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For the first time ever I’m going to share my process, tools, and every single secret on how to find an incredible keyword. And I’m not going to do it like other people who explain how they did it in the past. I'm going to teach you exactly the methods I used to find 2 keywords for 2 blogs that I'm starting this month (an Authority Niche Site and a Directory Niche Site).
I started those two blogs thanks to these techniques!
There're two ways you can do keyword research (the free version and the paid version). And both work great! The only difference is that the paid version will allow you to go way faster. And the faster you go, the more and better keywords you'll find. But if you're on a budget, money shouldn't be a problem!
Before we start let's look into what keyword research is, and why you should care about it.
The very first thing you need to know is what keyword research is. In order to start a blog is to know what you’re going to write about. Some people already know what they want to write about… their travels, parenting tips, etc. That works for a personal blog, but not for Niche Blogging. In fact, a Niche website is quite the opposite. You don’t write about what you want and then have people find it on Google, you find what people are searching for on Google and then write about it.
That’s what we call a keyword!
When you find something that people are searching for online (a keyword) and that keyword is not correctly or sufficiently covered by current Search Engine Results, THEN you know you found a winner keyword!
THAT, is Keyword Research. It's the process that will allow us to find what people are searching for online, that's insufficiently covered by current results.
My husband's college friend
Last week my husband had one of his college friends over for dinner. He is a very successful business executive, but has always wanted to run an online business on the side. He told us about this great idea he had. He lives in Europe and he noticed that in many European countries mechanics have a strong reputation for being very dishonest. He though that a review website for mechanics, including pricing, experience, etc. would be amazing. If you’re looking for a new mechanic, there’s no way to find out the best mechanics near you - he said. Imagine how many people are looking for mechanics online every month! The thing is… I didn’t have to imagine anything. I just had to look how many people were searching for that online. When I told him he looked quite disappointed. It was just 10% of what he would’ve guessed. But after a few seconds he was quite grateful. We literally saved him a couple of thousand dollars he was willing to spend on this project!
I’m sure by now you’re quite aware of the importance of finding a great keyword. A big portion of your Niche Blog success derives from the keyword you choose. I'd say almost 50% of your blog success depends on you finding the right keyword to start with.
But don't worry! There're great keywords out there for everyone! The world changes and there are so many new trends, new products, etc. coming out every single day… What people are searching for changes all the time! And so, new Keywords opportunities open up constantly. Sometimes those keywords are hard to find, but trust me, you will if you have the right tools (and know how to use them!)
Before we start, let me tell you a little bit more about what you might encounter when doing Keyword Research.
1. It can be addictive. Seriously addictive. You start looking for your magic keyword like a kid who just entered Narnia. And every time you find a keyword that “could be the one” you feel an adrenaline rush that makes you want to keep looking! The though of being close to a keyword that might make you money for years to come keeps you moving.
Remember the story about my husbands college friend and the mechanics website? I researched that on the spot with my phone. Yes, it’s THAT addictive. When you put your “Keyword Research googles” on, there’s nothing that can stop you!
2. Frustrating. Just because it’s addictive, it can also be frustrating. There are days -who knows why! - when any keyword you research is terrible! It seems like there is nothing worth your time out there.
But it’s just an illusion! The more keywords you research, the better keywords you’ll find. And when you’ve found truly great keywords, then it starts feeling like there is no nothing just as good out there. But that’s false! The fact that you’ve already found amazing keywords makes the process seem even harder, because nothing seems to match the great keywords you already have. That’s when the frustration comes in. But don’t be afraid to keep looking if you must. There’re always good opportunities out there!
3. Free (almost). In my experience you can do everything for FREE. That's why I included a free method in this post. BUT! And this is a big but. I do feel like some tools are necessary if you want to work faster. And I mean orders of magnitude faster. Being able to screen 20 to 30 times faster could be the difference between finding an amazing keyword or none at all. Once you start using Keyword Research tools it’s hard to go back.
The way I see it, you have 3 options.
Option 1. Do nothing. You could read everything I’m writing and think to yourself… “this must be a scam, it’s impossible to make money online” or “That’s way too difficult for me to do, this woman must be a genius”. Either way, that’s simply not true. But I tell you something that is… If you do nothing, you’ll get nothing. Nobody is going to walk to your door and transfer a niche blog that’s already making 5 figures a month. Nobody. Do you want it? The opportunities are out there, grab them while you can!
