Free Tools for Competitor Keyword Research

If you’re trying to figure out what keywords to go for, chances are you are going to take a look at some of your competitors to see what they are ranking for. But if you don’t have access to professional and premium SEO tools, how do you find out this kind of information?

Here are four free tools to get you started in finding a variety of keywords being used by your competitors. These tools will help you see what keywords bring them traffic as well as other interesting details that can help your SEO campaign.

1. Open Site Explorer

Open Site Explorer also falls under the SEOmoz tools umbrella, so once you’re logged in to SEOmoz, you have access to this as well. To use this tool for keyword ideas, enter the competitor’s URL and go to the Anchor Text Distribution tab.

SEOmoz Open Site Explorer Keyword Tool

This will show you up to 20 keywords that your competitor uses for anchor text when link building, hence letting you know what they are targeting and how strong their link building campaign is with the number of root domains and links using that anchor text.

2. Google AdWords Keyword Tool

I know, I know, we all know about Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Usually I use the type in a word and let it make suggestions for me aspect, but for this exercise, I entered a domain to see what would happen.

Google AdWords Keyword Tool

The key is to go to the Columns, and check Extracted From Webpage. Then you will find that if you entered, it focuses on a particular page from the domain, and not the domain homepage. So if there isn’t a or other similar type of page, you won’t get the homepage’s keyword suggestions. But for other specific pages on the site, you can pin down the keywords that AdWords recognizes from those

3. SEMRush

SEMRush allows you to enter a domain and view ten of the top keywords that the website ranks for organically, showing the keyword, position in search results, traffic percentage, and other useful information, especially if you are going to use CPC for your website.

SEMRush Keyword Tool

It also shows what URL on the site ranks for the specific keyword, but I removed that column to make the image fit in the space above.

4. Alexa

Aside from just giving you your traffic score, Alexa also gives you the chance to see keyword queries that bring a high percent of traffic to a particular URL. Just go to the Site Info tab and enter your competitor’s URL. Once you Get Details, go to the Search Analytics tab to see top queries driving traffic to the site, and keywords that are on the rise / decline.

Alexa Keywords in Search Analytics

If you scroll down from here, you will also find lengthy lists of keyword phrases for high impact search queries for the URL, search engine marketing activity based on ads for particular keywords, and additional keyword opportunities that the competitor (or you) could pursue.

Your Free Tool Suggestions

And there you have it – some great (and free) keyword tools to use to see what your competitors are up to. What other freebie SEO tools would you suggest to further your competitor keyword research?


Image Credits
In-post Photo #1: Screenshot from Open Site Explorer
In-post Photo #2: Screenshot from Google AdWords Keyword Tool
In-post Photo #3: Screenshot from SEMRush
In-post Photo #4: Screenshot from Alexa


Comments are closed.

38 thoughts on “Free Tools for Competitor Keyword Research

    1. It’s not free.. it only allows you to see the first ten organic keyword rankings for a domain as mentioned above. The free version gives you a few ideas, whereas the paid version will give you the complete picture.

    2. It’s not free.. it only allows you to see the first ten organic keyword rankings for a domain as mentioned above. The free version gives you a few ideas, whereas the paid version will give you the complete picture.

  1. When I check my own site Alexa, I find it to be well off the mark. I Have Keywords on there that never appeared on my google analytics stats.

  2. I think the best keyword tool among this Google Adwords Keyword Tool. I mostly use this tool. The other tool which I have just started using is Keyword Eye.

  3. Nice tips, and I just know about alexa. I think I can use alexa only for my own blog. Ouuwh my poor knowledge 😀 Thx again

  4. I’m a complete noob so these tools will be an amzing help to me. The only one I had was SEMRush. Thanks so much for all the valuable information! =-)

  5. what about the, which i often used to analyze my competitor’s site, SEMRUSH is great too ,but i found that the data provided by the above-mentioned two tools some times has a noticeable difference, so i would like to use several tools to draw a more accurate conclusion! anyway thanks for your information!

  6. I personally used Google Keyword Tool and OpenSite Explorer in finding my keyword for my website 😀 This give me a good result until today. I never tried the other 3 tools maybe I would try it :)

  7. 1. Term extractor no longer exists
    2. OSE: the keywords you get are the main keywords your competitor wants to rank for. They are logical, you know it all too well. This tool won’t tell you anything new.
    3. Adwords keyword research tool: only good if you check their site page by page. It won’t look at all keywords used on the whole site.
    4. SEMrush – not free, alas.
    5. Alexa is probably the best of all you listed.

    the best way to see the competitor keywords is to have access to their GA or WMTs data, anything else, pretty much useless.

  8. None of the tools listed above worked for me and enabled me to find my competitors keyword for a certain article.

  9. What I don’t like about these tools (except for google) is that you cannot base your metrics on searches for specific country (Costa Rica in my case).

  10. Thanks for the nice details but I couldnt find SEOmoz Term Extractor anymore. I visited the parent website and still not able to locate it. Any comment pl?

  11. To my knowledge i would rate google adwords tool, SEM rush would be top choice. SEOMOZ tools are better for checking the rest of On page optimizations and site authority.