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.
Be sure to re-evaluate these keywords every few months -- once a quarter is a good benchmark, but some businesses like to do it even more often than that. As you gain even more authority in the SERPs, you'll find that you can add more and more keywords to your lists to tackle as you work on maintaining your current presence, and then growing in new areas on top of that.
Note: the old software version of Long Tail Pro would have spit out several hundred adwords suggestions (many being irrelevant to the seed keyword) for this one seed keyword and then you would have to filter to see only what you wanted to see. With the new cloud version of Long Tail Pro, you set it to show only a certain number of keywords and it displays the most relevant keywords so you have less noise and confusion to filter through.
I just have the free version right now so I don't know all that the pro one can do. But even the free version has A LOT of tools you can use, I haven't even figured them all out yet. But one that I have used is their Content Optimizer. You can take a new or existing content piece of yours, and compare it to one of your competitor's pieces on a similar topic, and see where you might be lacking based on the keywords that are used in each piece.
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.
Within a matter of seconds, Long Tail Pro showed me the top 25 Adwords suggestions for my seed keyword, with KC Scores already calculated! After scanning the list, I found a couple of keyword ideas that I wanted to drill further into. One of these was the keyword – legitimate work from home jobs. This keyword by itself would be very difficult to rank for (KC Score of 40) – but the new cloud version of Long Tail Pro allows me to easily grab up to 20 more suggestions based just on this keyword. I clicked the button to do that (as shown in the image below).
If you already create niche websites, you can clearly see how everything I’ve discussed above will benefit you. In fact, you probably already understood all of it. But maybe you are a blogger who has never thought of creating a niche website. Is this you? Let me tell you – if you can create a blog, you can create a niche website. It is not hard at all to create a small site, laser focused on a very specific topic, that will earn at least enough to make Long Tail Pro pay for itself.
Keyword everywhere is another useful keyword tool. You can install it on either Firefox or Google Chrome. The tool will be able to show you competition data, cost per click, and Google Keyword search volume of multiple websites and keywords. This free extension can help you to save a lot of time. It can assist you to find long-tail phrases including their precise search volume, competition data, and CPC.
This database was built using data from BEFORE Google required active ad accounts to get good keyword data & before they started blending data together for similar terms. Even if you set up an AdWords account and spend significant sums of money with them, they may require you to run your ad campaign for 3 or 4 months straight before they will show reasonably precise data instead of exceptionally broad data ranges.
How do I know that the KC score measures competition accurately? When I first started using the KC feature – I didn’t know for sure. But I’ve been using it since December of 2012. I’ve published literally hundreds of different articles (in different niches) around keywords with low to medium KC scores and I have a pretty good feel for the accuracy. More than 5 years of successfully ranking for low competition keywords has convinced me to completely trust the KC scores that are calculated within Long Tail Pro.
Google prefers to not share long tail searches in this tool – because the tool is designed for Google Adwords advertisers. If advertisers bid on those long tails – they would have less competition and therefore pay less for the Adword, and therefore Google would make less money e.g. bidding on the term weight loss for girls under 18 is cheaper than weight loss.
If you are somewhat new to this whole ‘make money online’ thing – then surely the cost of Long Tail Pro is a major factor for why you haven’t purchased it yet. Believe me – I know! When I first started out – I refused to pay for anything at all. I did everything the free way. I tried doing all of my keyword research with the free tool that Google provides – and my keyword research efforts were terrible! You know how I know? Because my sites weren’t getting any traffic and I wasn’t making any money.
In a nutshell, Long Tail Pro helps you quickly find keywords in bulk based on a seed keyword that you input. In addition to returning hundreds of related keywords, the tool also shows search volume (monthly search volume), advertiser bid, number of words, rank value, and my favorite Keyword Competitiveness (helps you judge the competition and keyword difficulty).