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"I rarely get excited about SEO and SEM tools...But, when it comes to keyword research it is virtually impossible to produce a quality worksheet without software. When I have to perform the same task for my customers, the process is even more daunting and time consuming...there is now a better way to manage huge keyword lists and this tool is called WordStream."
1. AdWords Keyword Planner - It's still the standard, although Google keeps making changes that just aren't helpful. I get that they want us to treat closely-related keywords in such a way that we're not creating multiple pages when we should just have one, but I'd appreciate it if they'd still break down the volume for each keyword that makes up a group (or at least list the keywords they're clumping together into a group). 

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!
The relevant keywords that you target with your ads will bring the right audience to your website. Showing your ads to people that type relevant keywords will result in higher click-through rate (CTR), lower cost-per-click (CPC) and higher conversion rates for your business. As a result, you will spend less money on advertising and generate a better return on investment.
Offer Details: Offer expires 9/30/2018 (midnight Pacific Time), and is available only to qualified advertisers who meet the following eligibility criteria: Open to new and verified Bing Webmaster Tools account holders who own their own Website and open a new Bing Ads account; a “new” account is one that has been open fewer than 30 days prior to the date of coupon redemption. Your account will be evaluated daily to verify you meet the eligibility criteria. When criteria is met, a Bing Ads coupon will be sent to each qualified advertiser by email in approximately 3 business days from date of verification. See full offer details here.
The Search Based Keyword Tool is intended for researching keywords within Google’s Adwords network. Unlike the Keyword Tool, the Search based Keyword Tool is based solely on searches from Google.com. This factor causes the search volumes displayed to be considerably lower than the Keyword Tool. Because this tool is intended for paid search keyword research, it contains additional information on Suggested Bid and Ad/Search Share. The Search Based Keyword Tool is seamlessly integrated into the Google Adwords interface and allows marketers to add keywords to their PPC campaigns without having to login to their Adwords Client Center.

The Google Keyword Tool has a variety of helpful features meant to streamline the keyword research process. By entering terms or phrases into the search box, the Keyword Tool allows you to build extensive, relevant keyword lists from one simple interface. By default, the tool displays Advertising Competition, Global Monthly Searches, Local Monthly Searches, and Local Search Trends for each keyword. Additional options allow marketers to show the estimated Average Cost per Click, Ad share, and Search Share.

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.


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.

Google Adwords search volume tool is highly effective and extremely easy to use. If you’re new to keyword research and just want some quick info on the search volume and competition level of a few keywords you have in mind, this is a great tool to use. Just enter in the specific keywords that you want to compare, and then view the results. You’ll be able to see the search volume, general competition level, and suggested Adwords bid.
Great Top 10 keyword research tools list. Thank you for posting Robbie! I really appreciated the feedback from the experts. There are a definitely a few tools here worthy of taking note of. I have also been using DYNO Mapper (http://www.dynomapper.com) as a keyword research tool. DYNO Mapper is a visual sitemap generator that delivers keywords on all pages of any site. The user simply inputs any existing URL into the system and it will scan thousands of pages.
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.
As you might imagine, the ability to completely see and study how the competition is ranking for certain keyword phrases in your niche has significant value for any company. Tack this on with its other features, and Long Tail Pro makes a ton of sense for content marketers. And like I said before, the price tag is very low compared to some of the tools I’ve seen out there, with a one-time fee (NOT a monthly fee) of $97 and a 60-day, money-back guarantee.
It's important to check that you have a mix of head terms and long-tail terms because it'll give you a keyword strategy that's well balanced with long-term goals and short-term wins. That's because head terms are generally searched more frequently, making them often (not always, but often) much more competitive and harder to rank for than long-tail terms. Think about it: Without even looking up search volume or difficulty, which of the following terms do you think would be harder to rank for?

