3) Google: This is pretty straight forward but it’s the main reason I like it. I search for my main seed keyword in Google, and use the keywords that Google itself highlights in bold on the search results, plus the “Searches related to” section at the bottom to get keyword variations or LSI. That’s basically what Google is telling you that topic is about. No need for a thousands other tools. I use these to optimize the on page of my target pages as well.

It's important to check that you have a mix of head terms and long-tail terms because it'll give you a keyword strategy that's well balanced with long-term goals and short-term wins. That's because head terms are generally searched more frequently, making them often (not always, but often) much more competitive and harder to rank for than long-tail terms. Think about it: Without even looking up search volume or difficulty, which of the following terms do you think would be harder to rank for?
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.
How do I know this? Because I’ve done it! In late 2013 I was still struggling to earn a respectable income online. I started up a keyword research service and marketed it to just this blog audience. It turned out to be quite popular. Basically – I would find niches using Long Tail Pro then create Keyword Research Packages. Each package contained usually several hundred keywords with KC scores calculated. I was selling these packages for anywhere between $97 to $147. I even sold one single package for $597! That one had very high search volumes and very low competition.
If you don't know the difference between head terms and long-tail keywords, let me explain. Head terms are keywords phrases that are generally shorter and more generic -- they're typically just one to three words in length, depending on who you talk to. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are longer keyword phrases usually containing three or more words.
Wordtracker is another service that requires an annual subscription to utilize all of its features. Their database is made up of 330 million search terms, collected from the major metacrawlers, Dogpile and Metacrawler, and is updated weekly. The search data they show is a record of the number of times the exact keyword or phrase has been searched in the United States over the last 365 days. As in the case of Keyword Discovery, this difference in default keyword matching type causes Wordtracker to display search volumes significantly lower than what Google’s tools show.
As a new customer trying to evaluate the software, I asked if my trial period could be extended once this fundamental issue was fixed, on the basis I couldn’t actually evaluate its requirements against my criteria. I was told this was not possible, which frankly, is very poor customer service. What’s the point of offering a trial period when customers are unable to fully test the software?
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?
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.

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.
 	Google Webmaster SEO Starter Guide - Originally written for Google Employees to improve website performance with users and search engines. Related Terms: SERP - Search Engine Rank Position  |  PageRank (PR) - Named for Google Co-founder, Larry Page. The PR Scale of 0-10 rates a web page. In the past, rank was based on the number of high ranking links pointing to the website. Recently factors like relevance and quality have gained importance. This website's current PR rating:   

If you're struggling to think of more keywords people might be searching about a specific topic, go to Google.com and take a look at the related search terms that appear when you plug in a keyword. When you type in your phrase and scroll to the bottom of Google's results, you'll notice some suggestions for searches related to your original input. These keywords can spark ideas for other keywords you may want to take into consideration.
You can use this tool while searching for ad group ideas or keywords. Keyword planner acts like a workshop that you can use to expand existing network search network campaigns or build new ones. The tool can allow you to search for AdWords tool ideas or keywords, view the performance of a list of keywords, retrieve historic statistics, and develop a new list of keywords by multiplying many keywords lists together. A free keyword planner, AdWords tool can also assist the user in selecting a list of competitive budgets and bids that you can include in your campaigns. You can utilize keyword planner in laying the foundation of a successful online campaign whether you are a highly experienced pro or new to online. All you need is a Google AdWords account and you will be ready to sign in and get on the move.

How do I know that the KC score measures competition accurately? When I first started using the KC feature – I didn’t know for sure. But I’ve been using it since December of 2012. I’ve published literally hundreds of different articles (in different niches) around keywords with low to medium KC scores and I have a pretty good feel for the accuracy. More than 5 years of successfully ranking for low competition keywords has convinced me to completely trust the KC scores that are calculated within Long Tail Pro.
The only problem is that you can’t possibly laser-target every ad to the search query, and your landing page will definitely not be as targeted as it could be either. Not even dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) would help, because who wants to click on an ad with the headline of just “Bounce House”? Let’s just say it gets tricky, and you’re a little lazy if that’s all you do.

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.
As you might imagine, the ability to completely see and study how the competition is ranking for certain keyword phrases in your niche has significant value for any company. Tack this on with its other features, and Long Tail Pro makes a ton of sense for content marketers. And like I said before, the price tag is very low compared to some of the tools I’ve seen out there, with a one-time fee (NOT a monthly fee) of $97 and a 60-day, money-back guarantee.
We at Moz custom-built the Keyword Explorer tool from the ground up to help streamline and improve how you discover and prioritize keywords. Keyword Explorer provides accurate monthly search volume data, an idea of how difficult it will be to rank for your keyword, estimated click-through rate, and a score representing your potential to rank. It also suggests related keywords for you to research. Because it cuts out a great deal of manual work and is free to try, we recommend starting there.

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This is slightly more complicated than it used to be, because you have to actually create a live AdWords Campaign as part of the process! This puts many people off, as it looks as if you have to actually advertise in order to use the tool. You don’t — you can just setup the campaign and then pause it before it runs so you don’t have to spend a penny.
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!
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.
But it’s still very useful for getting search volume data (provided your account still shows this), which is helpful when choosing which of the many keywords you’ve found to focus on (although you should take these estimates with a pinch of salt, they are still useful in indicating the relative search volumes of different keywords, even if the absolute estimates are a little off).
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.
The final sales price was based on a multiple of trailing 12 months net income (i.e. The average net income over the most recent 12 months).  I feel like I got a very good multiple.  I had talked to the brokers at FEinternational, Quiet Light Brokerage, and had viewed sale history of other similar companies, so I know the price I received was very competitive.
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