Everyone has their favorite keyword finder.
Some swear by Wordtracker, but I really loathe all the pop-ups and hoops I have to jump through to use the free version and I have not tried the free trial/paid version. Wordtracker is supposed to be very good at finding long-tail keywords, search phrases with your keywords in.
I have always used Google’s free Adsense Keyword Tool. I find it gives me nearly a thousand results as well as an indication of search frequency and ad value for each keyword it comes up with.
I bought Market Samurai recently, and I now plug the results from the free Adsense tool into that to give me a lot more information about my competitors.
My keyword research used to take me nearly an hour for every article I write. Now it takes me less than a minute and I have a lot more information than my hour of hard research and guesswork ever gave me.
The best keyword finder will give you lots of synonyms and derivative keywords including long phrases with your keyword in. It will give you an idea of how much advertisers are willing to pay, how many advertisers there are, who your competitors are and how high you could rank in search results for each keyword.
The best keyword finder will also tell you how many links your competitors have and how many you will need in order to get onto page one of Google’s search results. It will tell you how domain ages and .gov/.edu links that your competitors have, as well as whether each competitor has the search term in the page title, headers and tags.
That’s an awful lot to ask of any keyword tool. Ideally it would also tell you about affiliate programs, including Clickbank and Adsense that are related to your keyword and it would give links to every competing site, so you could check them out further.
Google’ Adwords Keyword Tool
Google’s Adsense keyword tool is free and it is good. It gives you the synonyms, ad value and number of searches, but that is as far as it goes. That is only the start.
If you want to look at your competing sites you need to click on the keyword in the results that you are interested in and open up the search results. You then have to examine every site on the page, check its page rank using free toolbar browser add-ons.
Page rank is only half of the story though. You also need to know how many sites link in to that page, how old the domain is and when Google last checked the page. You can easily spend 30 minutes checking just one keyword; then finding you cannot compete successfully. The best free keyword finder is not the best keyword finder overall because there is so much essential data missing and it takes you so long to check out each keyword.
WordTracker Free Keyword Finder
This is another, excellent free keyword finder, but that is as far as it goes. It is better than Google’s keyword tool at finding phrases with your keyword in. These phrases are sometimes called long-tail keywords.
The free Wordtracker tool also has so many irritating pop-ups that many users find it so irritating that it is impossible to use.
Free, but very limited results, forget it. (wordpot.com)
Very limited results, a total waste of time. (keywordfinder.org)
Easy to read results format, includes search frequency, but no information on competition or click value. On its own the free version is not a lot of use. (Wordstream.com)
Market Samurai Keyword Finder
This keyword tool is not free, but is the best keyword finder around, because once it has found your keywords you just hit a few buttons and you have all the information you need. This is NOT an affiliate link plug for Market Samurai, the program is awesome, but the referral program sucks. I bought and use this program for all my keyword research and it has cut my research time from 45 minutes to 1 minute.
The Market Samurai keyword research tool is very slow, but you can set it to look for 4 or 5 word phrases, which you cannot do with the Google Adsense keyword tool.
The name is Market Samurai rather than Keyword Samurai because of the complete nature of the data you get.
- Links to top 10 competing domains, with full page URL – so you can check out each one
- Domain age – Google seems to value older domains more highly
- Google Page Rank – The value Google attaches to a given page. This is Page Rank, not Site Rank, the PR of the actual page is very important
- Number of back links to the top 10 competing pages
- Number of back links to the top 10 competing site
- How many .gov and .edu links each competitor has
- Whether your competitors’ sites are listed in DMOZ and Yahoo Directories
- The Google Cache age – Google’s spiders visit frequently updated and highly valued websites more frequently
- Whether or not each competitor has the search term in page title, page description and page tags – All thought to help you get a good ranking for a given search term
You can also search Amazon from the Keyword Samurai, oops, Market Samurai interface.
Conclusion: The best keyword finder is the free Google Adsense Keyword Finder, but even that only gives you half of the information you need. You must buy Market Samurai if you want the whole picture easily.
Written by Phil Turner, an ex-teacher from Ireland. Phil believes that to succeed in anything you have to help others and share your own knowledge. He makes a living mostly by writing on his own sites, which include HowToMakeExtraMoneyWriting.com and 21CWoman.com.