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Long Tail Pro vs. Market Samurai: Keyword Research Faceoff

There’s a lot of keyword tools out there, you hear a bunch of obscure names and then they fall off the face of the earth after a few months and the developer doesn’t keep up with support or updates.

There’s 2 names that have been around for a while now, both pretty popular.

Long Tail Pro and Market Samurai.

Now, before I mentioned that keyword research isn’t as important for most local businesses, because you’re focusing on topics, the services they offer, etc. I still stand by that.

However, there are certainly uses for keyword research tools like Long Tail Pro or Market Samurai that SEO companies, consultants and freelancers will probably like. Also very good for niche research if you’re interested in setting up blogs and affiliate sites.

Before Breaking It Down

In the interest of full transparency, I should disclose that I am signed up as an affiliate for BOTH Market Samurai and Long Tail Pro. Usually what bloggers tend to do, is trash the one they aren’t an affiliate for, and if they’re an affiliate for both, it seems to be a glowing review with no contrast of each product.

This isn’t going to be a fluff piece. I have nothing to gain by favoring one product over another.

In this post I will cover:

  • Why I Have BOTH pieces of Software
  • Features of both Market Samurai and Long Tail Pro
  • How they both can be used for Local SEO
  • Which one I prefer
  • Free tools to add to your keyword research process

Market Samurai vs. Long Tail Pro

I purchased Market Samurai a while back because simply using Keyword Planner wasn’t good enough. I liked the demo, bought it, and it was good. People always spoke good things about it, and while I didn’t think it was anything ground breaking, earth shattering or lived up to the hype, I didn’t have any complaints about it.

I never intended to try Long Tail Pro or any other tool for that matter.

However, about a month ago I received an email from Long Tail Pro, and they wanted me to try it out and see how I like it compared to Market Samurai. They didn’t try to sway my opinion at all, they just said if I like it, they’d love to have me as an affiliate.

Those of you that have been reading my income reports know that one of the problems I have, is finding products or affiliate offers that I believe in enough to recommend. It was a no brainer to go ahead and try this out, at the very least it makes for a good comparison blog post and will maybe bring in a bit of search engine traffic.

Feature Comparison Long Tail Pro and Market Samurai

Who has the best features?

Market Samurai is more of a complete software solution, lots of features but I wonder how often people use those features.

When analyzing the two, it is clear that the two competing keyword research tools have a different audience. In my opinion, Market Samurai is more appealing to affiliate marketers, niche marketers, etc. while Long Tail Pro is more appealing to those that just care about Keyword Research.

Let me explain.

When you open up Market Samurai and enter your project details, you see a lot of different things you can do, OTHER than keyword research.

What you can do with Market Samurai is:

  • Keyword research, obviously
  • Find exact match domains, or partial match domains within the software
  • Look at existing affiliate offers, and ways to monetize
  • Analyze the competition
  • Find content in article directories
  • Publish content to wordpress accounts
  • Find backlink opportunities

What you can do with Long Tail Pro:

  • Keyword research
  • Competition analysis
  • Keyword research training via Long Tail University
  • Rank Checker
  • Domain Checker

Who Wins on Features?

Look, it isn’t as obvious as it seems and it isn’t as simple as it seems.

Market Samurai, clearly has more features and will probably be the choice among affiliate marketers but I have a few problems with their features.

Nearly every feature they have, is irrelevant. Finding content in article directories, which are usually spun to death and very low quality, really isn’t something you should care about. The backlink opportunities run a search for squidoo, hubpages, and bb forums. This shows me that they’re really behind in the times.

The affiliate program search is cool I guess, I haven’t used it so I can’t comment on it much.

The only feature other than keyword research which may have a tiny bit of value is the domain search. I’ve used it a few times, but I think I’m better at finding domains on my own, so it isn’t a feature I care about that much.

EDIT: Apparently I overlooked the domain feature in Long Tail Pro. You don’t even have to do it separately, it does it automatically, you just have to choose the option for it to display! Cool.

Keyword Research Comparison

300x250-longtailproBoth Market Samurai and Long Tail Pro tie into the Google Keyword Planner, so your results aren’t going to be much different.

The difference comes into the ease of use and competition analysis.

Ease of use for Long Tail Pro blows Market Samurai out of the water. The sense I get is that Market Samurai is kind of like the jack of all trades, master of none while Long Tail Pro is specialized for keyword research and competition analysis.

Long Tail Pro is much faster, less bloated and clunky, when it comes to doing actual keyword research.

How they use competition analysis is different. Market Samurai uses Majestic to analyze the competition and Long Tail Pro uses Moz metrics, like Domain Authority, Page Authority, MozRank, Site Age and a few other things to determine their “Keyword Competitiveness” score.

I’m not a fan of Majestic at all, and even though I don’t care as much for domain authority and page authority, they are much better metrics to go by in my opinion.

Overall when it comes to keyword research and competition analysis, I think Long Tail Pro has it in the bag, easily.

How To Do Keyword Research for Smaller Cities

Whether you’re going to use keyword planner, Long Tail Pro, or Market Samurai, there’s one important thing to remember.

When you’re doing keyword research, chances are it is tying into keyword planner. Keyword planner is a tool with Adwords, not all keywords are displayed and the numbers are not always accurate.

Some of the best keywords will never show up in keyword planner, usually because the advertiser volume isn’t high enough, or the bids aren’t high enough.

To gauge what kind of traffic you can get, search the term you want to rank for + the nearest large metropolitan city. Now, take your target city and find the total population compared to the city you just searched for. For example:

Metro City – 600,000 population
Targeted City – 60,000 population

Now if Metro city gets 1,600 searches as shown in the keyword planner tool, you can assume that targeted city will get 10%, using the metro to targeted city ration. So that would support that your targeted city will get 160 searches a month.

That’s not all though, I have found that keyword planner is often wrong about volume and it’s actually higher. So take your estimated amount and multiply by 1.65 and you will have what is closer to your actual volume.

Cool Keyword Tool To Help With Local SEO

As promised in the beginning, I wanted to share a cool keyword tool to give you ideas on content, what to target, and different topics that will help you rank.

I’ve mentioned numerous times, there’s two things that matter in local SEO.

  1. Location Relevance
  2. Industry Relevance

So using this tool will allow you to build on your industry relevance, it’s called: AnswerThePublic

Basically, you put in your seed keyword and get a bunch of ideas, questions, etc. that you can use for content.

It doesn’t give you competition analysis or keyword search volume or anything like that, just ideas. Great for bloggers, great for local businesses as well.

Final Verdict

While it does seem like Market Samurai has more features than Long Tail Pro, more features doesn’t mean better. When it comes to keyword research and competition analysis, I think Long Tail Pro is the clear winner.

Market Samurai may appeal more to beginners or affiliate marketers but those wanting a solid keyword research tool above all else, Long Tail Pro is my choice.

I’ve found myself using Long Tail Pro almost on a daily basis, whereas for the last year or two, I have only used Market Samurai a couple times, because of how slow and clunky it seems to be.

Which do you think is better?

There’s a trial for Long Tail Pro AND Market Samurai, come back and let me know what you prefer!




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