I begin this updated 2019 KWFinder review with a very simple TL;DR:
Despite flicking between all kinds of different SEO tools from month to month, KWFinder is the one I continue to use every day.
I’ve remained a paying subscriber since I first tried it. That in itself gives me grounds to make a firm recommendation, based on long-term, real-world usage.
It’s important to point out that KWFinder is just one component part of the mangools suite of SEO tools, all of which are discussed in this review. Beware of other KWFinder reviews out there that don’t bother to mention the other tools included – these only look at a fraction of what you’re paying for.
Is KWFinder Suitable for Beginners?
You’ll notice that I mention ease of use several times throughout this mangools review. Ease of use is not something SEO tools tend to excel in.
However, I know from working extensively with novice bloggers that many are taking their first steps in understanding these concepts. While other (usually far more expensive) tools offer a longer list of features, their complexity can make it very hard to make the most of them.
Despite the pleasingly shallow learning curve, the mangools suite has evolved into a very compelling and well-featured package over the last couple of years. Other parts of the bundle, particularly the SERPWatcher and SERPChecker modules, are increasingly part of my day to day workflow as a full-time blogger.
In this updated KWFinder review, I look at the core product and all of the extra parts of the mangools suite.
What is KWFinder?
KWFinder is a keyword tool for bloggers and website owners. It helps you to find search phrases to target for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) purposes.
Most KWFinder reviews leave it at that, but I’m actually going to briefly explain what it all means.
So let’s start off with some background:
Why do Keywords Matter?
Keywords matter because they help people find the online content you work so hard to produce.
Many people who work from home set up websites and blogs in an attempt to make some money, with some dreaming about the potential for “passive income.”
However, with over 1.6 Billion live websites on the Internet (stats geeks can see the exact current number here), it’s essential to identify what to write about using a keyword research tool. Without carving out a decent niche and writing about the right things, making money online is extremely difficult. (I’ve written a detailed article on selecting niches here).
Essentially, a key goal for all Internet entrepreneurs is to identify keywords with a considerable amount of search volume, but where the competition’s not too intense. Otherwise, it’s possible to invest a huge amount of time and money on an online venture, but have no real hope of gaining traction.
A Google Keyword Planner Alternative
Finding these sweet spots takes time and research, and for many years the go-to tool was the Google Keyword Planner. This could be accessed by anyone with a Google AdWords account – regardless of if they were actually paying out to advertise on Google.
However, towards the end of 2016, Google started giving out very vague results to anyone not actively advertising with them. As you’ll see from the screenshot above, Google’s tool now tells you that the monthly search volume for the phrase “keyword tool” is something between 10,000 and 100,000 searches.
This is effectively meaningless. It could mean 10,001 or 99,999! Hence the urgent need for a Keyword Planner alternative.
For considerably more detail on how keyword research works, and why it’s essential for anyone starting a blog or website, I’ve discussed it further in my review of Long Tail Pro, an alternative to KWFinder that’s also worth a look.
What’s Included with the Mangools Suite?
The mangools KWFinder suite includes the following:
- KWFinder – for researching keywords.
- SERPChecker – for analysing the search results in detail and checking out the competition.
- SERPWatcher – for tracking how your rankings are performing over time.
- SiteProfiler – for an overview of a website’s performance and key statistics – yours or a competitor’s.
- LinkMiner – to analyse backlinks pointing to your site or others.
Mangools KWFinder Pricing
The pricing for the mangools suite is FAR less scary than the big-league SEO tools. We discuss those in more detail below.
KWFinder Free Trial
You can actually try out all of the individual mangools tools for free, and without signing up, which is a truly refreshing thing to see. This functionality is limited to five keyword searches per day, in the case of KWFinder, however. While this is enough to give a taster, it is nowhere near enough for a proper keyword research session. I have also recently noticed that sometimes the free functionality is disabled during busy periods.
As shown above, the pricing for the mangools suite, including KWFinder, starts out at just $29.90 per month for the “Basic” tier. However, it’s important to note that that’s the price if you pay annually all in one go. The monthly price for “Basic” climbs up to $49 if you pay on a monthly rolling basis.
It’s the same for all levels of the service; The saving for paying annually is a considerable 40%. This is great if you’re in a position to pay for a year at a time. If you’re not, the 40% “saving” for annual payment feels more like a penalty for paying monthly!
This pricing model could also feel a little harsh on anyone who may only want to subscribe for a couple of months. However, anyone serious about a web-based business needs a reliable keyword tool in their lives all the time.
If you are on a particularly tight budget, one option is just to subscribe for a month or two, carry out a bunch of research, document it, and then cancel for a while. However, that way you will miss out on maintaining keyword lists and doing tracking using SERPWatcher. Personally, I’d suggest trying to find the money to pay for an annual subscription.
Pricing Tiers and Limits
The next thing to think about is what’s different about the three service tiers, named “Basic,” “Premium” and “Agency.”
