I recently paid to use the moz keyword tool, and its been really insightful. (but expensive!) it helps find synonyms and other wording that i never would have thought to include in my post. also, i’ve realized the importance of allowing comments on blogs, as people discussing the topic seem to add those terms naturally to the post. thx for the post! 

Of all the tools listed in this article, Moz Link explorer is an old one & quite popular.  If you want to compare backlinks between two or more domains, Open Site Explorer is worth trying. This tool works best when you have a paid account of SEOMOZ though a free version of this tool is good enough to get you started checking the backlinks of your site and the sites of your competitors.
This is something I’ll admit that I’ve done in the past – just assumed that ‘these are the keywords consumers must be using’, but keyword research tools have shown a plethora of terms that I certainly wouldn’t have managed to come up with, and I agree that as the language of products evolve, we should do regular checks to ensure we’re keeping up with that evolution.
Yes solid keyword data dramatically changes the game as far as rankings go. I have seen many tools that provide Cost per click stats and meaningless charts that confuse most users. the data Jaaxy provides helps drive “organic” traffic to your site on a consistent basis which will out perform PPC sites every time. I like how you say thinking like the end user, as I feel that way when I search. I dive into what people are looking for and it really helps drive content idea’s. I have seen great results from that.