What is a good/cheap SEO research tool?

I don’t do this very often. Unsure whether it’s worth the effort, but am going to try.

I am writing some articles and want to pepper in the best SEO. Am staring with Google Keyword tool, but SEO Moz claims that it omits keywords to promote advertising. (Not sure how that would work. The KW tool is FOR advertising. They WANT you to see a shiny keyword and BID on it). BUT not sure how well KW Tool works for ranking competition (i.e., lots of searches but how well an I rank for it).

SEOMoz looks like best option but a bit pricey $99/month.
Any other sites that have worked well for you?

SemRush (keyword research) and Ahrefs (backlinks, keyword research). I use mostly Ahrefs these days because it covers more ground. I get a lot of keyword ideas by checking for which keywords my competitors rank (you don’t have that with Google keyword tool).

For optimizing existing content, Google Search Console data can surface interesting keyword ideas too.

You’d need to pay $99/month for most of the good ones.

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Ahrefs is the best, also their blog is amazing. Probably it’s possible to find something cheaper than $99 but it will be nowhere as good.

Moz is seriously lacking in comparison (but has a month of free trial that you can use for keyword research) and SEMRush UI is too messy.

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Ahrefs is the best — even if you just create an account, they will allow you to see your metrics in decent details. The $99 plan is definitely great value for money if you’re looking at a medium/long term SEO campaign.

I think, for basic things like finding your rankings, backlinks, keywords’ traffic, competition, etc., Unamo SEO (earlier Positionly) is fantastic too. We’ve been using it for more than a year along with Ahrefs and it’s pretty good.

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