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SEO keyword tools for nonprofits

Guide: Find keywords to improve website performance
Last update: Jun 19, 2022

In this SEO guide for nonprofits, we teach you how to do keyword research. Social change-makers do not have a lot of money, so we compare the best free and affordable tools to find keywords. Even if you have no experience with search engine optimisation yet, this guide should help you get started.

In this guide we talk about keywords. Also make sure to check out our more general guide about search engine optimisation for nonprofits.

The basics

If you want people to find your website, you should write about things that people are looking up. And if you want to show up high in the search rankings, write about topics that other websites have not yet produced high-quality content for.

These are some features to look out for:

  • Suggestions for new keywords: helps you brainstorm and find keywords that people look up most (based on your input: a keyword, your website or competitors' websites)
  • Search query popularity: the frequency with which people look up certain keywords (globally or in a certain location/language)
  • Difficulty to rank for keywords: how likely it is that you will show up high in the search results, based on competing webpages for that keyword

Our recommendations

Since all the keyword tools listed on this page are free or freemium, we recommend you to use a combination to make sure of the best features from each.

For example, use the following recommended workflow:

  1. Explore keywords: Use Google Search Console to see with what keywords people are already finding your website. Use Answer the Public to get a general overview of all possible search queries related to one topic. Then use AlsoAsked to find and organise subtopics in a structured way. If there is an active Reddit community for your topic, also use Keyworddit.
  2. Compare with competitors: Use Semrush to compare your search traffic with other websites. Find out what people type into search engines to find your competitors' websites via search engines. This is useful to get more inspiration for keywords.
  3. Get detailed keyword info: Use Semrush and Ahrefs to get detailed information about the search volume and ranking difficulty of one particular search query. Data is based on estimates, so less accurate.
  4. Get accurate comparative data: Use Google Trends to compare the popularity of several keywords over time and in different geographical areas. Info is based on data collected by Google, so of high accuracy.

To learn more about each of these tools and how to use them, read the section below!

SEO Keyword tools

Below, we list several SEO Keyword tools to improve your website's search performance.

Is avoiding paywalls civil disobedience?
Several of the tools above offer a limited number of free searches. Theorectically, it may be possible to get around these limitations by opening up a new incognito window or making multiple accounts.

Please note that it may be not be legal to do this in your country. Some activists deliberately engage in civil disobedience as a political statement against big business.

Google Search Console

No info has been added yet about Google Search Console.

Google Trends has limited functionality but has the highest reporting accuracy (based on actual Google data). It is useful when you want to compare several keywords, want to see how their popularity changes over time, or if you want to find similar keywords.

  • Price: 100% free
  • Account needed: no
  • Features: It shows keyword popularity on a scale of 0 to 100 instead of the actual number of searches (which makes this tool much less useful), a timeline of search volume, a map with search volume, and related queries.


AlsoAsked is useful for finding long-tail keywords (full questions, instead of just a few words). It bases its data on Google's โ€œPeople Also Askโ€ data that appear in Google search results, and organises them in a logical way.

  • Price: Freemium. You get 3 free searches per month
  • Account needed: no
  • Features: find out what questions people have about a certain topic

Answer the Public

Answer the Public looks similar to AlsoAsked. However, it differs in that it uses the Google suggested search queries instead of the โ€œPeople Also Askโ€ box. Their differences are explained in a video made by AlsoAsked.

We recommend you to use Answer the Public to get a basic overview of all searches related to a certain topic, and then AlsoAsked to do more detailed research.

  • Price: Freemium
  • Account needed: no
  • Features: find out what questions people have about a certain topic


Using a free account, you will be able to use the Semrush Keyword Overview.

  • Price: Freemium.
    • Free plan: 10 free searches daily
    • Paid plans start at $120 monthly
  • Account needed: yes
  • Features:
    • Semrush Keyword Overview
    • Domain Overview and Competitor Keywords: Get inspiration for keywords from other organisations. Using these tools, you can see the historical trend of another organisation's organic website traffic, their position in search rankings, their top organic keywords, their top pages, and their main organic competitors. Make sure to use the Domain Overview if you want global data instead of for just one country.
    • Keyword Gap: This feature is similar to the one above, but it is a bit more advanced. With this tool, you can find out what the overlap and differences are between your keywords, and the keywords of another website. This is useful if you want to know which search queries they are scoring well for, but you are not.
    • Keyword Magic Tool: Using this feature, you get suggested keywords related to the keyword that you input. For each, you can see their search volume and keyword difficulty score.


Ahrefs has a free subscription, which offers various useful tools for nonprofits to analyse your website.

Ahrefs also offers various free tools for keyword research that can be used without an account. You will have to pass an annoying Iโ€™m not a robot test for every search, but you do have unlimited lookups. Data is also limited to the first few keyword results unless you buy their (very expensive) subscription. It is also not possible to look up the global volume of a keyword, only for one country at a time. Use Semrush Keyword Overview if you need the global volume.

  • Price: Freemium
    • Free plan: With a free account, you can only use Site Explorer and Site Audit, other features are paid. And these two you can only use to analyse your own website, not competitors.
    • Paid plans start at $90 monthly
  • Account needed: No account is needed for the Keyword Generator and Keyword Difficulty Checker. For some other features, an account is required.
  • Features:
    • Using the Keyword Generator you will get a list of suggested keywords based on your keyword input. For the first few, you can see their volume and difficulty.
    • Using the Keyword Difficulty Checker, you get more detailed info about how difficult it is to get your page to rank high for a certain keyword (showing the required amount of backlinks). You can also see what the search results look like (for the selected country).
    • The Site Explorer can be used to analyse your website search traffic. Various tools are available, but the โ€˜organic keywords' tab is probably most useful for keyword research.
    • Ahrefs has many other features that can be used for free, but these are less relevant to keyword research. Make sure to check out our other SEO guides, in which we discuss Ahref's other features.


Ubersuggest is a cheaper alternative to Semrush and Ahrefs, and it definitely also feels that way. The website is a bit slow and the design looks cheap. But then again: they offer many very useful features, and even their paid plans are significantly more affordable. In other words: perfect for activists and nonprofit volunteers.

  • Price: Freemium
    • Free plan: 3 free searches daily (definitely do not open an incognito window)
    • Paid plans start at โ‚ฌ30 monthly, or โ‚ฌ290 for lifetime access
  • Account needed: no


  • Price: 100% free
  • Account needed: no
  • Features: For Reddit keyword research, based on a subreddit

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