If you want your website to stay ahead of the game, you can’t afford to ignore Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Successful bloggers spend a LOT of time using SEO tools, and there are plenty to choose from. In this KWFinder review, we look at whether Mangools KWFinder is a worthy contender.
I’ve been using KWFinder since back in 2017, and I’m a paying customer to this day. As such, you can be ensured of some detailed insights into KWFinder and the other supporting Mangools tools.
Just before we begin, a TL;DR for those who want a quick summary:
KWFinder Review Summary
Mangools KWFinder is a reliable SEO and keyword research tool. Its feature-set isn’t as rich as some competing products, however it’s competitive pricing and relatively shallow learning curve make it an enticing proposition.
Let’s begin our KWFinder review with the basics.
What is KWFinder?
KWFinder is a cloud-based keyword research tool for bloggers and website owners. It’s the main part of the Mangools SEO tools suite, which also includes four supplementary products: SERPChecker, SERPWatcher, SiteProfiler and LinkMiner.
KWFinder’s main purpose is to help you find keywords to write content around. It gives you an insight into how many people search for each keyword, and how strong the competition is. One way to think of it is as a much more fully-featured Google Keyword Planner alternative.
KWFinder can help you find profitable “low hanging fruit” and long tail keywords where the level of competition is low enough for you to stand a good chance of ranking your articles. The supplementary tools then help you keep track of your site’s performance, and monitor your competition.
Who is KWFinder For?
KWFinder is perfect for bloggers, and thanks to its (relative) ease-of-use it’s a solid choice for beginners as a first SEO tool.
There’s also plenty here for SEO professionals and agencies, although some may seek some of the more advanced features that appear in more expensive packages such as Ahrefs and SEMRush.
The Mangools Suite: What Do You Get with KWFinder?
As explained above KWFinder is in fact just part of a comprehensive SEO suite called Mangools. However, the product is more widely known by the KWFinder name.
Later in this KWFinder review, we take a more detailed look at all of the other components. First, here’s a quick description of which each part of the suite does.
- KWFinder is the core tool, used for researching keyword data and SEO difficulty, and browsing keyword suggestions.
- SERPChecker allows you to check live ranking data. You can pull up Google’s results page for any keyword, see various metrics for the sites that are performing well, and look at how you perform by comparison.
- SERPWatcher is a rank tracking tool for monitoring how your content is performing on Google over time. You can set up a list of all the keywords you are keen to rank for, and keep constant track of their ups and downs.
- SiteProfiler gives you an overview of a website’s performance and key statistics. You can use this both to take a deep dive into your own site’s performance, or to check out a competitor in detail.
- LinkMiner analyses backlinks pointing to your site or others.
KWFinder Pricing: How Much is KWFinder?
KWFinder costs from $29.90 per month if you pay annually up-front, or $49 per month if you pay on a month-by-month basis. The cost covers the complete set of tools, which are only sold as a package. Prices are sometimes switched to a local currency (such as Euros), if you live outside the US.
The pricing structure means there’s a 40% saving for those paying annually. As such, it’s best to choose this option if you can afford it.
The size of the saving is actually a bit of a downside if you can’t afford an up-front payment. However, on the monthly subscription option, you do have the choice of stopping and starting the service and just using it “as needed.”
The prices mentioned above are for the “Basic” tier, and there are more expensive options available for those who need to make a lot of use of the tools.
Beyond offering extra simultaneous logins for multiple team members, no features are held back for more expensive versions, which is pleasing to see. Instead there are different limits on how many keyword lookups per 24 hour period you get, how many keywords you can track in SERPWatcher, how many keyword suggestions you see in each lookup, and various other things.
For what it’s worth, the Basic plan has almost always proved sufficient to me as an individual blogger. I have very occasionally hit my 24-hour limits during particularly intense research sessions, but usually the lowest limits are perfectly adequate.
Does KWFinder Have a Free Trial?
KWFinder has a free trial option. You try out all of the individual Mangools tools for free for ten days, and there’s no need to provide credit card details to do so.
