Hello, hello, hello..
The three hellos were required since you have found the ultimate guide for keyword research. The best place to be in the virtual world, and all that.
With that BS out of way, we will get to what we love to do to buy a private yacht of your own – keyword research.
Why do Keyword Research?
Keyword research is a science as it is an art. You do keyword research because you want to get information out there into the wild.
People are looking for information, they have questions that need answers, they have products that need reviewed, and they want solutions NOW.
So, where do all these wonderful people head to?
Yes, that’s right. People search for information. In this day and age, they head over to Google.
Until the time they invent mind readers people will search using words, or whole sentences. Those are keywords that you have to target for.
See, Google is a bridge.
It is a bridge that connects content creators and problem solvers (like yours truly here), and the content consumers. The bridge is made by them keywords.
By doing keyword research you are finding out what people are looking for. Then you go create great content by targeting those keywords. Shall we get started then?
Choose your niche
If you are starting for the first time, you are advised to choose a niche that you are comfortable with. For example, I am associated with technology for the past decade. My natural choice was to choose technology blogging, since I thought (and still think) that I had a lot to say that people want to hear.
That bombed – in a bad way.
Bottom line – Just don’t care what niche you are going to choose. Just don’t choose a competitive niche that you can’t handle. At the very least you need to know what is going on there.
Some of the evergreen niches that work –
- Entertainment – movies, TV, games
- Health – fitness, healthy living
- Living – self improvement, personal finance, home and gardening, green living, pets
People are always looking for information in these areas, and that may be the key for your own wealth.
You know that you are good with something and you choose a related niche. Now is the time to try get some keywords.
1. Typical way of keyword research
Now start with a keyword that you understand. I know that there is a market for people who are always searching for information on dog training. I start with that.
What you like in keywords are just a couple of things..
- Keywords that are not ultra competitive. For example if we just build a site that targets “how to train your dog” keyword, it will take a long time to rank. Just see the search results..
The first page is full of authority sites that are at a Page Rank of 3 or more. You are dealing with some tough competition there.
- Keywords that a large number of people are searching for.
We are good there – with 9k+ searches this is a lucrative search term. Typically you aim for “exact search” [= people are searching for the exact same keyword] rather than “broad search” [== related searches that may have different keywords].
Aim for a volume of 1500 searches or higher per month.
- Keywords that have a buy intent. More the Cost Per Click (CPC), more the Competition, the better it is for marketers. Those terms denote that people have done some research into whether people are looking at buying a product or service when they use those keywords for search.
Our keyword does not have a really high CPC, but is decent enough to go on.
Don’t get confused. All of the things explained here are laid down on the Keyword planner.
Next, you Google the keyword to check how the first page in the search results look. Specifically look for –
- Not all sites on the first page should be popular eCommerce sites
Appearance of sites like eBay, Amazon etc. on the first page typically means that the keywords have really high buy intent. For example Google “dog leash” and see what happens
- Not all sites on the first page should be high-ranking sites that are authority on the subject
These sites tend to have hundreds or thousands of articles, and have established a trusted name. If they are targeting for that keyword, stay away from it. Ranking becomes too tough and will take too long time to be of any significance.
- Look forward to competition that you can handle
You also want to look out for sites that appear to be specifically targeting the keyword that you want to target. This is typically given away by the titles used, the way posts are written, and of course, the “Buy” buttons taking you to Amazon, ClickBank, or something similar.
For example Google “best electric shavers” and see what happens. Try recognizing sites that are targeting the keyword, and sites that just happen to be there.
Rinse and repeat this process of researching in Keyword tool and switching over to Google results. Just scroll down through the “Related Keywords” till you find a keyword that has decent number of searches (>1000), and has decent CPC (>$0.5).
You will gradually identify a pattern..
- More the number of words in the keyword, less is the competition going to be. These are “long tail” keywords that people search for and find information in disparate sources
- Moderate no. of searches (1000 – 6000 searches per month) tend to have lesser competition from big names
The above tasks should help you drill down to the keyword. This will be the main keyword or core keyword that you target. You must also find couple of related keywords now.
For example, “how to train a dog” may have “discipline a boxer”, “how to teach dog tricks”, etc. Create a spread sheet with those keywords, search volumes, and competition.
