What do you think when you see the term KEYWORD?
Does it excite you or does it give you anxiety?
If it excites you, that is great…we are on the same page. If it gives you anxiety, I am going to spend some time with you here to help you get over your anxiety by SI-MP-LI-FY-ING the process of keyword research for you.
First things first though…
What is a KEYWORD?
A keyword is something that people search for. It doesn’t matter what the medium is, whether it is within a Google or Bing search or within your favorite social network, people are using keywords to find stuff.
Your job as a marketer is to target these specific keywords with your targeted marketing offer. Your success as a marketer will depend on the relevance of keyword, your understanding of the audience, and the relevance of your offer.
The main issue I see is people looking at everything in terms of keywords. By this I mean, they lose sight of the fact that there is a REAL PERSON behind every keyword search. The first step is getting ranked or becoming visible within keyword searches, the second step is being able to connect with the “people” behind the search.
Within this training module I am going to walk you through the process of finding quality keywords that can get great rankings and help you understand the “logic” behind keyword selection. Really, a keyword is just a keyword unless you understand the process!
Starting Broad, Working Inward
When doing keyword research, I personally recommend starting quite broad. I do this for a couple reasons:
(1) It allows you to find keywords that you would have never come up otherwise
(2) It reveals the widest spectrum of keywords
(3) It is easier to think of broad keywords! 🙂
It may seem counter-productive at first because we are not looking for broad keywords, but broad searches will allow you to break apart just about any niche.
The first step is to open up the keyword tool that you use, I personally use Jaaxy for my keyword research, but you can use whatever tool you like. I suggest you do this so you can follow along with me here. Use the following link to open up the WA Keyword tool (included here at WA).
Now,the first thing you want to do is enter a broad keyword that is relevant to your niche. I am going to use an example niche that is something that I don’t have any knowledge of to prove the power of working inward from a broad niche.
Starting Broad and Working Inward…
Again, I am using Jaaxy for this research so my screenshots are going to reflect this tool, but it does not matter what keyword research tool you are using. Let’s start with the search term “parrots”.
The next step is going to be to elaborate on this search, in other words digging deeper to find more relevant, long tail keywords. To do this, I have decide to dig the term “cheap parrot toys”.
And just like that we have a list of several high traffic, low competition keywords in the “parrot toy(s)” niche. You can see the QSR (quoted search result) column which indicates how many competing pages there are in Google, the lower the number the better. I recommend aiming for terms under 400, and in an ideal world, you would be focusing more on terms under 300. These are typically very easy to get ranked under for SEO.
Some excellent terms here would be:
acrylic parrot toys, only 83 competing pages
cheap parrot toys, only 136 competing pages
discount parrot toys, only 54 competing pages
large parrot toys, only 266 competing pages
Now hypothetically, if I had a site dedicated to “parrots”, I have quickly drummed up four search terms that I could get indexed in Google very easily with, either by creating a page on my website or writing an article and submitting it to StreetArticles.com.
But what about Traffic #’s?
People tend to look for keywords that get too much traffic. I know this sounds crazy, but let me explain…
Getting ranked on the first page of the Search Engines with keywords that get 50 searches per month is far better than getting ranked on the 3rd page of 10 keywords that get 10,000 searches per month. Why?
People usually don’t make it past the first page of the search results, deeming a 3rd or 4th page ranking almost useless. You want to be on the first page and you do this by focusing on your competition, not by focusing on traffic numbers. Getting 10 pages indexed under 50 search/mth terms is still 500 potential clicks per month. That is a big deal. Remember, this is FREE traffic!
Stepping Through the Alphabet for Keywords
Sounds crazy doesn’t it. How is the alphabet going to lead me to “keyword revelation”.
Quite easily actually. This is one of my most protected and favorite keyword research techniques of all time.
There are 2 tools that you need for this research technique:
(1) A keyword tool (again, I use Jaaxy)
(2) Google Instant
Finding the initial core search term.
I am going to continue on with my “parrot” niche here, again we are going to start out with the broad search term, this time though we are going to type it into Google.
As soon as you type a term into Google Instant, it starts giving me some related suggestions. Google typically shows the most popular searches first, in this case the phrase “parrot ar drone” (I have no idea what this is!) was the most popular extension of the parrot keyword.
