Make Money Online With Keyword Research

What is "keyword research," and how does it help you make money online?

Keyword research is not some esoteric, never-to-be-understood, unfathomable technique that guarantees you will make a fortune online.

It is really, really simple and at the same time ridiculously complex. Doing keyword research means researching how many people will be searching for a given phrase when they go and do an internet search, plus researching how many people are competing to rank a website or page for that term, plus the likely financial rewards of getting your webpage ranked in the search engines for a particular term as far as earning money goes.

That is it. So - now you know all you need to know about keyword research. Bye!

You wish. This is how to go about doing keyword research and how to apply it to your webpages.

Find terms that are being searched for online

Seriously - for the longest time, I did no keyword research - I just wrote what I thought was interesting, informative content and hoped people came to read it. Sadly - it does not work that way and I discovered that no one was doing an internet search for some of the terms I used in my webpages and URLs, and thus I was not getting enough traffic to some of the articles I had written. I will give an actual real-life example so you can see what I am talking about. This recipe was one of my worst performing pages here on hubpages: Smoked trout recipe

I titled it "Smoked Trout Creams" and wrote the recipe with no regards for keywords people might be using to find a trout recipe. So - I asked a question on the forum here asking for suggestions as to why I was not getting any traffic to this recipe. It turned out - and thanks to Misha, another writer here, for this one - no one was doing a google search for "smoked trout creams."

So - I was not getting any traffic. Misha suggested I add the terms, "smoked trout recipe," "smoked trout recipes," "steelhead trout recipes," "steelhead trout recipe," "rainbow trout recipes," "best trout recipes," and a few others to the content and tags, build a few incoming links using those terms and and see what happened. So - I did and this is what happened:

Instant Results

From 2 visitors a month to 100-200 visitors a month instantly. OK, OK - it is never going to be massive traffic because it is an unusual off the wall recipe and I have not spend much time aggressively promoting it, but it is now on my list of things to do and you can see the huge difference a little keyword research makes.

If no one is searching for "smoked trout creams," then no one is going to find your page. I have since dived into keyword research and fixed some of my other poor performers and it makes a huge difference - from 20 visits a day to 200 visits a day in some cases. I will be promoting this page now I trust I can get visitors to the page and will be reporting back in a few months as to how well it did this year. As you will find out, I will not be investing my life's savings in this endeavor - and why.

Determine the competition and potential income

Now - this is where work and also the skill and judgment come in. It is all very well working out what the top 100 keywords are, but it is not enough to just know that people are searching for a term - you must also determine how hard it will be to rank for that term, i.e. how competitive it is and therefore where you can expect to get in the results and whether or not this is a financially viable term to target.

This last will depend on how you are monetizing your pages. Whether you are looking for google adsense money or selling some affiliate product or perhaps have your own business making and selling something.

Search volume compared to potential income and competition. Your first port of call needs to be google's free keyword tool. If you are serious about making money online, this tool will become your most adored and at the same time despised tool. I will get to why you will despise it after we have determined why you will love it. You will love it because you can enter a search term such as "smoked trout recipes" and it will tell you how many people per month are searching for that term, what the competition is for Pay-per-click advertisements on pages with that term on, and how much money is being paid for those clicks.

Sticking with the term "smoked trout recipes," which has sent my hub several hundred visitors, we can see that there are 590 people per month searching for that term, the level of advertiser competition is "medium," and the advertisers are paying an average of 39 cents for a click on their ad. This is how you see that information:

Smoked Trout Recipes - Keyword Popularity

So, lets say I get on the front page of google with this page for the search term "smoked trout recipes," I am in a position to get a portion of those people searching for that term come and visit my page. Lets say 25% of them will visit (147 people) - some of those people will be happy with my recipe and a few of them will be unhappy and may click on an advertisement - which is where I make money. Let's say 50% of them are really happy with my recipe, 'cause it is such an awesome recipe, 40% of them were looking for a hot trout recipe and are not interested in some wussy French recipe and hit the back button in disgust, 5% of them were really looking for "how to smoke a trout," and entered the wrong search term, 2% of them are internet marketers themselves and would never click on a google ad.

That leaves me with 3% of them clicking on an advertisement - let's say 5 people. The advertisers are paying 39 cents and google generously decides to give me 25% of that. This is how it breaks down:

590 x 25% = 147 people visiting.

