Market Samurai vs. Keyword Blueprint vs. Keyword Elite 2.0

Keyword research forms the foundation of any kind of online marketing endeavour. Without proper keyword research, a marketing campaign is dead in the water.  No wonder then, that advanced keyword research programs come in many shapes and sizes.  This post is a quick roundup featuring three of the most popular keyword research tools: Market Samurai, Keyword Blueprint and Keyword Elite 2.0.

Read on to see the roundup video and a short summary for each contestant.


Since the original writing of the post, I have co-created a keyword research tool of my own. SECockpit addresses all of the issues and drawbacks of the tools mentioned below and it’s just generally so much more awesome that once you use it, you’ll never want to go back. Just sayin.

Roundup Video

Market Samurai

Market Samurai, made by Noble Samurai, is a very extensive research tool, that does way more than just find good keywords.  It was designed to be something of a "base camp" for all your online marketing efforts. I know is that a lot of people love Market Samurai, but I have to say that I never really warmed up to it’s user interface. I'm not a big fan of how the keyword discovery component is separate from the keyword analyses part, but I realise that this is probably just due to my personal tastes. Market Samurai’s greatest feature is without a doubt the SEO competition module. It manages to give you a lot of detailed, in-depth information about the competition strength of any given keyword, but also manages to give you an idea of whether you can rank for the keyword at a single glance. Market Samurai is probably the greatest bargain among the three programs in this roundup, even though it’s not cheap. You can truly launch and maintain an online marketing career without requiring any further tools.  

Keyword Blueprint

Keyword Blueprint is a product created by Tim Godfrey and Steve Clayton (the "Blueprint-Guys" who have made Commission Blueprint, Niche Blueprint and many others). There are actually two components to this program: On the one hand, there is a research module for SEO campaigns and on the other hand there is a research module and an offer evaluator for PPC campaigns. Keyword Blueprint’s greatest strength is also it’s main weakness: It’s very minimalistic and straight forward. You can easily browse through tons of keywords and explore lots of options and you can see at a glance what the search volume is like and whether or not there are many AdWords ads displayed for any given search term. You can then let the program evaluate the competition strength for you, and again, the results are at-a-glance, as they are represented with a simple icon. The problem is that you don’t get any additional details. You don’t know exact numbers for backlinks and metrics for on-page optimization for the competing sites, for example. In practice, I find that Keyword Blueprint is ideal for discovering new keywords, but I find myself going over to Keyword Elite to check the ones I find in more detail.  

Keyword Elite 2.0

Keyword Elite is created by Bryxensoft, Brad Callen’s company. Like Market Samurai, it offers features that go beyond simple keyword research and many of them, like the one that finds you potential JV partners and opportunities for integration marketing, are pretty ingenious. From a research perspective, the most useful component is the "Search Engine Dominator" which provides competition analysis in absolutely minute detail. The only metric missing is the number of backlinks pointing to the root domains of the top listed sites (KE2 only shows the number of links pointing to the actual page listed). Keyword Elite 2.0 is also the only one of the three tools that can pull data from several different sources simultaneously, meaning that it can create absolutely vast lists of related keywords. You can also easily add modifiers and filters to those keyword lists, before carrying them over to one of the more advanced analysis modules. Overall, Keyword Elite is currently my favourite keyword research program.  

The Perfect Solution

Having tried all three research tools, I have to say that the perfect solution would be a combination of the three. I’d love to have a tool that allows me to explore keywords like Keyword Blueprint does, then gives me the in-depth analysis data that Keyword Elite offers, but displays it including the domain backlinks and in the style of the competition matrix in Market Samurai… The perfect solution is none of the tools above. The perfect solution is SECockpit (I'm admittedly a bit biased, since that's my tool, but check it out and see for yourself).  

About the Author Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better entrepreneur and product creator. Read more about my story here.

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  • Keith says:

    I have been using MS for over a month now, and I have to say I absolutely love it! Haven’t had a chance to check out the others, but for my purposes, MS does a great job so far.

    • Shane says:

      Hi Keith,

      Thanks for your comment! Yeah, Market Samurai is a great tool for sure. I’ve become a bit of a tool-snob, because I’ve tested so many different ones. ^^
      I can’t really pick a clear winner from the three programs in this article. They’re all solid products. KE2 might just be a tiny bit more solid than the others. :)


  • Nice overview.

    Of the three products, I’ve only used a trial version of KE2.0. I found it quite good, although if you hammer Google too hard, Google places a temporary ban on you doing any searches, which can be a real pain.

    At present, I use Traffic Travis Professional (which isn’t all that different to the free version), which I does a pretty good job. It’s definitely the best of all the free keyword products out there.

    • Shane says:

      Yeah, I hear Traffic Travis is good, although I’ve never tried it myself.
      I’ve only had the problem with Google blocking me once, so far. It seems you can pull as many keywords as you want, but if you start digging deeper into the data, there’s a certain limit you can’t exceed.

      • Doven says:

        How long is the block effective and/or what do you do to get unblocked? Interesting topic.

      • Shane says:

        Don’t know how long it lasts. I have dynamic IP, so all I have to do is turn my router off and on again and I’m a “different person” online. :D

        I have used Traffic Travis in the meantime, by the way. Very good product, especially since most of the features are available in the free version.

  • Jason Venters says:

    I use MS as well and love it. I like some of the features especially the promotion. It was a bit odd at first with the design but after a bit I started liking it more and more. I also use micro niche finder. It’s been a good tool but the latest update changed a lot of things around and it actually is missing some key features. Maybe, I need to re-upload it. I wish we could combine all the great components of each tool for an all in one though.

    • Shane says:

      Hi Jason,

      Yeah, I wish I could mush all the tools together and cherry-pick the best features of each, as well. :)
      I’ll have to do an extensive review of both MS and KE2, because they both offer so many more features than just the standard keyword research. Looking at the big picture, it’s really hard to decide which is better…

  • mike says:

    Thanks for your review, you provide valuable information.

    As you said the three tools complete each other. I used all of them and I conclude that when you want to search for a niche, you need Market Samurai , Keyword Elite 2.0 and Keyword Blueprint to find a perfect profitable market that you can get a passive income from the niche because the competition is very high with websites.

    In my opinion the competitors that create the tools give us in return a solid softwares that help us a lot.

  • Alex says:

    I’ve just come to this review Shane – after you sent out an email re. Vita Vee’s WSO and I was really interested in KE2 that he used in a video.

    I had the old KE and found it very difficult to use and I was very narked, like so many others that Brad did not upgrade his old customers, or at least give us a good deal.

    Interesting that KE2 has come down from just under $200 to $97.



    I agree with you about Market Samurai too, it’s ugly and clumsy. A blueprint/KE2 fusion sounds good!

    Thanks for the reviews.


  • Vincenzo says:

    Likely few of you (maybe no one’s of you) is interested in using this tools in a different language which is not English. But when it comes necessary going on with kwywords research Traffiic Travis (whcih is the tools I’ve tryed for a while) is not well performing.
    Market Samuray, on the other hands, give you the opportunity to choise the proper language as well as the country you’d like to get in for a keywords research.
    Unfortunately I’ve not experienced the other one’s, yet.

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