Keyword research is the foundation of any SEO campaign, and it is the most important factor of SEO. Without the right keywords, you can waste your time optimizing for keyword phrases that a) are too difficult to rank for or b) are rarely searched for. With keyword research, we determine which phrases are best for our site; but what keyword research tool is best?
The way I see it, there are three main keyword phrase research tools: Wordtracker, Trellian, and the Google Adwords tool. Wordtracker and Trellian have a free trial version, but to use their in-depth tool you must pay approximately $70 per month. The Google Adwords tool is free.
After researching the accuracy of each keyword research tool by comparing actual hits to predicted hits, I’ve made a few discoveries.
Trellian: At no time was Trellian remotely near the actual hit value.
Wordtracker: Wordtracker was spotty with its results, sometimes being fairly accurate and sometimes dramatically underestimating the number of daily searches for a keyword phrase.
Google Adwords tool: To determine daily hits, the monthly results were divided by 31. This was perhaps the most accurate of the tools, but, like Wordtracker, it was spotty, sometimes providing inaccurate data and sometimes being right on.
I always recommend cross-referencing all keyword phrase research, and it’s probably a good idea to utilize all three programs during your research. If you have to choose two tools, I’d recommend Adwords and Wordtracker, and if you have to choose one tool, go with the Google Adwords tool (because it’s free and just as effective as Wordtracker). If you don’t want to pay for your keyword research, all three programs provide free versions. I’d recommend using the results of each program relatively. If, for instance, keyword phrase A recieves 100 daily hits and another keyword phrase B receives 25 daily hits, on any of the research tools, you can assume keyword phrase A receives four times as many daily searches.
Geoff Hoesch is owner of Dragonfly SEO, a Baltimore SEO company.