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7 Best Free & Paid Longtail Keyword Tools for Affiliates and Startups

I start this article with a disclaimer. It’s long. It’s long because I spent months of my life researching longtail keyword tools for my own affiliate websites. When I say I’ve tried these – believe me, I have in anger. Most of them are great but they all have strengths and weaknesses.

Some tools are free. Others have free and paid options. Most are paid.

I’ve kept it as honest (prepare for the occasional rant) but reading through this is well worth your time as it will save you having to do the same painful research as I did.

It’s also possible I’ve missed something. There’s a ton of these longtail keyword tools out there. Some I have omitted intentionally as they’re from the dark ages and no longer relevant to modern SEO. If you have any recommendations that you’ve found positive (or negative) results for – let me know in the comments section and I’ll check them out and update this page accordingly.

TLDR: The Summary Table

Despite all my hours of writing, you just want the list in one place? Okay, be that way! Here’s the final list in table format.

Keyword ToolProsConsCostRating
Keywords EverywhereMakes Google more powerfulLimitedFREE3/5
Keyword ShitterHuge Number of Potential Keywords generatedSimple txt export with little informationFREE3/5
Google AdWords KeywordsGoogle native - so a good source of information- Basic
- Needs AdWords running
FREE(ish)2/5
SEMrushFilled with tools and featuresNoneFREE/PAID5/5
Keyword KegHas Keywords at its heart- Frustrating Pricing
- Limited
FREE/PAID4/5
Ahrefs Keyword ExplorerWell established with a good reputation- No trial
- Frustrating pricing limits
PAID4.5/5
Moz Keyword ExplorerSome unique features and powerful free tools- Frustrating pricing
- Keywords is not its core strength
FREE/PAID4/5

Free Longtail Keyword Tools

As a startup – money can be tight. Very tight. If you’re operating on next to no budget – that’s not a lot to spend on fancy tools.

Long tail keyword research is important but thankfully there is a wealth of free keyword tools out there to help you get started. I used a lot of these in the early days. They’re mostly great.

Paid tools obviously have a lot more features and can help pinpoint your research to find the perfect reach. But as a starter – these do just fine. I’ll also add that a lot of the paid tools also have a free tier, but it’s easier to split them out so there’s no upsell once you’ve invested your time.

1. Keywords Everywhere

Mmmm, I do love this extension for Chrome (and Firefox). It’s where my journey of long tail keyword research began. And… it’s free! This free keyword tool works with a variety of different sources including Google Search term, Google Trends, Bing and YouTube (see screenshot below). It also works with our next product Keyword Shitter – but more about that later.

Keywords Everywhere Homepage
Keywords Everywhere Homepage

This is powerful because it not only shows the keywords on Google search term volume, cost per click and competition data. It does it while you search on a day to day basis.

Huh?

Allow me to explain. One of the features of Google search term is its autocomplete. When you type a keyword such as “longtail keyword” you will get a result like this:

 

Longtail Keyword Tools - Google Autocomplete

This is handy because it tells you what people are looking for most on Google when typing these keywords.

As an indicator it’s useful. Sadly, it doesn’t tell us how popular these terms are beyond the listing. This is understandable as the majority of people couldn’t care less about search volumes and competition data.

But we do. We care a lot. After all, we’re looking for succinct longtail keyword tools. That’s where Keywords Everywhere comes in. Once added – it adds the information to the Google autocomplete:

Longtail Keyword Tools - Keywords Everywhere Google

Keywords Everywhere include the number of searches per month for this geographical area. As I was demonstrating this on Google.co.uk – these are the results in the UK. Google.com will deliver the numbers for the USA, and so on. Useful, yes? It gets better.

Once you’ve searched for your keyword, a new column will appear on the right-hand side of your results page.

 

Keywords Everywhere Google

Once you’ve played around with the keywords on google you can download the results into a CSV. This can be added to a Microsoft Excel document or, as I do, a Google spreadsheet. You can then add whatever filters and orders you want.

How the calculation works

Keyword Everywhere, like a number of longtail keyword tools, breaks down its results by volume, cost per click and competition.

