I reached out to 250+ online marketing experts to ask about their top 3 favorite keyword research tools and ended up with a final list of 74 answers.
Below are the top voted ones:
The Best Keyword Research Tools As Voted by 74 Online Marketing Experts
I highly recommend you to check out the answers as there are so many great ones in there.
1. Google Keyword Planner - This is the go-to tool I start with to get things like keyword suggestions, traffic volumes, and CPC estimations for Adsense.
2. BuzzSumo - BuzzSumo is not exactly a keyword tool, but it's perfect for getting ideas on seed keywords. It shows you the most shared pieces of content around the web for a specific keyword that you enter.
3. YouTube - Not many people use YouTube for keyword research, but it's one of my favorite places to get ideas. Enter in a seed keyword, and you'll get a ton of content ideas that usually don't show up in regular Google keyword tools.
1.) Semrush.com Even though Ahrefs does a lot of the same things, I’m just too used to using semrush. It’s great for finding keywords that other tools wouldn’t show you, and hidden keywords you are already ranking for on page 2 that can get a quick boost up to page one.
2.) Secockpit.com Even though it’s a bit more expensive, it’s so much faster than some of the more popular keyword tools, and it’s cloud based. I run a team that researches 30 different niches a week, so we all need to be able to share the same interfaces. This puts desktop based software out of the question.
3.) Google.com Even though it doesn’t necessarily give all the best “data” or metrics, Google itself is an unlimited source of niche ideas. Don’t forget Google Trends either, that is a good one, especially for eCommerce.
The best keyword research tool is one that has gotten me hundreds of thousands visitors through free organic search, it's free to use, doesn't require any software, yet very few people ever mention it. That tool is using common sense and actually knowing your niche as an insider.
The problem with using keyword tools is by the time terms are being searched often, there are also a ton of other people going after the same keywords. The trick is to spot trends or things that are valuable but not often written about yet and taking over the number one spot by being the first to create unique value.
Being the first to write a detailed review of a new product such as "Earnest Affiliate" will get you on the first page easily as there aren't a million people doing it yet. Being the 100,000th person to write about "Double Your Dating" will make it extremely hard to rank.
If you are going to use tools, the other two I would use are Google Adwords Keyword Planner Tool or a paid tool.
SEMrush - It gives me a good idea of what competitors are bidding on. This allows me to make better decisions on what keywords to go after organically as well as my paid campaigns.
Spyfu - It is similar to SEMrush but the data isn't always 100% same... so it helps having 2 sources.
Google Keyword Planner - Google breaks down the popularity of a keyword and they also suggest other similar terms to go after.
Keyword research is a critical piece for anyone looking to pick up organic traffic with their online business.
Long Tail Pro - Our go-to KW research tool to uncover profitable niches and keywords.
Moz Pro - We use this to track rankings, compare against competitors, and to get a more in-depth look at the positioning in the SERP's.
SEMRush - Their recent changes are improvements that make this a competitive tool to LTP.
BuzzSumo: To see what's trending online in social media in general but also on specific topics that interest me. Also to check specific websites and see what content works best for them.
Quora: To see what questions people are asking about topics that interest me. It's always best to answer questions real people have in your content.
Google's Hot Trends and trending on Twitter and Facebook: To see what people are interested in right now, what they're searching for and talking about in social media.
1. Term Explorer - Term Explorer's keyword analyzer tool is the industry leading source for all the actual data you need to make informed decisions on keyword prioritization and rank potential, no one else gives you SERP level data for all your target keywords that includes so many external and on-site metrics.
2. Sentinel - This is a tool my team built to take direct CSV exports from Term Explorer's keyword analyzer and spin up a full blown keyword matrix complete with a very easy to use interface to quickly sort and filter all that data into actionable information.
3. SEMRush - I'm beating a dead horse here, but their traffic index and ability to immediately pull out competitor domains, rankings URL's, and get a quick snapshot of the keyword landscape for any given domain (and their closest ranking competitors) make them my starting point for any keyword strategy.
SEM Rush: The insights you can gain from this tool are unrivaled, because it shows you your own ranking keywords, as well as those of your competitors. It allows you to plan your keyword strategy for both organic and paid, as well as provides in-depth backlink analysis.
MarketMuse: This tool analyzes your whole site and finds gaps in your content – i.e. it shows you where you’re leaving money on the table in terms of content creation and keyword use. It’s a quick and easy way to analyze site content and see how you can improve.
Long Tail Pro: This is a must for niche businesses. The desktop SEO tool lets you find which keywords are likely to be most profitable, helping to optimize paid campaigns. Additionally, its insights are useful for organic strategy and assessing the competition.
BuzzSumo.com - Yea, I know this isn’t a “Keyword Research tool” in the traditional sense but it helps me see what articles have been crushing it on social media. Since headlines are so important and stuffed with keywords, this tool is many times my first stop when beginning a keyword research project.
http://freshkey.com/ - With a one time fee of $50, this is a pretty great tool for those looking for keyword research tool. I like this tool especially for ecommerce projects since it has Amazon & Google shopping research tools baked in.
http://www.spyfu.com/ - I’ve always loved SpyFu, it has a great set of tools built in. Knowing what your competition is doing is so important when it comes to SEO. This tool delivers!
1) AnswerThePublic.com (free) - This tool is awesome. It's like Ubersuggest in that it uses Google's Suggest feature to come up with keyword ideas, but it also breaks phrases down into questions and prepositions so it's very useful.
2) BuzzSumo.com ($) - This isn't strictly a keyword research tool, but seeing what people are sharing is a good way to get additional content ideas.
3) SEMrush.com ($) - SEMrush tells me what keywords my competitors are ranking for, and what positions they're ranking at. But, it does a lot more now such as rank tracking, site audits and more.
Keyword Planner - Google's keyword planner tool is a must-have in my keyword research toolbox. I use this tool primarily to discover search terms that are generating enough search volumes on Google to be worth targeting. I also use this tool to get more synonyms and variations of the niche keywords I am researching.
SEMRush - SEMRush offers a lot of free features every SEO should appreciate. I use SEMRush to analyze the competitive landscape on search terms I am looking to target in my SEO strategy. I also use SEMRush to track keyword ranking performance of my clients' websites and those of their competitors.
Soovle - This keyword research tool allows me to get a snapchat of the keywords that are most used not only on Google but also on YouTube, Amazon, Wikipedia, Answers.com, and Bing. This tool is great to look for high-value, long-tail keywords.
