Secrets the Pros Didn't Wish You
Keywords are a fundamental part of any online strategy for driving traffic, because they're
the primary tools of the search engines. So a good working understanding of keyword
terms is essential to any successful online business venture. In this section we will explain
what keywords are - both high volume and long tail keywords - as well as how proper use of
them impacts your online business. Finally, we'll demonstrate how to do effective keyword
research using two free tools.
When a person goes to Google looking for something (or to Yahoo or MSN) what do they
do? They type some words into the search box. These words that they type in are called
Let's say a student is doing a report about algae. They go to google and type "algae."
"Algae" is therefore a keyword. But let's say the student, after typing algae, gets back 12
million results - way too many to deal with, and many of them not at all useful. So they
decide to narrow their search. Now they type in "salt water algae in the Mediterranean."
This now is what is called a long tail keyword. Basically, that means a string of words that
narrows down a subject, as opposed to a single word that returns an extremely broad range
This long tail keyword search returns only about 68,000 results for the student - a much
more manageable number. And if they are in fact looking for information about this type of
algae, these are going to be much more useful results. The student is much more likely to
read the article or watch the video or in some way interact with the content they get back
as the result of this search.
So if you were in the algae business - specifically the Mediterranean salt water algae
business - you'd love to have this student check out your stuff. And, your goal would be to
show up in the top 10 results on Google for his long tail keyword search. But if your
business only dealt with Great Lakes freshwater algae, then this student wouldn't be of so
much use to you. Nor would you be interested in ranking for either one of his searches:
"algae" or "salt water algae in the Mediterranean."
Is this keyword stuff beginning to make sense? Good, because I'm about to kick it up a
These two keywords - "algae" and "salt water algae in the Mediterranean" - are what we call
non-commercial intent searches. In other words, the person who is typing this keyword
phrase isn't looking to buy something (not likely anyway). It's a student doing research,
like in our example, or it's a bored person looking for a funny/gross video, or it's an eighth
grader wanting help with his "algebra" homework and he's a really bad typist so instead of
"algebra" he searched for "algae".
Unfortunately for you - since you're in the business of selling Mediterranean algae - about
85% of all internet searches have low commercial intent (in all industries - not just the
algae business). In other words, only about 15% of the time is the person doing the Google
search sitting there with a credit card in his hand.
So your goal, as a business owner, is to focus on the 15% of internet searches that are
likely to result in a sale.
Before we explain why, we will say that there is a theory that a big chunk of the 85% of
non-commercial searches are "pre-purchase" searches. In other words, they're people who
aren't buying today, but who are likely to buy in a month, or in six months. This theory
goes that if you form relationships with those searchers, then you can actually shape their
perception of the market by communicating with them during their investigation phase, and
thereby solidify your position as the person they come to when it is time to buy. It's a
theory that has some merit - but nonetheless, for our purposes we're going to be focusing
on the 15% of searches with high commercial intent.
So do that, I'm going to show you how to use a couple of free sources for your keyword
research. The first is Google’s Keyword Research Tool. The second, and probably less well
known, tool is Microsoft’s Online Commercial Intent Tool.
Start with Google's Keyword Research tool. https://adwords.google.com/select/
KeywordToolExternal It's a very simple page, as you can see here. But like many simple
things, it is deceptively powerful. (If you're looking for something even simpler, look for the
tutorial video that explains Google's Wonder Wheel)
You have two choices for how to search for keywords with this tool. You can either enter a
keyword or phrase, such as algae, or you can enter the URL of a website. Let's look first at
the keyword phrase option by typing in the keyword phrase "mediterranean algae." (Make
sure you complete the captcha - the letters in red)
The google keyword research tool will then return results of the keywords that users
actually enter into the google search area when they go to google.com and they're
searching for keywords that are very close to what we originally entered.
This is huge!!!
Our results are sorted into several columns:
• "Keywords related to term entered." Here, Google is just doing some of our
thinking for us. Google knows that our next step might be to do research on some
closely related terms - so they beat us to the punch and give us the results for a list
of related terms, instead of just the one we asked for.