Now, write good content targeting those keywords.
Interlink those articles as a human will do. Make sure you spread your anchor text (the text that is hyperlinked to your article/post), so that all of them do not appear to be targeting only that keyword. (more on this later..).
That’s a wrap. You have the keyword that works, and everyone should have been happy by now. The reality is of course different.
You must have seen a gazillion posts and videos repeating this information in thousand different ways. Or, you must have seen the Gurus recommending Tools that will “automate the entire process”. As it so happens almost all popular tools out there just get their results from the Google Keyword Planner, so don’t expect them to work miracles for you.
You are doing it wrong by following the typical way for keyword research. Or, probably I should say “there is an easier way to do that”.
2. Technosanct way of finding profitable keywords
This has been done a hundred times already. I have not invented anything new, but providing some rehashed information in an interesting way by putting all that matters together. I just re-branded it “technosanct” because it looks cool.
Don’t get me wrong here – I have found niches in the typical way. There are thousands of Internet Marketers who practice this way of keyword research, and are far successful than I am.
But, the popularity of the method is its own downfall. Everybody else is doing this. Everybody and their dog are busy identifying the keywords through Adwords planner or one of its derivatives. That makes the market for those keywords competitive.
The bigger problem is that Google Adwords tool is built for advertisers, not marketers.
What you get from Adwords are the keywords that are most likely to bring in subscribers to people who advertise on Google. They already have a product that provide a certain function, and these keywords will fit the bill. It may not be the best way to identify what is really becoming popular today, or in the next couple of months.
So, where to start!?
Nothing as drastic as renouncing keyword research altogether. Just use the tools in a different way. The tool is not going to innovate for you, so you do that.
1. Revisit your niche
Just make sure the niche has something to talk about one year from now.
Make it broad, and check the inflow and demand for products in the niche. For example, though double stroller may look a complete enough site, will it not make sense to cover the entire territory of strollers?
A warning here – know that double strollers have also worked in the past. Seefor an example. People have succeeded by choosing comparatively narrow niches, creating one page sites, and so forth. But what *we* want here is a long term play.
The advantage of choosing a broad topic is that you have plenty to write about. You can hope to see an year, 5 years or 10 years in the future with the product. You can become the authority on strollers! Yes, I know – that’s exciting.
2. Find keywords in all kinds of places
Google Adwords is not going to give you ideas. You have to look at various other places for that..
- TV, movies, magazines
New keywords are introduced by heroes, common men and villains. Just keep an eye on them. Product commercials introduce a variety of keywords too. Feel free to use them all.
Anyone says anything good, funny or annoying about dog training? Go ahead, note them down, track those keywords in the initial weeks, and have content written for those keywords.
- Topic of interest websites, and Forums
People ask questions all the time. And, that will give you ideas and keywords that last for a life time.
Once you have written the content, don’t forget to go back to the forum or post and add the link to the conversation.
3. Go long, and go related
Find keywords that are in the lowest rung of competition. You will identify them similar to the long tail keywords I described earlier, but go for search volumes that are 100-300 per month. Make sure that the total search volumes for all keywords will be more than 2000. Note down all of them with keyword competition, volumes and CPC.
Next, write content that will target all those keywords. That may be one or more posts. Just make sure the title, excerpt, H1 headings in the post carry the keywords in all glory.
That is it, folks. Although I can’t really tell you whether you are an expert by now, I can say with certainty that you are better off than you started. Or, should I be saying worse off?
No guide can encompass all the knowledge that is there in this world. But the above guide just sucked, didn’t it?
So, I make up for that with these brilliant references that teaches you all about choosing the niche that works, and doing keyword analysis.
[feature_block style=”icon” overall_style=”image” columns=”1″ icon_style=”icon”]
Moz.com is THE place to go for all things SEO. When they talk keyword research, the rest of us better listen up.
Copyblogger is one of the excellent resources that teach you how to write beautiful content. They are all for making keywords play nice, and for embedding the keywords in the post in the most effective manner possible.
Brian Dean outlines his awesome keyword research guide on backlinko. Get finger cramps while scrolling back and forth, or simply download the fantastic guide.