I love Moz’s interface and how they give you data on the keywords. It’s easy-to-read, making it an ideal solution for both experts and newbies alike. They’ll show you both numeric and visual representations of a keyword’s monthly search volume, its opportunity for ranking, priority, and difficulty. They’ll also show you keyword suggestions and SERP analysis, which is fantastic and detailed.
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!

"I rarely get excited about SEO and SEM tools...But, when it comes to keyword research it is virtually impossible to produce a quality worksheet without software. When I have to perform the same task for my customers, the process is even more daunting and time consuming...there is now a better way to manage huge keyword lists and this tool is called WordStream."
The developer of the program Spencer has even modified the program to make it better and faster. Recently, a platinum edition of the software was released. This was to help webmasters in their internet efforts. The new version simplifies the competition process, because it allows its users to store their favorite keywords and get them anytime they need them. Moreover, the newer version makes it easier for its user to track their website ranking in all the search engines.
WordStream's Negative Keyword Tool reduces wasteful PPC spending and improves ROI by preventing your AdWords PPC ads from showing on irrelevant searches. Enter a keyword to get a list of negative keyword suggestions. Then select the ones that aren't relevant to your campaigns and export the results for use in your AdWords account. As a result, your ads will be more relevant to searchers, grab a much more targeted audience and reduce your overall ad spend.

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.
To get started with the Free Keyword Tool, just enter a keyword or search term into the relevant field. If you want to conduct competitive intelligence research into your competitors' keyword data, you can also enter the URL of a specific webpage to view keyword data for that page. You can also enter your industry and country to see even more accurate results; it's not unusual for the cost-per-click and other metrics to differ widely from one country to another, even for advertisers bidding on the same keywords in the same industry. 
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.
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.

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.
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.
Update: I’ve now been using Long Tail Pro for 5+ years. There are now many different keyword research tools and lots of people prefer some of the newer tools. Admittedly – Long Tail Pro had some hiccups and went through some rough times as they transitioned ownership and introduced the newer cloud version. But – all of the bugs and kinks have been worked out and Long Tail Pro is now better than ever! I’m happy and proud to be able to continue to use and promote Long Tail Pro as my keyword research tool of choice.
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.
Keywords are supplied with accurate, clickstream-based metrics, some of which are exclusive to Ahrefs. For example, Clicks and Clicks Per Search can give you a better idea of how much traffic your content can get. That’s a burning issue today – many queries never translate into clicks because Google reveals answers for them at the top of SERP (i.e., Knowledge Card).
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.
Search Analytics can be found under the 'Search Traffic' section and provides details of the keywords that drove clicks to your website, based on data for up to the last 90 days. The difference with Google's version is that you can filter the data to put extra context around the keywords, such as filtering by country to see keyword popularity based on country, which can be useful when carrying out keyword research for websites that service more than one country.
I love Moz’s interface and how they give you data on the keywords. It’s easy-to-read, making it an ideal solution for both experts and newbies alike. They’ll show you both numeric and visual representations of a keyword’s monthly search volume, its opportunity for ranking, priority, and difficulty. They’ll also show you keyword suggestions and SERP analysis, which is fantastic and detailed.
But if you’re serious about content and inbound marketing, and you want to create great industry-related blog posts that lead to more traffic, leads, and sales–then you should at least give it a test drive (assuming you need content ideas). Like I said, it comes with an excellent guarantee, and you can visit the site here or click the image below to watch more videos regarding this impressive tool.
So which tool should you use? The simple answer is ALL of them!! If the data from several tools suggests that a keyword may be a good keyword to target, than you should feel fairly confident that it is. If your results appear to be contradicting one another for a particular keyword, then you may want to be hesitant in including that keyword in your selection. SEO professionals should never rely on one resource for research. No one tool is going to be 100% accurate and you stand the best chance at making the correct strategic decisions by using a variety of sources.

Just came on this program this morning and downloaded a trial version. Could this program really be only $97? Is this portion of the program effective or do you need the $300-plus Platinum version? The KC score, available in the $300-plus version, seems critical to making the whole thing work really well. Are you possibly leaving money and success on the table by not biting the bullet and going for the expensive program?

The primary difference is that Long Tail Pro is a big time saver over MS. With Long Tail Pro you are able to enter in multiple seed keywords at once (rather than just 1 with MS). So, instead of entering in 1 seed keyword, waiting five minutes, then going back and entering in one more; you can enter 5 seed keywords (for example), hit generate and then see all the keyword ideas at once!

But if you’re serious about content and inbound marketing, and you want to create great industry-related blog posts that lead to more traffic, leads, and sales–then you should at least give it a test drive (assuming you need content ideas). Like I said, it comes with an excellent guarantee, and you can visit the site here or click the image below to watch more videos regarding this impressive tool.
If you are a locksmith or a pizza shop mobile search ads which drive conversion oriented calls are highly valuable. However for businesses with more complex sales funnels desktop visitors have a substantially higher visitor value than mobile phone users. In August of 2016 TripAdvisor executives stated their visitor values on desktop and tablet devices were similar, but cell phone visitors were only worth 30% to 1/3 as much. Smaller businesses likely see a deeper click value discount on smart phones and other small mobile devices where typing (and thus converting) is hard to do.
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).
And so on and so on. The point of this step isn't to come up with your final list of keyword phrases -- you just want to end up with a brain dump of phrases you think potential customers might use to search for content related to that particular topic bucket. We'll narrow the lists down later in the process so you don't have something too unwieldy.
In order to know which keywords to target, it's essential to not only understand the demand for a given term or phrase, but also the work required to achieve high rankings. If big brands take the top 10 results and you're just starting out on the web, the uphill battle for rankings can take years of effort. This is why it's essential to understand keyword difficulty.
They also seem to be getting this wrong often enough that I've got less confidence that the keywords that make up these groups really belong there. I recently tried to check the volume for the keyword [active monitoring] (the practice of checking on a network by injecting test traffic and seeing how it's handled, as opposed to passive monitoring) and the Keyword Planner gave me the volume for [activity monitor] (aka Fitbit).
Google Suggest isn’t exactly a tool, but I’ve found that it can be useful for identifying potential keywords. As you type a query on Google.com, Google Suggest recommends search queries based on other users’ search activities. These searches are algorithmically determined based on a number of purely objective factors (including popularity of search terms) without human intervention. The Suggest dataset is updated frequently to offer search queries that seem to be trending upwards. This feature is largely one of the reasons that you may see repeat traffic of seemingly long tail keywords. By identifying these long tail keywords and optimizing for them, marketers can capitalize on seemingly obscure keywords with little competition.
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.
Spencer, it seems like you got out at just the right time and made your money? Seeing as Google has basically stopped giving access to their free keyword tool. I own the FULL lifetime license $290+ I think is was. Now Longtail Pro is useless due to the restrictions that Google has put in place. Do you know what the future plans are for Longtail Pro to get around this issue that I’m sure everyone is facing? Or can you get some feedback from the new owners?
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