One of the most under-rated aspects of internet marketing is keyword research. It is the core of any profitable campaign, whether it be for a website, affiliate marketing, ppc advertising or anything else that involves targeting specific keywords.
But have no fear!
It does not have to be some giant day-long process however. There are some very simple techniques that you can use to identify highly profitable keywords with low competition and decent traffic. I am going to break it down for you into 5 easy to follow steps that you should be able to complete in as little as 15 minutes. Do these right, and you will discover powerful keywords that will be the foundation of your marketing campaigns.
Step 1: Google Keyword Tool Research
Enter your base keyword into the Google Keyword Tool to determine additional related keywords and get a feel for your niche market. Sort the list of keywords returned by Google by the amount of monthly traffic (make sure you have the exact match box checked on the left) and write down 10 keywords that are related to your keyword and get at least 5000 monthly searches. Don’t worry about competition for these keywords at this point.
The idea here is not to determine your keywords, but to choose additional keywords that we will delve into to discover more targeted keywords that we will use for our campaigns. That is why you want the search volume to be a little bit higher at this point.
Step 2: Dig Deeper
Take your list of 10 keywords and paste them back into the Google keyword tool with the exact match box checked. This will return more targeted keywords that you can start to look at for your keyword ideas. Once again, sort the list by traffic and then start looking through for keywords that look like good candidates to target in your niche. Try to select anywhere from 10 to 20 keywords that have at least 1000 monthly searches.
Bonus Method: An additional method for searching out more related keywords is to take your initial list of 10 keywords and perform a Google search for each keyword. You will then see in the bottom left, a link that says “More Search Tools”. Click on that and you will see a link that says “Related Searches” appear in the left side bar. Click on that link and a list of related searches from Google will appear up by the search bar. Do this for each of your keywords to get more ideas.
Once you have this list of 10 to 20 more targeted keywords, you need to look at the competition and see exactly what you are up against in order to rank. This is pretty simple and will be step 3 of the process.
Step 3: Generate More Keyword Ideas
Take your current list and go to the Google search bar and start typing them in. As you type in your keywords you will see Google auto-completing and giving you additional keyword ideas right in its search bar. This is actually a great tool. Lets say that your niche is bicycles and you have some keywords like bicycle seat, bicycle helmet, bicycle basket, etc… Take each of those and start typing it into the Google search bar like bicycle seat a, bicycle seat b, bicycle seat c, and you will get a bunch of new suggestions. Here is what I get when I type in “bicycle seat b”
bicycle seat bags
bicycle seat bags large
bicycle seat brands
bicycle seat backrest
bicycle seat bracket
bicycle seat bolt
bicycle seat baby
bicycle seat bottle holder
bicycle seat brooks
bicycle seat bag review
Looks to me like there are some good potential keywords there. You can even take this a step further and type in things like “bicycle seat br”, “bicycle seat ba”, “bicycle seat be”, etc… to dig even deeper. You should be able to generate a ton of great keyword ideas by just using this technique alone.
Step 4: What’s the Competition
There are 3 things that I look at when checking out the competition. And all of them can be found very easily. The first one is the average pagerank of the top 10 results. If the average is 3 or less, then I consider this a lower competition keyword. If it is 4 to 5, then it is a medium competition and if the average pagerank is 6 or more, you’ll want to stay away.
The second thing you want to look at is the number of backlinks to the pages on page 1. If there are several pages on page 1 that have 100 backlinks or less, then you can easily compete. If several of them have 1,000 or more, you will most likely want to avoid that keyword unless you really know what you are doing and have the patience and resources to build more backlinks than that.
The third thing you will look at is how each of the sites look in general. Do they have good on-site optimization, is the content good. Do people comment on or share their content, etc… If a lot of the sites on page one have good optimization and content, you will want to consider moving along. Some optimization things to look for are keywords in the page title, images, videos, well written articles, page load time and uniqueness of content.
The easiest way to check pagerank and backlinks is to install the SEO Quake toolbar. Once enabled, this plugin will automatically show you this (and much more) information right on the search results page. Looking at the sites optimization and content can be a bit more tedious however. I find it is easiest to open up a new tab for each page 1 result and quickly scan through them. It might be a little slow the first couple of times you do it, but you will get better at recognizing well optimized vs poorly optimized sites the more you do it.
Step 5: Are They Viable
This is a really simple step, but it is not one that you should over look. Now that you have gathered a list of 10 or 20, or more keywords that you might be able to use, you need to use a little bit of your own common-sense. Look at these keywords and ask yourself… “Are These Viable?” The definition of viable will be different depending on what you are doing your keyword research for, so for example if you are building a niche site, can you write an article around each of these keywords that would offer value to your visitors? Or if you are doing research for an AdWords campaign, are these “buying” keywords?
Look at each one and use your common-sense to determine which keywords are the absolute best for your purposes. If you end up with a really large keyword list, make sure to save it somewhere that you can easily come back to when you need more inspiration. The list that you generate here will be a great way to continue your keyword research piggy-backing off of what you have already done.
A you can see, keyword research does not have to be rocket science. In fact, it is actually pretty easy, you just have to know where to look, what tools to use and what to look for. The main idea is to start with a core keyword, then just drill down until you determine some valuable keywords that you can create content around or target with your campaigns successfully. The only thing about keyword research is that some of the steps can be a little time consuming.
That is why I really like to use tools whenever possible. So I want to tell you about a really simple tool that I use that basically automates what I told you about in Step 4 as well as helps to generate some keyword ideas a couple of other ways and automatically checks the strength of your competition.
The tool is called KeywordXP, and I acquired re-sell rights to offer the tool to you at a dead cheap price. Normally, it sells for $47 as you can see at www.keywordxp.com, but I have rights to sell it to you for just $9.00. So if you want to automate your keyword research a little bit more, I highly recommend picking up this handy tool.
Pick it up if you think it will help you in researching new keyword ideas, otherwise, just use what you learned here and have at it!
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