1) Ahrefs to quickly see “the big picture” when it comes to any keyword I'm researching. I can instantly see the top holders in the SERPs. I then immediately take the top holders list and go check out their sites. I need to make sure I can beat them content-wise, otherwise I will search for another keyword to try and rank for, or perhaps go down the long-tail route. The Ahrefs tool and data quality get better and better every year. It's one of my favorite tools.
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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.
Once I have a list of phrases, rankings, and volumes from these tools, I'll look to internal tools (maybe Excel, Access, or another database) to organize, classify, and forecast opportunity. This is where I'll estimate a competitor's traffic based on volume & position CTR, set goals for a target position, and estimate traffic based off that position's CTR and keyword volume.

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.
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.
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.
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.
This comes with a monthly fee though, so why have that recurring revenue drain when you can just get MS or LTP for that matter on a one off fee. They are both virtually the same in my opinion. This is the only thing that is stopping me from buying the software. If the calculation of keyword difficulty was included in the one off fee, i wouldn’t mind paying the full $97.
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.
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.

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.
I just downloaded a free version of LTP 3.1.0 and I cannot figure out why I can’t see the table headers of ‘Page Authority’, ‘Domain Authority’, ‘Juice Links’, etc next to ‘Keyword Competitiveness’. Normally, I should be able to see these but instead I see new categories like ‘Trust Flow’, ‘Citation Flow’, ‘Domain CF’, ‘Domain TF’ and so on. I thought I can still use the regular version of LTP for 10 day trial so I am not sure why I see different categories. Is it b/c I am on version 3.1.0 instead of 3.0? Let me know if you have any idea.Thanks!
"I've been doing keyword research for years, and I can tell you that dealing with hundreds of keywords and dozens of spreadsheets is enough to make anyone lose the will to live. Keyword Researcher is great because not only does it let you easily find keywords that people are actually searching for, but it has a clean and simple interface that makes it easy to keep track of what you've found. If I'm stuck and need some new ideas, I just fire it up and usually find several things to write about in a few minutes."
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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!
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.
Joost developed his own keyword research tool to come up with keywords as well! Yoast Suggests uses the Google Suggest functionality you know from searching in Google. It finds the keyword expansions Google gives and then requests more of them. So if you type ‘example‘, it’ll also give you the expansions for ‘example a…’ till ‘example z…’ etc. Just go on and try it and fill out some of your potential keywords. It’s a great way to quickly find more long tail keywords you can focus on.
I just downloaded a free version of LTP 3.1.0 and I cannot figure out why I can’t see the table headers of ‘Page Authority’, ‘Domain Authority’, ‘Juice Links’, etc next to ‘Keyword Competitiveness’. Normally, I should be able to see these but instead I see new categories like ‘Trust Flow’, ‘Citation Flow’, ‘Domain CF’, ‘Domain TF’ and so on. I thought I can still use the regular version of LTP for 10 day trial so I am not sure why I see different categories. Is it b/c I am on version 3.1.0 instead of 3.0? Let me know if you have any idea.Thanks!

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.
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…
This is a rather crude metric because it presumes one can monetize all the traffic they receive AND one can generate as much profit per visitor as Google does. Anyone who could do both of those would likely displace Google as the first consumer destination in their market (like how many people in the United States start ecommerce searches on Amazon.com rather than Google.com).

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. 

If you already create niche websites, you can clearly see how everything I’ve discussed above will benefit you. In fact, you probably already understood all of it. But maybe you are a blogger who has never thought of creating a niche website. Is this you? Let me tell you – if you can create a blog, you can create a niche website. It is not hard at all to create a small site, laser focused on a very specific topic, that will earn at least enough to make Long Tail Pro pay for itself.

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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