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).
I will use the tool to pull in a lot of keywords related to a theme and group them into relevant topics. These topics will either become their own content page or will be combined with other topics to create a page. KeywordTool.io is similar to other tools out there such as Uber Suggest, which I've used for a long time, but it tends to produce more keywords and it provides search volume for the keywords.
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.
What I really like about them is extensive detail including the keyword difficulty. Ahrefs uses clickstream data to also show how many clicks you will get from the search engine. This is very useful after knowledge graph integration, as many keywords may have huge traffic but they hardly get any clicks from the search engine. Reason being, they get answers directly from the Google search result. Example of one such query is: “birthdate of any celebrity”
To answer your final question, yes but not really. You can definitely use AdWord keyword planner tool to get solid organic search volume estimates. However, don’t just stop there. Leverage other tools to find longer tail variations you can map against various stages of the buyer journey. I like to use SEMrush, Keyword Tool.io and Google autosuggest.
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.
Long Tail Pro is a keyword research tool that helps you quickly find low competition keywords for your website. In particular, the tool is built for people doing SEO (search engine optimization) as opposed to people doing paid ads (Google Adwords PPC). I'm sure there are some advertisers that use the tool for paid ad keyword research, but the tool was built for SEO keyword research.