We’re often asked about what the differences are between the Long Tail Pro and Market Samurai keyword tools. Certainly there are some similarities in the functionality, but there are also quite a few key differences. Here is a breakdown of Long Tail Pro vs. Market Samurai:

Pat Flynn - Long Tail Pro vs. Market Samurai

Keyword Tool Basics

The fundamental concept behind long tail keywords is finding keywords that you can target with your content that are searched often enough, but also have relatively low competition. The idea is finding that sweet spot so you can put together a well-optimized page targeting that keyword, and have a strong chance of moving up to the first page of Google for that search term.

So at a basic level, a keyword research tool should help you find keyword ideas, see how often it is searched, and then analyze the competition for that keyword.

As it sounds, this can be a somewhat time consuming process when you need to find a large amount of keywords. So one of the benefits of a keyword research software should be that it saves you time. Let’s look at some of the differences between Market Samurai and Long Tail Pro when it comes to time savings.

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Speed Comparison

When you’re doing keyword research, it’s critical to be able to generate and analyze many keywords in a short amount of time. Both Long Tail Pro and Market Samurai start by letting you add “seed” keywords to get started, and then the software will use Google’s data to give you ideas of similar keywords.

However, in Market Samurai this is done one at a time. So you would add a seed keyword, generate the ideas, and then you can go back and do the same for another keyword if you’d like. In Long Tail Pro, you can add 5 – 10 seed keywords and generate all the ideas at once. In fact, you’ll get up to 800 keyword ideas per seed word, so that gives you the potential to generate up to 8,000 keywords in just a couple of minutes.

This 1 keyword at a time limitation was actually one of the reasons Spencer Haws decided to create Long Tail Pro. Here is a video of Spencer showing Long Tail Pro vs. Market Samurai with a stopwatch running in the background. Check out the difference in time savings:

Another thing Spencer touched on in the video is the difference in how the two products filter out keywords. After all, you might have some pretty specific ideas about what kinds of keywords you are looking for.

For example, if you are building a niche website that you plan to monetize through Google Adsense, you might want to filter out keywords that are only worth a few cents per click. Maybe you only want to see keywords that Google says have a cost per click of $2 or more.

Another filter idea may be taking out words that don’t get the kind of search volume you are looking for. Let’s say if the keyword gets searched less than 500 times per month, you don’t even want to see it in your list. Let’s take a look at how filtering is done in both products:

Marcus Sheridan - Long Tail Pro vs. Market Samurai

Keyword Filtering

As mentioned earlier, there are a number of different reasons you may want to filter out keywords. Maybe they don’t get searched enough, maybe you only want to see really long phrases (keywords with at least 4 words) and the list goes on.

Both Market Samurai and Long Tail Pro will let you set these types of filters. The key difference is when and how they do it.

In Market Samurai, keyword filtering is done after you’ve generated the keywords.

So if I put in “dog training” as my starter keyword and then generate ideas, after my list is complete I can then go to the top of the page and say I want to only see keywords with 1,000 searches or more. It will do the filter for you, the issue is that it adds some more waiting time before you see the list of keywords you really want.

In Long Tail Pro, filtering is done before you generate keywords:

Keyword Filtering

By doing it beforehand, once the keyword list is generated you are left with just the keywords that meet your criteria. Once you’ve got your list of keywords, arguably the most important part of the process is doing your competitive analysis.

Jason Van Orden Long tail Pro

Competitive Analysis

Both Long Tail Pro and Market Samurai will help you analyze your competition. The goal is to figure out how likely you are to be able to rank in the top 10 for a given keyword by quickly analyzing the important metrics.

Both tools have a similar layout when doing competition analysis, and some of the same data. For instance, both will show you the number of backlinks to a page, how old the domain is, and show you if the keyword is being used in the page title. Here is a video showing how Market Samurai analyzes the competition.

Probably the biggest difference in the data you receive in competition analysis is the integrated Moz data in Long Tail Pro. Specifically, you are able to see the domain authority and page authority of each of the top 10 results.

Why does this matter?

Here is how Moz explains the idea of domain authority (DA). By combining all the link metrics they track, it is their indication of a domains chances of ranking well in search and generally tracking the strength of that site over time. So the higher your DA, the bigger authority you have. Page authority is the same concept, but it is at the page level. Page authority may be even more important for our purposes because it is that specific page you are competing against, not necessarily the domain as a whole.

Here are a few other resources on why DA and PA are so important:

Why Domain Authority Is Most Important For SEO

Domain Authority vs. Page Rank

Understanding Page Authority and Domain Authority

In addition to the Moz data, the premium version of Long Tail Pro – known as Long Tail Platinum – does most of the work for you. In Long Tail Platinum, you have access to a proprietary calculation called Average Keyword Competitiveness (KC). In short, you can click a “calculate” button and the software will give you a number between 1 and 100 to indicate how difficult it would be to crack the top 10 for that keyword.

In general, a KC below 30 is a fairly low competition keyword (and the lower the better for you!) The low to mid-thirties would be a medium competition keyword, and then anything approaching 40 and on up is typically something that is tough to rank for. The benefit of KC to you is that you don’t waste your time building out content that is unlikely to rank.

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