Update: I’ve now been using Long Tail Pro for 5+ years. There are now many different keyword research tools and lots of people prefer some of the newer tools. Admittedly – Long Tail Pro had some hiccups and went through some rough times as they transitioned ownership and introduced the newer cloud version. But – all of the bugs and kinks have been worked out and Long Tail Pro is now better than ever! I’m happy and proud to be able to continue to use and promote Long Tail Pro as my keyword research tool of choice.
This might be the easiest way to make Long Tail Pro pay for itself. I’m pretty sure that the affiliate program is open to anybody (even if you don’t currently own the product). Simply get signed up and then promote it any way you see fit (within the Terms of Service, of course). If you couldn’t tell, I’ve been doing this for quite awhile via this blog and I’ve earned a healthy sum of money over the years as a result.
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.
The Google Keyword Tool has a variety of helpful features meant to streamline the keyword research process. By entering terms or phrases into the search box, the Keyword Tool allows you to build extensive, relevant keyword lists from one simple interface. By default, the tool displays Advertising Competition, Global Monthly Searches, Local Monthly Searches, and Local Search Trends for each keyword. Additional options allow marketers to show the estimated Average Cost per Click, Ad share, and Search Share.

Answer: Google Keyword Planner was created to find keywords for Google ads. It will likely not produce very good keyword suggestions for SEO or content marketing purposes. Google Keyword Planner often hides good long tail keywords. To find long tail keywords for SEO, you can use Keyword Planner alternatives such as Google Trends, Google Suggest or Keyword Tool.

Keyword Discovery is a paid subscription service that offers marketers the ability to see keyword data across multiple search engines. They maintain one of the largest databases of searches, (nearly 38 billion) which are compiled from over 50 different search engines. The search data shown is a record of the number of times the exact keyword or phrase has been searched over the last 12 months across all 50+ search engines. You would assume that the search volumes would be much larger than any other tool because of Keyword Discovery’s access to data from over 50 search engines, but the fact that the keyword matching option is set to exact, greatly reduces the total volume. Unlike Google’s tools, Keyword Discovery does not collect or show data relating to paid search, such as Suggested Bid, Cost per Click, and Competition. Data is collected daily, but updated monthly. Although you must pay the subscription to have access to all the features, Keyword Discovery does provide a free alternative.
Provides links to price estimate tools from Google AdWords. That Google AdWords tool showed the necessary bid to rank #1 for 85% of queries, and roughly how much traffic you could expect AdWords to send you based on that bid price and ad position, though, as mentioned above, Google has obfuscated their data in their interface for everyone but longtime AdWords advertisers.
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. 
In fact, Google Suggest is the best way to find good long tail keywords that people use to find information on Google. Google admits that while Google Autocomplete (another name for the Google Suggest feature) was not designed specifically for marketing, it can deliver meaningful insights and help stay on top of trends. There are also many clever ways to use Google Autocomplete that can help you with SEO.
Can't go wrong with the Google Keyword tool, SEMRush and Google Trends. The Keyword tool for volume estimates, SEMRush to see what keywords competitors are ranking for/targeting, and Google Trends to make sure the traffic is actually coming from countries I'm trying to target. Gives a relatively accurate picture of when to expect traffic spikes and seasonality insight.
The Google Keyword Tool has a variety of helpful features meant to streamline the keyword research process. By entering terms or phrases into the search box, the Keyword Tool allows you to build extensive, relevant keyword lists from one simple interface. By default, the tool displays Advertising Competition, Global Monthly Searches, Local Monthly Searches, and Local Search Trends for each keyword. Additional options allow marketers to show the estimated Average Cost per Click, Ad share, and Search Share.
Brian, thank you for all of these informative guides! I started out as a digital marketing intern and everything that I learned from your site has helped me land a job as a marketing specialist. I’m truly grateful and enjoy everything that you published so far. If you have a chance, I’ve started using this tool called SEOClarity, I was wondering what’s your take on it? Have you used it before or know anyone that has?
You can use Keyword Researcher Pro with the best free keyword research tool out there, Google KW planner. Importing and exporting data is as easy as clicking a button. It’s all done at lightening speed too. There are tutorials of how to do this in video form on the sales page here and they show just how easy this tool is for finding those long tail keywords.

