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In order to know which keywords to target, it's essential to not only understand the demand for a given term or phrase, but also the work required to achieve high rankings. If big brands take the top 10 results and you're just starting out on the web, the uphill battle for rankings can take years of effort. This is why it's essential to understand keyword difficulty.

You don’t really need to worry about the volume size either. Too big a number just means you will have to work harder to get ranked in Google. It’s now quite commonplace to see SEO people say it’s best to just go with your gut feeling on a keyword. Just go for something you would type into Google search yourself instead of beating yourself up trying to find that ‘one’ killer keyword.
Spencer, it seems like you got out at just the right time and made your money? Seeing as Google has basically stopped giving access to their free keyword tool. I own the FULL lifetime license $290+ I think is was. Now Longtail Pro is useless due to the restrictions that Google has put in place. Do you know what the future plans are for Longtail Pro to get around this issue that I’m sure everyone is facing? Or can you get some feedback from the new owners?

The final sales price was based on a multiple of trailing 12 months net income (i.e. The average net income over the most recent 12 months).  I feel like I got a very good multiple.  I had talked to the brokers at FEinternational, Quiet Light Brokerage, and had viewed sale history of other similar companies, so I know the price I received was very competitive.
Note: If you can’t justify using Ahrefs on a monthly basis, you could sign up for a month, do your KW research and cancel. That said, if you can justify the monthly pricing it’s well worth keeping because you’ll get access to the ongoing functionality such as rank tracking and web monitoring. It also means there’s no need to use any other tools to track rankings or monitor mentions on the web.
Brian, thank you for all of these informative guides! I started out as a digital marketing intern and everything that I learned from your site has helped me land a job as a marketing specialist. I’m truly grateful and enjoy everything that you published so far. If you have a chance, I’ve started using this tool called SEOClarity, I was wondering what’s your take on it? Have you used it before or know anyone that has?

Keyword Overview looks at the entered term on its own and addresses expected searches per month, the difficulty of competing against Page 1 results for the same term, a rough estimate of organic click-through opportunities (versus paid ads and non-organic positions on the search engine results page), and the perceived priority that the user should assign to optimization for this term, where the higher the score, the higher the demand and a lowered level of competition.
You can filter your results by 24 business verticals, including Apparel, Arts & Entertainment, Autos & Vehicles, Beauty & Fitness, Books & Literature, Business & Industrial, Computers & Electronics, Finance & Banking, Food & Drink, Toys & Games, Health, Hobbies & Leisure, Home & Garden, Internet & Telecom, Jobs & Education, Law & Government, News Media & Publications, Family & Community, Occasions & Gifts, Pets & Animals, Real Estate, Retail & General Merchandise, Sports & Fitness, and Travel & Tourism.
In Keyword Planner, formerly known as the Keyword Tool, you can get search volume and traffic estimates for keywords you're considering. Unfortunately, when Google transitioned from Keyword Tool to Keyword Planner, they stripped out a lot of the more interesting functionality. But you can make up for it a bit if you take the information you learn from Keyword Planner and use Google Trends to fill in some blanks.
As you can see, LongTailPro is pulling data from Google Adwords. WHAT?! So LTP uses a mix of their own massive data (launched in 2011) and data pulled via API from Majestic.com, Moz.com, and Google Adwords (http://adwords.google.com). Once you input your seed keywords, LongTailPro outputs suggested keywords related to your seed keywords, search volume, Adwords suggested bid, Adwords competition, total words, rank value, average keyword competition, language searched, and location searched.
You can receive keyword ideas from your audience or team because people are a rich source of keyword date. Seed keywords presents a unique tool that users utilize in generating keyword ideas from other individuals. You need to begin by creating a scenario in a question form by asking people what they would search for in case they are looking for answers to their questions. Seed keywords will develop a unique URL that you can share with your relevant audience or team once you have created a scenario. Your viewers will begin to enter their desired keyword phrases and this will be added to the seed keywords. This data is downloadable in the form of a CSV or you can simply click to view the results of each keyword in Google. You can look for the search volumes in other keyword tools like Google planner once you have your list of keywords.
These 3 keyword matching options are not solely to blame for the large variations seen when comparing data from the keyword tools. Much of this difference can be attributed to the distinctive techniques that the tools use to collect their data. Let’s take a look at how these tools collect and present their data and hopefully it will help clear up any confusion.
Provides links to price estimate tools from Google AdWords. That Google AdWords tool showed the necessary bid to rank #1 for 85% of queries, and roughly how much traffic you could expect AdWords to send you based on that bid price and ad position, though, as mentioned above, Google has obfuscated their data in their interface for everyone but longtime AdWords advertisers.

