Keyword Research for Newbies…and Free!
Many budding online marketers struggle with Keyword Research in the beginning and can’t afford to shell out for a keyword research tool. I’ve found that most of the big hitters such as Market Samurai, Long Tail Pro, Traffic Travis etc have a steep learning curve and are not very newbie friendly.
And, if I’m honest, they all do the same job because they all use Google as their source. Some may use Bing and Yahoo, but in the end, they’re much of a muchness.
I like to use free tools whenever possible and loved Google’s Keyword Tool, but as that’s bitten the dust, I use Google Suggest and Google’s Keyword Planner to find good effective Keywords for my campaigns.
Now please note, the Google Keyword Planner is not really for us marketers…it’s for advertisers. This means the figures thrown up by the Planner are skewed for search volumes for us. But what they do, is show us that there are people searching for those keywords or advertisers wouldn’t bid for them. This is very much a ball park number we’re after, and not an ultra accurate final figure that is set in stone…far from it.
I use other tools such as Jaaxy, but that’s only for speed. When I first got my head around Keywords, I found free tools the best way of learning.
So here I will give you a brief example of how I get decent keywords with two free tools. You need a Google account to use Keyword Planner, but I expect most people on this planet have a Google email account, so I’ll shut up!
This post is for newbie’s in particular and is a good starting place to find keywords that have a chance of getting onto page one of the mighty G. With a little bit of research and effort put in by you, the humble marketer, there is no reason why these methods won’t see you jockeying for places high in the SERP’S (search engine result pages).
Google is an ever changing beast and we also need to keep up with their Algo updates every now and again, but this keyword research will stand the test of time.
Why use Keyword Research?
That may to some sound a very simple question, but to new people coming into this business it’s a question I wish I had taken note of 4 years ago when I first started!
The basic idea of keywords is that you need them to get ranked as high as possible in Google, or other search engines, but primarily Google, after all, they are the biggest and most used search engine in the world.
When I first started in 2010, I jumped in blind. I chose the weight loss niche and specifically, weight loss pills. The commission you get off these little bottles of pills is huge in comparison to say, Amazon products.
Each sale could earn you between $30 and $50 at the minimum. Selling just two of these a day would bring in a very good income, right?
So, I jumped in and built a 5 page website promoting a certain product. I wrote several posts, got a domain with the product name in it, made my site look attractive by showing nice pictures of the said product and waited for the moolah to come gushing in.
I now look back on those days with embarrassment.
How naive I was! Firstly, I picked the wrong niche. Anyone starting out should not promote anything in the weight loss industry, along with ‘make money online’ stuff and dog training products. These are impossible to get into.
Even now after 4 years online, I wouldn’t even bother….especially the weight loss arena.
Why did I fail? Why didn’t I see a single penny, or even visitor come to my website?
Keywords. Backlinks. Content.
Let’s look at Keywords, because without those you have sparse content and without content, good backlinks are hard to come by.
What is Keyword Research?
This may sound obvious to an online marketer who’s been around for more than 6 months, but for the newbies out there, I will explain what Keywords are and how you should use them.
Keywords are what people type into Google when they search for something, that ‘something’ being the keyword. Now, say someone is after a FitBit Activity Tracker (I’ll choose this item because I’m getting one for Christmas!) and they want to get the best deal, the best information and best review about how this thing works, what price it is and is it any good before they buy it.
So the main Keyword is ‘FitBit‘, the seed.
They would just enter that keyword into Google and see results like The Official website, and Amazon, dominating the first 5 places and then go on to read about it on the first and second listing site and then probably buy it on Amazon.
What kind of search is there for this Keyword?
Now, there are 450,000 people searching for that keyword, FitBit, per month according to Google Keyword Planner, but remember it’s only a ball park figure. (those figures are for advertisers wondering if they can afford to bid for that particular keyword and the rate it is at the moment).
You may think “that’s great…this thing is popular; I can make money promoting this!” But let’s look at the total number of websites that include the Keyword FitBit using a Google search.
As you can see, 2,670,000 webpages, and it’s worth keeping in mind that the majority of people will only stay on this one page of results and not even think about the couple of million below, let alone page 2!
This is not the Keyword we want, or indeed, the type of searcher we want. So, what if we really do want to sell that FitBit? It’s a good seller, right?
We have to find a better keyword for US that would be entered by a certain type of person looking for a certain type of answer…and this is where the games start!
Let’s choose a Long Tail Keyword. With LTK’s we are only adding to our Seed keyword which is FitBit, So let’s try ‘Fitbit Activity Tracker’ as our keyword.
As you can see, only 480 searches for this keyword, which is a lot better because we would like to see searches between 100-1000 for us to have a chance of ranking on that first page of Google (where the buyers are)…but, let’s look at how many pages are competing for this Keyword in a Google search.
We need fewer than 50,000 to, again, have a chance of getting to page one. I know 50,000 pages may sound an awful lot, but believe me, with good content and additional keywords that help our keyword, it’s a real possibility to get to page one. More on that later.
370,000 webpages for ‘FitBit Activity Tracker’. Well, that’s better but it’s still way to high for our chances of getting to page one and something tells me that activity trackers are trending and popular for that amount of webpages to show up.
I like to keep to 3 or 4 words in a LTK, so let’s look at another angle.
We need to go for a better LTK, one that the searcher enters into Google, but we also need to keep the keyword as natural looking as possible. We’ll try the Google Suggestion Tool where we start typing into the Google search box it auto completes just like below.
You have to be quite creative here and become the potential buyer. Let’s say the searcher has done a little research themselves and have found another activity tracker that could be as good as FitBit but they want to be sure they get the right one.
