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.

More on this How to Do Keyword Research with SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool Post Maria Raybould SEMrush Toolkit for SEO Ebook Mar 16, 2018 Intent research: Confirming your keyword intent assumptions with Google ads Webinar recorded on  Sep 20, 2018 Of course, knowing where to start can be difficult. Below you'll find the five best SEO keyword research tools I recommend for startups to begin a well-rounded keyword foundation for your campaigns.
I use Ahrefs to find ideas for keywords to add into content, and content to create around keyword opportunities. I like how Ahrefs shows keyword difficulty, search volume, traffic potential (how much organic search traffic it’s possible to get when you rank #1 for a parent topic keyword) and lets you group keywords together to create lists. It’s really useful.
I’ve owned a dozen or so Keyword Tools in my time and most of them are basically the same, but I’ve always thought the best Long Tail Keyword research tool is the very quiet and reserved Keyword Researcher Pro. I don’t see it being shouted from the rooftops and I don’t see any aggressive marketing for it, but my…it’s a real useful tool that I now wouldn’t be without.
Depending on your topic / vertical and your geographic location the search engines may have vastly different search volumes. The tool can only possibly offer approximations. Exact search volumes are hard to find due to vanity searches, click bots, rank checkers, and other forms of automated traffic. Exceptionally valuable search terms may show far greater volume than they actually have due to various competitive commercial forces inflating search volumes due to automated search traffic.
The keywords you want to focus your SEO on should closely resemble the vocabulary of your audience. In order to come up with the proper keywords you really have to get inside the heads of the people who search for your website. What terms will people use? How do people search? Which question does your website answer? You should create a list of all search terms people could use and think of combinations and nuances within these search terms.

It's not always about getting visitors to your site, but about getting the right kind of visitors. The usefulness of this intelligence cannot be overstated; with keyword research you can predict shifts in demand, respond to changing market conditions, and produce the products, services, and content that web searchers are actively seeking. In the history of marketing, there has never been such a low barrier to entry in understanding the motivations of consumers in virtually any niche.
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.
If only it were that easy – right? I’ll be the first to admit – it’s not always that easy. I’ve created lots and lots of these types of sites over the past few years – and only a handful of them worked out. It can be a very hit or miss thing. But I do have one site in particular that I would like to highlight for you. It happens to be the very first niche website that I ever created! Why highlight this specific site? Because my very first attempt at a niche site happens to still earn more than enough money each month to pay for the expenses associated with Long Tail Pro! Check out the screenshot below from my Adsense account which shows stats for just this one site for exactly one year previous from the day that I am writing this post.
The WordStream suite of Keyword Tools is an integrated and actionable set of keyword tools designed to help search marketers with keyword search, keyword suggestion, keyword grouping, PPC keyword research, keyword analysis, long-tail keyword research, and negative keyword discovery, going beyond the capabilities that a typical free keyword tool can offer.
Ever since Google announced the impending demise of the AdWords Keyword Tool and their preference for its new avatar – the Keyword Planner, yet another hot discussion has sprung up in the SEO community. This time, strong adherents of the free-for-all ideology are riled at Google’s decision to make the Keyword Planner accessible only to marketers who’ve explicitly signed up to Google’s AdWords (which is one step more than having a Gmail account), taking it closer to being a paid tool in future! I don’t see this as a hindrance, because most other keyword (or other) tools require you to create an account and sign in before you can use them, even if they’re free. But if Google does it, we have reason to pounce on them, don’t we?
Pricing plans and pricing structures for Long Tail Pro have changed several times over the years since I first purchased it. I’m not going to make the mistake of publishing any pricing information here. I’ve done that in the past on this blog and I still have several old posts that are live with incorrect pricing information. There is a good chance that people will still be reading this very post several years from now – and surely the pricing that is available today will be different in the future. Just like it was way different in the past. Please click on any of my links within this post or anywhere else on my site to see the latest prices for Long Tail Pro.
Use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner to find new and related keywords, but ignore the search volume data! The search volume data in the planner is really only useful for keywords that you’re actually spending money to advertise on. Otherwise, these volumes are not reliable. While not really helpful to decide which keyword is most used by your potential audience, Google Adwords Keyword Planner makes a useful tool in coming up with ideas for potential keywords!
The limit on manual keywords could be higher.  I personally wish we could input 10,000 keywords at a time, instead of 200.  However, I understand the costs that Long Tail Pro has to maintain each time a new manual keyword is input.  Not a deal breaker, I just wish the limit was higher. (To be fair, I don't think most keyword tools have a bulk manual option at all).
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