Product: Long Tail Pro
Creator: Spencer Hawes
Price: $97 for Pro version, additional $17/mo for Platinum
Long Tail Pro is a keyword research software package that was launched back in 2011. It was created by Spencer Hawes, a successful niche marketer and owner of the popular blog Niche Pursuits. I grabbed this tool awhile back for the 10 day free trial (which is an ongoing offer, btw) but initially wasn’t very impressed. It was a lot different and not as user friendly as my go to research tool, Jaaxy, so I never cared enough to upgrade and just let it sit. Honestly, I didn’t really give it much of a chance and just assumed it was another sucky product.
However, I had been hearing a lot of talk within my online circles about this tool so I broke down and actually shelled out the $97 to try it out for real (plus an additional $17 for the Platinum). After using it for a few weeks, I feel as though I can provide you with a thorough Long Tail Pro Review as I’ve gotten more familiar with how to use it (it does take some getting used to0. I’m actually quite impressed. While it isn’t perfect, it’s still a rather handy tool for someone who may need to do any significant amount of keyword research.
How does it work?
LTP relies heavily on data from Google, as it uses the keyword planner within Google Adwords to gather its search estimates, CPC and competition analysis. While the keyword planner tool is completely free to anyone with an Adwords account, the software goes far beyond just pulling straight data. Long Tail Pro also gives you inside access to data from Moz such as Moz rank, juice links, page links, domain and page authority as well as page rank and site age. It also gives you the ability to view the first page competition of Google for any keyword, with all the data nicely displayed for you to see.
Hawes tells how to analyze the given data so you can decide if the keyword is too competitive or not.
He also provides an upgrade version for an additional $17 for month which will actually automatically calculate this competition for you and put it into a number between 0 – 100 (100 being the most competive) if you don’t want to sit and try to analyze the first page of Google for every keyword. It’s really convienient because you can just click the “view competition” button next to any keyword and decide from there whether or not you should go after it.
There’s also an additional feature provided within the Platinum upgrade which is the ability to add your own keywords. I find this incredibly useful for figuring out data for a list of keywords I already have, such as lists I create from keywordtool.io, ubbersuggest or just from using the alphabet soup technique. A quick copy and paste will let you create a campaign using the entire list instead of searching for them individually.
I spent some time reviewing several hundred of my ranking keywords in Google from my personal websites within LTP and I do find this “KC” number to be a fairly reliable metric to use.
Features of Long Tail Pro (+Platinum)
Search for multiple keywords at once
With most tools, you can only search for one term at a time and it’ll just display a ton of related terms within the results. But with LTP, you can actually start your campaign search with multiple keywords, even if they are entirely unrelated. For example, if you want to research terms like artificial Christmas trees, fireworks and bookshelves you can do so within just one search.
There will probably be a TON of results to go through, but you can filter the results to refine any search.
Filter search results
By default Long Tail displays the local (your countries) search estimates, average cost per click and advertiser competition. But you can modify the results to display additional features like:
- Global search volume.. (which I don’t know why this isn’t included by default) Generally, you want your audience to be the entire world.
- Google and Bing title competition (Although, I think this is pretty useless)
- Domain availability – tells you when .com, org, net’s with that keyword are available
Refine search results
You can also filter the results by search volume (local and global), average CPC and the number of words.
For example, if you only were interested in terms that got greater than 1,000 monthly searches, were between 3 – 6 words long and had an average CPC of over $1, you could exclude all terms that don’t fit that criteria and narrow down the results.
It’s good to weed out terms that are less than 3 words in length. The shorter the term, the harder it is to rank, so most of the time it’d be pointless to include them. It’d be a lot easier to rank for a search term like white artificial Christmas trees than just Christmas trees.
Sorts keyword lists by search volume, average CPC, advertiser competition and even alphabetically
With just a click you can sort your results to find the terms you’re looking for. It’s incredibly useful when you have 100’s of results to filter through.
Export keyword lists to your computer
If you have created and refined a list you want to work from, you can easily export the list to be saved to your computer to refer to whenever you want.
Front page competition results display with Moz data
For any keyword, LTP will neatly display the front page results with all the data from Moz that it uses to analyze competition. People by $100’s per month for access to Moz, so the ability to get that data within the software is nice.
Keyword competition check
For any keyword you want to check out your rank for, you can enter it and it’ll display your rank within Google or Bing. It’s nice to have instant access without having to search through several pages within Google to see where (or if) you’re even ranking. Definitely a time saver.
Features of Longtail Platinum:
Instant Keyword Competition
You can unlock the keyword competition and have every phrase’s competition calculated for you with the click of a button. It’s very handy if you’re doing a lot of keyword research, because you don’t have to click through each individual phrase and spend the time looking at the front page, trying to figure out from the results if it’d be worth going for or not.
Add your own keywords
Another really cool feature the platinum version adds is the option to add your own keywords to any campaign. I really like this because sometimes instead of just a vague idea, I already have a huge list of specific keywords I need to research. With other tools, you can’t really research more than one term at a time. This gives me the ability to copy and paste that list into a box and instantly get results for all the keywords at once. It’s great.