Honestly I'm not that big on keyword research as my online marketing strategy isn't built on nor reliant on SEO (too unpredictable for my liking and no guarantee, I can't work with that). So I keep my KW research simple...
Google Suggest - just to see what real people are actually searching for as whatever I assume must be a searched term usually isn't, seems my brain is broken compared to everyone elses lol
Google Keyword Tool - just to check volumes. But I don't over think this. If it's low it's low if it's high it's high. I never look at whether I think I can rank or not as I'm not really trying to rank my content just make it search engine friendly.
NicheReaper - this is a cool tool I got access to a few months ago that basically scrapes the internet (social media, search engines, blogs, forums, shopping sites like Amazon etc for trending keywords) and shows you the best buyer keywords and related terms.
It's one of the few tools that gives YOU the profitable KWs and niche ideas without any work on your part. That's the bulk of my KW strategy...as you can see I don't really have one. 🙂
1. Google AdWords. Bid on a bunch of terms (preferably some broad-match) and study your impressions and CTR, and mine the “Search Terms” report to see what exact phrases people actually typed in. If you’re feeling cheap, you can try it in Bing Ads.
2. Online reviews - both yours and your competitors’. You’ll get insights into how people who actually *paid* for a service searched for it, what made them choose that particular company, etc.
3. Other people’s page topics. Find a handful of the biggest, most successful players in your industry. The chances are good that they’ve got a separate page devoted to each service they offer, each product they carry, each type of customer they serve, etc.
Take note of what all those pages are, what each page is called, and what keywords they use on the page.
First things first, I'd always first visit Google Keyword Planner, this gives me a significant amount of related keywords for a single term from previous months with organic search data and with cost per click value. While not all are qualified for keyword targeting as some have very low targeting search volume with no moneytary value, you can still get a huge list of historical data from Google itself of every search query.
SEMRush is always my second to go keyword research tool. This gives a significant amount of data of keyword phrases with moneytary value for every keyword SEMrush has in their database. The tool also provides data for Search Volume, Keyword Difficulty, CPC, Competitiveness, Estimated results in SERPs and even trend results. What more could you ask for?
Last but not the last, I'd then go check Google SERPs to check their related search results. While this does not always give consistent good results, you can still find variations that you can use for finding keywords. Take a look at the image below:
If you do a research for "semantic keyword research", searches related will offer you keyword tool, lsi graph, lsi keyword generator which could lead to more variation of your keyword targeting in Google.
Hope this helps
First, SeCockpit. What I love about this tool is how deep it goes into with the traffic and competition estimates. You pop in a few keywords, and the tool pulls in a number of keywords from Adwords and elsewhere, and a whole plethora of data on them.
They have a 1-10 ranking of competition that I've found to be very helpful. They have the option to include Google Adwords synonyms, Google search suggest synonyms and Google related searches synonyms and pulls data on them.
The 'niche' bar rating is great too- it tells you right off the bat how good of a choice the keyword is for targeting from the top 10 competition for that keyword, the search volumes and CPC. It also helps me judge the buyer intent for that keyword.
Also, you can take a look at the top 10 competition stats including the mozRank, PA, DA and link metrics directly within the tool itself by clicking on a keyword. The interface is also greatly customizable, and greatly helps me optimize the tool for quick research work.
The other two tools I use are SEMrush and Google Keyword Planner. The single most important reason why SEMrush is the bane of competitor research tools is it's ability to show your keywords that your competition is ranking for.
For example, if I enter a competitor's domain name and search, SEMrush shows me the top organic keywords for that domain and their positions for those keywords.
These are keywords that the competition may or may not be ranking, but manages to bring in traffic to their website. The great thing about this is that you can piggyback off someone's else keyword research and steal their keywords.
The third tool I use is plain old Google Keyword Tool. In the "Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category option", there is a little box that many don't often use- "Your landing page".
This option helps you find keywords that the GKP thinks is suitable for your landing page. But the great thing about this tools is that your can mine keywords from competitor's landing pages in a jiffy.
I use this a lot to dig out keywords that competitors are targeting for each of their service pages.
My final advice would be - use a maximum of two tools. As they say, having two watches to know the time can get you confused 🙂 SeCockpit does most of the work for me, and SEMrush helps me do all the digging.
Probably not the first keyword tool that comes to mind, but the Google toolbar can be a great source when searching for keywords. I use it all the time when looking for popular keywords that people are actually searching for. When you start to type something into Google, it automatically starts to give you suggestions with each letter you type. I use this to generate some really good long tail keywords. If you think about it, Google would not make those suggestions if people were not searching for them phrases. Try, it, start to type a keyword then hit a letter on your keyboard and Google will make a few suggesstions for you. Works a treat!
2) Long TailPro
I've been a fan of Long tail pro for a while now. It's a great tool to dig out some really good Longtail keywords that have relatively low competition. When starting a new project I always run Longtail pro as it always throws up keywords that you never thought of.
A good alternative to Googles planner. Very simple and gives you plenty of keywords as well as search volumes and CPC competition.
LongTailPRO: excellent for long-tail keywords research and building niche sites based on them.
SEMRush: great for monitoring site rankings and target them for link building or guest posting campaigns.
Google Keyword Planner: useful free solution from Google to find keyword ideas and check how they can perform.
#1 SEMRush I am a big fan of SEMRush and have been using it since last couple of years. It provides detailed keyword analysis data that can be accessed by: domain name, keyword or landing page etc.
#2 Google keyword planner According to me, GKP is #1 free keyword research tool available in market which is now clubbed with adwords and will require adword account to access it.
#3 Keyword.io My second most favorite free keyword research tool is keyword.io offers variety of data that includes but not limited to Google, Youtube, Amazon, Bing etc
Here are the three tools I would use:
1. Long Tail Pro: Long tail pro is by far the best keyword research tool I have used so far. It offers you an easy to use interface with metrics that help you decide easier and more accurate about the keywords that you can rank for. You have to pay for this tool but it worths every penny.
2. Yoast SEO: Seo is not meant without Yoast SEO plugin. Even if you don't know anything about On-page SEO, this plugin will literally TELL you what to do in order to make your content more appealing and good for search engines. The best part, it's Free !
3. Serplab.co.uk: This tool allows me to check the rankings of my websites for as many keywrods as I want. It is a very user friendly platform with accurate metrics. The best part .. again.. its Free !
