Proper keyword research is always a critical part of any website’s success.
In fact, it’s so incredibly important that I have written about it several times before on the blog (here and here).
One of the tools that was mentioned quite frequently in my articles was Long Tail Pro. It also ranks very high on my list of the best keyword research tools.
In this post, I’m going to give you an in-depth review of the tool together with some advanced tips on how I use it to perform effective keyword research.
Note: This Long Tail Pro review has been completely rewritten as of 17th March 2016 to accurately highlight Long Tail Pro’s new features.
Review of: Long Tail Pro
Creator: Spencer Haws
Fast and reliable most of the time.
At $37 a month, it's worth every penny.
Ease of Use
Clear and simple interface.
Quick reply via emails within hours
What I Like
- Fast, accurate keyword research tool.
- Very easy to use.
- Powerful KC metric to help prioritize a big list of keywords.
What I Don't Like
- Not frequently but sometimes it suddenly closed.
Summary: As a happy user for over 4 years, Long Tail Pro has my best recommendation when it comes to picking a keyword research tool.
If you haven’t known that by now, the majority of web traffic is actually powered by long tail keywords.
They are phrases, usually consisting of 3 or more words that people use for very specific types of searches. Following are some examples of long tail keywords:
“Weight loss workouts”
"Weight loss workouts for men”
“Weight loss workouts for men at home”
See, how the tail gets longer, as the search becomes more and more specific. Long tail keywords are easier to rank for, and once ranked, they can send highly targeted visitors.
Although individually, they may have low to medium level of monthly searches, long tail keywords often come with different variations which can add up to a quite decent number.
For example, the article below targets a long-tail keyword with only 590 searches a month according to Google Keyword Planner.
But in the past 30 days, it has gotten over 4,260 visits from Google through all the different variations of the same keyword.
This is just a quick example to show you the real power of targeting low competition long tail keywords in your articles.
Long Tail Pro is possibly the best option in the market today that can help you quickly uncover thousands of long tail keywords, just like the example above, in just a matter of clicks.
My Long Tail Pro Review & Tutorial 2016
What Is Long Tail Pro?
It is a powerful keyword research software created by Spencer Haws of Niche Pursuits, who is a well-respected figure in the niche website and online business building community.
I’ve been a happy user of this tool since 2012 and can vote for it with confidence. There are several things that I like about it:
- Clean Interface and Simple Workflow - It’s very easy to use even for beginners.
- Fast and Accurate Competitor Analysis - The Keyword Competitiveness (KC) score is super helpful in prioritizing a big list of keywords. You can also click on each individual keyword for detailed analysis of important metrics.
- Advanced Filtering - You can filter your list by keyword, suggested CPC bid, local and/or global monthly searches, advertiser competition and keyword competitiveness.
What Can You Do With Long Tail Pro?
Unlike other keyword research tools, Long Tail Pro doesn’t complicate the procedure by trying to do so many things at the same time.
There are no bells and whistles.
It’s meant for finding long tail keywords, and it does exactly that. Let’s quickly go through some of the most important features of LTP that makes it worth investing your money.
Fetch keyword ideas from multiple seed keywords at a time
You can enter multiple keywords in Google Keyword Planner as well, but it will only produce up to 800 ideas.
You will have to make multiple searches, with different seed keywords, to get more ideas.
Long Tail Pro allows you to add multiple keywords as seeds, and it generates up to 800 results per seed keyword.
This means that you can get more than 3000 keyword ideas even if you’ve just entered 4 – 5 seed keywords (after removing duplicates).
Also, it has another option that allows you to add up to 10,000 of your own keywords.
This is particularly useful for an advanced tactic that I’ll be showing you in the latter part of this article.
Find Search Terms That Match Your Custom Filters
Below is an example of how the filters work:
With this feature, you can quickly narrow down the list to only the types of keywords that you want to target.
