You don’t have to look far to find bloggers, especially entrepreneurs, talking about the power of long tail keywords. If you look at Google search results from the past month alone, there are several articles with titles like How Long-Tail Keyword Research Got Me 61,739 Pageviews and 4 Steps to Get 30,000 Visits/Month Using Long Tail Keywords.

The truth is that long tail keyword targeting can and will increase your organic traffic. If the clickbait titles don’t convince you, then maybe some expert opinions will.

You don’t have to search far to find some of the biggest names in SEO talking about long tail keyword targeting, including our very own Rand Fishkin:

Everyone wants to know how to find long tail keywords using the best SEO tools. There are plenty of keyword research tools to choose from, many of them offering free options for limited use, which makes it confusing to navigate through the jungle of service providers.

To help you find the free long tail keyword research tool that is right for you and your business, I put together a chart with the most popular long tail keyword tools returned by Google.

I ranked them based on their quality and performance, including the number of keywords returned, the relevancy of those keywords, and the cumulative search volume for each.

What is a Long Tail Keyword?

Before deciding which free tool to use for your long tail keyword research, let’s first define what long tail keywords mean and how to find your seed group to use in conjunction with a free tool.

A long tail keyword is a keyword phrase consisting of multiple words, typically only having a small amount of search volume. These are highly-targeted, niche keywords that when used with one another can have a major impact on SEO.

When looking at a demand curve chart, long tail keywords typically strike the balance of low competition and high probability of conversion, compared to head or torso terms.

What are the PROs and CONs of long tail keywords?

 

Pros of Long Tail Keyword Targeting Cons of Long Tail Keyword Targeting
  • Low competition
  • Higher chance of ranking
  • More qualified traffic from highly targeted keyword phrases
  • A small amount of search volume for each individual keyword

 

How to Find Long Tail Keywords Using Google Keyword Tool

Regardless of which keyword project I’m working on, my first stop for keyword discovery is Google Keyword Planner. For the purpose of this post, let’s say that we’re trying to put together a long tail keyword strategy for a content piece we’re writing about dog food.

The competition for “top” and “best” dog food is pretty steep, but we start with those keywords as our first ideas using the Google Keyword Planner. To sort through the keyword planner to try to find long tail keywords, start by exporting keyword suggestions into a CSV file and sorting by smallest search volume on top and highest on bottom.

This will surface potential candidates for long tail keywords. After removing the keywords with no search volume, look for a keywords which,

  1. Have low search volume.
  2. Aren’t owned by sites with high Domain Authority
  3. Can generate niche content ideas

Compared to other keywords, healthiest dog food has a lower amount of search volume but still too much to compete on; however, you can use this initial seed word to start to find other, less competitive long tail keywords.

How to Research Long Tail Keywords Using Google Auto Suggest

For my long tail keyword analysis, I always start by typing my keyword discoveries from Google Keyword Planner into good old Google and recording the auto suggest and related searches answers.

1. Navigate to Google, type healthiest dog food + space.

3. Record the keywords that you see in the autosuggest field. For healthiest dog food this includes:

      • Healthiest dog food brands
      • Healthiest dog food for small dogs
      • Healthiest dog food puppies
      • Healthiest dog food 2016
      • Healthiest dog food brands 2016
      • Healthiest dog food on the market
      • Healthiest dog food for dogs
      • Healthiest dog food for labs
      • Healthiest dog food reviews
      • Healthiest dog food for older dogs

3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and record any additional keywords from the section titled Searches Related To. For our dog food example, this includes:

    • Best dry dog food brands
    • Best dog food comparison
    • Dog food brands to avoid
    • Worst dog food
    • Acana regionals dog food
    • Best dog food 2016
    • Best dog foods on the market
    • Top 10 dog foods

You now have 18 long tail keywords to use in any free long tail keyword generator tool to generate more ideas. Make sure that you take note of any recurring themes in the keywords, especially around comparison or reviews.

