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.
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I actually don't use any keyword tools aside from Google Trends, but only rarely do I even use that. I try to talk to many of our target audience members (entrepreneurs) as I can. I attend events, I have phone calls, I sit next to them while working. Generally speaking, I think it's a waste of time to START with keyword tools instead of actual customers. Yes, you can target people in broad swaths and get a high level sense for what's interesting and trending, but at least in the case of our business at NextView Ventures, it's way more powerful to talk to actual "customers" you serve.
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.
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.
We hope you found some of these tools useful. It's worth noting that if you don't have any content that suits a particular keyword, you can always create it. Just remember to make sure that the content answers the search query that you're trying to target. For example, somebody searching for the term 'Log Cabins Phoenix' is not going to be satisfied with a page that offers log cabins for sale in New York.

You can also filter by query, which is useful when looking at branded queries, or when looking at specific words. For example, only show keywords that include the term "SEO". The graph also allows you to spot trends in across the available metrics and compare week-on-week or month-on-month. This can help you to drill down and monitor progression over time, allowing you to answer questions like "have my branded keywords received more clicks in the last month compared to the previous month?", "has the CTR improved?", "did average positions in Google improve?".
SEMrush is a very useful tool for both researching competitors when starting a site or for growing an established site. I really like to find weaker niche sites that still seem to be ranking for lots of keywords; SEMrush helps me see what they are ranking for and what I can potentially target. You can also see what keywords you’re on the cusp of ranking for with your established site - another very useful feature.
* 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.
I also hang out in SEO forums and groups and see KC scores tossed around and talked about and pretty much everybody is on the same page. Most agree that you can’t completely rely on the KC score (there are a few factors that can’t quantitatively be measured with a number) – but that the KC score is a VERY good indicator of the competition level for specific keywords. The following diagram realistically shows exactly what to expect from certain KC scores…
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?)
I came across Longtail Pro this morning, downloaded the trial version and was about to buy the $97 program…seems like a good buy. But the more research I’ve done today, it seems the KC score is an absolute must for anyone who is serious about making money with niche sites. I hate to spend the bucks, but hate even more leaving money and possibly niche site success. Any advice?
For the first few months, there was certainly a transition period.  However, the new team was able to take over the reigns fairly quickly.  A big reason for the quick transition is because I had automated most of the business already.  So, the fact that I was stepping away didn't make a huge difference since all the sales, marketing emails, and many other details were already happening on an automated basis.
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