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Ever since I’ve been at WordStream (2 years, 3 months, and 2 weeks – if you’re counting), our Free Keyword Tool has been a donkey in a sea of unicorns. Though it’s been popular since we introduced it in 2011, updates for the tool haven’t kept pace with changes in the paid search industry or with the features we’ve introduced to our AdWords Performance Grader.

Keyword research is one of the first – and most crucial – steps in any search marketing campaign, organic or paid. Driving search engine traffic requires the right mix of keywords, specifically targeted towards your audience. Every paid search workflow should include a process for expanding your keyword lists over time. But most free tools offer limited results and limited utility, especially when it comes to keyword research for PPC.

free keyword research tool

Here’s the awesome news: We just updated our Free Keyword Tool to make it prettier, faster, and specifically useful for paid search marketers looking for more and better keywords to add to their AdWords accounts.

Our newly updated tool gives you hundreds of relevant keyword results, plus additional, actionable information like competition level, estimated CPC, and a proprietary Opportunity Score to help you prioritize, all for free! Even better: your results are tailored to your geography and industry, and personalized to your business’s account performance.

If you’re already excited to try it – or bored of reading – you can check it out here: You can run an unlimited number of free searches per day, and I encourage you to connect your AdWords account to unlock personalized metrics and recommendations.

Top 3 Highlights of the New Free Keyword Tool

1. Tailored recommendations by industry and/or country

There’s nothing worse than spending time building out your keywords, crafting a compelling ad, and then paying for a click from a user who was looking for something else. Our Keyword Tool tailors results for your industry and geography so you can narrow in on the right intent and you add the keywords your target users are searching for.

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For example, searching for “cars” in the Autos & Vehicles industry returns these results:

free keyword tool for paid search marketing

While searching for “cars” in the Arts & Entertainment industry returns results about the award-winning Pixar film:

free adwords keyword tool

Advertisers targeting specific geographies will benefit from building out country-specific keyword lists. For instance, the results of searching “siesta” keywords in the United States are mostly about the crystal-sand beaches of Siesta Key, Florida:

best free keyword tool for ppc

While searching “siesta” in Spain returns keywords specifically around the honored afternoon naptime:

free keyword tool results

This feature can be particularly helpful to local advertisers with physical locations, or those who provide services across different countries!

2. Personalized competition and CPC metrics based on your account performance

Once you connect your account, you’ll see competition levels and cost-per-click estimates specifically tailored to past performance in your account. Competition is populated as either a “high,” “medium,” or “low” rating, based on current bidding trends. CPC metrics take into account your Quality Score and past performance metrics to give you a realistic estimate of what you can expect to spend per click on each keyword.

3. Opportunity Score: Prioritize keywords with the biggest potential impact on your account

True to our mission of making paid search fast and easy for everybody, we’ve created one metric to help you identify the quickest wins in your account. Our WordStream Opportunity Score is based on an algorithm that incorporates a keyword’s search volume and competition levels along with your account’s performance, and is based on learnings we’ve made from analyzing over $70 billion in AdWords spend.

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Once you connect your account, your keyword results are sorted by Opportunity Score from 10 through 1. An Opportunity Score of 10 represents the quickest win for your account – so what are you waiting for?

Using the Free Keyword Tool as Part of Ongoing PPC Management

When you create an AdWords account, one of the first things you need to do is keyword research. Keywords will form your ad groups, which will in turn form your campaigns, building out into an orderly account structure that looks like this:

keyword account structure

There are a couple of ways to get started. Let’s say you have an e-commerce site. You can search for keywords to target based on the structure of your existing website – for example, you might create one campaign for men’s clothing and one for women’s clothing, then create ad groups for each of your different product categories (women’s tops, women’s pants, women’s dresses, women’s accessories, and so on):

how to use the free keyword tool

If you’re not sure what keywords to bid on aside from, say, “dresses,” drop it into the Free Keyword Tool and see what crops up:

wordstream free keyword tool relaunch

Another option: Just drop in a competitor’s website address to see what keywords they’re bidding on!

Of course, you should be doing keyword research regularly to expand and refine your existing campaigns. Bookmark our keyword tool and scout out new terms to target on the regular. You can download all your keywords in a CSV format that’s easy to upload right into your AdWords account. Prioritize adding keywords with low cost and low competition – or just use the Opportunity Score to guide you!

Try it out!

We’d love to hear from you – let us know what you think of the new tool!

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