My top 3 keyword research tools are:
1. SEMRush - has a great set of tools specifically their keyword database and competitor analysis tools. With this information you could come up with lots of content ideas and also see where your holes are in the topics and keywords you currently target. I wrote a pretty in depth review of the ways I use SEMRush on my blog.
2. Longtail Pro - Spencer Haws keyword research tool is still one of my favourites when it comes to assessing new niches as it pulls in so many useful data sources into one place.
3. Ubersuggest.io - one of favourite ways to find new keyword ideas that many tools won't show you is Ubersuggest it scrapes auto suggestion results from the main search engines.
Google AdWords Keyword Planner - the only place to get search volume data directly from Google.
Google AutoComplete - the only place to get keyword modifiers (and infer intent) directly from Google.
Ahrefs Positions Explorer - the quickest, most effective way to do keyword & landing page competitive analysis.
As it happens we do tend to use three actual tools for keyword research - this of course follows up some initial brainstorming so the fourth tool would be the brains at Bowler Hat that power that human process.
1. Google - We generally start with a set of seed terms and we will conduct some brainstorming and topic modelling to expand these. We will then go to the search engine and look the suggestions, the well ranking results, the search suggestions at the bottom of the page etc. Something of a landscape analysis to really get ourselves anchored in the clients business.
2. Übersuggest - This allows us to easily expand upon the initial brainstorming process and get a solid list of keywords together. If we are looking at a PPC campaign this can be super helpful in putting together a list of negative keywords so we can launch an optimised campaign and cut down on wasted clicks (without waiting for PPC keyword data). From a search campaign this just lets us understand the topic in more detail and can feed into optimisation, content development and really that understanding that helps you target a given audience.
3. Google AdWords Keyword Planner - the Google tool allows us to get some more data regarding search volumes, geographies, PPC costs, competition in PPC (which usually maps to SEO to some extent). We take all of this information and a whole lot more and then compile this into a detailed keyword spreadsheet. In this document we look at volume, geography, PPC, Organic, Local along with a bunch of business specific values such as the value of this keyword to the business. What we are looking to do is get an aggregate score on how important any given keyword is to the business. We try to keep the process quite organic. Understanding the wants and needs of your audience is so, so important and of course mapping this to the SEO, PPC, Social and Content Marketing pipeline is critical to the success of your business in Search.
Google Keyword Planner It’s the industry standard for a reason. While it doesn’t provide as much information as it once did, it’s helpful to see the data straight from the horse’s mouth, including search volume, competition and bid estimates. I typically export my research from Keyword Planner into a spreadsheet in Excel or Google Drive so I can sort the data. I also like to color code the high, medium and low competition keywords as red, orange and green, so it’s really easy to see the low-hanging fruit.
Autocomplete tools built into any search engine. This is technically a bunch of different tools, but they all work similarly. Whether you’re using Google or Bing’s auto suggest feature, or a similar function of Pinterest, Etsy, YouTube or Amazon, the autocomplete tool is a great way to get keyword ideas and see what search phrases are popular.
Answer The Public This is the most recently discovered tool in my arsenal. Answer The Public aggregates the long-tail keywords found in the auto-suggested results of Google and Bing and creates beautiful, helpful visualizations of them.
SEMRush: Absolutely perfect for discovering beatable keywords based on what other websites are ranking for.
Google Keyword Planner: Critically useful for finding out the monthly search volume of keywords.
Buzzsumo: Excellent tool for finding popular topics which often reveal some keyword gems.
1. (Probably one that’s going to be repeated here many, many, many times) Google Keyword Planner – (estimated) metrics straight from the horses mouth.
2. SEMrush – I love looking at what competitors rank for to start my keyword research process.
3. Term Explorer – This one I’m really impressed with, since it not only comes up with great ideas, but really interesting supporting analysis as well.
1. Long Tail Pro - Great support, regularly updated, quick to calculate keyword competitiveness and has many other cool features.
2. KWFinder - Cloud based (access anywhere), fast, nice interface, doesn't require Adwords account, free for 5 searches per 24h
3. Google Adwords Keyword Tool - Other than usual usage, the feature I like the most is researching keywords based on other people's websites (enter url to see keywords feature)
My top three tools? Well, with a name like Shoestring101 you'd EXPECT that I would find you a cheap solution.
So tool # 1, #2 and #3 are this: survey your existing customers. The is VERBATIM the advice I give to local business owners in my Local Business Promotion Blueprint course and community: To find what kinds of keywords your ideal customer searches for, ask some of your ideal customers! Use the free level of Survey Monkey or even Google Docs and ask your customers, "If you were looking for the solution that my business provides... what search engine would you use? What term(s) would you search for?" What the keyword research tools DO is try to emulate a human's search behavior.
Call me crazy... I think it's just plain easier and more profitable to go right to the source. 😉 The next step for a local business owner to take is to DOMINATE the search term in a way that Google will never 'slap' with an update.
I won't link to it here... but, type in "hack local search" or "hack local seo" and at the top result you'll find a crackerjack post on how to do just that. OKAY Tung! That last bit is a little self-promotional but the article is free and it will really help local small biz owners.
1. Google’s Tools (including Keyword Planner, Webmaster console, Trends and Analytics) – Although Keyword Planner isn’t as thorough as Google Keyword Tool was, it still has valuable data and includes the important keywords that are worth targeting.
2. Forums & Communities – It’s important to remember that keywords come from people and forums and communities are a good place to see what people are talking about and what language they are using. A great place to find article ideas.
3. Screaming Frog – With this tool, you can crawl competitor websites and see what keywords they are targeting.
My three tools for keyword research:
1) Google Autosuggest: Although there are automated tools out there, I still don't think anything is better than Google autosuggest because it's coming straight from the source. I typically put question oriented keywords in Google to see what it comes back with.
2) Ubersuggest.io: I feel like this isn't talked about enough. Ubersuggest is an awesome free platform to find those long tail keywords you've been looking for. It claims to get all of the Google autosuggest queries, but I've found it definitely misses a few.
3) Long Tail Platinum: Once all of the autosuggest keywords have been compiled and I feel like I have a good list, I'll run them through LTP and see what competition scores comes up. Even if a keyword gets 100 visits a month, as long as it is low competition I'll have one of my ghostwriters create a blog about it.
