I also want to emphasize that Microsoft Excel and Google Docs perhaps play an equal, if not more important role in keyword research than any of these tools, because at the end of the day, the mountain of data you end up with is of no use if you can’t perform calculations, sort, filter, present or store it in a way that’s best suits the task at hand. Head over to Distilled for a comprehensive Excel for SEOs guide. Alternatively, bug this guy—he’s the Sensei who trains Excel ninjas in the dark of the night.
While this one isn’t necessarily a keyword research tool, it will give you valuable insight into how the keywords you’ve been optimizing for so far are actually performing for you. You might realize that you could start ranking for more keywords with more difficult competition, for example, or that only keywords on certain subjects are working for you.
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. 
KW Finder is similar to the Google Adwords tool; it even pulls up similar results, which aren’t as entirely on-point as the immediate results from SEMrush and Moz. From my experience with KW Finder, the searches are a lot better if you put some time into manually adding in filters like negative keywords and additional keywords you do want to include.
I also hang out in SEO forums and groups and see KC scores tossed around and talked about and pretty much everybody is on the same page. Most agree that you can’t completely rely on the KC score (there are a few factors that can’t quantitatively be measured with a number) – but that the KC score is a VERY good indicator of the competition level for specific keywords. The following diagram realistically shows exactly what to expect from certain KC scores…

Mr. Dean I wanted to drop in and personally thank you for everything you do for us rookies in the online marketing field. I have learned so much from your lessons/guides/articles/videos you name it! I also been using Raven Tools and find it pretty helpful as well in regards to keyword research, what say you? Look forward to all your future posts! Also, it says a lot about you that you actually take the time and respond to the comments that users leave you in your articles, don’t really see that too often these days! All the best!
I also hang out in SEO forums and groups and see KC scores tossed around and talked about and pretty much everybody is on the same page. Most agree that you can’t completely rely on the KC score (there are a few factors that can’t quantitatively be measured with a number) – but that the KC score is a VERY good indicator of the competition level for specific keywords. The following diagram realistically shows exactly what to expect from certain KC scores…
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.
However, KWFinder has a couple of areas where Longtail Pro outshines it. Firstly, I like the fact LTP provides you with a suggested keyword competitiveness to target (as described above). More significantly, I don’t like the way that KWFinder restricts your number of keyword suggestions if you choose their cheaper pricing tier – it feels like they’re holding back some of the power of the software unless you pay more. With LongTailPro, you can see as many keyword suggestions you like so long as you’re within your monthly allowance.
Scout is an easy to use extension tool for chrome browsers that turns your website into a significant keyword generator. By a click of mouse, you can uncover relevant keywords in your industry by choosing a website that is successful and attractive to your audience. You will be able to understand the true language of your successful audience and generate keyword ideas that you can use in your marketing strategy.
This keyword research tool is effective, automatically providing you with keyword suggestions that other sites haven’t necessarily turned up (which it’s intended to do), along with their search volume, CPC, and Adwords competition. In order to get any actual information about the keywords, though, you need to upgrade to Keyword Tool Pro (which is a little misleading on the site copy). This plan is $88 a month, and if you’re just doing keyword research for Google, I’d recommend choosing one of the other tools for the price.

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!


Great article again. I was just thinking why can’t I find an article of yours on keyword research and then boom here it is. Thanks again. On another subject are your articles on link building still relevant ?. As I have been guilty of as Brian Deane calls it the publish and pray method. I would really like to know what is method of choice for link building. Thanks again Ian.
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!
Hi – I’ve read your post with great interest. Not only am I happy for you and your success, it does provide a glimmer of hope to those of us who do have “other” ideas. I, too, have had an idea for a very long time now, but I have no idea how to go about “making it a reality.” I am not a programmer either… though I do know some html… I also remember the old days of having even a web developer holding domains hostage, never mind the site’s entire code. And, yes, that is one of the major things that stops me from even discussing things with a developer. I simply don’t trust them…
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