• Advertiser competition. This column is telling us how relatively stiff the competition
is for this particular keyword. Keywords with high competition (the boxes with the
most blue space filled in) are good - it means that those are keywords that are
putting money in lots of people's pockets. It's kinda like if you wanted to open a
burger joint. Would you go to the barren stretch of highway, or to the busiest
corner with 3 other fast food places?
• Local Search Volume. This tells us how many times this particular keyword was
searched for last month. In other words, how popular is it? How many people are
interested in this topic?
• Global Monthly Search Volume. This is the average number of searches, by month,
over the last year - worldwide.
• The last column, "Add," is nifty - it allows you to export these terms to a
spreadsheet so you can study them later.
The main thing we discover from this particular search is that "Mediterranean algae" is not
something that very many people are interested in! There are no advertisers competing for
any of these terms (all the boxes are empty white), and there's not enough data to tell us
the search volume.
But Google, being the helpful souls that hey are, gives us a hand. There is a second section
of results called "Additional keywords to consider," below the first section of results.
Basically google is saying, "Well if you're really stuck on this algae thing, here's some other
terms that are a bit better."
Now we can see that there are some advertisers competing for some algae-related terms;
and we can also see that while "algae" got inquiries from 673,000 people last month, none
of the other terms are comparatively very popular at all.
This doesn't mean they are bad keywords, however. All that it means is that more people
searched for something else. And while theoretically, more people are better - that also
generally means greater competition.
To explain this further, and how it might apply to your business, let's look at the term
"algae fix," with its 1300 search volume. That sounds to me like something I'd type in if I
had an algae problem I needed to fix! And people with problems that need fixing are
usually people willing to spend money. If you were in the algae-problem-fixing business,
would you settle for 1300 new customers per month? I bet you would.
But to confirm whether this would be a good term or not - in other words, whether these
1300 searchers are potential new customers or not - we want to use our second free
keyword tool, The Online Commercial Intent Tool or OCI. http://adlab.microsoft.com/
This tool helps you determine the keyword phrases that people use when they are ready to
buy. Just like google's tool, the OCI gives you the opportunity to do a search based upon a
webpage URL or a keyword phrase (what they call a query).
So we type in our chosen keyword phrase, "algae fix," select the radio button for query and
Sure enough, the commercial intent for the term "algae fix" is .92 [need arrow] - meaning
that 92% of the searches for this term are likely to be someone who is looking to buy. So if
you're in the business of fixing algae problems, this would be a great keyword for you to
build into your online traffic generation strategy. Do you understand why? [what if the
answer is no? what call to action do we give them?]
Great! So now that you understand the theory let's create a list of action steps.
1. Come up with a list of 3 keywords, just off the top of your head, that you think a
buyer of your product would be searching for on Google.
2. One at a time, enter these keywords into google's keyword tool.
3. Select the keywords that you would like to investigate further - you're going for the
keywords with good advertiser competition, and which you think sound like buying
terms. (You're starting with your own intuition, and confirming or denying with the
OCI tool). They could be terms with either low or high search volume, as we've
4. One at a time, enter these keywords into the OCI tool.
5. Based on these results, make a list, in order from highest commercial intent to
lowest, of these search terms. You can omit any with lower than 60% commercial
6. These keywords are now the starting point - the topic sentence, if you will - for your
So we've just learned how effective keyword research can tell you what you should be
blogging about. In other words, the topics of your blog posts can (and should) come from
your keyword research.
However, there's another use for keyword research. And that is to generate tags for the
promotional articles you're going to write. For every blog post you write, you should write
at least one promotional article and submit it to the article directories. These article
directories will send traffic back to your blog post - but you can help this process along by
selecting effective keywords.
Remember that the point of all this activity is to sell stuff. And online, the way you sell stuff
is with something called a sales letter. A sales letter is
(Are you wondering about the option on these two keyword tools to search by website URL?
That's coming up in another section)
Google Keyword Tool
Type in the primary keyword that you want to search.
This gives you a list of tons of long tail keywords based upon your initial search
• how do I keep track of keywords and their traffic results, when I search them in a
click on phrase match in the drop-down box on the right-hand side over the results
so many people go after the top phrases on top
Now type the longer-tail keyword up above, uncheck "synonym" and push button again