When it comes to doing keyword research, it always boils down to what you want to accomplish, and what tools are available to help. But determining which tools can be problematic. There are many to choose from, with a variety of benefits and features.
Before we get into the recommendations, let’s review what it means to be the “best keyword research tool,” and more importantly, what that means to you. Let’s also make sure we have a baseline for understanding what keyword research is.
What Is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is a fundamental part of search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising. It drives the creation of relevant content and ads in order to ensure real interest from a targeted audience.
But more importantly than that, keyword research makes sure we don’t spin our wheels!
Each one of us has started or is about to start a new business. That business is based around an idea we had. Whether for a product to sell or a topic to talk about, we came up with something that we thought other people might be interested in.
But how do you know if people will really be interested in your idea? How do you know what to talk about once you’ve started your business? While there are certainly methods you can follow, like the Lean Startup Methodology I recently went through, reviewing what other people are actively searching for today and making sure there’s alignment with what you want to offer is critical.
Keywords are any word or words that other people type into a Google or Bing search to find information. So keywords can be single words or phrases and are directly tied to search behavior.
Search engines track exactly what keywords are entered, how many times, and how many results are brought up for each keyword. Which means that I can tell you with reasonable certainty that “keyword research tool” has a high degree of interest, and yet a relatively low amount of competition from other content sites, resulting in a very promising keyword to target! (Yes, I did my homework before writing this post… more on that in a moment.)
So the research in “keyword research” comes in when you decide you want to actively figure out what other people are truly searching on. It might start with some casual searches to see what’s out there, or looking at what’s trending on Twitter or Google.
But ultimately, if it’s going to be done right, you’re going to need a tool that can help facilitate your research.
Determining The Best Keyword Research Tool
Between you and me, there really can’t be a “best keyword research tool” since it’s unlikely that what’s best for me will be best for you… at least not 100%. That’s because, of course, we each run different businesses and websites, and we each have different needs when it comes to tools to help us with our keyword research.
However, if you carefully consider what your needs are, and contrast that with the available offerings, it becomes easier to sift through them and find a tool that works great for you.
PRICE – Of course, price is an important consideration. Some tools are free, and if they provide the level of information and detail you’re looking for, that’s great. However, most tools require a monthly subscription so you’ll need to balance the cost and benefits.
EFFICIENT – Depending on what you need, certain tools will clearly be better than others. The price will no doubt reflect that, of course, but what needs to be weighed is the efficiency you’ll gain by investing in a particular tool. If it will save you, say, an hour a month by not having to redo certain steps, what’s that worth to you?
ACCURATE – Keyword research won’t do you very much good if you can’t rely on the information you surface. Make sure that you can trust the accuracy of the data you’re researching.
ARTICULATE – And finally, you have to be able to understand the information in order for it to be valuable. Raw keyword data can include all kinds of numbers and get dense fast. A good keyword research tool will break out and format that information, making it easy to filter and sort and understand.
Different Keyword Research Tools for Different Kinds of Keyword Research
Another aspect to consider is that there are different kinds of keyword research. Some people are interested in how much a keyword is being searched, like we discussed a moment ago with the phrase “keyword research tool,” yet others are interested in discovering what their competitors are ranking for.
Typical features include:
- Keyword search data
- Current trending keywords
- Competition keyword usage
- Keyword bidding and ad interest
- Keyword tracking
All of the tools listed below have certain capabilities. Make sure that you consider what you’re trying to accomplish, and analyze whether a specific tool has the features to help you get there.
The Best Keyword Research Tools, Crowdsourced
Rather than present you with a biased recommendation, we’ve embedded a List.ly list that readers can add their recommendations to and vote on. If you’ve been using a tool for keyword research that you love, find it on the list and vote for it, or suggest it and we’ll get it added for you.
As you can see, people are already voting for their favorites. If you’re looking for a tool to try, there are several recommendations to choose from!
And don’t be afraid to try and use more than one tool. It’s possible that the best solution for you is a combination of two or more tools, each focused on different areas of concern.
This blog is a perfect example. I used Google Suggest to help brainstorm an idea for the post, and then used the Brainstorm It! tool within SBI! for WP to research the actual keywords and see how they looked from a performance perspective. We’ll then target that keyword with the SBI! for WP plugin and add it to Yoast SEO to further analyze the post. Finally, we use SEMRush to routinely audit the blog for SEO and to track specific keyword rankings.
You may not need or want to involve that many tools in your content authoring and optimization process, but the point is, you can accomplish a lot when you leverage the strengths of various tools.
What’s going to work the best for you? We’d love for you to vote for your favorite tools above, and feel free to leave comments below, or on any of the tools listed.
Want to learn more about SBI! for WP and what it can do for you and your content? Well click below and see if SBI! for WP is the right tool for you.