Whether you’re a webmaster, SEO or online advertiser, a comprehensive, well-researched list of keywords is crucial to your success. Most people are familiar with the popular and free Overture keyword tool, however periodic performance issues and vague rumblings from Yahoo about dropping support have sent folks scurrying for other options.
At present, the Overture tool still appears to be alive and well. But, should it happen to disappear, don’t worry – not only is there life after Overture, but once you try the alternatives you’ll rarely go back to the original!
Data Source: Yahoo and Yahoo search partners. Data is refreshed monthly, results only cover the previous month’s searches.
Benefits: Fast and easy to use (when it’s not timing out).
Limitations: Search terms with singular, plurals and typos of the same words are combined in the results. Resulting data often skewed by other webmasters doing research, and the short time frame of the data means that some terms will show spikes in search activity due to seasonal trends and front page news headlines.
Originally part of Yahoo Search Marketing, this standalone keyword generator is free, popular and easy-to-use. Just type your keyword into the box to get a list of searched terms containing that keyword along with the number of searches done last month. Click on any one of the results to mine deeper.
At this writing the Overture is performing fairly well (though it has its bad days) and data is being refreshed monthly as usual. Yahoo has mentioned the possibility of dropping support for it sometime in the future.
Cost: Ranges from 1 week unlimited access for $27 to an annual subscription rate of $275. Free, limited-feature “test drive” and a simple, free keyword tool are available.
Data Source: Metasearch databases, overture data also available.
Benefits: Manage keyword projects for multiple sites and ad campaigns, check keyword bid prices and compare number of searches to the number of competing pages. Lateral and thesaurus searches. Separate data for singular and plural terms and typos. Export results to text or Excel.
Limitations: Small sample of data.
Wordtracker has been a favorite of online advertisers, webmasters, seo’s and affiliate marketers for some time and with good reason. Feed it one simple word or phrase and it almost always comes back with hundreds or even thousands of related keywords and phrases, along with bid price data and ratios of searches to competing pages. Manage your results as projects or export to a spreadsheet for further analysis. Project data is stored in your account even for sometime after your subscription expires, so if you want to use Wordtracker for just a month every now and then you can continue where you left off!
When Overture started having timeout issues, Wordtracker began offering a free keyword tool – similar to overture, however its limited to 100 results and with adult terms filtered. If you want to try Wordtracker, I highly recommend you take the full product for a spin with their very-affordable 1 week subscription.
Cost: Subscriptions start at $69.95/month ($47.50/month if you pay for a year in advance). A very limited free tool is available.
Data Source: Data is from search engine logs and collected directly from browsers by “other sources”.
Benefits: A bit pricier than the others.
Limitations: Lacks some of the project management features of Wordtracker.
Let me start by saying that, while all these tools have their benefits, I personally like KeywordDiscovery best of all. With a database of 32 BILLION searches from all popular search engines, ebay and regional search data, all with a low amount of “skew”, and nifty features like keyword density analysis, thesaurus, keyword permutations, keyword translation, phonetic matching and (domainers will love this …) even typo searches, KeywordDiscovery’s features are hard to beat. You will pay for the privilege though, with a single month’s subscription currently running $69.95.
So the question becomes: Is it worth it? If you have some experience in keyword research and want to take your keyword mining to the next level, the answer is a resounding yes! If however you’re new to keyword game, you may want to cut your teeth on one of the less costly options first.
KeywordDiscovery offers a free keyword tool also – like Wordtracker’s, it’s limited to 100, no-frills results (initially, the typo search was included – apparently an oversight because it was quickly disabled) – just a toy compared to their paid product.
Data Source: Google search data
Benefits: You can also use this tool to research bid prices and advertiser volume, view related keywords containing your term and/or its synonyms, display site-related keywords for your own or competing sites and view a histogram of seasonal trends. You can tailor the results to show data in other languages and from other countries.
Limitations: Coy about their data as always, Google provides only general approximations (“low”, “average”, “high”, “very high”) rather than the actual number of searches. Bid prices also seem to be approximations – bids needed to activate keywords are often higher than shown.
Though not quite as much of a “no-brainer” to use, Google’s stand-alone keyword tool is much more sophisticated than the Overture offering and has a wealth of features including some for basic competitive analysis. It also gives you the ability to bulk research several key phrases at once.
Google is notoriously close-mouthed about their search data – true to form, all they provide in this tool is a graph of approximate search volume. However if you’re looking for a versatile, free keyword tool and you’re not hopelessly addicted to cold, hard numbers, the Adwords tool is a very smart choice.
[tags]SEO, search engines, web marketing, internet marketing, affiliates, web development[/tags]