Are you looking to increase your travel blog's Google rank through the help of an SEO keyword research tool? If so, you're probably wondering which SEO software is best.
Between the big ones like Ahrefs, SEMRush, and Keysearch, as well as the hundreds of smaller tools, it's hard to know which one to invest your time and money into — because it's definitely an investment of both. SEO software of any kind comes with a learning curve. Today's article will help you with your decision.
I run a group of 700+ professional travel bloggers called The Travel is Life Tribe and recently I asked them which are their favorite SEO tools for their travel blog. Below is the list they came up including a few that I use personally. However instead of just sharing the list of tools, I went a step further and compared their features and pricing to help narrow down your decision even further.
Btw – if you're somewhere between brand new, beginner, and novice when it comes to SEO, you should read my guide called Advanced SEO Strategies For Travel Bloggers. It shares some of my strategies (that have nothing to do with paid software) for ranking Travel is Life as well as my other sites.
By a landslide, the top choice of SEO keyword research software in my tribe was Keysearch — which I think had something to do with its competitive price. (Because let's face it, we're not all rolling in the big travel blogger dough yet. That's right… yet!)
Keysearch offers a web based keyword research tool which shows you keyword difficulty level as well as suggestions for alternative or complementary keywords. You can also enter a competitor's URL and see which words they rank for. Lastly, Keysearch will track your rankings for up to 80 keywords on the Starter plan and up to 200 keywords on the Pro plan.
Additionally, Keysearch offers an Explorer feature & Competitive Analysis section where you can search backlinks and organic keyword rankings to spy on your competitors or check the backlinks for your own sites.
What Keysearch offers is a relatively standard feature set when it comes to keyword research tools, but where they excel is in their streamlined UI and their pricing — which are both enticing for new bloggers (or at least bloggers that are new to the world of keyword research tools). I think they are a great pick for getting started with upping your SEO game, and members of my tribe seem to love the software and hold it in high regard.
Discount Code: Use this link and promo code KSDISC for 20% off Keysearch.
Free Trial: 30 days. No credit card required.
Pricing: $17/month ($169/year) Starter Plan • $34/month ($279/year) Pro plan
The main difference between the paid plans are the number of daily searches you can perform and keywords you can track your ongoing rank.
Next on the list is SEMRush, which several folks said they wish they could use, but that it was out of their budget. SEMRush has been a big player in the SEO world for over a decade and is one of the most well known SEO tools out there, but their plans start at $99/month which is partly why so many bloggers gravitated towards Keysearch instead. However, SEMRush offers more than just keyword research tools and rank monitoring to justify their price point. They also provide tools for researching and creating PPC campaigns (like Google Adwords), social media post scheduling & tracking, brand reputation monitoring, tools to analyze content, site audits, and a whole lot more. So if you're currently paying for a separate social media scheduling tool, you should check out SEMRush because you may be able to kill two birds with one stone and get both sets of features for the same amount you'd be spending on Keysearch and your other social scheduling tool (depending on how much you pay).
Discount Code: None available.
Free Trial: 7 days. Credit card required.
Pricing: $99.95/month ($999.36/year) Pro Plan • $199.95/month ($1999.44/year) Guru Plan • $399.95/month ($3999.36/year) Business Plan • Custom pricing for Enterprise Plans.
The main difference between their account levels are number of projects, results per report, reports per day, keyword metric updates per month, keywords to track, pages to crawl, etc, as well as access to historical data and whitelabel / brandable reports, which are only available on the higher tiers. Most bloggers would fit into the Pro or Guru Plan.
Third on my list today is Ahrefs, which is what I use personally, and what many SEO folks consider the gold standard of SEO keyword research tools. Ahrefs began in 2011 and grew popular with their Site Explorer tool, which allows you to get an in-depth look at the organic search traffic and backlink profile of any website or URL (including your own domain or a competitor). It's similar to what Keysearch calls their Explorer feature and to what SEMRush calls their Analytic Reports. They are more advanced (and more expensive) than Keysearch, but on similar footing with SEMRush in regards to their SEO tools. One big difference, however, being that Ahrefs ONLY focuses on SEO whereas SEMRush offers some social media tools as well. Both Ahrefs and SEMRush plans start at $99/month, but Ahrefs offers slightly more affordable higher tier plans. So you'll want to compare both tools closely if the entry level plans don't work for you.
