and they maintain relevancy as a quality priority. Pick them up, put them down, leave them behind or send them to scout ahead. You have many resource choices available.

Now, let’s see what these choices are all about.


One: Ahrefs Keyword Explorer


This first tool is widely considered to be one of the most effective around, giving content creators around the world instant access to robust keyword reports, data insights and flexible metrics tools.

As one of the more accessible keyword research tools, Ahrefs Keyword Explorer is a must-have for any startup owner, entrepreneur or small business owner still getting used to the art of SEO and click-based marketing.

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer is commonly suggested to new industry entrants for its keyword suggestion tool—a pool capable of generating over 1,000 unique keywords. This pool is custom-tailored, too, capable of outlining entire SEO campaign foundations via dynamic keyword generation tools derived from pre-established user input.

The platform also features an extensive SERP overview—another invaluable tool for those new to the world of digital marketing. Packed with CTR-boosting click metrics, Ahrefs Keyword Explorer is much more than a one-size-fits-all beginner’s toolkit. Supported in over 171 countries, the platform’s headline feature is, simply, its capacity for on-the-spot relevancy insights.

Two: Google Keywords Planner

Google Keyword Planner

Google has always been a number-one hub for SEO marketers, PPC campaign designers, e-commerce gurus and startup enthusiasts. Today, Google Keywords Planner toolkit maintains its legacy of supplying high-quality, easy-access resources capable of benefiting new and seasoned marketers alike.

Presented by Google as a one-in-all resource bundle for getting one’s ads into highly visible digital real estate spots, Keywords Planner is one of the most accurate sources of data on the market. This is understandable, of course, as Keywords Planner sources Google’s data directly.

This also gives SEO marketers instant access to AdSense monetization support—as AdSense synergizes with Keyword Planner’s near-real-time relevancy insights. Useful for identifying “top of page” commercial keyword bid ranges, the platform is considered to be the best option for anyone who operates a branded website.

Three: SEMrush


Up next, we have SEMrush—one of the most renowned keyword research tools around. While most SEO assistance platforms put comprehensive toolkits into the hands of users, SEMrush deals them in spades.

Rather than simply creating a keyword pool, SEMrush targets distinct segment market insights to derive up to 10 fine-tuned keywords—ready to go. While 10 keywords might not seem like a lot, their quantity is simply exchanged for quality: Each of these keywords matches those used by competing brands, giving your business a leg up—or even a significant advantage—during your next SEO strategy rollout.

It should be noted, however, that SEMRush—while adaptable to smaller businesses—really shines when used by businesses that’ve already garnered cross-channel audiences. The platform also provides worldwide CPC spread statistics which paint even more valuable industry insights.

With instant access to SEMrush’s own keyword research toolkit, you can stratify almost any campaign based upon the platform’s included keyword difficulty analysis tool.

Once you’ve established your campaign’s entry strategy, you can follow up with the platform’s insight snapshots—resulting in a healthy supply of organic traffic information.

Four: Long Tail Pro

Longtail pro

Long Tail Pro is a little more specialized than the other SEO research toolkit’s we’ve covered thus far, but this doesn’t mean it’s a fringe resource. As its name suggests, Long Tail Pro places most of its focus on long-tail keywords—giving marketers a leg up when targeting niche, and even micro-niche, consumer groups.

As such, Long Tail Pro is an excellent tool for startup owners—especially if they only operate an e-commerce website. Make no mistake: The toolkit’s long-tail specialization might seem like it leaves out catch-all keywords by design, but this isn’t the case. It gives users recommendations about organic traffic conversion—which, naturally, includes keyword insights.

The toolkit is capable of conducting over 2,500 SERP lookups per day, making it a power-packed utility belt driven by real-time insights.

Even established brands swear by Long Tail Pro—as it’s one of the most effective tools for identifying minuscule cross-channel audience leads. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a professional selling manager, a marketing team member or the owner of a small e-commerce platform—Long Tail Pro is a tool you can’t pass up.

Five: Serpstat


Sometimes, nothing short of an entire SEO management suite will do. Enter Serpstat: A keyword research tool bundle refined and redefined by website-analytics-driven approach to SERP analysis.

One of Serpstat’s more unique touches exists in its use of backlink analysis options. They help platform operators find difficult keywords, and keyword trends, to extrapolate competitor approaches to SEO.

Rather than solely providing competitor-specific keywords for use, however, Serpstat maps out their strategy in a graph.

Serpstat is very budget-friendly, too, so it’s a great “gap-filler” for any small business pursuing well-scaled growth. A marketer would be hard-pressed to mismanage these tools, financially, as Serpstat’s intuitive keyword trend analysis features, alone, are so powerful they can drive an SEO campaign from the get-go.

