One of the most important aspects of an effective SEO strategy is the ability to research, analyze, and ultimately select the keywords that are most likely to result in success for your clients. There are a variety of free tools available on the web specifically designed to help online marketers do just this. Each tool has its own unique methodology for collecting and presenting this data. Comparing any of the tools’ results without knowing the subtle differences can lead to incorrect inferences and an SEO strategy based on misinformation.
Analyze Keyword Difficulty – Targeting difficult keywords with the highest competition is not always the best idea. The SEMrush Keyword Difficulty tool helps you determine keywords’ difficulties. By indicating a particular keyword’s percentage of difficulty, this tool helps you estimate how easy it would be to seize your competitors’ organic positions in the SERPs.
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.
I want to share how and why I sold the company in order to both educate and inspire potential software entrepreneurs.  I certainly don't know everything and obviously companies sell for much more than I sold Long Tail Pro for (I won't be featured in Tech Crunch anytime soon); however, I'm willing to share what I have learned and hopefully that can be beneficial to a few of you.
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.
This tool was originally created to carry out keyword research for paid campaigns using Google's AdWords platform. However, it can also be used to research organic keywords, providing estimated global/local monthly search volumes for keywords (i.e. their popularity) and their competition (i.e. how difficult they are to rank for) for organic search.
Google prefers to not share long tail searches in this tool – because the tool is designed for Google Adwords advertisers. If advertisers bid on those long tails – they would have less competition and therefore pay less for the Adword, and therefore Google would make less money e.g. bidding on the term weight loss for girls under 18 is cheaper than weight loss. 
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.
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.
This tool allows you to type in your keyword phrase or keyword in the field that is provided and it will generate a long list of suggested keywords.  It has three button level and you can perform a deeper search by clicking on button level 2. You will get a list of keywords or keyword phrases that are related to the original list provided in level one. If you want to continue further, you can click on level three and then click the link at the bottom to download the data. The tool can assist you to discover those keywords that your competitors could be ignoring and use those opportunities to create fresh targeted content.

The team at E2M is taking this opportunity to analyze other significant (and free to use/try) keyword research tools out there. We are asking ourselves what data and logic should ideally go into keyword research, how this logic can be programmatically applied to the creation of tools, and what the best ways are to consolidate and use their output. Here’s a quick look at 25 other keyword research tools, some well-known and some you’d do well to know. These are not alternatives to the AdWords Keyword Tool on their own, but each of them performs some function of the AdWords tool in its own unique way, and all of them aid and abet your keyword research quite well.
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.
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.)
Using the good ol' free Google Keyword Planner is great. But there is an alternate universe of Long Tail keyword phrases that live in Google's other database--namely, their "Autocomplete database." That's the database that is accessed when you're typing queries into the Google search box (notice that list of suggested keywords that pop up as you type?)

The experts love SEMrush, but will you? Take the tool for a test drive and decide for yourself. For a limited time I'm giving all my readers an exclusive one month free access to SEMrush PRO. You'll get unrestricted access to all the tool's features. If you decide SEMrush is not for you, cancel anytime during the one month trial and you won't be charged a penny. 


1) Google Keyword Planner: This tools is fantastic because it can help me to identify long tail keywords for my niche. It is official Google’s tool and it has the recent trends and keyword variations. For example you may think that this keyword is great “buy ipad air in liverpool” but Google may suggest “iPad air sale Liverpool”. Yes, not often it is accurate but when I’m using it alongside the other tools – I can get clear idea.
Keyword Researcher is designed to search the Autocomplete databases of Google, YouTube, and even Amazon.com. That's a lot of keyword sources! As you probably know, if you're building an authority site, or if you would like to become a dominant player in your niche, then starting with a large database of keywords (that your customers are actually typing in) is a powerful marketing tool.
What are you waiting for? Today is the first day of the rest of your internet marketing life. Yesterday would have been a better day to get Long Tail Pro. Tomorrow might be okay too. But today is even better. I’m telling you – when I first got my copy of Long Tail Pro – I was like a kid at Christmas time. It was SO much fun opening up new possibilities that I didn’t have without Long Tail Pro.
Understandably – not everybody who buys Long Tail Pro will have the audience or platform to be able to promote as an affiliate. For example – a food blogger’s audience won’t care about a keyword research tool. So even if affiliate promotion won’t work for you – I hope I’ve shown how the tool will more than pay for itself if used for what it is intended for.

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…
2) SEMrush- This tool offers fantastic competitive research around domains to find what keywords could be driving traffic for your competitors. Looking at paid keywords ad spend can also help you know which keywords might have monetary value worth pursuing organically. If a competitor is willing to spend a high ad budget on terms and you think they do a good job running their ad campaign, then its a good indication it is worth organic ranking effort.
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.

Am I worried that my keyword research might not be effective since I only look at the KC score? No. Not really. Because I tend to target only the longer tail keywords these days. I don’t go after the huge main keywords anymore. They’re too hard to rank for. But long tail keywords are really easy to find with Long Tail Pro and they are usually much easier to rank for.


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Google Suggest isn’t exactly a tool, but I’ve found that it can be useful for identifying potential keywords. As you type a query on Google.com, Google Suggest recommends search queries based on other users’ search activities. These searches are algorithmically determined based on a number of purely objective factors (including popularity of search terms) without human intervention. The Suggest dataset is updated frequently to offer search queries that seem to be trending upwards. This feature is largely one of the reasons that you may see repeat traffic of seemingly long tail keywords. By identifying these long tail keywords and optimizing for them, marketers can capitalize on seemingly obscure keywords with little competition.
3) KWFinder is one of the "newer" kids on the block, but it's probably just about the easiest way I have found to find new long-tail keywords quickly. A couple of things I like about this tool is that it allows me to create lists of keywords. So I can group up my different sites by lists and revisit them at a later date. I can export the data to CSV and start building out campaigns. It also keeps a nice scrolling list of the last 20+ keywords you have looked up. The SEO difficulty indicator comes in very handy as well! As far as ease of use goes, KWFinder wins hands down.
As a new customer trying to evaluate the software, I asked if my trial period could be extended once this fundamental issue was fixed, on the basis I couldn’t actually evaluate its requirements against my criteria. I was told this was not possible, which frankly, is very poor customer service. What’s the point of offering a trial period when customers are unable to fully test the software?
Long Tail Pro is a very useful piece of software for long tail keyword research.  One of its best features is that you can carry out heavy analysis on the keywords of your choice, without being limited to only working with one or two at a time. It can provide you also with vast numbers of longtail keywords, or you can apply filters to find the precise keywords to fit your bill.  And you can check your rankings at the same time!

Google Adwords search volume tool is highly effective and extremely easy to use. If you’re new to keyword research and just want some quick info on the search volume and competition level of a few keywords you have in mind, this is a great tool to use. Just enter in the specific keywords that you want to compare, and then view the results. You’ll be able to see the search volume, general competition level, and suggested Adwords bid.
Provides links to price estimate tools from Google AdWords. That Google AdWords tool showed the necessary bid to rank #1 for 85% of queries, and roughly how much traffic you could expect AdWords to send you based on that bid price and ad position, though, as mentioned above, Google has obfuscated their data in their interface for everyone but longtime AdWords advertisers.

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.
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?
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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