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Keyword Research on a Budget: 8 Free Ways to Optimize Your Online Content

Keyword research forms the bedrock of any successful SEO strategy. At its' core, it is simply the process of discovering "keywords"; key terms and phrases that people use to search for information online. With the right keyword tool, this information is extremely powerful; allowing businesses to learn how many people are searching online for a specific word or phase over the course of a day, week, etc.

While there are numerous tools available for in-depth keyword research, it is not always cost effective or time efficient to use some of the more premium options such as Ahrefs, Semrush, etc. As an example, the current pricing for Semrush when paid monthly is $249.95 per month for their mid-teir option. For their lowest teir option, when paid monthly Semrush charges $129.95 per month. Once you factor in the learning curve and the time that it takes to stay on top of current trends, that cost balloons quickly.

standing on a rock in the water

At seosaber, we are able to leverage both our expertise and our business' scale to offer you the synthesized benefits of keyword research affordably and quickly. However, in this blog post, we want to cover 8 free ways to "get your feet wet" in the ocean of keyword research. The tools below are free or have free trials, and they can help you as a business owner or a content creator to start thinking about effective keyword research and discover how to optimize your content for better search visibility.

1. Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner remains a reliable and cost-free tool for keyword research. Designed for Google Ads, it offers insights into keyword search volume, competition, and cost-per-click estimates. While it's geared toward advertisers, it's equally useful for organic keyword research. Begin by entering a relevant keyword or your website URL to generate a list of potential keywords and their performance metrics.

google search suggestions

2. Google Autocomplete and Related Searches

Simply put, Google's own search bar can be an amazing source for keyword ideas. As you have probably noticed, when you start typing a query Google's autocomplete feature suggests popular searches, which gives you insights into what other users are searching for. Scroll to the bottom of the search results page to find related searches that offer additional keyword possibilities that are directly related to your topic.

3. Google Trends

Google Trends helps you understand the popularity of a specific keyword over time. While it doesn't provide specific search volumes, it does show relative interest and allows you to compare multiple keywords. You can use this tool to identify rising trends and ensure your content remains relevant.

4. Competitor Analysis

Study your competitors' websites to uncover keywords they're targeting. While you won't have access to their analytics, you can identify prominent keywords by examining their content, meta tags, and page titles. Tools like Moz's Open Site Explorer can provide insights into the backlinks leading to your competitors' sites, helping you understand their organic search strategy. We would argue that this strategy is more of a "catch-up" strategy instead of a "get ahead" strategy, since by doing this you will never gain the first mover advantage.

raising hands

5. Answer the Public

Answer the Public is a unique tool that generates keyword ideas in the form of questions and phrases based on a given keyword. This can be especially useful for targeting long-tail keywords and creating content that addresses specific user queries. By creating a free account, you can get up to three free searches per day.

6. Reddit, Quora, and Forums

Forums like Reddit and Quora are treasure troves for user-generated content. You can browse relevant subreddits, threads, and Quora topics to identify the questions and concerns users have and then use these insights to help you identify keywords that address real user needs.

7. Free Versions of Paid Tools

Many premium keyword research tools offer limited free versions with basic features. While they might not provide all the advanced metrics, they can still be valuable for finding keyword ideas. Examples include Ahrefs' free backlink checker and Semrush's free keyword tool.

8. GitHub

GitHub Logo

For the uninitiated, GitHub is an online platform/cloud-based service that is commonly used to host open source software development projects (yes, almost that entire sentence came from Wikipedia). In common terms, GitHub offers access to community-run coding projects, and by using a little computer knowledge and some intestinal fortitude you can set up to run on your own browser/computer for free. There are several plug-ins available for different SEO topics, so it is definitely worth a Google search to learn more about.


Effective keyword research doesn't always have to come with a hefty price tag. By harnessing the power of free tools like Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and the autocomplete feature, as well as delving into competitor strategies and user-generated content on forums, you can compile a comprehensive list of relevant keywords to boost your SEO efforts.

Remember, it's not just about finding relevant keywords, but also understanding the intent behind them to craft content that truly resonates with potential clients. At seosaber we want to help your business succeed. One of the main ways we do that is by using keyword software so you don't have to, and by using our expertise to synthesize that information into content and actionable steps for you so that you can propel your business ahead of your competition.

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