Wednesday, 5 March 2014

How I Do Keyword Research

Do Keyword Rearch
Do Keyword Research

Part One: Qualify the Niche
This is a quick sweep. You're not getting numbers at this point; you just want to know (A) whether there's any commercial traffic and (B) if the competition is beatable with your current skillset.

Determine a root keyword for your niche. If you plan to rank for the product name, search on that (ex. "water4gas"). If you plan to rank for a general set of keywords, use the shortest tail keyword you would think is within possibility ("weight loss" is obviously too difficult, but "lose belly fat" could be doable if you're at the top of your game).

Don't agonize over this - it's supposed to be a quick prequal. Just don't be like me and promote an affiliate product that has a free online version or anything stupid like that.

(A) for commercial traffic, run your root keyword through Adwords: exact search, related only, United States, desktops and laptops. I look for a rough minimum of 10,000 local monthly volume TOTAL when I add up the top keywords (anything with 100+ LSV). I also look for a selection of long tails below the root keyword - at least 5 (don't worry, we'll find more).

(B) for competition, a basic G search with cookies cleared, personalized results turned off, and logged out of Gmail. Some of the things I look for:
- Heavy G-Shopping results are a red flag. All those pretty pictures are going to upstage you every time. One or two of them is OK.
- If there are no organic results, just Adwords, above the fold, think twice.
- No affiliates on page 1 - I skip the niche, although as I get better at backlinking, I might change my mind. But if G has put nothing but Amazon and bigbox stores on page 1, I assume they will be very hard to beat.
- Massive BH traffic on page 1 - if I see more than one or two results with 301'd backlinks, I move on to something easier.

Part Two: Scrape Keyword

I use a Google Autocomplete tool to scrape keywords. I like Keyword Researcher because I know the developer, but there are other tools that do the same thing. The tool suggests some nice search strings for both buying and informational keywords. It doesn't give you search volume, but most of these tools don't - you just end up with a raw list to run through the AdWords tool.

If you use it heavily, I suggest running HMA Pro or another VPN. Keep adding keywords to the Master List and dedupe at the very end. Save to a txt file. If you use the tool fully, 10,000 is a good minimum to end up with.

Part Three: Get Search Data

Run your txt file through the Adwords tool and export your CSV files. Use command prompt to merge them into one file. Adwords has been inserting duplicates in its downloaded results lately, so use Excel 2013 to dedupe the file, or use whatever you normally use. Oddly enough, I have never had a ban while running thousands of keywords through my AdWords account. YMMV.

Part Four: Find the Low Hanging Fruit

Right away I delete all keywords with 0 search volume. Occasionally the 0s will actually be good, but you can pick that up from your stats later on as your site starts to rank for some long tails.

I run what's left through a competition checking tool. I don't agonize over this, because these aren't hard numbers - these are relative numbers. I'm not looking for the guaranteed best keyword - I just want to know which ones are better than others.

Some choices for checking competition:
- Append allintitle: to your keyword list in Scrapebox and use the competition finder add-on (my favorite).
- Run the list through Market Samurai or Traffic Travis.

Paste the results into your spreadsheet and sort for highest traffic with lowest competition.

Pick Your Keywords

Stop and read GOY's post about Keyword Greed. If it doesn't pass the human reality check, it doesn't matter how good the numbers are.

Your list of winners is going to be longer than you can tackle even with all the automated filtering, so you'll need to do a bit of hand sorting at the end. I like to pick the winners, not eliminate the losers, because it goes faster that way. Read down your list of high traffic/low competition keywords and pick the ones that stand out as buying keywords. This is really the fun part if you don't let yourself get distracted by the raw numbers - let your common sense tell you what people actually search on.

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