I use the ‘vs’ or versus strategy a lot and let the Google Suggestion tool fill out the rest, let’s have a go.
As you can see, I’ve typed in ‘Fitbit vs’ and Google has suggested a number of terms such as ‘Fitbit vs Jawbone’ and ‘Fitbit vs Bodymedia’. We’ll look at the ‘Fitbit v Bodymedia’ as Bodymedia was the one I was pondering myself because it keeps an eye on your weight as well as tracking your activity!
Let’s go to Google’s Keyword Planner and see what it throws up.
OK, that keyword pulls in 480 searches a month, pretty good. As said before, the figure is not accurate, but it’s a gage to see if there is lots of competition or ‘gettable’ competition. And if your review of these two trackers is good enough, you may be able to get on page one with the keyword ‘Fitbit vs Bodymedia’…but we still have to see how many webpages are in competition with you; hopefully below 50,000…let’s see.
37,600…that’s not bad! Now to be in with a chance of getting the keyword ‘Fitbit vs Bodymedia‘ on page one, we still need to see if the first page competition is too strong by looking at their Page Rank.
Don’t go too overboard on this, if we see 3 or 4 PR zero’s or n/a, we are good to go. I use the SEO Quake Toolbar Add-on and Firefox browser to find this stuff out. You can download the SEO Quake toolbar here...it’s totally free. So, let’s have a look at our competition. I’ve circled the Page Rank in Green.
Interestingly, there are 7 n/a (great), 1 zero rank (great) and only 2 High PR’s (good). Couple with this that there are only 2 listings with the exact same keyword as ours ‘fitbit vs bodymedia‘ and you can say this would be a good keyword to go after.
Keyword – Fitbit vs Bodymedia
We have a keyword that is being searched for and bid on – 480 p/m
We have low competition webpages 37,000
We have low PR pages on page one of Google
We have an almost unique title for our post AND it’s the keyword
We can sell both items
What you need now is either your own website that is in that sort of niche and make a post about it, or make a Squidoo lens about it or even a blogspot page.
Ideally you would need to write 1000-1500 words and get your keyword (FitBit vs Bodymedia) mentioned between 7-10 times, which would be pretty easy to do.
Use the title of your post, or Squidoo lens, as the Keyword – FitBit vs Bodymedia
Put the keyword in the first sentence and then use it as a sub title over sections inside your review. Don’t go mad with keyword stuffing, Google will pick up what you’re writing about because you will also use relevant keywords in your post/lens (see below)
You would review both trackers by using Amazon’s own customer reviews (don’t copy, just read through and form your own opinion) and link out to both products with your Amazon Associates ID.
It’s best to find products that have more than 20 reviews, this way you can have a good understanding of the product and give your own review. Don’t be afraid to list the bad stuff about it too…but keep it positive.
To make the post/page or lens flow nicely, look at those reviews and take note of some of the problems people have found using these trackers and use those answers/questions as titles inside your review such as:
- Is Fitbit Accurate?
- Does Bodymedia Work?
- How Do I Set The FitBit?
- How To Use The Bodymedia Activity Manager
- Is Fitbit Waterproof?
- Is Bodymedia Better Than FitBit?
- FitBit is Not Scyncing
A quick search on Google or Forums for these queries and you get the answer. You relay that answer in your own words and it becomes an interesting and rewarding piece of work. Google loves that.
The above are great relevant keywords that also get searched. I took them from the Google Suggest earlier. There are tons to go at. Make the post the best there is about Fitbit vs Bodymedia.
Then, if you’re still not happy with finding relevant keywords to add, scroll down to the bottom of the ‘Fitbit vs Bodymedia’ Google search and look at the ‘searches related to‘ box. You will see a number of suggestions you can use as topics inside your post/lens.
More about Giving your Post a Chance
Rename all your photos and pictures with your keyword and if you’re using WordPress, use the ‘alt text’ and use your keyword again.
Remember to link out to a post/lens or two of your own that you’ve written before…but make sure it’s a relevant link and finally link out to one or two authority sites such as a Wikipedia entry.
If you have a product that you have no interest in, I’m afraid you’re going to have to ‘hit the zone’. This business is largely about promoting things we know little about or have no interest in.
The fun part is seeing those reviews, web posts and Squidoo lenses getting to the top of Google and then getting paid for it.
When I have a product that is in demand, but I have no interest in it, I just dedicate 4 hours to it. That’s getting the best keywords I can, researching the product, reviewing it, setting up the post, getting my RAM site links to it, and indexing it and perhaps social sharing it.
I get in the zone an hour at a time, 10 minutes break, then another hour and so on. Do that for the whole morning and you have a great review out there that will start earning you money for the whole year and it took just 4 hours of your time.
Keyword Research is as Hard as You Make it
Yes, keyword research is important, but don’t get all hung up over it. Just use common sense in choosing your keywords.
Just be aware that you must find keywords that stand a chance of competing with your level of marketing experience. If you have thousands to spend on buying Keywords, then fine, but if you’re just starting out, go for keywords that stand a chance of ranking for your niche.
That’s the very basics of Keyword research using free methods. It’s not difficult, you just have to think like a buyer, and do a little research to give yourself a chance of appearing on page one of Google. That’s the hard work done; the easy part is backlinking, which I hate with a passion!
I use Parasite websites such as RebelMouse to link to my posts and websites, and I also use the RAM method by Jennifer Ledbetter, which takes up the next couple of hours. I only use these methods for backlinking purposes, but I have got a few sales from the RAM sites coming in lately.
One particular parasitic site has just sold 3 very expensive Radar Detectors, over $500 each, and as I’m on 7.50% commission at Amazon at the moment, that’s around $100+ from a backlink….it’s doesn’t get any better than that!