For example, you can use the criteria below to find low competition buying keywords that you can feasibly rank for with a new website:
- Keywords (Including): best, reviews
- Local Search Volume (Min): 30
- Avg Keyword Competitiveness (Max): 30
Analyze Competition for Individual Keywords
Here’s one thing that differentiates Long Tail Pro from the free ones like Google Keyword Planner.
Google Keyword Planner will give no information about competition for organic search results.
You will have to do it yourself by checking out the metrics, such as Domain Authority, Juice Page Links, etc, and doing that will take hours, if not days.
Long Tail Pro does it in seconds and gives you a fairly accurate picture of the competition for any given keyword.
Just click on a keyword and you get all of this information laid out in front of you.
And if you want an even faster way to tell how competitive a keyword is gonna be, Long Tail Pro has a revolutionary metric called Keyword Competitiveness (KC) which can be calculated with a simple click.
It’s a simple scoring system ranging from 0 - 100 based on the level of competition for an individual keyword.
Check the image below to get an idea of the organic competition based on KC metrics.
Pro Tip: The newly added bulk KC checker will save you quite a bit of time because it eliminates the need to click on each keyword manually.
Based on my experience, any keyword with KC < 30 is considered low in competition, and you can feasibly rank for it 5 - 6 months with a new website.
You can also check your rankings or that of your competitors for specific search terms.
I don’t use this feature as much, but it’s helpful and cost effective if you don’t want to pay for another rank tracker software.
What Else Do You Need To Know?
How to Install
Once you’ve made the payment, you will get a download link along with your login details.
Downloading and installation should take you no more than 15 minutes.
For this tool to work, you will need the latest version of Adobe Air, Google Adwords Account, and SEOmoz API. All of them are free, so there’s no extra cost involved.
Before you can start searching for keywords, you will be prompted to enter your MOZ API first.
After that, you will be prompted to sign in to your Adwords (gmail.com) account.
You will only need to submit these details just once and after you’re logged in you can readily use Long Tail Pro.
Long Tail Pro’s customer support is really good. They usually respond to queries within 24 hours.
I also often see customers commenting under a blog post.
Instead of getting a stern “please submit support ticket” type of answer, Spencer or one of his team members readily respond to these comments in detail.
New Pricing Model
They have recently switched the pricing model, and you can no longer buy the core software at an one-off fee of $97 plus $27 / month for the Platinum version which includes full features like importing your own keywords and generating KC.
Currently, there are only 2 simple plans available ($1 trial available for both):
- Monthly Plan - $37 / month
- Annual Plan - $352 / year
Good News: The Long Tail Pro team has reached out and offer a great deal for Cloud Living readers. Click here to check it out!
Personally, I like this change because it reduces the upfront cost to get access to the Platinum version which provides you with the KC score.
It’s also good for the LTP team because now they have a recurring source of revenue to help grow the business.
Running a software company like this is expensive as it requires ongoing development and customer support. Without a reliable flow of revenue coming in every month, they wouldn’t survive for long.
As a happy user for 4 years, I want to see them thrive as this tool is such an important part of my workflow.
Getting Started with Long Tail Pro
To get started, you need to create a new project, so you can manage and shift between different niches, topics, or clients’ projects with ease.
Next, click on the big yellow “Find Keywords” button.
A new window will appear with three sections. The first one allows you to add seed keywords.
Begin by typing your seed keywords one by one, and click on “Add”.
In the second section, you can also add your own list of keywords, if you have them at hand.
The last section allows you to apply pre-search filters.
You can choose to search for keywords that fall within your preferred range of “local search volume”, “suggested bid”, “Advertiser Competition”, and “Number of Words”.
For example, when you are looking for ideas to write about for your next blog post, you can search for relatively lengthy phrases, with a minimum of 4 or 5 words.
You can also obtain additional information like Domain Availability, Global Search Volume, and Title Competition.
Choose your preferences, and click on “Generate Keywords & Fetch Data”.
Here’s what I’ve got from just 4 seed keywords, i.e. more than 3200 ideas, with the following details.
So that leaves us with a huge list of keywords that includes monthly local searches, suggested bids, and advertiser competition.