Option 2. Keep reading and “see what happens”. Sure, you could read this posts series and tell yourself that one day that’ll be you. One day you’ll start a blog and start making money. And then you’ll be able to work from home like you always wanted or achieve financial freedom and live the life you always wanted. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
WAKE UP! The way I see it, there is no Option 2. It’s just Option 1 all over again. The only difference is that your brain is trying to trick you into thinking you’re doing the right thing or that you are too busy now. As Cervantes would said, The road of the ‘I’m coming’ leads to the house of never. Take action!
Option 3. Follow along! Like in most things in life, practice makes perfect. If you want to build a niche site that helps you make some extra money or perhaps even quit your job, then you have to start somewhere and learn from there. This is as good a time as any!
Follow my posts, learn from my successes and failures and start learning now! I’m starting from scratch, just like you! If I can, why not you? Perhaps your first blog doesn’t make you rich. But what you’ve learnt from making that first blog could be the key to starting THE blog.
Enough has been said. Let’s get started!
The first step is to come up with Root Keywords. Those are keywords that will most likely be incredibly hard to rank for, but could lead you to more interesting and profitable keywords. For example, a root keyword would be “drawing”, and it could lead us to a long tail keyword such as “drawing templates for toddlers”. Ranking for “drawing” is most likely nearly impossible, but “drawing templates for toddlers”... not so much.
In this first step we need to make a list of at least 20 root keywords. Don’t worry about long tail keywords for now. We’ll focus on those later.
How can we find those root keywords? Just take a piece of paper and a pen and start writing whatever words come to mind. If those keywords fall under one of the 3Ps of keyword research much better!
What are the 3Ps of Keyword Research? Glad you asked!
The 3P’s stand for Passions, Problems and Professions. In my experience those are the categories that are more likely to sprout great money making keywords.
1. Passions: What do people love and enjoy? Some people would say hobbies, but I like passions much better because it’s broader. Anything you find amusing and people dream about or enjoy doing. Eg. “Jet ski”, “Wood crafting”, “Pilates”, etc.
2. Problems: Try to answer a problem people around you have. The kind of problem for which you'd like a functional and specific answer. Eg. “How to help babies burp”, “How to organise my closet”, etc.
3. Professions: This “P” is a gold mine! Anything related to becoming “something”, online courses, or a set of resources for certain types of professional activities, are amazing keywords. They are pretty tough though! Even long tail keywords are hard to rank for. But they can make so much money it’s worth looking for. Eg. "Chiropractor", “Air Conditioning Installation”, etc.
The 3P’s stand for Problems, Passions and Professional. In my experience those are the categories that are more likely to sprout great money making keywords.
Now, take a few minutes and start writing your keywords. Don’t worry! I’ll be right here when you’re done!
Do you have your words already?
Great! Let's proceed to step 2!
The Grandma Test!
Sometimes you might me tempted to start a blog that revolves around a topic you’re uncomfortable with (for whatever reason). If that’s the case, the Grandma Test can help you decide!
It’s very simple, but extremely effective method! Just imagine yourself talking to your grandmother and telling her about this new thing (the keyword) you’ve been into lately. Then ask yourself, ‘How excited would I be when talking to my grandmother? Would she be proud?’. If the answer is no, then simply discard the keyword.
You want to be proud of what you do because it takes time to rank a blog. If you don’t like what you do, you probably will abandon your blog before it makes 1 buck. And we don't want that to happen!
Once you have your root keywords list, we are going to find long tail keywords related to each of your root keywords. As we said earlier, long Tail keywords are longer keywords that are inherently related to the broader root keyword. For example... If your root keyword is "technician", then "pharmacy technician jobs", "radiology technician salary" are long tail keywords. Easy, right?
These long tail keywords have lower search volumen, but a way higher conversion rate. And that's key! It's easier to sell a luxury pen to someone who's searched "best luxury pen of 2019", than to someone who's just typed "pen". And what's also very important... It's usually easier to rank for long tail keywords than to rank for root keywords (also known as head keywords).