Volume

Volume is the number of times this keyword has been searched on average over a twelve month period. A result of 1,000, for example, would mean on average there are 1,000 searches of that keyword every month over 12 months. You’ll notice that this is country specific (in our case the UK) and will depend on the settings. We’ll look at that in a moment.

Cost Per Click

Cost Per Click is an estimated Google Adwords cost. That means an advertiser wanting to advertise on that keyword would expect to pay this for every click. Don’t Panic! I use this as more of an indicator of competitiveness than a way to break my bank account. Google AdWords is not the golden font of a successful website. In fact, it’s a method I rarely use.

Competition

This ties closely in with CPC. Competition is the number of advertisers that are estimated to be targetting that keyword. The range is from 0 to 1. One means a lot of advertisers target, zero means none do. Ideally, you want numbers lower than one that still has a healthy amount of Volume.

How Do I Use Keywords Everywhere?

To begin, you need Chrome or Firefox. I use Chrome so will use that as the example. Go to their website and hit Install for Chrome. This will take you to the Chrome Extension page. Just install as normal. Next, you need an API key. This didn’t use to be the case until some idiots abused their systems with bots – but it’s not a big deal getting one. Just hit the API key tab, enter your email and they’ll send you the API. You just add it to your extension.

You’ll notice the Keyword Everywhere logo now at the top right of the address bar. If you hit it then press update settings you can tweak how you want the tool to work while you’re searching. You should also tell it which country you are in – unless you’re looking at other markets.

Best Longtail Keyword Tools for Affiliates

 

Keyword Checker

There’s a fairly rudimentary keyword checker built into the tool under import keywords. You can use it to analyse various keywords. This won’t give you suggestions or any other clever bits – but it will give you a breakdown of the keywords you’ve specifically entered.

 

Longtail Keyword Tools for Affiliates

The final option is to inspect all the keywords on a specific page. I can think of a handful of instances where this could be useful – but it’s there if you need it. Here’s a screenshot of an early draft from this post when targeting longtail keyword tools.

 

Keyword Anywhere Results

Keywords Anywhere is great for a beginner. It’s not ideal for everyone – but it’s not meant to be. I treat it as a useful starting point. For a little more kick I marry it with Keyword Shitter, our next item in this article.

Summary

A popular and stable entry in the free longtail keyword tools camp. Yes, it has limitations – but it’s a perfect place to start. Also being a browser extension means it is ‘always on’ – sometimes that serendipitous niche keyword could hit you when you least expect.

2. Keyword Shitter

A classic! Keyword Shitter, yes it’s not the loveliest of names, has been around a long time. A very simple, very powerful of the longtail keyword tools. Enter your keywords and it will generate dozens, hundreds, even thousands of related keywords.

 

Keyword Shitter

Once it has run through all the keywords, you can press download. That’s it. A wonderful way to generate a lot of keywords but fairly meaningless. Many of the output keywords are so obscure you’ll rank number on them, but the chances of anyone searching them is almost zero. But don’t dismiss this as one of the redundant longtail keyword tools. It’s not.

Let’s look at Keyword Shitter again with our first free tool, Keywords Everywhere, turned on.

 

Keywords Everywhere and Keyword Shitter

It also adds an option export to CSV. This can then be filtered on Excel or Google Spreadsheets into a decent keyword order.

Summary

By itself, Keyword Shitter is simply a tool to spew out hundreds of related keywords people search on Google. Combine it with Keywords Everywhere and you suddenly have a powerful tool to generate spreadsheets of research on your perfect keywords.

3. Google Keyword Planner

I have mixed feelings about this tool. Google Keyword Planner sounds like it should be just that – a behind-the-scenes peek of the search engine. Alas, this is part of the Google AdWords Marketing Suite – which, as the name suggests, is jumping straight into the world of advertising. If you have the budget to reach your target audience through AdWords, then it’s worth looking at.

 

Google Keyword Planner

The tool is fairly powerful, albeit basic, and will suggest keywords and base it against trends. It will also advise on conversion rates around pay-per-click.

Summary

Google Keyword Planner would be suggested if this article was concerned with AdWords, but as a keyword tool, it’s pretty basic and far from experimental for organic search.

