As a newbie the hardest part is the beginning, keyword research before you start a website and register a domain. Keyword research becomes easier over time and in this post I’ll try to explain how I do things.
There are many great courses out there on how to get started in internet marketing and for the purpose of making passive money online using SEO you want to make sure you get it right. I heavily recommend the keyword academy since they have more in dept information (they have a first month free trial too) and great tools (more on that later) for~$30 a month after the first month. Of course, do not waste too many hours/days hoping for the “perfect” niche/keyword because it probably will not happen.
First off, if you are completely new to this I’ll give a brief explanation.. What are niches? A niche is something like the “Health” niche which has many sub categories such as nutrition and diseases. When looking for a website to start you do not want to make one on general health but instead drill it down. For example, Health –> Skincare –> Acne and from the subject of acne you start doing keyword research on the adwords google keyword tool. You might want to do a free adwords Google account ( you can use an existing gmail account) and login, that way you get up to 800 keywords when you search from something.
Below is a video I made on helping you use the google keyword tool:
You’ll see something similar to the picture on the right. You want to make sure you check the “exact” box and click on columns to enable global (searches around the world) local searches (searches in the selected country, US in this case), local search trends and Estimated avg CPC.
Now, the last 2 can be quite important. Local search trends is useful to see if a keyword is seasonal (for example Christmas probably has higher columns around november/december, while acne is stable all year long as you can see). This is useful if you are building a keyword on something seasonal, don’t expect traffic until the season hits! This still can work very well, just don’t expect to make millions off your Christmas website during July!
Estimated average CPC is another very important value if you are planning on using ad sense to monetize your website which is what is most easiest for a newbie. Basically, you can expect the average click to be around 50% of this value for your website. Why 50%? well the number shown there is a bit higher due to increased competition for ads on the google search box and also google takes a ~30% cut from each ad click on your website. so if you see a CPC value of $1 on the keyword tool, you can expect the AVERAGE click on your website to be around 50 cents.
For adsense buyer keywords are less important but if you are trying to sell a product or service (affiliate income) you want to search target keywords such as cheap/buy “product name” or “product name” review/scam. This is because people are more prone to clicking on ads or buying the product your pimping on your website (hopefully with a solid review that you wrote) when they are searching for those words.
You have to start somewhere. I recommend on your first website niche/keyword that you mostly go after something that is easy to rank for than something that you feel will make you instantly rich. My first website was a under 1000 per month search keyword and within 2 months made $1/day ( it still makes 1-3$/day actually, and I haven’t worked on it for at least 5 months). This was not much in the grand scheme of things but it got me going and motivated me! You will learn a lot by just starting a website with a keyword/niche that seems easy
Making sense of large amounts of data to find your niche faster
Now, as you might expect theirs some great software out there to help you do keyword research and you really only need one of whatever software/service for keyword research that I might review or talk about on this website as a newbie with limited income. I used to recommend something called “Niche refinery” that was provided with the TKA subscription but it has been discontinued.
Currently, I honestly almost always just type keywords in the google keyword research tool and see if they have potential in terms of search results and I click on the ones that interest me to quickly look at the PR/look of the website in the top 3-5 on Google using Seo Quake. Earlier this year (UPDATE: in 2012 too, I made the video below) when I was looking for analyzing keywords I was using secockpit combined with semrush which I had made a post about. Secockpit is definitely an expensive service when you are starting out but if you go that route it definitely will help you save time in keyword research when you are starting out and that’s what most of your work hours are centered on. It’s also quite useful to quickly judge competition/domain availability and a few other metrics as I describe in the video below which goes in the process of how I do my seo keyword research and look at niches in detail.
Most of the time I do not use any paid tools since I rarely start new websites. At this point I just think about new keywords for my existing sites and check if I feel I can beat the competition (low PR or if it’s a big brand ranking up top can my website do a better job?).
However, Using Secockpit can definitely be very useful as a newbie to give you a better way to judge the competition until you have ranked a few websites and you get a better idea of battles you can win (and more importantly, how long does it take?). Here’s an image below about how I use it to quickly glance over large amounts of keywords and see potential winners in terms of competition I can beat.
You can never truly know… but you get a better idea if you might be able to beat them and within 6 months or a year. I also use it a few months here and there when I want to start new websites and I need to process a lot of data. It makes it easier to track potential winners :).
If you need more help finding niche ideas you might want to look at this post about how I use a paid service called SEmrush to help me find niche ideas that big websites are ranking for. I did a post and video on how I use semrush here. However, it will cost you $50 per month (though 1 month should be more than enough).
If you have any questions about how I do keyword research or niche refinery ask away below!