Long story short, long tail keywords are what we are after:
In this step we are going to transform our root keyword list into a longer long tail keyword list. This is the part when your intuition and creativity play a huge role. You have to look for long tail keywords that could potentially become topics for a niche blog. That's easier said than done, so before we look into the tools we're going to use, let me give you a couple of tips on how to find the best long tail keywords:
1. Dull is the new sexy. The best long tail keywords are usually related to topics that aren’t apparently sexy, but people really search for. If my root keywords are “Best Minecraft skins” and “Easy Cooking recipies”, odds are, it's going to be hard to rank because of the thousands of blogs on Minecraft and Cooking. On the other hand, a keyword such as “x ray technician” is presumably going to be easier because there aren't many fan clubs for "x ray technicians". Yet, people who want to become one, are eager to find useful information.
2. Beware of brand names or product names. For example "tech 21 iphone xr" is not going to be a good keyword because no matter what you do, that brand is always going to outrank you. And even if you come close, it doesn't matter because those users aren't looking for you. They're looking for the brand/products. Sometimes you wont know whether or not something is a brand, so just look it up before you actually write add it to your long tail keyword list.
3. Look for topics! Last but not least... When you're writting down long tail keywords, make sure you're looking for topics, not specific questions or problems. For example... "ultrasound technician" is a topic because you could talk about multiple things such as how to become an ultrasound technician, how to find a good ultrasound technician, equipment for ultrasound technicians, best ultrasound companies to work for, etc. On the other hand... if you look for "technician tool kit", it's way harder to build a blog only around that keyword. Remember! You have to build a blog around that topic!
Now that we know what we're looking for... How do we find long tail keywords?
There're many great tools. But THE tool is and always will be Google’s Keyword Planner. And it’s FREE! Google Keyword Planner is a tool built by Google to help advertisers find keywords to place their ads. But we can use it to find long tail keywords from our root keywords.
Before we dive into the tool itself, please check my post How to Sign up for a Google Keyword Planner in under 1 minute account if you don't yet have an account. It's not that intuitive, and since some people have had issues in the past, that post is here to help! Come back here after you've created your account!
Now that we have access to your account let’s take a look at the keyword planner. It’s a pretty cool tool, and there’s a lot of things you can do with it. But for now, we’re going to focus on what you’ll be using the most. Once you’re inside your account click “Discover new keywords”:
And type the root keyword you want to look for. In my case, I'm going to try "technician". Hit "Get Started" and let the magic begin!
And there you go! A bunch of related keywords will pop up and you’ll be able to find long tail keywords that might be worth looking into. Now is the time when you start looking for long tail keywords! Remember to write down the ones that stand out the most!
What I like the most about Google's keyword planner is that you can check the keywords volume, competition and CPC. If you're not familiar with those concepts they're sometimes super important and super useful! You can learn more about it in a post I recently wrote: What makes a keyword a GOOD keyword.
For now, what matters is that the Keyword Planner will tell you how many monthly searches a certain keyword receives. Your must check that your keyword receives a sufficient amount of searches every month! Ok... and how much is "a sufficient amount of searches"?
It's hard to say. Sometimes having 5.000 monthly searches is enough to make over $2,000. Sometimes having 50.000 isn't enough to pay for the server. However... that's not going to help you guys. So, as a rule of thumb (and knowing that there might be exceptions) I would stay away from anything that receives under 10.000 monthly keywords. Specially if your new to Niche Blogging. If your keyword has over 10.000 monthly searches, you'll almost certainly find a way of monetizing your blog.
If your keyword doesn't have 10.000 monthly searches, keep looking! It's out there somewhere!
Soovle is a website that autocompletes a search query in Google, Amazon, Answers.com, Youtube, Buy.com, Ebay, Yahoo, etc. That means that you can type your root keyword and all the autocompletes from all those platforms directly appear in front of your eyes. This is the initial screen you'll see:
Just start typing and you’ll see many autocomplete keywords pop up:
The best thing about this tool is that the long tail keywords that you'll find here are keywords that people are already looking for. That's why they're being autocompleted! So, you can pretty much know that those long tail keywords have a decent amount of monthly searches.
But still, you have to use Google's keyword planner to make sure that your keyword has over 10.000 monthly searches.
Yahoo autocomplete rocks!
