Long Tail Pro Review: The Ultimate Guide to Doing Proper Keyword Research

I think you'll agree with me when I say: doing proper keyword research is one of the most important steps in creating a profitable niche site.

The problem is, many people writing about niche site keyword research are doing it all wrong. Which makes things incredibly confusing for you when you're trying to get your site off the ground.

In today's post, I want to show you how I go about doing keyword research for all my niche sites. And it all starts with an amazingly helpful piece of software: Long Tail Pro.


Review of: Long Tail Pro

Use: Keyword Research


Find high-value & low-competition keywords instantly.


Very intuitive & quick learning-curve.


$97 one-time fee; $17/mo for Platinum features.


Zippy and powerful at all times.

Bottom Line: There's a reason Long Tail Pro is the go-to keyword research tool for affiliate marketers all across the internet — it's the best at what it does, at a reasonably affordable price.

In this review, I will show you exactly how I use Long Tail Pro to perform keyword research for my niche sites and what I look for in a winning keyword.

In my last post, I went over how I use the AmaSuite 4 software to identify profitable product-categories and product-types to promote on our niche sites.

To quickly recap: we were searching for types of products to promote in the exercise equipment niche (based on our research of the Empire Flippers Marketplace), and we ended up settling on the elliptical machine niche.​

Why did we like the elliptical machine niche so much?

Well, we found about 12 different elliptical machines in the best-seller category, almost all of them priced $100+ (and several much higher than that) with 100+ customer reviews.​

So, these were best-selling products, high-priced, with a lot of reviews on Amazon. In other words, it is an ideal type of product to promote on a niche site.​

Be sure to check out that post if you haven't already, because this post will be a continuation of what we covered last week.​

Bonus: Looking for a profitable niche related to elliptical machines? I've created a Google Docs report using Long Tail Pro revealing this niche, featuring 13 potential keywords to target, including their search volumes and Keyword Competitiveness scores.

What Is Long Tail Pro?

For those of you not already familiar with Long Tail Pro, it's the premier keyword research software tool on the market today, developed by Spencer Haws of Niche Pursuits fame.

​LTP allows you to enter multiple keywords into the software at once, and then gives you a quick snapshot of the most important metrics of those particular keywords for you to analyze.

For example, for each keyword you want to analyze, you are able to see: the average cost per click, total number of local monthly searches in Google, the advertiser competition, and, most valuable of all, the proprietary Keyword Competitiveness Score which gives you a quick and easy way of seeing how difficult it will be for you to rank for that keyword.​

But instead of simply just telling you what the software is and what it's used for, I want to show you exactly how I use the software to perform my keyword research for all of my niche sites.​

Getting Started With Long Tail Pro

So once you've downloaded Long Tail Pro and entered your unique license number, it's time to fire up the software and get to work.

The first thing we want to do is simply add a new campaign, and give it a name.

As you can see in the image below, I've created a new campaign called "Elliptical", since that's the product-category that we decided on in the last two posts.​

Now we need to enter our seed keywords. We need to give the software something to start with, so that it can start spitting out other keyword ideas.

In the big "type or paste seed keywords" box, I've simply entered the keyword "elliptical machine". This is sufficient to get started, but the software also allows you to enter more keywords below if you want in the "add your own keywords" box.

Recall from the previous post using the AmaSuite 4 software, we generated ​a big list of additional seed keywords using the Azon Keyword generator tool.

Here's a screen shot of the additional seed keywords we were able to generate in only a few minutes using that software.​

So I've pasted these additional keywords into Long Tail Pro.

Now it's time to do a little filtering.​

In the "apply filters" section, the software allows you to filter your keyword results both by volume and total number of words.

You can play around with this as you see fit, but generally, I select an average local searches at a minimum of 750, and a minimum number of words per keyword at 2 words.​

Then, just hit that giant "generate keywords" button, and you're ready to go.