How do you figure out what keywords your competitors are ranking for, you ask? Aside from manually searching for keywords in an incognito browser and seeing what positions your competitors are in, SEMrush allows you to run a number of free reports that show you the top keywords for the domain you enter. This is a quick way to get a sense of the types of terms your competitors are ranking for.
The Google Keyword Tool is SUPER helpful for building a foundation for your keyword research strategy. At the end of the day, these search numbers are coming straight from the horses mouth. You can filter down to a hyper-local level and see which keywords are getting the largest search volume. Plus, with it’s integration with PPC you can get a quick idea about commercial intent by looking at the bid and competition metrics. How much are people bidding on KWs, higher = more likely to generate a return. Usually its aligned with search intent. That said, the trending data is a little less reliable. I would still use Trends to analyze the popularity/ seasonality of KW search volume.
How do I research keywords? This is a common question I get from clients. And my immediate response is… Long Tail Pro! With the update to Google Adwords Keyword Planner (rendering it near worthless) without paying for Google ads and to test actually search volume for keywords, the generic Avg. search volume range they provide gives you ZERO actionable data! See example below:

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* Please note our tool currently assumes Google having ~ 83% of the market, with Bing + Yahoo! splitting the remaining 17% of the market. Actual market conditions may vary significantly from that due to a variety of factors including: search location, search market demographics, how much marketshare mobile search has relative to desktop in that particular vertical, etc.
The only problem is that you can’t possibly laser-target every ad to the search query, and your landing page will definitely not be as targeted as it could be either. Not even dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) would help, because who wants to click on an ad with the headline of just “Bounce House”? Let’s just say it gets tricky, and you’re a little lazy if that’s all you do.

So what exactly is Keyword Competitiveness (KC)? It’s only the feature within Long Tail Pro that completely changed the game and made keyword research so ridiculously simple that even a dumb truck driver like me could become an expert! It basically works like this. As soon as you click the button in Long Tail Pro Cloud to retrieve keywords, it automatically calculates a number for each keyword (between 1 and 100) based on several different SEO factors. Lower numbers mean the keyword is easier to rank for and higher means it is harder to rank for. More on that below…
They’ll show you information like how many external links the site has, the number of Facebook and Google+ shares, estimated visits per month, and its page authority. All of this is valuable intel that can give you insight into where your page could potentially rank against them, without needing to do more research with a separate tool or on another page.
1. AdWords Keyword Planner - It's still the standard, although Google keeps making changes that just aren't helpful. I get that they want us to treat closely-related keywords in such a way that we're not creating multiple pages when we should just have one, but I'd appreciate it if they'd still break down the volume for each keyword that makes up a group (or at least list the keywords they're clumping together into a group).
Matthew, are you still using LTP as part of your strategy given the changes with Google AdWords and MOS the past few months. None of their training reflects these changes in the video tutorials, so it’s a bit slower on the learning curve and seems very limiting on some of the LT Keyword options that are registering no data, when we know there is search data for certain words. Seems like something that was designed to work incredibly smooth is playing catch up from changes in 2 major areas, MOZ and Google.
Although more and more keywords are getting encrypted by Google every day, another smart way to come up with keyword ideas is to figure out which keywords your website is already getting found for. To do this, you'll need website analytics software like Google Analytics or HubSpot's Sources tool. Drill down into your website's traffic sources, and sift through you organic search traffic bucket to identify the keywords people are using to arrive at your site.
If you're struggling to think of more keywords people might be searching about a specific topic, go to Google.com and take a look at the related search terms that appear when you plug in a keyword. When you type in your phrase and scroll to the bottom of Google's results, you'll notice some suggestions for searches related to your original input. These keywords can spark ideas for other keywords you may want to take into consideration.
Creating a psychologically alluring title is important--because search engines will rank our document (in part) based on how many clicks the title is getting--relative to other articles on Google's Search Results Page (SERP). Hence, a title that has some stylistic panache, will (in theory) ultimately rank higher than a title that doesn't have anything eye-catching about it.

Just came on this program this morning and downloaded a trial version. Could this program really be only $97? Is this portion of the program effective or do you need the $300-plus Platinum version? The KC score, available in the $300-plus version, seems critical to making the whole thing work really well. Are you possibly leaving money and success on the table by not biting the bullet and going for the expensive program?


Hi – I’ve read your post with great interest. Not only am I happy for you and your success, it does provide a glimmer of hope to those of us who do have “other” ideas. I, too, have had an idea for a very long time now, but I have no idea how to go about “making it a reality.” I am not a programmer either… though I do know some html… I also remember the old days of having even a web developer holding domains hostage, never mind the site’s entire code. And, yes, that is one of the major things that stops me from even discussing things with a developer. I simply don’t trust them…
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