2/16/2008

SEO - Finding top keywords using Google Trends and Google Keyword Tool

Funny, but Google can tell you a lot about its own keywords.

The following approach gives you some rough data, but some valuable results:
  1. You type the keywords you want to know more about, one (phrase) per line, into Google's Keyword tool.
  2. Sort the result by average search volume.
  3. Grab the 2 text files you get and put them in a text editor.
  4. Take the top 10 or 15 words in each list (regular and "additional keywords to consider")
  5. Put these back into the Keyword Tool and check the results.
  6. Repeat by taking the top 10 or 15 words from the two lists several times - until you start seeing a pattern show up and the top words quit changing so much.
  7. Now, take these 20 or 30 top words and put them five at a time into Google Trends.
  8. Eliminate the ones which are separate from the others at the bottom. You want them bunched up if you can - but don't take off the top ones. (If you get "free", or some other oddball word that makes the others all go to the bottom, set it aside and just test the others for now.)
You'll wind up with 5 or 10 words which are searched for all the time - which are "short head" terms. (Different from the "long tail" niches you're looking for.) And you'll start seeing what people are looking for in general - so you can subdivide these into niches.

Differences between Services and Products

Look out for what you get, though.

I did a couple of tests yesterday (and you can/should do your own test of this idea) - one which started out "money, health, power"; the other starting with "free" ( a classic top keyword which outshines even "sex").

The first gave me back an interesting set: "jobs, business, health, power, job" - the second gave me back a different set: "free, games, hotel, dvd, game"

Now, note what you have there. Throw out "free" and you have services in the first one, products in the second. If I'd kept the top ten, I'd probably have "money" back in there, but you can see that we have intangibles in the first set and tangibles in the latter.

And if you look on those keyword trends, you'd see that the top ones are searched consistently through the year and the second are seasonal. Hotels dip in January and peak in September. DVD's peak around Christmas, as does "game" - though not so much.

The SEO guru's I've been listening to about long-tail niche marketing say that your better profits are in the tangibles - the products. People will buy a concrete, actual thing faster than they do an intellectual item. Even though it costs way more.

I'm in the intangibles category, myself, since I deal with personal development and self help books. So I'm interested in what people are looking as benefits for the information products they buy.

So there's two approaches and two sets of results.

They may cross - "free money" would be interesting, but you could never deliver it - and would look like a cheap huckster. "Health DVD" would give you a good line of products you could sell. "Health video" would be a good way to promote that DVD.

Watch for crossover keywords

I went out on left field when I started researching "personal" and "self" - because personal also means "personals" - a classified ad. And what people are looking for in the personal ads section are varied and mostly are all products. So it gave me nothing of worth as I was looking for what benefits people were looking for - not what products. That research dead-ended for me.

The key point is that you start seeing the biggest reasons people are looking for things - be they benefits or products.

With a few such tests, you'll be able to then start finding some very "searched for" niches which are then very under-represented. With those keywords in your text links,

Another oddity - synonyms

I've run into keywords that are so similar that they run tightly in the same range. Consider this Google trend "meat, beef, protein". All run in the same tight trend - except for protein dropping a bit, they show the same consistent demand. (A good thing for farmers.) When you add in "grassfed, organic", you see no real change.

Does this mean that these search terms are basically synonymous? I frankly don't know - there's probably others who have spent more research hours on this.

But my "Competition Finder" (iBizResearch.com) tells me Google has:
  • 138M pages for meat,
  • 133M pages for protein,
  • 72M pages for beef,
  • 121M pages for organic, but only
  • 73.5K pages for grassfed.
So we can start to see that there aren't many pages for grassfed anything, but about the same demand as meat/beef/protein. Google Trends won't help us break this down, as it's below their radar currently.

The next tool would be to plug those key phrases back into Google Keyword Tool so we can get an estimate of what traffic is there. And you'll get more related words as additional ideas - as well as being able to "theme" your pages.

But as you have pages on "meat", you'll have a similar demand for "beef", and "protein". From the above, you can see that chasing up long tail niches for "beef" would probably be the most profitable niche to start with. Once you have your pagerank going, then expanding over to "meat" and "protein" would be simple. ("Cooking natural beef recipes" would go over to "cooking natural meat recipes" quite easily - you could almost copy/paste the pages to another mini-web...)

- - - -

There's a lot more to do in this area - but as I was toying around with some interesting research last night, I thought to give you a heads-up on this area.

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