A Guide to Keyword Research

ADMIN EDIT 2016: This post is from my original blog (blacklink reviews) from way back in 2010-11 when I first learned internet marketing. Things have radically changed since then with how to make money online, what to do, SEO, marketing, and such. But I’ve imported all the old posts from this site for archival sake. Some of the information is still relevant, but many of the specific SEO strategies and quick make money online ideas AND product recommendations I had back then have changed and are no longer valid.

SO please keep this in mind when reading. These are old, outdated posts! 

 

Time for another one of my ‘relevant’ articles. Yea, one of those again, say. Don’t worry, I’ll get back to review more automated spam program reviews shortly.

One thing that many of you simply don’t realize is  that importance of effective keyword research. There’s a push on more than a few forums and make money online blogs on software program after software program. The average internet marketer has the idea that the more “tools” they have available to them, the easier it is to make money.

No. That’s not true.

The most important part of the whole make money online part is being able to do proper keyword research not how many cool things you can do with spam links.

What is keyword research? It’s quite simple — it’s making sure your as damn sure as possible that the keyword your post/page/website is targeting can:

a) actually make money

and

b) rankable in a reasonable time frame.

If you think you can simply pick out any keyword you want and spam your new site to the top of the SERPS for that keyword, you’re living a delusion. There’s a lot of money to be made online — you realize this as do many others. The web is ONLY getting more competitive. Most of the “good” keywords have some pretty solid and established websites squatting on the front page — and these are the sort of squatters that put up a fight when you try to oust them.

You have two strategies here: you can decide to be one of those Macho SEO types and dedicate your life to trying to rank for that term. If you have the patience (and sometimes we are talking a couple years here), the resources, and are just a fucking stubborn person, you might be able to pull it off. I’ll tell you now that most people won’t. The other option is to look for less competitive niches (I call these “keyword cracks”) where you can rank your site pretty easily if you have some sound SEO knowledge.

I’ve seen people chase keywords for months, even years, only to find out that once they’ve ranked #1 for that term, there is NO damn money to be made. In fact, this happened to me for one of my sites. I went after a generic keyword convinced I’d be buying a new SUV each month with the earnings I made from ranking that keyword. When I did at last hit #2 for that keyword, I found I made almost nothing more than I was already making.

So, here’s one of Spider’s Golden Rules: be as sure the keyword you are chasing can make you money before your chase it. Following this one rule can save you thousands of wasted hours.

Now the obvious question is “what’s the best way to do keyword research?

Make Sure There Is Enough Traffic for the Keyword

The biggest mistake you can possible make is to actually target a keyword with little to no traffic. Noobs make this mistake all the time. They buy some Exact Match Domain name for a term that gets next to no traffic or so little traffic there’s no way to make decent money from that term, even should you rank.

One tip here is to look at the EXACT searches. Don’t look at the GLOBAL searches as you’ll get an inaccurate estimate of how much traffic there actually is.

The more searches there are for a term, the harder it’s going to be to rank. It’s important for you to find the right balance here — go after keywords that have enough traffic to make it worth your while but easy enough to conquer within a year (or much sooner — depending on what you are looking at).

Make Sure You Can Rank for That Keyword

This should be obvious, but many many people overlook this fact. I’m  not  going to get into the specifics of keyword competition (everyone has there own) and I’m certainly not going to share my personal strategy here, but you should should be pretty confident you can rank for a keyword. Unless you are prepared for a long drawn out SEO battle that can take years, don’t target super competitive keywords.

Some ways to check:

  • Examine PR of competing websites (lower is better)
  • Look at number of backlinks competing sites have to the domain (lower is better)
  • Look at number of indexed posts competing sites have (the less the better)
  • Look to see if competing sites have Exact Match Domains or keywords in the domain (EMD mean it will be harder to rank if you don’t have one yourself)
  • Are individual pages ranking or actual domains (Yes is good) ?

From these 5 points, you should be able to guesstimate how difficult it will be to rank for a keyword. I have my own additional set of criteria I look at, so don’t think these are the ONLY points that will help you determine whether a keyword is easily rankable or not. But you should be able to at least guesstimate with them.