As you can see from the screenshot above, there are restrictions on how many lookups you can do each day during the trial period. This does mean that while the trial gives you a good feel for the tools, you can’t take the approach of doing a massive amount of keyword research while it’s free!
This is completely fair. Services like this require enormous databases and lots of computing power, so the level of trial access provided is fair, reasonable, and well thought out.
Is KWFinder Good Value?
KWFinder is very good value for an easy to use SEO tool. If you’re a blogger who’s just starting out, the cost of KWFinder may seem quite significant, but so’s the cost of writing content nobody will read because you’ve not researched the keywords! (Similarly, the right hosting is worth investing in, find out about the company I use and recommend here).
Perspective is important here. The two big-name premium SEO tools are Ahrefs and SEMRush. Their cheapest packages cost $99 and $99.95 per month respectively. With that in mind, $49 is a bargain.
One perfectly legitimate option is just to pay for a month or two, document your research and cancel until you’re in a better position to afford the software on an ongoing basis. Alternatively, the saving for paying for a year at a time is considerable.
How Does KWFinder Work?
The easiest way to explain the core functionality of KWFinder is to show you what you see when you perform a keyword search, and explain what the key features mean.
As you can see from the screenshot above, I’ve performed a search for the keyword “best walking poles.” (1). I’ve searched by “Anywhere” and “Any Language,” but you can drill down to specific countries and languages.
In (2), you can see a Keyword Difficulty score. This gives a broad indication of how difficult it is to rank for that keyword on a 1-100 scale. SEO difficulty is a solid guide to what to write about at different stages of your site’s development. In the early days, there’s little point in going after terms you won’t rank for.
The graph in (3) shows how many people search for the term each month, known as the search volume, and how those searches trend over time. This is useful for spotting seasonal patterns, and when search numbers for something specific are climbing or falling.
The area marked (4) shows KWFinder’s keyword suggestions. This list of keywords shows you other things people are searching for, related to the given keyword.
This is where you uncover new ideas of phrases to target. There’s also a bunch of other data here such as the monthly search volume for each keyword and the kind of figure paying advertisers pay for “cost per click” for these terms.
The panel marked (5) shows you the current Google search results for your chosen term. There are various metrics here, such as the Domain Authority of the sites shown and the number of links pointing at each page.
The most useful figure here is the final “EV” column. This means “Estimated Volume” and shows how many people you could expect to bring to your site if you managed to rank in each position for the chosen term.
If your eyes are already glazing over at this point, I should emphasise that it doesn’t take long to work out how to interpret the data. While there’s a lot to take in initially, it’s all laid out intuitively, and you can hover over any column label to see some information on what it is you’re looking at.
While there is a lot to take in, there’s actually a lot LESS overwhelming information then you’ll find in the likes of SEMRush and Ahrefs.
I’ve only covered the real basics here. I will expand on some additional features, and on what the other modules do, a little later in this KWFinder review.
As stated in the introduction, I’ve been using KWFinder for several years. The fact I remain a paying customer (despite now having additional subscriptions to other tools like Ahrefs) is testament to how useful it is. It’s rare for a day to pass without me using KWFinder and the other provided utilities several times.
My overall impression is largely positive, but KWFinder isn’t without its flaws. Let’s focus on the good to start with:
I’ve already mentioned the word “intuitive,” but it describes KWFinder well. It links logically to all of the other tools you are provided with as part of the package.
For example, you can research a keyword in KWFinder, and hit a button to analyse the search results in more detail in SERPChecker. Or, you can drill down into one of the keywords you’re monitoring in SERPWatcher and click to run the same keyword through KWFinder.
SEO tools ARE complex, so it’s good to see that so much thought has gone into usability. The fact that the interface itself is attractive helps too – the suite is enjoyable to use.
On the more negative side, performance is sometimes an issue. You can wait a little while for results to appear and there are occasional time-outs. In fairness, the more expensive Ahrefs has similar issues. This is complex data being compiled so in can take time. However, it wouldn’t be right not to mention the occasional slowdown in operation.
Is KWFinder Accurate?
Accuracy is of course another thing that’s important to consider.
If KWFinder tells you that 700 people search for a specific term each months, to what extent can you rely on that search volume information?