What's impressive about Long Tail Pro is how fast it performs; it only takes a few minutes, and it's able to generate the results above. So what are we looking at here?

In the bottom left corner, you'll see that LTP found 833 total results related to our keywords.

But, since we applied our filters by minimum local monthly searches and total number of words, the software ​returns a total of 104 keywords for us to analyze.

I've sorted by total local monthly searches, and now in less than three minutes we have a targeted, curated list of 104 potential keywords that we can analyze for possible use on our niche site. This is the beauty of the software: speed, ease of use, and usability, all in one.

Note also the far right column, Average KC: this is where you can quickly calculate the keyword competitiveness score of each keyword, showing you how easy it will be to rank for that particular keyword. We'll cover this more later on, but this feature is only available with a Platimum subscription (and additional $17 per month).

What to Look For in a Great Keyword

Before we go any further using the software, let's talk about what exactly makes a good keyword vs. a bad one for a niche website.

I'll stipulate here that there are many different ways to perform keyword research for a niche site. Not everyone does keyword research the way I do, but this is what I've found has worked for me. So that's what I'm going to show you.

Buyer's Intent

The single most important thing to remember when doing keyword research for a niche site is that you need to focus on the buyer's intent.

What is buyer's intent? Basically, it's when a person is on Google, and they are ready to buy a particular kind of product. But, before they go to buy, the want to read other people's opinion of the product, to determine if they are making the right buying decision.​

Now, put yourself in a buyer's position with our keyword: elliptical machine. You have decided that you want to buy an elliptical machine so that you can workout in the comfort of your own home, but before pulling the trigger on a $300+ piece of exercise equipment, you want to be sure that you are picking the right product.

So, what do you search for when you hop onto Google?

There are only TWO searches that matter, and this is borne out by keyword research: best elliptical machine(s), and elliptical (machine) review(s). ​

Think about it: if you're buying an elliptical machine, but you want to check out what other people are saying first, what are you most likely to search for?

What is the best type of this particular category, and what are people writing about them (reviews)?

And really, when you're at the beginning stages of your keyword research, these two searches are all that matter.

What to Avoid When Doing Keyword Research

So we know that "best" and "review"-type keywords are golden, and what we should focus our keyword research around.

But what are some types of keywords that you should avoid?​

While there are many "bad" keywords, there are really TWO types that stand out and which cause all kinds of trouble for people just starting out with their sites.

Avoid these types of keywords at all costs.​

Let's go back to LTP and focus on a subset of the 104 keywords it found for us ealier.

I've "x'd" out some obvious keywords that wouldn't work for a niche review site, and I've narrowed down our list to 21 keywords here.

I've also had the software calculate the KC score for each keyword, most of which are under a KC score of 35, which is generally a good guideline to target.

But not all of these are good keywords.

​E-Commerce Site Keywords

The first type of keyword to avoid is an e-commerce site keyword.

What's an e-commerce site keyword? Well, it's a keyword that suggests that the person searching on Google is simply looking for a place to buy that particular product, not that they are looking to read about it.​

Let's use an example from the above screenshot.

The third keyword for the bottom, "cardio equipment," looks promising on the surface: it has 1,000 local monthly searches and an average KC score of only 33. Best yet, we know that products in this category (cardio equipment)​ will be at least $100+, giving us a nice commission.

But this is a terrible keyword to target for a niche site!​

Why? Because it's an e-commerce site keyword. When people are searching for this in Google, they're looking for places to buy cardio equipment.

Does your niche review site actually sell cardio equipment? No!​

And Google knows this. Which is why the top of the SERPs are flooded with e-commerce sites, such as Dick's Sporting Goods, Amazon, Walmart, and individual companies that make and sell their own equipment.

There are no niche sites anywhere to be seen in these SERPs!

If you focus on this keyword, you will NEVER rank for it.

And yet, there are internet marketers all over the place selling keyword packs and pre-made niche sites targeting exactly these types of keywords.​ Stay far, far away.

