How do I research keywords? This is a common question I get from clients. And my immediate response is… Long Tail Pro! With the update to Google Adwords Keyword Planner (rendering it near worthless) without paying for Google ads and to test actually search volume for keywords, the generic Avg. search volume range they provide gives you ZERO actionable data! See example below:

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…
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.
Some of the links on this site are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products/services that are helpful and useful to my business, not because of the commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
2. The second category are keyword tools based on the competition. One of the first things to determine is not only who the business competitors are, but who the SEO competitors are. Keyword research can be done by simply doing research on high-performing competitors. Some of my favorite domain-based keyword tools are SEMrush, SpyFu, and BrightEdge's Data Cube.
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?
Google Suggest isn’t exactly a tool, but I’ve found that it can be useful for identifying potential keywords. As you type a query on Google.com, Google Suggest recommends search queries based on other users’ search activities. These searches are algorithmically determined based on a number of purely objective factors (including popularity of search terms) without human intervention. The Suggest dataset is updated frequently to offer search queries that seem to be trending upwards. This feature is largely one of the reasons that you may see repeat traffic of seemingly long tail keywords. By identifying these long tail keywords and optimizing for them, marketers can capitalize on seemingly obscure keywords with little competition.
The SEO market has been recording a lot of advancements in the recent past. The world has thousands of keyword research tools and it’s hard for you to grasp all of them. Some of them come free of charge while others have to be paid. There are so many free keyword tools that generate excellent results in the various search engines. This article eases your work by presenting top ten free keyword research tools you can find in the market. You can use any of them depending on your SEO needs and nature of industry.
We at Moz custom-built the Keyword Explorer tool from the ground up to help streamline and improve how you discover and prioritize keywords. Keyword Explorer provides accurate monthly search volume data, an idea of how difficult it will be to rank for your keyword, estimated click-through rate, and a score representing your potential to rank. It also suggests related keywords for you to research. Because it cuts out a great deal of manual work and is free to try, we recommend starting there.

Making a list remains hard. And up until a few years ago, doing your keyword research was much easier. You could simply check Google Analytics to see which terms people used to find your website. That is no longer possible. So you’re pretty much left in the dark about the terms people use in search engines to end up at your website. Luckily, there are some other tools which can make your keyword research a bit easier, and could help you speed up the process a bit:
This isn’t the only tool that mines Google Autocomplete. There’s also KeywordTool.io, but this tool restricts results to ~700 keywords (more are available for “pro” members). Infinite Suggest is another alternative, but despite the name, I’ve found that it still doesn’t find anywhere near the number of keywords that Keyword Shitter finds. And there are tons of other Google Autocomplete miners too. Just Google “google auto suggest tool” for more. There’s also this tool from SEOChat which mines autocomplete suggestions from Google, Bing, Amazon, and YouTube.
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.
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…
While this one isn’t necessarily a keyword research tool, it will give you valuable insight into how the keywords you’ve been optimizing for so far are actually performing for you. You might realize that you could start ranking for more keywords with more difficult competition, for example, or that only keywords on certain subjects are working for you.

WordStream for PPC is a full-service PPC management platform for creating, optimizing and managing pay-per-click advertising campaigns in Google AdWords. Our PPC software includes easy-to-use PPC keyword tools, campaign creation and expansion tools, Quality Score optimization tools, and more to help marketers get their PPC work done quickly and cost-effectively. WordStream for PPC customers experience increased traffic and greater ROI.


If you’re serious about making a success of blogging, you need a keyword research tool like this. Such tools can also prove useful before you even begin. If you have several ideas, you can do your research up-front, and see which niche gives you the most chance of success, and which is already highly competitive. Working this out can save you an awful lot of time and money in the long run.
So what exactly is Keyword Competitiveness (KC)? It’s only the feature within Long Tail Pro that completely changed the game and made keyword research so ridiculously simple that even a dumb truck driver like me could become an expert! It basically works like this. As soon as you click the button in Long Tail Pro Cloud to retrieve keywords, it automatically calculates a number for each keyword (between 1 and 100) based on several different SEO factors. Lower numbers mean the keyword is easier to rank for and higher means it is harder to rank for. More on that below…

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.


Note: If you can’t justify using Ahrefs on a monthly basis, you could sign up for a month, do your KW research and cancel. That said, if you can justify the monthly pricing it’s well worth keeping because you’ll get access to the ongoing functionality such as rank tracking and web monitoring. It also means there’s no need to use any other tools to track rankings or monitor mentions on the web.
WordStream's Negative Keyword Tool reduces wasteful PPC spending and improves ROI by preventing your AdWords PPC ads from showing on irrelevant searches. Enter a keyword to get a list of negative keyword suggestions. Then select the ones that aren't relevant to your campaigns and export the results for use in your AdWords account. As a result, your ads will be more relevant to searchers, grab a much more targeted audience and reduce your overall ad spend.

He is the co-founder of Neil Patel Digital. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies. Neil is a New York Times bestselling author and was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations.
The Display Planner tool replaced the YouTube Keyword Tool in 2014, and can be accessed from the Tools section of your Google Ads account. Although it's a little more involved than entering a keyword into the YouTube Keyword Tool, the Display Planner offers some great functionality for making the most of Display campaigns, including keyword-driven video ad campaigns on YouTube. The Display Planner also offers precious insights into the demographics and interests of your audiences, allowing you to create highly tailored Display campaigns.
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…
The objective of keyword research is to generate, with good precision and recall, large number of terms that are highly relevant yet non-obvious to the given input keyword.[2] Process of keyword research involves brainstorming and the use of keyword research tools. To achieve the best SEO results, it is important to optimize a website as well as backlinks for the most relevant keywords. It is good practice to search for related keywords that have low competition and still a high number of searches. This makes it easier to achieve a higher rank in search engines which usually results in higher web traffic. The downside of this practice is that the website is optimized for alternative keywords instead of the main keyword; main keywords might be very difficult to rank for due to high competition.[3] There are three essential concepts to consider when conducting keyword research. Good keywords are closely related to the subject of the website. Most search engines use an internal quality system to check website relevance related to possible keywords, a non relevant keyword is unlikely to rank well for a website.[4] Good Keyword that are highly competitive are less likely to rank in the top. Keywords that have no monthly searches generate no traffic and therefore are useless for SEO. Keyword stuffing in a web page should be avoided.
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.
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.
* 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.