I then dump this keyword in Jaaxy…
I get some very targeted results. One has very limited competition. The cool part about this technique is that it has revealed an entirely new niche to me, “parrot ar drone”, which after research I have figured out it is an drone that you can fly using your iPhone or iPad. Definitely a unique niche.
Walking through the alphabet
Since this is not all that relevant to my parrot (or bird type) niche, I am going to continue on. The next step is to type the next letter of the alphabet into Google, “b”. Start with a Google Instant search:
Perfect, I have found a couple of keywords that are relevant to my niche, parrot breeds and birds. This time I am going to get a bit more relevant though, and to do this I am going to continue my search on “parrot bird” by completing this term within the Google search bar.
My next step is perform a search in my keyword tool on one of these newly found terms, in this case I will check out “parrot bird cages”
I have a bunch of new keywords, not all of them are 100% specific to parrot bird cages, but I have come up with a few terms that I could definitely make use of.
parrot bird cages, 309 competing pages
corner bird cages, 190 competing pages (could apply)
Are you seeing the power of this? I have just brushed the surface of two letters in the alphabet and one broad word.
**Note that everything within Google instant is not going to be in keyword tools. Google Instant is sometimes much more current as keyword data can be a month delayed. Google instant also does produce search terms that don’t get searched, so sometimes this will be the case. The key is leveraging every keyword possiblity here.
The “Before” Keyword Variation
There is another way to utilize Google Instant to get at keywords, this time instead of using the alphabet after the search term, we are going to use it before the search term. Note that this time you DO NOT want to put a space between the letter and the keyword.
In the example of :parrot” targeting the letter “b”, you would type in a “b” before “parrots” (make sure that it is already in the search).
As you can see, it is now showing variations of the broad term parrot with all the “b” terms preceding the target term here. You could then plug each of these into a keyword tool and get a bunch more keyword variations.
If I went through the alphabet with the term “parrot” alone, I would likely have 1,000’s of awesome keywords that I could use to build a very large campaign. You no longer have any excuse for not being able to find keywords…use the Alphabet technique!
Managing Your Keywords List
So what do you do with your keywords when you find ones that you like?
You save them to a keyword list. I typically recommend creating keyword lists that serve a specific function. If I am going to write 25 articles, I will create a list for that “function”. If I am going to create a targeted ad group for Google Adwords, I will create a keyword list for each one.
Most keyword tools have the capabilities to store keyword lists right within them, including the WA Keyword tool and Jaaxy. I typically use this as it simplifies the process, but if you prefer to keep your keywords in a Google doc or Word…or even write them down on a piece of paper, that is fine too. Just make sure they are somewhere safe and somewhere readily available.
Here is an example keyword list that I created on the topic of parrots while creating this training:
Now that I have my list of keywords, I would start working my way through these by either creating a page on my “parrot” website or writing articles and submitting them to an authoring site like StreetArticles.com. These all fit the following criteria, which is optimal for obtaining SEO rankings:
(1) Under 400 QSR (competing pages in Google)
(2) At least 50 clicks per month traffic
And that is it. No other data is important for me in terms of getting rankings. Seriously. Those are the only two metrics that you should focus on, anything else can mislead you or act as an “paralysis through over-analysis” distraction.
By now you should have more than enough ideas to keep you busy for anentire year. However, I want to give you some additional ideas that will give you NO EXCUSE as to why you cannot find keywords to promote WA for either your article marketing, on-site SEO, or PPC campaigns.
The first thing I want to discuss are “solution” keywords. When people go online and are really serious about buying something (or are willing to), then tend to search for a solution keyword. By this I mean a keyword that best reveals a solution to a problem.
Think about this for a second. If you were looking for help with your parrot, you may type in:
- What do you feed a parrot
- Do parrots make good pets
- How do parrots sleep
- How to teach parrots tricks
- How to teach parrots to talk
- How to tell if parrot is sick
- Why does my parrot hate me
People are becoming smarter with their research, and tend to ask questions to search engines. Because of this there has been a bunch of sites that cater to this Q & A type them. These are also know as “how to” sites.
Here are some of the top ones:
The gist of it is this…
You type in a broad keyword search into one of these sites and you get a list of questions that people are asking. For example, I typed in “parrots” into wikihow.com and I got the following questions out of it (in seconds).
In just seconds, I have a bunch of awesome, targeted “solution” type keywords. Use this technique to expand your keyword sets and come upwith some really great converting keywords!
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