#1: Google Keyword Planner - it's not perfect in its suggestions but for search volumes alone, it has to be the best keyword research tool. A nice touch is that you can roll back a couple of years for keyword data so you can see how keywords are trending.
#2: Semrush - it's awesome for competitor keyword research. It's not the cheapest or the best for very small or niche websites, however, it's saved me a lot of the heavy lifting and time when researching a new industry. I've written more about Semrush here.
#3: Moz's Keyword Difficulty tool : not all keywords are the same and not all keywords are going to be within your reach when you're starting off an SEO campaign. Moz's keyword difficulty tool (free with the Mozbar Chrome extension and a free Moz account) predicts how competitive a keyword is so if you're just starting off, it's sometimes wise putting more effort into the easier keywords.
1) Long Tail Pro is my top choice. It is fast and easy to use and I love the keyword competitiveness calculation (KC), which makes it simple to see how competitive a phrase is at a quick glance.
2) Market Samurai is the one I got started with several years ago and it is still a very powerful tool today. The learning curve is a bit higher on this one, but it is an excellent, lower cost alternative to LTP.
3) Ubersuggest is a great free tool for providing additional long tail phrase ideas, based on Google Autocomplete.
1. Long Tail Pro Helps create a really quick list of keywords in under a minute. I've been using LTP for several years now.
2. SEMRush I'm a big fan of using SEMRush to analyze what my competitors are ranking for along with what content is ranking and then using that data to determine what to focus my content creation efforts on.
1. SEMrush Invaluable as a competitive analysis tool. It shows you the ranking for other websites, so it often uncovers dozens of phrases you would have missed.
2. Keywordtool.io It's like reading the minds of millions of people. You can get the suggested phrases out of Google Suggest, but it would be very time consuming without this tool.
3. AnswerThePublic.com Questions are great keyphrases. They're often longer and less competitive than other phrases. This site shows you all of the questions related to a topic, all in one beautiful visualization.
Since using the Google Keyword Planner is a "DUH" answer, I'll give some of my other favorite techniques:
Forums Forums are littered with real people looking for answers or solutions to their problem. Using a basic search query like "keyword + forum" to find some within your industry. Go into the forum, copy the top level categories, and then actually go into the threads. There you will find plenty of long tail keywords that you can produce content around.
Google Search Console Google Search Console gives exact phrases searchers are using to find your website. Go to "Search Traffic" and "Search Analytics". Sort the list by "Position" so that your lowest ranked keywords are at the top. More often than note, these long tail keywords will be perfect targets for content.
SEM Rush SEM Rush is perfect for identifying keywords that your competitors are ranking for. Toss one of your competitors in SEM Rush, go to "Organic Research", and click on "Positions". Sort the keywords so that the lowest search volume is at the top. Go through this list and snipe long tail keywords that you can create content on.
If I could only use 3 keyword research tools, here's what they would be, and why:
1) Jaaxy. The Enterprise version is very fast, and interpreting the data is much faster than any other tool out there. I get a very quick snapshot of what phrases I'd like to target, and can export them into a list to give my writers, or organize into a game plan for myself. I use Jaaxy to focus on 'quoted search results', and traffic stats.
2) Google Instant. This is where I dig deeper for much more specific, longtail keywords. After you've been running a site for a few years, finding topics to write about can be frustrating. Going down a list of related phrases in alphabetic order can give me hundreds of content ideas in minutes.
3) Semrush. I don't use this as often as the other two, but it is useful to see which sites are getting the most traffic, and from what type of keywords. It shows me who's 'top dog' in a niche, so I can follow them and see what they're doing right.
1. Long Tail Pro: The ultimate resource for finding keywords that have a lot of searches but not a lot of competition. It's around $100, but will save you a ton of time and I haven't found anything free that works as well as this tool.
2. SEMrush: A really easy way to see how your keywords are doing in the rankings as well as spy on your competition. The free version is quite useful, but consider upgrading to the paid one if you're serious about SEO!
3. Google Trends: Before starting a new website, it's useful to have a quick peek at Google Trends. You can see if you're getting into a niche that is increasing or decreasing in just a few seconds.
Google Keyword Planner The Google Keyword Planner is not a revolutionary new tool, however as a writer and content manager I still find it to be one of the best. The advantage of using Google Keyword Planner is that you can access it via your Adwords account and see stats like monthly searches, CPC, competition and suggested sentences. Sometimes I use it to run split content campaigns with different headings to ascertain which performs better.
Twitter Search- Whilst Twitter is predominantly focused on trending topics, there are still plenty of keywords which remain evergreen. In finance for example, you can see that words like #investing #stocks #moneymanager and #USD continually trend. If you are writing content for social media (which let’s face it we all are!) then it’s important to see what is trending there so that you can maximize its sharing potential.
BuzzSumo Content Discovery- BuzzSumo is an awesome tool which allows you to access insightful data for your industry. It does this by tapping into content which resonates with online audiences based on a topic, keyword or sentence. When I use Content Discovery I can see trending topics, a summary of social shares and an overview of content popularity. This data can then be exported into a spreadsheet making it really easy to view it on a 2nd screen while I’m writing
1) Long Tail Pro: This is the case primarily if I am looking to build a niche site. I don't build niche sites anymore and am no longer a user of LTP, but I do think it is a great software and have no problem recommending it.
2) Google's Adword Keyword Planner: Again this isn't something I would go to often BUT it is free and if I am just looking to get an idea of the volume, since in many cases that is the key metric for me, I would probably go here.
3) Ninja Outreach: Full disclosure this is my own tool, and it is actually an outreach tool, so you may be wondering how it plays into Keyword Research. The fact is there are quite a few data points that NinjaOutreach gets for me that I find useful in keyword research, such as the articles that are ranking for the keyword in Google, their domain authority, their page authority, the number of backlinks they have, and other social and contact data. It's pretty valuable stuff, especially if there is going to be an outreach campaign tied into the keyword research. I wrote a great article with Jake from LTP showing the combination of the two tools.
SEMrush This tool to me is like an improved keyword planner. The best feature I like most about this tool is its ability to get converting keywords by means of competitor analysis. Try throwing the URL of your competitor sites and you’ll see which keywords made them gain more profit in the organic search.
Google Search Google Search is nothing but a search box but if you know how to play well with it, it can give you more than what you need and that’s not just limited to researching keywords! Some techniques about researching keywords using Google search are mentioned in here.
