Keyword Research - Here's How I Do It

Last Update: December 17, 2016

I've been asked many, many times how do I do my keyword research and what tool do I use? So I thought I would share how I do things.

Before I get into things let me answer a question I get a lot.

So what is keyword research for?

It’s used to create informative, engaging and helpful content using the keyword terms people are using to search for solutions or items online.

And by using these keyword search terms you can drive an enormous amount of targeted organic (free) traffic to your website.

And the more targeted keyword search terms you use the more traffic you can generate, thus creating a greater opportunity to generate and grow the revenue from your site.

However when you mention keyword research to most marketers they tend to freak out a little bit.

Mostly because everyone makes keyword research this big complicated step – and it’s not!!

Keyword research is EASY when you know how to do it right.

So like I said I'm going to how you step by step how I do my keyword research. It's nothing mystical. In fact I use this and other techniques that are taught here.

So what's the goal of keywords?

You’re goal is to get your keywords ranked on the first page of the search engines, ideally at the top of the search results so they can be found (seen) by your potential customer (your targeted audience).

And how do you do that? With your content.

When you’re writing your content you have your keyword(s) in the title of your post or page and then have them in the first paragraph and then simply write naturally from there.

And if you’ve done the proper keyword research your content has a great chance of getting top rankings in the search engines.

And once you’ve been seen – you now need to connect with that person (people) behind that search.

And it’s your content that makes that connection. It provides the information, solution or item they’ve been looking for.

So your content has to be engaging, useful and informative. And most importantly you need to write your content with Intent.

Meaning, what action do you want your reader to take when they read your content?

Do you want then to buy something, fill out a survey, join your mailing list, go through an affiliate link, etc. What is it you want them to do?

And you need to know this before you write one word of content. You must know your end point.

Kyle's has a few training about writing with intent, here's the links to those:

Affiliate boot camp knowing your audience

Writing with intent amplifying your engagement

To start you're going to need:

  1. A Reliable Keyword Research Tool
  2. A Spread Sheet
  3. A Little Time (a few hours at most)

Ok you're first step. Open your keyword tool. I'm using Jaxxy. If you don't have Jaxxy you can use the keyword tool here inside the WA if you're a premium member.

I use Jaxxy because it has a lot more features making keyword research a breeze.

Ok, the first thing you want to do is enter a broad keyword search term into your keyword tool relevant to your niche.

My Broad Keyword Term

I’m going to start with a niche I want to go into but haven't yet.

Let’s search the broad term “BBQ”.

Ok my first inquiry shows me that “BBQ” has crazy high competition, I sort of knew that going in and it’s a term I would never try to rank for.

But the results showed all kinds of related long tail keyword terms terms, some good, some not so good. And that’s what I was after.

Don’t worry I’ll explain what all this information (results) means in a second. But green is good, yellow is ok and red is forget about it.


Drilling Down

So since BBQ is out of the question my next step is to start digging deeper into this search.

And I do that by researching these other long tail keywords from my first inquiry. The goal is to find more relevant long tail keywords.

If you're not familiar with the term "long tail keyword". A long tail keyword is a search phrase usually more than 3 words long.

And more often than not long tail keyword phrases are used by people when they do a specific search. People doing these long tail searches are deeper into the customer buying life cycle and are closer or at the tipping point of buying.

Kyle did a great post all about the customer life cycle. Here's the link to that post

So from that first list of results above I’m going to dig into “best bbq ribs recipe”.

So I put that term into Jaaxy. Below are those results.

And in a matter of seconds I have several high traffic low competition keywords.

Let Me Explain The Results

Ok outlined in red is the average monthly searches for each search term. You see the QSR (quoted search result) column outlined in gold?

This tells me exact number of competing pages there are ranked for this search term in Google. Anything under 200 QSR is good are typically very easy to rank for.

And of course the lower the QSR the better. I typically look for a QSR under 150. And you’ll notice most of these search terms are below 100, so ranking for any of these terms is going to very achievable.

You’ll also see outlined in blue – the “Traffic”. This tells me the estimated number of people that will visit my website with a first page ranking for that term in the search engines. You’ll also see a Green light beside each search term.

This tells me once again this term is a term to use because it’s one I can get ranked for.

