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.
If you go to Search Console under the Acquisition tab and then click Queries, you’ll be able to see different searches (aka keywords) that users found you through. You may have to set this up, but it’s easy to do and only takes a few minutes; you can see how here. Use this information to evaluate and monitor your keywords to see what’s working and what needs to be changed.
The reason I sometimes use this facility with the GKP is to find volume amounts for the keywords I’ve chosen. But, these days, it’s not so important. As long as the Long Tail Keyword makes sense and is something I would put into a search engine, then it’s good enough. Sometimes the most blazingly obvious keywords are often over looked by eager, trying-to-be-clever marketers. Sometimes you need a tool to highlight them.
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.
1) SEMrush - I believe that among all the 3rd party software, SEMrush has the largest keyword database. Their search volume data is pretty accurate and aligns with the Google keyword planner. Also, based on the type of content that needs to be produced (i.e. informational, transactional, etc.), one can utilize different filtering options available in it.
I came across Longtail Pro this morning, downloaded the trial version and was about to buy the $97 program…seems like a good buy. But the more research I’ve done today, it seems the KC score is an absolute must for anyone who is serious about making money with niche sites. I hate to spend the bucks, but hate even more leaving money and possibly niche site success. Any advice?
Creating a psychologically alluring title is important--because search engines will rank our document (in part) based on how many clicks the title is getting--relative to other articles on Google's Search Results Page (SERP). Hence, a title that has some stylistic panache, will (in theory) ultimately rank higher than a title that doesn't have anything eye-catching about it.
Can't go wrong with the Google Keyword tool, SEMRush and Google Trends. The Keyword tool for volume estimates, SEMRush to see what keywords competitors are ranking for/targeting, and Google Trends to make sure the traffic is actually coming from countries I'm trying to target. Gives a relatively accurate picture of when to expect traffic spikes and seasonality insight.
2) Software project no 2 – invite your readers to participate and select 2-5 that will enter a mastermind group with you – and let the readers follow the progress – from brainstorming to hiring a coder, to beta testing, to “how to reach out to get sales” (I know you wrote a post on this – but would be great to tag along). And then those that are not part of the Mastermind group could be added to a forum/FB group and can then follow along and develop and ask each other for help.
But if you’re serious about content and inbound marketing, and you want to create great industry-related blog posts that lead to more traffic, leads, and sales–then you should at least give it a test drive (assuming you need content ideas). Like I said, it comes with an excellent guarantee, and you can visit the site here or click the image below to watch more videos regarding this impressive tool.
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.
But if you’re serious about content and inbound marketing, and you want to create great industry-related blog posts that lead to more traffic, leads, and sales–then you should at least give it a test drive (assuming you need content ideas). Like I said, it comes with an excellent guarantee, and you can visit the site here or click the image below to watch more videos regarding this impressive tool.
Be sure to re-evaluate these keywords every few months -- once a quarter is a good benchmark, but some businesses like to do it even more often than that. As you gain even more authority in the SERPs, you'll find that you can add more and more keywords to your lists to tackle as you work on maintaining your current presence, and then growing in new areas on top of that.
Google's AdWords Keyword Planner tool is another common starting point for SEO keyword research. It not only suggests keywords and provides estimated search volume, but also predicts the cost of running paid campaigns for these terms. To determine volume for a particular keyword, be sure to set the Match Type to [Exact] and look under Local Monthly Searches. Remember that these represent total searches. Depending on your ranking and click-through rate, the actual number of visitors you achieve for these keywords will usually be much lower.
This keyword research tool is effective, automatically providing you with keyword suggestions that other sites haven’t necessarily turned up (which it’s intended to do), along with their search volume, CPC, and Adwords competition. In order to get any actual information about the keywords, though, you need to upgrade to Keyword Tool Pro (which is a little misleading on the site copy). This plan is $88 a month, and if you’re just doing keyword research for Google, I’d recommend choosing one of the other tools for the price.
A service like BrightEdge comes with the biggest costs associated, but its SaaS solution for SEO covers many areas inside of a single ecosystem, including the ability to explore keyword data. This may be a benefit for agencies that wish to reduce redundancies across vendors, but eventually, it is likely that the need for a second tool will present itself as talent and effort levels increase inside of your SEO department.
This is another common reason people won’t get Long Tail Pro. Their stubbornness can stem from many reasons – including the two mentioned above. Too stubborn to pay for it (can be confused with too cheap to pay). Or too stubborn to learn about the benefits. But the main reason is that lots of people actually think that they are better off without Long Tail Pro. Either they do their keyword research the free (hard) way which takes a LOT of time and knowledge and usually isn’t very effective. Or they use a different keyword research tool which they think is better. Let me just tell you – there is no better or more effective keyword research tool than Long Tail Pro. More than 70,000 marketers can’t be wrong and over the past few years Long Tail Pro has become the standard when it comes to keyword research tools.
Bing Webmaster Toolbox: Oh yeah, remember that other search engine? Yes that’s right Bing has a whole collection of tools of their own, including keyword tools. The data will be taken from Bing itself, which means that you should be able to make relative assumptions about keyword popularity. because lets face it, Bing users aren’t that different than Google’s.
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.
Understanding which websites already rank for your keyword gives you valuable insight into the competition, and also how hard it will be to rank for the given term. Are there search advertisements running along the top and right-hand side of the organic results? Typically, many search ads means a high-value keyword, and multiple search ads above the organic results often means a highly lucrative and directly conversion-prone keyword.
Unlike similar tools, Serpstat is a page-oriented platform for in-depth competitive analysis. You can find competitors and define missing keywords for a single URL or even entire domains. You can also view historical position data for a range of pages organized by phrase, as well as see which pages have dropped in rank and their rank distribution as a percentage, which is very handy if you want to compare data from two different time periods or observe changes over time based on algorithm updates and other factors.
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.
Google's AdWords Keyword Planner tool is another common starting point for SEO keyword research. It not only suggests keywords and provides estimated search volume, but also predicts the cost of running paid campaigns for these terms. To determine volume for a particular keyword, be sure to set the Match Type to [Exact] and look under Local Monthly Searches. Remember that these represent total searches. Depending on your ranking and click-through rate, the actual number of visitors you achieve for these keywords will usually be much lower.
The Google Keyword Planner used to be great it's now frustrating to use.... and almost impossible to get in to without setting up your first ad. Big shame google big shame. I would love to share more info about your tool over on my website [link removed by moderator] for my local business clients - have you got something you can send over for me to add to the site?

If you already have a keyword list, the Free Keyword Grouper can transform your list (up to 1,000 keywords) into an organized keyword structure ready for high-performance PPC campaigns and an SEO-friendly information architecture. Just paste in your list to get back keyword groups in seconds. This keywords organizer tool will help you sort your list of keywords into structured, workable groups that can then be used for easy ad text creation. The keyword tool can also be used as an SEO keyword organizer to assist in site design.


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.

How do I access my download for Long Tail Pro after I purchase? There actually IS NOT a download available for Long Tail Pro anymore – now that they switched over to a cloud-based platform! No more software download means that you can use your Long Tail Pro subscription from any web browser anywhere! Just watch your email inbox for the email address you used when you made the purchase. All instructions will be sent there. Make sure you put those initial emails in a Save folder so you can access them later if you need to.
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.
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