Jan 09

3 great tools to help with your keyword research

Most of the time you don’t just want visitors to your site, you want the right sort of visitor. Someone who is interested specifically in your niche and is going to convert. For instance, if you’re selling hiking boots you don’t want people turning up looking for work boots, riding boots and what have you. So, your keyword research needs to find the right ones to focus on across your site and in your SEM. This is easier said than done of course – too generic and you pick up the wrong crowd, but too specific or obscure and you risk missing out on potential business.

Luckily for all of us there are a range of tools available now to cut down on a lot of fruitless research and educated guessing:

Google AdWords: Keyword Planner

The major free tool that most people will suggest. If you’re interested in ranking on a search page it’s usually going to be google’s, so it pays to get your info straight from the horse’s mouth.

Like most tools in the field Google’s offering provides excellent keyword suggestions based off your business along with info on the monthly searches for each (and how that has changed over time), how hard it is to rank for them and even suggested bids if using them for SEM.

There isn’t anything special that makes the tech itself stand out but on the other hand there are no glaring flaws either. It’s a solid piece of kit and, as it’s free, the perfect entryway for those new to the field or companies operating on a shoestring.


Feeling confrontational? SEMRush is a well known keyword research tool beloved by many a professional. It offers the same What sets it apart from Keyword Planner however is the ability identify keywords your competitors already rank for in searches. Just enter their site url and it will draw you up an analysis of how they’re ranking and with what.

With this intimate knowledge at your fingertips you can start a campaign to torpedo a rival’s organic search dominance and rapidly boost your own competitiveness! And if that goes badly? At least you know which keywords are going to be wasted effort…

Keyword Explorer

You want data? All the data you could possibly need and more? You’re the sort of person today’s last entry was made for: Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer. Ahrefs is known primarily for their  backlink analysis but that hasn’t stopped them producing one hell of a tool for the keyword research field.

The tool has some really in depth analysis of each keyword. Beyond the usual search volume you get a breakdown of how many searchers actually click through to the pages – not all searches produce the answer we need after all – amongst other useful info. They even ascribe a numeric value to the difficulty of ranking with each keyword based on how many backlinks you’ll need to make it to the first page. I think we can all agree that’s a far more useful metric than the typical “hard/medium/easy” you’d get from most tools!

We should mention it isn’t cheap, the lowest subscription tier is $100 a month, but then quality never is. If you’re not convinced it’s for you there is a (practically) free 7 day trial available, so you won’t have to take the plunge just on our suggestion.

That’s your lot for this week. If you’re in need of some more digital skills why not check out the rest of our blog?

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