The Google Keyword Tool is SUPER helpful for building a foundation for your keyword research strategy. At the end of the day, these search numbers are coming straight from the horses mouth. You can filter down to a hyper-local level and see which keywords are getting the largest search volume. Plus, with it’s integration with PPC you can get a quick idea about commercial intent by looking at the bid and competition metrics. How much are people bidding on KWs, higher = more likely to generate a return. Usually its aligned with search intent. That said, the trending data is a little less reliable. I would still use Trends to analyze the popularity/ seasonality of KW search volume.

2) SEMrush- This tool offers fantastic competitive research around domains to find what keywords could be driving traffic for your competitors. Looking at paid keywords ad spend can also help you know which keywords might have monetary value worth pursuing organically. If a competitor is willing to spend a high ad budget on terms and you think they do a good job running their ad campaign, then its a good indication it is worth organic ranking effort.

Long Tail Pro by Spencer Haws is the most useful keyword research tool that you can use for your internet marketing. Thousands of webmasters depend on the tool to generate thousands of keywords. It is such effective that it has dominated the keyword search market for the few years it has been into existence. It would cost you less than one hundred dollars to have access to this important life-changing tool.
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.
So whilst Long Tail Pro has just continued to grow in revenue every single year and comes highly recommended, you may want to check if all the important features are fully functioning before signing up. Especially the KC feature (keyword competitiveness) as it is so fundamental to keyword research and making an informed choice on whether or not to go into a particular niche.
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.)
These are usually single-word keywords with insane amounts of search volume and competition (for example, “insurance” or “vitamins”). Because searcher intent is all over the place (someone searching for “insurance” might be looking for a car insurance quote, a list of life insurance companies or a definition of the word), Head Terms usually don’t convert very well.
I learned a lot from you and now make a couple hundreds per month in extra cash thanks to your advice. You provided us with great content and a great tool. I’m very happy for you. I have to say though that I’m sad you sold… customer service is so so so far and I know it’s cool for owners to sell subscriptions instead of selling it for a one time fee and I know it’s a new trend online but it’s really a trend I don’t like as a customer… Anyways. I’m very happy for you. Many thanks and congrats !!!
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.
I want to share how and why I sold the company in order to both educate and inspire potential software entrepreneurs.  I certainly don't know everything and obviously companies sell for much more than I sold Long Tail Pro for (I won't be featured in Tech Crunch anytime soon); however, I'm willing to share what I have learned and hopefully that can be beneficial to a few of you.