This is a tricky area for all keyword research tools, and one that’s passionately debated in the SEO community. The simple answer is that none of these tools are 100% accurate. Google is not an open book, so these tools use their own methods to work with what data is out there.
This “best guess” approach has been brought into sharp focus by various studies showing that SEO tools often give very different results for search volumes. (As somebody who uses both KWFinder AND Ahrefs, my general finding has been that search volumes usually (but not always) come with higher estimates on KWFinder).
So with that in mind, let’s tackle the obvious question: why use an SEO tool at all?
Well the simple answer is that some data is always better than no data. You should certainly be doing some keyword analysis. There’s a big difference between writing about a topic nobody is searching for and writing about a term thousands of people key into Google.
SEO isn’t an exact science. If it was, everyone would be able to game the system. ALL SEO tools use third-party metrics that Google doesn’t acknowledge. In my opinion, KWFinder is no more or less accurate than any other.
Extra Features, Lists and Filters
We’ve looked at the very basics of keyword research on KWFinder, but you can do much more with the data to drill down to the information you need.
First off, obvious though it may sound, is that you can choose which column to sort the data by. This is actually incredibly useful, because it allows you – for example – to scroll straight down to the keyword suggestions with the lowest difficulty, or to look quickly at which related keywords have the most search volume.
You can also access a wide range of filtering tools:
As you can tell from this screenshot, using a combination of filters can quickly help you eliminate irrelevant keywords, or those are too hard to target, or those that have too low a search volume to be worth bothering with.
You can also access two very useful alternative searches: You don’t only have to look at keyword phrases, you can also grab suggestions for questions on Google, and Google’s autocomplete entries, giving you a whole load of extra content ideas.
Finally, KWFinder also allows you to set up keyword lists. I find this very useful for when I spot things I could target in the future. I have multiple lists set up for current and future projects. (I’ve actually added a few things to mine whilst working on this updated KWFinder review – my keyword research never stops!)
Limitations of KWFinder
KWFinder does a lot but it doesn’t do everything.
In-depth competitor analysis is probably the area where this is most noticeable compared to more expensive keyword research tools. For example, in Ahrefs, I can easily find out what my competitors have written about that I haven’t yet.
In reality, this isn’t a deal breaker, especially for those who are newer to blogging. This kind of detailed analysis comes once you’re actually competing with other sites – and that’s not going to happen until you already have a solid body of content.
The other main limitations of KWFinder relate to the caps on searches for each 24 hour period. You get 100 keyword lookups on the “Basic” package – enough for a good research session, but few enough to run out if you sit down to do hours of it. I actually find the Basic plan limit of 200 tracked keywords in SERPWatcher (discussed below) more of an annoyance.
The key thing about KWFinder is that it feels like it offers the most important 90% of the functionality the more expensive tools do, but for 50% of the price. That’s very much the right balance.
The Other Elements of the Package
So far we’ve been concentrating on KWFinder itself. The keyword research tool is the main thing on offer, but Mangools provides much more as part of the package. In the next part of this KWFinder review, we have a look at the supplementary tools:
SERPChecker offers an enhanced version of the information on current search rankings that you see in the bottom-right panel of KWFinder.
However, the key difference is that it’s live information from a Google search, rather than a snapshot of the most recent data KWFinder has. You can do up to 100 of these searches per day on the cheapest package.
I use SERPChecker daily, both to check my own rankings, and to have a deeper look at what competitors are doing when I plan to write a new article. I can check out the domain and page authority of the sites that are going well, and see how many Facebook shares and links they have pointing to their content.
SERPChecker is extremely useful for SERP analysis, and well-integrated with the rest of the suite. It can sometimes be slow to load if you want to see beyond the first page of search results, but this is only a minor frustration.
LinkMiner is Mangools’ backlink analysis tool, designed to help you find out who is linking to your sites. It’s also handy for competitor analysis, as you can look at where your rivals are getting incoming links from.
It’s a useful enough tool, and as you can see, it’s laid out in much the same way as KWFinder. Again, you can hover over the column labels for an explanation of what you’re looking at.
