Do keyword research tools actually work?
We use them every day. Our basis? Faith. Has anyone organically measured how well keyword research tools report on the organic difficulty of a given keyword?
We’ve done just that. So, let’s stop with the chit-chat and get to the point.
While Moz wins the top position as a keyword research tool, know that any keyword research tool with organic difficulty functionality will give you an advantage over making a coin toss.
The Pearson Correlation Coefficient
In order to understand the relation between two variables, out first step is to scatter a plot chart.
Below is the scatter plot chart of 50 keyword rankings compared to their corresponding Moz organic difficulty scores?
This chart is fine; however, it’s not very scientific. This is when the Pearson Correlation Coefficient (PCC) comes into play.
There’s at least one expert in every business. Many businesses have more than one expert to draw expertise from. They are the most valuable assets that can be used from a content-marketing point of view.
Let’s use the following table from statisticshowto.com to interpret the PCC score for each tool:
In order of performance:
There is a tight grouping of results relative to the regression line with a few moderate outliers.
Moz was able to generate 100% matched keywords out of the 50 keywords studied.
SpyFu shows a fair cluster among low effort keywords, and some moderate outliers within keywords with high difficulty.
With 1.75 weaker PCC, SpyFu came in second. 40 out of 50 keywords were matched.
The PCC is very sensitive to outliers, which pushes SEMrush’s score down to third.
The KWFinder tool had a 100% match rate without any trouble digging around for the data.
Barely passing the weak relationship threshold, Ahrefs stands fifth by a large margin at 316.
The tool seems to be reliable with low difficulty scores.
Some SEO companies still use the paid competition figures from Google’s Keyword Planner Tool. There is no linear relationship between two variables, as you can see from the scatter plot.
Agencies that still use KPT for organic research (you know who you are!) — Let this be as a warning: you need to evolve.
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