Keyword research is one of the pillars of search engine optimization. Through this, you can find a good, profitable niche, all the while covering its related markets. With these data at hand, you can rank well in search engines.
Remember, the first result generated by search engines earn as much as 18% of all the clicks. This is superb in comparison to the second and third results, which only generate 10% and 7% of clicks respectively. While the differences may look small, ranking high can help you attract thousands, if not millions of potential customers.
Given the importance of keyword research to SEO, you need to find a tool that best suits your goals.
Below are reviews of the 3 Most Popular Keyword Research Tools in the market: Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz.
Ahrefs is a program that helps you rank higher and get more website traffic – without being an SEO pro. While it is known for its many tools, its keyword explorer shines from all the rest. Here, you can discover thousands of keyword ideas, analyze their ranking difficulty, and calculate their traffic potential.
a. Numerous Keyword Suggestions
If you have been working on improving your website for far too long, then you probably have had the unfortunate problem of running out of keyword ideas. This won’t be your problem with Ahrefs, as it has a database of more than 7 billion keywords. Since these are refreshed monthly, you can always get hold of new keyword suggestions.
b. Accurate Search Volume
Ahrefs utilizes clickstream data to refine its search volumes monthly, so you get the latest trends as soon as they develop.
c. Keyword Difficulty Scoring
With this feature, you can learn how hard it might be for you to rank on a certain keyword.
d. Clicks Metric
Ahrefs gives you a preview of the estimated number of clicks per keyword.
e. Parent Topic
If you want a single page on your website to rank highly for different keywords, then you’ll love this parent topic feature. It can help you rank for a specific keyword – as well as a more general keyword.
f. Optimization for 10 Other Search Engines
While Google is the best-known search engine on the planet, there are others more like it. If you want to get optimized for Bing and Baidu, among many others, then Ahrefs can help you out with this.
g. Advanced SEO Metrics
Ahrefs shows you various helpful metrics, including clicks per search, return rate, click percentage, paid click percentage, etc.
h. SERP Overview
Here, you can take a peek of the ranking history of the top web results in your niche. Armed with this knowledge, you can understand how SERPs work, which you can use to your website’s advantage.
i. Keyword Lists
Save the keywords you have looked up previously for future reference.
j. Multi-Country Support
Even if you are not from the US, you can still work with Ahrefs. After all, it offers support to 171 countries (and counting).
How to Use
To use Ahrefs, all you need to do is:
- Type in your seed keywords. You can go for a monetization first approach or niche down approach – whatever tickles your fancy.
- Generate keyword ideas. You can do so by checking the keywords you rank for or the keywords your competitors are ranking for.
- Understand your keyword metrics. You should consider search volume, clicks, cost per click, keyword difficulty, and traffic potential when you do so.
- Group your keyword list by parent topic, intent, and business value.
- Prioritize which keyword you would like to use first or frequently.
Ahrefs offers 4 plans:
At $99 a month ($82 per month annually), this 1-user program allows for 5 projects. As with the other plans, you need to pay an additional $30 for another user and $10 for each new project.
At $179 a month ($149 per month annually), it comes with the same features as Lite, though it allows 10 projects instead of 5. You also get 700 keyword reports per week, 20 keyword lists, and 1,000 SERP updates a month.
At $399 a month ($332 per month annually), the Advanced plan allows for 3 users and 25 projects. The reports per week are doubled compared to Standard (1,400), while you get 100 keyword lists and 5,000 monthly SERP updates.
With 5 users and 100 projects, the Agency plan comes with a hefty price of $999 a month (only $832 monthly if paid every year). This also allows for 7,000 weekly reports, 250 keyword lists, and 20,000 monthly SERP updates.
a. Generates Thousands of Ideas
Even if you are working on a small niche, you can get tons of ideas with the help of Ahrefs. Its keyword explorer provides you with thousands of ideas through 6 ways:
- Phrase match, which contains your target keyword
- Same terms, where you get ideas that have all the terms in your target keyword
- “Also rank for”, which provides keywords that help websites rank higher in search engines
- Search suggestions, which include target keyword queries done via “autocomplete”
- Newly discovered or recent keyword additions
- Questions or keywords in the form of a question statement
b. Various Filters
Ahrefs has various filters that allow you to find and filter keywords by difficulty, search volume, SERP features, and many other specifications.
c. Multiple Keyword Entries
You don’t need to type keywords one by one with Ahrefs. It can analyze up to 10,000 words on one go. Once you do so, you can easily see the search volumes for these keywords.
Most Ahrefs users agree that this keyword tool can be difficult to use. Because the platform is so sophisticated, you may need to take some time before you could fully grasp all of its wonderful features.
b. Paid Trial
Compared to other keyword research tools, you need to pay $7 to try the program for 7 days. You can either try the Lite or Premium plan for a week and if you like it, you can go ahead and pay for it.