Informational Keywords

The other type of keyword that you should stay away from is the so-called informational keyword.

What's an informational keyword?

Let's go back to our results in Long Tail Pro.​

Take a look at the very last keyword on this list: "calories burned elliptical".

Again, this looks like a decent keyword on the surface: 1,300 LMS and a KC score of 31.

The "advertiser competition" of "low", however, hints as to why this is a bad keyword to go after. Here's why.​

When people are entering this keyword into Google, what are they really looking for? Just one small bit of information: how many calories can they burn by using an elliptical machine? That's it!

And again, Google knows this. Let's take a look at the SERPs.​

The answer box right up top gives you the answer without even having to click on any links!

So how are you going to make any commissions targeting this keyword? You won't.​

So stay away from e-commerce keywords, and stay away from informational keywords.

Analyzing the Competition

So now that we know which keywords to target, and which keywords to avoid, let's go back into Long Tail Pro and start to analyze the competition for the keywords we want to go after.

Other Niche Sites

Since we know the "best"-type keywords are profitable ones, let's have a look at the keyword "best elliptical machine" by clicking on the details from the results in LTP.

There's a lot of things going on in this screenshot above, so let's break it down.​

The very first thing I'm looking for here are the domains of the top 10 results; specifically, are there any other niche sites ranking in the top 10?​

Why is this important? Simple: if there are other niche sites ranking on Page 1, that means that I can rank there too.

Sure, I'll have to outrank them, but with my experience building sites, and my access to PBN links, I'm confident that I can rank in nearly any niche so long as I'm selective enough.​

And as we can see above, for the keyword "best elliptical machine", there are three niche sites ranking in the top 10. This is a good sign.

Keyword Competitiveness Score

The next thing I'm looking for in the screenshot above is the "average keyword competitiveness" score, or KC score. This is a number calculated by Long Tail Pro that quickly gives you an idea of how difficult it will be to rank for a particular keyword.

Generally speaking, anything under a KC score of 35 is good, while anything under 30 is excellent. Once you get over a score of 40, it may be too difficult to rank.

Again, the KC score feature is only for people who have a Platinum subscription to Long Term Pro. It's a monthly charge of $17.​

  • One thing you can do is pay for the Platinum service for only one month, do all your keyword research in 30 days, then just cancel your Platinum status. You'll still have access to all the other features of the software, without having to pay the monthly fee every month.

So as we can see above, the average KC score of the keyword "best elliptical machine" is only 28, which is very good news.

With good enough content and enough PBN links, we should be able to rank on page 1 for this keyword.

Bonus: Looking for a profitable niche related to elliptical machines? I've created a Google Docs report using Long Tail Pro revealing this niche, featuring 13 potential keywords to target, including their search volumes and Keyword Competitiveness scores.

Search Volume and Product Pricing

Now, we know that other niche sites are ranking in the top 10, and the average KC score is a very encouraging 28. What else should we look for?

First, search volume: I don't have a hard and fast rule here, but I like to see at least 1,500 LMS at an absolute minimum for just a single keyword, preferably 3,000 or more. For "best elliptical machine", we can see there are 3,600 LMS, and that's just one variation of our keyword (we'll also be targeting "elliptical machine reviews", etc).​

Also, while product pricing isn't something covered by Long Tail Pro, it is something you need to keep in mind while doing your research. We've already covered this with the AmaSuite 4 software (elliptical machines generally sell for $150+), and now you should start seeing how you can use these two pieces of software in tandem.

Building a Keyword List

So "best elliptical machine" is definitely a keyword we're going to want to target. Not only that, but it's the type of keyword that we can build an entire site around: it's a buyer's keyword, it has good search volume, it features several products that sell for $100, and the SERPs include other niche sites. These are all excellent signs.

Just to be clear, however: by no means will this be an EASY keyword to rank for.

