Keywords are one of the most critical and important parts of SEO.

The basic foundation of SEO is keyword research.

Afterwards, other factors like on-page optimization, quality of content, a good site UI, and some other factors come into the picture.

Many companies invest thousands of dollars to pay for keyword research to get such targeted content.

But you don’t need to do that. Just follow this guide…

Best Keyword Research Tool

The keywords you choose to focus on for your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts are critical to the success of your website’s rank.

Choosing the right keywords isn’t always easy or intuitive and you need a lot of data to know whether a given keyword will work for you.

Fortunately, there are many tools available that can help you figure out which keywords work the best for your overall web strategy.

Most of these keyword research tools are paid and only a few of them are free.

Best Keyword Research Tools: 2016

1. Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner tool

The Google Keyword Planner tool is one of the most used and popular keyword research tools out there.

The only reason for it being so popular is it’s free and is directly integrated with Google AdWords.

To start using this tool you need to have an AdWords account (which you can create one for free).

  • Features: The biggest feature of the Keyword Planner tool is the deep information it offers on Google (the largest search engine).
  • Limitations: In some ways, that’s also a limitation. If you want to know how your site or a given keyword is doing on other search engines, you won’t get it here.
  • Pricing: Free to use.

The Keyword Planner tool is a good, basic tool for the early stages of a website’s SEO.

This my favorite free tool, but if you need more detailed and competitive analysis, I would recommend going for one of the advanced tools that I have listed below.

Check out the Google AdWords Keyword Planner here

2. SEMRUSH

Everyone always asks me, “What is the best and easiest keyword research tool?”

The answer:

  • SEMRUSH

SEMRUSH is not a typical keyword research tool; it offers so much more than just researching keywords.

Unlike other tools where you need to add seed keywords to start your research, here you just need to add your URL (or your competitor’s URL) and it will show you all of the keywords that are ranking for that site.

This makes it easier for you to find short-tail and long-tail keywords that you can target and beat out your competition.

 You can get in-depth details on:

  • Traffic stats
  • Search engine reports
  • Adsense CPC
  • and so many other details that you need in properly managing an SEO campaign.

This is a highly recommended product.

Download a 14-day (completely free) trial of SEMRUSH here

3. LongTailPro

LongTailPro Keyword research tools

LongTailPro is a piece of desktop software for keyword research and one of the most popular in this list.

This is a paid keyword research tool which will help you find amazing keywords for your niche/micro-niche sites. With their “platinum” version, you can get a really amazing and really detailed keyword analysis feature.

They also have a competition checker, which will make it easier for you to pick the right keyword.

LongTailPro is available for Mac and Windows.

Get $30 off of LongTailPro here

4. Keyword Spy

Keyword Spy

Keyword Spy is an SEO optimization tool that’s primarily used for keyword research.

Here’s how you can use Keyword Spy for SEO:

  • Uses: Identify competitors’ keywords and do keyword research for SEO campaigns.
  • Features:
    • Create targeted campaigns
    • View competitor keywords
    • See rank based on geographical location
  • Limitations: The tracking features may not be that useful to smaller businesses or in markets that aren’t as competitive.
  • Pricing:
    • $89.95 per month for a research or tracking account.
    • $139 for a “Professional” account which includes both.
    • Additional pricing options for agencies and enterprises.

Keyword Spy can prove to be a very useful tool in your overall SEO arsenal.

Check out Keyword Spy here

5. Market Samurai

Market Samurai is another desktop SEO platform application that can help you research keywords.

  • Uses: Market Samurai can be used for many tasks related to SEO including site planning and improving ranking.
  • Features: Market Samurai has several different modules.
    • Keyword Research module
    • Domain Research module
    • Monetization module
    • Content Finding module
    • Content Publishing module
    • Promotions module
  • Limitations: The interface isn’t particularly intuitive (with about a 5 to 10-hour learning curve.)
  • Pricing:
    • This app is a one-time purchase of $149.

This product is a good solution for someone looking to make a one-time purchase for an all around SEO tool.

Check out Market Samurai here

6. SpyFu

SpyFu is one of the best SEO optimization software products on the market. It’s especially useful if you’re trying to analyze and stay ahead of the competition in a tight niche.

Here’s what you need to know about this one:

  • Uses: SpyFu is highly useful for two important reasons.
    • Understanding your competition’s SEO platform.
    • Discovering under-served, un-tapped, or emerging markets.
  • Features: SpyFu also has several modules.
    • Compare Websites module
    • Keyword History module
    • Domain History module
    • Related Keywords module
  • Limitations: This program doesn’t have the depth of keywords that some competitors do, although this is changing. Also, the data for SpyFu is monthly, rather than real-time.
  • Pricing: SpyFu offers two basic pricing plans as well as an “Agency” plan.
    • The basic plans are $79 and $99 per month (with a discount of more than 40% if you buy a one year term).
    • The “Agency” pricing is $999 per month.

SpyFu is a solid SEO product.

It’s useful if you want to check up on the competition as well as find new areas in which to market.

Check out SpyFu here

7. WordTracker

Keyword research WOrdtracker

WordTracker is used by small businesses to research keywords, build new links, and develop a strategic SEO platform.

  • Uses: The three main tools in WordTracker are the-
    • Keyword Tool (which helps you research keywords)
    • Link Builder (which identifies inbound link prospects)
    • Strategizer (which takes a step back and looks at your entire SEO ranking strategy).
  • Features: There are some features that are really cool here.
    • The Link Builder tool is unique to WordTracker and are not found on any of the products on this list.
    • The Strategizer gives you a kind of bird’s-eye view that you won’t get anywhere else.
  • Limitations: WordTracker often gives fewer results than other services and the interface isn’t particularly intuitive.
  • Pricing: WordTracker includes a 30-day free trial.
    • Monthly pricing is $69 per month.
    • Subscribe to a full year at $449.

Check out WordTracker here

I would not recommend you pick up all of the tools listed above, but instead stick to one or two and get used to its system.

If you have been using the Google Keyword Planner tool for a while, you have a good basis for getting started with any of the paid and professional tools listed here.  Take a look at some of these tools and decide which works best for your business strategy.

My recommendations:

  • If you are looking for an easy, yet great solution, go for SEMRUSH.
  • If you are researching keywords for micro-niche sites, choose a desktop tool (like LongTailPro) which is cheap and let you check keyword competitiveness.

Whatever you choose, use these tools to supercharge your SEO.

Are you using one of the keyword research tools from the above list? How has your experience been so far? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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