Our Keyword Research Strategy Part 1
We’ve received quite a few questions regarding how we go about researching keywords for our sites. It seems many people get stuck here, looking for the absolute BEST keyword they can possibly find to create a site. That’s important when you’re researching keywords for an authority site or are looking for a name that can be branded, but with micro-niche sites it’s much less involved for us.
Keep in mind that this is only one of many different ways to approach keyword research for Adsense monetized sites. We’ve found it to be effective at creating sites that make money for us and part of the reason we’re sharing our approach is so that we can help those that are looking for ways to be successful with AdSense, but also so that those with more experience can help us grow and determine better niches as we continue to expand and become more aggressive with our niche research. Below, we’ll give you a step by step review of our process:
Editor’s Note: We used to use Market Samurai and loved it, but found it not as effective around October and switched over to LongTailPro as our keyword research tool of choice. Still, the process works with either tool.
Step 1: Come Up With A Seed Keyword
When selecting a seed keyword, it can be as simple as looking around your office or house for ideas and things that people might be searching for. As a general rule, we look for words that people would search for when they’re looking to buy something and avoid keywords that imply research as their intent. For example, “swimsuits” might be a better seed keyword than “swimming”, but this isn’t a hard rule and you can try both to start.
When selecting a seed keyword, we try to target 2 specific groups on a regular basis…housewives and blue-collar, Do It Yourself’ers. Our thought here is that they are less likely to be “Ad-blind” and would have less reluctance to click on an advertisement if it was something they liked or that interested them. We have no research on this, just a general feeling we have that seems to work pretty well. We also stay away from more “techy”, “artsy”, and “internet” keywords like electronics, software, education, paintings, internet marketing, etc as these typically are much harder to rank or have a much lower CTR than some of the other niches.
Step 2: Research Seed Keyword in Market Samurai
Market Samurai is an amazing keyword research tool that saves us a ton of time. Everything done via Market Samurai can be done manually, but it takes much longer and will give you fewer options to choose from later unless you spend considerably more time on your keyword research. The first thing to do is relatively easy. Open Market Samurai, select New Keyword, and enter your seed keyword from the previous step and select Update. Now click on Keyword Research to go to the next area.
Now that you’re in the Keyword Research section, you’re going to want to login to the Google Keyword Tool. Doing this through MS will provide many more potential keyword than you would receive otherwise. We also suggest selecting a Phrase Length of between 2 and 4 words. You don’t want to miss out on any great 2-word domains and any domains longer than 4 words are generally too many characters and won’t have that many searches per month, anyway.
Step 3: Narrow Down Niche Keywords
Now that you’ve got a nice selection of keywords available, click on Keyword Analysis at the bottom right of the page to go to the next section. Here you’re going to narrow down your large selection of keywords to get those that will be useful to you for potential domains. You’re going to want to create a custom filter that has the following: (Anything not mentioned is unchecked and blank)
- Total Searches: Checked, 800 (minimum)
- SEO Traffic: Checked, blank
- Phrase To Broad: Checked, 15
- AdWords CPC: Checked, blank
- SEOComp: Checked 200,000
- SEOValue: Checked, 500
Our low Total Searches is debatable, but setting SEOValue at 500 will help to take out any keywords that have a really low search volume AND a low CPC. Any keywords that are only getting around 800 searches per month will have a higher CPC that go with them. Once your search parameters are set, click Analyze Keywords and let MS do the work for you. Update: We actually use LongTailPro for our keyword research now.
Once MS is finished, we’ll click “Keyword” to sort the keywords left alphabetically and then select Export at the bottom right and put them in a spreadsheet. Open that spreadsheet and you’ll have something that looks like this:
Step 4: Check URL Availability
In this step, you’ll want to go back to MS, use the checkbox to select all of the keywords on the screen and then click Find Domains. (Note: If you have more than 50 keywords available here, you’ll want to select the first fifty or less and then repeat the process to check the rest. The domain check will miss keywords if you select more than 50 to check.) At this point, you’ll be in the Domains section of MS.
Here, you’ll need to have an account with DomainFace as MS uses them to check domain availability. (You could, alternatively, load the keywords into the bulk option at GoDaddy, but keeping everything in MS at this point seems to be the easiest.) Once you’re logged in, you’ll also want to have the following custom filter set:
- Domain Variations: Nothing, we’re looking for EXACT match domains here
- Domain TLDs: .com, .net, and .org only
- Domain Filter: Nothing, we’re using new domains and don’t want hyphens
Make sure you’re logged into your DomainFace account and click Find Domains.
You’re now going to want to click on the Domain column, so that the results are sorted alphabetically. You’ll also see a “check” button to the right of each potential domain. You’re going to want to check each domain, as your first search is based on old information and this updated search will be done in real-time. Once completed, you’ll have your list as you see below:
Step 5: Update Your Keyword Research Spreadsheet
Now that we’ve found the domains that are available, we will update this information to our keyword research spreadsheet and delete the keywords that did not have domains available, ending up with something that looks like this:
You’ll see that this particular search led us to “air compressor hose” and “water hose”. These will now be possibilities for us to use as we look at both Advertiser and SEO competition in Part 2 of our Keyword Research Strategy.
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