Market Samurai I made this the last pick because it’s one of my personal favorite when it comes to assessing competition’s strength and thickness of keywords. With Market Samurai, you can draw conclusions whether you’d want to compete to rank for a particular search term or not because it will show you all the possible information you need about the top 10 ranking pages of a particular keyword. It also gives you the insights whether you have a good fighting chance when you launch an SEO campaign for the keywords you’ve analyzed.
1. Buzzsumo: Researching well shared content and assessing keywords that could lead to high sharing for our own posts.
2. Google Keyword Tool: Boring but it’s where this all starts, I doubt I would be at the place I am now without this CLASSIC tool.
3. Google Related Searches: Whenever considering a keyword I always check the related searches at the bottom of the SERP for extra ideas
You can enter multiple keywords in Google Keyword Planner as well, but it will only produce up to 800 ideas.
Long Tail Pro has a revolutionary metric called Keyword Competitiveness (KC) which can be calculated with a simple click.
This is another favorite tool of mine and it’s the perfect companion to Long Tail Pro. Together, they can really take your keyword research game to the next level. Simply run your competitors through SEMRush, click “Export” to download their organic ranking keywords, then import into LTP.
This is a free tool that helps you find the keywords people type in Google Search Box. To start, just visit the site and type in a keyword, then click the Search icon. In the next page, click Copy All and paste the results into Long Tail Pro.
1. SEMrush - both for organic and paid results, SEMrush is a standard in my toolkit. The depth of data they collect is virtually unmatched. With it, you can quickly identify content gaps between your site and competitors, get traffic estimates for you and competitors and of course pull keyword data with search volume by page.
3. Q&A sites like Quora and others. Although not specifically for keywords, you can quickly pull topics from these sites which can provide a base for keyword exploration. Plus, you know if someone is putting the effort in to create a question on one of these sites, there probably wasn't a good answer in Google; therefore giving you a great opportunity.
Three tools that I recommend every site owner and SEO use are:
1. LongTailPro - An easy to use software tool that pulls reports for long tail keywords, competitive research and ranking factors to see how easy/hard it will be to rank a site.
2. SEMRush - A full SEO and stats tracking solution that also provide useful competitor analysis and site audits to improve site rankings and performance.
3. Monitor Backlinks - A great way to keep an eye on your competition and see where they are building new links. Also useful for monitoring your own links and seeing when they are also being added or removed.
Long Tail Pro - A true lifesaver when it comes to keyword research. Thousands of ideas, accurate and easy-to-use difficulty analysis and a fair price to top it all off!
SEMRush - See what your competitors are ranking for but you’re not - an excellent way to get opportunities and really kick some butt.
Ahrefs - See what you’re ranking for right now, at what position and how much traffic it should be getting you. Look at the pages that are ranking and whether there’s any way you can do better on-page SEO. I’ve tripled my traffic for some pages using this strategy!
SEMRush.com is an amazing tool with tons and tons of data within it. Without wasting much time, I got related details like keyword search volume, keyword difficulty level (new in SEMRush), CPC and other relevant data.
Next is KeywordTool.io that help me with more keyword ideas and what other related keywords audience is searching for. This is amazing for creating blog calendar or if you are planning lot of content on your website.
Next one is BuzzSumo. This isn’t really a keyword research tool but a content marketing tool. I use this tool to validate my keyword list, and see what keyword has valuable content already written, and what are the keywords that I should target more. There can be more tool but as you asked for 3 these are my top 3 tools.
1. Google Keyword Planner / Excel - tried and true, this is what I use 90% of the time. I realize this is doing it the hard way, but after you've been doing the same thing for the last 10 years Big its really hard to change it up.I feel the same way about a lot of tools, while there are a lot of other tools that might do a better job if I am in the habit of using it I'm not going to switch just because I'm more comfortable with it.
2. Term Explorer - I'm a big fan of Term Explorer its a great tool and really makes life easier if you do this type of thing all day long. It is a paid tool and I haven't used it lately, but the last time I did a major keyword research project I really enjoyed using it. I also know the founder of TE who is a great guy and very committed to the industry, which says a lot.
3. Uber Suggest - It is a great tool but I gotta be honest most of these tools are the same to me. Or same / similar engine with a different front end. I do like the way Uber Suggest categorizes the output, which makes it nice if you have to throw it into a text file / spreadsheet.
1. Keyword Planner - It's a lot better than it used to be. Not only does it provide search volume, it suggests loads of related keywords.
2. Ahrefs - I love using the Positions Explorer tool to see what keyword's other websites are ranking for and get ideas for own websites.
3. Moz - Although the Keyword Difficulty tool is limited, it's a great starting point when you're prioritizing big lists of keywords. I like to create a spreadsheet with keywords, search volume, and the Moz keyword difficulty percentage. This way I can easily sort the list and find opportunities to dig deeper.
Most people know about the most common keyword tools, so I'll skip those and simply mention three of the not-so-well-known tools I use:
1) NinjaOutreach.com. This is an outreach tool for bloggers, but I also use it to find blogs that have specific topics that I can target with AdWords. It allows me to choose those specific sites to advertise on and pinpoint the exact audience I am trying to reach.
2) KeywordDiscovery.com This service allows you to find keywords across multiple search engines at once and find the terms your customers and prospects are searching. It also has a nifty feature where you can target keywords individually setting CPC rates to suit each term.
3) SubmitCorner.com's Word Tracker This service is great for general trend following. It sends you an email each week with the top 500 keywords so you can jump on a vertical or industry that is starting to pick up steam. The site's not too pretty, but it's a great way to stay ahead of what's hot so you can set up campaigns to take advantage of new trends.
I have two different answers not knowing your goal with the post.
Answer #1 - Research for An Existing Website
1. Google AdWords Search Terms - I like to garner insights from URL-level search terms with conversion history. The farther back we can go, the more interesting the data seems to get with respect to long-tail opportunities.
2. Google Search Console's Search Analytics - We download data before it goes away (hopefully you are too) and test URL-level search terms that seem to have the highest engagement rates (CTR for example).
3. Google Keyword Planner - Don't just dump a list of keywords into this tool. Start broad and drill down using the available filters. Export the data to Excel and live and breathe in conditional formatting until you have a worksheet for each page where the end user has an explicit end desire.