Now we move on to the paid longtail keyword tools. More features, more power, but for a cost. I tend to view the price of these as a good investment in terms of time. Not just the time you spend on doing your niche keyword research, but also design your content around the content.

4. SEMrush

SEMrush is a phenomenal tool. It’s a real cradle to grave SEO tool that takes you from keyword research to maintaining your SEO to keep you competitive.

 

Paid Longtail Keyword Tools for Affiliates - SEMrush

It starts with a free tier, to begin with. This allows up to ten keyword searches (signup required). You can use it to not only search for keywords but also domains and URL. This includes your own and your competitors.

In this example, I’ve used the term “keyword research” and searched within the UK.

 

Longtail Keyword Tools for Affiliates - SEMRush - Keyword Research

Keyword Result Overview

For the free account, you are presented with the live organic search results and desktop and mobile feedback. The primary languages are set to Google US, Google UK, Google Germany and Google French. There are 131+ other languages to choose from including variations of Google and Google Mobile as well as Bing.

There’s a summary of the Cost Per Click (CPC) that advertisers pay per click for this keyword as well as the competition. Keyword competition is rated between zero and one. The closer to one, the higher the competition for this keyword.

SEMRush - Related Keywords

Further down in the overview there is a preview of the Phrase Match Keywords as well as a live feed of the trending Related Keywords.

 

SEMRush - Organic Search Results

The final section of the overview contains the Google Search Result rankings for URL’s that use this focus keyword. There are also live copies of current Google Ads running for that keyword.

Phrase Match Report

Expanding on the summary in the overview we now dig down into the phrase match report. This report takes the keyword and any additional words that rank with it. For example, ‘longtail keyword tools’ will also display ‘free longtail keyword tools’.

Longtail Keyword Tools for Affiliates - Match Phrase

The free account limits this to ten results (in this example out of 45). It contains Volume (number of searches per month), Keyword Difficulty (KD – how difficult it is to rank this keyword), Cost Per Click (CPC – how much advertisers pay), Keyword Competitors and the total number of Google results this keyword has generated. There is also a trend chart (remember some keywords are seasonal or influenced by current trends – what’s hot last month may not be this month). The final tab is SERP – essentially a link to the actual Google page the result lists in.

Related Keywords Report

As part of the free account, you are limited to the top ten results, but it’s a great starter. Similar to the phrase match report this offers related keywords. In this example, there are 501 results which give a wealth of alternative keywords you may not have previously considered.

Features

I could write all day about the features that SEMrush has. It’s epic. Included in the dozens of in-depth features there include; domain (competitor) comparison, advertising analysis, backlinks analysis, on-page analysis, site audit, brand monitoring and social media analysis. I’ve included a few of my absolute favourites here.

SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant

As I write this article on my WordPress site, there’s a little plugin whirring away keeping an eye on what I’m writing to ensure my content is still relevant and in line with the keywords. The SEO Writing Assistant is a great addition to any longtail keyword tools – and SEMrush has nailed it. They have a plugin for Google Docs or direct on WordPress.

It gives an overall score based on factors such as readability and number of words. This may sound just like what Yoast does. It’s not. The SEMrush SEO writing assistant starts with the keywords you want to target and analyses what you are writing based on the competitive pages currently listed on Google. This is invaluable as it can be difficult to keep track of the strength of rivals.

The SEO assistant also includes a plagiarism tool which is available to paid tiers.

 

SEMRush SEO for WordPress

Keyword Magic Tool

This is a particularly nice feature if you’re experimenting with keywords. Entering your seed keyword delivers hundreds of keyword suggestions – not just related terms but up to the minute alternatives and trends.

 

Longtail Keyword Tools - SEO Magic Tool

The Paid Plans

The free tier comes with a plethora of functions. More than I’ve seen elsewhere. There are four paid plans available; Pro, Guru, Business and Enterprise. For the budding entrepreneur, I’d say the Pro version is more than enough. The rest is for when you are more established. All 28 tools are included with the Pro version and bar a few limitations compared to its bigger brothers – it’s a great all in one tool for finding and keeping that perfect search query.

