Once you have decided upon your niche, the next step is to grab your keyword search tools and tackle the next, and very critical, assignment – selecting your keywords. This step is frequently undervalued, in my opinion, and the reason is, I believe, is because it is not the sexiest of activities. You are filled with excitement about your niche and want to get going. But without doing proper keyword search and understanding how to use the keyword search tools, it is the equivalent of building the most wonderfully attractive and enticing retail store, but locating it in the middle of the wilderness where no one will find it!
There is lots that I, and others, have written about keywords and their importance and I don’t intend to go into too much detail about that in this article, but suffice to say that the 2 of the major reasons for their importance are:
- The keywords you choose must reflect the words that people are using in the search engines when seeking information about your niche
- Without the appropriate keywords, the search engines will ignore you and you will not be found – remember what I said about building your magnificent store in the wilderness! The search engines will not try and figure out which niche you are in, they will just pass you by.
There is a lot more that can be said about keywords, but those two alone are strong enough reasons to convince you to select the right keywords.
So now that I have convinced you to approach keyword selection with the seriousness it deserves, what keyword search tools do I suggest? In my opinion, there are two that stand out about keywords search volume database the others. They are Market Samurai and Wordtracker. I have to admit that I am a big fan of both of them. However, right now I find that Market Samurai is really slow and that can be frustrating if you are doing deep searches, which you need to do at this stage. Market Samurai gives an amazing amount of information and goes way beyond keyword search, but the speed of getting the information goes against it. For that reason, I would suggest you use Wordtracker, which is also an excellent tool and comprehensive. It is fast, easy to use, intuitive and, very importantly, points you in the direction of keywords that are really worth going after. They also offer a 7 day free trial, which is really helpful.
Once you go into Wordtracker, you enter your base keyword to start a search (I always use the Google section). Once you have done that you will see a number of columns – searches, competition and KEI. Yes, I know there is another column KEI3, but I am ignoring that at the moment. Just to give a brief explanation to these 3 columns:
- Searches – this is the number of searches in Google for that keyword in the last month. The higher the search, the more popular is the keyword, so the more attractive it is.
- Competition – Under “Competition” you see the letters IAAT, which stands for In Anchor and Title. This is hugely important as this means that this is the level of competition that exists where they have got those exact keywords in their anchor text and title. In other words, they have got their website pages properly optimized. This is your real competition – and very important to know how competitive your keywords are. The higher the competition, the more difficult it will be to break into the first page on Google.
- KEI – This is a measurement that combines competition and attractiveness to use. Put simply, the higher that number is in the niche you are searching, the better it is to select as a keyword for your purposes. Just remember that the actual number is relative – so you are judging how high/low the KEI relative to the numbers in the range. There is no absolute number that you can decide upon as the range varies from one niche to another.
Now that you know what these columns mean you can then move on to choosing the keywords that are right for you. Like in any selection process, you must determine your criteria for selection and no keyword search tool will do that for you – you must do that yourself.
To help you with that I am giving you my criteria In Wordtracker for the affiliate marketing niche – one that is very competitive:
- Searches – no upper limit, but minimum must be greater than 3000
- Competition – less than 20,000
- SEI – as high as possible, but must tick search and competition criteria.
Once I have selected those I then have a further criteria that I adopt and this can be done in Google as I want to know how competitive the market is for videos for this keyword. So, I go to Google, type in keyword, click on “Videos” and my criteria here is the following:
- Videos broad – less than 250 (broad is where you have just typed in keyword and nothing else)
- Videos “exact” – less than 10 (“exact” is where you have typed in keyword inside inverted commas which gives you the number of searches with those exact keywords)
This is demanding, but really worth the effort. Your investment in this activity right now will yield you enormous results down the road. Once you have your keywords, you are now well on your way to producing content that will get found on the search engines.