Because I’m naturally leery of tools, I was very hesitant to make any snap judgments on Long Tail Pro. But after I read the reviews on the product and learned more about its seriously cool developer Spencer Haws, I decided to give it a go and made the $97 purchase. As soon as I started using the tool, I quickly fell in love with these two main features:
The only problem is that you can’t possibly laser-target every ad to the search query, and your landing page will definitely not be as targeted as it could be either. Not even dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) would help, because who wants to click on an ad with the headline of just “Bounce House”? Let’s just say it gets tricky, and you’re a little lazy if that’s all you do.
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.
In addition, you can dig into the paid side of search and find out what keywords your competitors are bidding on, and then leverage those keywords for your own organic benefit if you're not already doing so. Search Metrics does this as well, but I've found SEMRush to provide a greater range of keywords and they save more historical keyword data than Search Metrics.

Keyword everywhere is another useful keyword tool. You can install it on either Firefox or Google Chrome. The tool will be able to show you competition data, cost per click, and Google Keyword search volume of multiple websites and keywords. This free extension can help you to save a lot of time. It can assist you to find long-tail phrases including their precise search volume, competition data, and CPC.
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.
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.
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!
Customize the data that LTP is going to fetch with pre-filters like “Suggested Bid” (or Cost per Click [CPC], i.e. the amount of money an advertiser is willing to pay for a click on their AdWords ad that is targeting that specific keyword), “Local Search Volume” (average number of monthly searches for a specific keyword), “Advertiser Competition” (the amount of advertisers competing for a specific keyword) and “Number (of) Words” (very important when you’re trying to find long-tail keywords).
Hey Alex – this is a good question. No tool is going to be spot on. My advice is to not look too much into the accuracy of the metrics, but look at it more as a relative measure. I’m finding Ahrefs to be a good barometer for keyword competitiveness, but I’ve also heard great things about KW Finder lately. I think it’ll more come to personal preference. Both are solid options.
The simplest KW research tool is google. Type in your topic and scroll to the bottom to see what related results show up. Use those to either write an article or to supplement other articles with some of the keywords. Yes, they are primary phrases so you may not rank for them right away but building your site with these in it will help get rank for them eventually. Also look at what other articles that show up for the keyword use.

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.
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.
The primary difference is that Long Tail Pro is a big time saver over MS. With Long Tail Pro you are able to enter in multiple seed keywords at once (rather than just 1 with MS). So, instead of entering in 1 seed keyword, waiting five minutes, then going back and entering in one more; you can enter 5 seed keywords (for example), hit generate and then see all the keyword ideas at once!
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).
* 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.
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.
"This tool is simply Amazing. I've been uncovering literally thousands of highly related keywords for my clients websites, with this tool new content ideas have become a breeze. I literally have hundreds of new ideas for articles to write about for my sites and my clients sites. The Keyword Researcher tool was truly a great buy for my business and I highly recommend it to anyone."

3. Ninja Outreach: Full disclosure this is my own tool, and it is actually an outreach tool, so you may be wondering how it plays into Keyword Research. The fact is there are quite a few data points that NinjaOutreach gets for me that I find useful in keyword research, such as the articles that are ranking for the keyword in Google, their domain authority, their page authority, the number of backlinks they have, and other social and contact data. It's pretty valuable stuff, especially if there is going to be an outreach campaign tied into the keyword research. I wrote a great article with Jake from LTP showing the combination of the two tools.
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?
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…

From time-to-time – there are discounts or promotions available for Long Tail Pro. Whenever these become available – all links on my site that lead to the Long Tail Pro sales page will reflect the discounted price. If there is a huge sale or a massive deal – I always let my email subscribers know about it as soon as possible. If you’re not on my email list yet – feel free to sign up by clicking the button below. I’ll even send you one of my FREE guides!
Jaaxy uses a combination of search engine data from the major search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo) and Long Tail Pro get its search data from Google alone (via the Google Keyword Planner tool). While this seems to be an advantage for Jaaxy, you might only be interested in getting information from the number one search engine in the World: Google.
I love Moz’s interface and how they give you data on the keywords. It’s easy-to-read, making it an ideal solution for both experts and newbies alike. They’ll show you both numeric and visual representations of a keyword’s monthly search volume, its opportunity for ranking, priority, and difficulty. They’ll also show you keyword suggestions and SERP analysis, which is fantastic and detailed.
Repeat this exercise for as many topic buckets as you have. And remember, if you're having trouble coming up with relevant search terms, you can always head on over to your employees on the front lines -- like Sales or Services -- and ask them what types of terms their prospects and customers use, or common questions they have. Those are often great starting points for keyword research.
Note: the old software version of Long Tail Pro would have spit out several hundred adwords suggestions (many being irrelevant to the seed keyword) for this one seed keyword and then you would have to filter to see only what you wanted to see. With the new cloud version of Long Tail Pro, you set it to show only a certain number of keywords and it displays the most relevant keywords so you have less noise and confusion to filter through.
1. Create a New Project. By clicking on the “+” icon located at the left upper corner, a new pane will show up allowing you to: enter your new project Title; choose your project’s Country (which affects the total of local monthly searches and top 10 Google results shown); pick your project’s Language (which affects generated keywords and the top 10 Google results for users that use that language); select your Search Network (which affects the number of reported searches depending on your choice between “Google” or “Google & search partners”); and toggle the Adult Ideas switch on or off.
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.

Note: the old software version of Long Tail Pro would have spit out several hundred adwords suggestions (many being irrelevant to the seed keyword) for this one seed keyword and then you would have to filter to see only what you wanted to see. With the new cloud version of Long Tail Pro, you set it to show only a certain number of keywords and it displays the most relevant keywords so you have less noise and confusion to filter through.
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.
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?
Most keyowrd databases consist of a small sample of the overall search universe. This means keyword databases tend to skew more toward commercial terms and the core/head industry terms, with slighlty less coverage of the midtail terms. Many rarely searched for longtail terms are not covered due to database size limitations & lack of commercial data around those terms. Plus if those terms were covered, there would be large sampling errors. Google generates over 2 trillion searches per year and claims 15% of their searches are unique. This means they generate searches for over 300 billion unique keywords each year. The good news about limited tail coverage is it means most any keyword we return data on is a keyword with some commercial value to it. And with Google's Rankbrain algorithm, if you rank well on core industry terms then your pages will often tend to rank well for other related tail keywords.
6. Filters. On the top area of the main pane, you can find the “Filters”. These will allow you to filter your keyword suggestions list in real time. Just start typing and your list will be filtered accordingly. You can filter for “Keywords” (to only show keywords that include a specific word or words); “Suggested Bid” & “Local Searches” allow you to enter minimum or maximum values; “Advertiser Competition” (this comes in handy, because the higher the competition the more money there is to be made if you target that keyword); “Avg. Amazon Reviews” (a neat feature for those who sell products on Amazon or have an Amazon FBA business — less reviews equal less competition, hence more chances to rank on top of Amazon’s product search pages); “Avg. Keyword Competitiveness” or “KC” is Long Tail Pro’s proprietary metric that calculates how hard it is to rank for a keyword in a range from 0 to 100 — 0 being no competition and 100 impossible to rank for. All of these filter columns can be used to sort the keyword suggestion list as you prefer.
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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