If you have to direct your eyes somewhere within Soovle, do it to the Yahoo section. It's great because it doesn't "autocomplete strictly" (like Google does), but rather proposes entries that include the keyword you're looking for.
Ok, we have the list of long tail keywords. Now it's time to start the SERP Analysis!
SERP is just a fancy acronym that stands for Search Engine Results Pages. What we’re going to be doing in this step is making sure that we can build a website around a keyword that can outrank the current search engine results.
Using Mozbar is very easy! Just go to Google and type one of your long tail keywords (I'll type "x ray technician"). You should see something like this:
You have to take a look at the results and analyze their Page Authority (PA), Domain Authority (DA), and the number of links that point to the first page search results (if you're not familiar with those concepts, please visit my post What makes a keyword a GOOD keyword).
This is were the tricky part begins... You have to factor in the DA, the PA and the number of links of all the first page results and check whether or not you can outrank them with a brand new website.
How can you know if you can outrank them? You must answer with a resounding yes to these two questions:
1. Can you create better content than those in the first page? And by better I mean two things: Better Quality & More Appealing. If you can, then proceed to question number 2!
2. Can you build enough links and PA to be on the first page of Google? Only you can know how fast you can achieve such a thing. But if you're absolutely new to Niche Blogging I would say that you can handle anything under 30 in PA and get over 200 links. It can take a lot of time, but you'll get the eventually.
If the answer to those questions is yes (and your keyword is receiving over 10.000 monthly searches), then you've got youself a winner. Hurray!
Why I don't care about Domain Authority
In my experience, having a high or low Domain Authority is not that important when it comes to new content. Sure, websites with a high domain authority tend to rank higher sooner. But "how much" sooner? Neil Patel did a blog post about this and found out that on average, websites with high DA (>50) take only 4.5 days less to reach the top 2 pages in Google than websites with a low DA (<35). So don't care too much about it and focus on creating great content!
I said it before, and I'll say it again. I believe great Keywords can be found using only free tools. However, what if I told you that you can do everything you just learnt about with just one click?!
It's now possible, thanks to a tool called Mangools. It's one of my favorite tools, which is why I included it on my resources page. I use it all the time because of how much time I save! (and time IS money). It's at least 20 times faster than the free method! It's a paid tool, but they have a 10-day FREE trial. Even if you're not going to buy the product, I would absolutely recommend you to sign up for the trial period. I found my first keyword during the trial period, which is why I decided to subscribe to their annual plan.
Full disclosure! This is not paid advertising, but some of the links to the Mangools website are affiliate links. That means that I will earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) if you decide to purchase the product. I'm recommending Mangools because I use it myself regularly and find it extremely useful, not for the small comission I make if you buy the products. Buy only if you’re serious about Niche Blogging and you truly find them useful.
Mangools has 5 tools (all included), although I subscribed specifically to use their most famous tool: KWFinder (for Keyword Finder). I now use the other 4 tools as well, but I'll almost exclusively talk about KWFinder in this post (we'll talk about how I use the other 4 tools in a different post). But honestly, just because of the KWFinder it's totally worth it.
But, what is KWFinder anyway? Think of it as an "all-in-one" keyword research tool. You type in your root keyword and in 1 click you get all the information you need about that keyword.
I'm going to type in "security guard training" as an example:
Let's take a look closely, because there's a lot going on here!
First, one the left side of the screen there's a list of related keywords. You can switch it to "autocomplete" or "Questions", but I recommend sticking to "Related Keywords" to have the best results. For each of the related keywords you'll get:
1. Search Trend: (green) A graph showing how that keyword's search volume has evolved in time. It's interesting to know if your keyword has an even amount of searches through out the year; or whether or not your keyword is growing in popularity.
2. Search Volume: (orange) You get the monthly average searches. And not in brackets like Google Keyword Planner, but an actual number. So, instead of seeing something like: 10.000 - 100.000, you'll get 54.342. This is super useful because there's a huge difference between 10.001 and 99.999 monthly searches.
3. CPC (Cost per click): (yellow) This is how much advertisers are willing to pay (on average) to place ads for that particular keyword. This might be important if you want to make money with ads! (You had this information in Google Keyword Planner too).
