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 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.
Usually, the various search engines provide their own keyword suggestion tools, which also include the number of searches for each of those keywords. The keyword researcher uses this information to select the correct keyword, depending on the SEO goals of the website. Around 20–25% of searches are very specific long tail keywords entered into Google every single day. It's easy to rank said keywords when there is the right amount of content and backlinks to match. Keyword research is a valuable and high return activity in the search marketing field.[citation needed]
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.
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"I've been doing keyword research for years, and I can tell you that dealing with hundreds of keywords and dozens of spreadsheets is enough to make anyone lose the will to live. Keyword Researcher is great because not only does it let you easily find keywords that people are actually searching for, but it has a clean and simple interface that makes it easy to keep track of what you've found. If I'm stuck and need some new ideas, I just fire it up and usually find several things to write about in a few minutes."
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.
Because someone who is looking for something that specific is probably a much more qualified searcher for your product or service (presuming you're in the blogging space) than someone looking for something really generic. And because long-tail keywords tend to be more specific, it's usually easier to tell what people who search for those keywords are really looking for. Someone searching for the head term "blogging," on the other hand, could be searching it for a whole host of reasons unrelated to your business.
Click the Download Free Trial button above and get a 14-day, fully-functional trial of CrossOver. After you've downloaded CrossOver check out our YouTube tutorial video to the left, or visit the CrossOver Mac walkthrough for specific steps. Once you have CrossOver installed and running you can come back to this page and click the Step 2 button, or follow the manual installation guide, to begin installing your Windows application.
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To get started with the Free Keyword Tool, just enter a keyword or search term into the relevant field. If you want to conduct competitive intelligence research into your competitors' keyword data, you can also enter the URL of a specific webpage to view keyword data for that page. You can also enter your industry and country to see even more accurate results; it's not unusual for the cost-per-click and other metrics to differ widely from one country to another, even for advertisers bidding on the same keywords in the same industry. 
Earlier, I wrote a post about the use of long tail keywords. Focusing on long tail keywords could be a good strategy, especially when trying to rank in a highly competitive market. But how do you decide on which (long tail) keywords you want to rank? This post will give you some handy tips and keyword research tools to make your keyword research a bit easier.
Search Analytics can be found under the 'Search Traffic' section and provides details of the keywords that drove clicks to your website, based on data for up to the last 90 days. The difference with Google's version is that you can filter the data to put extra context around the keywords, such as filtering by country to see keyword popularity based on country, which can be useful when carrying out keyword research for websites that service more than one country.

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 learned a lot from you and now make a couple hundreds per month in extra cash thanks to your advice. You provided us with great content and a great tool. I’m very happy for you. I have to say though that I’m sad you sold… customer service is so so so far and I know it’s cool for owners to sell subscriptions instead of selling it for a one time fee and I know it’s a new trend online but it’s really a trend I don’t like as a customer… Anyways. I’m very happy for you. Many thanks and congrats !!!
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