Summary

My personal favourite of the keyword research tools. SEMrush is so much more than a tool to find long tail keyword. It will help improve your articles around the keywords, target your audience better, analyse your competition and keep an eye on how you are doing. An essential tool.

5. Keyword Keg

Keyword Keg does one thing and does it extremely well – longtail keyword searches.

To begin – there’s a free version. Go here to try this out. No waffle, no issues. Just a search bar. Love it.

Keyword Keg

In the free version, you can search up to five keywords at a time. These are separated by hitting the tab button on your keyboard. There is a selection of countries to target. Global will search every location without discrimination.

If you are searching for keywords for a local region or you’ve split your site in geographical location (the UK, USA etc) you can change this. There’s a language setting which suggests multiple languages – but English is the only option. Digging through their FAQ section it appears this is a ‘coming soon’ feature.

The API’s

The API’s is a powerful dynamic. By default, it is set to Google. However, there are other search options for Alibaba, Amazon, Ask, Bing, eBay, Play Store, Wikipedia, Yahoo, Yandex and YouTube. This can be really useful when not looking to play solely the Google game. I’ve used the YouTube version for video content that supports my affiliate sites. I’ve also used Bing, Amazon and Yahoo for other research – all work very well. A friend, who sells a very specialist niche on eBay has used this to great effect.

Results

Results type is an advanced feature for digging deeper into your keywords. By default, there are five result types: alphabetical, questions, buyer intent, product info and prepositions. There’s a lot which could be discussed here on this – but it’s worth doing your own tests. For example – if you’re looking to rank questions on Google (a goldmine for SEO) – you can search for keywords based on existing questions.

Once you’ve played with the options – it’s time to do your first search. I’m going to start simple for this article and use the keyword “longtail keyword tools”. In the free tier, you can select up to five, pressing tab each time. There’s an option called Strict Mode. It’s best to leave this for now unless you know exactly what you’re looking for.

 

Longtail Keyword Tools - Keyword Keg

Only 14 results. I’ve gone far too specific. I’ve made error #1 and assumed the term. Let’s try being a little less specific, “keyword tools”, and see what comes back.

 

Longtail Keyword Tools - Keyword Keg - Results

As shown in the screenshot – the tool has found 220 unique relevant keywords for our chosen term. As this is a free tier this is limited to the first ten, but it gives a great high-level view of the relevant keywords.

How the calculation works

There’s a whole page on the calculations used for this tool but here’s the short version.

On-Page Difficulty.

Ranked between 0 and 100. This is the essence of how Google ranks on-page weight. The biggest factors – does the keyword appear in the article title and/or the URL of the page. This may seem so blindingly obvious it’s obscene – but it’s one of the biggest errors people make with on-page SEO. It then weighs less important factors such as the keywords appearing in H1, H2, H3 subheadings, the meta description and within the content.

Off-Page Difficulty.

Essentially this is quality backlinks.

The tool now takes these on and off-page difficulty and shows an SEO difficulty. The higher the score – the harder it will be to compete. That’s not to put you off competing for the big keywords – it does mean that if you’re starting out, it’s better to target less competitive words so you have a fighting chance of being on page one. Note, Off-Page Difficulty (Backlinks) is a significantly more important factor when calculating SEO difficulty.

CTR Scope.

The Click Through Rate Scope is the prediction of how many hits the keyword is expected to get. This (often) correlates with the world trend graph on the right. A high CTR score for the keyword “best Halloween costumes” is more likely to be higher in the weeks before Halloween. This will show in the world trends. This is more a guideline – never ever jump to a conclusion on what’s trending and ranking – stick to the metrics. Numbers don’t lie.

The Paid Tiers

If you’re happy with the free tier and want to pay for more results there are three tiers: starter, pro and team. There are monthly and annual options.

Starter.

I don’t understand this tier. In the free version, you are restricted to five results. Keen to see more the natural option is to click through to pricing and update to the first Tier (Starter). This tier is not really a tier at all as it now gives more search results but removes the key metrics. Namely SEO difficulty and CTR which kind of makes the whole thing worthwhile. You can get better high-level results with the free than you can by paying. Bizarre.