Also not that your personal experience ranking website will BEST help you determine if you can rank a website. It’s a tough if you’ve never ranked a site before because you have no basis for comparison.

As a last point here, I strongly advise you NOT to go after generic keywords (credit cards, acne, tables, chairs, bags, cameras) right off the bat. Most of these keywords will take a LONG time to rank for, and you typically have to have a well established (aged) website with plenty of aged content and aged backlinks. You should be targeting LONG TAIL keywords (generic keyword + other stuff). The longer the long tail keyword, the easier it will be to rank for, usually.

Make Sure There’s Money in the Keyword

This is probably the hardest part for most marketers to get right, especially if you have very little experience under your belt when it comes to making money with niche marketing.

You can find a keyword with a good amount of traffic that’s not too competitive.  However, that’s not enough. The keyword could be a dud in terms of actually being able to make money.

A Word About Commercial Intent

Let’s use a bit of an example here. Say I decide to go after a keyword like “free game guides.” Say (I’m making this up) there is a good number of exact searches each month for the term. I’ve also scoped out the competition and it looks pretty easy in terms of being able to rank a site for that keyword.

So I go ahead and create an entire website targeting this keyword. This is often called the mini sit or micro niche site. Now personally, I feel this model (the micro niche model) is a bad model because it’s too limited in scope and you can land yourself in trouble with google if you do it wrong. But ignore those issues for now.

So after say 3 months and a few link building campaigns, I find I’m ranking number 3 on the Google front page for this term. Great. I decide to throw on adsense and make some easy money. Except I find no one is clicking on the damn ads. Ok, maybe the problem is Adsense. So I replace adsense with some affiliate links to some pay game guides. I still don’t make money.

The reason why I’m not making any money folks is that there is no commercial intention in the keyword I chose. People looking for free game guides are NOT going to want to pay money for game guides. They are not going to want to click on an ad. In fact, there’s a big chance that there’s no targeted ads for that keyword anyways.

You see folks, all keywords are not created equal. Some keywords are definitely better than others. Let’s go back to my little example. Say instead of “free game guides” I decide to target “buy game guides” instead. The people finding my little website will have typed in “buy game guides” into the search engine. And that’s a pretty big damn indication that they are looking to SPEND MONEY.

So always always think about the commercial intent of a keyword before you invest and real energy into chasing said keyword.

I’m not going to give you my entire bag of tricks here folks as I’m already giving you better information than you’ll find at your favorite internet marketing guru or make money online forum. However, here’s a few little tips since I’m in the giving mood right now

Some  dead obvious keywords with commercial intent:

1. buy + keyword

2. for sale + keyword

3. cheap + keyword

4. discount + keyword

When looking at keywords, always ask yourself the question: “what is the person coming to my website via this keyword REALLY looking for.” If the answer involves solving some sort problem, comparing between different options, or buying something, there is a good chance you can make money with the keyword. If not, it’s probably a junk keyword.

Long tails are better than short tails for making money, usually

The more specific the keyword is (i.e. the longer the long tail keyword is), the more likely the searcher will be to convert. The more specific the keyword, the more likely you can make money with keyword with few people.

How to Test If a Keyword Converts

Now you don’t just have to play “read the searcher’s mind” with yourself to find out if you can actually make money with a keyword. There are some things you can do to directly test out the conversion rates/CTR of a keyword.

1. Pay for an Adwords Campaign targeting the keyword

Now this can be an expensive way to do it and the conversions will not be the same as if you naturally ranked for that term (people clicking through an ad to get to your site do behave differently, in some cases, than people who find your site directly), but you can get a general idea about the CTR. You can also try different affiliate programs / leads to test out CTR. Don’t do this with adsense — people don’t like to double click ads.

2.Use an existing website to target the keyword

Using an existing website that can rank much easier for the term than it would be to create a whole new website is a great way to test to see if there is any money in the keyword and a great way to reduce your costs/risks. If the test website/web2.0s end up making you some money, set up a full blown new site for that keyword.

Conclusion

These tips should help shed the light on how to do some proper keyword research. I’ve seen so much misinformation out there about this that I HAD to write this to dispell some of the internet marketing bullshit I’ve seen.

Best,

BenK / Spider

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