Answer #2 - Research for a New Website
1. Google Keyword Planner - Don't just dump a list of keywords into this tool. Start broad and drill down using the available filters. Export the data to Excel and live and breathe in conditional formatting until you have a worksheet for each page where the end user has an explicit end desire.
2. SEMrush Organic & Paid Insights - We run at least 10-20 competing URLs for a keyword theme into SEMrush and run a keyword insect report on our own to find organic keywords commonly found on competing pages. Sort by highest frequency to get a sense of relevancy and then by search volume to draw popularity inferences from. Use paid search data trending to understand what has been working and what hasn't (learn from your competitors' mistakes).
3. AnswerThePublic.com - This tool provides us with fantastic content marketing ideas. Pull the data into Keyword Planner for popularity metrics and plan out your weekly content marketing calendar to attract links and build brand awareness.
First-off, AccuRanker, hands-down. They can pull ranking data in 2 seconds or less. I just love using their tool. And it's in the cloud too so it checks on its own while I'm away. Very comfortable to use.
Next is SEMrush. That's a no-brainer.
Lastly, Qeryz does a fine job of getting keyword ideas from your site's visitors.
My 3 favorite keyword research tools are the following:
#1 - Google Keyword Planner: It's one of my favorites because of all the great information and insights you get from Google itself. Besides that, it's completely free which you can't complain about.
#2 - Jaaxy: Jaaxy is pretty powerful but I haven't upgraded my account. The free one gives you 30 searches per month. When I want to write a blogpost I want to rank for I definitely choose Jaaxy since it makes my life easier!
#3 - Wealthy Affiliate Keyword Tool: This tool is part of the course I joined when I first started blogging. It's similar to Jaaxy, but completely free. I probably use this the most and I've gotten used to the simplicity of it. I mainly use it because it's free and it works!
My approach to using keyword research tools is to keep them as simple and effective as possible, so it will give me the biggest results based on the time I have spent. I have access to more advanced and fancy tools, However, I have found out that these tools will do the work.
Tool 1: Google Keyword Planner Before you start to plan how to get your article ranked on first page of Google, you need to find the best keyword to target based on search volume and competition.
Tool 2: BuzzSumo Then it´s time to check the most popular blog posts based on that keyword. Take a look at the headlines, social shares, read and study the top 10 blog posts thoroughly. The last part is very important,. Why? Because you want to identify WHY these posts went viral. Then you will take notes from each of the top 10 articles, and then find out HOW you can make your article better.
Tool 3: Google Now you have the keyword, a few ideas of your headline, and you know exactly how you are going to create an epic article. What´s the next step? Google your keyword and study the headlines and content on the top 10 articles. And why should you do that? Because the most popular articles according to BuzzSumo, don´t necessarily rank on first page of Google. The reason why articles are on the first page of Google, in addition to backlinks, social shares, etc… is the click-through rate (CTR). The CTR is Google´s way of finding out if your article is worth being ranked higher. What´s my point? Study the headlines and the description of the SEO text on the top 10 articles on Google.
That information will be essential whether people will click on your article or not through Google. What was our goal here? To get your article on top of Google, not on top of BuzzSumo. An example of this is the first roundup post I created, 80 Productivity Tips From Incredibly Busy Experts, that generated: - 20,231 page views in 6 days - 1600+ social shares - 94 comments
Note: This post is not on BuzzSumo´s top 10 for the keyword “productivity tips”. But do I care? Not at all. Why? Because it´s ranked #4 on Google for the same keyword.
Before my first roundup post no one knew who I was (yeah, I know. Sad, but true). That specific roundup and me focusing like a possessed person on blogger outreach, helped me to get featured on 158 blogs in 14 months with my first blog.
If you want to know how to create an epic round post, read my article on Sumo - Getting 20,231 Views with One EPIC Roundup Post: A Step-by-Step Guide.
You might be thinking, “Cool, Tor. That worked on one post. Have you done it several times?” Great question. Yes, I now have several blogs post on the first page of Google. None of the above would have been remotely possible, if I hadn’t used this simple approach and published my first roundup post. Want to get your articles ranked high on Google? Keep it stupid simple and follow these steps:
1. Analyze your competitors (see the steps above using the 3 tools I am using)
2. Create epic content
3. Blogger outreach to influencers and build genuine relationships
4. Promote the post like your life was depending on it When a guy from Norway that has English as his third language can do this from his home office, then guess what? So can you! Start talking and start hustling, and get your article on the top of Google.
In case I could use only three tools for keyword research, what would they be and why? This might sound obvious but they would be 1. Google search 2. Google Trends 3. Google Keyword Planner I know that you probably want to hear some advice on expensive tools professionals use to give you a competitive advantage but I have to disappoint you. It's not about the tools, it's about how you use them and what you do with the data.
Of course I will first check out Google with the most evident keywords to optimize for. When I optimize a site for an architect, I will check out architect, architects, architecture and the likes by searching them on Google itself. Google search not only shows my which sites dominate the given market but also numerous keyphrase ideas that are less competitive. When I scroll to the bottom of the search results I see "searches related to architecture" and already get suggested [architecture websites], a potential query to optimize for. When I click on that one I get plenty of interesting three word keyphrases to optimize for. See screenshot below:
Then I use Google Trends to find out about the actual size of the market and it's niches. It demand growing or dwindling? The terms suggested by Google are highly different. When I compare [architecture design], [architecture websites] and [architecture company websites] I notice huge differences in popularity. The first one appears to be too popular I'm afraid, the last one too obscure. Thus I will start with [architecture websites] on Google Keyword Planner and maybe some other keyword combination yet to be discovered.
Google Keyword Planner helps me to find out where there is a lot of competition from Google itself via advertisers who show up on top above the organic results I will optimize for. Does it make sense to optimize for queries that are already dominated by huge brands and their ads? Probably not.
For me keyword research is an important part of creating optimized content, especially at the idea generation stage.
I use Buzzsumo to see what content is already popular around a particular keyword phrase. This helps me generate new content ideas based on what's already working or what's missing from the top content related to that topic.
I also like Yoast Suggest because it delivers expanded alphabetical long tail keyword suggestions.
And Keyword Tool.io is good because it reveal the questions people ask around particular topics.
There's nothing more dependable for keyword data than this. Google still holds most of the cards. True, it used to be a lot better, with a lot more shared data but the tool has gotten better overall. I'm a bit old school, so I still use Market Samurai. I like just looking at the raw data and easily filtering things.
