I recently decided to go with ahrefs after using spyfu for a couple years and trialing secockpit. I was a moz client for awhile too about a year ago. I found spyfu data to be sketchy (or just plain wrong) fairly often, and moz, I don’t know, just didn’t seem like they were really into supporting what I wanted to know. secockpit was achingly slow for a trickle of data. ahrefs isn’t nearly so graph-y as spyfu, but they are so blazing fast and the data is so deep. I enjoy it a great deal, even if it is spendy.
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:

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.

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.
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."
We at Moz custom-built the Keyword Explorer tool from the ground up to help streamline and improve how you discover and prioritize keywords. Keyword Explorer provides accurate monthly search volume data, an idea of how difficult it will be to rank for your keyword, estimated click-through rate, and a score representing your potential to rank. It also suggests related keywords for you to research. Because it cuts out a great deal of manual work and is free to try, we recommend starting there.
The relevant keywords that you target with your ads will bring the right audience to your website. Showing your ads to people that type relevant keywords will result in higher click-through rate (CTR), lower cost-per-click (CPC) and higher conversion rates for your business. As a result, you will spend less money on advertising and generate a better return on investment.
Update: I’ve now been using Long Tail Pro for 5+ years. There are now many different keyword research tools and lots of people prefer some of the newer tools. Admittedly – Long Tail Pro had some hiccups and went through some rough times as they transitioned ownership and introduced the newer cloud version. But – all of the bugs and kinks have been worked out and Long Tail Pro is now better than ever! I’m happy and proud to be able to continue to use and promote Long Tail Pro as my keyword research tool of choice.
Because someone who is looking for something that specific is probably a much more qualified searcher for your product or service (presuming you're in the blogging space) than someone looking for something really generic. And because long-tail keywords tend to be more specific, it's usually easier to tell what people who search for those keywords are really looking for. Someone searching for the head term "blogging," on the other hand, could be searching it for a whole host of reasons unrelated to your business.

Note: the old software version of Long Tail Pro would have spit out several hundred adwords suggestions (many being irrelevant to the seed keyword) for this one seed keyword and then you would have to filter to see only what you wanted to see. With the new cloud version of Long Tail Pro, you set it to show only a certain number of keywords and it displays the most relevant keywords so you have less noise and confusion to filter through.
This comes with a monthly fee though, so why have that recurring revenue drain when you can just get MS or LTP for that matter on a one off fee. They are both virtually the same in my opinion. This is the only thing that is stopping me from buying the software. If the calculation of keyword difficulty was included in the one off fee, i wouldn’t mind paying the full $97.

This tool was originally created to carry out keyword research for paid campaigns using Google's AdWords platform. However, it can also be used to research organic keywords, providing estimated global/local monthly search volumes for keywords (i.e. their popularity) and their competition (i.e. how difficult they are to rank for) for organic search.
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.
The program works in different operating systems such as Mac, Windows and other operating systems. If you like, you can install the device in more than one operating system. Many users who have Apples have testified that it works well in that operating system. It means that you can install it in different operating systems without paying additional monies for that. If you want Long Tail Pro to work perfectly, you can run it through Adobe Air. Incidentally, it does not cost you anything to have Adobe Air installed in your operating system. However, you have to ensure that your Adobe Air was updated for you to derive maximum benefit from the program. The program can be tried for ten days free. If you do not like the program after the trial, you can decide to buy it. Moreover, the programs enjoy customer support. It remains the best tool you can rely on to support your internet efforts. Also you can learn more about keyword research from spencer haws Here.
These keyword research tools should make it easier to create a list of relevant search terms. You should make sure to create awesome landing pages for keywords you want to be found on. You should also think about cornerstone content articles and a great internal linking structure in order to make your SEO strategy complete. In our SEO copywriting course we dive much deeper into keywords, landing pages, and long tail keywords.
But if you’re serious about content and inbound marketing, and you want to create great industry-related blog posts that lead to more traffic, leads, and sales–then you should at least give it a test drive (assuming you need content ideas). Like I said, it comes with an excellent guarantee, and you can visit the site here or click the image below to watch more videos regarding this impressive tool.
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.
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.
You can also filter by query, which is useful when looking at branded queries, or when looking at specific words. For example, only show keywords that include the term "SEO". The graph also allows you to spot trends in across the available metrics and compare week-on-week or month-on-month. This can help you to drill down and monitor progression over time, allowing you to answer questions like "have my branded keywords received more clicks in the last month compared to the previous month?", "has the CTR improved?", "did average positions in Google improve?".
The Google Keyword Planner used to be great it's now frustrating to use.... and almost impossible to get in to without setting up your first ad. Big shame google big shame. I would love to share more info about your tool over on my website [link removed by moderator] for my local business clients - have you got something you can send over for me to add to the site?
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.

