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The Digital Key to Keywords

Posted on 11.02.2014

By Derek Schou, Associate Editor

With so many competing products in the digital marketplace, the difference between success and failure often comes down to how a product is advertised. More than ever before, keywords are making the difference.

When deciding upon the optimal terms and phrases for advertising a product (or service) it is important to not only understand which keywords are currently being used to promote similar products, but also which have been used successfully in the past, by both the advertiser and its competition. Luckily, there are a variety of solutions to help.


Competitive research is a key component to successful business today. SEMrush’s keyword capabilities not only enable users to find the most relevant and actionable keywords for their SEO and PPC campaigns, but also allows search marketers to see which keywords are performing best (and worst) for their competition.

It is, however, important for companies to understand that keywords that excel for organic search may not have the same success in the PPC realm. SEMrush’s Keyword Research feature delivers in-depth analysis on all keywords in their system in regard to their usefulness for both PPC and organic search.

Cost: SEMrush has five plans available to users: Enterprise ($499/month), Guru ($149.95/month), PRO: recurring ($69.95/month), PRO: 1 month ($79.95) and Custom.

Further reading: Check out “Weekend Warrior: Spy on the Competition (Using SEMrush)” at

Big List of Free Keyword Tools

Just in time for the holiday rush, Website Magazine has updated its exhaustive list of great keyword research tools that won’t cost Internet professionals a cent at


Like SEMrush, SpyFu also analyzes a company’s competition for their keyword use, but what separates the platform is SpyFu’s ability to go back in history and provide a list of more than eight years of Google AdWords and organic ranking history. Considering the amount of influence that keywords have in SEO and advertising, understanding what has been successful as well as what has been unsuccessful in the past can position a brand for success in the future.

Cost: SpyFu has three plans available: Basic ($79/month or $599/year), Professional ($139/month or $899/year) and Agency ($999/month or $9,995/year).

Further reading: Discover, “10 Amazing Results of Combining SEO & PPC) at


Similar to the previous two keyword tools mentioned, KeywordSpy analyzes which keywords a brand’s competition is using as well as how they are performing, delivering detailed reports back to the user. Where KeywordSpy excels is in the amount of detail that each report provides.

In order to make the best decisions, companies need as much information as possible. KeywordSpy delivers detailed reports with critical keyword insights including the highest cost per click, cost per day as well as most clicks per day and largest cost per click change.

Cost: With five total packages available for companies to purchase, KeywordSpy has a wide variety of options that vary within each package. Packages start as low as $89.95/month and range north of $995/month for the most expensive one.

Further reading: To see what America’s fastest growing companies spend on Google AdWords each year, check out “PPC Nation” at

A Never-Ending Watch

While a great deal of the general public may not realize that what they are typing into their favorite search engines are indeed keywords, it’s vital that companies analyze not only which keywords are working for them but also for their competition. After all, if you don’t stay one step ahead you risk falling two steps behind.


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