**- Google Webmaster Tools**
Possibly the most overlooked one it "Search Console" as it's called now. If your site has been on there for a while, then you'll get a TON of great keyword data that you can work on immediately. You can identify keywords that you can get ranking within the next couple of weeks, so it's gold in many cases.
Though people are already scared to death of penguin, they still use anchor text. I don't consider this as a "lowball" technique. It's actually just smart competitor research. Check out which keywords are bringing in the most traffic and how they got their site to rank.
Here are the three tools I use for keyword research:
Keywordtool.io - Great for providing longer tail variations that you might night think of. Free to use for KW brainstorming, but you'll need the paid version for detailed search volumes.
Moz.com - The keyword discovery tools aren't great in Moz's suite, but the Keyword Difficulty tools is perfect for quickly getting a sense of how hard it will be to rank for a given keyword and how much potential / search volume exists for it.
Google's Free Tools - Everyone knows the Google Keyword Planner isn't complete or accurate, but it's still worth looking at for ideas and as a place to start your search. Also, I love looking at Google's "related searches" variations at the bottom of the SERPs for search variations and modifiers I may not have thought of.
KeywordTool.io This is one of my go-to tools to quickly identify potential keyword phrases. It's as simple as entering a core phrase and then skimming through the results to identify good fits for the content I am working on.
Google Keyword Planner I'll usually use some of the keywords pulled from Keywordtool.io and run searches for them to see if any other phrases get derived from them. Also, I'll use Keyword Planner to validate estimated search volumes to identify the ones that get more traffic than others.
Buzzsumo Once I have a good set of potential keywords pulled, I like to drop some of them into Buzzsumo to see what type of content is being created around them. I am easily able to see what is or isn't working for content based around these keywords. Once I have identified the content that is working well, I'll be able to create better, more in depth content around those phrases.
Google Keyword Planner: The first step in my keyword research process is Google Keyword Planner. I'll plug in a broad term, and get a bunch of related keywords that I use inside Long Tail Pro.
Long Tail Pro: This is easily my favorite keyword research tool because it lets me find less competitive, highly targeted keywords. One of the main ways I use it is to find relevant phrases to use in posts targeting more competitive keywords. I generally look for keywords/phrases that are 3+ words long.
"Searches related to": Once I have a list of keywords from Long Tail Pro, I like to run a search for them in Google. Then, I scroll to the bottom and look at the "Searches related to" section. This tells what other terms people search for while searching for your target phrase. Including these phrases in your content gives you a huge boost in relevancy and pulls in some nice long tail traffic!
Very good question! But I believe that keyword research would also depend on ones motivation. Before doing any keyword research you should ask yourself what is the motivation behind it? Are you using it for PPC? For Affiliate Marketing? For SEO? Are these keywords informational or transactional? These are what I think is essential in doing a succesful keyword research, so in this light I decided to settle with the following in doing keyword research as these tools apply to all of the above-mentioned specifics. When doing keyword research I always use the following:
As you notice these tools are not paid ones because I think that it is enough to find keywords that are really targeted if you use the ones listed above. Sure it will take a bit of time because you would need to ask the right data such as number of searches and competitiveness of a keyword. But then again a lot of other factors are involved and as long as you are not able to answer the first ones listed above, it will be harder for you to move forward.
My top 3 keyword research tools I use are:
LongTail Pro Platinum - I've been a user of LTP for a long time now and love it. The recent updates/changes have made the tool even better with the group calculate function. I've found some real gems using this tool and use it daily.
UberSuggest - This is a free online tool that can help you populate hundreds of keywords in minutes that you can take away and analyze. You can copy and paste them into LTP or arrange them in a spreadsheet easily.
Google related searches and auto-fill - Not a tool exactly, but what better source of info than Google. I have been using the auto-fill feature and the related searches that appear at the bottom of the page for years. I've found some great keywords this way, and often use a lot of them as secondary or longtails.
In many niches, by far the best approach to keyword research is to understand what competitors rank well for and where the majority of their organic search traffic comes from. To me, you can’t beat SEM Rush for providing a quick overview as to the overall online presence of a competitor and, more specifically, the keywords which they rank for. By understanding how competitors fare on the SERP’s, this data can be used to form a keyword strategy.
One of the great features of Ahrefs is being able to identify the top performing pieces of content from any given domain. When used to analyse competitors, their top performing content can be utilised to influence not just a link building strategy but a targeted long-tail keyword strategy. By understanding the long-tail terms working well for competitors, you can work on a plan to earn this ground yourself.
Whilst it might be the foundations of all keyword research, it’s in here for a reason. If you want a great starting point in terms of understanding search volumes of potential keywords to target, you can’t beat the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. It’s free to use and the data is provided by Google themselves. It might not do everything you need but it’s a great way to outline core terms quickly and efficiently and I couldn’t imagine and campaign without it.
I have lots of favorite tools I've been using for months and even years but I am sure many experts will mention them here because they are so obvious and popular. I'll list the three tools I discussed just a few months ago and was pretty happy about that because those tools brought more opportunities to the table:
· SERPstat: This tool lets you research niche questions containing your core term. Moreover, it also lets you filter keywords that trigger "special features" in search results (news, images, videos, answer boxes, maps, etc.) Both are pretty awesome features!
· Answer The Public: This tool works by extracting Google Suggest results and visualizing the phrases based on a question word, prepositions or Alphabetically. It makes keyword research very inspiring!
· Google vs Bing: This tool visualizes how one keyword ranks in Bing and Google giving you much insight into competitors and overlaps. Please see the screenshot:
We've hired dozens of SEOs over the years, and it seems everyone has been taught (or self taught) to be really reliant on tools, and not their own intuition. I think there is a place for both. Volume, and metrics like that we will use Authority Metrics. Super affordable, all in one tool. $30/mo I think.
Otherwise, we are digging for FAQs in Reddit/Quora/etc, as well as taking a look at what shows up in Google bolded SERPs and Suggested Searches. Following that, trying to determine commercial intent of each keyword or phrase, and prioritizing.
My absolute favorite way to do my research is to run an Adwords campaign. No better way to figure out what keywords to prioritize than to see what keywords people are coming in on and then spending money.
