How do you figure out what keywords your competitors are ranking for, you ask? Aside from manually searching for keywords in an incognito browser and seeing what positions your competitors are in, SEMrush allows you to run a number of free reports that show you the top keywords for the domain you enter. This is a quick way to get a sense of the types of terms your competitors are ranking for.
This database was built using data from BEFORE Google required active ad accounts to get good keyword data & before they started blending data together for similar terms. Even if you set up an AdWords account and spend significant sums of money with them, they may require you to run your ad campaign for 3 or 4 months straight before they will show reasonably precise data instead of exceptionally broad data ranges.
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.

If you are looking for keywords in languages other than English, you will find Keyword Tool's features very useful. Keyword Tool allows you to pull keywords from 192 Google domains and use 83 Google language interfaces to generate keyword suggestions. That way we make sure that the generated keywords will be relevant to the country and/or language that you are creating your content for.
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.
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.
How do I research keywords? This is a common question I get from clients. And my immediate response is… Long Tail Pro! With the update to Google Adwords Keyword Planner (rendering it near worthless) without paying for Google ads and to test actually search volume for keywords, the generic Avg. search volume range they provide gives you ZERO actionable data! See example below:

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.
WordStream's Negative Keyword Tool reduces wasteful PPC spending and improves ROI by preventing your AdWords PPC ads from showing on irrelevant searches. Enter a keyword to get a list of negative keyword suggestions. Then select the ones that aren't relevant to your campaigns and export the results for use in your AdWords account. As a result, your ads will be more relevant to searchers, grab a much more targeted audience and reduce your overall ad spend.
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.
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.
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 the first few months, there was certainly a transition period.  However, the new team was able to take over the reigns fairly quickly.  A big reason for the quick transition is because I had automated most of the business already.  So, the fact that I was stepping away didn't make a huge difference since all the sales, marketing emails, and many other details were already happening on an automated basis.
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