Hey Alex – this is a good question. No tool is going to be spot on. My advice is to not look too much into the accuracy of the metrics, but look at it more as a relative measure. I’m finding Ahrefs to be a good barometer for keyword competitiveness, but I’ve also heard great things about KW Finder lately. I think it’ll more come to personal preference. Both are solid options.
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.
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.
Because I’m naturally leery of tools, I was very hesitant to make any snap judgments on Long Tail Pro. But after I read the reviews on the product and learned more about its seriously cool developer Spencer Haws, I decided to give it a go and made the $97 purchase. As soon as I started using the tool, I quickly fell in love with these two main features:
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:

There, now. We’ve given you an overview of twenty-five cool keyword tools. Of course each of these has its own strengths and caveats, and at least for now, none can match the effectiveness of Google’s Keyword Tool, particularly in language, location, or device-specific results. Google gathers and analyzes vast amounts of data and as you know, the rich only get richer.
In order to know which keywords to target, it's essential to not only understand the demand for a given term or phrase, but also the work required to achieve high rankings. If big brands take the top 10 results and you're just starting out on the web, the uphill battle for rankings can take years of effort. This is why it's essential to understand keyword difficulty.
Let's say you're considering starting a new website, or venturing into a new product niche. And, suppose you'd like to somehow determine how much search buzz is currently hovering around this topic. You can use Keyword Researcher to get a "feel" for how much interest is actually out there. For example, let's say you were selling cameras. Then you might consider the following:
When I finally made the decision the get Long Tail Pro way back in December of 2012 – I honestly had no idea how much this one piece of software would impact everything I do online. I knew that it would help me find more and better keywords right off the bat. But I didn’t know exactly how much it would positively affect my ability to actually make money online. I can say with confidence, that Long Tail Pro is the one tool that has made the biggest difference (by far), in my ability to get traffic to websites and actually earn money online.
Provides links to price estimate tools from Google AdWords. That Google AdWords tool showed the necessary bid to rank #1 for 85% of queries, and roughly how much traffic you could expect AdWords to send you based on that bid price and ad position, though, as mentioned above, Google has obfuscated their data in their interface for everyone but longtime AdWords advertisers.

If you're a regular blogger, these are probably the topics you blog about most frequently. Or perhaps they're the topics that come up the most in sales conversations. Put yourself in the shoes of your buyer personas -- what types of topics would your target audience search that you'd want your business to get found for? If you were a company like HubSpot, for example -- selling marketing software (which happens to have some awesome SEO tools ... but I digress ;-) -- you might have general topic buckets like "inbound marketing," "blogging," "email marketing," "lead generation," "SEO," "social media," "marketing analytics," and "marketing automation."


The team at E2M is taking this opportunity to analyze other significant (and free to use/try) keyword research tools out there. We are asking ourselves what data and logic should ideally go into keyword research, how this logic can be programmatically applied to the creation of tools, and what the best ways are to consolidate and use their output. Here’s a quick look at 25 other keyword research tools, some well-known and some you’d do well to know. These are not alternatives to the AdWords Keyword Tool on their own, but each of them performs some function of the AdWords tool in its own unique way, and all of them aid and abet your keyword research quite well.

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.
Earlier, I wrote a post about the use of long tail keywords. Focusing on long tail keywords could be a good strategy, especially when trying to rank in a highly competitive market. But how do you decide on which (long tail) keywords you want to rank? This post will give you some handy tips and keyword research tools to make your keyword research a bit easier.
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).
They’ll show you information like how many external links the site has, the number of Facebook and Google+ shares, estimated visits per month, and its page authority. All of this is valuable intel that can give you insight into where your page could potentially rank against them, without needing to do more research with a separate tool or on another page.
Long Tail Pro is a keyword research tool that helps you quickly find low competition keywords for your website.  In particular, the tool is built for people doing SEO (search engine optimization) as opposed to people doing paid ads (Google Adwords PPC).  I'm sure there are some advertisers that use the tool for paid ad keyword research, but the tool was built for SEO keyword research.
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