The Best Long Tail SEO Keyword Research Resources

Keyword research is often the first step for improving on page SEO and writing lead generating content. Using keyword research tools to research and understand the keyword phrases most used in your market gives you insight into goals, needs, preferences, jargon, and most importantly, how to influence your buyer and audience.

Discovering exactly what a prospective reader or visitor is typing into search engines and effectively using those phrases with the recommended frequency and key placement to get visitors to your page – can result in a great return on your content investment.

Taking on this challenging research task can often seem like a task best left to the SEO superheroes. But before you throw in the towel, check out this list of powerful keyword research tools used by industry experts that will simplify keyword research and boost your site’s SEO in turn. You just might find the sidekick you’ve been looking for…

Competitive Analysis Keyword Research Tools: SEMrush

SEMrush is a competitive search analysis tool that is extremely comprehensive in the data and reports offered. It’s one of our favorites at Creative Analytics because it provides an entire dashboard full of SEO and keyword ranking data pulled from constant search engine scrapes for more than 100,000,000 keywords.

Simply input a domain, keyword, or URL into the search bar to browse through reports like a Keyword Overview, Domain Overview, Organic Research, Backlinks, and more.

SEMrush is particularly handy when it comes to comparing keyword usage and ranking for your competitors.

We took a look at the Domain Overview for inbound marketing and sales platform Hubspot to illustrate just how comprehensive SEMrush reporting is. As you can see in the image above, in just one dashboard we can examine Hubspot’s organic search, paid search, backlinks, display advertising, and keyword trends. The report lists top keywords, main competitors, competitive positioning, and so much more. All of this information allows you to capitalize on your competitor’s SEO successes and failures, identify opportunities for content and keywords in your industry, and ultimately generate more leads.

If you want to use this tool to generate blog topic ideas, you can type in a keyword phrase in relation to the desired topic you wish to write about and then use the full list results for matched phrases or related keyword phrases to narrow down the one with the highest search volume and the lowest keyword difficulty.

Unfortunately, SEMrush doesn’t always have data for low volume keywords or domains with low to average traffic, which can be problematic when researching small businesses or niche topics. Also, this tool lacks the ability to save keyword lists.

Pro Tip: Review your competitor’s list of Landing Pages and historical media ads to get optimization ideas and copy suggestions for your own landing pages and display ads. You can also set up your website (or your client’s) as a Project to track all data and social media engagement for that site.

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Price: SEMrush allows users 10 free keyword searches a day. For more searches, reports and functionality, pro plans start at $69.95/month.

Content Idea Generating Keyword Research Tools:

If you just need a quick list of related and matched keyword phrases and no other data, will give you the top results for free. This reliable, easy-to-use tool generates hundreds of keyword suggestions based on what people are already typing into their Google search bars.

Head on over to and input a potential keyword phrase to receive up to 750+ long-tail keyword suggestions. The extensive keyword list this tool generates is completely free, but if you’re looking for more detailed data and advanced features, you can update to Keyword Tool Pro for an additional monthly fee.

We use this tool exclusively for content ideas and even headline phrases that will generate some good search ROI.

Aside from an insanely straightforward user interface, has several helpful features that make any content marketer’s life a little easier.

A convenient search tab lets you toggle between search engines your target audience may be using while drop-down menus within the search bar can tailor results based on country or language. also has export and copy functions that quickly transport your keyword list to a CSV or Microsoft Excel file. You can build and save an extensive keyword list to refer back to each time you produce a new piece of content. Finally, save yourself a little frustration by entering “negative keywords” to exclude undesired phrases from your list. We keep a comprehensive Google spreadsheet for our own keyword phrases and content ideas that are often generated by this tool’s export function.


Price: The first several hundred keyword phrase results are free. Keyword Tool Pro starts at $48/month. The Pro plan features includes two times as many keyword results, Search Volume, Cost-Per-Click, and AdWords Competition for each keyword, and the ability to sort and filter keywords by any parameter.

Content Idea Generating Keyword Research Tools: Buzzsumo

If you have already generated a list of content ideas and keyword phrases, use Buzzsumo to analyze even longer tail content that has already been successful. If engagement and connecting with influencers is your goal, this tool is awesome!