There is also a Yellow light which means the term is ok but will take longer to rank for.

And when a red light appears beside a keyword that tells me don’t bother it's a waste of time. The term has way too much competition and I'll never rank for it.

So if I had a site dedicated to BBQ I have a really good shot at getting ranked on the first page of Google by writing great content on my site using these low hanging fruit keyword search terms.

You've heard the term Low Hanging Fruit?

This is it.

You’re targeting keywords that have low competition and good search volume.

Remember you’re going to be in your niche for a long time and everything adds up.

Over time low hanging fruit keywords can easily add up to thousands and thousands of visitors going to your site each and every day!!

And that’s a beautiful thing!!

Don’t waste your time looking for that perfect keyword. Everyone is looking for that perfect keyword and that’s why there is so much competition for those keywords.

Let everyone else fight for those keywords that they’ll never get ranked for.

Why work hard when you can work smart!!

Burn this in your brain:

Always Search For Low Hanging Fruit Keywords

It makes way more sense to get top ranking in the search engines for 50 different keyword phrases that are getting 50 searches per month.

Than getting fighting for a keyword that gets 20,000 searches per month but has crazy competition that little to no chance of ever getting to the first page.

So don't do it!!

Keep in mind most people don’t go past the first page of the search results. Some may go to the 2nd page but not many and most people never go to the 3 or 4th page results.

Why would they?

So having that 3rd or 4th page ranking for a search term that gets huge searches per month is doing you absolutely no good whatsoever!

You have to start thinking about your competition NOT the traffic numbers. If you do that you’ll get all the traffic you need or could ever want.

Think about it – 50 keywords ranked on the first page of Google getting 50 searches per month is potentially 2500 clicks to your website each month.

Not bad at all for FREE traffic. And that’s just the beginning!!

I know people that would love to have that much traffic coming to their site each month.

And I speak from experience.

One of my other niches is in the financial niche and I have over 135 first page rankings with low hanging fruit keywords.

And these low hanging keywords are driving a ton of targeted visitors to my website everyday.

And I keep creating new content so I can keep increasing the traffic that comes to that site. And by doing this on a regular basis it’s increasing my income every month.

Like I said start thinking about your competition NOT the traffic numbers. If you do that you’ll get all the traffic you need or could ever want.

Think about it – 50 keywords ranked on the first page of Google getting 50 searches per month is potentially 2500 clicks to your website each month.

Not bad at all for FREE traffic. And that’s just the beginning!!

I know people that would love to have that much traffic coming to their site each month.

Creating A Spreadsheet

So now that I have my keywords that I’m going to use for my content I would then create a spreadsheet for those keywords.

The great thing about Jaaxy is I can store my keyword lists as I’m building my list right inside the tool. And then I can export them to Excel and create my spread sheet.

I export things as a CSV file (comma separated values). Here’s a snapshot (below) of part of my spreadsheet after I have it set up. You see I added Page and Rank.

I do this so I can keep track of the rankings of my keywords as they climb the search results on their way to the first page of the search engines.

Personally I only check the rankings of my keywords once a month. I find that’s more than enough.


Now I would work my way through my list and create content for each term.

Now not all of the keywords will get to the first page of the search engines. That would be cool if they did, but this is the real world. So don’t get to disappointed when a keyword does not get to the first page.

But as you keep creating content, your site starts to build authority, as you build authority more and more of your content will see higher ranking.

That’s why you have to be consistent with your keyword research and the creation of fresh content. This is what builds traffic. Always has and always will.

My Focus Is..

  1. QSR (competing pages in Google) below 150
  2. 50 searches or more per month. If it’s a little lower I’ll use the keyword. Remember it all adds up.

And that’s all that matters to me – it’s that simple. Anything beyond this can just screw things up for you.

Many people over analyze things to death, and never get anywhere.

And honestly I don’t mind. While others are stuck in keyword research paralysis I’m ranking for keywords all day long.

And now so can you – don’t drive yourself nuts when you don’t need to!!

Remember People Want Solutions

Don't forget there is a real person behind these searches. And when people are searching for things they're usually searching for a solution. So look for solution keyword phrases as well.

