Basic Keyword Research

Basic Keyword Research

When I start a brand new site, the keyword research I do is not very organized. I just find anything and everything that looks interesting, and put what I find into a spreadsheet based on the metrics.

  • High Traffic, High Competition
  • High Traffic, Low Competition
  • Low Traffic, High Competition (But still a good keyword)
  • Low Traffic, Low Competition (The majority of your keywords will land here)

This gives me a long view of where my site is heading. What are things that people are searching for related to this niche? What are topics that I will probably be writing about in the future?

I sometimes even get into closely related topics just to see possible future expansion possibilities for my site. For example, if I’m doing a site about barbecue grills, maybe I want to look into camping keywords or RV keywords. That’s because people who do those activities will probably want to barbecue at some point.

Low competition keywords

Without even looking, I can guarantee that there are some juicy, low competition keywords related to RV grills or portable grills. In fact, the whole RV niche I think is ripe for money! Think about it – retired folks with money wanting to live out their dreams of traveling, but not without the comforts of home.

This concept applies to any website topic. What if we had a website about vegetarianism? Visitors wouldn’t blink an eye if your domain is called vegetarianrecipes.com and you have wine reviews or organic gardening tips. Some wines are not vegetarian because they use animal products for fining agents. That would be a great discussion for a vegetarian niche website. Gardeners grow vegetables, and that’s what vegetarians eat. Makes sense, no?

You can also use these keyword stats to pick a domain name if you want. I talked about this in a previous section, but if you do find a high traffic keyword with a .com available, that might be a smart choice to pick up the domain. At the very least you can sell the domain at a premium later, or flip a very basic site with lots of potential.

But as I mentioned in the domain section, a good keyword will not make or break a website. The best niches will have a good mix if high traffic keywords and low competition keywords. If you find that all your keywords are high traffic high competition, you may be going too broad with your niche. For example, something like “lose weight fast” is not going to reveal a lot of opportunities to muscle your way in, and you probably want to refine your target audience a bit.

On the other side of the coin, lots of low competition low traffic keywords but nothing in the high traffic area could mean that while there’s opportunity here, the potential for growth may lie in broadening your keyword pool at some point. Any niche will have an unlimited set of keywords if you are really passionate about the topic, though sometimes they take a while to reveal themselves!

You can also use keywords to confirm or change the running themes for your website.

Maybe your niche is “backpacking”, and one of your running themes was “choosing the correct luggage”. But then you find out that it’s very high competition and actually not that many searches. You may want to tweak this core page on your site to be “choosing the correct rucksack”, which can actually be an in-depth topic if you talk to the experts!

You may find that there’s not enough searches for something, and you weren’t too hot on the idea to begin with. Research and open up some new ideas, and maybe make some changes based on what you find.

At the end of the day, it’s not like you are actually limited to just 3-5 topics per site. That’s just a guideline to get you started. You can always change links, update pages, add more pages, or alter the general direction of your site as you grow.