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11 Alternatives to Google Keyword Planner

SEO campaign keyword research starts with Google Keyword Planner. Enterprise SEO keyword research tools have access to the Google Keyword Planner API and can organize the output; however, there are situations where you should use alternative keyword research methods:
  • No budget or resources for enterprise SEO tools
  • Limited or range of monthly searches in Google Keyword Planners because you don’t spend enough on Google AdWords
  • A desire to humanize keyword research, e.g., no one says “I’m searching for some shoes red” in real life
  • You are in a niche or new industry with low monthly searches
  • Your product or solution does not have any search volume
Most blog posts about “Alternatives to Google Keyword Planner” will include links to free SEO keyword research tools, but most tools require free trials or restrict your keyword exports. Get started on keyword research for FREE!
  1. Conferences
  2. Answer the Public
  3. Internal Site Search
  4. Primary Research
  5. Webinars
  6. Google Trends/Google Scholars
  7. Social Media Platforms
  8. Google Books
  9. Google Ads
  10. Comments Section
  11. Internal Documents


Research conferences relevant to your business and record session headlines and descriptions.
These sessions usually discuss innovative topics with keywords that do not yet have search volume or are revisiting the fundamentals with catchy headlines you can steal for blog posts or whitepapers.
 conference screenshot

Answer the Public

Answer the Public is a free online tool that visualizes related searches for a keyword. It organizes your keyword by the 5 W’s (Who, What, Where, When, Why) and alphabetically, to be exported as images or analyzed in Excel.
Need an Answer the Public Alternative? Try the FREE Surfer SEO Chrome Plugin (highly recommended) and KParser (Free)

Internal Site Search (via Google Analytics)


Internal Search Box

Insights from internal searches on your site are available in your Google Analytics account (under Behavior > Site Content > Site Search).
If your site features a search bar, integrate it with Google Analytics to discover insights:
  • Navigational issues: Notice a trend in a specific internal site search from the homepage?
  • On-page and user experience issues: Experience an increase in internal site searches or multiple site searches on a page deeper in your navigation. For example, bounce rate can be negatively impacted if your page’s content does not fully-answer a person’s search via Google.
  • Seasonality and buying cycle of eCommerce products.
  • Customer Support Issues
  • Development of new products or solutions based on changing customer interest.


How to Setup Site Search in Google Analytics

How to Configure Site Search in Google Analytics

Primary Research (Ask People!)

Ask your product managers, category experts, and those who do not know your industry to get a comprehensive view of what people would Google for your product or service.
In some industries, jargon is required, but this is a good exercise to see if your content engaging with visitors. Invest in user experience testing to fix any website engagement issues.


Find new keywords using industry-relevant webinars is easy since they are more common than in-person conferences, and can be discovered faster using Google’s advanced search operators.
– Use the Google Search Operator, [one target keyword] AND webinar (e.g., “artificial intelligence” AND webinar).
– Use the Gooogle Search Operator, inurl:webinar intitle:[one target keyword].

Google Trends and Google Scholar

Determine if a keyword is increasing or decreasing in popularity with Google Trends and Google Scholar.  You can view five keywords in one trended line graph on Google Trends. You can also analyze word usage trends using Google Scholar, Google’s database of scanned books.


Set up alerts in Google Scholar to keep updated on recent news about a specific keyword.

Social Media Platforms

Most social platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Reddit, ect) are search engines!
These social networks can also be used to research innovative keywords that have few monthly searches this past quarter but could increase in popularity, i.e., the gene-editing tool, CRISPR, was not relevant last year but is popular this year.
Tactic: Find questions from prospective customers and answer them. Before you hit reply, add a link to one of your relevant blog post that answers their question!

Note: Some industry forums are private and require a subscription to engage in the community.

Example: Twitter Monitoring

Discover how people speak about and engage with your business,  product or service on Twitter. You will discover keywords to add to your SEO campaigns. There are plenty of social monitoring tools that will monitor your social media mentions if your organization is popular online.

Google Books

The number of published books have increased like crazy: 81% of people want to write a book!. Start scanning books relevant to your industry and jot down the table of contents for longer-tailed keywords (three or more words). Another method is using Google Books’ version of Google Trends, Ngram Viewer, to get the popularity of a keyword in scanned books by Google.
Tactic: Visit https://books.google.com/ngrams and enter a few keywords.

Analyze the ad copy for your desired keyword. Advertisers already did the research. If an ad is in the top position for a competitive keyword, they are either spending a lot for a keyword click or have a high click-through-rate for that search.

Comments Section

If you haven’t already engaged with people who comment on your blog, stop reading this post and do it right now! Now that you did that, you most likely got ideas on how you could expand a blog post to make it more informative or inspired to write a new blog post based on feedback from a commenter.

comment section

Internal Documents

Look at your PDFs and brochures for keywords you can add to your SEO campaign. These documents are written by product managers or industry experts, such as yourself!

Our Favorite Paid Alternatives to Keyword Planner

If you have the budget, we have exensive experience with these enterprise keyword planning tools:

Overdrive Interactive is an award-winning digital marketing agency that helps leading companies compete and win in the online space. Founded in 2001, the agency has developed into an integrated digital shop that delivers brand building, customer acquisition and lead generation programs utilizing search marketing, social media marketing, online media buying, analytics and world class creative services.

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