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.
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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.
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.
I also hang out in SEO forums and groups and see KC scores tossed around and talked about and pretty much everybody is on the same page. Most agree that you can’t completely rely on the KC score (there are a few factors that can’t quantitatively be measured with a number) – but that the KC score is a VERY good indicator of the competition level for specific keywords. The following diagram realistically shows exactly what to expect from certain KC scores…
1. AdWords Keyword Planner - It's still the standard, although Google keeps making changes that just aren't helpful. I get that they want us to treat closely-related keywords in such a way that we're not creating multiple pages when we should just have one, but I'd appreciate it if they'd still break down the volume for each keyword that makes up a group (or at least list the keywords they're clumping together into a group).

I ditto what you are saying. All of the keyword volume data the system is stating is completely way off, false and misleading. They are pulling these numbers now from 3rd party sources, which we all know are directional, but in many cases in left field! I just signed up and will probably be cancelling because I can’t trust or rely on their data. What a shame, because before it was such a great tool.
Spencer, it seems like you got out at just the right time and made your money? Seeing as Google has basically stopped giving access to their free keyword tool. I own the FULL lifetime license $290+ I think is was. Now Longtail Pro is useless due to the restrictions that Google has put in place. Do you know what the future plans are for Longtail Pro to get around this issue that I’m sure everyone is facing? Or can you get some feedback from the new owners?
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!
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.
"I rarely get excited about SEO and SEM tools...But, when it comes to keyword research it is virtually impossible to produce a quality worksheet without software. When I have to perform the same task for my customers, the process is even more daunting and time consuming...there is now a better way to manage huge keyword lists and this tool is called WordStream."
He is the co-founder of Neil Patel Digital. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies. Neil is a New York Times bestselling author and was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations.
Successful SEO requires multiple interrelated activities on all fronts: competition, keywords, link building, on-page and technical optimization. It creates a need for diverse tools, which is expensive. SEMrush solves this problem with an award-winning all-in-one toolkit that includes 17 tools covering all SEO fields. We’ll walk you through your SEO workflow, explaining how to get the most out of our toolkit.
Here is the part of this post that we’ve all been waiting for. How to make Long Tail Pro pay for itself! I can tell you with absolute certainty that all of this isn’t just fluff designed to try to get you to buy the product. I’ve actually done all 4 of these things – and I continue to do the top 3 to this day! This stuff really works and I make WAY more than enough money, as a result of using Long Tail Pro, to pay for itself.
The reason I sometimes use this facility with the GKP is to find volume amounts for the keywords I’ve chosen. But, these days, it’s not so important. As long as the Long Tail Keyword makes sense and is something I would put into a search engine, then it’s good enough. Sometimes the most blazingly obvious keywords are often over looked by eager, trying-to-be-clever marketers. Sometimes you need a tool to highlight them.
WordStream for PPC is a full-service PPC management platform for creating, optimizing and managing pay-per-click advertising campaigns in Google AdWords. Our PPC software includes easy-to-use PPC keyword tools, campaign creation and expansion tools, Quality Score optimization tools, and more to help marketers get their PPC work done quickly and cost-effectively. WordStream for PPC customers experience increased traffic and greater ROI.
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 also want to emphasize that Microsoft Excel and Google Docs perhaps play an equal, if not more important role in keyword research than any of these tools, because at the end of the day, the mountain of data you end up with is of no use if you can’t perform calculations, sort, filter, present or store it in a way that’s best suits the task at hand. Head over to Distilled for a comprehensive Excel for SEOs guide. Alternatively, bug this guy—he’s the Sensei who trains Excel ninjas in the dark of the night.
This is a rather crude metric because it presumes one can monetize all the traffic they receive AND one can generate as much profit per visitor as Google does. Anyone who could do both of those would likely displace Google as the first consumer destination in their market (like how many people in the United States start ecommerce searches on Amazon.com rather than Google.com).

A service like BrightEdge comes with the biggest costs associated, but its SaaS solution for SEO covers many areas inside of a single ecosystem, including the ability to explore keyword data. This may be a benefit for agencies that wish to reduce redundancies across vendors, but eventually, it is likely that the need for a second tool will present itself as talent and effort levels increase inside of your SEO department.


Well, if you haven’t heard the news yet, the word on the street is Google has shut down their widely popular keyword tool for public use. Now if you want access to Google sanctioned keyword data you have to sign up for an Adwords account. Of course there are a ton of theories surrounding why Google would make this decision, some are more obvious than others. But to many of us Google’s motivations seem pointless when we still have work to do! Luckly we exist in a vibrant industry where innovation is at the core of most of what we do. As such we have a slew of different tools available to replace Google’s tool.

In fact, Google Suggest is the best way to find good long tail keywords that people use to find information on Google. Google admits that while Google Autocomplete (another name for the Google Suggest feature) was not designed specifically for marketing, it can deliver meaningful insights and help stay on top of trends. There are also many clever ways to use Google Autocomplete that can help you with SEO.


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.


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.
Bing Webmaster Toolbox: Oh yeah, remember that other search engine? Yes that’s right Bing has a whole collection of tools of their own, including keyword tools. The data will be taken from Bing itself, which means that you should be able to make relative assumptions about keyword popularity. because lets face it, Bing users aren’t that different than Google’s.
Long Tail Pro helps to assess the strength of your competition and put you ahead of your competitors. It would help you to rank higher than your competitors. When it fetches the keywords for you, it filters it and delivers the relevant ones after filtering them and making them relevant to your domain. This way it would help place your business and your website ahead of its competitors.
Long Tail Pro is a keyword research tool. Keyword research helps you find exact keywords that people are actually searching for. Some keywords are high competition (meaning it is harder to rank for on your site) and some have lower competition (easier for you to rank). How does Long Tail Pro work? First it finds the actual keywords for you based on the ‘seed keywords’ that you input. Then it helps you analyze the competition to see which keywords will be harder or easier for you to rank. How does this benefit you? You can take those ‘easier to rank’ keywords and use them in your content to increase search engine traffic to your site.
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