Here are 7 steps to keyword research that will help you find new ideas for niche websites/blogs to start or enhance/enrich your current keyword research for an existing site.
You can use these techniques for your own blog articles that you consider killer content and want to promote and rank well for in the search engines. You can certainly use these techniques for creating small (and large) niche sites that you want to make money with. Let’s get started.
1. The Right Browser – First, let’s get setup. Are you running Firefox? If not, head over to the Mozilla website and download the Firefox browser. We’ll be using some Add-ons that work well with Firefox as we browse around the web and perform searches.
2. Install an Add-on – Browse over to SEO Book.com and sign up so you can download the freely available SEO Toolbar. This toolbar provides SEO data while you research websites that you find interesting. It also displays detailed SEO data while you search the search engines using your keyword phrases.
3. Pick a Niche – What do you like to do? What do you like to read? What do you voluntarily spend time researching? What makes the time fly for you? What is so exciting and interesting to you that you forget to go to sleep? What problem(s) would you like to solve for people?
Take that thing (or things) and make it a 1-3 words keyword phrase. A 3-5 words keyword phrase would be good to. The more focused your interest or niche, the better your chance will be in ranking for that keyword phrase. For example, the keyword phrase “drums” is very broad. However, the keyword phrase “how to play the drums” is more focused and smaller, or less competitive.
Oh yea, don’t forget to write some of your keyword phrases down or keep track of them on Google Docs. If you need a bit more detail on how to do this step read Making Money with Niche Site – Part 1.
Tip: Need some niche ideas? Head over to the grocery store or local bookstore and check out your favorite magazines. Can you find anything in them that looks like a potential niche? Look at ads and products for sale in those magazines. That will help you narrow down what niches you might be interested in.
4. Use the Tool – Need help narrowing your keyword phrase or finding keyword phrases related to yours? Head over to Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Enter the phrase from step 3 and click on the Get keyword ideas button. Observe the list. Click on the “Choose columns to display” drop-down. Select “Show Estimated Avg. CPC”, “Hide Local Search Volume”, “Hide Advertiser Competition”. For the Match Type, select “Exact”. See image below for what the resulting columns will look like.
Click image for larger view
5. Search Volume – We’ll want to look at the “Global Monthly Search Volume” column and pay attention to search volumes. Click on the column header to sort by search volume and look at the keyword phrases that have more than 1,000 searches a month and less than 10,000 searches a month.
The results are approximate numbers of searches a month for your keyword phrase. Some folks will use 30,000 and even 50,000 as the maximum search volume on a keyword phrase. You can certainly ignore these numbers but what we’re doing here is giving ourselves a fighting chance at ranking high in the search engines for the keyword phrase you’ve selected.
6. Check out the Competition – After you’ve got your keyword phrase, browse over to Google and enter the phrase with double quotes surrounding the phrase. In other words, actually enter the phrase “how to play the drums” with double quotes. What that will give you is the competing web pages with that whole phrase. You’ll see the numbers in the upper right-hand top of the search results page. You’ll see something like this: Results 1 – 10 of about 109,000 for “how to play the drums”. (0.13 seconds).
Now I know people don’t search with double quotes surrounding the phrase but what we’re looking for are the competing web pages that contain that whole phrase. If you don’t put the surrounding double quotes around the phrase, you’ll end up with a bunch of sites in your search results that could possibly NOT match the whole keyword phrase you’re trying to rank for. In this case, you could end up with some results like “brake drums for cars”, which is not what we’re looking for.
7. Analyze the Data – This step is where The SEO Toolbar comes in. If you have it activated while you view your search results, there will be a bunch of detailed SEO information that displays below each search result.
To get started viewing some important SEO information, click the ? (question mark) next to the PR (Page Rank), underneath each result on the first page. This will tell you the page rank of each site listed on the first page of search results (there should be 10).
If each result has a page rank of 3 or more then you’re probably headed into a pretty darn competitive niche. However, if the PR for the majority of your search results contain blanks or 1 and 2s, you just might have a fighting chance at getting on the front page of Google search results with your keyword phrase.
At this point you can check out each of the SEO attributes with ? (question marks) under each link and find out other important information like “Age”, which is also known as “Domain Age” or how long the site has been around. You can find out how many links (backlinks) are pointing back at the site from other websites as well. Make sure you click on the link for each attribute to read more about it and what it provides.
That’s it for now. You’re one your way to doing some serious keyword research. Have fun!!