Pros vs Cons
- Provides Moz data within the software
- It’s only a one time purchase as opposed to a monthly fee (Pro version) so if you use it for a long time, it is very affordable
- It’s great at pulling up additional keywords for any root key terms you enter, which lets you come up with lots of ideas for content within any campaign
- It’s really handy to sort and refine your search results
- You can export your keyword lists
- Instant keyword competition (with platinum) which I find to be quite reliable
- Ability to add your own keywords (with platinum)
- It’s software that must be downloaded, so you may not be able to use it on all devices (I can’t download it onto my Chromebook)
- Relies heavily on data from the Google Keyword Planner, which is often not the most accurate measure for search volume
- Not the most user friendly platform, requires some getting used to
- Sometimes the tool seems to “stop” working and you must click to show the keyword planner and refresh the data
- It can be annoying to try and analyze the competition with the basic pro version, must upgrade to platinum for instant competition
10 day trial – $0 (no credit card required) get it here
Regular (pro) – $97 one time purchase or $77 if you grab the discount (which Hawes provides you with a few days into your free trial)
Platinum – +$17 per month (in addition to the $97)
BONUS: Long Tail Pro (+Platinum) Tutorial
Watch me create a campaign so you can get an idea how the process of researching keywords works!
Every campaign you create will start with a seed keyword. It can be vague, such as “christmas tree” or very specific, such as “10′ artificial christmas tree”. If you really don’t have a good idea of what you’re looking for, vague is good because it will create related terms and give you a start with tons of ideas for content.
I’m going to start this campaign with “artificial christmas tree” and go from there.
You can start with just one or as many initial keywords as you want. Here I just listed artificial christmas tree, but you can add additional key terms. The phrases don’t have to be related, either. You could search for Christmas trees, Easter decorations and fireworks all at once. For each keyword you enter you also have the ability to include or exclude any phrases to go with it. For example, you could include “cheap, deals, buy” within the box if you wanted to research terms in that direction. You can just leave them blank (which is what I did here) to have it more open ended.
By default, Longtail Pro will list the average cost per click, local searches and advertiser competition for every campaign. You can change these settings underneath to include additional results like the global search volume, domain availability, as well as filter the results by number of searches, number of words (to find longer tailed terms) and average CPC.
Here’s the initial search result for artificial christmas tree:
Here it came up with over 800 keyword ideas, which is quite a lot to sift through. This is why it’s better to refine your campaigns to include the data you are really looking for. What I really like about the LTP software is the ability to sort your keyword lists by search volume, competition and alphabetically. This makes finding the higher searched terms in a list of 800 very easy.
Still, it does do a great job of pulling up related search terms to give anyone a lot of ideas for keywords. Any terms you don’t like you can click the red “x” to the side to get rid of it, or the gray star to the left to save it to your favorites.
How to analyze the competition with Long Tail Pro:
If you click on any keyword within the results, It’ll display the front page of Google for that particular term. Here’s an example showing results for “small artificial christmas trees”:
Note: the average keyword competitive number shown above is only displayed in the Platinum version
Okay, so now what? There’s a lot of numbers thrown around and it can be difficult to tell how you’re supposed to even find the competition using this information. The “average keyword competitiveness” number of 25 tells you straight away whether it’s good or not, but this number isn’t available with the regular $97 version. Spencer Hawes comes up with a little guide that he uses to find good keywords, here’s a screenshot of it:
Finding the competition with Long Tail Platinum:
Here’s an additional column that is added in with Longtail Platinum version:
The average KC (keyword competition) is a calculation of all the metrics that are analyzed by Hawes within Google’s front page, and displayed to you with one click of a button. They range from 0 -100, 0 being absolutely no competition and 100 being the most competitive you can get.
Here’s a general range:
Honestly, I find this to be a pretty good assessment of keyword competition. While I haven’t used the KC metric to come up with any of my existing campaigns (honestly I used an entirely different method), I will say that after analyzing hundreds of my ranking keywords with this tool, it does seem to be a fairly reliable metric. The keywords with low competition I rank very well for, while the ones with slightly higher competition took longer to rank for.
It’s interesting that using 2 entirely different methods (the ones within LTP and Jaaxy) will yield very similar results. Obviously there’s discrepencies and outliers, but for the most part they agree on the general range of competition.
All in all, while not perfect, it is still pretty neat software for researching keywords and is a great choice for any online niche marketer. I must admit that it has several features which I find quite useful. The ability to add your own keywords and the instant competition number provided within platinum are really helpful when researching keywords. The search estimates given are occassionally a bit flakey (either way too high or way too low) but it generally gives a good idea of search volume for any given keyword.
Even though this tool uses a completely different metric for determining keyword competition than what I’m used to, I do still find it to be a pretty good competition measure. It’s important to realize that no keyword research tool is 100% accurate and none can guarentee your rank for any particular term. All they can do is provide you estimates and a basic blueprint for what to use, but it’s up to you to do the hard work (and Google to decide what ranks). Using the data provided just gives you a much better shot at landing on the first page.
At the very least, I suggest giving it a try since you can download it for completely free for 10 days!