The good news is that you still get everything, regardless of the tier you pay for. The difference is the number of searches, search suggestions and tracked keywords you get with the various tools.
Personally, I find the number of searches and tracked keywords perfectly adequate with the cheapest “Basic” package, and it’s the one I subscribe to myself. However, something I don’t like (which you’ll find mentioned in many a KWFinder review) is the lower number of keyword suggestions with the “Basic” package (200 rather than 700).
This means that it’s harder to randomly find the “low hanging fruit” – those keywords with low competition and a significant search volume. You can still find that inspiration by clicking from keyword to keyword and frequently re-sorting the results, but it does feel like the lowest-tier package is deliberately limited in this regard.
While the next package up is only $10 per month more, this little detail is something that bugs me a bit about KWFinder.
KWFinder Pricing vs. Other SEO Tools
Paying out a few hundred Dollars for an SEO tool – if you’re a novice blogger who’s yet to make any money – may seem a bit daunting. However, it beats “flying blind” and producing content without any research.
Also, comparing the cost of KWFinder and the other tools in the Mangools suite with the “premium” options out there does a lot to put the pricing in perspective.
Looking at the entry level options, paid for annually up front:
- The AHRefs “Lite” package costs $990 per year.
- The SEMRush “Pro” package costs $999.36 per year.
- The Mangools “Basic” package costs $358.80 per year.
I accept that this isn’t a precise “like for like” comparison, but if you can only afford one tool and are on a tight budget, going for the one that’s less than half the price of the others is a bit of a “no brainer!”
At the other end of the spectrum, you have something like Long Tail Pro, which comes in at $297 per year before any discounts. We have a review of that here, as well as a discount code. It’s not as fully featured, but it’s definitely worth comparing the products if you need a keyword tool and want to spend the minimum possible.
The best thing about using KWFinder is that you don’t need to be an SEO expert to understand what’s going on.
The main “Suggestions” area allows you to type in a keyword you are interested in and immediately see the following: (Features all explained below the screenshot).
- The exact monthly search volume for that term (either globally or in your selected area). (1)
- The search trend throughout the year. (2)
- A list of suggested terms related to your search. (3)
- Keyword difficulty scores, to show you how easy it would be to rank for an article based around your keyword. (4)
- The average Cost Per Click (CPC) for paid advertising around your keyword. (5)
- The current top ten rankings in a Google search (the SERPS) – so you can see exactly who your competition is. (6)
- How much traffic you can reasonably expect to receive if you achieve a specific ranking in the search results. (7).
There’s plenty of other visible data too, such as Domain Authority figures (based on data from MOZ) and the number of incoming links going to each article you’re competing with. However, the bits listed above are plenty to allow you to quickly research new ideas, weigh up your chance of success, and come up with some keyword inspiration.
Other KWFinder Features
The features shown above are those I personally use most often within KWFinder, but there are plenty more.
The AutoComplete and Questions tabs work identically to the Suggestions function, but instead offer up either autocompleted searches based on your keyword, or questions people type into Google. These options are really handy for identifying new content opportunities, especially (as is always the case) if you happen across something with a good search volume and little competition.
The questions, in particular, are becoming increasingly relevant as Google adds more and more “People also ask” boxes to their search results.
There’s also a handy History feature showing all of your previous searches – particularly useful if, like me, you have late night inspiration and forget all about it come the following morning! You can also create keyword lists, and export searches for further number crunching.
mangools’ SERPChecker tool is the next part of the suite, and a great complement to KWFinder. In essence, it’s an expanded view of the search results in the bottom right corner of the main KWFinder window, but with loads more data and functionality. SERPChecker allows you to drill more deeply into the current search results for your keywords to help you analyse what you need to do to beat the competition.
SERPChecker is the perfect tool when you’re really determined to get a top ranking for a specific keyword – especially once you’ve already started climbing up Google’s first page.
As is the case throughout all the mangools products, there are useful tooltip question mark icons everywhere, so you can instantly find out what anything means you if you don’t understand it from a quick cursor hover. There’s also plenty more information in the online documentation, as well as instant access to online chat support.
The integration between the mangools tools is really strong too. If you want to delve into more data on the search results in KWFinder, there’s a link straight to SERPChecker, and the same from SEPRWatcher. Somebody really thought about the user experience here, and it’s paid off.
Not only does this ease of use help you be productive with these tools, it helps you learn how they fit together and how to make the most of them.
mangools LinkMiner Review
While nobody knows exactly how Google’s algorithm orders its search results, it’s widely believed that the number of sites linking to yours is a huge factor in how it performs in the listings.
That’s what the LinkMiner component of the mangools suite is all about.
It’s interesting merely as a way to see who’s linking to your own site or your individual articles. However, what it’s really for is having a good nose at who’s linking to your competitors. You may find that you can recreate (or even steal) one of those links if you’ve produced a similar (or ideally better) piece of content.
With tools that look at links, the most important thing is how thorough and accurate they are. No tool is going to manage to pick up every link out there. However, when I looked at some of my own content, I was pleased to see most of the links I expected to – including some that I knew had only been added recently.
