Guide to Keyword Researching Tools

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Selecting the right keywords for your website can be very time consuming. This tutorial will compile a few of the best industry resources plus give you methods of thinking that can help you fine-tune the process of targeting the right keywords for optimization.

An SEO campaign can be extremely successful if the right terms are sought out and targeted. There are several tools that can help, but you will still need to think and make educated decisions, as some tools may be biased due to Pay Per Click (PPC) data that is inaccurate for any campaign.

Utilizing several tools along with an analysis of your competitors will create an educated campaign.

Competitor Analysis

In order to gain our seed list (a list of terms that will be the starting points), we will find our competitors online. The top ranked sites for terms that we want to target will serve as our guides in more ways than just keyword research, but that is for another tutorial. Find your competitors and note the Titles and Meta Keyword fields. These are areas of sites that generally contain the most important terms. If our terms are never in competitor titles, then we need to make sure they are even potential targets. To do this, we will use keyword trackers for data.

These trackers are gathering data from their sources and compiling it to a searchable index of terms and search counts for each and/or similar terms. Get your competitor data ready and add it to the mix.


Wordtracker used to have a one-day plan which was under 10 dollars, but now they limited it to a week for almost $30. Unless you’re an SEO firm you’re probably not going to need more than a week to do your research.


Wordtracker uses data from meta search engines. Unfortunately most people today do not know of, or use meta search engines. Despite the 4 million daily searches, wordtracker data comes from less than 1% of all online searches. We still find the data reported to be very good in the industry and still utilize Wordtracker as a top source.

Free Keywords from Wordtracker : When Yahoo announced it was ending Overture and the popular keyword tools, Wordtracker came around and offered a free version available on-the-fly via the Free Keyword Suggestion Tool.


Nichebot v2 is a paid tool offering additional data and tools including Word Trends, Keyword Discover, Overture and Wordtracker data all in one spot.


Nichebot Classic is a free tool for querying Wordtracker and Overture terms and data. It used to search Keyword Discovery as well, but that seems to have ended and is only available via the paid version of Nichebot2.

Keyword Discovery

A keyword tracking tool that utilizes data from multiple engines including Google, Yahoo and MSN. Has the largest database that updates online monthly.

Keyword Discovery

Keyword Discovery also offers a Free Search Term Suggestion Tool.

Yahoo Search Marketing (Overture)

The Keyword Selector Tool, another method of utilizing keyword research is now being phased out. I am not sure why it was not completely removed as the data only shows from January 2007 and does not seem to be updated. Use this with caution if at all.

Google Adwords

This tool tends to be biased and is not always accurate for research purposes as it is targeted data for PPC advertisers. The Adwords tools despite offering exact match queries still reports single terms from multiple word phrases as a “found” count, so it reports from the ‘Broad Match’ perspective.

Google AdWords

This means that Adwords tools provide false positives for keyword research and should be utilized mainly for click and bid data and compared to Wordtracker, Overture and Keyword Discovery count data. Here’s an example of PPC data biased term.

Putting it all together

The best research is thorough research and utilizing all data from all sources free or paid, can greatly increase your ability to determine the best search terms. Getting conflicting results will mean you need to look at competitor data including site titles and meta data, for instance some terms appear in Google, but not in other Keyword tools or have low search counts, it would be wise to look at on-page data on competitive sites and see if the term is even considered. If there is heavy consideration, then we accept the term as a target, if there is little to no consideration we ignore the term and place less importance on it.

If all keyword tools report great results for a term and our competitors also use it in title and meta tags, then it becomes a target for search and is placed into our top-list of terms.

This process goes on and on and determining the best terms can offer higher traffic and conversions for clients by going after a mix of general and related terms. An experienced SEO would make additional considerations in cases where regional terms are targeted, as the regional terms will pull in the conversions, but not the traffic. So finding a mix of terms that are realistic to obtain rankings for, is the goal of the research campaign.

A good combination of tools for keyword research is the best way to start a search engine optimization strategy. Using the right tools and making the right analytical decisions can make or break any campaign, so choose wisely and put the time in on campaigns that require you to educate yourself with the product and services.

Alan Rabinowitz is the CEO of SEO Image, a New York based SEO and Internet Marketing company which focuses on corporate branding and positioning in search engines.

