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Product Review: Long Tail Pro (Keyword Research Tool)

Let me know if you’ve ever said one of these things to yourself:

“I want to start a site, but have no idea what I should write about.”

“I’ve run out of article ideas. I need more content to generate traffic, but I don’t know what to write about anymore.”

Sound familiar? They should. Both of these statements happen to everyone.

I recently tested a tool that can help. It’s called Long Tail Pro. It’s keyword research software — that’s a fancy way of saying that it searches through keywords, giving you insight into similar keywords, along with their competition level and how hard it would be to rank on the first page.

Yeah, that sounds pretty handy.

To be fair, most of what you can do with Long Tail Pro you could do manually with Google’s keyword-planning tool. The value is in the fact that the software automates the process, speeding it up dramatically while also searching out little niches that you may not have thought about, bringing them to your attention.

There’s a lot of value in knowing about these smaller niches and keywords. While competition can be fierce for top keywords, these smaller keywords (known as long tail keywords) can add up to serious traffic.

So to see exactly what we can do with Long Tail Pro, we just put the software through its paces. If you’re interested in knowing what you can do, we’ve mapped out how to use it below.

Creating a Campaign on Long Tail Pro

After signing up for a 10-day trial (no credit card required!) and downloading the software, you’ll open up Long Tail Pro and be asked to create a new project. It will ask you to sign into your Google account (it uses Google’s Keyword Planner for some information).

Here you’ll name your project and choose some starting criteria. Most importantly, you select the search engine that you want to work with. This is the search engine that the software will scour to bring back all its data. Since Google is the most important site for search, there’s not much sense in beginning your search with anything else.

In this case, we recently found some attractive affiliate programs for travel insurance companies and have considered creating a niche site in the field. Therefore, we began a new project to research the topic.

LTP start

Once you have your project named, it’s time to get started. There are two paths you can go. If you only know a top-level keyword that you’re interested in, then fill it in as a “seed keyword.” This tells the program to build off of that keyword (you can put in multiple seed keywords). It will then go through and create a list of hundreds of keywords for each seed you put in.

If you already know exactly which keywords you want to study, then you can select to “Add My Own Keywords.” For instance, if you have an ongoing site you can put in the most popular search phrases that bring people to you for research.

Keyword starts

In this case, we simply put in “travel insurance” as a seed keyword to kick things off. Once you start searching it takes a while to return all the results — typically about 5-10 minutes.

The Initial Keyword Results

Here’s a look at what Long Tail Pro will return. If you have trouble seeing everything, click the image to make it larger.

Results list
What does all this data mean?

Keywords: The first thing you’ll see is that the software automatically returns hundreds of results for keywords. This is one of the most valuable features. Instead of trying to brainstorm ideas, you’ll see hundreds of similar ideas in the same niche. This is especially helpful if you are trying to come up with keywords to target for blog posts outside of your main keyword.

Suggested Bid: If you were planning to bid on a keyword, Long Tail Pro returns Google’s suggested bid to rank for that keyword. We have no idea as to the accuracy of these bids, but they seem high based on first impression.

Still, this gives you a better sense of how much you might earn per click (publishers receive 68% of the amount per click; Google receives the rest). Obviously, the higher the bid, the more money you could earn from Google Adsense.

Local Searches: This data is pulled from Google and gives the average monthly searches specifically for that keyword in your country (in this case, the United States). Frankly, we think these numbers are low, even though they are supplied by Google.

For example, 60,500 searches per month comes out to just 2,000 searches a day for “travel insurance.” Considering how many people travel on a daily basis, that’s hard to believe. What’s more important is the comparative size between the searches. You can get a better sense for which keywords are more popular and by how large a margin.

Advertiser Competition: This is pretty simple — are there a lot of people advertising for the keyword? If you’re a content publisher interested in earning ad revenue, you obviously want to focus on niches where competition is high, which helps push up advertising rates.

Domain Availability: If you’re interested in building a niche around a keyword, finding a keyword-rich domain name is a definite plus. Long Tail Pro will automatically search if a domain matching that keyword is available. This quickly allows you to see if there is an opportunity to purchase a URL.

Average Keyword Competitiveness: This is a proprietary measure that the software calculates for the difficulty of ranking on the first page of search results. You can see the breakdown of everything that goes into this ranking below. It factors in links, site age, page authority, and a lot more.

First page results

The result is a number from 0-100 that is a quick measure of how tough it is to get on the first page. If you’re super interested in what goes into the number, check out their articles on it here.

Anything above 70 is considered extremely difficult to rank for. If you’re building a niche website, you’re really looking for any number below 30.

You can see that travel insurance is extremely competitive with a score of 72. But that’s the beauty of Long Tail Pro. We have more than 800 keywords can we look at to see if something might be easier to rank in Google, while still offering high traffic.

Rank Checker

There’s one last piece of the Long Tail Pro software that’s pretty handy. You can check your rank (or a competitor’s rank) for multiple keywords at once, without using Webmaster tools or going through search results manually.

The process is super simple. You type in the website you want to search and the keyword, and the software returns the ranking across Yahoo, Bing, and Google. Here’s a search we did for Yahoo.com’s ranking for the keyword Justin Bieber:

Rank checker

Using Long Tail Pro Results to Make Money

So all the information within Long Tail Pro is great to look at. We found ourselves spending hours scouting it all out and finding cool niches. But how can you actually put it to use?

Let’s walk through an example.

In my travel insurance search, I found that the keyword “Travel Insurance” is pretty difficult to break into, with the software giving it a score of 72 (remember, anything above 70 is considered extremely difficult to rank for).

But using the program filters, you can search to find if there is a keyword niche that has a decent amount of searches, pays well for advertising, and isn’t as competitive.

One of the cool things is that you can filter results to pinpoint opportunities. Here, I put on some quick filters. First, I narrowed the 800 keywords down to just those between 1,000 and 5,000 monthly searches. Any fewer searches, and it’s likely not worth the time to create a site. Any more searches, and you are bound to run into more competition.

The second thing I did was place the filter for Keyword Competitiveness to show me anything under 35, which Long Tail Pro classifies as having low to moderate competition.

Instantly the 800 keywords are narrowed down to just six:

Niche ideas

In other words, in the span of about 15 minutes we found details on six keywords that we can explore further or build niche sites around. That’s amazing.

Should You Buy Long Tail Pro?

We love Long Tail Pro, but have to admit we haven’t bought it. The 10-day free trial is amazing and we’ve been running all sorts of searches for niches to focus on. The thing is that it’s expensive — especially for a tool that we’ll only use occasionally.

Long Tail Pro comes in either a $37 monthly subscription or a $352 annual subscription. Given that it’s something we wouldn’t use every day (only when researching), it’s tough to swallow that price. If it were $37 total, we’d buy it in a heartbeat.

Still, you may think otherwise. At the very least you should take advantage of the 10-day trial and get your feet wet with this awesome piece of software.

Have you used Long Tail Pro? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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