Keyword Research Tools – Which is Best?

At least once a month I get an email about a new or updated keyword tool that will “uncover untold riches”.  Well, there’s only so much money that one can have, so I guess it’s time to spill the beans on some of my favorite keyword research tools.

In the last couple of years, I’ve gone beyond tried and true tools such as WordTracker, and explored Nichebot, SpyFu, Keyword Elite, and Market Samurai and a handful of others.

They are all good in their own way, so here’s the take on my favorites.

1. Google Keyword Tool – it’s free, it comes from Google where most searches take place, what’s not to like!

  • Pros: Let’s you search not just on a keyword, but also on a website, where Google tells you what it thinks a website is about.  Very handy if you’ve just put up a site.
  • Cons: Everyone uses this, so how different will your keywords be from your competitor?  Use this as a starting point then use some of these others to go deeper.

2. SpyFu – I like this tool a lot, and have got many new keywords from it.  SpyFu shows you both organic and PPC keywords that you and your competition is ranking on.  Keep in mind that the data is at least 30 days old, and often months old.  Check every keyword to see if you competitor is still ranking for it.  Could be that they are no longer running PPC ads on those terms!

  • Pros: Easy to use, and shows SEO and PPC keywords.  Download into Excel and slice and dice as you please.  Has an option that let’s you compare your keywords against your competitors to see what they are doing that you are not – very valuable!
  • Cons: Data is old (at least 30 days), and lots of people are using it, because it allows free searches.
3. Market Samuraii – a really good tool introduced early in 2009.  It uses the Google Keyword Tool for KW suggestions, and adds the ability to perform SEO competition analysis on those keywords.  I highly recommend taking a trial of this tool.
  • Pros: Great if you are doing a lot of SEO related keyword research
  • Cons: Digging for long tail terms is not as easy in some other products
4. Keyword Elite: – a powerhouse for generating keyword lists.  Version 2.0 recently came out and it’s added better PPC spying tools
  • Pros: this is where I go to dig up tons of long tail terms.  It takes some sifting to go through them but it’s a great tool for uncovering some nuggets that the other tools don’t easily show.
  • Cons: a bit on the pricey side at $197
5. NicheBot: – this is a powerhouse keyword research tool that gathers results from multiple sources, including WordTracker.
  • Pros: you won’t need another tool if you use Nichebot
  • Cons: So many options it can be a bit overwhelming
Bottom line is not to get locked into Google’s tool.  Experiment with others – most give free trials – and if you also find one that uncovers those untold PPC riches, drop me a line!

Frank Coyle About the author
  • Lisa Sanner

    One tool often overlooked that never makes anybody’s list is one’s own brain or picking someone else’s. Many times some of the best keywords simply come from sitting down and brainstorming in a notepad different ways to say keywords that you know are/will be performers. Use dictionaries, thesaurus, SERPs themselves, competitors pages. Recently I interviewed a friend who I thought would be an ideal prospect for a new client’s product and he came up with some keywords that weren’t even previously on my radar.
    Pros: free, mostly available 24/7
    Cons: requires typing and spelling

    September 28, 2009 at 10:46 am
  • Awesome thought. Use your brain. Love it.

    October 6, 2009 at 5:17 am

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