My Free Affiliate/Display Ad Keyword Research Method!
This is the basis of my keyword research process, although I use some tools for parts of it now everything explained can be done 100% free provided you are willing to put the time in. This method can be extremely effective if you are using it for your own Affiliate/Display Ad sites as you have 100% control over the keywords you move forward with. I should probably have added this to my case study report a few days back to help people understand what I was actually doing but even this quick version is over 1500 words so I guess I was just being lazy :P.
I have tried to fix the formatting on my bullet point parts but its just not playing, sorry.
Head over to the Google Keyword Planner
https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner and select the "Search For New Keywords Using A Phrase, Website or Catagory." Enter your niche or seed keyword in the "Your Product Or Service" field and press the "Get Ideas" button.
Some pointers on the headers of the data columns you will be presented with.
*Keyword – The keyword the rest of the data is relevant to. *Avg. monthly searches – The number of searches expected for that keyword. *Competition – The competition for people to show their ad NOT search engine competition. *Suggested bid – The suggested bid to be shown on Google search NOT the display network. *Ad Impr. – Ad impressions if you pay to advertise, useless to us. *Add to plan – Add to your plan to pay to advertise, useless to us.
Now chances are that you have a bunch of crazy high search range key phrases that are one or two words long on your screen. These are far too high competition for our methods so we are going to use some filter words.
On the left-hand side of the screen you will see a bunch of options, close to the bottom you will see "Keywords To Include". Click that and a little window will pop up, this will force the results from the tool to be filtered to phrases that contain one of the words you enter.
Personally, I like to keep my display advertising keyword research and affiliate based keyword research separate but you can make a master list of these filter words if you like. Anyway, below are links to my filter words for the two keyword research types to help quickly remove the fluff keywords.
Affiliate Based Filter Words
Display Advertising Based Filter Words
Paste either or both of them into the little window that popped up for you and press apply. You should now be left with a bunch of keywords that are 3-6 words or more with much lower search ranges and hopefully lower competition.
Export the keywords that are left and save them to your computer, depending on how big you want your site you may wish to repeat this process a few times with various related keywords so you have a larger initial pool.
So at this stage, you have a bunch of potential keywords saved somewhere on your computer, now it's time to try and work out their competition.
Keyword Competition Analysis
There are so many "Keyword Research" tools out there that rely on metrics from sites such as Moz, Majestic and Ahrefs but Google offer a fair bit of data totally FREE if you use some of their search modifiers. I saw someone post a guide involving two of these on here a few days back but I will quickly cover the ones we are interested in.
For this example I will be using the example keyword of Reddit keyword research, you can see from the screenshot below that search returns over 3 million results.
Now if we add the quotation modifier it will force Google to only return results that have that exact phrase in that exact order as shown below. As you can see, simply adding quotes to the term has reduced the search results from over 3 million to around 650.
Due to Google changing their algo this modifier is not as useful to us anymore because it ranks Niche, Secondary and Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords higher in their on page algo.
Next, we have the inurl: modifier, as you may guess, provided you keep the keyword in quotation marks still. This modifier will force Google to only return results that have your keyphrase in its URL as shown below. We are now down from over 3 million to 35 results returned.
A year or so back this was a very powerful modifier as in my opinion having the keyphrase in your URL held much more weight for on page SEO back then but it seems to be losing power. Personally, I no longer use this modifier either but some of you may be able to weave it into your method.
Next, we have the inanchor: modifier. This is an excellent tool for blackhat niches as a common blackhat technique is to use automated tools to artificially create links with exact match anchor texts to the keyword meaning it can give an indication of how many black hats are trying for the keyword.
As you can see, this modifier returns 49 results giving the impression that a small number of black hats are targeting it. That said, this does not tell you the power of the links or give you any indication of how many total links the page has so it does have its limits.
Finally, we have the intitle: modifier, I personally think this is the most important one we have available as having your target keyword or key phrase in your article title is one of the most important on-page SEO techniques you can do. As you can see the example keyphrase ran with the intitle: modifier returns 35 results.
We are also able to string them togeather as shown below.
This search returns 18 results and each result has the keyphrase in its page title as well as in an anchor text of a backlink to the page.
Now the results returned can give a pretty solid indication of keyword compeition but there is no hard and fast number for what is low comp as it all depends on your ranking method. For my white hat projects I have been looking for keywords that return less than 100 results for the intitle:"" inanchor:"" query. When using automated tools in the past I went as high as 250 going as high as 500 if I was supplementing with a web 2.0 creator. If you are using a private blog network or buying backlinks then you can go much higher.
At this stage I use Scrapebox to automate the intitle:"" inanchor:"" query for me but if you don't have it then you can manually search them each keyword with the modifier and add the results returned to your spreadsheet from the keyword planner and delete the ones that you feel are too high.
Checking The Top 10
Next, we move onto manually checking the top 10 results for the keyword. To make this easier I install the free Ahrefs FireFox plugin
This plugin will add the Ahrefs data to your searches meaning you have some idea of domain strength as well as the backlinks pointing to the page ranked in google, I tried to add a screenshot of this but Imgur seems to have locked me in a loop of verifying ReCaptchas for some reason, you will see what I mean if you decide to add the plugin though. You can read their blog post here
https://ahrefs .com/blog/seo-metrics/ on what each of the data types mean.
For this phase I just search the keyword normally without modifiers and complete the below steps. Again the cut off points will change depending on your methods such as using private blog networks or buying links.
*Three or less results have a UR (URL Rating) above 30. *Three or less results have over 30 RD (Referring Domains) to the URL. *Three or less results have over 200 BL (Total Backlinks) to the URL. *Three of less results have a AR ( Ahrefs Rating) of under 25,000 at domain level.
Next I press Ctrl+F to bring the FireFox search tool up and paste my keyword in there as it will highlight the keyword in Green on the page to make it easier to see, next I complete the following steps.
*Three or less pages have my target keyword in their page title. *Five or less pages have my target keyword in their meta description (The website description).
If the keyword passes these then I go ahead and action it. In the past I have just thrown up 500-1000 words of content and blasted it with automated backlinks but this is getting much harder to do.
My more recent projects are based around putting up pillar articles that are high quality and high word count. You can use this free tool
http://www.seoreviewtools.com/bulk-web-page-word-count-checker/ to quickly workout the word count of webpages. I just paste in the top 10 results for my keywords to see how much content they have to enable me to have a better idea of what I am up against.
In the past I have also used the free Quirk Addon
http://www.quirk.biz/searchstatus for FireFox to help workout the keyphrase density of the top 10 results but I have dropped this as Google seem to have moved away from this holding as much weight with them.
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