Understanding the balance of terms that might be a little more difficult due to competition, versus those terms that are a little more realistic, will help you maintain a similar balance that the mix of long-tail and head terms allows. Remember, the goal is to end up with a list of keywords that provide some quick wins but also helps you make progress toward bigger, more challenging SEO goals.
Matthew, are you still using LTP as part of your strategy given the changes with Google AdWords and MOS the past few months. None of their training reflects these changes in the video tutorials, so it’s a bit slower on the learning curve and seems very limiting on some of the LT Keyword options that are registering no data, when we know there is search data for certain words. Seems like something that was designed to work incredibly smooth is playing catch up from changes in 2 major areas, MOZ and Google.
1) SEMrush - I believe that among all the 3rd party software, SEMrush has the largest keyword database. Their search volume data is pretty accurate and aligns with the Google keyword planner. Also, based on the type of content that needs to be produced (i.e. informational, transactional, etc.), one can utilize different filtering options available in it.
Finding the best keyword research tool also depends on your own experience with SEO subjects such as buying keywords, long tail content, long tail SEO and using low competition keywords. For instance, a newbie looking to use long tail marketing may find something like Long Tail Pro V3 a little too confusing and a bit expensive as it’s a monthly fee and has a confusing interface.
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.
Tip: Instead of targeting large keywords (with lots of monthly searches) in one main article – try targeting lots of long tail keywords in lots of different articles. I’ve been having success with this strategy for a long time now – and more recently Spencer and his team at Niche Pursuits have been using this strategy and talking extensively about it.
Analyze Keyword Difficulty – Targeting difficult keywords with the highest competition is not always the best idea. The SEMrush Keyword Difficulty tool helps you determine keywords’ difficulties. By indicating a particular keyword’s percentage of difficulty, this tool helps you estimate how easy it would be to seize your competitors’ organic positions in the SERPs.
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.
As for the history of the company, as I explained, I created Long Tail Pro back in 2011. At the time, I was creating tons of niche sites and was doing alot of keyword research and content creation. I was trying to figure out what types of keywords would rank quickly in the search engines, specifically Google, and I was frustrated with the other keyword research tools (in particular Market Samurai) out there.