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:

If you go to Search Console under the Acquisition tab and then click Queries, you’ll be able to see different searches (aka keywords) that users found you through. You may have to set this up, but it’s easy to do and only takes a few minutes; you can see how here. Use this information to evaluate and monitor your keywords to see what’s working and what needs to be changed.
How much is a keyword worth to your website? If you own an online shoe store, do you make more sales from visitors searching for "brown shoes" or "black boots"? The keywords visitors type into search engines are often available to webmasters, and keyword research tools allow us to find this information. However, those tools cannot show us directly how valuable it is to receive traffic from those searches. To understand the value of a keyword, we need to understand our own websites, make some hypotheses, test, and repeat—the classic web marketing formula.
Offer Details: Offer expires 9/30/2018 (midnight Pacific Time), and is available only to qualified advertisers who meet the following eligibility criteria: Open to new and verified Bing Webmaster Tools account holders who own their own Website and open a new Bing Ads account; a “new” account is one that has been open fewer than 30 days prior to the date of coupon redemption. Your account will be evaluated daily to verify you meet the eligibility criteria. When criteria is met, a Bing Ads coupon will be sent to each qualified advertiser by email in approximately 3 business days from date of verification. See full offer details here.
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?
Depending on your topic / vertical and your geographic location the search engines may have vastly different search volumes. The tool can only possibly offer approximations. Exact search volumes are hard to find due to vanity searches, click bots, rank checkers, and other forms of automated traffic. Exceptionally valuable search terms may show far greater volume than they actually have due to various competitive commercial forces inflating search volumes due to automated search traffic.
From time-to-time – there are discounts or promotions available for Long Tail Pro. Whenever these become available – all links on my site that lead to the Long Tail Pro sales page will reflect the discounted price. If there is a huge sale or a massive deal – I always let my email subscribers know about it as soon as possible. If you’re not on my email list yet – feel free to sign up by clicking the button below. I’ll even send you one of my FREE guides!
Bing Webmaster Toolbox: Oh yeah, remember that other search engine? Yes that’s right Bing has a whole collection of tools of their own, including keyword tools. The data will be taken from Bing itself, which means that you should be able to make relative assumptions about keyword popularity. because lets face it, Bing users aren’t that different than Google’s.
The Display Planner tool replaced the YouTube Keyword Tool in 2014, and can be accessed from the Tools section of your Google Ads account. Although it's a little more involved than entering a keyword into the YouTube Keyword Tool, the Display Planner offers some great functionality for making the most of Display campaigns, including keyword-driven video ad campaigns on YouTube. The Display Planner also offers precious insights into the demographics and interests of your audiences, allowing you to create highly tailored Display campaigns.
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.
The “Starter” tier, with 1000 keyword lookups every 24 hours should be enough for anyone starting out in blogging – or even people who are quite established. It’s pleasing to see a product where they don’t seem to trick you into having to pay for a more expensive version. On the more negative side, I did feel that you’re nudged towards doing annual payment, with the monthly option kept slightly “hidden.”
The reason I sometimes use this facility with the GKP is to find volume amounts for the keywords I’ve chosen. But, these days, it’s not so important. As long as the Long Tail Keyword makes sense and is something I would put into a search engine, then it’s good enough. Sometimes the most blazingly obvious keywords are often over looked by eager, trying-to-be-clever marketers. Sometimes you need a tool to highlight them.
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?
I actually don't use any keyword tools aside from Google Trends, but only rarely do I even use that. I try to talk to many of our target audience members (entrepreneurs) as I can. I attend events, I have phone calls, I sit next to them while working. Generally speaking, I think it's a waste of time to START with keyword tools instead of actual customers. Yes, you can target people in broad swaths and get a high level sense for what's interesting and trending, but at least in the case of our business at NextView Ventures, it's way more powerful to talk to actual "customers" you serve.
A very popular and highly competitive keyword on Google search engine is "making money." It has 85,300,000 search results, meaning that millions of websites are relevant or competing for that keyword. Keyword research starts with finding all possible word combinations that are relevant to the "making money" keyword. For example, a keyword "acquiring money" has significantly fewer search results, only 61 000 000, but it has the same meaning as "making money." Another way is to be more specific about a keyword by adding additional filters. Keyword "making money online from home in Canada" is less competitive on a global scale and therefore easier to rank for. Furthermore, keywords also have various intents which can affect whether the marketer would want to target that keyword. Multiple tools are available (both free and commercial) to find keywords and analyze them.
Following a very busy (and lucrative) 2015, I’ve decided to take the majority of 2016 off and use the time to invest in various relationships and things that really matter in the long run. But in the midst of this “time off,” I’ve learned so many lessons and picked up new skills and seen new perspectives that I would never have been exposed to had I just kept on grinding away at the existing business.
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