What Is The Best Keyword Planner Alternative in 2016?

What Is The Best Keyword Planner Alternative

Well it finally happened. Google has decided to turn the tool (one that was never intended to be used for SEO purposes) much less useful for SEO folks. I mean really this was long due coming. It’s a tool for PPC. And as it becomes harder to do SEO, Google makes more money from AdWords. It’s a miracle they haven’t done something about it sooner.

You probably already know what I’m talking about but if not, here’s the biggest issue:

Keyword Planner Changes

Keyword Planner no longer shows exact monthly searches but rather a pretty broad range.

That’s borderline useless info.

Now this only happens if you’re not spending enough money on AdWords. While you certainly can start doing PPC just to get correct search figures, that’s not the solution. You can keep trying to somehow use a tool that was never meant for SEO…or you could use a tool that’s made specifically for SEO.

Each alternative tools mentioned here all include info you (used to) get from Keyword Planner as well as many other data points such as Moz / Majestic matrics, shares and most importantly, all of them show a “difficulty score”. This is a number (how it’s calculated depends on the tool) that indicates how easy it is to rank for a keyword.

Naturally you should always do your due diligance when doing keyword research but it’s a great way to quickly tell if a keyword is worth targeting.

So let’s meet our contestants!

1. Keysearch

Meet Keysearch, Keyword Planner on steroids!

Keysearch - Results

Keysearch - Suggestions

This is my current favorite tool because using it genuinely feels like you’re in command of a more powerful Keyword Planner version.

You can search on any keyword (the keyword being “Keyword Planner” in the picture above and get the difficulty score by analyzing the top 10 results as well as keyword suggestions from multiple sources (Planner, Google Suggest, Bing Suggest, Youtube Suggest, Amazon Suggest, Competitor Keyword, Other Ad Networks) that include everything you (used to) get from Keyword Planner as well as the difficulty score.

What’s even better is that you can use a “Deep Analysis” function on any keyword and get even more stats for the top 10 results such as TF, CF, Alexa rank, Facebook shares, Google +1s.

It’s great because unlike most other tools in this article, this one is on the affordable side. You can get free account with 5 searches / day (with 20 difficulty searches) or get 20 / day (with 200 difficulty searches) for $17 (which becomes $13.6 with the coupon KSDISC) . There’s larger plan available if you require more searches.

Like I said, this is currently my tool of choice as it’s really affordable (I’m using the $17 / month plan) and great if you’re not searching for too much keywords each day. It’s also the tool I used to find a 100,000 month keyword with almost no competition.

Try It Out

2. Ahrefs

While Ahrefs is an established brand in the SEO industry, until recently they've only been used for analysing backlinks. Well they've used all those pentabytes of backlink data to give you the ability to search for keywords and determine their difficulty score.


Being the best backlink checker, you can be sure that their scores are relevant.

Unfortunately, the score only takes into account backlinks pointing at your site, not things like your onpage SEO, domain age, etc. This score will tell you roughly how much backlinks from unique domains you need to rank:

KD 0 = 0 Ref. Domains
KD 10 = 10
KD 20 = 22
KD 30 = 36
KD 40 = 56
KD 50 = 84
KD 60 = 129
KD 70 = 202
KD 80 = 353
KD 90 = 756

Pricing-wise, Ahrefs is definitely not for everybody with the cheapest plan being $99 / month. That being said, for that amount you get a pretty powerful tool that does:

  • Backlink checking
  • Keyword analysis
  • Rank checking
  • Much more...
Try It Out

3. Moz

Moz has a bundle of products for us SEO folk, one of them being Keyword Explorer.

Moz Keyword Analysis

Like in all other tools, you can search for any keyword (country based) and get the following info for each one:

  • Avg. Monthly Searches - Unfortunately, these show up as ranges rather than exact numbers making it less useful. At least the ranges aren't as wide as ones in Keyword Planner...
  • Difficulty (0-100)
  • Opportunity (0-100) - Indicates the click-through rate of organic search results. If a keyword results include ads, featured snippets or other special search features, the click-through rate for organic search results will be much lower and in turn Opportunity for that keyword is lower.
  • Potential (0-100) - Combines Difficulty and Opportunity to give you an indicator is the keyword is worth targeting

The downside is that it doesn't show exact searches but rather ranges much like Keyword Planner.

While it's the most expensive tool of the bunch at $149 / month, it can be used for free (2 searches / day with no account) and they offer a free 30 day trial.

Try It Out


Keyword Planner should be considered dead for SEO purposes. Why would you want to use a tool that the creators are purposly making less and less useful for you?

The sooner you take the plunge and switch to something specialized, the better.

What do you use now that Keyword Planner is no more? Tell me in the comments!


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