4. PPC (Level of competition in Pay Per Click): (blue) It's how many advertisers are actually willing to pay for ads. It goes from 0 to 100 (0 meaning no advertisers and 100 meaning a very saturated keyword). Google's Ketword Planner only tells you whether or not the competition is low, medium or high. This is so much better!
5. KD (Keyword Difficulty): (thick red border) This is by far the most important metric! It's a metric calculated by the Mangools team taking into account the link profile strength or the first page in Search Engines. In other words, it's a summary of how difficult a keyword is! The mangools team explains it like this:
Isn't that amazing!? When you compare it to how long it takes to do it manually, it's a life saver!
A lot of people fall in love with Mangool's KW Difficulty metric. And I get it, because in 1 number you get how difficult a keyword is. It's easy to use and straight to the point. But I don't think that finding a keyword is that simple.
I think the KW Difficulty metric works great discarding difficult keywords. You can see whether or not a keyword is worth looking into with just 1 number. BUT! Even if the keyword difficulty is low (0-29), that doesn't necessarily mean that keyword is great. You have to look at the SERP Analysis.
Luckily, KW Finder offers that off the bat here:
On the right hand side of your screen you'll see an overview of the Search Engine Results and the LPS of each of the first results. The LPS stands for Link Profile Strength. And, once again it's a metric that show us how difficult beating that particular link is going to be. In a way, you can think of the KW Difficulty metric as an aggregate of the LPS of the search engines results.
You also have the Domain Authority, Page Authority and so on. I specially like the EV metric. It's the Estimated Views a page receives! That's awesome because we can know how many monthly visitors we'll get if we reach those positions in Google.
Use the SERP Checker! It's included in your plan!
If you want to deepen your understanding of the SERP, you can click on the "Analyze SERP" and a different (more precise) tool, the SERP Checker will appear.
And this is how the SERP Checker looks like:
I'll go into how the SERP Checker works in a different post, but basically you have everything you need to analyze your competition fast!
I've talked a lot about KWFinder as a tool, but I haven't said anything about what I aim to find when I'm looking for keywords. The harsh truth is... it depends. In the long run, you can do great for almost any keyword. But that's probably not the answer you were looking for.
Maybe this is...
If you're a beginner, you probably want to be able to rank for a particular keyword in a couple of months, (even if that particular keyword isn't searched for too much). You maybe don't want to make thousands of dollars a month, but a couple hundred as a part time thing would be nice. If that's the case, then I would suggest aiming for a keyword that has under 25 in KD (Keyword Difficulty) and at least 4 results in the first page with a link profile of under 30. That's my rule of thumb.
Although! Let me give you a couple of pointers that might be helpful:
1. KD (Keyword Difficulty) changes all the time. It's not going to change dramatically, but in a month it could easily be ± 4 points. That's why you don't have to take it so seriously, but rather as a tool to see whether or not it's worth looking into the SERP.
2. Related Keywords results are (very often) NOT updated. If you see a keyword in the "related keyword" section with a Keyword Difficulty of 20, you have to look for it specifically too. Because, chances are, that 20 could easily be a 23 (because it hasn't been updated for a long time) or 45 (because of a mistake). This sucks, I know. But you have to take it into account.
3. There's no such thing as a perfect keyword. Even if you spend weeks looking, you won't find a perfect keyword. But there are great keywords that can be the foundation of a solid online business that makes a lot of money. You'll have to work against those imperfections to rank your site high, but with time and work, you will!
But, since all of this is easier said than done, here are a couple of examples that might help you know how I actually chose my keywords. Keep in mind that these posts are written before any of those businesses made a single dollar. That might help you get motivated!
You've read a lot about how to find great keywords. You've learnt a free method, but you also have a 10-day FREE trial to try a great product.
If you really want to make money online, then you have to do something about it. Do you really want to make a couple hundred dollars from home? Or better! Wouldn't it be amazing to work from home and make enough passive income to retire?
If that's the case you have to do something about it. And that "something" is finding a great keyword and starting an online business. Do it now! And in a couple of months you'll look back and thank yourself for taking action. The road won't always easy, but if you do nothing, nothing is going to change.
It's as simple as it gets.
You may also like:
Rug Cleaning, My Very First Keyword: Why and How I chose this Keyword to be my FIRST niche blog!
November 13, 2019
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