Do you understand that “keyword search” is the foundation of your online business? In my “WordTracker Review” I will show you how to get started and what tools you can try for free – and why they are important to building income online…

This is the second installment in the new series How to Build Income Online.

My first post in this series was structured purposely to get you thinking about writing about things you know about. This is helpful on many different levels. Writing about things you are experienced in helps you to come up with new ideas, it helps keep you focused, it keeps you interested – and it makes it easier when it comes time to research.

Let me give you an example. If your niche is knives and swords, and you collect knives and swords (and have for years) – you will already know the names, the brands, the types, some history, the merchants, the ins and outs of buying, how to store, how to sell, and more. You probably have an automatic years worth of articles and posts in your head. But let’s say instead that your niche is air purifiers. You have to research the brands and models, reasons to buy, health benefits, prices, merchants, aftermarket, and more.

My advice to you will always be to write about what you know, because you will always make more money at it. It will also make it easier to perform keyword research. Now that you understand that you can build income one post at a time you have to do some research around the best ways to approach it.

There are 3 main reasons to do “Keyword Research”:

  • Which keywords are best to use?
  • How much traffic do they get?
  • How much competition do I have?

    keyword research “Keyword Research” may be the most important thing you ever do if you want to build a business online. It’s probably the most overlooked, most mis-understood, underestimated part of the process. If you wonder why there are a select few individuals making a killing online (compared to the hundreds of thousands trying) – ask yourself what kind of research you’ve done to ensure a solid foundation.

    It’s not only the online world that does this. I can drive up and down main street in my town and see all kinds of small businesses that closed within the first 18 months. I’ll bet money that 95% (or more) did absolutely no market research whatsoever before opening. They didn’t know their target customer, the local traffic, the local economy, or anything about how to attract, cater to, retain, and build an increasing customer base. I’ve only seen one local small business (out of maybe 20) do exceedingly well, so well in fact they are expanding within the first 2 years of business.

    I know the family that owns that business – and they have money. They also own a construction business. The combination of the two made their business uber-successful for two reasons. Before they opened they had money to do two things. One was consult with experts within that industry about the market. The second was they used the family construction business to gut and renovate the business inside and out for next to nothing.

    I’ve explained this to get you to understand that you’re not going to start a business online with no money at all and be successful overnight. You have to invest both time (and a little) money to get started. Let’s face it, you’re not an expert in this field – or you’d already be successful, wouldn’t you? I run across people all the time who refuse to pay any money for research tools, because they don’t understand the value of it. It’s an investment. A good online research tool gives you information you can’t get on your own, and you can use that information to make key decisions about your online business.

    You are lucky, because in the brick and mortar world – if you make bad business decisions you business can close, like all those I drive by every day. Online if you aren’t successful yet, so what? The only things you’re out is your time and web hosting fees and yearly domain renewal. Hosting is cheap, it’s nothing like leasing a building. You have no payroll, you’re probably the only employee, and there are no bills besides hosting. So basically – every day’s a new day for you. You could languish online unsuccessfully for years before figuring out what it takes to build online income.

    If you are going to be successful online, today could be that day for you. I’m not saying that you have to spend money on research tools to be successful online, but it helps, it’s quicker, it’s better information, and it’s money well spent. Unlike other blogs that “hype” you into buying crap you may or may not need through their affiliate links I will present to you your options and tell you exactly how I use them and what has worked for me. You will be able to “try before you buy” (and I encourage you to). Yes, the links on this page are affilate links (where applicable) – and if you do sign up I do make a small commission. It’s not my intent to “trick” you into buying something so I can profit, I want you to learn from my mistakes – and if you choose to signup my commission is a small form of payment for giving you these free tutorials online.

    Now that I’ve gone through a long-winded discussion about WHY to do keyword research, let’s check out some tools. There are tons of companies vying for your business when it comes to online research, but there are only currently two contenders that I consider to be the biggest.

    The first is WordTracker. I consider Wordtracker to be #1 in keyword research because of the sheer amount of data they have. If you click the banner above – you can signup up for free 7 day trial. You have to give them a credit card number, but they have made it VERY easy to cancel before your 7 days are up.

    wordtracker login

    The screen above is what you see the first time you login your free trial Wordtracker account. I’ve circled the link to cancel your trial at any time before the 7 days is up and you get billed for the first month. So, you have nothing to worry about if you just want to check out Wordtracker for a week and then cancel without purchasing at all.

    In the top right of the green section is the “keyword researcher”. If I want to quickly get some basic keyword information or ideas this is a great place to go. I’m going to try looking up they keywords “wireless hard drive” because that’s a post I was thinking about earlier this week.

    wordtracker results wireless hard drive

    As you can see the number of people searching specifically for “wireless hard drive” are only 2 per month. Related keywords are about the same. I’m going to try to give this search more “seed” keywords.

    wordtracker results hard drive

    Now we’re getting some real results. I have some great information to write a post with. The keywords “hard drive” are searched 438 times per month. So are specific keyword phrases, like “external hard drive (407)”, “notebook hard drive (304)”, and “laptop hard drive (105)”. I focus on these three things because they are physical products I can promote as an affiliate through eBay, Commission Junction, or Amazon easily. What I could do is do further research on these words to find the most popular makers and models, but the searches are so low I probably don’t need to. This keyword search gave me other good information to go on that makes great fertilizer for post. People are searching for “hard drive data recovery (205)”, “format hard drive (134)”, and “hard drive recovery (199)”. I could also write a tutorial post about hard drive data recovery. Then I could promote hard drive products or data recovery software or services. I could write 4 posts, one about formatting drives, one about data recovery, one about laptop hard drives, and one about external drives…all from this one bit of keyword research.