3% of them click on an ad - 5 people x 39 cents x 25% = 49 cents

So - as you can see - the google keyword tool has saved me the trouble of spending too much time aggressively attacking that keyword and I am now missing out on a potential 49 cents per month income.

Now - this is not the entire story because it is quite possible to rank a page for multiple search terms and it may well be that those search terms individually will not pay off, but a combination of 20 or 30 around the same term may do so, and this is where you need to exercise judgment and the learning process begins. I have pages that rank for multiple search terms that make them viable, where one term would not have been viable. This is not one of those pages, but here is where I will point you at some resources, some of which you will need to spend money on.

Also - this is assuming that I am monetizing my pages with google adsense - which I am here at hubpages. There is more than one way to make money off the internet - and it may be that I have written a book entitled, "100 best smoked trout recipes," and I can sell 4 people out of every 100 visitors that book, which might make this a viable keyword for that monetization model. So - do not be bound by only one way. Ever.

This also does not tell me how competitive that term is as far as websites competing for it in the search engines and that is where the tools I will recommend come into the equation.

Free Keyword Generators

  • Google Adwords Keyword Tool - The google tool is free and an excellent starting point
  • MSN adCenter Labs - MSN offers more tools that take a different approach - plus of course, they are not privy to the same information as Mr Google.

Assimilating and using that information

So - you now know where to get the basics, but interpreting that information and determining the level of competition for that term is your next job. There are several ways to approach this issue and I will not try to teach you how to do this here - largely because this is a massive subject, and there are other people out there who have already done a lot of the work. I recommend that here is a good place to start:

The Keyword Academy

The two guys that run the keyword academy make part of their living teaching people how to use the information you can glean from the free tools and you could do worse than just follow their step by step instructions. It costs $1 to sign up for a month and then $33 per month if you feel they are giving you good information. I like 'em. I use 'em and I am a member. Just remember - this is a starting point not the be all and end all. Take their lessons - and they usually have a new one every month or so - use what you learn - and KEEP RECORDS !

Join the Keyword Academy here

This brings me to why you are going to also despise the google keyword tool as well as love it - plus you are going to hate the Keyword Academy at times as well - and all the other tools you might buy, invest in, borrow or steal. Sometimes - it gets it wrong. Yup - google is not infallible. You can spend hours of your time trying to rank for a particular keyword only to discover that it is far, far harder to rank for than your research had suggested, far less people are searching for it than you thought and advertisers are paying less than google said they were.

Suck it up and move on. We have all failed. This is why it is vital to KEEP RECORDS! of everything you do. Knowledge is power. After a while doing this you will have a vast amount of data, which is exclusively yours. You will know which of the niches you have investigated are better or worse than your research suggested. You will have accidentally ranked for search terms that you had not intended to. Use that information. I cannot teach you how to use that - it is your information. Learn how to take advantage of that. It is prized information. I know I have accidentally ranked for terms that far outweigh the income from the ones I had intended to but it never occurred to me to research them.

More tools

After a while - in my case, about 12 milliseconds - you are going to discover that you do not enjoy doing keyword research. In fact - I hate doing keyword research with a passion. I find it utterly soul destroying to discover that what I really need to be writing is an article entitled, "10 best cosmetic surgery clinics," to be making money online. Sadly - this is the writer in me that wants to write about things I find interesting and on subjects I feel I have some information to impart.

So - a good compromise is automatic software that will seek out and find search terms for you, tell you how competitive that term is and suggest similar terms around that term. These next two pieces of software do exactly that. I hasten to add that it is very important to understand the information you are being given and the Keyword Academy is vital for that. Sign up with them - do their lessons and then - when you have some knowledge and can make decisions - buy these two pieces of software:

  • Niche Horde - this is amazing. $97 to be inundated with more potentially profitable keyword suggestions than you can possibly use. Absolutely worth the money.

  • Webcomp analyst - $67 for a piece of software that analyzes the competition for a search term - down to how many incoming links a webpage has for that term. Combined with Niche Horde will save hours and hours of time.

There are other tools on the market, and I will not say I have tried them all, but these two are probably the most cost effective I have tried. Neither of them requires substantial investment on your part and they are both priced at such a point as to be able to pay for themselves pretty quickly. This page was suggested by and written with their help.

Further reading:

Keyword research is just the beginning and these are some more pages that should help on your search for learning about how to make money online.

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