SEMrush is an all-in-one marketing toolkit for digital marketing professionals. It offers solutions for agencies, enterprises, and e-commerce websites alike. With its more than 5 million users, SEMrush has been able to generate 19 billion rank-boosting keywords.
One of its strongest suits is its keyword research feature. Here, you can make a quick and comprehensive analysis of keywords, so you get the latest trends on organic and paid searches.
a. Top Keyword Search
With the SEMrush keyword overview tool, you can learn more about search volumes, trends, keyword suggestions, and other important info regarding organic and paid research.
Other data you can get through this include SEO and PPC metrics, ad copies, and countries where the keyword ranks highly. With these details, you can create an SEO campaign that you could accurately analyze for both desktop and mobile searches.
b. Phrase Matches and Related Keywords
If you want to heighten your web visibility, then you need to learn more about alternate search queries that are related to the keyword you have entered. SEMrush can help you with this by analyzing domains that rank in the first 100 Google searches. Not only do you get the exact keywords for these webpages, but you also get a list of related keywords.
With this program, you can also check a list of synonyms and variations related to the keyword/s in question. That way, you get an endless source of keywords for your SEO project.
c. Advertising Trends
SEMrush has an ad history report where you can check for keywords that were used for paid search. At the same time, you also get to learn more about the number of times it was used for an ad. As such, you get a timetable of how long these ads have been running – and the texts that have been used for the campaign. By knowing ad traffic, price, and positions, you get a better understanding of proper bids.
c. SERP for Other Webpages
Are you curious as to how your competitor got the number 1 spot in Google? With SEMrush, you can learn how such a page managed to grab the top spot.
The keyword overview tool allows you to determine the page’s authority score, its referring domains and backlinks, its estimated organic traffic, the keywords that were used, and more. Armed with these details, you can make the necessary adjustments to make your website rank higher.
How to Use
Using SEMrush is as easy as entering the keywords or phrases in the search bar. These can be analyzed through the keyword magic tool main table, as well as manual or organic importation. After clicking enter, you get the results.
The response usually covers keyword search volume, result numbers, volume trends, CPC, and competition level, to name a few. You can also click the update metrics to see top competitors and click potential.
With the help of these figures, you could:
- Examine any keyword in the SEMrush database
- Determine a keyword’s estimated value and competition
- Get a bird’s eye view of deeper keyword research reports in the software
- Transmit keywords from Bulk Analysis to the Keyword Manager
SEMrush keyword manager also allows you to send keywords to other tools, such as Position Tracking or the PPC keyword program.
Should you need to take a look at these keywords again, you only need to check the search history (previously known as lists) to access them. The list feature is not available in the free plan, but those with the Pro, Guru, and Business plans can have 50 of these.
You can choose from any of SEMrush’s 3 plans:
The Pro plan is created for freelancers and marketers with limited budgets. At $99.95 a month ($83.28 if paid yearly), you can get hold of 40 advanced tools. This can help you determine your competitors’ rankings, traffic sources, and social media results, to name a few.
The Guru plan, on the other hand, is best for small to medium businesses with growing markets. This plan, which costs $199.95 monthly ($166.62 on an annual plan), comes with a content marketing platform, branded reports, historical data, and extended limits.
If you run an agency or a business with an extensive web presence, then you would benefit from SEMrush’s Business plan. At $399.95 a month ($333.28 on an annual plan), you get white label reports, API access, Google Data Studio integration, and extended limits/sharing options.
a. Intensive Keyword Research
With the help of SEMrush, you can get a thorough and comprehensive keyword analysis. As such, it can help you pick the best keywords/phrases for your niche.
b. Paid Advertising and Keyword Tool Reports
Keyword research is vital for most things, including pay per click campaigns. SEMrush allows you to make the most out of Google Ad Words and Bing Ads. It also informs you about keyword rating difficulties, as well as long-tail keywords that are more likely to work to your advantage.
c. Free 7-Day Trial
SEMrush offers a free week-long trial for users who want to try its keyword research tool. All you need to do is sign up and you can use the platform right away.
a. Intricate User Interface
If you are a beginner in the world of keyword research, then you may find it hard to use SEMrush. After all, its user interface is not as ‘friendly’ like that of other tools. You need to take it out for a spin and study its features well if you want to make the most out of this program.
b. Exhaustive Keyword List
While it’s more the merrier, you might find it laborious to go through SEMrush’s extensive keyword list and management database. It will take you some time to comb through these lists, much more manage them!
Moz is all about delivering higher rankings quality traffic for measurable results. With Moz’s all-in-one suite of SEO tools, you don’t have to be a tech expert. After all, it can provide you with the right keywords – even custom reports – among many other vital outputs.
