1) SEMrush - I believe that among all the 3rd party software, SEMrush has the largest keyword database. Their search volume data is pretty accurate and aligns with the Google keyword planner. Also, based on the type of content that needs to be produced (i.e. informational, transactional, etc.), one can utilize different filtering options available in it.
To get started with the Free Keyword Tool, just enter a keyword or search term into the relevant field. If you want to conduct competitive intelligence research into your competitors' keyword data, you can also enter the URL of a specific webpage to view keyword data for that page. You can also enter your industry and country to see even more accurate results; it's not unusual for the cost-per-click and other metrics to differ widely from one country to another, even for advertisers bidding on the same keywords in the same industry. 
To answer your final question, yes but not really. You can definitely use AdWord keyword planner tool to get solid organic search volume estimates. However, don’t just stop there. Leverage other tools to find longer tail variations you can map against various stages of the buyer journey. I like to use SEMrush, Keyword Tool.io and Google autosuggest.

You can use this tool while searching for ad group ideas or keywords. Keyword planner acts like a workshop that you can use to expand existing network search network campaigns or build new ones. The tool can allow you to search for AdWords tool ideas or keywords, view the performance of a list of keywords, retrieve historic statistics, and develop a new list of keywords by multiplying many keywords lists together. A free keyword planner, AdWords tool can also assist the user in selecting a list of competitive budgets and bids that you can include in your campaigns. You can utilize keyword planner in laying the foundation of a successful online campaign whether you are a highly experienced pro or new to online. All you need is a Google AdWords account and you will be ready to sign in and get on the move.
The Google Keyword Planner used to be great it's now frustrating to use.... and almost impossible to get in to without setting up your first ad. Big shame google big shame. I would love to share more info about your tool over on my website [link removed by moderator] for my local business clients - have you got something you can send over for me to add to the site?

I’ve got to say thanks for the introduction to Long Tail Pro, It’s because of this review that I even came across it in the first place, I’ve been testing it out for the past few days and it’s awesome. Already found some “low hanging fruit”, though I do still prefer Niche Genetics for the organic listings. This has easily replaced using Google’s keyword planner and a note pad. Thanks again 🙂
2) SEMrush- This tool offers fantastic competitive research around domains to find what keywords could be driving traffic for your competitors. Looking at paid keywords ad spend can also help you know which keywords might have monetary value worth pursuing organically. If a competitor is willing to spend a high ad budget on terms and you think they do a good job running their ad campaign, then its a good indication it is worth organic ranking effort.
Analyze Keyword Difficulty – Targeting difficult keywords with the highest competition is not always the best idea. The SEMrush Keyword Difficulty tool helps you determine keywords’ difficulties. By indicating a particular keyword’s percentage of difficulty, this tool helps you estimate how easy it would be to seize your competitors’ organic positions in the SERPs.
Using the good ol' free Google Keyword Planner is great. But there is an alternate universe of Long Tail keyword phrases that live in Google's other database--namely, their "Autocomplete database." That's the database that is accessed when you're typing queries into the Google search box (notice that list of suggested keywords that pop up as you type?)
1) Google Keyword Planner: This tools is fantastic because it can help me to identify long tail keywords for my niche. It is official Google’s tool and it has the recent trends and keyword variations. For example you may think that this keyword is great “buy ipad air in liverpool” but Google may suggest “iPad air sale Liverpool”. Yes, not often it is accurate but when I’m using it alongside the other tools – I can get clear idea.
Once I have a list of phrases, rankings, and volumes from these tools, I'll look to internal tools (maybe Excel, Access, or another database) to organize, classify, and forecast opportunity. This is where I'll estimate a competitor's traffic based on volume & position CTR, set goals for a target position, and estimate traffic based off that position's CTR and keyword volume.
I’ve found google trends to be an interesting way to see if a keyword (and by extension a niche) is growing or shrinking, and whether it’s seasonal or not. I can’t think of any other tool out there that can reliably tell you this information, so that’s really useful. Also, if you’re building a site, especially an authority site, getting onto something that’s trending upwards is a fantastic idea.
Hey Alex – this is a good question. No tool is going to be spot on. My advice is to not look too much into the accuracy of the metrics, but look at it more as a relative measure. I’m finding Ahrefs to be a good barometer for keyword competitiveness, but I’ve also heard great things about KW Finder lately. I think it’ll more come to personal preference. Both are solid options.
I want to share how and why I sold the company in order to both educate and inspire potential software entrepreneurs.  I certainly don't know everything and obviously companies sell for much more than I sold Long Tail Pro for (I won't be featured in Tech Crunch anytime soon); however, I'm willing to share what I have learned and hopefully that can be beneficial to a few of you.
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