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. 

This keyword tool was built on a custom database we have compiled over the past four years. We researched data from the (now defunct) Google Search-Based Keyword Tool and also looked at a few more recent data snapshots to refresh the database and enhance our keyword coverage. Our database contains 28,527,279 keywords representing 13,762,942,253 monthly searches. Our database is primarily composed of English language keywords.
The SEO market has been recording a lot of advancements in the recent past. The world has thousands of keyword research tools and it’s hard for you to grasp all of them. Some of them come free of charge while others have to be paid. There are so many free keyword tools that generate excellent results in the various search engines. This article eases your work by presenting top ten free keyword research tools you can find in the market. You can use any of them depending on your SEO needs and nature of industry.
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).
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.
I’d give Long Tail Pro a 4.5/5 stars for its’ ease of use, ability to generate a high number of long tail keyword searches of low to medium competition, check rankings and check Top 10 competition on any keyword search as to what the results of number of backlinks, domain authority/page authority and other pertinent ranking data from Moz.com’s api.
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.
I just downloaded a free version of LTP 3.1.0 and I cannot figure out why I can’t see the table headers of ‘Page Authority’, ‘Domain Authority’, ‘Juice Links’, etc next to ‘Keyword Competitiveness’. Normally, I should be able to see these but instead I see new categories like ‘Trust Flow’, ‘Citation Flow’, ‘Domain CF’, ‘Domain TF’ and so on. I thought I can still use the regular version of LTP for 10 day trial so I am not sure why I see different categories. Is it b/c I am on version 3.1.0 instead of 3.0? Let me know if you have any idea.Thanks!
2. The second category are keyword tools based on the competition. One of the first things to determine is not only who the business competitors are, but who the SEO competitors are. Keyword research can be done by simply doing research on high-performing competitors. Some of my favorite domain-based keyword tools are SEMrush, SpyFu, and BrightEdge's Data Cube.
Repeat this exercise for as many topic buckets as you have. And remember, if you're having trouble coming up with relevant search terms, you can always head on over to your employees on the front lines -- like Sales or Services -- and ask them what types of terms their prospects and customers use, or common questions they have. Those are often great starting points for keyword research.
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. 
We hope you found some of these tools useful. It's worth noting that if you don't have any content that suits a particular keyword, you can always create it. Just remember to make sure that the content answers the search query that you're trying to target. For example, somebody searching for the term 'Log Cabins Phoenix' is not going to be satisfied with a page that offers log cabins for sale in New York.
This makes Google Suggest a relevant source for keyword research, it contains a large amount of organic keywords very closely related to a full or partial keyword and can be used to find additional most searched appending keywords that make the whole keyword less competitive. Google Suggest can be researched through the Google Search website or through a compatible browser for a small amount of keywords but also in large scale using free scraper tools.
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.”
Be sure to re-evaluate these keywords every few months -- once a quarter is a good benchmark, but some businesses like to do it even more often than that. As you gain even more authority in the SERPs, you'll find that you can add more and more keywords to your lists to tackle as you work on maintaining your current presence, and then growing in new areas on top of that.

I use Ahrefs to find ideas for keywords to add into content, and content to create around keyword opportunities. I like how Ahrefs shows keyword difficulty, search volume, traffic potential (how much organic search traffic it’s possible to get when you rank #1 for a parent topic keyword) and lets you group keywords together to create lists. It’s really useful.

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.
Google prefers to not share long tail searches in this tool – because the tool is designed for Google Adwords advertisers. If advertisers bid on those long tails – they would have less competition and therefore pay less for the Adword, and therefore Google would make less money e.g. bidding on the term weight loss for girls under 18 is cheaper than weight loss. 
For example, assume your search ad generated 5,000 impressions in one day, of which 100 visitors have come to your site, and three have converted for a total profit (not revenue!) of $300. In this case, a single visitor for that keyword is worth $3 to your business. Those 5,000 impressions in 24 hours could generate a click-through rate of between 18-36% with a #1 ranking (see the Slingshot SEO study for more on potential click-through rates), which would mean 900-1800 visits per day, at $3 each, or between 1 and 2 million dollars per year. No wonder businesses love search marketing!
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.

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…
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