    This is great info, but lets dig deeper. Click on the middle “evaluate” tab…

    wordtracker evaluate

    You next have the choice of which search engine evaluation data to use. I’m going to choose google, Yahoo!, and MSN…

    wordtracker competition data

    Once I click the “evaluate” button I get some telling information that I never would have gotten from a “free” keyword research tool.

    wordtracker hard drive evaluate data

    This screen takes the results we just saw and breaks them down against the search competition (per search engine) and assigns a “KEI score” for each one. What is KEI? KEI is an acronym for “Keyword Effectiveness Index”. It’s a ranking system that weighs how popular a keyword is with the competition it has on the Internet. Supposedly the higher the score, the more profitable the keywords will be (because you have less competition). I wouldn’t say that there is no merit to this score, but there are people who will dig through keyword results simply to find keyword phrases that have a KEI of 500+ thinking they are choosing highly profitable keywords. This is especially popular among people with “niche stores”.

    My advice to you is this…do not spend all day searching for high KEI keywords, but be cognisant of keywords that aren’t worth pursuing. Look at the results above. The phrase “hard drive” has KEI of zero – and for good reason. The term is so generic and broad that there are millions of competitors for it in every search engine. But look at how dramatically it falls for notebook hard drive, format hard drive, laptop hard drive, etc. There may be competition, but you CAN succeed with a blog post, mini site, or niche site in those areas.

    I’ve shown you how I do quick searches, which can be done for anything from a blog post, to a niche site idea, a title, description, good keywords to use in blog comments or when link building, or in article marketing. All these things I’ll cover more in depth later in the series. If you’re using WordTracker for the first time and trying to get ideas for starting an entire online business, blog, or niche store – then go back to “home” in your WordTracker trial and do a “full search” (bottom right).

    wordtracker full search

    In full search mode you just have to give a single keyword phrase you want to research. In this example I used “hard drive” again to see what I would get.

    wordtracker full search step 2
    wordtracker full search step 2

    Although I couldn’t show them all here, I got a list of suggested keywords a mile long. I went through and picked out all the ones I thought were relevant. The good thing about this list is – once again, I have a plethora of ideas now. The list showed things I already had like hard drive, internal and external, but it also had acronyms like ATA, IDE, SATA, SCSI, HDD and more. These are things once again that I already knew since I am very knowledgable in hard drives, but may have not thought about as keywords. And if this search were for something I knew nothing about like “central air conditioning” or something like that – this list would be littered with industry terms and words that I otherwise would have no way of finding out. There is something to be said for experience – remember?

    This list also has manufacturers names in it like Seagate, Western digital, and terms like data recovery, partition, and backup. It also had terms I would not have thought of, like people searching for specific sizes of hard drives like “10GB” and “1TB”. It also had online sites listed like “newegg.com” – leading me to believe that the name of a web site might be a popular search term by itself. So I chose all the words I thought were relevant and clicked to go to “step 3”.

    wordtracker full search step 3
    wordtracker full search step 3

    Depending on the choices you made in step 2, you may have to weed out some of the not-so-relevant ones here in step 3. As you can see, with my keyword combination choices for “hard” and “drive”, I got bad phrases like Hard Riddles, hard core, Fakes Hard Jennifer Aniston, and more. The cool thing is that at this point, you have two options at the bottom of the page. You can email these results to yourself for safekeeping, but like before – option 2 is to get “competition results”. You choices for competition here are even more in depth.

    wordtracker full search step 4

    In addition to google, yahoo, and MSN, you can also search AlltheWeb, Ask, and Altavista. You can even search competition for the Yahoo! directory and Open Directory. But, for this step you can only choose 2 sources for competitor data at once. I’ll just do google, and Yahoo! for this search.

    wordtracker full search results yahoo

    First we see the results from Yahoo! It says Yahoo! gets 19% of all search engine traffic. Despite the KEI numbers, laptop harddrive and notebook hard drive are search for 600+ times per month in Yahoo! But now we have a couple new things to consider – jump drives, flash drives, etc. As a matter of fact, Flash USB Drive Review (#1 result) has decent KEI and gets 163 searches per month. That may not seem like much, but those are targeted customers looking for a review before they buy a specific product.

    wordtracker full search results google

    Next we have the google results for the full search, and it says google gets 68% of all search results – which is more than 3 times Yahoo! The results are nearly identical except with higher search counts. Look at the #1 result – the KEI for “Flash USB Drive Review” is very high – and this gives us a very good picture of what to expect.

    So, based on the two kinds of Wordtracker searches I just showed you – look at all the competitive data and analysis you can do in a relatively short period of time. You can view traffic, competition, and get and unbelievable amount of suggestions for keywords, topics, makes, models, manufacturers, industry terms, and more.

    Is this all you can do with WordTracker? By no means…you can setup “projects” to save results for campaigns you’re working on over time. You can look at both long and short term reports for the top 1,000 keywords in the world. I didn’t even go over the “Keyword Universe” tool that suggest terms using lateral search and a Thesaurus. You also get free access to “Wordtracker Academy” where you can find free articles, tips, tricks, and case studies to get even more ideas from.

    I have written hundreds of successful blog posts based on keywords I got from WordTracker. I have re-written blog posts and made them profitable using keywords from WordTracker. I have even changed the title name and catch phrase of entire blogs dramatically increasing my traffic using keyword I got from WordTracker. I have purchased in the past their daily, monthly, and 6 month subscriptions and each has paid for itself. I recommend you try the free seven day trial and use it for yourself. You have nothing to lose and can easily cancel before you are billed as I previously showed you.

    The second major keyword research tool online is “Trellian’s Keyword Discovery” which also has a free trial – and we’ll cover that tomorrow in Day 2 of Keyword Research.

    KeywordDiscovery.com Keyword Research Tool