Free Keyword Research Tools and SEO Tips for Small Business Owners


SEO and keyword research tools are essential to your success in digital marketing and building an online presence. The good news is that there’s no shortage of tools out there today, offering something for businesses small and large. As with anything, you’ll have to compare the options and find what’s right for you, but we’re here to help with that. 

First, we’ll take a look at some of the best free keyword research tools out there, and then we’ll go over some helpful SEO tips to make sure that your research (and your overall SEO strategy) is on point. 

Top free keyword research tools 

There are thousands of tools out there geared toward SEO and keyword research and related tasks. Anyone attempting a search for the first time will likely be a bit overwhelmed by all of the options. To save you the stress, we’ve gathered a list of the best tools for keyword research that won’t cost you a dime. 

Moz Keyword Explorer 

Moz is a leader in SEO and search engine marketing. Their Keyword Explorer is a great tool to help you find the best keywords for any campaign. It doesn’t have as many data points as some platforms, but that’s actually good for those who are new to keyword research because you won’t be overwhelmed. This tool makes it easy to search for keywords and see their volumes, click-through rates (CTRs), and difficulty and assigns a “priority score” to let you know whether a keyword is worth your time. 

Google Keyword Planner 

Google Keyword Planner is another great tool that should be on your list. Google users love this one for its simplicity and ease of integration with the rest of the Google family. It also has two unique options: exploratory research and in-depth forecasting research. That way, you can get all the information you need on the right keywords, including help figuring out which ones to even consider. It’s a robust tool and since it’s from Google, you can trust that it follows all best practices and guidelines for keywords and SEO. 


Semrush is another leading name in SEO and digital marketing. They have tons of great resources, including a keyword research tool that will help you target the best keywords with ease. Their advanced platform offers tons of data for those who love their numbers, and they have a host of different keyword tools that you can use to search various parameters and elements. In fact, the range of available tools is what makes this tool stand out among the rest. 

Keyword Surfer

Keyword Surfer is a great choice for those who want a browser extension for lighter keyword research efforts. It can be installed as a Chrome extension from Surfer SEO but is available as a free tool separately, with limited features. You can install the extension and then go to Google and when you search for keywords, volume and CPC data will populate in the search bar, before the results page even loads. It’s a great starter tool and ideal for those who are using the Surfer SEO suite. 


If you’re intimidated by all the data of Moz and Google tools, consider something simpler like QuestionDB. This is one of the leanest keyword research tools, showing you questions from all over the web, including sites like Quora, Reddit, and others. This helps you see where, why, and how people are talking about topics to help you find keywords based on context rather than just search intent alone. 

Small business SEO tips 

Now that you’ve got a glimpse of a few of the best keyword research tools, it’s time to make sure that you know how to put them to use. As part of your SEO strategy, they can be a big help with increasing your rankings and improving your overall visibility. To make sure that you’re able to capitalize on these tools (and the rest of your SEO), here are some tips. 

  • Set up and use Google Analytics and Google Search Console. 
  • Set up and complete your Google Business Profile. 
  • Do keyword research and analyze your keywords carefully. 
  • Review the architecture and navigation of your website and make sure it’s optimized. 
  • Make sure that your website is user-friendly. 
  • Do an SEO audit to find and fix any basic (or more serious) issues. 
  • Create an XML sitemap so that Google and other search engines can crawl your page properly. 
  • Encourage reviews and respond to them to help boost your reputation. 
  • Track your performance and rankings so that you can continue to make improvements. 
  • Create and execute an effective link-building strategy to help increase your reputation and credibility. 
  • Create and publish high-quality content with the keywords that you do decide to use. 
  • Get involved on social media. Today’s users treat social media like search engines, so if your business has well-optimized profiles, you can find a whole new audience there. 
  • Results take time, so be patient. 
  • Use analytics and reporting tools to monitor your efforts and make changes in real-time. 

The list of tips for small business SEO could go on for quite some time. You’re competing in a much larger arena against a slew of competitors, but it doesn’t have to be that intimidating. If you understand and execute SEO and keyword research effectively, you’ll already be on the path to success. 

Here’s another tip: Outsource for additional support 

As a small business, you’re probably not looking to hire a lot of different employees to handle the various functions of the business just yet. Fortunately, you don’t have to. Thanks to the available solutions today, you can outsource just about everything. 

If you’re looking to field all those new leads, for example, you can partner with the virtual receptionists at, who can provide a 24/7 answering service, along with support for lead intake and appointment scheduling to ensure that you never miss an opportunity, even if you’re busy with other things. We can even assist with your outreach campaigns to help generate those leads in the first place.

To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to today. 

Business Education
Small Business
Written by Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing Manager with He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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