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Why Keyword Research Still Matters in 2017 & the Tools That Can help you Get the Job Done:

Despite the long-term pity-party and naysayers SEO is clearly here to stay. So long as Google generates traffic for sites people will game the system. And so long as they report keyword traffic volumes in Google AdWords planners we’ll be able make educated guesses about the best way to target those searches. First off, below are my top picks for keyword tools you should know about or be using for marketing:

Why Keyword Research Tools Matter

Keyword research is an essential part of any SEO strategy. Keyword research tools usually crawl the Google keyword planner and google suggested searches (what populates under what you search) to let you know what reported keyword variants are out there. (I’d install the Keywords Everywhere Chrome Extension if you want to get a sense of how much data is out there.) Keyword research tools are useful because you can take a specific page or product that you’re trying to sell and make sure you’re aligning the search traffic from that keyword to your site. More importantly if there are related terms that you can target, say synonyms or slang terms for a specific product or service you can typically widen your footprint. Without this information, most people unfortunately miss the market (what people are searching on Google) with their site’s actual structure. Keyword research tools will typically tell you where your site ranks, what variants are out there for you to target, or if there are lower volume variants you could be targeting.

How to Select The Best Keyword Research Tool for you?

As with many other tools on here it essentially comes down to budget and goals. If you’re just trying to get a basic sense of the keywords your site is ranking for and what potential competitors might be able to offer you in the way of additional targets then keyword research tools can also be immensely useful.

Selecting the right tool really comes down to how much of a need you have. If you have anything above $2-3,000 in organic revenue a month (depending on your industry and margins) it absolutely makes sense to get a paid keyword research tool above. Tools like SEMrush, SERPstat, and AHREFS are great options if you just want info. If you’re also planning on building and designing a website in a specific market niche, or just redoing your own site, it can also be an exceptional idea to do a bit of keyword research before getting started.

If you don’t have much cash there are luckily a variety of free options out there (and at the risk of sounding skeezy, the tools above also tend to have free trials) that you can use and leverage to get your business to a place of profitability.

Free Keyword Tool Options

  1. AdWord Keyword Planner - The classic, and unfortunately not best. The Keyword tool is great for somethings, and an essential part of everyday life if you run an AdWords account, but depending on your level of spend it will not give you all the information you need to succeed.
  2. MOZ Keyword Explorer - MOZ keyword planner is the most in depth tool out there if you're just trying to research a specific keywod in a niche. It won't necessarily tell you what your site ranks for, but it's great for getting a sense of competition and opportunities around a single keyword.
  3. WordTracker Keyword Tool - Another classic that draws info straight from Keyword planner.
  4. SERPS - A relatively new tool on the block with plenty of info!
  5. KeywordTool.io - Rather than use keyword planner, this tool scrapes the suggested searches on many platforms, and is absolutely essential for getting free info. Keywords like this have enough traffic to trip a "suggested" search leve, but not enough for Google to sell ads on.
  6. Soovle and Ubersuggest two other classic options for getting suggested search data similar to keywordtool.io.

When it comes down to it the right tool is going to depend on your budget and needs. Many tools also have specific concentration areas (something I attempt to summarize for you) or specific things they’re really really good at. There are also many great all-in-one solutions that can be exceptional resources for every part of a site.

When do you know if you need Keyword Research ?

Typically if you’re looking for more traffic than you currently have going to your site, and are struggling to grow your business, then you know it’s time for some keyword research. Relying on free traffic from Google and other searches is typically the #1 way that people grow their businesses and reach profitability.

Where to get started with Keyword Research?

I’d suggest starting with a tool like SEMrush that makes it easy to plug your site into their system. The benefit of this is that you can easily see what keywords you currently rank for, before going crazy inventing new terms to rank for. If that’s not appealing the “traditional” route before we had all these tools was to look at Google Search Console (formerly webmaster tools) or Google Analytics and then extrapolate what keywords you currently rank for, and then expand from there.

The key thing to remember is that organic traffic (SEO goal) is not like AdWords, targeting strange variants is not going to land you the occasional sale or visitor, the name of the game is creating a structured hierarchy on your site that leads people to the right places.

Related Articles:

  1. SEMrush: The Ultimate SEMRush Review, Guide and Hacks
  2. One Trick Poney's Get Shot

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