Discount Code: None available.
Free Trial: No free trial. $7 for 7 Days.
Pricing: $99/month ($990/year) Lite Plan • $179/month ($1790/year) Standard Plan • $399/month ($3990/year) Advanced Plan • $999/month ($9990/year) Agency Plan.
The main differences in the plans are the allowed number of users, projects, tracked keywords, crawl limits on pages per month, URLs per day, reports per day, etc. Most bloggers would fit into the Lite or Standard Plan.
#4 Mangools SEO Apps
Next up is a suite of SEO tools by a company called Mangools. Their monthly subscription includes their KWFinder for keyword research, SERPChecker for ranking analysis, SERPWatcher for rank tracking, LinkMiner for backlink analysis, and SiteProfiler for SEO metrics and insights. I'm not exactly sure why they house each of these services as a separate app, but their flat monthly subscriptions which start at $49/month include access to all of them.
Mangools also offers a few freemium SEO tools which start out free and unlock more features with your paid account. These tools include their Chrome Extension which displays the website authority and a few other metrics for websites while they're open in your browser, SERP Volatility tool which shows significant daily changes in Google SERP positions caused by Google algorithm updates, and their SERP Simulator which lets you enter your URL to see your website's SERP snippet preview (which you may be familiar with a similar tool if you use Yoast SEO Plugin because they do it within WordPress). Mangools tools are another great option for bloggers because their user interface is streamlined and easy to use and their price point fits with most bloggers budgets – especially once you enter into one of their yearly plans.
Discount Code: None available.
Free Trial: 10 days. No credit card required.
Pricing: $49/month ($229.20/year) Basic Plan • $69/month ($349.20/year) Premium Plan • $129/month ($582.20/year) Agency Plan.
The main differences between their plan tiers is the number of keyword lookups per day, keyword trackings per month, keywords per report, etc, as well as the number of simultaneous logins (which is like their version of limiting users). As soon as you sign up for a free trial, they offer you a limited time 10% Lifetime discount on their monthly or annual plans, which I guess if you miss, you can just create a new account later.
#5 Keywords Everywhere
Keywords Everywhere is a browser extension available for Chrome and Firefox that displays monthly search volume, cost per click and competition data of keywords on websites and search results pages. Whereas you can find overlapping features between Keysearch, SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Mangools tools — Keywords Everywhere is not an alternative for those softwares. It does NOT offer content suggestions, backlink analytics, or rank tracking and is ONLY a specialized tool for finding new keywords and displaying their metrics.
What Keywords Everywhere does is combine and display search volume data, CPC and competition data onto one interface and displays them while you are on Google, YouTube, Amazon, Bing, Google Search Console, Google Analytics and other platforms. It also pulls the “People Also Search For” and “Related” keywords from Google & Bing and shows them to you with the volume metrics right inside Google's search page.
Rather than charge a monthly subscription fee, Keywords Everywhere employs a pay-as-you-go model based on credits, where 1 credit = 1 keyword. It's an interesting and affordable approach to keyword search volume if that's all you're looking for. However if you have one of the tools above, you wouldn't need this in addition. Mangool apps, for example, might be a great choice for you if you're looking for this type of browser display because they offer a free Chrome extension in their suite of tools.
Discount Code: None available.
Free Trial: No free trial available, however the browser extensions are free to install and will show you Related keywords and People also search for keywords with limited data.
Pricing: $10 for 100k credits • $50 for 500k credits • $100 for 1 million credits • Up to $1000 for 10 million credits.
There are no price breaks as you move up in credit purchases. Each credit (or keyword) costs the same $0.0001 (or 1/100th of a cent) whether you buy $10 or $1000 at a time. So since there's no incentive to spend more (unless you use the tool all the time and want to minimize how often you purchase credits), I'd start with the smallest package of $10 for 100k credits and see how you like it first.