Harsh though it may sound, I do find LinkMiner to be one of the weakest parts of the toolset. Information I’d like to be able to see just isn’t there, such as when a new link was found. And while you can filter the list by links that are “dofollow” or “nofollow,” it would be more useful if this was shown alongside the other data.
Furthermore, the metrics chosen don’t mean all that much to me. I’d personally rather see domain and page authority than content flow and Alexa rank.
If you’re reading this as a beginner, and wondering what on earth I’m on about, don’t worry! Suffice to say that in my opinion LinkMiner is useful, but not amazing. I don’t use it much, and tend to use Ahrefs for researching links instead. Your mileage may vary. LinkMiner just doesn’t quite keep up with the intuitiveness of the rest of the suite.
SERPWatcher is something I use daily.
It’s a fairly simple utility: You feed in the keywords you’re trying to rank for, and the software keeps a daily and historical record of where you appear in the search results.
It amalgamates these into a metric it calls “Performance Index.” While this does give you a general overview of whether your rankings are rising or falling, it’s by no means a complete assessment, unless you were tracking every single possible keyword, which would be impossible.
It still provides some hugely useful insights. You are alerted to when articles start to tumble in the rankings, and can compare where specific posts rank compared to the best positions they’ve reached historically. It’s VERY useful for helping to prioritise what to work on next.
It’s not perfect, but the main reason for that is down to Google. In recent times, the search engine has been highly volatile, with some controversial core algorithm updates and lots of ranking fluctuations. Since SERPWatcher takes a daily snapshot of the results, it’s common to find they’ve moved again later in the day. Often I’ll see a post has slipped but then check the live results in SERPChecker and find it’s back where it was.
Even so, for a general birds-eye view of your ranking performance, it’s a great solution. I use this at least as often as KWFinder itself, and make use of its in-built email updates too. While its “Performance Index” isn’t an up-to-the-minute-accurate metric, if it drops considerably, my traffic and income usually drop in tandem.
A quick aside: If you’re considering only using the KWFinder free 10 day trial, or paying for the service a month at a time, SERPWatcher won’t be especially useful. It’s about tracking your results over time, so it becomes more valuable the more historical data it gathers.
SiteProfiler is probably the most lightweight of the Mangools features, but it provides a handy overview of various aspects of a site’s performance.
You get a summary of metrics like Domain Authority, Page Authority, and Trust Flow, details of incoming links and social shares, a breakdown of the most popular content on the site, and a round-up of the site’s most likely competitors, along with their key metrics too.
SiteProfiler is a good tool to use when you want a broad overview of a site’s performance. I like to look at my sites with it every now and then to see how they’re progressing. It’s valuable if you want an overview of a competitor too. But it’s probably not something you’ll be spending hours using.
Mangools SEO Extension
Mangools also offers a Google Chrome extension that allows you to bring up a host of data from all the individual tools while you’re browsing the web.
Over the years, I’ve started to use this more and more. As an example, you can be on any web page, and quickly look at what backlinks it has, what keywords it’s ranking for, and an overview of its main metrics and social share counts.
The SEO Extension is a valuable addition to KWFinder, and one that makes it easy to access data without delving into the apps themselves. It can help you to quickly become very informed about the sites you’re browsing and how they’re finding success. For example, you may be able to find some long tail keywords that they’re bringing in traffic with.
Tutorial: How do you Use KWFinder?
This is primarily a KWFinder review and not the place for a fully-fledged KWFinder tutorial. However, as somebody who’s used the product for a long time, I feel well-positioned to offer some quick pointers as to how to get started.
If you decide to make use of the free trial or start a paid subscription, this is what I suggest doing first:
1. Feed your first seed keyword into KWFinder. Say, for example, you’re blogging about gym equipment, and wish to do keyword research on related topics, type that into the search box.
2. Next, look at some of the keyword suggestions. I’d suggest ordering by the “Keyword Difficulty” column, and scrolling down. This is where you search for that “low hanging fruit” – keywords with relatively low difficulty, but still a decent amount of search volume. If I ran a gym equipment blog, I’d be thinking whether any of these were topics I could cover.