What are the Free Tools Used to Find Long Tail Keywords

I looked at the 10 top long tail keyword tools that are ranking in Google Search to determine what was the most effective tool for marketers. I used the following criteria and found Keyword Finder, Übersuggest, and Rainkbrain.me to be the most effective free long tail keyword tools:

  • Number of long tail keywords returned
  • Quality of long tail keywords returned
  • Tool Cost
  • Tool Usability (UX/UI and Mobile)

 

Tool Name # of Keywords Keyword Quality Score Free Version Premium Options Usability Score
Keyword Tool 12 10 Yes Starting at $48/month, Keyword Tool Pro has advanced options for larger marketing teams, including search volume integration and 2x more keywords per query. 3
Answer the Public 9 5 Yes 2
Keyword Dominator Tool 12 8 Yes With the most diverse keyword data, including YouTube, Amazon, and Ebay, a starter account here begins at $19.99 for Google autocomplete data. 5
Hit Tail 2 3 Yes At $19.95/month, Hit Tail offers 7,500 keyword ideas. It’s hard to tell the quality here because there were such few results returned in their free trial. 3
Übersuggest 13 10 Yes 7
Keyword Finder 20 8 Yes Their introductory price is $25/month, giving a user 500 KW lookups in 24 hours, 500 SERP lookups in the same time period, and 700 related keywords per search. 10
Rainkbrain.me 13 10 Yes For an introductory tool to use for free, Rankbrain.me is a top player. At just $5/month you can perform up to 200 keyword lookups a month. 6

 

Some of these links are affiliate links; however, it by no way swayed my analysis of which tools are best for free!

 

So What Are the Best Long Tail Keyword Research Tools?

By combining either Keyword Finder with Übersuggest or Rainkbrain.me, you’re likely to get plenty of long tail keyword for your website for free. Below, I’ll walk you through my process of using these tools to find low competition long tail keywords for our fictitious dog website where we’ll be writing about the healthiest dog food brands.

How to Find Long Tail Keywords with Keyword Finder

The user interface for Keyword Finder is, by leaps and bounds, my favorite. Their Desktop and Mobile site are easy to read and use. When using the free version of Keyword Finder, all you have to do is type your keyword into the homepage and select any special geographic targeting.

For our case, Keyword Finder returns the following relevant long tail keywords for healthiest dog food brands:

  • Healthy dog food
  • Hills dog food
  • Natural dog food brands

Since our post is going to focus more on natural and healthy dog food brands, these make the most sense to use rather than broad “top” or “best of” keywords. I also take note that Hills Dog Food is an entity related to healthy dog foods, so I may want to include a mention or review of it in my blog post.

Keyword Finder has three separate search options, including Suggestions, Autocomplete, and Questions. I found autocomplete even more useful, yielding results like:

  • Healthier dog food brands
  • Healthiest dog food brands 2016
  • Best and healthiest dog food brands
  • 9 healthiest dog food brands in nth america
  • Healthiest dog food brand list
  • Healthiest commercial dog food brands
  • Healthiest canned dog food brands

Their Questions results didn’t yield quite as much as Autocomplete, but other relevant long tail keywords include:

  • What’s the healthiest brand of dog food
  • What are healthy dog food brands

From here, take note that our long tail keyword research so far from one tool has generated 13 long tail keywords that are highly-relevant to our actual topic.

How to Find Long Tail Keywords for Niche Marketing Using Übersuggest

Übersuggest will improve how you find profitable long tail keywords for your website, so you can start to rank on less competitive keywords in Google search and increase traffic. Their mobile-friendly tool makes it easy to research long tail keywords.

In this example, Übersuggest returns 67 relevant long tail queries that rival those returned by Keyword Finder. Some of the most relevant include:

  • Healthiest dog food brands for puppies
  • Healthiest dog food brands list
  • Healthy dry food brands
  • List of healthiest dog food brands
  • Top healthiest dog food brands
  • Healthiest wet dog food brands
  • Top 10 healthiest dog food brands
  • Top 5 healthiest dog food brands

These tools generally have the same basic functionality: type in a seed or long tail keyword into their search box and get results.

Wrapping Up with How to Find Long Tail Keywords for SEO with Rankbrain.me

Although I ran into a bug on their mobile site that made it difficult for me to search, their desktop experience is essentially frictionless. This site returns highly relevant results and is effective at finding good long tail keywords.

During my search for the healthiest dog food brands, Rainkbrain.me returned 66 long tail keywords including:

  • Healthy dog food brands for dogs
  • Healthy dog food brands rating
  • Healthiest brands of dry dog food
  • List of healthiest dog food brands

 

Conclusion

Now that you have a guide on how to find long tail keywords using free tools, you’re ready to start performing keyword research and optimizing your content. If you have a pet website, chances are you’re now ready to create a post about the healthiest dog food from this long tail analysis.

The key to finding good long tail keywords is starting with a strong seed group, so make sure to find a head term in Google Keyword Planner before heading over to a long tail keyword research tool. Learn more about how to work with Google Keyword Planner or download my guide — How to Find Low Competition Long Tail Keywords Using Free Tools (PDF).