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.
"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."
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Am I worried that my keyword research might not be effective since I only look at the KC score? No. Not really. Because I tend to target only the longer tail keywords these days. I don’t go after the huge main keywords anymore. They’re too hard to rank for. But long tail keywords are really easy to find with Long Tail Pro and they are usually much easier to rank for.
Customize the data that LTP is going to fetch with pre-filters like “Suggested Bid” (or Cost per Click [CPC], i.e. the amount of money an advertiser is willing to pay for a click on their AdWords ad that is targeting that specific keyword), “Local Search Volume” (average number of monthly searches for a specific keyword), “Advertiser Competition” (the amount of advertisers competing for a specific keyword) and “Number (of) Words” (very important when you’re trying to find long-tail 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."
You can use Keyword Researcher Pro with the best free keyword research tool out there, Google KW planner. Importing and exporting data is as easy as clicking a button. It’s all done at lightening speed too. There are tutorials of how to do this in video form on the sales page here and they show just how easy this tool is for finding those long tail keywords.

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. 
5. Use the Keyword Competitiveness “Fetch Now” feature. Now that your list is trimmed down after you applied all those filters in the previous step, you use the KC “Fetch Now” feature that saves you time in retrieving all that invaluable information. Again, depending on the number of keywords it has to check it make take a while (remember that LTP needs to retrieve information from several sources including Google and Moz). During this bulk check if LTP prompts with Google captchas to fill out, just close the software and wait 10 minutes to reopen it and continue your work. (This issue should have already been fixed now with the latest updates to the tool.)
Google Adwords search volume tool is highly effective and extremely easy to use. If you’re new to keyword research and just want some quick info on the search volume and competition level of a few keywords you have in mind, this is a great tool to use. Just enter in the specific keywords that you want to compare, and then view the results. You’ll be able to see the search volume, general competition level, and suggested Adwords bid.
* Please note our tool currently assumes Google having ~ 83% of the market, with Bing + Yahoo! splitting the remaining 17% of the market. Actual market conditions may vary significantly from that due to a variety of factors including: search location, search market demographics, how much marketshare mobile search has relative to desktop in that particular vertical, etc.
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.
Brian, thank you for all of these informative guides! I started out as a digital marketing intern and everything that I learned from your site has helped me land a job as a marketing specialist. I’m truly grateful and enjoy everything that you published so far. If you have a chance, I’ve started using this tool called SEOClarity, I was wondering what’s your take on it? Have you used it before or know anyone that has?
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).
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.
"This is the only keyword research tool that I recommend. The ideas, inspiration, and content longtails you will get for your niche topic are going to result in you producing a page of content that is more than going to pay for this tool. And as they are Google's database then we KNOW that these terms are being searched by a decent volume of peeps every month. It's a goldmine dudes."
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.
Within the results, Long Tail Pro inserted several more keywords based on that suggestion and automatically calculated all relevant stats (including KC Scores). It only took me a few seconds to scan those results and see a great long tail keyword – legitimate work from home jobs with no startup fee. This exact keyword gets 210 monthly searches and has a KC Score of only 25! Rosemarie could easily write an article for her Busy Budgeter site that is optimized for this exact keyword and she should be able to rank in Google somewhat easily.
I would like to get LTP but I’ve read that people have some issues according to Keyword Planner and Moz. Do you still recommend this tool? How accurate is it’s data comparing to previous versions? Does Keyword difficulty still works as it should? Maybe it’s better to wait untill some stability of this software? I don’t want to waste money for some tool which doesn’t work properly.
The objective of keyword research is to generate, with good precision and recall, large number of terms that are highly relevant yet non-obvious to the given input keyword.[2] Process of keyword research involves brainstorming and the use of keyword research tools. To achieve the best SEO results, it is important to optimize a website as well as backlinks for the most relevant keywords. It is good practice to search for related keywords that have low competition and still a high number of searches. This makes it easier to achieve a higher rank in search engines which usually results in higher web traffic. The downside of this practice is that the website is optimized for alternative keywords instead of the main keyword; main keywords might be very difficult to rank for due to high competition.[3] There are three essential concepts to consider when conducting keyword research. Good keywords are closely related to the subject of the website. Most search engines use an internal quality system to check website relevance related to possible keywords, a non relevant keyword is unlikely to rank well for a website.[4] Good Keyword that are highly competitive are less likely to rank in the top. Keywords that have no monthly searches generate no traffic and therefore are useless for SEO. Keyword stuffing in a web page should be avoided.
To be able to rank in the search engines is an art that must be understood and finding the right Keyword tool that fits into your comfort zone is a must. What I mean by ‘comfort zone’ is having a keyword tool that doesn’t confuse you before you begin even searching. Some go into far too much detail than is necessary. All you need really are good long tail ‘common sense’ keywords that other marketers may have missed.

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.

The experts love SEMrush, but will you? Take the tool for a test drive and decide for yourself. For a limited time I'm giving all my readers an exclusive one month free access to SEMrush PRO. You'll get unrestricted access to all the tool's features. If you decide SEMrush is not for you, cancel anytime during the one month trial and you won't be charged a penny. 
Analyzing the current top 10 search results in Google is the most important part of keyword research. This is where you determine whether or not you can produce a webpage that can beat any or all of those results. The process is known as first page analysis – and it is by far the hardest process to understand and really figure out (especially when you first start out). Don’t worry though – Long Tail Pro has detailed and in-depth instructional videos available that show you exactly how to do this.
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.
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.

When I finally made the decision the get Long Tail Pro way back in December of 2012 – I honestly had no idea how much this one piece of software would impact everything I do online. I knew that it would help me find more and better keywords right off the bat. But I didn’t know exactly how much it would positively affect my ability to actually make money online. I can say with confidence, that Long Tail Pro is the one tool that has made the biggest difference (by far), in my ability to get traffic to websites and actually earn money online.

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