Keyword research & analysis tools to win at SEO in 2016

We sure love talking about keywords at Salient Fox, it’s kinda one of our things.  And why shouldn’t it be?  It’s an incredibly important topic.  Keyword research is the basis of an organizations entire online content strategy. Finding the right keywords before writing the website content, setting up the PPC ads, or sending out that first press release, is a must for your content in 2015.

And if there’s one thing we’re a sucker for, it’s SEO tools. So we’ve made a list of our top 3 tools for killer SEO research and analysis that we use on our clients.

1. SEMRush

SEMRush is one of our top favorite tools of all time because it is so easy to jump into their easy to access & fast online interface and get some great information fast. Here you can see that I needed a few quick variations of “event venue in chicago,” so I searched the term. From here you can view organic traffic and paid traffic for the keyword as well as monthly trends in search volume.  In addition you can view a website’s organic keywords and positions in Google.

SEM Rush Keyword Research Tool appearance

If you setup Google Adwords campaigns, SEMRush is a dream tool. It shows you the competitors ad copies, how many ads they’re running, as well as a spend estimate. Try signing up for a free version of SEMRush to check it out next time you are writing ads.  Then, try searching a term outside of your location for inspiration.  For example, we’re in Chicago, but by searching “san diego personal trainers” we can get a peak at how those “cool kids” in San Diego are writing ad copy for a bit of inspiration.

Another cool function of this tool is that it has the “Keyword difficulty tool” you may have seen in other SEO software. It allows you to compare up to 100 words at a time which it grades a score based on the difficulty of ranking organically for that keyword.  It can be handy when you’re combing through massive amounts of keywords and need to shorten the list.

2. Keyword Researcher

Keyword Researcher Pro by Clever Gizmos, is a wicked cool tool that we find ourselves always having open when doing keyword research.  The tool works by tapping into Google’s autosuggest feature and finding long-tail versions of your keywords that would other wise be too difficult to find using Google’s Keyword Planner alone.  For a primer on the steps that we take to prepare for entering keywords into this tool take a look at our article on simple and effective keyword research for more information – and prep as if you were using the website instead of the more advanced Keyword Researcher. Basically, you would start by entering a seed list of keywords into the Keyword Planner. After having your seed list, you enter the keywords into this tool placing asteriks (*) within the seed keyword phrase.  Then, it uses the autosuggest feature of Google to find words A-Z that it can add to the seed keyword to turn it into a longer tail version.

Keyword Researcher Tool 2015

You can even create projects to organize your keywords and write content within the software itself.  Just make sure to take the list of long tail keywords that is provided and run it back through the keyword planner to assess global or local search volume.

Market Samurai

What can we say, this tool is a classic.  It is great for keyword research, finding domains, assessing competition, and more.  But we use if for one main purpose: To assess the competition.

So you’ve been doing keyword research for hours and you have narrowed down your keywords to a manageable list of high intent keywords.  Now it the time to look at their “SEO competition” in Market Samurai.  How old is their domain? What does their Citation and Trust flow look like?  How many links do they have and are they using the keywords in their page titles and heading appropriately?  These are all questions you can find out about your competition.  Then, its just about looking for opportunities to add keywords to your website in a way that these other sites missed.

Market Samurai Keyword Research Tools

Bonus piece of keyword research advice:  If you’re going to spend time doing research, spend the most amount of time on your home page title.  This describes to Google what your site is all about and since your home page usually has the highest page authority of all pages on the site, you can often rank pretty quickly for low competition, long-tail keywords even if you don’t have a very old or very optimized site.


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