If you're a regular blogger, these are probably the topics you blog about most frequently. Or perhaps they're the topics that come up the most in sales conversations. Put yourself in the shoes of your buyer personas -- what types of topics would your target audience search that you'd want your business to get found for? If you were a company like HubSpot, for example -- selling marketing software (which happens to have some awesome SEO tools ... but I digress ;-) -- you might have general topic buckets like "inbound marketing," "blogging," "email marketing," "lead generation," "SEO," "social media," "marketing analytics," and "marketing automation."

I recently decided to go with ahrefs after using spyfu for a couple years and trialing secockpit. I was a moz client for awhile too about a year ago. I found spyfu data to be sketchy (or just plain wrong) fairly often, and moz, I don’t know, just didn’t seem like they were really into supporting what I wanted to know. secockpit was achingly slow for a trickle of data. ahrefs isn’t nearly so graph-y as spyfu, but they are so blazing fast and the data is so deep. I enjoy it a great deal, even if it is spendy.


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).

KW Finder is similar to the Google Adwords tool; it even pulls up similar results, which aren’t as entirely on-point as the immediate results from SEMrush and Moz. From my experience with KW Finder, the searches are a lot better if you put some time into manually adding in filters like negative keywords and additional keywords you do want to include.


3. Set your pre-search filters. Depending on whether you are looking for a new niche to build a site around or trying to find keywords to target on your already existing website, the minimum amount of local monthly searches (LMS) you set might vary. For new niches my LMS criteria is 1,500-5,000 searches, for posts anything from 10-800 is fine. Also, depending on one of these goals you can add a lower or higher number of words in the respective filter: for new niches 3 (or, at times, 2) words minimum, for new posts from 3 or 4 words up.
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.

Keyword Overview looks at the entered term on its own and addresses expected searches per month, the difficulty of competing against Page 1 results for the same term, a rough estimate of organic click-through opportunities (versus paid ads and non-organic positions on the search engine results page), and the perceived priority that the user should assign to optimization for this term, where the higher the score, the higher the demand and a lowered level of competition.
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.
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).
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