Using a keyword tool is essential for your keyword research and for the success of your online advertising campaigns. There are many different tools out there. In the past, I’ve written about the best free keyword tools I like.


Each keyword research tool has strengths and weaknesses, but there are a few features you absolutely must have regardless of which keyword tool you choose:


1. Traffic Estimator

A Traffic Estimator provides traffic and cost estimates for new keywords before you add them to your campaign. This is the core of the keyword tool and should be pretty easy to use. When you enter a keyword into the Traffic Estimator, you want to see how many searches were conducted on the phrase you entered and the average cost-per-click (CPC). Some of the tools, such as the Google Keyword Tool, will give you the choice of global or local searches.


2. Keyword Idea Generator

A Keyword idea generator is a tool that provides keyword suggestions for paid and organic search engine marketing campaigns. Basing your search engine marketing campaigns on brainstorming and guesswork is a sure way to sabotage your results.


3. Predefined Set Multiplier

A really great feature that not that many tools have is a multiplier feature. This feature will allow you to multiply one set of words by another set, creating a long list of very specific keyword phrases. One of my favourites, adCore’s Keyword Tool also allows you to use prepositions and conjunctions between the sets.


4. Importer/exporter

What good is your shiny brand new long list of keywords if you can’t use it in the different search engines? You need a tool that will allow you to export your list easily and use it. If you have campaigns running in multiple search engines, make sure the tool you’re using supports them. Remember that some keyword tools will only let you export to Google and some will only let you export but not import.