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Paid & Subscription-Based Keyword Research Tools

Lisa Raehsler
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Insight into what people are searching for in popular search engines is the cornerstone to a successful search engine marketing strategy. While several free keyword tools are available, paid and subscription-based services tend to offer more analysis, competitive data, support, and extra features not available for free.

SEMRush

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SEMrush provides data on keywords for both organic and PPC with a phrase match report, related keywords, and organic results to find relevant keywords.

Related keywords can be found that reveal queries that are similar. For example, a query for "flowers" may yield "roses", "floral", "mother day gifts".

SEMrush offers reports on common keywords used by both your domain and your competitors'. Common keywords are available for competitors who use the same organic keywords and in AdWords.

SEO data shows keywords websites gets traffic from in the Google search engine results pages including their keyword positions, number of queries per month, relative costs, and more.

Limited data is available to view for free, but a subscription upgrades accessibility to $10k results. Plans start at $69 per month.

Keywordspy

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Keywordspy provides related keywords, search volume, and CPC along with a list of competitors’ and their keywords. One unique feature of this offering is a keyword research tool that identifies the most common misspellings for popular keywords that lead to your site. Misspelled keywords can help to find pockets of opportunity in a saturated market and a potential advantage over competition.

KeywordSpy offers a free lifetime trial account with subscription packages starting at $89 per month.

Wordtracker

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Wordtracker is an easy to use SEO keyword tools designed for everyone, regardless of their experience. Data provided includes search volume and SEO competition, with additional data points to make it meaningful.

For example, the Keyword Efficiency Index (KEI), an easy-to-understand figure that uses volume and competition, shows an upfront appraisal of each keyword's potential. "live competition” shows a real-time measurement of how well-optimized websites are that rank for those keywords.

In addition to access to Google keyword data, Wordtracker uses their own data set, from some of the smaller search engines like metacrawler.com and dogpile.com.

Keyword research can be used to create a keyword map to assist in structuring your website in a keyword-rich way.

A 7-day free trial is available, then subscription plans start at $69.

Wordstream

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Wordstream is a PPC management platform but offers a free keyword tool that focuses mainly on longtail keywords. The tool accesses search data from ISPs enabling them to report on a large number of results. Searches shown are more granular and longtail than those found through the Google keyword tool.

Their niche finder tool breaks down the keywords into classifications or “niche” groupings, by using semantic analysis of the keywords. Founder and CTO Larry Kim explains “it groups keywords seeming to have similar intent despite spelling differences”. The results are that keywords segmented into smaller grouping makes them more understandable and actionable for integration into a PPC account.

A negative keywords tool helps advertisers to proactively weed out the irrelevant keywords. From keyword suggestions, mark them as relevant or not.

Try keyword tools for free and then subscribe for $329 for one year.

Experian Hitwise

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Experian Hitwise's Search Intelligence tool provides organic and paid search insights powered by consumer search behavior. Refine keyword level performance by determining the variations and performance of specific terms.

One unique feature is the Search Term Sequence Report. This shows search queries that occur before and after a selected keyword. This provides insights as to where consumers may be in a buying process by their keyword searches. Advertisers can use this to reach consumers at each point in the buying funnel.

Another unique feature is Gap Analysis which identifies ‘gaps’ in the search campaigns by comparing two sets of search term data and highlighting missed opportunities for PPC campaigns.

Free trials not available on the website.

SpyFu

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SpyFu offers keyword tools suitable for PPC and SEO with a strong emphasis on keywords competitors are using. Keyword SmartSearch provides new keyword ideas with CPC range, search volume, negative matches, exact terms, and more. Keyword Groupie tool sorts keywords into manageable groups for PPC management or content mapping for SEO.

Keyword ideas can be mined and refined by a filtering functionality that allows you to define conditions, such as daily search volume, minimum cost per day, or number of words in the query. Using operators and terms similar to what you can do in a Google search (+, -, ~ and ranges) allow you to build a very targeted list.

30-day free trials then various product packages start at $79 per month.

HubSpot

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HubSpot is a comprehensive inbound marketing software that provides some search engine optimization tools. The Keyword SEO Tool lets you analyze keywords, increase rankings, and calculate search ROI. See which keywords you rank for and track your rank over time.

Software shows a “difficulty score” to separate the easier opportunities from the most competitive and difficult terms. When you find words that are too difficult, HubSpot will suggest long-tail variations to help maximize your chances of ranking.


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