Next on the list is SpyFu – a feature packed SEO tool that holds its weight against Ahrefs and SEMRush but for about half the cost. SpyFu plans start at $39/month ($396/year) which gives you access to their research tools for keyword research, rank tracking, backlink analysis, domain comparison, and competitor research. If these tools sound similar at this point, it's because they are relative comparable to those of the other services you've read about above. In fact, SpyFu actually calls themself the “all‑in-one keyword research alternative to SEMrush” and side-by-side compares themselves to SEMRush on their site as the better value. SpyFu offers a wide suite of tools at a competitive price, and I like their streamlined user interface and easy to follow pricing tiers — making them a great choice for bloggers who are new to the world of SEO keyword research.
Discount Code: None available.
Free Trial: None available.
Pricing: $39/month ($396/year) Basic Plan • $78/month ($696/year) Professional Plan • $299/month ($2388/year) Team Plan.
All plans offer unlimited search results, data exports, and domain overview PDF exports. The higher tiers offer more monthly sales leads & domain contacts, weekly tracked keyword rankings, and top list results. The higher two plans also offer API access and custom branded reports.
#7 Moz Pro Tools
What's a list of SEO tools without Moz Pro Tools? By now if you're reading about SEO keyword research tools, I'd assume you're familiar with Moz — or at least their Domain Authority (DA) score, which you often see bloggers display next to their domain names during collab post requests or link exchanges. (Learn more about how to build your DA score through collab posts.)
Moz offers a Keyword Explorer for estimating search volume and discovering new keyword suggestions, keyword rank tracking, SEO audit tools to crawl your sites, as well as a proprietary page optimization tool that audits your content and suggests specific improvements. Their new Link Explorer tools helps you find backlink and internal link opportunities. While Moz's tools and support are top notch, just like Ahrefs and SEMRush, their plans might exceed the budget of travel bloggers, with tiers starting at $99/month. However if you can swing the monthly fee, you won't go wrong with Moz Pro Tools.
Discount Code: None available.
Free Trial: 30 Days
Pricing: $99/month ($950/year) Standard Plan • $179/month ($1719/year) Medium Plan • $249/month ($2390/year) Large Plan • $599/month ($5750/year) Premium Plan.
Their higher tier plans include more campaigns, keyword rankings, pages crawled per week, on-demand crawls per month, keyword queries per month, backlink queries per month, etc., as well as more users per account. Their higher plans also include custom branded reports.
🏆 And the winner is…
Well, if they're included on this list then they are already a winner in my book. The goal of this post was to help narrow you down from the tens or hundreds of keyword research tools out there to a select handful to choose from. However if you're looking for some additional guidance after reading this list, I'll go a step further and make a couple recommendations below.
If you're on a budget, I'd choose between either Keysearch or SpyFu which offer you an incredible suite of tools for less than $40/month. (However even if money is no object, I still feel that either one of those tools would serve you well, but so would the others on this list.) If you're looking for a tool that could also replace your social media scheduling software as well, then SEMRush for $99/month would be a good choice as it includes their social post scheduling and tracking tools.
🤷 Which one did you go with?
Let me know in the comments which keyword research tool you chose, or which one you're a fan of (even if it's not on this list) and please share your experience to help other travel bloggers who are reading this. Or e-mail me privately at [email protected]
🔍 Don't forget about the FREE tools by Google
In addition to the software above, which will give you some advanced SEO keyword data, make sure you also know how to leverage the free tools available to you by Google. For example:
- Going into your Search Console and looking at what Google is having you show up for (even if your rank is very low) and then potentially targeting those keywords.
- Using Google Trends to discover new topics to write about that may not have a lot of competition yet.
- Using Google Keyword Planner to search for words relating to to your topic and find suggestions for others. It's made for Google Adwords but can help with finding search volume for organic SEO as well.
- You can also get a lot of ideas just by going down the rabbit hole of Google SERPS and making a list of Related Searches at the bottom of the page.
My point is to remind you that SEO keyword research tools like the ones on this list can be extremely valuable to your travel blog, but you've still got a few great freebie tools available to you otherwise if your budget doesn't permit for one at the moment.
📈 Ready to grow your travel blog?
If you're reading this article, you're obviously looking to grow your search traffic, so while you're here you should check out the rest of the articles in my Travel Blogger Success Kit – a compilation of resources, courses, and software that I’ve personally curated to help you achieve success with your travel content creation business.