Favourite Keyword Research Tools From #MozCon

This year’s MozCon was, without a doubt, the best SEO conference I’ve ever been to. I’ve said that before and I’ll say it again – if you have the chance to go next year, and you’re a serious search marketer, you’d be insane not to attend.

Show, not tell

Big conference speaking is a little intimidating at times but I really enjoyed speaking about keyword research at MozCon. I gave a live demonstration of our adwords API extension, categorised some keyword data and learned so much about getting microphones attached correctly at the beginning of a session. I think I’ve learned with keyword research you have to show, not tell – the audience were so excited (and very kindly) gave me a round of applause (warm fuzzies).

Wave your magic wand Harry!

“Wave your magic wand, Harry!”

Rand Fiskin, MozCon 2011 – Photo: Thomas Ballantyne

My favourite tools

In the session I shared a bunch of new, old, favourite and interesting tools to use in the keyword research process. If you haven’ seen the presentation, here it is:

Here are the tools from the presentation:

Google Adwords Plugin for MS Excel

Our Google Adwords plugin has been a huge success and the 700+ downloads (and counting) is a great start. It’s free and saves an infinite amount of time if you’re trying to get hold of web or mobile search volumes in your language and location. Just yesterday I used it to pull 17,000 search volumes for a client’s keyword research project. It took me half a day to build the same level of epic Excel spreadsheet that two years ago would have taken me a full week.

Here’s a short video if you’d like to see the tool in action:

SEO Tools For Excel

To capture lots of keyword inspiration, you might consider generating a keyword strategy based on a competitors site crawl (large site dynamic SEO can be so predictable). Neils Bosma made this process even easier with his amazing SEO tools for Excel plugin.

Neils Bosma you rock!

Gathering the H1, H2, <title>, meta description and keywords is so much easier thanks to the functions you see above. I know Neils has recently updated his plugin with even more features, so go check them out.

Alchemy API: VB Script for Excel

For a few years I’ve had a VB script based Excel plugin to gather data via the incredible Alchemy API. You can download the Excel macro here. Process a list of URLs and receive a list of keywords – from which you can generate search volumes using the Adwords plugin above. What’s not to like?

alchemy api


Ubersuggest is the tool to generate thousands of potential keyword ideas. Just add a keyword, select your language and boom! Keywords. The latest incarnation of the tool also scrapes Google News suggest. Nice.



XPathBuilder is built to make generating xpath queries easier for scraping services like Yahoo, Bing and Google search. It’s really easy to learn how to do this yourself, but I must admit I love the idea from a timesaving point of view – a specific query generator for a very specific task. I’d be very pleased to see this develop further.


Scraping QA services for inspiration


This is a quick GDocs scrape hack I cobbled together to demonstrate how pulling data from QA services can be useful for inspiration. In the SEOmoz QA system you can gether data on who is answering, post titles, number of responses and the like. Very useful to see what’s popular, perhaps to justify a blog post! Here’s my Google Docs demo (head to “SEOmoz QA Blog Post Ideas”)


The old classic – an insanely easy way to concatenate combinations of new keywords ready to go into your favourite search volume checker. It’s one of my personal favourites!


New and useful tools

The tools above are amongst my favourite – obviously I wouldn’t be doing my job without giving SEOgadget keyword research a mention which gathers search volumes, rankings and categorises keywords on the fly. You could do a lot of what’s contained in this post with our toolset, but obviously you can do it for free with a bit of hard graft.

If you’ve got any new tools you’d like to share I’d love to hear about them! Drop a comment below and say hi!

Image credit: Photon_de

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13 thoughts on “Favourite Keyword Research Tools From #MozCon

  1. Christian says:

    Great post. I also enjoyed seeing all of the great tools people hit on during this year’s MozCon. My main gripe though? None of the Excel ones work on Microsoft Office for Mac!

  2. Hi Christian – really sorry! That’s the main grip from all MAC users. Excel DNA doesn’t run on MAC.

  3. Tolumi says:

    Really great post, love your presentation, especially the process section of it. Lots of cool tools as well, hadn’t heard of Ubersuggest before, did most of my suggest research using mozenda… Wish I could have been there to hear you present it personally :S

  4. The extensive usage of Excel just shows what SEO actually is. It is a profession or a skill with tremendous amount of Data Mining and Data Analysis. Yet so often when companies are searching for a SEO guy, you see entries in the job requirements section like: Adobe Flash Animation experience required Advanced Photoshop skills

    Should I list PPC stuff here as well? :)

  5. Richard says:

    Hi, thanks Tolumi! Wow – Mozenda. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to work with that tool. It’s a highly usable scraper for the non programmer but it’s kinda pricey. I had a lot of data collection going on with Mozenda at one time (search volumes, suggest scraping, etc).

  6. Jun says:

    Great post here Richard. I really love the plugins for Excel. They’re gonna be the new best friends for most of us. :)

  7. Innes says:

    Mergewords has been a superb SEO find that I funnily enough came across on a post like this one not long ago. I have been using it a lot on a couple of the E-commerce websites I look after.

    I will of course have too look at the others

    Also, a good audit tool I use is Pearanalytics.. Take a look if you get a moment and you want a quick summary of where everything stands.

  8. Francois says:

    SEO Tools add-in is not working on Office 2010 64bits. Does anyone is experiencing same problem ?

  9. Fabulous post Richard. There is so much data/insight in this that will take me a good two days to run it around.

  10. Jean-Marie says:

    Whoa, just whoa… Your Slideshare deck is just incredible. Thanks for sharing it!

  11. KGB says:



    On the slide 31 “the blog/guides category” where can i find this tool to search for questions and ideas for blog posts ?

    Thank you

Comments are closed.