We prefer and suggest Long Tail Pro to all our clients. Long Tail Pro is the best long tail keyword research software online. I use their software for researching keywords for everything from social media marketing bios, to page and blog post titles, to headings (H2, H3, etc.), to meta descriptions, to YouTube descriptions, to content/articles, and so much more!
Don’t get me wrong. There are lots of other tools that I love and use (and promote) that also make a big difference in everything I do online now. But Long Tail Pro is probably THE most important. Getting search engine traffic to websites 101 doesn’t get more basic than doing good and proper keyword research. And nothing makes keyword research faster and easier than Long Tail Pro. Allow me to explain…
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).
Great Top 10 keyword research tools list. Thank you for posting Robbie! I really appreciated the feedback from the experts. There are a definitely a few tools here worthy of taking note of. I have also been using DYNO Mapper (http://www.dynomapper.com) as a keyword research tool. DYNO Mapper is a visual sitemap generator that delivers keywords on all pages of any site. The user simply inputs any existing URL into the system and it will scan thousands of pages.
Use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner to find new and related keywords, but ignore the search volume data! The search volume data in the planner is really only useful for keywords that you’re actually spending money to advertise on. Otherwise, these volumes are not reliable. While not really helpful to decide which keyword is most used by your potential audience, Google Adwords Keyword Planner makes a useful tool in coming up with ideas for potential keywords!
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."
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.
The Google Keyword Tool is SUPER helpful for building a foundation for your keyword research strategy. At the end of the day, these search numbers are coming straight from the horses mouth. You can filter down to a hyper-local level and see which keywords are getting the largest search volume. Plus, with it’s integration with PPC you can get a quick idea about commercial intent by looking at the bid and competition metrics. How much are people bidding on KWs, higher = more likely to generate a return. Usually its aligned with search intent. That said, the trending data is a little less reliable. I would still use Trends to analyze the popularity/ seasonality of KW search volume.

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.

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?
Here is the part of this post that we’ve all been waiting for. How to make Long Tail Pro pay for itself! I can tell you with absolute certainty that all of this isn’t just fluff designed to try to get you to buy the product. I’ve actually done all 4 of these things – and I continue to do the top 3 to this day! This stuff really works and I make WAY more than enough money, as a result of using Long Tail Pro, to pay for itself.

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.
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.

For a long time, I wanted to develop a tool for content marketers that would assist in the process of coming up with blog ideas and subjects. Upon researching developers for this concept I had, I stumbled across  Long Tail Pro, and realized instead of developing a tool myself for fellow bloggers and content marketers, I would throw my support behind this one.
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).
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.
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!
6. Filter by KC and sort your list. Like some of the other filters you can input a minimum and maximum amount in the KC column and sort by that. Some people prefer to sort ascendingly to do their analysis from the easiest to the toughest keywords. For a new site try to find keywords with KC equal or under 20 or 30. Despite the super helpful KC score, you should further analyze your best looking keywords individually to be sure they are good to go. So click on them to check your top-10 competitor sites and pages.
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.
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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. 

I actually don't use any keyword tools aside from Google Trends, but only rarely do I even use that. I try to talk to many of our target audience members (entrepreneurs) as I can. I attend events, I have phone calls, I sit next to them while working. Generally speaking, I think it's a waste of time to START with keyword tools instead of actual customers. Yes, you can target people in broad swaths and get a high level sense for what's interesting and trending, but at least in the case of our business at NextView Ventures, it's way more powerful to talk to actual "customers" you serve.
Let's say you're considering starting a new website, or venturing into a new product niche. And, suppose you'd like to somehow determine how much search buzz is currently hovering around this topic. You can use Keyword Researcher to get a "feel" for how much interest is actually out there. For example, let's say you were selling cameras. Then you might consider the following:

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.
Positive reviews from hundreds of users have shown that Long Tail Pro by Spencer Haws is the supportive tool available for internet workers. It is a reliable tool, which would help you to stay on top of your competition by ranking topmost on the search engines. You can test run the program before you buy it. It is highly recommended for every internet marketer.
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.
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