If your nonprofit has a dedicated blog writer or writing team, it’s worth ensuring they are trained in basic search engine optimization (SEO) writing strategies. Keyword research is arguably the most important part of SEO, so it’s important that your writer understands it to get the most out of their efforts. The most effective keyword research begins with a high-quality platform, which is why a little product research can go a long way.

More than most businesses, nonprofits need to operate on a lean budget, which frequently means utilizing free resources whenever possible and making carefully-considered investments when circumstances call for them. Fortunately, there are a number of excellent free and paid keyword research tools for your organization to choose from. Here’s a rundown of some of the best free tools on the market today.

Top Free Keyword Research Tools

It’s worth doing your homework even if you plan to use a free keyword research tool. Here are some of the best in use today:

  • Moz Keyword Explorer. Moz Keyword Explorer is a great tool for non-expert SEO writers because it takes the less-is-more approach. It offers important basic data points (monthly volume, ranking difficulty, and organic clickthrough rate or CTR), but not enough to confuse or overwhelm users.


  • Google Keyword Planner. Like so many other Google services that we can no longer imagine life without, the Google Keyword Planner is completely free for the foreseeable future. It offers two major features: one for finding high-volume keywords and one for more detailed research on search volume and forecasting. While free, it is worth noting that you must have a Google Ads account to use this tool.


  • Semrush. Semrush offers not one but two ways to try its popular product out for free. Often touted as the best keyword research platform for advanced SEO, it has over 50 SEO-related tools and reveals keyword lists targeted by an organization’s competitors, among other features. Semrush offers a free account with limited access to features without time constraints. It also offers a free 7-day trial with full feature access as well as 3 tiers of paid plans.


  • QuestionDB. QuestionDB is a great tool for discovering question-based keywords. When you enter a keyword into it, it almost literally scours the internet for related commonly-searched questions. This provides additional context that you can use to couch your written discussion of the keyword, making your content all the more relevant. QuestionDB offers a free plan with up to 50 results per search and a 500-result search for just $15 per month.


  • Jaaxy. Jaaxy offers an uncomplicated search platform with a unique twist: it features an “Affiliate Programs” tab that users can use to find, well, affiliate programs related to the keywords they’ve searched. In the nonprofit world, this refers to an arrangement through which your organization receives money when people make purchases through the program partner’s website.


  • Keyword Surfer. Keyword Surfer is a free Google Chrome extension that offers access to a limited version of its full platform, Surfer SEO. It gives you essential keyword data (search volume, cost per click [or CPC] data, and search engine results page [or SERP] data) right in your Google search. It even comes with an AI outline generator to help get your article started.

Top Paid Keyword Research Tools

If your SEO needs aren’t quite covered by the free research tools available, it may be worth investing in one of these top paid versions:

  • Semrush. Paid plans of this top-performing platform range from $99.95 per month (Pro Plan) to $374.95 (Business). With its top Enterprise tier, you can customize your own plan to include specific features.


  • KWFinder. KWFinder may be the ideal choice for SEO beginners, as it offers a beginner guide and enables searchers to find keywords with low ranking difficulty. It has several helpful features, including the ability to help users discover keywords in any language. KWFinder is also quite affordable at just $30-$80 per month, with savings on its annual plan.


  • Ahrefs Keyword Explorer. Ahrefs provides a wide variety of click metrics and includes features like keyword difficulty scores, over 1,000 keyword suggestions per search, tools for improving CTR, a detailed SERP overview, and a platform that is supported in more than 171 countries. If you choose an annual plan, Ahrefs can be yours for $82 per month. 


  • GrowthBar. GrowthBar may be the best “express” platform for writers who don’t have time to do a deep dive into SEO research. It has several useful features, including backlink data, organic keyword results, and information on Google and Facebook ads. Like Keyword Surfer, GrowthBar also offers a content outline generator. You can opt for a free 5-day trial before committing to plans ranging from $29-$79 per month.


  • LongtailPro. As the name suggests, LongtailPro helps users generate “long-tail keywords,” popular search terms that are longer phrases or even complete sentences. What makes it unique is that it can do so even for niche websites. The platform also includes detailed keyword metrics, recommendations for drawing in high-quality organic traffic, and over 2,500 SERP lookups per day. Longtail Pro’s 3 plans range from $25-$98 per month. 


  • Majestic. Majestic is a nice one-size-fits-all platform for small organizations that may or may not have the human resources needed for extensive SEO research. It offers every major SEO tool in one package, including keyword competition data, website analysis for trustworthy and authoritative sources, and more. Annual plan enrollees can get full access to Majestic for $83 per month.


  • Spyfu. Spyfu offers plenty of keyword data while maintaining a clean, user-friendly interface that is easy on the eyes. It’s designed for SEO beginners and has everything you need for basic keyword research. Spyfu is also budget-friendly, as plans start at just $33 per month with an annual plan.

Feeling Overwhelmed?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed both by SEO as a field of knowledge and by the sheer number of keyword research tools available, you’re not alone. Particularly if you don’t have a dedicated content writer, or yours is strapped for time with other duties, it may be a good idea to enlist the services of a partner who can take care of all of this for you. 

Nonprofit Megaphone helps nonprofits obtain and maintain the Google Ad Grant, which gives organizations access to free Google Ad funding to promote their mission. Having high-quality SEO content on your website is a key component of success in this regard. If your organization needs help with producing content and getting it in front of as many internet readers as possible, you may benefit from one of our content plans. Our writers will work with you to create keyword-researched content according to SEO standards that will significantly boost your nonprofit’s visibility.

All of our writers and grant managers are trained in SEO best practices as well as the use of keyword research tools, taking any related worry off your shoulders. Contact us today to learn how we can put SEO and keyword research to work for your organization!