When you start to do some research into SEO for your blog, your website and your business you’ll invariably be met with people who will tell you that you must use keyword tools. So are keyword tools worth it for SEO or can you do your SEO without them? Here are some of the pros and cons of using these tools so you can decide.
And the best bit – you don’t need to make a full decision, you can use some for a bit, change your mind and try without for a while too!
Are keyword tools worth it for SEO?
In order to figure out if keyword tools will be worth it for you, you need to know what you’re looking to get out of working on your SEO.
If all you want to do is to make sure your website shows up when people search for your name and your business title then a keyword tool will not likely help you.
If you don’t want to write blog posts then a keyword tool will likely not help you because it’s going to help you decide what blog posts to write!
If you want to attract people to your business website when they have a problem you could help them with then a keyword too can really help you.
It can help to give you blog post ideas so you can create the content you will attract those people with.
So which one do you fit into? If it’s the latter then read on because we’ll see whether they will be worth the investment for you or whether you will feel like they are a restriction.
Full disclosure – I’m currently not using paid keyword tools and just using some free strategies for now. I have used them in the past and am quite familiar with a few of them
Keyword tools – the pros
So let’s start with the pros of using these tools. There are a lot so let’s take a look at them:
- You can get lots of ideas quickly using these tools.
- You then get a good idea of how many people search the term each month
- You also know straight away whether it’s a keyword you might rank for using their competition score
- You can sometimes see what sites are ranking on page one and their strength with their article length and backlinks – you can see whether you think you can write something better
- You can spy on competitors and see where they are ranking and for what terms – it can help you come up with ideas for posts and to see if you can beat them.
- You can see where people have backlinks from – great if you’re stuck with ideas on building your links
- You can track where your site is ranking for your keywords and keep an eye on your positions and movement.
Often you’ll be able to download these lists of keywords for later use or save them to your profile, depending on which tool you use.
I’ve tried a few but my recommendation, especially for people starting out and small businesses with a small budget is Keysearch. It’s a decent tool, has everything you need and is a small monthly fee in comparison to some of the others on the market.
You can also get it with 20% off with the code -KSDISC – which makes it even more reasonable.
Keyword tools – the cons
So what would be a con of using a keyword tool – surely anything that helps you come up with keywords is always going to be good right?
Well, I guess that depends on your goals for what you’re writing. Let me explain a bit.
If you use a keyword tool, and especially a paid one, you’ll want to make the most of the information so you’ll automatically want to write posts that you have a likelihood of ranking for.
You’ll choose the ones that aren’t too competitive.
You’ll choose the ones with the bigger volume
And this makes sense and there’s nothing really wrong with that. But it might just lead you on a bit of a blinkered path.
Your audience might really need to read your post about the topic that’s competitive – and they can read it via social media or newsletters still.
Your audience might actually be searching the terms that the keyword tool says there is 0 volume for.
So in a nutshell here would be the bad parts of using a keyword tool on your SEO journey:
- reliance on their figures – which might not be too accurate
- you might never write about something they say gets 0 volume for but which actually does (it’s happened to me and plenty of other people!)
- can make you write only about what you might rank for rather than what can help your audience in other ways
- can make you a bit obsessed about where you’re ranking for keywords – always checking isn’t good for anyone!
- can make you obsessed with your competitors and what they are writing about rather than what your audience wants.
That’s not even going into the fact that some can be really expensive and a drain on your finances!
I think keyword tools have their place and if SEO and climbing the rankings in Google is super important to you then you should definitely look into using them. They’ll focus your mind on your goal and encourage you to work towards that.
I tend to use them for a couple of months and do some concentrated work with keywords at the forefront and then go back to using my free strategies (mostly using Google itself for post ideas) so I am not getting myself too hung up on it all. Your mileage may vary!
If you just want to write good content and you’re happy just having SEO in the back of your mind then you’ll probably get along just fine without them.