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The features that make for a great keyword research tool for plastic surgery are pretty straightforward: you search for a given keyword, and the tool tells you about it. But there are so many different ways to use keyword data, so what actually makes for a good keyword research tool that can benefit your SEO?

Data included. The best keyword research tools give you all the data you need to rank for your chosen keyword. All of the apps we selected include, at minimum, traffic, keyword difficulty, and competitive SERP analysis.

Data sources. You should be able to trust that your keyword data is free of errors and biases, so considering where the data in each keyword research tool comes from was an important step for us.

Keyword optimization guidance. You shouldn’t have to be a 10-year SEO industry veteran to use keyword research tools—the best tools offer simple, straightforward suggestions to optimize for your keywords. The best tools are the ones that any business owner or marketer can use to quickly understand their target keyword and optimize their site to rank for it.

Free plan allowances and upgrades. Some tools include super limited results for free and call it a “free plan.” Or they put time limits on the free plan, effectively making it more of a trial. We are only including tools with evergreen free plans generous enough to actually be useful.

Standalone functionality. Since you’re looking for something free, your keyword tool should be a one-stop shop—without requiring any additional tools or extensions to work for you, especially not ones you’d have to pay for.

Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz’s SEO platform offers several different tools designed for keyword research. While Moz doesn’t include as many data points as some of the other full-featured SEO tools such as SEO positions, some may not see that as a bad thing. Not as much data can make for a less overwhelming user experience for those who aren’t professional search marketers, without skimping on the metrics you really want. This might make Moz the better tool for non-marketers since you can slowly get used to all the technical jargon.

With the Keyword Explorer tool, you can search any keyword you choose and see its monthly volume, difficulty, and organic clickthrough rate (CTR). Scroll down from there to see an analysis of current results ranking for it and suggestions for similar keywords.

Google Keyword Planner

Yes, we are primarily talking about organic keyword research (SEO), but we can’t leave our paid ads. When it comes to PPC keyword research, Google Keyword Planner is one of the best tools out there. It’s completely free (even if you don’t buy Google Ads), so you never have to worry about running into limits or expensive upgrades.

Google Keyword Planner includes two main features: one for exploratory keyword research and discovery and another for more in-depth research on search volume and forecasting.

The “Keyword ideas” feature is similar to many of the tools on this list: you search for a seed term, and it generates other keyword ideas, along with details on monthly search volume, change over time, competition, ad impression share, and bid ranges. You can refine your keyword list by brand or non-brand keywords, source websites, and more. If you’re also using Google Ads, the “Forecast” feature makes it easier to plan ahead for your paid ads and budget in advance.

AHRef’s Free SEO Tools

While you can’t access the full Ahrefs suite for free, the company offers a surprisingly robust set of free SEO tools that are perfect for doing simple keyword research for plastic surgery. The free suite includes a Free Keyword Generator, Keyword Difficulty Checker, Keyword Rank Checker, and keyword research for YouTube, Amazon, and Bing, among other tools.

The keyword generator includes up to 150 keyword ideas for free (100 phrase match keywords and 50 question-based keywords), along with data on monthly search volume for each and keyword difficulty for the top 10 results. The keyword difficulty tool includes a difficulty score, estimated number of backlinks needed to rank, and SERP analysis for the top 10 results.

None of these tools will give you the depth of data you’d get from a paid account, but the suite’s breadth is a strength. Taken together, Ahrefs free tools can handle just about anything a basic SEO operation needs—keyword research, yes, but also link building, website audits, ranking and traffic monitoring, and more. And if your budget changes, you can upgrade to a tool that rivals the best of the best.

SEMRush

If you’re looking for something more advanced, Semrush shares a ton of keyword data and makes it easy to dig into the details, like SERP features (featured snippets, reviews, site links, image pack, and so on) and granular analysis of current results. Semrush offers a broad range of keyword research tools, too, from the standard traffic and search volume data to content-driven keyword research and competitive keyword gap analysis.

That range is what really sets Semrush apart, including the standard Keyword Overview, the Keyword Magic Tool for exploratory keyword research, a Keyword Manager and position tracking, competitive Keyword Gap analysis, and Organic Traffic Insights, which—when connected with your Google Analytics or Search Console account—can uncover those famously tricky “not provided” keywords.

As an added bonus, the SEO Content Template tool lets you automatically create a content brief and optimize content as you write by grading your content in real-time for readability, originality, tone of voice, and SEO: it uses a handy bullseye graphic to help you strike the right balance. Plus, the tool visually checks off SEO recommendations (like using your target and related keywords and adding relevant links and images) as you go.

All of this means that upgrading will cost you a pretty penny—but you can use it for free at low volumes to start.

As you can see, keyword research for plastic surgery doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. There are plenty of free options out there for your practice if you’re just starting to dip your toes into the keyword research pool. Then, if you decide your budget will allow it, you can upgrade to a paid option.

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