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).
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.
So which tool should you use? The simple answer is ALL of them!! If the data from several tools suggests that a keyword may be a good keyword to target, than you should feel fairly confident that it is. If your results appear to be contradicting one another for a particular keyword, then you may want to be hesitant in including that keyword in your selection. SEO professionals should never rely on one resource for research. No one tool is going to be 100% accurate and you stand the best chance at making the correct strategic decisions by using a variety of sources.

Use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner to find new and related keywords, but ignore the search volume data! The search volume data in the planner is really only useful for keywords that you’re actually spending money to advertise on. Otherwise, these volumes are not reliable. While not really helpful to decide which keyword is most used by your potential audience, Google Adwords Keyword Planner makes a useful tool in coming up with ideas for potential keywords!


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.
This keyword research tool is effective, automatically providing you with keyword suggestions that other sites haven’t necessarily turned up (which it’s intended to do), along with their search volume, CPC, and Adwords competition. In order to get any actual information about the keywords, though, you need to upgrade to Keyword Tool Pro (which is a little misleading on the site copy). This plan is $88 a month, and if you’re just doing keyword research for Google, I’d recommend choosing one of the other tools for the price.
These 3 keyword matching options are not solely to blame for the large variations seen when comparing data from the keyword tools. Much of this difference can be attributed to the distinctive techniques that the tools use to collect their data. Let’s take a look at how these tools collect and present their data and hopefully it will help clear up any confusion.
Wordstream is a free keyword tool that makes it easy and fast to get those keywords that your business needs most in order to drive traffic through paid and organic search.  All you need to do is enter a website URL or keyword and you will get hundreds of relevant keyword results that are tailored to your country or industry. Every keyword has an estimated CPC, competition score, and a proprietary opportunity score that will assist you in budgeting for your online campaigns. You can download your list in a CSV format and upload it in AdWords directly and begin to work on your new campaigns.

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.
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.
And so on and so on. The point of this step isn't to come up with your final list of keyword phrases -- you just want to end up with a brain dump of phrases you think potential customers might use to search for content related to that particular topic bucket. We'll narrow the lists down later in the process so you don't have something too unwieldy.
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.

3) KWFinder is one of the "newer" kids on the block, but it's probably just about the easiest way I have found to find new long-tail keywords quickly. A couple of things I like about this tool is that it allows me to create lists of keywords. So I can group up my different sites by lists and revisit them at a later date. I can export the data to CSV and start building out campaigns. It also keeps a nice scrolling list of the last 20+ keywords you have looked up. The SEO difficulty indicator comes in very handy as well! As far as ease of use goes, KWFinder wins hands down.

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.
So whilst Long Tail Pro has just continued to grow in revenue every single year and comes highly recommended, you may want to check if all the important features are fully functioning before signing up. Especially the KC feature (keyword competitiveness) as it is so fundamental to keyword research and making an informed choice on whether or not to go into a particular niche.
However, KWFinder has a couple of areas where Longtail Pro outshines it. Firstly, I like the fact LTP provides you with a suggested keyword competitiveness to target (as described above). More significantly, I don’t like the way that KWFinder restricts your number of keyword suggestions if you choose their cheaper pricing tier – it feels like they’re holding back some of the power of the software unless you pay more. With LongTailPro, you can see as many keyword suggestions you like so long as you’re within your monthly allowance.
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.
To get started with the Free Keyword Tool, just enter a keyword or search term into the relevant field. If you want to conduct competitive intelligence research into your competitors' keyword data, you can also enter the URL of a specific webpage to view keyword data for that page. You can also enter your industry and country to see even more accurate results; it's not unusual for the cost-per-click and other metrics to differ widely from one country to another, even for advertisers bidding on the same keywords in the same industry. 
The “Starter” tier, with 1000 keyword lookups every 24 hours should be enough for anyone starting out in blogging – or even people who are quite established. It’s pleasing to see a product where they don’t seem to trick you into having to pay for a more expensive version. On the more negative side, I did feel that you’re nudged towards doing annual payment, with the monthly option kept slightly “hidden.”

Wordtracker is another service that requires an annual subscription to utilize all of its features. Their database is made up of 330 million search terms, collected from the major metacrawlers, Dogpile and Metacrawler, and is updated weekly. The search data they show is a record of the number of times the exact keyword or phrase has been searched in the United States over the last 365 days. As in the case of Keyword Discovery, this difference in default keyword matching type causes Wordtracker to display search volumes significantly lower than what Google’s tools show.
I would like to get LTP but I’ve read that people have some issues according to Keyword Planner and Moz. Do you still recommend this tool? How accurate is it’s data comparing to previous versions? Does Keyword difficulty still works as it should? Maybe it’s better to wait untill some stability of this software? I don’t want to waste money for some tool which doesn’t work properly.
Use the Keyword Planner to flag any terms on your list that have way too little (or way too much) search volume, and don't help you maintain a healthy mix like we talked about above. But before you delete anything, check out their trend history and projections in Google Trends. You can see whether, say, some low-volume terms might actually be something you should invest in now -- and reap the benefits for later.
2) Software project no 2 – invite your readers to participate and select 2-5 that will enter a mastermind group with you – and let the readers follow the progress – from brainstorming to hiring a coder, to beta testing, to “how to reach out to get sales” (I know you wrote a post on this – but would be great to tag along). And then those that are not part of the Mastermind group could be added to a forum/FB group and can then follow along and develop and ask each other for help.
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