3-Step System for Basic Keyword Research
1. WordTracker’s Free External Keytool
If you’re a fairly new marketer, the way to make keyword research easier for
yourself is to approach it as a user, not a marketer.
1. Make a list of all the niche areas you feel confident in, or think you would
be interested making a long-term commitment to serving
2. Go to Wordtracker’s Free Keyword tool,
http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com and start entering possible search
phrases (think of them as “search phrases” at this point – not “long-tailed
keywords”). If inspiration fails, at this stage single words will do. (see the
example on the next page with a screen shot)
An example using the word “blogging”
The keyword “blogging” itself is too generic, with a significantly higher number of
searches than all other combinations. As well, you don’t want single-digit
searches since this is too low and implies there’s not enough interest in the
A good rule of thumb is to keep the number of searches in the two- and three-
You can examine the multi-word phrases generated by your search to see if there
is a likely keyword there you can use for:
1. Your Domain name
2. Articles you plan to write
3. Blog posts you plan to write
4. Web content
5. Pay per click campaigns, if you decide to use them
6. Products you wish to create
2. Google AdWords External Keytool
The free AdWords External Keytool
can either be phase two of
your process – or you can jump right in there, if you have a good idea of the
keywords you want to use.
The best way to search is to look for results that:
1. have some competition but not lots
2. produce a result between 1,000 and 5,400 searches.
Any higher than that, and your competition is likely too great; any less and the
niche may be too small to bother with.
Here’s a screen shot:
You can enter more than one keyword, in this example, I’ve just used “weight
loss”. If you notice the right-hand text area box defaulting to “Broad”, I’m in the
process of selecting “Exact” for my search results. You’ll also see that each bar
beside the keyword phrase (signifying advertiser activity) is completely full.
Check that against the local and global monthly search volumes, and the results
are in the six digits – meaning you haven’t got a chance of succeeding with just
“weight loss” (or any of the long tails you see) as your chosen domain name or
However, scroll down the page, or select the most appropriate popular long tail
as your new search parameter, and things become much more viable. Unless it’s
an over-saturated niche such as “travel” or “weight loss”, you’ll usually be able to
find lower paid ad competition and the right numbers – or else a new possibility
in the “Related Keywords” section at the bottom of the page.
3. Cross-checking with Google
This is an important step. Enter your phrase into the search text area box.
For my example, I chose the related keyword “body type” and this next step is
absolutely vital particularly if you’re working with an over-saturated niche. Let
your cursor “rest” within the search box and pause a moment, after entering your
phrase. (Don’t be too quick to click on the “Search” button) At this point,
Google Suggest will auto-drop down suggestions for you.
In this case, taking this extra small step proved invaluable, because “body type”
itself was glutted with over 166 million searches – way too much competition, no
matter how good the result in the AdWords External Keytool. However, I was
able to see at a glance that “body type diet quiz” only contained 145,000 results.
The ideal range you want to see, when you enter a long tailed keyword phrase to
cross check in Google, is under 150,000 for highly popular niches; under
100,000 for all others.
Numbers to look for:
• In AdWords look for results in between 1,000-5,400 results = the higher
the number within the optimal range, the better.
• In Google’s search result for the same keyword phrase you want to choose
the lower number within your optimal range, the better.
This 3-step system using the 3 free programs – WordTracker’s free keytool,
AdWords External Keytool and simple Google search – is a good basic start to
keyword research… but don’t overthink it! Top marketers often use nothing
more than intuition and Wordtracker.
Demystifying Market Research
Key Point: You can’t do effective keyword research until you’ve invested the
time in thorough market research.
That means using offline methods, as well as online.
It means checking out:
• Where your market hangs out
• What they spend money on – and are not only willing but eager to
• Who your competition is
There’s simply no shortcut to getting to know your potential customer better than
you know your best friend.
Don’t be intimidated by either market or keyword research. Remember, all you’re
really doing is finding out who your customer is and what they are eager to pay
for to have their problems resolved.
Putting yourself in the mind of your customer should be your number one priority,
when initially figuring out your best keywords.
How does your customer search?
If she’s looking for cell phones - Is she likely to type “mobile phones” into her
search bar, “best mobile” or “what is the best cellphone?”
Think about how you type in search queries, when it comes to Googling what
I have noted some prefixes and suffixes that are typically added to keyword and
keyword phrases when people are making a query.
• How do you [keyword phrase, e.g. “how do you make candles”]
• How to [keyword phrase]
• How to start a [keyword phrase]
• Finding, finding a, finding a good [keyword phrase]
• Hard to find [keyword phrase]
• Discount [keyword phrase]
• Retro [keyword phrase]
• Limited edition [keyword phrase]
• What is, what does [keyword phrase]
• Most popular [keyword phrase]
• Classic [keyword phrase]
• Cheap [keyword phrase]
• Guide to [keyword phrase]
• Creating a [keyword phrase]
• Making [keyword phrase]
• Best [keyword phrase]
And suffixes such as:
• [keyword phrase, e.g. “tracking software reviews”] review, reviews
• [keyword phrase]complaint, complaints
• [keyword phrase]definition
• [keyword phrase]scam, fraud
• [keyword phrase]guide, guides
• [keyword phrase]plan
• [keyword phrase]system
• [keyword phrase]program
• [keyword phrase]for idiots
• [keyword phrase]articles
• [keyword phrase]studies
• [keyword phrase] tips
How to Tell if Niche Members Are Going to Actually Spend
The easiest way to tell if niche members actually spend money, just daydream, or
create and swap to get the products they want is to ask them.
You can run a survey, or ask a question in a forum. Monitor forums where they
are most active.
Another idea is to check eBay and Amazon for activity. See if there are
magazines dealing with your niche subject (and keywords). See if there is
advertising on the right hand side of the page in Google’s search results.
Remember if there’s no advertising, this implies there’s probably no money in this