This is a great topic, because there are many options for doing keyword research. Each of them has some great features, but it’s best to see what people in the industry think before going for a premium solution. On that note, the three keyword research tools I’ve found the most useful include:
1. Google Keyword Planner: Although it was originally built for AdWords research, Google Keyword Planner remains the best place to start your keyword research. In all honesty, the tool is far from perfect. There have been numerous posts and articles discussing how it is an incomplete picture in a lot of cases. That said, it will give you a fantastic first cut of a list of keywords against any topic or URL. The filtering options in GKP are solid, where you can focus on location, filter out irrelevant terms, and force it to include specific words within the results served up.
2. SEMrush: I was a bit late to the game on SEM Rush, but it has become another one of the “must have” tools in my keyword arsenal. Although SEMrush also has an incomplete view of the keyword universe, it works great as a second pass to embellish on the results you pull from GKP. Even better, they include a field for Keyword Difficulty that benchmarks how strong the top two pages of results on Google are. Keyword competition gets overlooked too often, so every good SEO needs a way to understand SEO Competition (which is not the same as PPC competition, which comes standards with Google Keyword Planner and is not relevant to SEO success since it is about how competitive the ad space is on bidding).
3. Keywordtool.io: Another option for greatly expanding your keyword coverage iskeywordtool.io. Although it does not provide any search volumes (the other two tools can help there), this keyword tool helps you find more semantic match options for keywords you already have on the radar. By using a mix of platforms to pull keywords from, as well as the “autocomplete” suggestions that Google serves up, this free service might surprise you with the breadth of keyword information you can pull from it. You can customize to search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo, YouTube, or even Amazon) and also pull only keyword relevant to a specific country. Try it out for yourself on your next research project.
It’s great. Until recently, I was a big fan of Market Samurai as well, so it merits a mention. When it operates properly, MS provides the best keyword competition data I’ve seen on any mass keyword research tool by way of their API to Majestic’s database. Unfortunately, the product ceased working in late 2015 and we had to migrate over to SEMrush’s solution. Maybe you will have better luck with the product than I did.
1. SEMRush - You can do a lot with this tool including auditing the site, calculating keyword difficulty, estimating traffic data, etc. What I really like about this tool is that I can find what keywords are my competitors ranking for.
2. Long Tail Pro - Long Tail Pro if my go-to tool for the first step of my keyword research. I can find some great long tail keywords along with the probability to rank for those keywords. And I get to see what other sites are already ranking for those keywords, including those sites stats like DA, PA, etc.
3. Google Keyword Planner - Good tool to use for those who don't have the budget yet to spend on premium tools. It can give you an idea of the search volume of the keywords.
When it comes to keyword research there are so many options for tools and processes it can be overwhelming. When it comes to getting simple ideas and variations on keywords I always head to http://keywordtool.io/. Simply enter your seed keyword and click search.
If you want a few thousands results right of the bat from one single seed keyword, go to http://keywordsnatcher.com/.
Finally I'll check out my competitors keywords using SEMRush. These are sometimes fairly obscure, hard to find keywords that the other tools won't find. AKA keyword gold! My complete list of keyword sources is as follows:
I’d say: 1. Google Keyword Planner – obviously data straight from the horses mouth is great to have, it’s true that the data is a bit skewed due to “not provided” but this is usually ground zero.
2. Google Analytics – if I’m helping a client that already has a lot of historical data, I usually check in to their analytics to get a gauge over what has been working already (from a conversion standpoint) and what we should focus on based on that information
3. Moz – I love Moz’s tool sets, their content toolsets and content recommendations have been invaluable as well as a simplistic way to show clients how to improve their pages based on keyword targeting. These aren’t really advanced by any means, but I think the focus on simplicity and action is what we should be embodying to actually get to actionable results.
1. Long Tail Pro These days it goes without saying within the internet marketing space that this is one of the most handy keyword research tools out there. And for good reason - whilst it pulls the same search data from Google's free keyword research tool, what makes Long Tail Pro stand out for keyword research and SEO is its built-in competition calculation feature which does a lot of the leg work for you in estimating how difficult a certain keyword would be to rank for. Although I wouldn't blindly rely on this feature (if you want an edge there's no way around deeper manual research of some sort), it's a great way to fairly quickly gauge and compare keywords.
2. Brainstorm It (from SiteSell.com's "Site Built It" suite of tools) An older, slightly lesser-known tool I've had up my sleeve over the years that comes included with SiteSell.com's suite of website-building tools. It pulls search data from WordTracker (another keyword tool) but again like Long Tail Pro it has its own built-in competition estimation feature. It's also fairly fast, and in my opinion quite user-friendly. These days I use it as a nice addition to Long Tail Pro as I believe that becoming proficient with multiple tools is crucial if you want an edge in the ever-crowded land that is the mighty internet.
3. Ahrefs Third spot is a tough choice as there are some great tools out there, but after careful consideration Ahrefs wins out slightly due to its flexibility and impressive range of capabilities. You can do some seriously interesting SEO analysis with this one, including detailed checks of any site's backlink profile, anchor text analysis, checking competitor rankings, and a whole lot more. One particularly handy feature for content marketers is the ability to pinpoint what content is getting shared the most in any given niche which can be real handy in learning what type of information your target audience really loves hearing about.
I don't use too many keywords tool - and the one that I liked most has already been shut down by Google.
The adwords tool - and the keyword planner just isn't that good. At this moment, these are my favorite Keywords Tool.
Uber Suggest - I love Uber Suggest due to the fact that it simplifies my work. I can use keyword recommendations from Google which pops up as quick suggestions when I start writing the terms in the search box but it isn't as comprehensive as UberSuggest it.
Alexa - I don't know how many others do it, but alexa has a great keyword suggestions engine. Just put any site in Alexa and look it up. It will display the most important keywords it is ranking for. Great for Brain storming.
My Own mind - I had grown my network of Health blogs from zero to 100k uniques a month - all from organic Google search traffic with the help of my own research. I did not use any keywords tool for it. How do I do it? - that itself is a great keyword. Use your brain, think about the "how to" niche. It is a lot saturated now, compared to what it was in the past. But even now, one can get some gems!
My current top three keyword research tools are:
Answer The Public: This tool is exactly what we were looking for when we wanted to create content centered around real questions had on subjects we were writing about
Keyword Planner: It certainly isn't the most feature packed tool out there. However, it's speed, simplicity, and data is more than enough to keep this tool in my arsenal.
SEMRush: One of my favorite parts of online marketing is competitive research. Are your competitors capitalizing on any keywords that you overlooked? This tool answers that questions
What are your favorite keyword research tools?