Now, we need to set the filters to narrow down the list. To do that, I’d key in the filters below to find only the necessary buying keywords:
- Keyword including: best,reviews
- Minimum local searches: 100
- Maximum local searches: 10,000
That leaves us with 135 keywords that match the criteria.
Next, I’m gonna use the bulk KC checker function to generate the KC scores for all the keywords in the list.
This process takes about 15 minutes and you can do other tasks while waiting for LTP to finish the job.
If LTP ever prompted you to enter captchas, you can close the software and wait 5 - 10 minutes before using the bulk KC checker again.
After that, filter out all the results with KC > 30. Doing that will leave us with a list of 80 low competition buying keywords.
The KC score is fairly accurate but we still have to double check by clicking on each individual keyword and verify the metrics once more.
Here’s what I normally look for:
- Keyword Target in Titles - Most important SEO Ranking factor. If multiple results don’t have exact or partial match keyword in title, then it’s a good sign.
- Page Authority - Pages with PA < 30 are relatively easier to beat. I want to see at least 3 pages with PA < 30.
- Domain Authority: Not always required but if you find sites with DA < 25 in the top 10, then it’s a really good sign. It means that there are rooms for new sites with low authority.
- Juice Links: This is the number of juice passing links to a given page. I want to see at least 3 results with JL < 30.
- Niche Sites on top 10 - They’re sites built by people like us. So if they can rank, then we can definitely do the same. However, I still try to avoid keyword with more than 6 niche sites on top 10 because the competition would be high. 1-3 niche sites on top 10 are ideal.
- E-commerce sites on top 10 - Google tends to favor e-commerce sites for some keywords and it’s hard to beat them with a content site. So if you find any keyword with more than 7 e-commerce sites on top 10, then it’s better to avoid those.
Take a look at this one for example:
- Keyword Target in Titles: Only 3 results with exact keyword in titles. 1 result with partial match keyword in title. - Good!
- Page Authority: 9 results with PA < 30. Only 1 result with PA = 30 - Good!
- Domain Authority: 4 sites with DA < 25 in the top 10 - Good!
- Juice Links: All 10 results have less than 30 JL - Good!
- Niche Sites on Top 10: 3 Niche Sites on Top 10 - Good!
- E-commerce sites on top 10: No ecommerce on top 10 - Good!
Look at the metrics above. I consider this a good keyword with relatively low competition.
After completing the steps, you can repeat the same process with the other keywords in your list. You can also make notes of your favorite keywords to shape up your final keyword list.
How to Maximize the Number of Input Keywords for Your Project
You can add up to 10,000 of your own keywords to LTP and it will automatically pull all the other data for you like search volume, CPC, advertiser competition, etc.
We can take advantage of this powerful feature and import keywords from external keyword sources like:
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.
SEMRush can also be used as a long tail keyword generator. Just type in a seed keyword and the tool will pull hundreds of relevant long tail keywords for you.
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.
You can repeat the steps with multiple keywords to find even more ideas.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for informational article ideas, just switch to the Questions tab.
As mentioned earlier, it’s quite possible to find long tail keywords just by using the free methods, but for $37/month, Long Tail Pro is worth every penny.
Why? Because it will save you a lot of time and hassle compared with doing keyword research manually.
Spending all that saved time on creating some new posts, or doing outreach for backlinks would definitely yield a better ROI for you.
So, if you’re looking for a keyword research tool with speed, convenience, and accuracy that can give you a great advantage over your competitors, then Long Tail Pro wins my best recommendation.
And to sweeten the deal, the Long Tail Pro team has reached out and offered 2 great bonuses for Cloud Living readers (only last for 2 weeks - until April 4th 2016):
- $147 Discount On The Annual Plan - Just $297/year
- FREE Access to Long Tail University ($197 in Value) (also applied to monthly plan)
Technically you’ll be saving $344 on your first year just by signing up with this promotion. It’s a great deal and it won’t last long so jump on it while you still can.