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.
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.
One possible problem is that although the Keyword Planner has some cool new features (including integration of the Google Traffic Estimator, which will be retired too), as of this writing, the indispensable Exact Match and Phrase Match features are nowhere to be found! Whole books will become useless without these, so I hope Google will eventually port them to the Keyword Planner. Nor do you see the “Include specific content” option, which is a life-saver for the adult industry, which spends the most on Google PPC.
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How do you figure out what keywords your competitors are ranking for, you ask? Aside from manually searching for keywords in an incognito browser and seeing what positions your competitors are in, SEMrush allows you to run a number of free reports that show you the top keywords for the domain you enter. This is a quick way to get a sense of the types of terms your competitors are ranking for.
As for the history of the company, as I explained, I created Long Tail Pro back in 2011. At the time, I was creating tons of niche sites and was doing alot of keyword research and content creation. I was trying to figure out what types of keywords would rank quickly in the search engines, specifically Google, and I was frustrated with the other keyword research tools (in particular Market Samurai) out there.