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?
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.
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.

Here’s where this tool’s value really comes in: Keyword Tool has keyword research tools for multiple search engines, not just Google. If you want to do keyword research for YouTube, Bing, Amazon, the App Store, or eBay, they’ve got keyword suggestions (and data) for you. If YouTube videos, for example, are a central part of your marketing strategy, this could easily be worth the money.
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:
They also seem to be getting this wrong often enough that I've got less confidence that the keywords that make up these groups really belong there. I recently tried to check the volume for the keyword [active monitoring] (the practice of checking on a network by injecting test traffic and seeing how it's handled, as opposed to passive monitoring) and the Keyword Planner gave me the volume for [activity monitor] (aka Fitbit).
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.
Long tail keywords can find people who are later in the buying cycle, and more ready to buy. For example, somebody searching for “tents” is probably early in the buying cycle, just starting to research what they want. Whereas somebody who searches for “North Face Kaiju 4 person tent” already knows what they want, and is more likely to be ready to buy.
Use the Keyword Planner to flag any terms on your list that have way too little (or way too much) search volume, and don't help you maintain a healthy mix like we talked about above. But before you delete anything, check out their trend history and projections in Google Trends. You can see whether, say, some low-volume terms might actually be something you should invest in now -- and reap the benefits for later.
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.
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 arranges your search volume by separating the relevant keywords from those considered irrelevant. It presents those keywords, which it believes would help rank your search engine very high. Once you indicate that you want your keywords to be filtered, the tool would help to arrange that. You know that is very important for your Adsense and adwords campaign. The program is relevant for your CPC and other internet marketing strategies that you want to use.

You can use this tool while searching for ad group ideas or keywords. Keyword planner acts like a workshop that you can use to expand existing network search network campaigns or build new ones. The tool can allow you to search for AdWords tool ideas or keywords, view the performance of a list of keywords, retrieve historic statistics, and develop a new list of keywords by multiplying many keywords lists together. A free keyword planner, AdWords tool can also assist the user in selecting a list of competitive budgets and bids that you can include in your campaigns. You can utilize keyword planner in laying the foundation of a successful online campaign whether you are a highly experienced pro or new to online. All you need is a Google AdWords account and you will be ready to sign in and get on the move.
Although more and more keywords are getting encrypted by Google every day, another smart way to come up with keyword ideas is to figure out which keywords your website is already getting found for. To do this, you'll need website analytics software like Google Analytics or HubSpot's Sources tool. Drill down into your website's traffic sources, and sift through you organic search traffic bucket to identify the keywords people are using to arrive at your site.
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.
Because someone who is looking for something that specific is probably a much more qualified searcher for your product or service (presuming you're in the blogging space) than someone looking for something really generic. And because long-tail keywords tend to be more specific, it's usually easier to tell what people who search for those keywords are really looking for. Someone searching for the head term "blogging," on the other hand, could be searching it for a whole host of reasons unrelated to your business.
This is another free tool for keyword research. The tool allows you to combine your keywords in a very easy manner. It has three main match types which include broad match, phrase match and the exact match. You can choose on any of them depending on your keyword search objectives. In addition, you can either use broad modifier or optional keyword or both. Most users are finding it to be a very useful tool in their search for the most appropriate keywords.
I also want to emphasize that Microsoft Excel and Google Docs perhaps play an equal, if not more important role in keyword research than any of these tools, because at the end of the day, the mountain of data you end up with is of no use if you can’t perform calculations, sort, filter, present or store it in a way that’s best suits the task at hand. Head over to Distilled for a comprehensive Excel for SEOs guide. Alternatively, bug this guy—he’s the Sensei who trains Excel ninjas in the dark of the night.
The Search Based Keyword Tool is intended for researching keywords within Google’s Adwords network. Unlike the Keyword Tool, the Search based Keyword Tool is based solely on searches from Google.com. This factor causes the search volumes displayed to be considerably lower than the Keyword Tool. Because this tool is intended for paid search keyword research, it contains additional information on Suggested Bid and Ad/Search Share. The Search Based Keyword Tool is seamlessly integrated into the Google Adwords interface and allows marketers to add keywords to their PPC campaigns without having to login to their Adwords Client Center.

