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Once upon a time, Google's Keyword Planner was the tool for SEO keyword research. But ever since Google limited access to precise search volumes a while back, SEO professionals have turned elsewhere.
For many digital marketers, tools like Moz Keyword Explorer and SEMrush are the preferred alternatives. Recently, though, we stumbled upon another keyword research tool that we've really been loving. It's called KWFinder, and it was launched back in 2014 by a company called Mangools.
Want to discuss SEO keyword research for your business? Drop us a line.
Although Mangools's KWFinder isn't exactly new, it is new to us. And we're guessing we aren't the only ones who were late to the party. Mangools's website lists an impressive client roster, but it still doesn't seem to be as popular as the competition. The company has far fewer social media followers than the others. And, anecdotally, it's a name we don't hear come up often in the SEO community.
And that's a shame, because based on our experience with the product over the past several months, it's been a real gem. KWFinder's subscription-plan prices are far more competitive than the other guys, and it delivers just as much as they do (if not more).
Let's take a look at what KWFinder has to offer.
One of the first things that struck me about KWFinder is its clean, smooth interface. The platform's design is well laid-out, which makes it easy to process the information you're looking at when digging through a large list of keywords.
Keyword difficulties are ranked on a score of 0-100, with the lower scores being less competitive. Scores are also placed into one of eight color-coded categories, which allows you to judge your keyword's viability in a quick glance.
Here are the results for the keyword phrase "chicago style pizza" in Seattle. This keyword term scores a "49," which lands it in the yellow, "Possible" category.
A new website with little-to-no SEO credibility would have a hard time ranking high for this keyword phrase.
Some of our favorite KWFinder features include:
Precise monthly search volumes
Side-by-side display of keyword suggestions and keyword's current SERP rankings
Ability to check search volumes by city, metro-area, county, state or country
Extensive lists of alternative keyword recommendations
Information on SERP competition's Moz Domain Authority, inbound links and Facebook shares
Check out this official Mangools tutorial below for some more information straight from the horse's mouth.
Official KWFinder tutorial from Mangools
In addition to KWFinder, Mangools offers a suite of products that are essential to comprehensive SEO strategy.
You get access to all these tools, too, as part of your KWFinder subscription.
Let's take a look at the full range of products.
LinkMiner, which was launched late last year, is the latest offering from Mangools. And boy is it a doozy!
Every good SEO specialist should know that your keywords are only as good as your quality backlinks, and LinkMiner can help you generate a treasure trove of them.
LinkMiner is Mangools's answer to popular tools like Ahrefs's BackLink Checker, Moz's Open Site Explorer (now Link Explorer) and SEMrush's Backlinks.
Just input your competitors' web addresses, and LinkMiner instantly generates a list of what external web pages are linking to their sites.
In addition to your own efforts with link-building strategies like influencer marketing, LinkMiner makes it easy to pick up some additional easy links.
Interested in discussing SEO keyword strategy for your business? Get in touch today.
SERPChecker provides insight on the top-ranking web pages for your keywords in the search engine results pages. This information provides much-needed context on how your pages will stack up against the competition in the SERP.
While KWFinder offers a condensed version of SERP data, you can delve even deeper with SERPChecker. SERPChecker breaks down the following information on the competition for your keywords:
SERPWatcher provides some next-level insights for those who are really competitive in their SEO game.
Basically what SERPWatcher does is allows you to track how a domain performs for a variety of different keywords. So essentially, if you're aware of your competition for a desired keyword, you can track if their ranking for that keyword is holding strong, or potentially starting to slip. You can of course track your own domain for your keywords as well.
Check out Mangools' SERPWatcher guide blog post for more information on the tool.
Like its competitors, Mangools offers up its full suite of products under three-to-four tiers of subscription plans. But as mentioned above, Mangools's pricing is significantly more affordable than that of perhaps its two biggest competitors.
Here's how Mangools's pricing plans compare to the other guys (the prices below include discounts each service provides for a one-year subscription, as opposed to paying month-by-month).
Annual subscription plan prices for popular SEO tools
Mangools even offers users five free keyword searches per 24 hours, with 50 suggestions per search.
Moz Keyword Explorer offers a very limited 30-day free trial, and you must hand over your credit card information to get it. If you don't cancel before those 30 days they'll start charging you $159 per month automatically.
SEMrush currently offers no free trial.
What do You Get for Your Money?
We've established that KWFinder's the most affordable option out there for keyword research. But it's important to determine if what you get for your money is really worth it. In our experience, it has been.
A Willing Participant currently subscribes to Mangools's "Premium" plan, which is adequate for what we need. That gets us 500 keyword searches per 24 hours, with 700 keyword suggestions per search. In addition, we get 7,000 rows of backlinks per day. The plan allows you to track the SERP ranking of up to 700 keywords at any given time. And up to three simultaneous logins.
Even Mangools's most expensive "Agency" subscription is comparable to the competition's lowest-tier plans. But based on our review, it offers far more bang for your buck. It seems as if the only way the other guys have Mangools beat is for customers conducting incredibly high volumes of keyword research.
In our opinion, it's hard to imagine a scenario where Mangools's "Premium" plan would be inadequate.
We've got a lot of great things to say about Mangools. But to be fair, we have to point out a couple negative aspects we've encountered as well. The two minor grievances are as follows.
Every once in a while when conducting a keyword search query, KWFinder displays a message that says no data for your keyword is available. This isn't a major issue though, as a quick refresh of the page followed by another search attempt will retrieve the correct result.
A quick follow-up search will correct this issue
Another similar glitch is that sometimes, KWFinder will present the data for a similar, but different keyword phrase.
For example, If I search "los angeles coffee house," KWFinder sometimes will instead serve up the data for one of its suggested keywords. This could be something like "los angeles cafe."
Be sure to double-check the keyword listed on the right-side of your search-results screen (above the SERP rankings). Because every once in a while, the data you're looking at is for that of a related keyword, not the one you entered.
KWFinder will sometimes provide the data for a different keyword suggestion, not your original search
In addition to these search glitches, we've experienced some snafus related to billing with Mangools. These experiences were minor nuisances at most, but they're worth mentioning. All cases resulted in a credit card being charged when it shouldn't have been.
The first mix-up took place as a result of my bank's fraud protection blocking an initial payment, which ultimately resulted in my card being charged twice. The second incident happened when I updated the card on file, but the old card which had been removed from my payment options was somehow charged instead of the new one. The third case took place when we switched to an annual subscription from a monthly, but were still charged for the next monthly subscription, too.
Despite these mixups, it's important to give credit where credit is due: In each instance, Mangools's customer support team was quick to respond, clearly explained the cause of the problem and immediately issued a refund. It's clear that the company doesn't take customer service lightly.
All-in-all, Mangools's KWFinder and other offerings are an excellent choice for people getting into the world of SEO, or those who are more experienced but might be looking for something new.
The pricing is competitive, and the products are robust. You get everything that you would from the big guys, for a fraction of the price. I would even go so far as to say that, in my opinion, Mangools's SEO tools are superior to anything else that's available out there right now. Any negative experiences we've had with Mangools are far outweighed by the positives.
You may not have heard of Mangools yet, but if you take our word for it, it's definitely worth giving them a shot.
Want to talk about your business's SEO keyword strategy? Get in touch today.
Have you given KWFinder a shot yet? Do you have another favorite keyword research tool you'd like to share? Join the conversation in the comment box below!