Comparing the Premium Keyword Tools vs Free Keyword Tool Options: A Critical Look at 7 Criteria
When I started doing keyword research I went in pretty blind–but lucky I’ve learned quickly that great keyword research can make or break an seo campaign. One particular area this focuses on is the area of keyword tools and latent semantic indexing (LSI). For most purposes keyword data drives your content optimization strategy. Its important to know what people are looking for and then adapting your approach so that it a) listens to Google and b) listens to what your potential customers are actually searching for:
Keyword Data Accuracy. Its ability to provide accurate data. Wordtracker is said to have better keyword data than Keyword discovery. Also, the search engines theoretically should have the best data since its their data in the first place.
Latent Semantic Indexing Its ability to provide latent semantic indexing which mirrors the search engines algorithms. Merely giving you synonyms is probably not comparatively as helpful as providing actual LSI data from the search engines. Four free tools in this area are:
• Go Rank Ontology Tool
• Google Sets
• Quintura search engine
• Google sets
• Clusty shows results in word subject clusters
• Google search suggest that shows up at the end of search results (as well as during the search process when you search from the main Google search page)
At the moment Google sets is usually my one stop shop for latent semantic indexing. One other clue is to look some of the competition at the top of the rankings or to get a directory or outline of information related to your subject matter.
I’m curious if its better to use the large or small results from Google sets and when it might be appropriate to use one over the other. I’m also curious if there is any other tool that is as good as the Google set? Is Google sets alone sufficient? Finally if you are trying to rank for a 2 word phrase, is it best to do separate searches for each phrase: for instance “Nashville SEO” is not likely to show much related to BOTH terms–it seems best to do at least two searches in this case.
Ability to Find Longtail Keywords. I think this may be overrated in some cases. The free question tool from Wordtracker is one easy way to get long tail key phrases.
Ability to Get Printed Spreadsheet of Data. Most all of the main premium keyword data. May alone be worth saving 2 hours a month cutting and pasting for a tool like Wordtracker or Wordze. SEO Book keyword tool has this for free.
Ability to Find Competitors and Their Keywords. I don’t know what wordtracker and keyword discovery have in this regard. However Spy Fu has a free option that is incredibly helpful. It is indispensible to your keyword research for both paid search and organic search based marketing.
Relative Competitiveness of Keywords: This is also called KEI. Unfortunately, most KEI scores just assume the number of pages attempting to rank for a page.
Price of the Keyword Tool. Price really isn’t that important in the over scope of things. Once you distribute the cost of a premium keyword tool over a 30 day period most range from $1 to $2.50. The difference isn’t all that great. For all tools under $100, price is almost irrelevant if you are serious about your search engine optimization.
I plan to revisit this post in the near term. If you have anything to add or if you disagreee, please feel free to comment. We hear a lot about long tail keywords, however I’m curious if a bigger discussion should be had over latent semantic indexing and LSI. What do you think of the free and premium keyword tools? Which keyword tools are your favorite(s) (free and premium)?