Part 3 of the series How to Start a Money Making Blog is here. In the previous parts of this series, I talked about choosing a niche and market research. Today I will be going into keyword research.
After choosing a niche and doing market research, it is time to start doing keyword research so that you can find a main keyword to focus on for your blog. You will also need long tail keywords related to your niche or main keyword to build up pages for your blog. So, to locate these keywords, you can use the free Google keyword tool. Just go to Google and type in “free google keyword tool” and it should be the first result.
After getting the keyword tool up, you need to insert a broad phrase in your niche. For example, lets say I wanted to get into the “learn how to sing” niche. Some phrases I could type include learn how to sing, singing lessons, singing courses, and I think you get my point. What you want to do is jot down all the keywords that get at least 1000 searches a month in exact phrase match. Now I am saying 1000 searches monthly but don’t completely disregard buyer keywords if they get a few hundred searches or more a month as these are buyer keywords and just a few visitors arriving from a buyer search phrase could mean sales for you.
You want to look for phrases with at least 3 words and those with buyer terms in them. I listed some buyer keywords in the previous part of this series if want to check them out. In any case, note down the keywords and the search traffic for each one. You should try to come up with a good list of 30 keywords making sure to have some buyer keywords in there.
Now once you have around 30 keywords and their associated traffic, take each keyword and evaluate the first page results of Google for the term. This part is evaluating the competition. Here are some things you want to look for.
Web 2.0 Sites – Are there any articles (goarticles, ezinarticles, articlesbase), squidoo lens, hubpages, or other web 2.0 type pages on the first page. Seeing 3 or more of these types of sites is a good sign.
PR – Is the PR of the pages on the first mostly high or low. You want as many low PR sites on the first page. If you see a bunch of PR5+ pages, it may be tough.
Age – Look at the age of the pages on the first page. You want newer sites on the first page. Pages that are aged are most likely established which can be tough competition.
Authority – Are the sites on the first page authority sites? These types of sites have been around for ages, have high PR, and are really established. Amazon, About, and .edu and .gov sites are a few examples. You want to see as little of these types of pages on the first page.
Backlinks – How many backlinks do these pages have and are they strong backlinks? This may be tough work but it can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run. You want to evaluate the first few pages in the results and see how many backlinks the specfic pages have.
You also want to look at those backlinks and see if they are strong. Are they coming from authority sites with high PR? Are they targeting the keyword? You can take over a page pretty easily if it is a page that has very little backlinks especially if these backlinks do not have the keyword in the anchor text.
Other than those things, you also want to see if the first few pages are optimized for the keyword. Do they have the keyword in the title, url, and description? You can even go further and check out the page and look at other on page seo factors like keyword density.
This may be a lot of work for just one term especially when you have a list of 30 but it is well worth it to take the time to do these things. You don’t have to overthink things or spend a bunch of time checking these things but just keep these things in mind. I will actually be listing some tools to help you get this stuff done pretty quickly at the end of the article.
Now, what you want to do is eliminate any keyword that is too competitive or may be tough to rank for. A keyword may be tough to rank for if the majority of the pages on the first page of Google are established authority sites with high pr and strong backlinks that do include the keyword as anchor text. Once you have eliminated those keywords, look at your list again and choose the one with the most searches as your main keyword. The others can be used as pages in your blog or for articles to drive traffic to your blog. You can find more long tail keywords to build pages to by repeating the initial keyword research steps with a different phrase related to your niche or main keyword.
With long tail keywords, the terms do not have to get a lot of traffic but they should definitely be easy to rank for. These keywords should bring in a few visitors until you get your blog ranked for it’s main keyword. Now here are some things to note about all I have said.
You can start a money making blog and have only 5 pages of content. I myself have a blog I created with 5 pages of content (not including pages like about, contact, disclaimer, etc) that has made me money. I chose a main keyword (1 page) and 4 long tail keywords (4 pages) and wrote articles on each phrase. The main keyword was a buyer keyword while the other keywords were related to the buyer keyword but not necessarily buyer keywords. You could call this a micro niche blog.
You can create a micro niche blog or an authority type blog with lots of pages. So keep this in mind when doing keyword research. You may not have to have 30 keywords if you only wanted to create a 5 page blog. Even with that being said, I now create blogs with lots of content because I’d rather deal with lets say 10 blogs that gets a lot of good traffic from many long tail keywords than 50 sites with a few pages that gets little traffic. It’s up to what you would prefer.
In any case, this is the end of Part 3 of the series on keyword research. I will list below some further resources on keyword research and some tools I use to do my own keyword research to help anyone that may be a little confused with all this.
Keyword Tools and Free Resources
Market Samurai Dojo – Free Keyword Research Training (There’s also a free trial of the keyword research software..Great tool)
Warrior Forum – Just search “keyword research” and you will find a lot of great threads on the topic
Analyzing Competition Tools