1) Ahrefs to quickly see “the big picture” when it comes to any keyword I'm researching. I can instantly see the top holders in the SERPs. I then immediately take the top holders list and go check out their sites. I need to make sure I can beat them content-wise, otherwise I will search for another keyword to try and rank for, or perhaps go down the long-tail route. The Ahrefs tool and data quality get better and better every year. It's one of my favorite tools.
Unlike similar tools, Serpstat is a page-oriented platform for in-depth competitive analysis. You can find competitors and define missing keywords for a single URL or even entire domains. You can also view historical position data for a range of pages organized by phrase, as well as see which pages have dropped in rank and their rank distribution as a percentage, which is very handy if you want to compare data from two different time periods or observe changes over time based on algorithm updates and other factors.
For example, assume your search ad generated 5,000 impressions in one day, of which 100 visitors have come to your site, and three have converted for a total profit (not revenue!) of $300. In this case, a single visitor for that keyword is worth $3 to your business. Those 5,000 impressions in 24 hours could generate a click-through rate of between 18-36% with a #1 ranking (see the Slingshot SEO study for more on potential click-through rates), which would mean 900-1800 visits per day, at $3 each, or between 1 and 2 million dollars per year. No wonder businesses love search marketing!
What are people looking for on your site? These terms are keywords in the vocabulary of your actual audience and should definitely be added to your keyword list. Do not forget to look at the keywords people filled in that didn’t get any results: this was stuff people were expecting but didn’t find. You can look into the results of your internal search in Google Analytics at Behavior → Site Search → Search Terms.
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I just have the free version right now so I don't know all that the pro one can do. But even the free version has A LOT of tools you can use, I haven't even figured them all out yet. But one that I have used is their Content Optimizer. You can take a new or existing content piece of yours, and compare it to one of your competitor's pieces on a similar topic, and see where you might be lacking based on the keywords that are used in each piece.
The Google Keyword Tool has a variety of helpful features meant to streamline the keyword research process. By entering terms or phrases into the search box, the Keyword Tool allows you to build extensive, relevant keyword lists from one simple interface. By default, the tool displays Advertising Competition, Global Monthly Searches, Local Monthly Searches, and Local Search Trends for each keyword. Additional options allow marketers to show the estimated Average Cost per Click, Ad share, and Search Share.
What I really like about them is extensive detail including the keyword difficulty. Ahrefs uses clickstream data to also show how many clicks you will get from the search engine. This is very useful after knowledge graph integration, as many keywords may have huge traffic but they hardly get any clicks from the search engine. Reason being, they get answers directly from the Google search result. Example of one such query is: “birthdate of any celebrity”
Keyword Researcher is an easy-to-use Keyword Discover Tool. Once activated, it emulates a human using Google Autocomplete, and repeatedly types thousands of queries into Google. Each time a partial phrase is entered, Google tries to predict what it thinks the whole phrase might be. We simply save this prediction. And, as it turns out, when you do this for every letter of the alphabet (A-Z), then you’re left with hundreds of great Long Tail keyword phrases.
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 already have a keyword list, the Free Keyword Grouper can transform your list (up to 1,000 keywords) into an organized keyword structure ready for high-performance PPC campaigns and an SEO-friendly information architecture. Just paste in your list to get back keyword groups in seconds. This keywords organizer tool will help you sort your list of keywords into structured, workable groups that can then be used for easy ad text creation. The keyword tool can also be used as an SEO keyword organizer to assist in site design.
Customize the data that LTP is going to fetch with pre-filters like “Suggested Bid” (or Cost per Click [CPC], i.e. the amount of money an advertiser is willing to pay for a click on their AdWords ad that is targeting that specific keyword), “Local Search Volume” (average number of monthly searches for a specific keyword), “Advertiser Competition” (the amount of advertisers competing for a specific keyword) and “Number (of) Words” (very important when you’re trying to find long-tail keywords).
The WordStream suite of Keyword Tools is an integrated and actionable set of keyword tools designed to help search marketers with keyword search, keyword suggestion, keyword grouping, PPC keyword research, keyword analysis, long-tail keyword research, and negative keyword discovery, going beyond the capabilities that a typical free keyword tool can offer.
Basically, Google shows the autocomplete suggestions whenever you start typing anything into Google search box. It is in Google's best interest to show the most relevant keywords in the autocomplete suggestions. Keywords that would help Google to retrieve the most relevant websites and help users find the most relevant content for their search query.
We prefer and suggest Long Tail Pro to all our clients. Long Tail Pro is the best long tail keyword research software online. I use their software for researching keywords for everything from social media marketing bios, to page and blog post titles, to headings (H2, H3, etc.), to meta descriptions, to YouTube descriptions, to content/articles, and so much more!
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.
To answer your final question, yes but not really. You can definitely use AdWord keyword planner tool to get solid organic search volume estimates. However, don’t just stop there. Leverage other tools to find longer tail variations you can map against various stages of the buyer journey. I like to use SEMrush, Keyword Tool.io and Google autosuggest.
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…
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.
These are usually single-word keywords with insane amounts of search volume and competition (for example, “insurance” or “vitamins”). Because searcher intent is all over the place (someone searching for “insurance” might be looking for a car insurance quote, a list of life insurance companies or a definition of the word), Head Terms usually don’t convert very well.
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.