Recently I had a dilemma with one of my projects, it is related to ecards and many people still using word “cards” instead of “ecards” but Google Keyword Planner and some other tools showed almost the same information for both keywords. At the same time I did not want to have many words “cards” and “ecards” on the landing pages. Semrush helped very much. I found correct data and made a nice PPC campaign.


How do I know this? Because I’ve done it! In late 2013 I was still struggling to earn a respectable income online. I started up a keyword research service and marketed it to just this blog audience. It turned out to be quite popular. Basically – I would find niches using Long Tail Pro then create Keyword Research Packages. Each package contained usually several hundred keywords with KC scores calculated. I was selling these packages for anywhere between $97 to $147. I even sold one single package for $597! That one had very high search volumes and very low competition.
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.
All you would have to do is write a decent review and use some Long Tail marketing keywords scattered inside of it. Do it in a way that the reader doesn’t even know you’ve slipped in 20 long tail keywords. Let the article flow naturally with a clear tone of honesty…as if you were talking to a friend. People who read your review want to feel a connection or a solution or a even a need to buy that product. This is where you use those Long Tail Keywords.
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. 
These are usually single-word keywords with insane amounts of search volume and competition (for example, “insurance” or “vitamins”). Because searcher intent is all over the place (someone searching for “insurance” might be looking for a car insurance quote, a list of life insurance companies or a definition of the word), Head Terms usually don’t convert very well.
I actually don't use any keyword tools aside from Google Trends, but only rarely do I even use that. I try to talk to many of our target audience members (entrepreneurs) as I can. I attend events, I have phone calls, I sit next to them while working. Generally speaking, I think it's a waste of time to START with keyword tools instead of actual customers. Yes, you can target people in broad swaths and get a high level sense for what's interesting and trending, but at least in the case of our business at NextView Ventures, it's way more powerful to talk to actual "customers" you serve.

If only it were that easy – right? I’ll be the first to admit – it’s not always that easy. I’ve created lots and lots of these types of sites over the past few years – and only a handful of them worked out. It can be a very hit or miss thing. But I do have one site in particular that I would like to highlight for you. It happens to be the very first niche website that I ever created! Why highlight this specific site? Because my very first attempt at a niche site happens to still earn more than enough money each month to pay for the expenses associated with Long Tail Pro! Check out the screenshot below from my Adsense account which shows stats for just this one site for exactly one year previous from the day that I am writing this post.
What are people looking for on your site? These terms are keywords in the vocabulary of your actual audience and should definitely be added to your keyword list. Do not forget to look at the keywords people filled in that didn’t get any results: this was stuff people were expecting but didn’t find. You can look into the results of your internal search in Google Analytics at Behavior → Site Search → Search Terms.
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.
Understanding the balance of terms that might be a little more difficult due to competition, versus those terms that are a little more realistic, will help you maintain a similar balance that the mix of long-tail and head terms allows. Remember, the goal is to end up with a list of keywords that provide some quick wins but also helps you make progress toward bigger, more challenging SEO goals.
I was going to post screenshots here showing my numbers for the past year – but the dashboards in the old affiliate platforms (Clickbank and JVZoo) don’t provide the best visuals – so I’ll just show you my total affiliate income for the past year. In one year (March 13, 2015 to March 13, 2016) I earned $3867.60 in commissions for promoting Long Tail Pro. Not bad for having just a mildly popular ‘passive income blog’ and only a small email list!
You can filter your results by 24 business verticals, including Apparel, Arts & Entertainment, Autos & Vehicles, Beauty & Fitness, Books & Literature, Business & Industrial, Computers & Electronics, Finance & Banking, Food & Drink, Toys & Games, Health, Hobbies & Leisure, Home & Garden, Internet & Telecom, Jobs & Education, Law & Government, News Media & Publications, Family & Community, Occasions & Gifts, Pets & Animals, Real Estate, Retail & General Merchandise, Sports & Fitness, and Travel & Tourism.
A very popular and highly competitive keyword on Google search engine is "making money." It has 85,300,000 search results, meaning that millions of websites are relevant or competing for that keyword. Keyword research starts with finding all possible word combinations that are relevant to the "making money" keyword. For example, a keyword "acquiring money" has significantly fewer search results, only 61 000 000, but it has the same meaning as "making money." Another way is to be more specific about a keyword by adding additional filters. Keyword "making money online from home in Canada" is less competitive on a global scale and therefore easier to rank for. Furthermore, keywords also have various intents which can affect whether the marketer would want to target that keyword. Multiple tools are available (both free and commercial) to find keywords and analyze them.
How do I know that the KC score measures competition accurately? When I first started using the KC feature – I didn’t know for sure. But I’ve been using it since December of 2012. I’ve published literally hundreds of different articles (in different niches) around keywords with low to medium KC scores and I have a pretty good feel for the accuracy. More than 5 years of successfully ranking for low competition keywords has convinced me to completely trust the KC scores that are calculated within Long Tail Pro.
×