Blaming myself for not reading the options properly – I go to the next tier up (Pro). This contains all the features I now need for up to five relevant keywords. Alas, when hitting the buy button I’m faced with the teeth-grinding realisation that I am buying this next tier at the full price. No upgrade price, no reduction. The full amount.

Now I’ve paid for two separate plans. And no, not two separate accounts – the one pro account – the starter plan somewhere up there in silicon limbo. To give them a chance – I will wait a few days to see if the company correct this without having to chase them and update this article.

All is forgiven – they refunded the original amount in less than 24 hours without prompting. I’m happy again. Thanks guys!

Pro.

Forgetting the strange Starter tier, the Pro tier is everything I hoped for. It now does exactly what the Free tier does but no longer limits the results. You can now search up to 10 keyword variations at a time and there’s no limit on the number of searches. It’s a thing of beauty. As I opened this section – it does exactly what you need. Keyword research.

 

Keyword tools

Team.

This is the same as Pro but for teams. I mention it, but for anyone looking for keyword research for their startup, the Pro will do nicely.

Summary

A great addition to the longtail keyword tools hall of fame as it does one thing – keyword research. If you’re just looking for keyword research it’s great. If you’re looking for something which also measures the fruits of your labour – it’s not for everyone. Overall I love using Keyword keg, a great product that only lets itself down by its infuriating Starter tier.

6. Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

This tool gets recommended a lot. I’ve used it in the past and found it to be one of the competent longtail keyword tools. But I’ll start by saying that without any free keyword tools it’s a case of buy before you try. At the time of writing, they have an option to try the lite and standard versions for seven days for only a small amount of money.

That helps, but with so many other tools giving you a taste of the sweet keyword magic, it’s a pity. Anyway, that’s their business model and it clearly works – Ahrefs is now a massive player in the Keyword space.

 

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

Their success may be down to their huge database of over 3bn keywords in their keyword suggestion tool. This can be a godsend when you’re a little woolly on the long tail keyword you want to find. They support location matching in over 100 countries and keyword difficulty scores.

One particularly nice feature is the click metric. This is a very clever addition that Ahrefs excel in.

There are a few non-keyword tools that Ahref lets you try which are pretty awesome. My two favourites are the Backlink Checker and the SEO toolbar.

Backlink Checker

The Ahref Backlink Checker is a free tool to check your own and your competitor’s backlinks. As Google rates backlinks above all other things – this is good to know. Sometimes you find a competitor and wonder “how the hell did their content rate so high, mine is much better”. Well, searching for backlinks may tell you the answer. Can you use those backlinks on your own site? Is there scope for replacing the backlinks that exist for your better, more relevant or more up to date content?

 

Ahrefs Backlink Checker

SEO Toolbar

Moz also has one of these – but this one is the one I prefer. You install the toolbar on Chrome (or Firefox) and any page you now visit it will tell you the SEO ranking for that page and domain.

 

Ahrefs SEO Toolbar

The Paid Tiers

As a keyword research tool – you need to pay. That’s fine. I’m not keen on the first tier, Lite. I’ll explain why.

Lite

This first tier seems fundamentally flawed as a starter. It just has a few too many limitations. For example, the other tiers will show you the top 100 ranking keywords – the lite only the top 20. Their database updates are also restricted for this level. I get it, for big SEO projects this is probably fine – the next level up is good value for money. But for a startup – it’s too much for not quite enough.

Standard

This is arguably where the tool starts – and it’s a good starting point. It also opens up the all-important historical data – this could make the difference between writing an article that’s relevant and writing one that was only relevant a month ago.

The advanced and agency plans are outside the scope of this article, but would better suit a stage beyond startup.

Summary

A great tool, but for the price I feel other tools give you a little more ‘bang for your buck’. The Lite version feels substandard and although the power really kicks in by the standard plan – I just keep wanting… more.

7. Moz Keyword Explorer

This is the big daddy of SEO. Moz is the defacto when it comes to predicting Google rankings with its all-important Moz score. Moz isn’t just in the category of Longtail Keyword Tools – but all-round SEO.