I think KWFinder uses the Moz database for these. I have to say that one of my frustrations with Ahrefs – a far more expensive product – is that it often doesn’t pick up new links for a while. This is, therefore, a BIG tick for mangools LinkMiner.
mangools SERPWatcher Review
Next up, we have SEPRWatcher, a tool to help you keep track of your search rankings for the keywords that really matter to you, and to the success of your site.
All of the well-known SEO tools have this kind of thing. SERPWatcher – like KWFinder and the rest of the suite – does it cleanly and simply. It has a well-designed user interface that makes it easy to know what’s going on.
Last time I updated my KWFinder review, I confessed that I wasn’t very organised with tracking my own keywords.
I’m proud to say that I’ve since learned the error of my ways.
I now use SERPWatcher to track all of the keywords I wish to rank for, and it’s become one of the most valuable SEO tools I use.
Once you’ve populated the list with the initial keywords you’re interested in, it’s really not much hassle to add two or three new ones each time you publish an article.
Where it then becomes invaluable is in tracking how well you’re ranking over time.
It’s particularly useful when things go wrong and you experience a drop in traffic, SERPWatcher can usually quickly alert you to which specific keyword ranking has deteriorated, so you know exactly what to work on. There are also email alerts you can configure so you receive an overview in your inbox.
SERPWatcher is a valuable addition to this set of tools if you have the tenacity to keep your list of target keywords up to date. I admit it took me some time to realise the importance of this! The ability to track 200 keywords at once (on the “Basic” package) isn’t enormous, but it’s a big enough number of keywords for a small to medium website.
(Please note I’ve only shared a small screenshot here, as I’m not about to show my competitors all the keywords I’m targeting!)
The final part of the mangools suite, SiteProfiler, is arguably the most lightweight, but it gives an interesting birds-eye view of any site you want to know more about. This could mean a site of your own, or one you hope to compete with.
You just need to pop in a URL, and you see:
- Various metrics, such as the site’s Domain Authority, Alexa rank, and “Trust Flow.”
- Information on backlinks pointing to the site.
- The most popular content on the site by incoming links and social shares.
- Information on the site’s competitors.
- Data on the demographics of people visiting the site.
While this module provides some interesting information, it’s probably the weakest part of the mangools package. Sometimes the information isn’t fully populated, and it provides more of an overview than a set of data you can act on. To be frank I’m also not at all convinced of the accuracy of the demographic information.
Despite this, it’s not bad for comparing your metrics with a competing site, or for seeing how your own is developing over time.
KWFinder vs. SEMRush vs. AHRefs
Let’s talk quickly about how KWFinder compares to other SEO tools.
Some of the best-known SEO tools are packed with a mind-boggling number of features. Apps like SEMRush and Ahrefs are incredibly powerful (and I use both myself). However, they have two considerable drawbacks:
- They’re far too complicated for many people just starting out in blogging.
- They’re expensive (typically starting at around $100 per month).
When you first get started on personal web projects (like those many reading this site will undertake), you don’t need the most complex tools out there. While you may one day migrate to such tools, to begin with you need an affordable solution that’s going to provide data in an understandable form. That’s where KWFinder excels.
Mangools KWFinder Review: Conclusion
As someone who’s had occasion to use all sorts of keyword finders and SEO tools, I’ve truly come to appreciate when less is more.
I originally found KWFinder because of searching for a simple Google Keyword Planner alternative. It’s grown into much more than that, but the key thing for me is that it hasn’t lost its polish or simplicity.
Just a few minutes with KWFinder and SERPChecker gives me an accurate steer on whether an online business idea or a new blog post warrants further work, or whether it should be quickly dismissed.
HomeWorkingClub is a considerably larger site now than it was when I wrote my first KWFinder review. Now, things like SERPChecker and LinkMiner are way more useful to me. To be frank, each time I update my review of mangools, I spot something else I really ought to start to use and pay attention to.
KWFinder isn’t necessarily going to please an expert SEO consultant with an in-depth knowledge of (and fondness for) something like Ahrefs or SEMRush. However, I’ve spoken to specialists in that field who respect what the product can do and appreciate it as a supplementary tool.
For people just starting out in the world of blogs and websites, KWFinder is my top recommendation. It has a perfect learning curve, and is great for writers to use to help with keyword selection.
I use KWFinder almost daily – before I write most articles, and always before I take any time-consuming action on an online business. I strongly recommend that you do too.
- Great interface design – smooth and slick.
- Easy to understand.
- Well priced.
- Free to try out.
- Supplementary tools are genuinely useful.
- Limited keyword suggestions on cheapest package.
- Significant price increase for those who wish to pay monthly.
Check out KWFinder Here KWFinder brings ease of use to a type of tool that's often mind-blowingly complicated. The supplementary features make it even more compelling.
KWFinder brings ease of use to a type of tool that's often mind-blowingly complicated. The supplementary features make it even more compelling.