As you can see, LongTailPro is pulling data from Google Adwords. WHAT?! So LTP uses a mix of their own massive data (launched in 2011) and data pulled via API from Majestic.com, Moz.com, and Google Adwords (http://adwords.google.com). Once you input your seed keywords, LongTailPro outputs suggested keywords related to your seed keywords, search volume, Adwords suggested bid, Adwords competition, total words, rank value, average keyword competition, language searched, and location searched.

"With Google giving over the home page to ads and their own properties for commercial keywords, the Long Tail keyword is more important than ever. If you have a website, you know that most of your traffic comes from keywords you never would have thought of. With Keyword Researcher, you can find them in advance and make sure that you're the one that snags this traffic. I use it for all of my e-commerce site planning."
"Our whole team has a copy of Keyword Researcher, we use it for everyone of our client's keyword research for the 'Long Tail' and we use it every day to come up with blog post ideas and ideas for guest posting. We couldn't live without this tool. I have used every paid keyword research tool under the sun, and this by far is my favorite tool for mining the Long Tail."
This isn’t the only tool that mines Google Autocomplete. There’s also KeywordTool.io, but this tool restricts results to ~700 keywords (more are available for “pro” members). Infinite Suggest is another alternative, but despite the name, I’ve found that it still doesn’t find anywhere near the number of keywords that Keyword Shitter finds. And there are tons of other Google Autocomplete miners too. Just Google “google auto suggest tool” for more. There’s also this tool from SEOChat which mines autocomplete suggestions from Google, Bing, Amazon, and YouTube.
Trying to rank for the keyword “Best Headphones” will see your post, page, or article buried in the depths of a billion search engine pages, and it’s never going to surface in the top thousand pages, let alone page one…ever! But going for a keyword, or Long Tail keyword phrase “What are the Best Headphones for Sleeping” will stand you in better shape to get somewhere close, or even on, the first page.
How do I know this? Because I’ve done it! In late 2013 I was still struggling to earn a respectable income online. I started up a keyword research service and marketed it to just this blog audience. It turned out to be quite popular. Basically – I would find niches using Long Tail Pro then create Keyword Research Packages. Each package contained usually several hundred keywords with KC scores calculated. I was selling these packages for anywhere between $97 to $147. I even sold one single package for $597! That one had very high search volumes and very low competition.
You don’t really need to worry about the volume size either. Too big a number just means you will have to work harder to get ranked in Google. It’s now quite commonplace to see SEO people say it’s best to just go with your gut feeling on a keyword. Just go for something you would type into Google search yourself instead of beating yourself up trying to find that ‘one’ killer keyword.
This might be the easiest way to make Long Tail Pro pay for itself. I’m pretty sure that the affiliate program is open to anybody (even if you don’t currently own the product). Simply get signed up and then promote it any way you see fit (within the Terms of Service, of course). If you couldn’t tell, I’ve been doing this for quite awhile via this blog and I’ve earned a healthy sum of money over the years as a result.
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.
Joost developed his own keyword research tool to come up with keywords as well! Yoast Suggests uses the Google Suggest functionality you know from searching in Google. It finds the keyword expansions Google gives and then requests more of them. So if you type ‘example‘, it’ll also give you the expansions for ‘example a…’ till ‘example z…’ etc. Just go on and try it and fill out some of your potential keywords. It’s a great way to quickly find more long tail keywords you can focus on.
After the Panda update rolled out, the latent risk in such a strategy could (typically would) vastly exceed the direct cost of the content, as poor pages on one part of a site could drag down the ranking of other pages on the site which targeted different keywords. Some sites have seen their search traffic fall over 90% with their ad revenues falling even faster. Demand Media went from being worth a couple billion to tens of millions of Dollars. ArticlesBase.com sold on Flippa for $80,000, but was making over $500,000 PER MONTH in profit before getting hit by Panda. Many other Panda-torched sites like Suite101 have simply went offline.
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.
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.
Now that I’ve been using Long Tail Pro for several years to successfully find great keywords – I can confidently tell you that Long Tail Pro will more than pay for itself if you use it properly. Whether you are a blogger, a niche site creator, an affiliate marketer or even just an article writer – doing proper keyword research will help you be more profitable. Doing proper and effective keyword research with Long Tail Pro is super fast and easy. It’s so easy in fact – that it’s not hard at all to offset the cost of the software by putting it to work for you. And I’m going to show you how within this post.
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