Keyword research is THE most important process in creating a new website. Assuming that your focus on search engine traffic, a keyword phrase that doesn’t have enough searches won’t make you any sales; if you pick the one with a terrific competition, you probably won’t be able to rank high enough to get any significant amount of traffic – again, no sales; if it has low CPC or if it isn’t a “buying” keyword, it’s not worth it… So even if you have a perfectly designed website with fantastic content and you work hard on link building, it’s all for nothing if you haven’t chosen the right set of keywords.
Keyword research is tough. It requires thorough analysis, patience and knowledge if you want to do it right. Luckily, there are some fantastic tools which can make your life a lot easier during this stage.
Google AdWords Keyword Tool is the only free tool on this list. What better way to learn what people are searching for on Google than to ask Google itself! The options here are limited, but even though today there are far more sophisticated tools on the market, this one is what many people still use to do basic research, and the more skillful ones can turn it into a powerful alternative to the paid options.
For those of you who are willing to pay a little extra for the premium goods that save time, here are the best keyword research tools available:
Keyword Discovery by Trellian collects data from a bunch of search engines and shopping sites (including Amazon and eBay), so that you get the results that show you which keywords pay the most. It’s really fast and thorough – you can get 1,000 related keywords in just two seconds (and knowing that this usually takes about half an hour, this is huge!). Or, if you’re willing to pay… a lot, you can subscribe to their Enterprise API and get up to 10,000 results.
They offer a free trial (50 searches a day, only 10 results displayed), and their standard subscription is $69.95 per month, or $599.40 per year. The price is probably the only downside to this fantastic tool, but, if you’re fanatic about your keywords, it’s definitely worth checking. It provides a wide variety of tools that can be of extreme help both for blogs looking for monetization and for the AdWords advertisers.
Keyword Spy is another pricy but worth it. It shows you which keywords your competitors are targeting in their AdWords campaigns with ad copy, estimated search volume and CPC, individual keywords and ROI for each one and a bunch of other stuff that really allow you to “spy” on your competitors. A clever concept, when you think about it: someone else has already done the hard part, all you have to do is take a peek at all the top keywords they have already found, and use them to drive traffic to your website. Conclusion: great tool for serious PPC players.
Word Tracker Keyword Tool takes time to learn and can be a bit overwhelming when you first start to use it, but it’s convenient: the separate tools they give you are combined so that you can do it all in one place, meaning no need to export data to another tool, and it lets you analyze multiple keywords at a time. Since it gets the data straight from metacrawlers, it will only show you the results that receive human visitors (no bid optimizers, rank monitors or other non-organic search queries). They also offer a full training in keyword research; you get to test the tool for free for 7 days, and after that it costs $69 monthly.
There you are. Take your pick and dive into the first stage of your project with confidence. These tools will not give you all the answers, you’ll have to do some thinking and analyzing on your own, but they will save you an enormous amount of time and effort.
Do you have another favorite that we didn’t include?
As a SEO expert, Jeff knows how important it is to do a quality keyword research. Curently, he is also associated with Serije as their consultant for search engine optimization and social media marketing and one of his priorities was keyword research.