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.
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:
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…
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.
The keywords you want to focus your SEO on should closely resemble the vocabulary of your audience. In order to come up with the proper keywords you really have to get inside the heads of the people who search for your website. What terms will people use? How do people search? Which question does your website answer? You should create a list of all search terms people could use and think of combinations and nuances within these search terms.
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.

To answer your final question, yes but not really. You can definitely use AdWord keyword planner tool to get solid organic search volume estimates. However, don’t just stop there. Leverage other tools to find longer tail variations you can map against various stages of the buyer journey. I like to use SEMrush, Keyword Tool.io and Google autosuggest.
Can't go wrong with the Google Keyword tool, SEMRush and Google Trends. The Keyword tool for volume estimates, SEMRush to see what keywords competitors are ranking for/targeting, and Google Trends to make sure the traffic is actually coming from countries I'm trying to target. Gives a relatively accurate picture of when to expect traffic spikes and seasonality insight.
You can also filter by query, which is useful when looking at branded queries, or when looking at specific words. For example, only show keywords that include the term "SEO". The graph also allows you to spot trends in across the available metrics and compare week-on-week or month-on-month. This can help you to drill down and monitor progression over time, allowing you to answer questions like "have my branded keywords received more clicks in the last month compared to the previous month?", "has the CTR improved?", "did average positions in Google improve?".
Settings. This tiny gear icon on the right upper corner is where you can ask support for “Help”, toggle on or off the help icons; manage “User Accounts” (you need to enter your Google AdWords credentials when the software is run for the first time plus your Moz API details too, which are free to get since LTP uses a both AdWords and Moz’s data); set the “Data Fetching Speed”; and check the “Show Runtime Error” and “Show Debug Panel” in the “Debug” section (which can be very helpful when there’s something wrong with the tool or with your Google AdWords account).
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!
After the Panda update rolled out, the latent risk in such a strategy could (typically would) vastly exceed the direct cost of the content, as poor pages on one part of a site could drag down the ranking of other pages on the site which targeted different keywords. Some sites have seen their search traffic fall over 90% with their ad revenues falling even faster. Demand Media went from being worth a couple billion to tens of millions of Dollars. ArticlesBase.com sold on Flippa for $80,000, but was making over $500,000 PER MONTH in profit before getting hit by Panda. Many other Panda-torched sites like Suite101 have simply went offline.
Keyword Researcher is an easy-to-use Keyword Discover Tool. Once activated, it emulates a human using Google Autocomplete, and repeatedly types thousands of queries into Google. Each time a partial phrase is entered, Google tries to predict what it thinks the whole phrase might be. We simply save this prediction. And, as it turns out, when you do this for every letter of the alphabet (A-Z), then you're left with hundreds of great Long Tail keyword phrases.
These 3 keyword matching options are not solely to blame for the large variations seen when comparing data from the keyword tools. Much of this difference can be attributed to the distinctive techniques that the tools use to collect their data. Let’s take a look at how these tools collect and present their data and hopefully it will help clear up any confusion.
In addition, you can dig into the paid side of search and find out what keywords your competitors are bidding on, and then leverage those keywords for your own organic benefit if you're not already doing so. Search Metrics does this as well, but I've found SEMRush to provide a greater range of keywords and they save more historical keyword data than Search Metrics.
The old pricing is never coming back, just to be clear. However, if you bought the one time (lifetime) license at $97, you still have lifetime access to the original version of the software you bought. However, if you want the new/upgraded features (like KC scores), you need to buy into a new plan. If you still have questions, contact me or Long tail pro support at longtailpro com / support
×