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Keyword Research Tools for Charities

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Keyword research is crucial for any charity’s digital marketing strategy. With so many great keyword tools out there, it can be difficult to know which ones best meet the needs of your organisation. Therefore, we’ve been looking at a mix or free and paid keyword research tools that can help point charities in the right direction when it comes to their SEO, and overall digital marketing.


Why is keyword research important for charities?

Creating content so that it reaches the right audience at the right time is key to charities maximising the impact of their work, available services, and fundraising efforts. Whether your charity is looking to increase donations, volunteer or fundraising sign ups, ensuring you rank for the relevant keywords can make a big difference in you meeting your objectives. Therefore, doing keyword research to know which terms you should target is a key step you should be taking.


Free keyword tools

There are plenty of free tools you can use to get started with keyword research. Though they don’t provide the same level of information as paid tools, they still offer valuable insights into the types of keywords your charity should be targeting.


Google Search

The features on Google can often be overlooked as a tool for keyword research. Looking at the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for keywords you want to rank for can be very telling. One piece of information you get from the SERPs is how competitive your keyword is. When you search a term Google tells you how many results there are for it. The higher the total results, the more competitive that keyword will be to rank for.

For example, when I search ‘SEO’ Google tells me it has around 1,160,000,000 results, whereas the keyword ‘SEO services’ has around 361,000,000 results. This tells me ‘SEO services’ is the less competitive keyword to target of the 2, as there are fewer results to compete with in the rankings.


Total Search Results for keyword 'SEO'

Total Search Results for keyword 'SEO services'


People Also Ask (PAA)

PAA is a Google search feature that frequently shows on the SERP. It’s an accordion that contains different questions related to the term the user has searched. Users click on the question they’re interested in to see the answer and search result that shows. Every time a user interacts with the PAA and clicks on a question the accordion grows, with more questions added to the end. This feature has the ability to grow quite extensively, making it a great source for keyword research.


People Also Ask results for keyword 'keyword research tools'


There is a separate tool that organises and displays all PAA data that shows on Google Search, called AlsoAsked.com. Just search the topic you’re interested in and the tool will then display all relevant PAA questions. This tool does offer some freebies, though not many, with 3 free searches a month. Following that, further searches in a single month need to be paid for. You also need to pay to be able to export the data to CSV, though you can download an image of the mapping on the free version. A tool worth making the most of if you want to speed up the process of reviewing PAA keyword data.


Results for keyword 'volunteering' on AlsoAsked



Recommended by many in the SEO community, AnswerThePublic is a great tool to use when it comes to researching keywords and content ideas for your charity’s site. Search a topic or keyword you’re interested in to get all the different questions and phrases people are searching around your topic. For example, if you search the term ‘donations’, it will tell you all the different ways people search around that topic. You can then filter through that data to find any relevant questions or sub-topics you want to focus on.


results for keyword 'donations' on AnswerThePublic


I like this tool as the data is easy to read, with results clearly visualised and broken down into the different questions, prepositions or comparisons available. It can also easily be exported to a CSV for you to use. The free version of the tool offers 3 free searches a day, so we recommend you use wisely.



Quora is a global platform where users can both ask and answer questions. It is self-moderated, meaning that good-quality answers will get upvoted and low-quality answers will get downvoted. You can use Quora for keyword research by searching a topic and reading the different questions users are asking; this again gives a strong idea of what people are interested in around your topic. This will in turn help you to create content that really resonates with your consumers.


Results for keyword 'best charity to donate to' on Quora


This is another tool that is easy to use. Just search the topic in the search bar and all relevant questions will then appear below. To use you just need to sign up with a free account.


Keyword Planner (Google Ads)

As a charity you’re very likely to have a Google Ad Grant account set up. Through your Google Ads dashboard you can access the keyword planner tool, the keyword research tool the platform provides. Search the keyword you’re interested in and keyword planner will give you a full list of related keywords, with additional metrics such as bidding range and average monthly searches.


Keyword Planner data for keyword 'donate'


Keyword planner is slightly limited as it groups up keywords more than other keyword tools do, but it does provide useful data around search volume and trend data. Under ‘YoY change’ you can see where keywords show growth or a drop in search volume, allowing you to see where keywords have increased and offer more visibility in the SERPs as a result.


