Keyword Planner Alternatives: Awesome Tools for SEO Keyword Discovery

Google has decided to be a little evil (pardon the pun), by removing detailed keyword data from its Keyword Planner.
Unfortunately, until you spend some money with AdWords and have a “reliable” account, the Keyword Planner gives you a range of data as opposed to accurate data. Pretty evil, if you ask me, as Google should act as though its near monopoly on search is a “public trust.” But, they don’t listen to me. So here are some alternatives to the Keyword Planner – great tools whether or not you use the official Google AdWords Keyword Planner. Let’s get started!

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Keywords: Transactional vs. Educational, Volume vs. Value


Before you dive into an alternative to the Keyword Planner, remember that – while Google does have most of the data – there are other tools, but they really rely on Google as well. So Google and Bing really have 100% of the data, and everything else is derivative of that data flow. Just sayin’. Secondly – and more importantly – remember WHY you are researching keywords in the first place: you are looking for high volume / high value keywords that are “transactional” in nature –

Keyword Planner Alternatives

Photo credit: Marcie Casas via / CC BY

  • Not knee pain (too educational) but knee surgery or even better knee surgeon (transactional)
  • Then, do some research to find out if there are more searches for knee doctor vs. knee surgeon vs. knee specialist (volumes).
  • Also, remember that in using the keyword tools in the early stages, you’re looking to find synonyms and new ideas (e.g., orthopedic surgeon vs. knee surgeon).

A Tour of Keyword Tools Alternatives to Keyword Planner

Let’s begin our tour –

  • keyword tool – enter a keyword query, and this tool spits back volume, CPC (cost per click) and value. Click to sort by column. You can download your keywords or select them one-by-one. It’s not that great at giving you data on just the keyword phrase you enter in, however.
  • Google Global Market Finder – this poorly named tool pulls its data from the Google Keyword Planner. Using it is a little difficult, but – for now – it’s a workaround to get some of the Google data if you don’t happen to have a paid AdWords account.  This tool shows ‘monthly searches,’ ‘recommended bid’ (CPC), and ‘competition.’
    • Enter your keyword into the keyword box.
    • Type the CAPTCHA.
    • Click ‘Find Opportunity’
    • Find the United States and click the blue “Plus sign” to the left of United States.
    • Click English, if necessary.
    • Click ‘Show additional keyword suggestions from the Keyword Planner’
  • Bing Webmaster Tools > Keyword Tool – this tool is very similar to Google’s tool but takes its data, of course, from Bing which has about 10-30% of Google’s market share. Assuming that people search Google and Bing in the same way, you can thus extrapolate to get Google data.  (You need to sign up and enable a Bing Webmaster Tools to use this tool, but it’s free).
    • Click Diagnostics and Tools > Keyword Research, and enter your keyword into the box.
    • You can drill down into any phrases that come back.
    • Hover over the $ sign to see CPC data.

Other keyword tools are available in my dashboard, which you can access by signing up for the email list, here.  Throughout, remember that you are doing research on your keywords to discover –

  • Keyword ideas – knee pain to knee surgeon, best knee surgeons (helpers), and synonyms such as doctor for surgeon, or othopedic for knee.
  • Volumes – “fish where the fish are” – identify the highest volume keyword phrases.
  • Value – “catch yummy fish” – pay attention to the CPC data but ask yourself / your team what is the VALUE TO YOU – which search queries are “most likely” to a) be your customers, b) end in a sale, and c) end in a HIGH VALUE sale.


Photo credit: Marcie Casas via / CC BY

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About Jason McDonald

Jason McDonald is a top-rated San Francisco SEO Consultant. His consulting services include search engine optimization consulting, social media marketing consulting, and Google AdWords consulting. Jason's motto as a consultant is that he doesn't do SEO 'for you' but rather he does SEO 'with you.' That goes as well for his social media marketing consultant activities and Google AdWords consultant services. Besides serving clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason consults with clients in Silicon Valley (San Jose), Oakland and other cities throughout the Bay Area. Beyond the Bay Area, Jason is available as an SEO consultant, Social Media Consultant, and as an expert witness in litigation involving social media marketing, search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising.