I needed a tool for keyword research. So I started looking. Among the host of tools that came up on Google search, I picked up Long Tail Pro Platinum. Why? For one, because Pat Flynn recommended it and I’m a fan. He also had this video on YouTube that showed him using Long Tail Pro and I found the keyword competency feature very attractive. This Long Tail Pro review is my experience.

(Did you realize you just saw an example of influencer marketing here? And it led to a conversion too!)

But I digress. Let’s get started.

Who should use Long Tail Pro (LTP) and why?

A keyword research and competitor analysis tool is handy for SEO analysts, AdWords specialists, marketing strategists and content developers. Long Tail Pro fits in as a solution that:

  • works faster and better than the manual keyword mining process
  • helps you organize and select the right keywords with smart filtering options
  • validates your own keyword ideas
  • delivers competitive information around keywords and domains
  • helps you come up with content ideas for an aggressive SEO plan

Things to know

LTP is a desktop tool. However, I saw some mention of a cloud-based version in one of their recent blog posts.

LTP works by pulling information from Google’s Keyword Planner and Moz plus its own algorithmic magic. You need to setup an AdWords and Moz account which LTP walks you through.

Note: In June’16, LTP replaced Moz metrics with Majestic metrics for greater accuracy and comprehensive data around backlinks. I’m not sure whether that’s a complete switchover though. Maybe you don’t need the Moz account anymore.

What was my expectation from LTP?

I bought the $37 monthly plan for LTP after the $1 10-day trial. I had used it a bit during the trial period and it seemed fairly good. My expectations from Long Tail Platinum (LTP) were:

  • Speed up the process of keyword research
  • Get all keyword intelligence in one tool
  • Discover new keyword ideas
  • Monitor shortlisted keywords’ ranking

My rating: I’ll give LTP a 5/5 on the first two objectives, 4/5 on the third and 2/5 on the last.

LTP features that win

LTP has many useful features. You can create a project, define location, language and the search engine on which you want the research to be based. You can research with Google or Google and Search Partners.

Seed keywords & own ideas
LTP allows you to submit seed keywords such as “SEO training” or “luxury hotel” which it will then use to pull up hundreds of keyword ideas for the location and language you’re targeting. You can also enter your own keyword ideas and get search stats on them.

Informative & comprehensive research data
Once the keywords are submitted, LTP will process the data and present it in a dashboard. The keyword dashboard will show you Suggested Bid, Local Searches (very important from an SEO perspective), Advertiser Competition, Number of Words (useful to segregate short, medium and long tail keywords), and Average Keyword Competency (needs to be clicked for the calculation to work).

Long Tail Pro review - keyword dashboard

You can select which columns you’d like to see in your dashboard. You can choose based on how and where you want to use the keywords.Other column selections in Long Tail Pro dashboard

Keyword Competitiveness (KC)
This is my favorite “super value” feature in LTP that also differentiates it from other keyword research tools. For each keyword, you can calculate its keyword competitiveness (KC). As per an LTP post on how KC is calculated, KC is a formula that will allow you to quickly analyze the top 10 results in Google to determine how difficult any keyword might be to rank for naturally. It takes multiple factors into count – page authority, SEO title, keywords in domain, etc.

As per LTP experts, a keyword with KC below 30 is easier to outrank so that’s the one you pick for quick SEO results.

Competitive data & content ideas
For content ideas that’ll help you show quick SEO results, LTP gives you real-time search engine result page (SERP) views for specific keywords. You also get additional data such as keyword competency of a keyword for a specific page, domain as well as page authority – stuff that helps you assess which domain you could possibly beat with superior content.

Check out the Skyscraper Technique shared by Brian Dean of Backlinko to come up with a smart content strategy that’ll help you outrank a weaker domain or page. The screenshot below shows you the results for the keyword “SEO training.”

Real-time SERP results in Long Tail Pro

Download keyword ideas
You can download the complete list of keywords with research data in CSV format. Even if your subscription expires, you have a list of your keywords on you with KC and other details.

What I love about LTP

There’s a lot to love.

Quick & comprehensive keyword research
The keyword discovery is quick and comprehensive. Though the SERP results for a keyword are pulled from Google or Google and Search Partners, you can also see Bing Title competition for web pages that come up. It’s a huge saving of time and effort.

Smart keyword filtering and selection
Filtering options bring down the list of keywords to just what you want – keyword phrases with more than 3 words, keywords that have a minimum search volume of 1000/month or keywords that are medium competition. You can tag selected keywords with a star and filter out the rest.

Content discovery with competitive data
You get a lot of content ideas and you can come up with a strategic content plan that’s sure to get results. LTP lets you add notes to your selection. That’s helpful to markup keywords for content formats and usage scenarios you have in mind.

Added value on email
Apart from the regular customer service on email which was great, LTP also sent out super useful content on weekly emails as Platinum Exclusive. The topics ranged from powerful SEO strategies to instructional information on LTP, templates, webinars and other relevant content.

Long Tail Pro support for customers

Where LTP could get better

While the overall experience with Long Tail Platinum was great, there were some issues:

  • Inability to use operators in seed keywords: For the seed keyword SEO training, LTP will pull search terms that include SEO or training. The default OR relationship is applied. If I want to only search out keywords that have both SEO and training, I don’t have an option. This makes the keyword list a long one to go through for relevant results. You can use the filtering options to manage this better but operator support would be great.
  • Rank Checker: You can add a list of keywords you want to monitor for a project in LTP’s Rank Checker. You can also provide a domain URL instead. The dashboard pulls up the average position of the keywords on Bing, Google and Yahoo!. While Bing and Yahoo! rankings come up fairly quickly, Google takes a long time. For the few times I tried, after the first 8-10 results, I got nothing more. However, this isn’t an LTP issue alone as Google blocks repeat requests from IPs. The reason I mention it here is to set your expectations. What is your tool of choice for this purpose?

Long Tail Pro Platinum rank checker

  • No progress indication in Rank Checker: Considering that the Rank Checker runs for a long time, there is no progress indicator to guide you. I’d start thinking the process is hung and then one more position would show up. A progress indicator would be a big help. In its current state, I wouldn’t pick LTP to monitor keyword rankings on Google.

LTP support services

LTP offers email support to its subscribers. Response to emails is received in a day or so with adequate explanation or resolution.

There’s good documentation on how to use Long Tail Pro. I’d recommend checking out the demo videos to get a peek into the tool. And take the $1 trial.

Finally, would I recommend LTP?

Yes, absolutely. It is a strong keyword and competitive research tool, and at a good price.

If you want to come up with a strategic content plan that will help you outrank your competitors, LTP gives you just the support you need. I enjoyed LTP and I plan to use it for more projects.

Try Long Tail Pro and share your experience in the comments. Or is some other keyword research tool your favorite? I’d love to know which one and why.