Let’s start with its keyword explorer. I’ve used this tool many times and the beauty is that you can have ten free goes of it per month. Yes, it limits the results – but it’s a great place to start your research.

 

Moz Keyword Explorer

Try it out

Let’s run a search on “Keyword Research”

 

Long tail Keyword Tools - Keyword Research

The tool succinctly delivers the monthly volume, keyword difficulty, organic click through ratio and priority. That priority bar is very important. Using clever calculations it predicts if targetting that long tail keyword is worth your effort. Of course, you could choose to ignore its wise wisdom – but I wouldn’t.

The SERP analysis capitalises on MOZ’s all-important PA / DA metrics.

Page Authority

This is Moz’s way of telling you what authority Google gives to this page (your competitor mostly). This can have a lot of influences. How many backlinks. The number of non-spammy backlinks (a real SEO killer), social shares, on-page SEO and a load of other factors.

Domain Authority

Overall how good does Google believe the domain itself is. This is a combined factor of everything mentioned in the page authority as well as other factors such as the age of the domain and its reputation.

Other Tools

Moz also contains the very powerful Link Explorer. This digs into any domain/page you enter – and digs deep. From backlinks to authority to spam score. A great addition to SEO.

The other is the Moz Toolbar. A handy Chrome extension that gives you a summary of any page you visit including their Domain Authority and Page Authority.

The Paid Tier

Moz comes with a 30-day free trial – which is brilliant. You truly feel they want you to embrace all of the functionality and you’ll be so impressed – you’ll want to stay. I agree with this logic.

Standard

It’s pretty much all in here – but 150 keyword searches per month limit. Per month! I’ve done half of that already just writing this article. Let’s move on to the next one.

Medium

5,000 queries a month. That’s much better. But it’s starting to move into the territory of an expensive keyword research tool. As I’ve said already – if this article was for overall SEO – this would probably win hands down, but again the keyword functionality is just short of great.

There are two additional tiers – but these are more suited for agencies and larger organisations.

Summary

Moz has been a champion of SEO for a long time – but that may be its biggest downside. We’re looking for help with keywords, and it does do that – extremely well. But not quite as powerfully as some other longtail keyword tools. It does, however, keep a good eye on your site with complete audits, recommendations and improvements.

Longtail Keyword Tools: A Conclusion

Yes, I told you this article was long. But I hope you see why. Longtail keyword tools can be a maze of attention-grabbing shiny things, but worth it for getting that website really flowing.

For free tools – there’s no one winner. Combining both Keywords Everywhere and Keyword Shitter (with a little help from Google Spreadsheets) will create a kick-arse team for your keyword testing and research.

For paid – we can find no more wealth of keyword functions and additional tools / nice touches than SEMrush. Check it out.

Longtail Keyword Tools Summary Table

Keyword ToolProsConsCostRating
Keywords EverywhereMakes Google more powerfulLimitedFREE3/5
Keyword ShitterHuge Number of Potential Keywords generatedSimple txt export with little informationFREE3/5
Google AdWords KeywordsGoogle native - so a good source of information- Basic
- Needs AdWords running
FREE(ish)2/5
SEMrushFilled with tools and featuresNoneFREE/PAID5/5
Keyword KegHas Keywords at its heart- Frustrating Pricing
- Limited
FREE/PAID4/5
Ahrefs Keyword ExplorerWell established with a good reputation- No trial
- Frustrating pricing limits
PAID4.5/5
Moz Keyword ExplorerSome unique features and powerful free tools- Frustrating pricing
- Keywords is not its core strength
FREE/PAID4/5

And that’s a wrap on our extensive longtail keyword tools article. Do you agree with the research? Have a better longtail keyword tools strategy? Let us know in the comments section below. Don’t forget to check out our other tips and hints in the affiliates section. Until next time fellow entrepreneurs, Felix!

Written by Felix Keegan

Felix Keegan

After decades of being involved with, founding and running various startups, I've decided to create this website to write about my adventures with entrepreneurial side-projects. Lover of AI, travel and Bombay Aloo.

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