Keyword Research – Market Samurai vs Long Tail Pro

When it comes to keyword research tools there are 2 that come to mind right away; Market Samurai and Long Tail Pro. Google’s AdWords Keyword tool is also very popular and powerful, but it requires a lot of supporting tools to gather all the information that the other 2 offer. So, for this post we’ll be focusing on Market Samurai and Long Tail Pro.

As I was testing both of these products, I was simultaneously impressed and under the impression that something wasn’t quite right. Before I go on, I just want to say that, despite the cons that I may point out, I am not knocking these products in any way. Quite the opposite, I think they are both great, and speed up keyword research immensely.  All I’ll be doing here is pointing out some areas that either struck me as a bit odd or could be changed to make things even better.

Content at a Glance

This post is getting a little long; it’s actually the longest post I’ve ever written! So, to make myself feel awesome and important I’ve put a table of contents here to help navigate things a bit.

Keyword Research Tool Review – Pros & Cons

Market Samurai Long Tail Pro
  1. It’s easy to “chain” keyword research by simply clicking on an icon by a keyword to create another keyword tab.
  2. It’s easy to lookup keywords in Google search, just click on the keyword then Google search.
  3. You can import your own list of keywords in the regular version – there is only one version.
  4. You can quickly get a feel for the SEO Competition thanks to the color coded results table.
  1. You can quickly see SEO Competition by clicking on a keyword.
  2. You can click to see SEO Competition while keyword analysis is still running.
  3. It’s a very responsive application unless Google Title Competition data is being loaded, but that is a requirement for any research tool since Google is quite strict about applications accessing search data.
  4. It’s very easy to do a quick, one-off keyword competition analysis; simply type in the keyword and click analyze.
  1. It is very slow to switch tabs or modules, almost to the point of being cumbersome – I’ve even had it crash on me a few times
  2. You can’t reorder or group the keyword tabs within a project, so if you are “chaining” your keyword research this can get a bit hard to navigate
  3. You have to create a new keyword tab in order to do SEO Competition research for that keyword.
  4. It doesn’t show Average CPC, instead, it shows AWCPC which is often very high by comparison, the explanation of what AWCPC is on Market Samurai’s site is quite complicated.
  5. I’m feeling like the usefulness of SEOV is questionable due to the inflated value of AWCPC, and it doesn’t take into account the click through rate (CTR) once a user has landed on the #1 site’s page. (SEOV = SEOT x AWCPC).
  1. You can’t save multiple filter settings; these have to be re-entered for each project. although you can save your campaign settings to be your default for any new campaigns.
  2. At the moment, I’m not sure how useful the Page Link column in the Competitor Analysis page is – it includes both internal and external link counts, as well as dofollow and nofollow links.
  3. You can’t import your own list of keywords except as seeds which is in a comma delimited list format, unless you’ve got the platinum version.
  4. The platinum version incurs a monthly fee of $17.
  5. The keyword highlighting in the competition analysis screen doesn’t highlight keywords if they are beside punctuation – as far as I know the search engines ignore punctuation.
  6. You can’t hide unwanted columns from the keyword research or SEO analysis tables.
  7. To view Google search results for a keyword you have to type them manually into Google or cut and paste them from the SEO Competition screen.
  8. It’s harder to “chain” your keyword research – you have to create a new campaign manually for each new set of keywords – in all fairness, this isn’t that hard.

Quick Poll – Is the SEOV Metric Helpful?

