3. Finally, there's just good old research through trends and news. Google Trends, keeping up on industry news of the business, and even newsjacking (if there are relevant topics). These all require different resources depending on the business, but once you find the leaders in their news you can not only leverage them for keyword research but also glean insights into how you can become an industry leader yourself (and dominate SEO).
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.
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.
A service like BrightEdge comes with the biggest costs associated, but its SaaS solution for SEO covers many areas inside of a single ecosystem, including the ability to explore keyword data. This may be a benefit for agencies that wish to reduce redundancies across vendors, but eventually, it is likely that the need for a second tool will present itself as talent and effort levels increase inside of your SEO department.

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.
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.
When I finally made the decision the get Long Tail Pro way back in December of 2012 – I honestly had no idea how much this one piece of software would impact everything I do online. I knew that it would help me find more and better keywords right off the bat. But I didn’t know exactly how much it would positively affect my ability to actually make money online. I can say with confidence, that Long Tail Pro is the one tool that has made the biggest difference (by far), in my ability to get traffic to websites and actually earn money online.

Most people who use the Google’s auto complete feature to generate keywords that they include in their blog title or page find Soovle to be a very useful tool. This tool moves the auto complete feature a step forward by getting inputs from several sources like Amazon, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Bing apart from Google itself. This assists the user to generate keywords that drive online traffic in a better way. The default is usually set to Google but you can switch to the other options at your own will and view how the outcome keeps on changing. You can experiment with a broad range of keywords by running them through a specialized tool such as the keyword inspector as a way of extracting value that will boost your sales on Amazon.

We prefer and suggest Long Tail Pro to all our clients. Long Tail Pro is the best long tail keyword research software online. I use their software for researching keywords for everything from social media marketing bios, to page and blog post titles, to headings (H2, H3, etc.), to meta descriptions, to YouTube descriptions, to content/articles, and so much more!
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!

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.
To be able to rank in the search engines is an art that must be understood and finding the right Keyword tool that fits into your comfort zone is a must. What I mean by ‘comfort zone’ is having a keyword tool that doesn’t confuse you before you begin even searching. Some go into far too much detail than is necessary. All you need really are good long tail ‘common sense’ keywords that other marketers may have missed.
And so on and so on. The point of this step isn't to come up with your final list of keyword phrases -- you just want to end up with a brain dump of phrases you think potential customers might use to search for content related to that particular topic bucket. We'll narrow the lists down later in the process so you don't have something too unwieldy.
If you don't know the difference between head terms and long-tail keywords, let me explain. Head terms are keywords phrases that are generally shorter and more generic -- they're typically just one to three words in length, depending on who you talk to. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are longer keyword phrases usually containing three or more words.
This is slightly more complicated than it used to be, because you have to actually create a live AdWords Campaign as part of the process! This puts many people off, as it looks as if you have to actually advertise in order to use the tool. You don’t — you can just setup the campaign and then pause it before it runs so you don’t have to spend a penny.
As a new customer trying to evaluate the software, I asked if my trial period could be extended once this fundamental issue was fixed, on the basis I couldn’t actually evaluate its requirements against my criteria. I was told this was not possible, which frankly, is very poor customer service. What’s the point of offering a trial period when customers are unable to fully test the software?

To be able to rank in the search engines is an art that must be understood and finding the right Keyword tool that fits into your comfort zone is a must. What I mean by ‘comfort zone’ is having a keyword tool that doesn’t confuse you before you begin even searching. Some go into far too much detail than is necessary. All you need really are good long tail ‘common sense’ keywords that other marketers may have missed.

If you go to Search Console under the Acquisition tab and then click Queries, you’ll be able to see different searches (aka keywords) that users found you through. You may have to set this up, but it’s easy to do and only takes a few minutes; you can see how here. Use this information to evaluate and monitor your keywords to see what’s working and what needs to be changed.

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.
Let me show you an example. I just surfed over to a very popular blog called The Busy Budgeter (www.busybudgeter.com) to find an example topic. Rosemarie is the blogger over there and I’ve been following her journey recently. She’s absolutely killing it online! But, I happen to know that she gets most of her traffic from Pinterest and that working on SEO is one objective that she wishes to tackle. So, let’s see if we can help her out… A quick scan of her homepage tells me what type of content she produces and who her audience is. It appears her audience is largely female, lots of stay-at-home moms and a good portion of her content revolves around teaching others how to make money online.
Great article again. I was just thinking why can’t I find an article of yours on keyword research and then boom here it is. Thanks again. On another subject are your articles on link building still relevant ?. As I have been guilty of as Brian Deane calls it the publish and pray method. I would really like to know what is method of choice for link building. Thanks again Ian.
I will use the tool to pull in a lot of keywords related to a theme and group them into relevant topics. These topics will either become their own content page or will be combined with other topics to create a page. KeywordTool.io is similar to other tools out there such as Uber Suggest, which I've used for a long time, but it tends to produce more keywords and it provides search volume for the keywords.
As for the history of the company, as I explained, I created Long Tail Pro back in 2011.  At the time, I was creating tons of niche sites and was doing alot of keyword research and content creation.  I was trying to figure out what types of keywords would rank quickly in the search engines, specifically Google, and I was frustrated with the other keyword research tools (in particular Market Samurai) out there.
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