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.
You can receive keyword ideas from your audience or team because people are a rich source of keyword date. Seed keywords presents a unique tool that users utilize in generating keyword ideas from other individuals. You need to begin by creating a scenario in a question form by asking people what they would search for in case they are looking for answers to their questions. Seed keywords will develop a unique URL that you can share with your relevant audience or team once you have created a scenario. Your viewers will begin to enter their desired keyword phrases and this will be added to the seed keywords. This data is downloadable in the form of a CSV or you can simply click to view the results of each keyword in Google. You can look for the search volumes in other keyword tools like Google planner once you have your list of keywords.
When you’re running the Rank Checker feature sometimes you see Google’s captchas pop up and which can be annoying. I have only experienced this on a computer with an old OS (Windows XP) though; I haven’t seen this on Windows 7 or Windows 10 machines. Again, if you close the software and reopen it after a few minutes, everything will be okay again. UPDATE: one of the latest updates fixed this issue.
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.
I also want to emphasize that Microsoft Excel and Google Docs perhaps play an equal, if not more important role in keyword research than any of these tools, because at the end of the day, the mountain of data you end up with is of no use if you can’t perform calculations, sort, filter, present or store it in a way that’s best suits the task at hand. Head over to Distilled for a comprehensive Excel for SEOs guide. Alternatively, bug this guy—he’s the Sensei who trains Excel ninjas in the dark of the night.
This is a really straight-forward strategy. Contrary to popular opinion – small niche websites can actually still work. Basically, you create a small website that is hyper-focused on one long tail keyword. You create the very best resource on that specific topic and publish the very best content on the internet based around that long tail keyword. Monetize with something simple like Adsense, Amazon or another affiliate product – then just sit back and watch the money roll in every month!
The Search Based Keyword Tool is intended for researching keywords within Google’s Adwords network. Unlike the Keyword Tool, the Search based Keyword Tool is based solely on searches from Google.com. This factor causes the search volumes displayed to be considerably lower than the Keyword Tool. Because this tool is intended for paid search keyword research, it contains additional information on Suggested Bid and Ad/Search Share. The Search Based Keyword Tool is seamlessly integrated into the Google Adwords interface and allows marketers to add keywords to their PPC campaigns without having to login to their Adwords Client Center.
Wordtracker is another service that requires an annual subscription to utilize all of its features. Their database is made up of 330 million search terms, collected from the major metacrawlers, Dogpile and Metacrawler, and is updated weekly. The search data they show is a record of the number of times the exact keyword or phrase has been searched in the United States over the last 365 days. As in the case of Keyword Discovery, this difference in default keyword matching type causes Wordtracker to display search volumes significantly lower than what Google’s tools show.
If you already have a keyword list, the Free Keyword Grouper can transform your list (up to 1,000 keywords) into an organized keyword structure ready for high-performance PPC campaigns and an SEO-friendly information architecture. Just paste in your list to get back keyword groups in seconds. This keywords organizer tool will help you sort your list of keywords into structured, workable groups that can then be used for easy ad text creation. The keyword tool can also be used as an SEO keyword organizer to assist in site design.
Given you have a good idea of where to start and are fairly confident you are speaking the same language as your client, jump start research by generating related keyphrases and long tail variants with the ever so easy to use Google Autocomplete. This tool makes predictions based on what you are typing that are a reflection of Google search activity.
Am I worried that my keyword research might not be effective since I only look at the KC score? No. Not really. Because I tend to target only the longer tail keywords these days. I don’t go after the huge main keywords anymore. They’re too hard to rank for. But long tail keywords are really easy to find with Long Tail Pro and they are usually much easier to rank for.
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