3. Rinse and repeat, adding keywords you like the look of to lists as you go.
4. Produce content around your keyword research. Then, once your articles are live, put the keywords into SERPWatcher so you can keep an ongoing look on how they’re performing.
Obviously this only scratches the surface. Entire books and courses have been produced on these topics! However, these are the basics if you’ve never used a tool like KWFinder before, and a good jumping off point for learning about all the other features.
There’s always a live chat box available in the corner of the KWFinder window, and the quality of support is good – prompt and helpful.
Live chat and email support are the options available. There’s not a phone number to call, but this is standard for tools like this. There are also some self-help support options available, including tutorial articles and videos.
While on the subject of support, I would like to mention the great integrity of Mangools as a company. As I’ve said, I’ve used the product for a while. In that time lots of features have been added and the price is higher than it was initially. Despite that, Mangools has always honoured the original price I signed up at. This has always impressed me and says a lot about the morals of the company.
KWFinder vs. Ahrefs
Before I conclude my KWFinder review, I’d like to do a quick comparison with Ahrefs. It’s likely that plenty of readers will want to compare the two. KWFinder vs. SEMRush is something else you may want to think about, but I’ve not used the latter for a while.
I subscribe to KWFinder AND Ahrefs, and there’s lots of duplication of features between the two. Ahrefs IS a more feature-packed solution, but it also costs at least twice as much, and has a much steeper learning curve.
If you’re new to keyword research, I’m inclined to say that KWFinder is a better choice. It still gives you plenty of keyword suggestions and raw data to play with. The data is presented in a way that’s easier to understand, and even though I have access to both, I tend to turn to KWFinder first if I just want a quick glance at a keyword.
That said, if I want to do really detailed searches or dig into some advanced competitor keyword research, Ahrefs is usually my first choice nowadays. For basic keyword research, I use them equally.
I think, for many people, starting with KWFinder with a plan to perhaps graduate to one of the more hardcore products in the future is a solid strategy.
KWFinder is a keyword research tool that’s easy to love. It’s user friendly and well-laid-out, and the data provided is good enough to help you make some solid decisions on content directions for your website(s).
The product suite its flaws – primarily occasional performance wobbles. And the secondary tools range from great (SERPChecker and SERPWatcher) to middling (LinkMiner) to “filler” (SiteProfiler).
But the overall package is compelling, especially at the price. Yes, there are some areas where it cannot compete with more expensive SEO tools, but that can be forgiven when it costs half the price! Most importantly, the most important features are all present and correct. This makes KWFinder a really great entry-level / mid-range choice.
Read to the end of our KWFinder review to find our specific pros and cons of KWFinder. Once you’ve done that, why not grab a free trial? You don’t even need credit card details to give it a go, so you can try it out with some keywords of your own and come to your own conclusion. I’ll certainly be continuing to renew my own subscription to this particular keyword tool
While you’re Here:
- If you’re on the hunt for blogging tools, check out ConvertKit, the solution I use for email marketing.
- There are lots of companies offering remote jobs currently – take a look at our FlexJobs review for a place to find them.
- Unsure of how to make a living from home? Here are 52 online jobs to choose from.
An intuitive and well-featured set of SEO tools
- Ease of Use
Well worth a look for bloggers and website owners.
KWFinder is just one part of a comprehensive suite of tools that’s enough to get started in keyword research and other fundamental Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tasks. There are more advanced options out there, but they invariably cost quite a lot more. The features to value ratio here is spot on.
- A good, shallow learning curve.
- Free trial and money-back guarantee.
- Strong support.
- A solid selection of extra tools.
- Very useful Chrome extension.
- Competitive pricing.
- Much cheaper annual pricing is a little unfair on monthly subscribers.
- Sluggish performance at times.
- LinkMiner less intuitive than the other tools.
Founder of HomeWorkingClub.com – Ben has worked freelance for nearly 20 years. As well as being a freelance writer and blogger, he is also a technical consultant with Microsoft and Apple certifications. He loves supporting new home workers but is prone to outbursts of bluntness and realism.