The 6 Best Keyword Tools For Your WordPress Blog
We’re going keyword crazy here at WPMU. Tim obliterated some common keyword myths recently, and I followed that up with a primer on estimating keyword value. So now it would seem sensible to introduce you to some great keyword tools.
Before we start, a note: you do not need to pay for a keyword research tool. However, it can make your life a lot easier. And as they say, time is money…If you are serious about your blog then it may be worth your while to invest in a paid keyword research tool. But until then, there are some great free options available to you.
Go Daddy Domain Search (Free)
If you’re just starting and haven’t yet ordered a domain name, you’re going to want to find an easy way of figuring out what domains are available and what are not. This becomes even more important if you are conducting keyword research and want to find out whether or not you can source an exact-match domain name.
Luckily, that is a piece of cake with Go Daddy’s Domain Search. It will find available domain names for all popular (and less popular) extensions. It will also show you if domain names are available for sale or “backorder” (domains approaching expiry that you can look to snaffle).
Using the tool couldn’t be any simpler – just type your desired domain in the box, and Go Daddy will tell you what is or isn’t available. If only everything was this easy!
Google Keyword Research Tool (Free)
This is the daddy of keyword research tools. It’s free, official, and can produce lots of juicy data for you.
Before you start with this tool, be sure to sign up for a Google AdWords account. It is completely free to do so, and will unlock additional data that you would not otherwise see.
Whilst this tool does a great job of displaying keyword traffic and potential commerciality (via estimated AdWords Cost Per Click (CPC) data), it gives you no real idea of the competition of any given keyword.
What it does do though, it does well – just type in the keyword you want to investigate, go through the pesky CAPTCHA process, and Google will spit out hundreds of related keywords, all with traffic and CPC data. From this list, you can start to investigate potentially profitable keywords.
SEO Quake (Free)
This is a powerful plugin, available for Firefox and Chrome (with betas also available for Opera and Safari, if you are so inclined). If you’re still using Internet Explorer, this would be as good a reason as any to make the switch and never look back.
The best way to illustrate the usefulness of SEO Quake is to show you some screen shots:
As you can see, the plugin fetches a whole load of useful data, line by line, in Google search results. But that is barely the beginning – SEO Quake has more features than you can shake a stick at (if you are generally inclined to shake sticks at things). Check out this random screenshot from dictionary.com:
There is some interesting stuff to take note of here. You can see the active website’s vital statistics listed along the top of the window. Also, “nofollow” links are crossed out for your easy reference (check out Siobhan’s article here if the word “nofollow” has left you scratching your head).
There are plenty of other features for you to explore when you download SEO Quake. I do have two gripes however:
- Google tends to get unhappy with you when you use it, and demands a CAPTCHA every time you submit a search query (luckily, you can disable the plugin when you’re not getting your keyword research on).
- The results in those little status bars you see tend to take quite a while to load.
Having said that, these two gripes are minor and shouldn’t stop you from downloading SEO Quake and getting jiggy with it.
Rank Checker (Free)
Don’t you love things that just work? Rank Checker is a handy little Firefox plugin that does exactly what it says on the tin.
If you are getting into keyword research and would like to know how you are faring on any given Search Engine Results Page (SERP), you have just met your new best friend.
It couldn’t be easier to use – just enter your chosen keywords and domain, hit “Start”, and you’re on your way! Rank Checker will pull your position from whichever search engines you desire and will tell you exactly which page on your site is being ranked. There are also plenty of extra features you can fiddle with to refine your results.
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Market Samurai (Paid)
The final two tools I am going to talk to you about will both set you back some notes. They are included in the list with good reason though. Whilst the above tools are wonderful (and most importantly, free), if you are willing to invest some cash, you can look forward to fully consolidated features and extra widgets that will have you drooling (if you’re a bit of a geek like me, that is).
Market Samurai is our first port of call. This bad boy does everything. It will even wake you up in the morning with a steaming hot cup of coffee. Well, maybe not, but it does have a bunch of great features.
This piece of software warrants an article in itself so I won’t get too carried away, but Market Samurai is a one-stop shop for keyword research, competition analysis, domain name checking, rank checking, and much more. I’m going to throw some screen shots at you to give you a flavor of what it is capable of.
Whilst Market Samurai isn’t cheap (it retails for $149 at the time of writing), you can use it on a completely risk-free 14 day trial. And if you choose to buy the software within the 14 days, you can make major savings on the retail price. I unfortunately prevaricated and had to pay full-whack – silly me.
Please note that this software is still in the beta stage of development. It is bug-prone at times and can be slow. However, the updates come thick and fast and it is constantly being improved upon.
Here’s a beginner’s guide to Market Samurai for you to take a look at:
Long Tail Pro (Paid)
Last but certainly not least, we have a piece of software that has only just been released. It is the brainchild of niche site expert Spencer Hawes of Niche Pursuits. Spencer is making a very comfortable living out of niche sites, and as such he is a master of keyword research. However, he goes about his busienss in a very specific way. A way that was not conducive to speed of search in the tools that were already available.
So, as you do, he went out there and developed his own product to suit his needs. If I were to draw a direct comparison between this and Market Samurai, I would not be able to say if it is any better or worse. It is simply different (oh, and cheaper, at $97). The most obvious advantage that it has over Market Samurai is that you can search for a lot of keywords very quickly. If you are a niche site guru wannabe and have keyword ideas coming out of your ears, then Long Tail Pro could be right up your alley.
Unfortunately, Spencer does not offer a “try before you buy” deal, so you can’t get your dirty mitts on Long Tail Pro before you buy it. He does however demonstrate the tool in detailed videos, which should give you more than enough information for you to decide whether or not it is for you.
Take a look at Spencer’s introduction to Long Tail Pro:
There’s plenty to keep you occupied above. If you want to go down the free route then you can certainly get by. As I said previously, you absolutely do not need to invest in a keyword tool to start ranking in Google. Having said that, it can make your life easier.
So, have a dabble and let me know what you think in the comments section below! Or alternatively, if you have your own suggestions for tools that should have made it on the list, feel free to berate me!