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).


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.
Understanding which websites already rank for your keyword gives you valuable insight into the competition, and also how hard it will be to rank for the given term. Are there search advertisements running along the top and right-hand side of the organic results? Typically, many search ads means a high-value keyword, and multiple search ads above the organic results often means a highly lucrative and directly conversion-prone keyword.

Brian, thank you for all of these informative guides! I started out as a digital marketing intern and everything that I learned from your site has helped me land a job as a marketing specialist. I’m truly grateful and enjoy everything that you published so far. If you have a chance, I’ve started using this tool called SEOClarity, I was wondering what’s your take on it? Have you used it before or know anyone that has?
But it’s still very useful for getting search volume data (provided your account still shows this), which is helpful when choosing which of the many keywords you’ve found to focus on (although you should take these estimates with a pinch of salt, they are still useful in indicating the relative search volumes of different keywords, even if the absolute estimates are a little off).
Most keyowrd databases consist of a small sample of the overall search universe. This means keyword databases tend to skew more toward commercial terms and the core/head industry terms, with slighlty less coverage of the midtail terms. Many rarely searched for longtail terms are not covered due to database size limitations & lack of commercial data around those terms. Plus if those terms were covered, there would be large sampling errors. Google generates over 2 trillion searches per year and claims 15% of their searches are unique. This means they generate searches for over 300 billion unique keywords each year. The good news about limited tail coverage is it means most any keyword we return data on is a keyword with some commercial value to it. And with Google's Rankbrain algorithm, if you rank well on core industry terms then your pages will often tend to rank well for other related tail keywords.

Am I worried that my keyword research might not be effective since I only look at the KC score? No. Not really. Because I tend to target only the longer tail keywords these days. I don’t go after the huge main keywords anymore. They’re too hard to rank for. But long tail keywords are really easy to find with Long Tail Pro and they are usually much easier to rank for.
"This is the only keyword research tool that I recommend. The ideas, inspiration, and content longtails you will get for your niche topic are going to result in you producing a page of content that is more than going to pay for this tool. And as they are Google's database then we KNOW that these terms are being searched by a decent volume of peeps every month. It's a goldmine dudes."
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.
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.
Search Analytics can be found under the 'Search Traffic' section and provides details of the keywords that drove clicks to your website, based on data for up to the last 90 days. The difference with Google's version is that you can filter the data to put extra context around the keywords, such as filtering by country to see keyword popularity based on country, which can be useful when carrying out keyword research for websites that service more than one country.
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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.
Repeat this exercise for as many topic buckets as you have. And remember, if you're having trouble coming up with relevant search terms, you can always head on over to your employees on the front lines -- like Sales or Services -- and ask them what types of terms their prospects and customers use, or common questions they have. Those are often great starting points for keyword research.

The Display Planner tool replaced the YouTube Keyword Tool in 2014, and can be accessed from the Tools section of your Google Ads account. Although it's a little more involved than entering a keyword into the YouTube Keyword Tool, the Display Planner offers some great functionality for making the most of Display campaigns, including keyword-driven video ad campaigns on YouTube. The Display Planner also offers precious insights into the demographics and interests of your audiences, allowing you to create highly tailored Display campaigns.
In Keyword Planner, formerly known as the Keyword Tool, you can get search volume and traffic estimates for keywords you're considering. Unfortunately, when Google transitioned from Keyword Tool to Keyword Planner, they stripped out a lot of the more interesting functionality. But you can make up for it a bit if you take the information you learn from Keyword Planner and use Google Trends to fill in some blanks.
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:

I will use the tool to pull in a lot of keywords related to a theme and group them into relevant topics. These topics will either become their own content page or will be combined with other topics to create a page. KeywordTool.io is similar to other tools out there such as Uber Suggest, which I've used for a long time, but it tends to produce more keywords and it provides search volume for the keywords.
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.
Great Top 10 keyword research tools list. Thank you for posting Robbie! I really appreciated the feedback from the experts. There are a definitely a few tools here worthy of taking note of. I have also been using DYNO Mapper (http://www.dynomapper.com) as a keyword research tool. DYNO Mapper is a visual sitemap generator that delivers keywords on all pages of any site. The user simply inputs any existing URL into the system and it will scan thousands of pages.
Curious if you’ve found a way to efficiently find underperforming keywords? Currently I have to manually click on each and every keyword to calculate it’s Keyword Competitiveness. Frustrating clicking it hundreds or even a thousand + times. I’d rather just add it as one of the scan settings and wait 8 hours for it to run all 1000 than having to manually click them for an hour and then waiting…
3. Finally, there's just good old research through trends and news. Google Trends, keeping up on industry news of the business, and even newsjacking (if there are relevant topics). These all require different resources depending on the business, but once you find the leaders in their news you can not only leverage them for keyword research but also glean insights into how you can become an industry leader yourself (and dominate SEO).

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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