Buzzsumo tracks the “buzz” online — the most popular and relevant stories across the blogosphere on your topic. Like the other SEO tools we’ve reviewed in this article, Buzzsumo starts with a simple search bar. However, Buzzsumo is unique in that it produces results based on the number of social shares, broken down by each popular social media platform. By listing the most shared content, they are also identifying the key influencers on that topic.

keyword research tools buzzsumo

Image Source: Buzzsumo

Take your research a step further by clicking “view backlinks” or “view shares” to discover precisely what kinds of profiles are sharing each article. Useful filters like date, language, country, and content type will help you tailor results for a deep-dive analysis. If you don’t have a keyword in mind but still want to boost your content marketing efforts, you can sift through the “Trending Now” tab to find inspiration in any industry.

By seeing which topics and types of content are getting the most traffic, you can find opportunities for low-hanging fruit. For example, if there aren’t any quality infographics on a topic, creating a comprehensive infographic on the topic will most likely result in a ton of engagement. Use Buzzsumo to identify common content types, uncover influencers and industry leaders, and see which domains are attracting your ideal clients.

Pro Tip: Use Buzzsumo topic or keyword results to generate a curated list of content on a topic for your readers or newsletter. You can also use the results as a list of resources to inform your writers on an upcoming blog post or while developing a content offer.

Price: Buzzsumo allows for 10 free searches a day. For more searches and upgraded features, Pro plans start at $99/month.

Popular Keyword Research Tools: Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is definitely the most commonly used of the keyword research tools. As a Google Adwords tool, it is the most reliable source of Google’s data and doesn’t need to be scraped by a third-party system. Whether you’re looking for new keywords or brushing up on historical statistics and traffic research, this tool can offer insights. Unlike its predecessor, Google Keyword Tool, this program has a whole new suite of features that simplify SEO in seconds.

You’ll need a Google Adwords account to get started, but registration is free and should only take a few minutes. Next, access the Keyword Planner from the tools tab of your new account, and choose from three unique SEO keyword research tools; Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category, Get search volume data and trends, and Multiply keyword lists to get new keywords.

google keyword planner keyword research tools

Image Source: Backlinko

By breaking your research strategy into three distinctive categories, Google Keyword Planner allows you to get specific about SEO and evolve beyond simple keyword discovery. Keep in mind that this tool is ultimately designed for Adwords, meaning there may be a lot of paid search features that are targeted for more advanced marketers, but it is nonetheless very useful for simple SEO when used correctly and in combination with other tools.

Price: Free.

Analyze Competitor Backlinks: is an industry favorite that is primarily used by experts to analyze competitor’s backlinks, but it is probably the most robust set of keyword research tools in one solution.

Input your competitor’s URLs into the search bar, and Ahrefs will comb through their massive database of backlinks to show you what’s going on behind the scenes of any site. Simply click on the “inbound links” tab to see a list of those competitors’ most popular pages organized by strength. This lets you observe what trends, tactics, and keywords are most successful among your competitors and easily export your lists for future reference.


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Image Source: Ahrefs

Ahrefs’ robust solution eliminates the need for multiple tools across the web. It’s constantly updated algorithms and extensive list of features help this toolset provide some of the most accurate SEM and SEO data you can get.

Some of the sites most popular tools include…

  • Site Explorer: Analyzes the backlinks profile of any competitor’s site
  • Content Explorer: Determines the most shared content for any topic on major social media channels
  • Position Explorer: Explores the most profitable keywords for organic search
  • Keywords Explorer: Uncovers new, relevant keyword ideas and calculates traffic

Pro Tip: Use Ahrefs to locate broken links on influencer’s pages, and then use deep broken link building to find every site linking to the same broken link anywhere online. You can then reach out to the influencers and make connections by informing them of the broken link and suggesting one of your own pages as a replacement.

Price: Ahrefs offers a 7-day trial for $7. Complete paid plans start at $99/month.

Wrap-Up: Download the On Page SEO Checklist


Have you used these keyword research tools to generate a list of keyword phrases and content ideas and you’re ready for the next step in the process? Download our On Page SEO Checklist and make sure you are optimizing your pages for the keyword phrases you have identified using the powerful keyword research tools covered in this post. Comment below what you love or hate about these popular keyword research tools.