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  1. Gads account organization
    9 Topics
    1 Quiz
  2. Search ads
    36 Topics
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  3. Display Ads
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  4. Video Ads
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  5. Analytics
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  6. GAds Optimization
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  7. Audience Manager
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  8. GAds tools and settings
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  9. Google Ads and Facebook
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Lesson 8, Topic 6
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Keyword tools

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There are several important things that digital marketers can achieve with effective PPC keyword research tools:

  1. Discover new keywords that prospective customers may be searching for on search engines.
  2. View estimates of search volume for each keyword to optimize funnel design.
  3. Assess competition and compare cost-per-click for each keyword to optimize ad spending.

Six Best PPC Keyword Research Tools

Google Keyword Planner

Google is by far the largest digital advertising platform in the world. It holds just under 40% of the total market share for PPC advertising. As a result, Google has some of the best PPC data available anywhere. 

There are several useful functions available here: marketers can use the platform to discover new keywords, assess search volumes and bid estimates for related keywords or use Google trends and forecasts to discover new and emerging keyword targeting opportunities.

Pros: Keyword data carries some extra weight when it comes from the world’s largest digital advertising platform.

Cons: Offers excellent data manipulation features but the scope is relatively narrow and it lacks the visualization tools that make other platforms more user-friendly.


semrush ppc keyword research tool

SEMrush is an all-in-one digital marketing software tool with plenty of great features. SEMrush includes a Keyword Analytics tool that’s great for PPC keyword research. 

Pros: SEMrush includes lots of other tools to support your marketing campaigns, including an Ad Builder and social media tracking tool. The tool runs in-browser and offers a clean, user-friendly interface and experience.

Cons: SEMrush allows only one user per subscription, so expect to pay more if you need more than one account.


spyfu ppc keyword research tool

SpyFu is a unique PPC keyword research tool for digital marketers. As its name implies, SpyFu is all about gaining a strategic edge by gathering intelligence on your competition. Accordingly, users of the SpyFu PPC keyword tool are first prompted to enter the domain name of their biggest competitor. On the results page, you’ll see how many keywords that domain targets with paid advertisements, how many clicks they’re generating and how much they’re spending each month running ads.

Pros: SpyFu is probably the most feature-rich PPC keyword research tool on this list. You can do your own keyword research, build keyword groups, discover new long tail keywords, identify negative keywords to optimize your campaigns or conduct deep keyword research.

Cons: Some of the data is based on estimates, so it may not be 100% accurate. Still, it should give you a directional sense of how to proceed.

Rank Tracker

ranktracker ppc keyword research tool

Rank Tracker is primarily an SEO tool, but they’ve come up with an interesting new approach to keyword research.  Rank Tracker uses 19 different methods to support PPC keyword research and help users come up with new keyword recommendations. The tool pulls data from other sources, such as Google Ads, SEMRush, Wordstream and KeywordTool.io to help users identify the best and most popular keywords for their ad campaigns.

Pros: This tool has very few limitations on use and integrates effectively with other tools in the SEO PowerSuite. Pulling keyword research data from a variety of free sources can give digital marketers a good overall view of how they should target their efforts.

Cons: Rank Tracker runs on your desktop and can use a lot of system memory when performing complex queries. Other SaaS PPC keyword research tools query Google through the cloud instead, so they consume fewer resources on your side.


ahrefs ppc keyword research tool

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer is an excellent PPC keyword research tool for both PPC and SEO. Users can analyze keyword performance across 10 different search engines, identify top-performing keywords, save and segment lists of the best keywords and assess competition levels for target keywords. Ahrefs also provides estimates of the total number of clicks for selected keywords.

Pros: Ahrefs offers one of the best keyword generator functions we’ve seen. Given a list of keywords, the tool uses a range of methods to come with thousands of variations that you may want to include in your PPC campaigns. Ahrefs is one of the best tools for coming up with new keywords and fine-tuning your keyword targeting.

Cons: Ahrefs is the most expensive tool on this list. It’s got great features but could be cost-prohibitive for small businesses and even some smaller marketing agencies.

Keyword Tool

ppc keyword tool

Keyword Tool bills itself as the best available alternative to the Google Keyword Planner.

What’s so special about it? The tool uses Google Autocomplete to identify hundreds or thousands of long-tail variations for any keyword. The upgraded version, Keyword Tool Pro, typically provides twice as many keyword recommendations in just a few seconds. Many of these keywords simply do not appear in other tools that pull from Google’s Keyword Planner, so Keyword Tool might be a good way to pick up on lucrative keywords that other advertisers are overlooking.

Pros: Reveals search volume, average CPC and trend data for all suggested keywords. The unique method for discovering long-tail variations can yield new ad targeting opportunities for marketers.

Cons: While very effective at what it does, this tool functions very narrowly. This is far from an all-in-one and subscribers will need additional software and tools to cover other needs related to digital marketing and PPC.