A solution keyword phrase typically starts with How To. But there are more than just How To. Think of the 5 w’s:

  1. Who
  2. What
  3. Where
  4. When
  5. Why

So using the BBQ example, some solution keyword phrases could be:

  • How to cook a brisket.
  • Why does my sauce always burn?
  • Who builds the best meat smoker?
  • Where are great BBQ restaurants in (add your city).
  • When is the best time to buy a BBQ?
  • What is a good rub for pork?

A great place to do research for solution keyword phrases are at How To sites such as:

http://www.wikihow.com
http://www.ehow.com
http://answers.yahoo.com

And That's It

That's my little routine for keyword research.

It is without a doubt that keyword research is one of the most important steps in a series of steps for the overall success and growth of your online business.

It’s part of the process of building your business. So it’s not a bad idea to have a regular routine when it comes to doing your keyword research.

For me it’s like being a detective looking for those great keywords.

Personally I set aside one morning per month to do my keyword research and then I’m done for the month. And I don’t stress about it and nor should you.

I also recommend Kyle's traning on the Alphabet Soup Technique using Google Intent for finding even more keywords.

I hope you found this helpful.

I believe in you
Leo

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PeterWolf Premium
I just got into the personal finance niche also and I find that paralysis you talk about. I don't want to just add content that doesn't rank. It makes sense.
I am finding it a struggle though been sitting here all day with nothing to show for it.
Thanks for the post on this
Reply
leoemery Premium
You're welcome maybe this other post I did will help you - in it I have some great resources for content ideas
Reply
PeterWolf Premium
Thanks Leo
I actually think I'm finally getting it
Tell me what you think
'What is the best way to get out of debt?' (My Keyword phrase)
Searches - 473
Traffic - 81
QSR - 60
Thanks again
Reply
PeterWolf Premium
That's hilarious
I own the domain name personalfinancefordummies.com
You are so right, I hope this works. I just have to find a way to convert the articles to sales:)
Reply
leoemery Premium
Yep you got it, anything under 150 QSR and 50 searches per month is golden - however if the search are less, still use the keyword, you're in this for the long haul - it all adds up to traffic -
Reply
PeterWolf Premium
Thanks Leo, it's starting to sink in. I just may have to resubscribe to remain active in the New Year:)
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Ali-M Premium
Hey Leo, did you know you've helped me a lot with this guide?! )
Additional information provided by quality members like you in WA is always useful. Thank You!
Just a short question. You've not mentioned to 'gramatical sense' for each keyword. I know you'll put them somewhere in your title and make it attractive with other words but I mean about the keyword itself. Should it make gramatical sense too or that's enough if it's if long tail?

Best,
Ali
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leoemery Premium
Yes the keyword(s) must make sense - it should read correctly.

So sticking to the sample research above this keyword phrase reads correctly - "best bbq ribs recipe"

But this keyword phrase does not read correctly and you wouldn't want to use it: "oven bbq ribs recipe bone"

Hope that helps
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Nenad Premium
This is how it should be done!
To be honest, I have never thought this way. I was not clever enough and was always paid attention to a number of searches!

Now I see that it all adds up at the end.

At least, from now I will know how and what to do!

Thanks Leo!
Reply
leoemery Premium
You're welcome - this is a long term thing - so that's why everything adds up
Reply
Freedomseekr Premium
Excellent reminder to use the low-hanging fruit keywords, Leo!

They certainly do work to get pages/posts ranked on the first page and even if it's only 50 people or so searching on each keyword with every post you create it adds up over time.

This will certainly help those just starting out understand keywords better, plus it's a great reminder to not bother with ones that have too much competition. Thanks for sharing!

Best wishes :) ~Sherry
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leoemery Premium
You're welcome and all the best to you as well
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Defiant6 Premium
Excellent post on keyword research! You broke everything down to where it can be understood and talked about the importance of low hanging fruit.

You are definitely right about the low hanging fruit adding up in the long run on targeted traffic. One thing I've noticed recently is that traffic to my website has steadily gone up in the last couple of months, especially to posts I created a long time ago that's now ranking on the first page of Google.

I love keyword research and you are right, it is easier than most people think. I too use Jaaxy for my keyword research.
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leoemery Premium
Thanks - glad to hear you found the post helpful
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