This is going to take quite a bit of work. Our written content will need to be excellent and SEO-targeted, we'll need to build out some initial links with The Hoth, and we will definitely need a healthy amount of PBN links to get onto page 1.

But it will be worth it. In my experience, the most profitable niche sites are the ones with keywords that are NOT easy to rank for, but generally of moderate difficulty​. And this makes sense, because profitable niches will naturally attract some level of competition.

Now that we have "best elliptical machine" analyzed, we want to look at very similar variations that we can also target, and then start making our initial list of keywords that we will want to build content around.

The two screenshots above show us the Long Tail Pro results for "elliptical machine reviews" and "best elliptical".

I'm not going to analyze these again like I did for "best elliptical machine", but you get the general idea: these have nice search volumes and moderate competition.

And with only these three keywords, we have pretty nice search volume that will attract extremely targeted, organic Google traffic:​

  • Best elliptical machine: 3,600 LMS
  • Best elliptical: 3,600 LMS
  • Elliptical machine reviews: 1,600 LMS

Reverse Engineering Your Competition with SEMRush

This is a nice start, but, of course, we don't need to stop with just those three keywords.

Another neat trick to find more targeted keywords is to see which keywords your competition is ranking for. And we can do this rather easily using SEMRush.​

We go over to SEMRush and plug-in the URL for one of the niche sites ranking on page 1. For this example, we'll use www.uhosports.org. Then we just hit the big search button.

On the next page you want to scroll down a bit until you reach the section that looks like the above. This is showing the top keywords that your competitor site is ranking for!

​Hit the "view full report" button to see even more keywords.

That takes us to what we're looking at above: a list of the top 10 keywords that this niche site is ranking for, along with the search volume, and estimated % of total traffic being driven to the site.

This is insanely valuable information and something you must use when crafting your content.

Note that of the top 10 keywords, 9 of them involve some variation of "best" or "reviews".

Also note that those same 9 keywords all point to the same page (the home page), meaning that when we add up all the search volume, we have 21,500 LMS for our main money page!

(And SEMRush will give you the top 10 results with a free account, which is what I use; to see even more results, you need a paid account).

This review is running long, so we don't do it here, but you can take all 9 of those keywords and plug them into LTP and analyze them exactly the same way we did before.

Putting It All Together

So we have a list of 9 keywords totaling 21,500 local monthly searches that we are fairly confident we can rank for, and that can all be targeted on just one money page.

We know what we're going to write about, we just don't know yet exactly how we're going to structure our site, and our page, and our reviews, to ensure that we're maximizing the potential value of all these keywords.​

And that's what we'll cover in our next post, so stay tuned.​


Long Tail Pro

Summary: Doing proper keyword research is absolutely vital when you're building out a niche site.​ And there is no better product on the market today for doing proper keyword research than Long Tail Pro.​ It's fast, easy to use, and extremely useful when building out a new site or money page.

Mike Bradford

Hi there, I'm Mike, the guy behind Niche Site Azon. I made $32,000 in 12 months with Amazon niche sites. This blog is where I share my tips, tricks, and tactics to building and profiting from Amazon affiliate sites.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 16 comments
Sophy - June 1, 2015

Thank Mike,

That provide more detail of research keyword with long tail keyword. I have some question need your ideas.

1. When first start to build niche site how to get backlink, please your ways to get more backlink?

2. Which niche site that you like and prefer your visitors like me 🙂 as example?

    Mike Bradford - June 1, 2015

    Hi Sophy!

    Don’t worry, I will be going over link-building very soon 🙂 Short answer is, I usually build a nice initial of backlinks with The Hoth, and then I use PBN links.

      Sophy - June 2, 2015

      Thank Mike,

      How many PBN links for a niche site that you build?


        Mike Bradford - June 2, 2015

        There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this, unfortunately. Depends on the niche, depends on the competition.

