A couple of months ago I fired my SEO research vendor, frustrated with their keyword research tool, which kept auto-populating porn queries whenever I went to conduct research for the fintech client I was helping. (Do whatevs on your own time, but while I’m working professionally I don't want to see porn search queries if I can help it.)

The tool had other issues and it had been on review for a while: it was expensive, the company spent too much time trying to upsell (or even just sell), and I barely used any of the tool’s features aside from keyword research. (Or was I paying for their team to upsell me? Still not sure!)

The problem with most inexpensive keyword research tools is that they don’t go deep enough into the long tail to help with B2B content planning. I’ve tested many, so many, but the tools with the best keyword databases are priced for enterprises. Many of the new tools rely on questions and autocomplete — which are an extremely small fraction of total searches. So although I know my BrightEdge from my SearchMetrics, I have to pick something a little more affordable. Enter: Mangools.

Mangools at a glance

Visual review of Mangools: Provides robust analytics, cutting edge, offers a partner program, strategic (helps put ducks in a row) at the monthly price of a steak dinner. This tool is finely tuned, more single-user oriented and fairly intuitive.

Mangools is a brightly colored, surprisingly inexpensive SEO research tool that mines and surfaces keyword data and SERPs with efficiency. Its very good keyword research tool offers:

  • a deep, long-tail database that surfaces quality searches and includes questions and related topics
  • an actually useful keyword difficulty score! (Most keyword difficulty scores are bunk.)
  • SERP analysis for up to 500 keywords per day
  • storing lists with up to 10k keywords
  • country-based geographic and language segmentation

A suite of five independent, somewhat interconnected tools, Mangools covers two of the three pillars of organic SEO research: keyword/content data and backlinks. Its paid data beyond CPC is minimal, which is fine by me! It tracks rank and has a backlink analyzer if you’re into that. There’s no site audit tool (the third pillar, technical), but I’m cool with that, since AHREFS offers its perfectly adequate site audit tool for free.

Do I know how Mangools makes its data affordable? Nopers, and it’s unlikely I will find out (do not explore the data labyrinth unless you seek the Minotaur). I suspect they may use the same data as the tool I fired. But the organic keyword research database is deep and easy to use, and the SERP checker is as good as any other.

It’s not nearly as good as an enterprise SEO tool, but Mangools does the trick for freelancers and small business marketers in a pinch.