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Keyword Research Software


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#1 squidjam

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 04:40 PM

I'm asking this question even though I'm sure I know the answer. But the point of asking question here, for me at least, is to get Jill's (and other) expert opinion.

 

There are numerous keyword research software programs out there. Probably one of the most popular is Market Samurai. They supposedly save you time by showing you various things about keywords, such as the competition for that keyword, and where other sites rank and your ability to rank high in the search enging results for that keyword.

 

There are dozens of these programs, all claiming to have a particular edge or feature to make it easy for you to find "long tail keywords", especially.

 

I've looked at a bunch, but I've come to these conclusions:

 

1. They all use different algorithms so all give different results.

 

2. I don't know what algorithms they use so don't know how to judge whether their tool is giving me "accurate" or useful results.

 

3. I think I can do enough keyword research using Google's keyword tool

 

4. I realize there's no magic to any of this. Some people seem to think there is (or want people to think there is so they can make money selling them "systems" and products)    :)

 

5. I'm cheap and don't want to pay for the software

 

6. It's the same old story as all the other tools out there online: they promise fantastic results and lure you in with their siren song that you will be way ahead of the competition and make more money...

 

That said, I have found tools like ahrefs useful. But I'm using the free version. I know Jill uses it as well.

 

I keep telling myself that I shouldn't have to pay a dime to do keyword research and that these programs are just making money for the people selling them.

 

Then there's the programs that check your rankings. How could they possibly do this? Rankings are so relative as to be useless, correct? And I've tried one or two programs that scrape Google for the info they're compiling for you and what happens is that you then get the "there have been too many queries from your IP" message when you go back to searching Google in your browser.  In Google Analytics, you can get the average position that your site appeared in search results for the particular keywords that people used to find your site. But other than that, because of Jill opening my eyes and educating me, I don't really pay attention anymore when people tell me their site "ranks #1 in Google" for a particular keyword. Am I wrong?

 

I can see how some people may find keyword software helpful for organizing their growing list of terms they want to target. But the more I learn about *real* SEO and not just all the little myths and tidbits I have been exposed to for years, the more I think that putting too much emphasis on a bunch of keywords and such can be a bad idea.

 

Hope some of that made sense. :)



#2 qwerty

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 05:48 PM

I think I can do enough keyword research using Google's keyword tool

I agree.

 

I use a few paid tools these days (only because I'm no longer freelancing and don't have to shell out the money for them myself), but for keyword research I just use Google's tool.



#3 chrishirst

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 09:11 AM

<---------------------------------- ditto --------------------------------------------->



#4 Jill

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 11:26 AM

I've never tried Market Samurai so I can't speak to that one. From what I understand it helps to group sets of keywords and has some abilities to determine the competitiveness of keywords. Both of those things may come in handy for some. 

 

As to rank checking software, I think you already know my feelings on that. They're all a stupid waste of time and bandwidth.

 

In case anyone missed it, I recently wrote about the tools I do use on a daily basis.



#5 squidjam

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:15 PM

Yep, totally know your feelings on rank checking software, Jill  ;)  I already knew most of the tools you used on a daily basis but really enjoyed having them in that post.

 

I've been tempted by a keyword tool or two recently but then I make myself pull back and really ask myself if it's necessary and all it's hyped to be. It's SO easy to be drawn in by the siren song of "this will find you profitable niches in two seconds" and the idea that you'll have some sort of magic edge online with them. I kinda get the feeling that there's so much hype (and I've been exposed to it just like everyone else) and it's mostly garbage. Problem is that the people trying to sell you these tools write some clever and convincing sales copy  :)

 

I'm learning just to trust myself and block 99% out. Still, I think my greatest challenge is just knowing what to believe and who to trust. I keep coming back here for my reality check  :)



#6 tedives

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 04:07 PM

Keyword position data can definitely be misleading, I agree. I don't have solid proof but I suspect that in organic search, as in paid search, you never get 100% impression share, your impression share probably fluctuates all over the place. I have one client whose rankings dropped across the board, but their traffic shot up at the same time, more than seasonality would account for...variable impression share might explain that anecdote.

 

On the value of keyword research tools, I would not just dismiss them completely out of hand.

 

For instance, try trusting yourself and writing the best article you can on "debt consolidation" and then go get 50 links to it, with a ton of hard work.  Guess what, you just wasted all that time - you're not going to rank anywhere, 50,000 people already wrote 50,000 articles on it and got hundreds of thousands of links to them!

 

Spending a little time and maybe even money figuring out what users want, that has *not* been covered by everyone else on the planet yet, is just part of "plan your work / work your plan".  The Adwords Keyword Tool will tell you what users want (demand) but it doesn't tell you anything about supply (except on the paid side of things).






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