4. Set post-search filters. After your keyword suggestion fetch is completed — which might take a while if you input a lot of seed keywords — you need to filter your list. You can: filter out keywords that don’t include buyer modifiers like “best”, “buy”, “purchase”, “discount”, “review” (it’s possible to input one or more words in the filter field at the same time: just separate the words with a comma); add a minimum and maximum amount of LMS; set a minimum amount in “Suggested Bid”; and check for only high “Advertiser Competition” keywords.
Successful SEO requires multiple interrelated activities on all fronts: competition, keywords, link building, on-page and technical optimization. It creates a need for diverse tools, which is expensive. SEMrush solves this problem with an award-winning all-in-one toolkit that includes 17 tools covering all SEO fields. We’ll walk you through your SEO workflow, explaining how to get the most out of our toolkit.
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.

Keyword Researcher is an easy-to-use Keyword Discover Tool. Once activated, it emulates a human using Google Autocomplete, and repeatedly types thousands of queries into Google. Each time a partial phrase is entered, Google tries to predict what it thinks the whole phrase might be. We simply save this prediction. And, as it turns out, when you do this for every letter of the alphabet (A-Z), then you're left with hundreds of great Long Tail keyword phrases.


If you don't know the difference between head terms and long-tail keywords, let me explain. Head terms are keywords phrases that are generally shorter and more generic -- they're typically just one to three words in length, depending on who you talk to. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are longer keyword phrases usually containing three or more words.
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.
In Keyword Planner, formerly known as the Keyword Tool, you can get search volume and traffic estimates for keywords you're considering. Unfortunately, when Google transitioned from Keyword Tool to Keyword Planner, they stripped out a lot of the more interesting functionality. But you can make up for it a bit if you take the information you learn from Keyword Planner and use Google Trends to fill in some blanks.

I just have the free version right now so I don't know all that the pro one can do. But even the free version has A LOT of tools you can use, I haven't even figured them all out yet. But one that I have used is their Content Optimizer. You can take a new or existing content piece of yours, and compare it to one of your competitor's pieces on a similar topic, and see where you might be lacking based on the keywords that are used in each piece.


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.
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.
Within a matter of seconds, Long Tail Pro showed me the top 25 Adwords suggestions for my seed keyword, with KC Scores already calculated! After scanning the list, I found a couple of keyword ideas that I wanted to drill further into. One of these was the keyword – legitimate work from home jobs. This keyword by itself would be very difficult to rank for (KC Score of 40) – but the new cloud version of Long Tail Pro allows me to easily grab up to 20 more suggestions based just on this keyword. I clicked the button to do that (as shown in the image below).
The local data that is returned is a 12 month average of all search queries in the United States using the Google Search Engine and affiliated Google search properties. Using the sidebar on the left, marketers are easily able to specify the keyword matching type (Broad, Exact, Phrase), change the category, and refine their results to contain specific terms.
5. Use the Keyword Competitiveness “Fetch Now” feature. Now that your list is trimmed down after you applied all those filters in the previous step, you use the KC “Fetch Now” feature that saves you time in retrieving all that invaluable information. Again, depending on the number of keywords it has to check it make take a while (remember that LTP needs to retrieve information from several sources including Google and Moz). During this bulk check if LTP prompts with Google captchas to fill out, just close the software and wait 10 minutes to reopen it and continue your work. (This issue should have already been fixed now with the latest updates to the tool.)
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:
Curious if you’ve found a way to efficiently find underperforming keywords? Currently I have to manually click on each and every keyword to calculate it’s Keyword Competitiveness. Frustrating clicking it hundreds or even a thousand + times. I’d rather just add it as one of the scan settings and wait 8 hours for it to run all 1000 than having to manually click them for an hour and then waiting…
I was paid approximately 2/3 of the funds upfront and will receive about 1/3 over the next 2 years.  It's now been almost 7 months since we closed the deal, and I've received the first couple of seller financing payments for that final 1/3 on time and am very confident that will continue for the next year and a half until I'm fully paid that final portion.
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