How to do Keyword Research
In this lesson you'll learn How to do Keyword Research - how to uncover large keyword lists, how to uncover more profitable keywords and which free and paid keyword research tools are the best. We'll also take a look at using forums and sites like Amazon.com to produce highly effective, highly targeted keywords!
Just remember: it's important not to rely on a single source for keywords, as each source gets their results from different sources; additionally, some tools remove plurals and others correct misspellings, which skews your data.
Traffic Travis is a very useful SEO/PPC tool available from Traffictravis.com. Traffic Travis's inbuilt keyword finder tool let's you quickly carry out essential research - the tool searches and collates data from Yahoo, Bing, Wordtracker and Google, so that you end up with a large number of keywords related to word or phrase that you entered into the search box; it also tells you how often each keyword is searched for on each source.
The keyword finder is an excellent tool for researching related words and scrutinizing the popularity of search terms. For example, if you perform a search on 'scrapbooking', you can see how popular each word is and see daily search counts for each word.
You can use the keyword finder into two key ways:
- Search for popular products to promote - keywords or key phrases searched more than 5,000 times a day in Google indicate a healthy market. Phrases searched more than 10,000 times a day indicate a very strong market.
- Build keywords lists for your PPC campaign, simply by selecting the keywords you wish to use and moving them to 'Saved' (Traffic Travis contains tutorial videos on Keyword Finder and another tool, Keyword Sorter, so give these a whirl to learn more)
Google Free Keyword Tool
The Free Keyword Tool is a tool supplied by Google as part of their AdWords toolkit.
Keyword Tool lets you search on multiple phrases, and returns a large list of related keywords. Google shows indicators of advertiser competition, estimated search volumes and search trends for your selected location.
Wordtracker Free Keyword Tool
Wordtracker provides both free and paid versions of their tool; we'll first take a look at the free version, which is accessible here.
To use the free version, all you need to do is type in a keyword phrase and click "hit me". For example, a search for "world of warcraft guide" brings back the top 100 related keyword phrases.
The free version has a limit of 100 results, whereas the paid version brings back many more, plus it gives you other tools to play with.
The paid version of WordTracker is very good for finding related keywords that you might not otherwise have thought of, and it's considerably cheaper than Keyword Discovery (which we'll look at next).
Often you'll want to go "Keyword Universe" and then "Popularity search". WordTracker will produce a number of keywords and synonymous terms, and give you the relative popularity of each term, much like Google's tool does.
Note that the numbers you see in WordTracker will usually be different to those you see in Google, as they get their data from different search engines, but the relationship between the terms will usually be the same, so a term that ranks higher than another term in Google will (generally) also rank proportionally higher in WordTracker.
The good thing about WordTracker is that it doesn't lump terms together, so it's easy to see whether "dog collar" or "dog collars" is more popular, and words ending with "ing" will be differentiated. We consider this detection of variance in the keywords the most useful feature of Wordtracker.
Keyword Discovery isn't cheap — the standard version costs $69.95 per month - however, due to the fact that Keyword Discovery compiles keyword search statistics from over 180 search engines worldwide, it is probably the most powerful and accurate keyword research tool available.
One of Keyword Discovery's best features is the provision of 12 month seasonal trends, so that you can see if the keywords that you are interested in are popular all year around, or just during a certain period - for instance, if you were creating a costume website, you'd probably find that you should prepare for an increase in traffic around Halloween, and also during the summer when more people are having bachelor parties and so on.
Keyword research tools are one way of finding keywords, but there are other useful methods too - the downside to keyword popularity tools is that they don't necessarily tell you which terms people are using when they want to buy; it's possible to have search terms that are very, very popular, but are poor markets to try to sell to.
For example, "hairstyle" related keywords are incredibly popular, but most of the people searching on them are simply looking for pictures and other free information - they're not usually interested in buying anything. This is why we recommend you look at the advertiser competition in a market before you get too excited about a popular search term - if there are no other advertisers, there's a good chance there isn't any money in that market.
If, however, you're just brainstorming keywords that might be profitable, there's a couple of other resources you can use:
Forums are places where people go to discuss issues, ask questions, and talk about things that are stressing them out. By browsing forums related to your general topic, you can get a good idea of the sort of things that concern your target market and where their "pain" is.
For example if you go into a forum for "dog training", you may seen see topics like "stop dog aggression" or "antisocial dog". These are people who are looking for information because they have a need — they have "pain". These people are much more likely to purchase something to ease their pain than someone who is just looking for dog pictures or general information.
Be careful, however: by the same token, you may find that a lot of people are searching for "german shepherd" - this doesn't mean they're interested in buying anything however, so if you were to spend money on pay-per-click promoting this topic you might find yourself losing money, because people are not searching to buy.
Forum topics and discussions are not only good for brainstorming, but they can give you a valuable insight into what your market is thinking; they're also a great place to get ideas for article subjects, review topics and product topics.
(Learn more about targeting your market in our lesson on finding out What Does Your Market Want?)
Remember, once you've got an idea about a particular issue facing your market, check the appropriate keywords using a keyword research tool and see if people are advertising on them already - if there's no one advertising, you may need to reconsider.
At Affilorama, we're big fans of forum research and use this method all the time for our own products; we really cannot emphasis enough how great forums are for really getting to know your target market, what they are really interested in and where their pain is.
Online Shopping Sites
Another way of getting ideas for markets and search terms is by taking a look at online shopping sites such as Amazon, eBay and ClickBank. People searching for specific things on these sites are much more targeted — they know what they want enough to plug the name into a search engine, therefore those search terms are likely to have higher conversion rates, so by focusing on search terms containing specific product names or author names you're able to get more targeted traffic to your site.
For example, if you were creating a keyword list for the weight loss market, then you could search for "lose weight" in Amazon and find weight-loss related book titles and author names. If you click on the book descriptions and comments from readers, you'll discover even more keywords that are very important to the weight loss market.
You could then make money either by signing up to Amazon's affiliate program and earning a small commission if somebody purchases through your link (however, when we say small commission, we mean very small!) or, alternatively, you could have "supplemental" reviews of the "top 4 ebooks related to this topic", and then earn an affiliate commission through those.
ClickBank and eBay are also good places to finding products and authors you might like to focus on. Remember to take the names you find and plug them into your keyword popularity tool to see if many people are searching on them.
In this lesson we've looked at several methods for turning up suitable keywords for your PPC/SEO campaign, including using keyword tools such as:
- Traffic Travis
- Google's Free Keyword Tool
- Wordtracker (Free or Paid)
- Keyword Discovery
We've also looked at a couple of alternative methods including:
- Using forums
- Using online shopping sites
And again, just remember: it's important not to rely on a single source for keywords - use a variety of these to make sure you get the most out of your keyword research!