Six: Google Ads Display Planning Services

Google Ads display planner

Google’s AdWords platform tends to be the connective tissue of most SEO strategies. It shouldn’t be considered a static, passive tool however—as it’s constantly expanding its reach with new approaches to the world of PPC.

The Google Ads Display Planner was one such innovation, giving AdWords users the tools needed to map out historical costs, industry forecasts, bid strategies and more. This said, Google’s official Display Planner has been discontinued. Don’t worry, though, because you can still utilize its services within the AdWords platform—which is much more convenient.

These services dish out real-time projections of your business’s inventory data revolving around budgets, bids and SEO investments. Needless to say, it fulfills a role otherwise missed by most keyword research platforms. Packed with campaign-drafting tools for network targeting, the display planning services also provide insights into potential performance issues around the corner.

Today’s best marketers currently use these tools to outpace their competitors’ bids—securing the best keywords. As a topper, Google AdWords also lets you export your generated campaign plans. Wherever you go, online or offline, you’ll have them by your side.

Seven: Neilpatel’s Ubersuggest


Ubersuggest might be free, but it defies common industry stereotypes revolving around open-source keyword research. Ubersuggest puts the power of data extrapolation in the users’ hands—circumnavigating the often costly, and even time-consuming, processes involved in establishing pre-defined report boundaries.

In exchange, Ubersuggest gives its users immediate access to industry strategies currently employed by similar brands which market to their consumers.

While Ubersuggest is best used as an all-in-one platform for content management, backlink data management and campaign planning, its keyword research component is well worth the price of admission—a currency defined by minutes, rather than monetary investment.

Ubersuggest excels in generating a slew of long-tail phrases packed with useful insights to decompartmentalize. It offers snapshots of each keyword’s search volume, common competition and even usage rates as seasonal trends arise.

Eight: Moz Keyword Explorer


Another affordable keyword research platform is Moz Keyword Explorer, an out-of-the-box-ready SEO tool suite loaded with industry-standard features in definition—but which are highly unique when put to use. While Moz Keyword Explorer does indeed have a monthly price tag, it’s a tag often presented to brands that’ve had some time to nurture their e-commerce platforms.

So, when examined relatively in terms of value-per-audience-use, Moz Keyword Explorer is one of the best around. If you’re entirely new to keyword research, you can try things out with Moz’s free account trial period—which offers 10 free search queries per month.

Moz Keyword Explorer is a beloved asset to many PPC marketers due to its unique use of vital data points. The first is its Organic CTR score, which gives users deep insights into prospective click statistics if their branded site sits on Google’s first page.

The second data point is Moz’s Priority score. This score is an amalgamation of every factor involved in keyword analysis: It covers search volume, CTR data, keyword difficulty and more. It’s a must-have tool for any business wanting to boost its organic search success—and it’s constantly updated to maintain top-tier degrees of relevancy.

Nine: Keyword Tool

Keyword tool

Keyword Tool, more or less, is a free version of Google Keyword Planner. While you won’t get every advantageous resource that Google Keyword Planner offers when using Keyword Tool, you’ll still have access to over 750 long-tail keyword suggestions per entered search term.

The platform utilizes Google Autocomplete’s metrics to work its magic—prioritizing metrics revolving around search speed and user behavior. Well-defined by its network of 192 supported domains, it’s one of the best free options capable of creating high-quality cross-channel snapshots.

Ten: KWFinder

Keyword finder

KWFinder is a toolkit developed by Mangools—a programmer and developer best known for landing some of today’s best keyword research tools across a variety of industry categories. Highly approachable, KWFinder mainly focuses on low-difficulty keyword generation and analysis.

This isn’t to say these low-difficulty keywords are of low value, however, as they’re irreplaceable components of every strategy. KWFinder does provide precise statistics to help its users stay competitive for years to come, matching them with various filters for acute situational measurement.

Today, many digital marketers use KWFinder as an essential foundation component—garnering great success from its valuable keyword sets.

Completing Your Keyword Toolkit in 2020

To get the most out of the above-mentioned tools, you’ll need to identify your brand’s most active consumer channels, first. Once you have, a prospective campaign expense snapshot for each possible option is in order.

While big-fish brands have a multitude of high-cost keyword research assets at their disposal, a brand can absolutely thrive at their own pace, with their own approach, by taking a keen approach to consumer segmentation. With a team by your side and innovative tools at your disposal—you might just find an opportunity capable of jumpstarting your brand into the tiers of mass success.