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.

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:


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.

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.


Google Webmaster SEO Starter Guide - Originally written for Google Employees to improve website performance with users and search engines. Related Terms: SERP - Search Engine Rank Position  |  PageRank (PR) - Named for Google Co-founder, Larry Page. The PR Scale of 0-10 rates a web page. In the past, rank was based on the number of high ranking links pointing to the website. Recently factors like relevance and quality have gained importance. This website's current PR rating: 

I learned a lot from you and now make a couple hundreds per month in extra cash thanks to your advice. You provided us with great content and a great tool. I’m very happy for you. I have to say though that I’m sad you sold… customer service is so so so far and I know it’s cool for owners to sell subscriptions instead of selling it for a one time fee and I know it’s a new trend online but it’s really a trend I don’t like as a customer… Anyways. I’m very happy for you. Many thanks and congrats !!!

I hope it’s easy enough for you to clearly see how pretty much any website page or blog post can be slightly modified in order to get optimized around a certain keyword. For the Busy Budgeter example – Rosemarie could easily write a brand new article – or change the title of an existing article that is already written on a similar topic, add some subheadings and a few paragraphs and have it optimized for this really low competition keyword. A keyword like this will likely bring in new visitors month after month – and Rosemarie could direct readers of that article to some of her ‘make money online’ tutorials that we already know are very profitable for her!
These are usually single-word keywords with insane amounts of search volume and competition (for example, “insurance” or “vitamins”). Because searcher intent is all over the place (someone searching for “insurance” might be looking for a car insurance quote, a list of life insurance companies or a definition of the word), Head Terms usually don’t convert very well.
I learned a lot from you and now make a couple hundreds per month in extra cash thanks to your advice. You provided us with great content and a great tool. I’m very happy for you. I have to say though that I’m sad you sold… customer service is so so so far and I know it’s cool for owners to sell subscriptions instead of selling it for a one time fee and I know it’s a new trend online but it’s really a trend I don’t like as a customer… Anyways. I’m very happy for you. Many thanks and congrats !!!
Keyword everywhere is another useful keyword tool. You can install it on either Firefox or Google Chrome. The tool will be able to show you competition data, cost per click, and Google Keyword search volume of multiple websites and keywords. This free extension can help you to save a lot of time. It can assist you to find long-tail phrases including their precise search volume, competition data, and CPC.
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).

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.


As you might imagine, the ability to completely see and study how the competition is ranking for certain keyword phrases in your niche has significant value for any company. Tack this on with its other features, and Long Tail Pro makes a ton of sense for content marketers. And like I said before, the price tag is very low compared to some of the tools I’ve seen out there, with a one-time fee (NOT a monthly fee) of $97 and a 60-day, money-back guarantee.
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.

"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."
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.
3. Finally, there's just good old research through trends and news. Google Trends, keeping up on industry news of the business, and even newsjacking (if there are relevant topics). These all require different resources depending on the business, but once you find the leaders in their news you can not only leverage them for keyword research but also glean insights into how you can become an industry leader yourself (and dominate SEO).
Ever since Google announced the impending demise of the AdWords Keyword Tool and their preference for its new avatar – the Keyword Planner, yet another hot discussion has sprung up in the SEO community. This time, strong adherents of the free-for-all ideology are riled at Google’s decision to make the Keyword Planner accessible only to marketers who’ve explicitly signed up to Google’s AdWords (which is one step more than having a Gmail account), taking it closer to being a paid tool in future! I don’t see this as a hindrance, because most other keyword (or other) tools require you to create an account and sign in before you can use them, even if they’re free. But if Google does it, we have reason to pounce on them, don’t we?
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.
This is a really straight-forward strategy. Contrary to popular opinion – small niche websites can actually still work. Basically, you create a small website that is hyper-focused on one long tail keyword. You create the very best resource on that specific topic and publish the very best content on the internet based around that long tail keyword. Monetize with something simple like Adsense, Amazon or another affiliate product – then just sit back and watch the money roll in every month!
So what exactly is Keyword Competitiveness (KC)? It’s only the feature within Long Tail Pro that completely changed the game and made keyword research so ridiculously simple that even a dumb truck driver like me could become an expert! It basically works like this. As soon as you click the button in Long Tail Pro Cloud to retrieve keywords, it automatically calculates a number for each keyword (between 1 and 100) based on several different SEO factors. Lower numbers mean the keyword is easier to rank for and higher means it is harder to rank for. More on that below…

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.
Jaaxy uses a combination of search engine data from the major search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo) and Long Tail Pro get its search data from Google alone (via the Google Keyword Planner tool). While this seems to be an advantage for Jaaxy, you might only be interested in getting information from the number one search engine in the World: Google.
If you are somewhat new to this whole ‘make money online’ thing – then surely the cost of Long Tail Pro is a major factor for why you haven’t purchased it yet. Believe me – I know! When I first started out – I refused to pay for anything at all. I did everything the free way. I tried doing all of my keyword research with the free tool that Google provides – and my keyword research efforts were terrible! You know how I know? Because my sites weren’t getting any traffic and I wasn’t making any money.
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