And so on and so on. The point of this step isn't to come up with your final list of keyword phrases -- you just want to end up with a brain dump of phrases you think potential customers might use to search for content related to that particular topic bucket. We'll narrow the lists down later in the process so you don't have something too unwieldy.
If you're a regular blogger, these are probably the topics you blog about most frequently. Or perhaps they're the topics that come up the most in sales conversations. Put yourself in the shoes of your buyer personas -- what types of topics would your target audience search that you'd want your business to get found for? If you were a company like HubSpot, for example -- selling marketing software (which happens to have some awesome SEO tools ... but I digress ;-) -- you might have general topic buckets like "inbound marketing," "blogging," "email marketing," "lead generation," "SEO," "social media," "marketing analytics," and "marketing automation."
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.
These 3 keyword matching options are not solely to blame for the large variations seen when comparing data from the keyword tools. Much of this difference can be attributed to the distinctive techniques that the tools use to collect their data. Let’s take a look at how these tools collect and present their data and hopefully it will help clear up any confusion.
This might be the easiest way to make Long Tail Pro pay for itself. I’m pretty sure that the affiliate program is open to anybody (even if you don’t currently own the product). Simply get signed up and then promote it any way you see fit (within the Terms of Service, of course). If you couldn’t tell, I’ve been doing this for quite awhile via this blog and I’ve earned a healthy sum of money over the years as a result.
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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.


Tip: Instead of targeting large keywords (with lots of monthly searches) in one main article – try targeting lots of long tail keywords in lots of different articles. I’ve been having success with this strategy for a long time now – and more recently Spencer and his team at Niche Pursuits have been using this strategy and talking extensively about it.
"Our whole team has a copy of Keyword Researcher, we use it for everyone of our client's keyword research for the 'Long Tail' and we use it every day to come up with blog post ideas and ideas for guest posting. We couldn't live without this tool. I have used every paid keyword research tool under the sun, and this by far is my favorite tool for mining the Long Tail."
Note: the old software version of Long Tail Pro would have spit out several hundred adwords suggestions (many being irrelevant to the seed keyword) for this one seed keyword and then you would have to filter to see only what you wanted to see. With the new cloud version of Long Tail Pro, you set it to show only a certain number of keywords and it displays the most relevant keywords so you have less noise and confusion to filter through.

"This tool is simply Amazing. I've been uncovering literally thousands of highly related keywords for my clients websites, with this tool new content ideas have become a breeze. I literally have hundreds of new ideas for articles to write about for my sites and my clients sites. The Keyword Researcher tool was truly a great buy for my business and I highly recommend it to anyone."
Well, if you haven’t heard the news yet, the word on the street is Google has shut down their widely popular keyword tool for public use. Now if you want access to Google sanctioned keyword data you have to sign up for an Adwords account. Of course there are a ton of theories surrounding why Google would make this decision, some are more obvious than others. But to many of us Google’s motivations seem pointless when we still have work to do! Luckly we exist in a vibrant industry where innovation is at the core of most of what we do. As such we have a slew of different tools available to replace Google’s tool.
To drive search engine traffic, whether through organic search or paid search advertisements, you need the right keywords, plus a process to expand your keyword lists over time. That’s where our free tool comes in. WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool gives you hundreds of relevant keyword results, plus additional, actionable information like competition level and estimated CPC, all for free!
Hey Alex – this is a good question. No tool is going to be spot on. My advice is to not look too much into the accuracy of the metrics, but look at it more as a relative measure. I’m finding Ahrefs to be a good barometer for keyword competitiveness, but I’ve also heard great things about KW Finder lately. I think it’ll more come to personal preference. Both are solid options.
Mentioned in the above video is the Keyword Competitiveness (KC) feature within Long Tail Pro. With earlier versions of Long Tail Pro, you could only access this feature if you paid extra to upgrade to the Platinum version of Long Tail Pro. Pricing structures and the way the software is delivered has evolved over the years – and currently (as of the date I am writing this) all features of the software are included no matter which payment plan you choose. So right now – everybody who buys Long Tail Pro has access to this extremely powerful feature.
Wordstream is a free keyword tool that makes it easy and fast to get those keywords that your business needs most in order to drive traffic through paid and organic search.  All you need to do is enter a website URL or keyword and you will get hundreds of relevant keyword results that are tailored to your country or industry. Every keyword has an estimated CPC, competition score, and a proprietary opportunity score that will assist you in budgeting for your online campaigns. You can download your list in a CSV format and upload it in AdWords directly and begin to work on your new campaigns.
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.
Spencer, it seems like you got out at just the right time and made your money? Seeing as Google has basically stopped giving access to their free keyword tool. I own the FULL lifetime license $290+ I think is was. Now Longtail Pro is useless due to the restrictions that Google has put in place. Do you know what the future plans are for Longtail Pro to get around this issue that I’m sure everyone is facing? Or can you get some feedback from the new owners?
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