How do you figure out what keywords your competitors are ranking for, you ask? Aside from manually searching for keywords in an incognito browser and seeing what positions your competitors are in, SEMrush allows you to run a number of free reports that show you the top keywords for the domain you enter. This is a quick way to get a sense of the types of terms your competitors are ranking for.
The Google Keyword Tool has a variety of helpful features meant to streamline the keyword research process. By entering terms or phrases into the search box, the Keyword Tool allows you to build extensive, relevant keyword lists from one simple interface. By default, the tool displays Advertising Competition, Global Monthly Searches, Local Monthly Searches, and Local Search Trends for each keyword. Additional options allow marketers to show the estimated Average Cost per Click, Ad share, and Search Share.

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…

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.)
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?
Earlier, I wrote a post about the use of long tail keywords. Focusing on long tail keywords could be a good strategy, especially when trying to rank in a highly competitive market. But how do you decide on which (long tail) keywords you want to rank? This post will give you some handy tips and keyword research tools to make your keyword research a bit easier.
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).
Unlike similar tools, Serpstat is a page-oriented platform for in-depth competitive analysis. You can find competitors and define missing keywords for a single URL or even entire domains. You can also view historical position data for a range of pages organized by phrase, as well as see which pages have dropped in rank and their rank distribution as a percentage, which is very handy if you want to compare data from two different time periods or observe changes over time based on algorithm updates and other factors.
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. 
You can also ask Long Tail Pro to get extra information like “Global Search Volume” (amount of monthly searches globally for each exact-match search term), “Domain Availability” (to see if exact-match domains are available), “Google Title Competition” and “Bing Title Competition” (this is the “allintitle” search that checks the number of sites that are using the same keyword in the title of their pages).

I’ve found google trends to be an interesting way to see if a keyword (and by extension a niche) is growing or shrinking, and whether it’s seasonal or not. I can’t think of any other tool out there that can reliably tell you this information, so that’s really useful. Also, if you’re building a site, especially an authority site, getting onto something that’s trending upwards is a fantastic idea.
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.
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.
I’ve got to say thanks for the introduction to Long Tail Pro, It’s because of this review that I even came across it in the first place, I’ve been testing it out for the past few days and it’s awesome. Already found some “low hanging fruit”, though I do still prefer Niche Genetics for the organic listings. This has easily replaced using Google’s keyword planner and a note pad. Thanks again 🙂

The limit on manual keywords could be higher.  I personally wish we could input 10,000 keywords at a time, instead of 200.  However, I understand the costs that Long Tail Pro has to maintain each time a new manual keyword is input.  Not a deal breaker, I just wish the limit was higher. (To be fair, I don't think most keyword tools have a bulk manual option at all).

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