        Bare minimum, I shoot for 10 PBN links per money page. Preferably 20.

Hooman - June 2, 2015

Hi Mike,
Thank you so much for this great post,If I want to be honest I’m impatiently waiting for your next post because I have always had a problem to structure my new sites.It’s a great idea to write about this.

Duke Nguyen - June 2, 2015

Thank you, Mike.
I love this post so much. It brought a lot of value information for me.
Keep sharing.

    Mike Bradford - June 2, 2015

    Thanks for the feedback, Duke!

Sharon - June 7, 2015

Hi Mike! Great to come across your website and see how you do keyword research. It is very similar to me although I pay close attention to exact matches in the keyword, the number of juice page links and have a spreadsheet to plug everything into to tell me how valuable I think the keyword is! Do you do any of that?

I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next, particularly when you get to link building. I am making ok money through niche sites but the link building part is holding me back a bit. Interesting to hear you use the HOTH. I tried it once – it was the only linking I did to one niche site. I was stressed when I got it back and saw how dodgy they looked and how badly they linked to my niche site so I removed them – too late it seems, the next week it was deindexed!

    Mike Bradford - June 7, 2015

    Hi Sharon! Appreciate you stopping by – love your site!

    I don’t really keep any spreadsheets; Long Tail Pro does all of that work for me, and I can just export to a .csv file if I want to. That’s what I love about it, it saves me a ton of manual work 🙂

    Sorry to hear about your experience with The Hoth. I’ve had nothing but good results with them. The first site I ever tested them out with was done over a year ago, and that site currently sites #4 in the SERPs 🙂 Did you ever reach out to their customer service? They are usually very responsive.

    That said, I use The Hoth only as an initial link building tactic. It’s not going to get you all the way to Page 1 on its own. After that, I work almost exclusively with PBN links. Those still work very well, and I’ve built out my network now to 40+ sites. There is some risk, of course, but there’s risk in any back linking methods 🙂

Scott - June 14, 2015

Hey Mike,

Excellent write up mate, very comprehensive!

What do you think when you see a competitors page has hundreds of internal links, but zero juice passing links?

Keep up the great work. I’m off to investigate some Amazon niche sites now!

– Scott

    Mike Bradford - June 15, 2015

    Hey Scott,

    Have you checked them out using Ahrefs or Majestic? Could be that they are using a plugin to prevent their links from being blocked. Hard to know exactly without checking out the site.

    Thanks, and good luck!

moffat - July 1, 2015

hae mike i have been in affiliate marketing for 2 yrs now i average 300$ per month, wish i had come across your website sooner, but now since i have this will change everything.

Goran - July 10, 2015

Great, great explanation.

Now i assume the closing sentence “And that’s what we’ll cover in our next post, so stay tuned.​” is this article actually: http://www.nichesiteazon.com/content-niche-sites/, right?


    Mike Bradford - July 11, 2015


Siddaiah Thirupati - March 12, 2016

Hi Mike.

I am blogging since 2 years but never concentrated on doing keyword research which is big mistake, I am hearing a lot about long tail pro these days, I think keyword competitiveness is the best feature in Long tail pro, thanks for sharing the details about it.

You crafted this article very well with Thrive content builder, I too use this tool to review products, thanks for sharing this information.

Brenda Smith - April 13, 2016

Indeed a great post about Keyword Research.

There is no doubt that Keyword Research is the most important part of building a successful website. Without targeting the right keywords, We can never drive traffic and sales.

Keyword research is important as much as making a PLAN before doing something really great. 😀

When I started my blogging carrer, I never knew what keyword research is, I always cover articles on random keywords and that was the reason, I wasn’t getting traffic and sales because I was running in the wrong direction.

But When I learned about keyword research then I found my mistake and started working on it.

In this guide, You have covered keyword research in a very detailed way and It is very much helpful to so many readers including me.

So Thanks for sharing such a wonderful article with us. 😀


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