Alan Rabinowitz
Alan Rabinowitz is the CEO of SEO Image, a New York based SEO and Internet Marketing company which focuses on corporate branding and positioning in... Read Full Bio
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  • Kelly

    Informative article…I write for and we also have a blog at htttp:// It’s definitley a challenge to write articles that incorporate keywords that will drive our traffic, without sounding overly “advertisey.”

  • DaveO

    Kelly, it’s not a problem with blog comments though 😉


    In my opinion, google adwords tool is the best along with keyword discovery for Indian webmasters. Good article.

  • dave

    word tracker is not that good
    you lack to mention various other “software” applications that provide keyword research.

  • VB

    Has anyone come across multi lingual european language keyword research tools.

  • VB

    Is anyone aware of european language keyword discovery tools either web based or software based????????? These tools reviewed have very poor databases for europe.

  • Randy Boss

    Not bad, but as an SEO Specialist, I also find WebCEO’s keyword tool (there is a free, but limited version of WebCEO available) beats WordTracker in many ways. Additionally, I like to use Google Trends – that allows you to compare volume for as many as 5 keyword phrases head-to-head.

    While it doesn’t give specific numbers, I find the charts that Google Trends displays are useful because they can show the relative popularity of keyword phrases in various areas and regions, and the tool has recently been updated with additional functionality. For example, the tool is of great value when comparing similar terms, such as trying to decide between web site (two words) and website (one word).

  • christian

    I have found Wordtracker to be pretty lame with regards to Keyword research. The free Overture (Yahoo, whatever…) tool has proven more accurate for my research.

    Keyword research is necessary and the step is a good way to charge more for your project – especially if you call it “linguistic analysis” – but in the end, the most most powerful words for a brand are usually quite evident …and usually popular, and the only way to rank for those keywords and phrases is good ol’ fashioned, roll-up-sleeves-and-crank-it-out SEO and link building.

    longtail …whatever – niche terms rarely – in my experience – equate to significant increases in revenue.

    I still think that as SEOs, most of us know what to do and all these industry blogs and articles are just created to build the author’s authority in search. More power to ’em …but a spade is a spade.

  • dave

    we all know it is necessary yet most people still use the wrong keywords

  • christian

    what are the “right” keywords?

  • Alan Rabinowitz

    This is not a comprehensive collection of everything tool under the sun, some keyword tools are simply link bait and not suitable for researching client campaigns. This tutorial covers the online tools which are cross-platform as they are browser based.

    Wordtracker, despite its limited reach in search portal data, is generally good at determining the best terms. I do prefer to utilize more than one tool, to make sure we do not limit the research. A second opinion is always wise.

    Google’s tools work in multiple languages. has a keyword tool that queries data per language:
    also Spanish, Italian and a few others.

    Here’s a post on SEO Roundtable with some Overture Resources.

  • dave

    the right keywords are the ones that meet the objective of the website once clicked.

  • christian

    “the right keywords are the ones that meet the objective of the website once clicked.”

    — sounds more like a PPC keyword explanation.

    I am not being sarcastic. I find this topic interesting regarding the right and wrong keywords. email off this comment venue at if you’d like to continue the discussion.

    a little ‘devils advocate’ always equates to both parties walking away a little smarter

  • John K

    I just wrote up a comparison of Wordze and Hitwise specifically related to building PPC keyword lists:

    I also find KeyCompete and SpyFu to be useful tools.

  • durrob

    Thanks for this article, I am researching keywords for new website and came across this.

  • SEO Web Design

    Keyword research is the first step towards optimizing a site. Without a good keyword research, your seo campaign will be facing a tough challenge ahead.

  • Internet Marketing

    My advice is to use a number of keyword research tools and compare them against each other to achieve a more detailed keyword list

  • BrainAds

    “Wordtracker is the bomb but still sadely only for english language purpose”. I wish there were some good european tools like this. Does anyone know some good tools for languages like Dutch, German, French?

  • Sjoerd

    My experience is; if the profit of an conversion is better than the costs, I like to pay more on the commen (expensive) keywords insteady of making an huge campange with many longtails which takes me a lot of time and will result in a few (cheap) conversions.