Google Search Console

Whilst not a keyword research tool, you can use your site’s Google Search Console property to inform your keyword research.

Google Search Console allows you to dive into your organic keyword performance and find out which keywords your site ranks for, and the clicks, impressions, CTR and ranking position of those keywords is. This data can all be useful when it comes to researching terms you want to improve your site’s visibility for in the SERPs.

Identifying target keywords within your site’s current rankings is a great tactic to use when conducting keyword research. It’s much easier to improve the performance for keywords you already rank for, than to start completely afresh. We recommend sorting your keyword data by impressions. There’s a good chance you’ll find a few relevant keywords in that list that are getting seen, but don’t rank well enough to convert those impressions into clicks yet.

Google Search Console is one of Google’s own free tools and one we strongly recommend using in your day-to-day SEO, as well keyword research.


Paid Keyword Tools

Whilst free tools can provide good insights, they are limited in the data they offer.

Often, whilst you can get content ideas and a sense of what people are searching, free tools don’t provide metrics such as search volume or keyword competitiveness, data that can influence which keywords you decide to focus on.

We’ve tried and tested a number of tools in our team. Many of them offer a free version or free trial of the full tool for you get a feel of how it functions, and whether it would be beneficial to your organisation. Some tools we recommend include:



Ahrefs is a keyword tool that has a lot to offer. It contains site and keyword explorer, both of which allow you to delve deep into the performance of a page or keyword. In ‘Keywords Explorer’ you can search a keyword and be shown a range of data. For example, when I search ‘charity fundraising’ I am able to see the monthly search volume, the keyword difficulty (how competitive that keyword is), as well as other keyword ideas that are similar or related to the keyword you want information on. The data is shown in a clear way that is easy to read. Ahrefs also includes a site audit tool, so you can regularly monitor the health of your website and address any issues that are flagged.


results for keyword 'charity fundraising' AHrefs


Ahrefs is a tool I use daily to check keyword data for our clients. It has a lot to offer outside of keyword data, with additional tools for reviewing the performance of content in social media, as well as intricate data on backlinks. The tool can be paid for in monthly or annual subscriptions. There are 4 subscription options for you to choose from; catering for businesses that manage a single site through to multiple. However, website owners can sign up for free to Ahref webmaster tools for limited access to their site explorer and site audit tools.



SEMRush is another tool charities should consider, and one we know individual charities do use for their own keyword research. SEMRush is a very informative tool, providing you with a wide range of data on your website, that is clearly organised to make it easy for you to read and understand. One feature our team likes that’s available on SEMRush is that it categorises keywords by their user intent. Seeing if a keyword is informational or transactional makes it so much easier when it comes to knowing the type of content you need to be able to target that keyword in the organic search results.

There are 3 subscription options for SEMRush. Charities can sign up for a free account of SEMRush, but similar to Ahrefs your access is restricted. You’ll be able to use most of the tools, but can only track 1 project and 10 keywords. You can also only make 10 requests within the analytics reports, which isn’t very many. I’d suggest the free version is a great demo of what the tool can offer, but would recommend extending to a paid subscription if you can.



Moz is one of the top platforms used in digital marketing. They provide an extensive list of tools for you to use, so you get more than just keyword research for your money. We like Moz because they are very approachable for those new to digital marketing and SEO. Outside of their tools they have a good bank of resources for you to utilise in their blog and learn sections.

You can sign up for a free trial to Moz Pro, but outside its paid subscriptions Moz offers a range of free SEO tools. This includes their keyword explorer, by creating a free Moz account you gain access to 10 free queries per month. Though this is limited use, you do get access to a wide range of their tools.


You have options!

There are plenty of options for you that take your budget into consideration. If possible, we do recommend signing up to a paid tool. Not only does this provide a more detailed level of data, your charity will gain access to additional services such as auditing and tracking. We know that with any digital strategy, you want to be able to see if what you’re doing is working; a paid tool will help with that.

If you are looking for some additional assistance with your keyword research or would appreciate some expert support on your wider content strategy – then feel free to contact us online or to say hello at hello@upriseup.co.uk. You can also give us a call on 01494 778664.

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