Finding keywords without Google Keyword Planner

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As an example, here’s the new ‘limited data’ you are presented with when you’re not in an account attached to a paid search campaign.


As you can see, the average monthly searches column is now far more general, presenting a range between 100-1k rather than a specific figure. This is problematic for marketers looking to find high volume keywords to pursue as part of a content strategy. Compared to the data below which is presented when you use a paying AdWords account, Google Keyword Planner is now far less useful for the day-to-day marketer.


So what can you use instead?

Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz, a tool suite every SEO is familiar with, has launched its own keyword research tool which works in a different but no less effective manner to Google Keyword Planner. You’ll need a Moz Pro account to make full use of it, but the data is highly relevant. Head over to Moz’s website to test it out. You’ll get an overview of your chosen keyword, be able to look into detailed suggestions and access a SERP analysis of the pages already ranking for your keyword.



SEMrush is a fairly comprehensive SEO suite that is great for seeing the organic keywords a page ranks for. Fortunately, it’s also got a useful Keyword Research tool. Like Moz, you’ll need an account to make full use of the service but it presents a great overview with more granular volume data. It also shows you the cost-per-click distribution, related keywords and phrase match keywords to help you find the perfect term for your content.



Ahrefs is a comprehensive tool that can be used for content and detailed SEO research. It also includes its own dedicated keyword research facility. It has detailed volume data and also allows you to bring up a view of the keyword in the SERPs. You can filter and export as you would with a standard Google Keyword Planner report. You can get a $7, seven-day free trial of Ahrefs to test it out – but if you’re involved in SEO in a professional capacity, it’s probably a tool you’ll need.


The main issue that has riled the SEO industry is that Google’s Keyword Research tool was once free but now requires you to spend money. The exact spending threshold is unknown, which means you can’t just run a £1 per month campaign and get full data.

Unfortunately, there’s no way around the fact that in this era, paying for accurate keyword data is the new norm. Fortunately, if you use any of the tools above, you’ll receive more than just keyword research — all three are essential SEO tools.

If you’d like to take the hassle out of keyword research, get in touch with Mediaworks today.


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