Through the Moz Keyword Explorer, you can search for the best keywords on the web. For one, it has a repository of about 500 million suggestions, with 180 million fresh-ranking keywords generated from 170 search engines.
a. Keyword Analysis by Search Volume
Moz Keyword Explorer enables you to predict the search volume of a certain keyword with 95% accuracy.
b. Keyword Listings
With Moz Keyword Explorer, you can generate and save keyword lists efficiently. It has a comprehensive scoring feature that allows you to prioritize a keyword by topic. Then again, you can always focus on a certain niche for keyword planning.
c. Data Exporting
Once you get a list of your keywords, you can go ahead and export these suggestions into well-formatted, metric-rich CSVs.
d. Question Format Keywords
Targeting long-tail keywords is one of the best ways to rank highly in search engine results. With Moz, you can get question format keywords – and its related topics.
e. Predictive Keyword Metrics
Want to know your ranking chances and possible website traffic? With Moz’s predictive keyword metrics, you’re updated with the scores of keyword difficulty and organic click-through rates.
f. SERP Detail Review
Are you curious about how search engines rank websites? Good thing Moz offers a SERP detail review, so you could analyze the elements and data per position.
g. Keyword Difficulty Checking
With Moz, you can check which keywords rank easily – and which would take you quite some time to break Google’s 1st page of results.
h. Global SEO Analysis
If you want to get more customers, then you must make your website more visible to the international community. Moz gives you this opportunity by providing keyword suggestions and ranking keywords per country.
i. Competitive Keyword Analysis
Apart from knowing the keywords that boost your site rankings, Moz also gives you a peek of your competitor’s most valuable keywords.
How to Use
For best results, you can create a Moz account where you can easily access Keyword Explorer, among many other SEO tools. Just make sure to verify your e-mail so you could get keyword analysis, suggestions, and more.
Once you have logged onto the Moz Keyword Explorer, all you need to do is type in a URL or keyword/s. Voila! You can see the best results for your SEO project.
Moz offers 4 plans:
If you are an SEO newbie or just want the basics, then this plan is perfect for you. It costs $99 a month, or $79 monthly if taken on an annual contract.
This is Moz’s most popular plan as it provides full access to keyword research tools. This costs $149 monthly or $119 on an annual payment basis.
If you belong to an agency or business that takes search engine rankings seriously, then Moz’s Large plan is what you need. This will cost you $199 a month if paid annually. If not, you need to shell out $249 every month.
For big SEO-focused agencies and in-house marketing groups, the Premium package provides the best bang for the buck. While it regularly costs $599 a month, clients can avail of it at only $479 monthly through a yearly plan.
a. Helpful Data Points
While you only get relevancy and monthly volume in the keyword suggestions interface, Moz works on other metrics that provide a better context. With this tool, you can learn more about the following:
- Rank, or where the URL ranks for a certain keyword in search engine results.
- Monthly volume, or how often a certain keyword is looked up in search engines every month.
- Difficulty, so you know how hard (100) or easy (0) it is for you to rank higher in search engine results.
- Opportunity, where you see the estimated relative click-through rate of a keyword amongst the organic web results.
- My Score, where you learn the keywords that you should best prioritize.
b. Improved Filter
In the early days, Moz came with a drop-down menu where you had to tick boxes individually to see certain volume ranges. If you don’t do this every search, you will end up with N/A for results. Fortunately, Moz had the initiative to change this filter to a simple slider that is indeed easier to use.
c. 30-Day Free Trial
Want to take Moz out for a spin? You can easily do so with the program’s 30-day free trial. With this, you get access to SEO data, a full suite of SEO tools, personalized onboarding, online support, and valuable advice from industry experts.
With Moz’s free trial, you need not worry about commitments as you can cancel anytime. You even get a reminder 7 days before the end of the free trial, so you can decide if you want to push through with a Moz plan or not.
a. Non-Intuitive Keyword List Interface
Apart from keyword suggestions, the only way you can place keywords in the list is to go through an exhaustive keyword compilation. Another option is to scroll down the “Add more keywords” below. You could also upload a CSV or paste a list. While these are a lot of options, it can be laborious for most users.
b. One Seed Term Keyword Suggestion Look-Up
If you are like most SEO experts who have multiple tabs open for keyword research, then Moz isn’t for you. Compared to other keyword tools, you can only research one seed term in every keyword suggestion.
While there are many keyword research tools out there, the 3 that stand out the most are Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz. Each has its own set of strengths and weakness.
Although cost is a primary consideration amongst many users, you should look into each program’s features well. Can they help make the act of keyword research easier? Can they provide you with keywords that have the best SEO opportunities? It is important to have a program that responds to your every need.
Remember, a free program is usually devoid of the most important aspects, and as such could hamper your website’s ability to rank higher in search engines. With that being said, you must devote some of your money to keyword research. As to how much, that will depend on you.
With the help of these keywords and phrases, you can rank higher and attract more website traffic. True enough, getting the right keywords (with the help of keyword research tools) can help you generate more money from your website!