Keyword Research the Dumb Way

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Sticking with the theme of the blog, I need to tell you about some dumb things I’ve done when it comes to keyword research. I thought I had it figured out. I thought it was pretty simple. As it turns out, I was doing more than one thing wrong!

Until recently, I didn’t even properly or completely understand what a keyword was. I knew it had to do with the basic subject matter of content and that it was important for search engine optimization (SEO). In the past, when I had to fill out a form for keywords to an article, I would separate every single word with a comma. I didn’t know that a keyword (singular) could actually be a set of words or a phrase. For example, if I wrote a post on buying used vs. new cars, I probably filled out the keyword box something like this: new, versus, used, car, debate, benefits, of, buying, why, you, should. I figured as long as all of the words were there, the search engines would put it all together. Maybe that is partly why my old money blog seemed to lose traction. The proper way to enter keywords for a post like that would have been more like this: new versus used car, new versus used car debate, benefits of buying new car, benefits of buying used car, why you should buy new car, why you should buy used car. You see, each phrase is its own keyword.

My First Attempt at Keyword Research

Skip ahead to my new niche site adventure. Now that I knew what exactly a keyword was, I was ready to do my own research and start building niche sites. I had listened to a few different podcasts and read a little bit about keyword research from various bloggers. I watched Pat Flynn’s tutorial video on how to use Market Samurai and downloaded the program to use the free trial. I really didn’t know what I was doing and ended up settling on a keyword after thinking I had it figured out. I let the free 10-day trial on Market Samurai expire and did not purchase the program. I decided to stay the free route and simply use the Google Adwords keyword tool for the time being. Comparing my keyword that I found with Market Samurai to the results in the Adwords tool, I found that my target keyword got 2900 Global monthly searches and (at the time) had a competition rating of Low. As you can see in this screenshot (click image to enlarge), the competition is now Medium.

Also, the CPC (cost-per-click) for this keyword is pretty low. I didn’t care about this though. Any money coming in would be cool with me. I just wanted to find a keyword that I thought I could rank easily as I experimented with my first niche site. This is the data I went with and I built the small niche site.

Before I knew any better, I actually had a bit of success with the site. Today the site remains at #1 in Google for the main keyword. Traffic is steadily averaging 125+ page views per day. Clicks are even coming in pretty steadily, although most of them don’t pay very much. That’s OK though, as this is a learning process for me.

Keyword Research Misunderstandings and Wrong-Doings

If you look closely at the screenshot above, you see in the upper left corner where it says Match Types. I recently discovered that I should have un-checked the Broad box and checked the Exact box when I performed this keyword research. This would tell me how many people were searching for my exact keyword each month, and would give me a better idea of how many people would actually see my site on Google’s first page if I could get it there. That is the first thing I did wrong. If I had done it right the first time my Adwords data would have looked more like the following screenshot and I may not have even gone after this keyword. What’s done is done though. The site is complete and it is earning a small passive income.

Another major misunderstanding I had was that of the competition rating. I thought Low was what I wanted. I figured Low meant low competition for the keyword as far as SEO by other sites. I was wrong! This is an Adwords tool which means advertisers are using it to find sites that feature certain keywords where they can place their ads. Low competition means that not very many advertisers are bidding to place their ads on sites with this keyword. I now know that High is what I want, and that Medium might be OK. Low still works though, as ads will still be on your site and will still get clicks. High just means that more (and probably better) ads will be available and will show up on your site. These are probably more likely to get clicks as well.

Thank You!

First off, I need to thank Mike from Live The New Economy for pointing out my misunderstanding about competition levels in the Google Adwords keyword tool. I also need to send a shout-out and a special thanks to Justin and Joe over at Adsense Flippers. It was one of their subscriber e-mails that I received recently that confirmed Mike’s point and caused me to see the light and finally better understand this keyword research thing. If you want to learn from the pro’s like I am (Adsense Flippers), head over to their site and sign up for their free newsletter.

In my next post, I want to show you another great tool I learned in the Easy 5 Step Keyword Research process from Adsense Flippers. They explain exactly how they estimate how much a site will earn monthly (from Adsense) based on numbers given in the Adwords keyword tool. I want to go in depth and show you how it works.

Until then, remember that there are several dumb ways to create passive income online, but only one site that is blogging about it! Dumb Passive Income… dot com.

-Matt