Ben Donahower – 3/12 CMC Update

Ben Donahower – 3/12 CMC Update

Keyword research is intense or at least I made it that way. The way I see it, if you get this part of the process wrong, you’ll never rank well on the search engines and, therefore, you won’t even have an opportunity to make a sale. Conversely, the more effort and skill that goes into keyword research the faster and easier that your site will rise through the ranks or at least you will know that you’ve endeavored into a long, protracted battle with established competitors.

Suffice it to say, I beat this dead keyword research horse. Heck, horse training, vegetarian horse food, and vegan horse food were among the hundreds and hundreds of keywords that I considered ranging from modular homes to niche job boards.

Despite ultimately looking at so many options, I had a hard time coming up with keywords to investigate. My life doesn’t naturally lend itself to highly commercial niches; I like to spend time with my wife at home and volunteer. Between my lifestyle and eliminating niches that I have no interest in or objections to, I resorted to badgering my wife for a laundry list of things that I like.

This is how coffee came up. I drink coffee every morning and likely another cup or two throughout the day (except I’ve given it up for lent). Turns out that so do many other internet marketers and decent keywords in the coffee niche are hard to come by.

Then, I indulged my interesting in technology. Again, this is a really tough category with lots of established players. I thought I had found a winner in a keyword phrase related to text messaging but Sarah thankfully pointed out that most of the searches come from India and I didn’t have a good plan to monetize oversees traffic.

Keyword research had taken over most of my conscious thought at this point. I rummaged through my house, bookshelf, garage, and internet history scouring for keywords. Slowly but surely these tactics started bearing fruit. I associated my internet history with a political issue I care about, the environment. I then inventoried the products that I’ve used to go green and also a list of products that I’m convinced of their benefits but have yet to purchase. A few scattered food and drink and recreation niches remained also made it on my list.

This is when the real work started. I had dozens of ideas that I ran through Google AdWord’s find keywords tool. This led to further investigation into niches while the total number of keywords and keywords phrases that I was reviewing grew exponentially.

As the number of keywords grew, so did the number of questions I had. Was I losing the forest for the trees or was I missing both the trees and the forest entirely? Fortunately, between the webinar, Sarah, and other participants, I made a lot of headway into these areas:

* Focusing in on a grouping of targeted keywords instead of one keyword to realize the benefits of latent semantic indexing
* Determining the commercial intent of keywords through Microsoft AdLabs and to search for the keyword phrase to see if Google is serving ads related to the keyword.
* Detecting the level of competition for keywords by searching for the number of exact match results on Google and analyzing the top ranked sites for the keyword.

Now that I was equipped with some more tools, I started whittling down the set of keywords based on commercial intent, competition, and potential income. This left a few very good options. With all other things being equal, I settled on the niche that I could get the best, seo-friendly domain name for.

If anything, I really got an appreciation for all of the expertise that’s needed for effective keyword research. I learned a lot and hopefully found a niche that I can use as a tool to learn more about affiliate marketing and profit from.

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