When launching, adjusting or creating search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns, you work with a ton of keywords (words you choose and want to rank well in search engine results). In the SEO/SEM world, keywords can be a marketer’s best friend, if chosen wisely! The keywords you choose for your Pay-per-click (PPC) online advertising campaigns can ultimately determine the success or failure of your campaign. In order to succeed, you need to find a good mix of different keywords, from branded to non-branded, to competitors terms, as well as generic and long-tail terms. There are plenty of excellent paid or free trial PPC keyword research tools out there to choose from. However, you can create a really extensive keyword list with tools that are 100% free  – Sweet!

Here are 5 free killer PPC keyword research tools with no usage limitations or pay gates.

1. Google Keyword Tool – This is a Google Adwords keyword research tool. This is also a go-to keyword research tool for both keywords to bid on, as well as keywords to exclude from campaigns. There’s a lot of flexibility with Google’s tool including match type, location, language, as well as an option to show closely related search terms.

You can also search for keywords by entering a website domain. Google will then return search terms that it determines are relevant to that website. Use this tool to check competitors or other high-ranking organic domains to discover new keyword ideas.

Bonus: You can also use this tool to see what keywords your competitors rank well in on Google organic search results. Check your own website to see keywords Google thinks are relevant to your website. If the keywords returned don’t really describe your core offerings, you may need to spend more time on search engine optimization.


2. Microsoft Ad Intelligence Tool (Excel Add-on) – This is a PPC keyword research tool and Excel add-on for Bing Ads. This tool requires a Bing Ads advertising account.  Once installed, the tool is available as a new tab in your Excel workbook.  You can discover new keyword ideas by entering the URL of your website or list of keywords.  The tool also gives traffic and bid estimates on your keywords, which allows you to determine the cost to advertise on Bing/Yahoo. There’s also some interesting demographic and geographical information available.


3. Keyword Typo Generator – People often misspell or hit the wrong key when they type a word into search. SEOBooks keyword typo generator helps generate a list of the most common misspellings for a particular keyword. We recommend that you use this tool on your branded terms, as well as on high traffic head terms (high traffic keywords are usually less targeted keywords, consisting of single words or very short phrases etc.). You don’t have to run this on long tail keywords, or keywords that have very low traffic/search volume.


4. Keyword Concatenation Tool – This keyword concatenation tool from Found.co.uk helps you build a large list of keywords.  The tool also includes inputs that include match time modifiers, as well as different permutation outputs. You could concatenate a “buy” modifier to your product list to create a keyword list of “Buy + products” for example. This is all really just fancy/techy lingo for joining large lists of keywords together with ease and being able to switch between paid search match types.


5. Local Keyword Generator – This local keyword generator tool is great for businesses trying to advertise in a specific geo-location. Just enter a zip code and a radius up to 100 miles. Then, a list of keywords that are relevant to your business. The tool will create a list of keywords using all the cities and zip codes that are within the radius. This is incredibly useful for brick and mortar stores that want to create a list of keywords that target the businesses general area.



The more thorough you are at creating a keyword list, the more opportunities you’ll have to capture more traffic and hopefully conversions/sales. The time and effort you put into creating an extensive keyword list should pay off in the end.  You can keep your PPC costs down by bidding on low competition keywords.

Are you using any of these keyword research tools? Did we leave any of your favorites off the list?

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