Backlink Strangeness

I’ve noticed some large differences between the backlinks shown in Long Tail Pro and those in Market Samurai. It should be noted that they are using different sources for their data. Long Tail Pro uses and Market Samurai uses I’m starting to think, and this surprises me, that Majestic’s backlink data is more accurate than Moz’s. I’ve looked at a few examples and randomly verified the data. One of the examples I looked at was showcased in this post by the creator of Long Tail Pro. Here’s a quick breakdown of the backlink data. I’ve added Page Authority, Domain Authority, Trust Flow and Citation Flow since these values are so closely tied to backlinks. Again, I did random sampling of the results for each site to verify the data and it seemed accurate.
majestic backlinks 9,664 12,044
majestic referring domains 517 103
majestic trust flow 18 16
majestic citation flow 37 35
moz backlinks 5,006 250
moz juice links 4,819 4
moz referring root domains 6 108
moz page authority 47 26
moz page authority 37 13

Majestic SEO doesn’t have anything like the Moz Juice Link metric so it’s really hard to compare those. Also, I’m not sure if Moz’s root domain metric is meant to be the same as Majestic’s referring domain. The interesting thing is, if it is actually the case that the Majestic SEO backlink data is more relevant than Moz’s data, that would indicate that Moz’s Page and Domain Authorities are also less relevant, since they are heavily tied to Moz’s backlink data.

Unfortunately, none of this data explains why is ranking higher than in Google’s search results, except for maybe the referring domains. There are obviously other factors that would have to be looked it, but I’m going to save that for another day.

Feature Comparison Chart

Keyword Research Tool Review Conclusion

First, I have to say that these tools are great for speeding up the keyword research process, and since that process can be incredibly time consuming, any help in that department is always great asset. As far as which one I’d choose? I’m have a hard time doing that right now. I like and dislike aspects of both. It’s such a difficult choice for me that I’m actually looking into building my own custom tool – one of the perks of being a programmer. UPDATE: for the short term, and while I’m in the NSD2.0 challenge I’m going to choose Long Tail Pro. The main reason it’s responsiveness – Market Samurai is simply too cumbersome to use effectively.

Leave a Reply

  1. Love the comparison chart. First time I’ve heard of Social Compare, thanks for showing me a new toy to play with! :)

  2. Very timely comparison! I’m reluctant to purchase any software that has an “optional” monthly fee associated with it, since often times features are added to the subscription and the base package gets little improvement.

    One thing about backlinks: for search engine ranking, it’s not important how many banklinks you have, it’s important how many the search engine knows about, and their worth. I haven’t found any SEO software that can identify that accurately. I feel like Google’s webmaster tools is the best resource for those, assuming you’re analyzing your own site.

  3. Hi Alexander,

    Choosing a good keyword research tool is definitely hard. I’m currently using both Market Samurai and Long Tail Pro Platinum and I’m still unsure how useful their data is. Even with that said, I am still relying on them for my keyword research. I like Long Tail Pro for it’s ease of use, and I like Market Samurai for it’s on-page SEO data. There’s also Traffic Travis which gives similar on-page SEO data but none of the fluff of those 2 larger tools. Plus, the slightly limited but usable version is free – which is what I’m currently using.

    Regarding the “worth” of known backlinks, that is a good point. I know that Market Samurai uses some Trust Flow and Citation Flow from MajesticSEO which both attempt to put a value on backlinks. Just doing some spot checks (definitely nothing scientific) I don’t have the impression that those metrics are all that meaningful to Google’s search results.

    In fact, I’m actually struggling with just how important backlinks are. I know they can definitely get you traffic. So, in that way they have value, but how much they influence the search results is still up in the air for me. I’m actually doing a case-study about building traffic and Google ranking without building backlinks (I let those take care of themselves organically). The idea is based on a post in Lisa Irby’s blog: 2 Create a Website.

    It’s all very interesting to me, but I don’t know if I’ll ever get a full handle on it.

    • It’s definitely getting harder to manage your own SEO these days. There’s so much to be considered, including social media and links from videos, no one has all of the information. It’s ALMOST to the point where the search engines are smart enough that you just have to worry about quality content, and let the engine decide how to rank you. Almost. Great link to Lisa Irby’s post. I’m interested in your results with that, too.

      I’ve never heard of Traffic Travis, but after downloading, it seems to be exactly what I need for now. Thanks for that!