UPDATE: Keyword Strategy ceased to operate on March 28, 2013.
The following post includes some relevant discussion about keyword research in general but the review of Keyword Strategy can be ignored as the tool was withdrawn in March of 2013.
You can spend a lot of time writing wonderful posts and articles for your site, but if no-one is using the words and phrases that you have on your page then it is highly unlikely that you will get much traffic.These search terms (keywords) are like the gateway into your property (your web property).
The best way to find out what people are searching for is to use a really good keyword tool. Such a tool can help you identify keywords that have high search volumes with low competition. You can then use this knowledge to decide which terms to include on your web pages as part of your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy.
Keyword Research Analysis
There is endless debate among website developers, about how to best research keywords efficiently and effectively. Do you use broad match or exact match (yes) to analyze search volumes? Do you look at only the top 10 competing sites for a search term or do you look at how many sites have included the phrase in their title etc. etc.? There is equal debate about what constitutes a good keywords finder.
Keyword Research Tools – Free & Paid
There are a number of free SEO keyword tools available, such as the Google keyword suggestion tool, but this review is looking at a paid version called Keyword Strategy. This tool is the brain child of Fraser Cain who has become very well known for his success in driving massive amounts of traffic to his site. And he has probably become even better known in the post-Panda, post-Penguin era, mainly because his strategy of writing top-quality content, that invites natural links from other sites, has stood the test of time as well as the test of search algorithm scrutiny.
You can read volumes and volumes and blog post after blog post on how best to go about keyword research and analysis. So I guess I am simply adding to these volumes by writing this post, with the exception that I haven’t found lots and lots of reviews yet on Keyword Strategy. Nor have I seen posts that describe or outline, with statistics, the impact that using the tool has had on their traffic. You can find write-ups in the forum of the Keyword Strategy site and some select blog posts by both fans of the tool as well as by independent reviewers. So let’s hope this post helps those of you who have been spending a long time, as I did, trying to find some case studies on the tool’s use.
Keyword Strategy – Fraser Cain’s Tool
Fraser has openly described his take on how to do keyword research and how best to find keywords for SEO. His online tool, Keyword Strategy, is designed to automate the process and provides a number of analysis tools. As a plus he offers a 1 month free trial during which you can set up 2 websites (projects) and use the tool before deciding whether or not to take up the monthly membership.
So this is a review of what I think about the tool and my overall summation of its pros and cons at the end. I will update this post from time to time whenever I discover new features or if Fraser has added additional functionality to his tool, which happens from time to time.
What I Really Like About Keyword Strategy
- I really like the interface as shown above. It is very clearly set out with the 13 steps visible at the top of the screen which allows you to progress through the steps of connecting to our site, doing the keyword research and analyzing the tools’ findings.
- Fraser has provided a number of how-to videos which clearly explain the use of the tool.
- It utilizes Google keyword analysis, along with other data sources, to display the search volume of keywords in your database.
- The filters make it very easy to do long tail keyword research.
- If you wish to include only keyword phrases with 3 or more words, you can easily filter the 1 and 2 word phrases and then mark them to be blacklisted.
- You can use a variety of ways to get more keyword ideas and import them into your project. For example, you can go back to the Google keyword estimator and do additional searches and then import this list into your project.
- filters out terms with a keyword search volume less than the default monthly search volume (140) or a figure that you set yourself.
- filters out blacklisted keywords (ones that you don’t want to have in your list for consideration).
- filters out duplicate keywords (those that already exist in your database)
- The tagging option, as well as the grouping option, make it very easy to tackle niche keyword research or sub-categories within your overall theme.
I really like being able to filter my tagged words (e.g. “keyword research”) and then have them sitting on the screen to the side of my editing screen so that I can mark them off as I use them. The color coding that comes with selecting a row goes a long way towards making this process much easier.
- I like the Competition and KEI ratings. I know that Fraser would prefer that people take less notice of competition but old habits are hard to kick and I, like so many others, love to see a competition metric that can be summed up in a single figure and used as a filter.
- It comes with a Keyword Strategy linking plugin for WordPress sites. If you are setting up other sites, you can access the code to post into your pages. This plugin/code automatically links keywords in your articles, both new and existing, to other posts or pages that are relevant so that visitors can click through to additional content that is related. This also allows you to extend your readers’ interest, both content wise as well as length-of-stay wise.
- It links to your website to bring in new keywords and to make suggestions as to which pages should include recommended key word terms. I really love this option (pictured in the screen dump below). When you log in you can see at the top of your screen the latest suggestions for improvements. This could be a list of keywords that you could include on a particular page to drive more traffic to it. Or it could be that additional keywords have been found for your website so you can see this list and then decide to import all or some of them into your project.
Improvements I Would Like to See in Keyword Strategy
At first, I thought that the trial version was putting a limit on how many keyword searches you could get the tool to do for you. But, I was wrong.
So, back to the drawing board to see if I can find any suggested improvements for the tool to list here.
As you can see, my improvements list is far shorter than my “what I like” list (and now with this correction, it is down to zero(, but I may find others to add to this list as I use the tool more and more.
My Verdict on Keyword Strategy so Far
I have used and looked at many a keyword research tool. I have spent countless hours reading reviews on the best keyword research tools or the latest keyword generator software. However, what one offers, the other will often lack and vice versa. I haven’t found a one-does-all type tool so I have usually ended up using a keyword list generator as a starter and another to complete my keyword analysis research and even then I’m never quite sure if I am targeting the right list of keywords.
Do I think it is one of the best keyword research tools out there? I could never answer that honestly as I have only used a handful such as Long Tail Pro, Market Samurai and a number of free tools.
If you are just starting out, and your budget is a factor (as it is for most of us), then you will probably find the free Google Keyword Tool more than sufficient. If you have been operating online for some time, or you have been hit by the Panda/Penguin updates, then you might be ready to beef up your keyword analysis with a tool such as these.
Both Long Tail Pro (a one-off payment) and Market Samurai (a one-off payment with the option to subscribe to additional ranking data analysis) are impressive tools and again they each offer something slightly different than the other. Market Samurai is certainly more comprehensive than Long Tail Pro but it has had some issues with Google and is now using Bing for some of its analysis. Does that matter? Some say no, others say yes. I do like its latest Rank Tracker module in which there is a free plan offered for tracking up to 50 keywords. And I have found their customer service to be excellent.
Long Tail Pro is faster but has some features that I would like included such as a count of the number of top 10 sites that have the keyword in their title. But it is still a very useful tool. I will add a more detailed review of each of these 2 tools soon.
So, whilst I don’t think there is such a creature as “the best keyword tool”, at least within my affordability bracket, I do think that Keyword Strategy offers heaps of value for its monthly starter price of $29. Most of the tools I looked at that offered extensive keyword analysis research and site management were in the vicinity of $69 per month and upwards. I usually steer clear of monthly subscriptions, preferring a one-off payment for most products I invest in. However, because I like Fraser’s content marketing philosophy and because his tool appears to offer a lot for the monthly investment, I decided to check it out. So far, I haven’t found a tool, in that price bracket, that is as comprehensive as Keyword Strategy in that this tool is also like a site manager. This is why I decided to review Keyword Strategy.
This post will be a work in progress. As I find additional features in the tool (whether positive or negative), I will add them to my lists above.
In the meantime, I would love to hear from you. If you are using the Keyword Strategy tool, thinking of using it or have been a loyal fan of the tool for some time, please leave a comment to share your experience with it.