Keyword research is probably one of the biggest areas that people struggle with first when they’re setting up their first website. They may have their niche but now it’s time to pick the keywords that they’re going to build that niche around, and this is where confusion sets in. After all, everyone you ask has a different opinion on how keyword research should be done so who’s actually right?

The reality is that nobody really has a keyword research method that is all encompassing—you’ll learn a little bit from a lot of people and most likely formulate your very own way of finding keywords. What I want to share with you here is some tips to get you started so at least you have some research momentum going on and you can learn as you go.

Search counts

Having a reasonable search count for your keywords is very important. Why? Because if people aren’t searching for that keyword often enough per month then you simply won’t have enough visitors to convert into sales at the end of the day.

In some niches you can convert a very small number of searches into sales but generally speaking you’ll need a search volume of more than 1,000 searches per month (or 30+ searches per day) to make your online efforts worthwhile for your broad keyword terms for your site. When it comes to searches more is simply better—but you’ll need to mix in long tail keywords too.


Now you’ve found some keywords that have 1,000 searches or more per month for your niche but your next step is calculating the competition for those keywords in your niche. There are two quick methods I’d suggest here. The first is to put your potential keyword in quotes “” and search Google for it.

Now look at the number of results displayed—if it’s any more than say 100,000 then pick another keyword. Also pay attention the types of sites listed in Google for that search term—if you have large authority sites like Wikipedia or Microsoft listed then the competition may be too much for you.

Buyer keywords

If there’s anything people get wrong most often it’s choosing keywords that aren’t buyer keywords. Buyer keywords are when your visitor has done their due diligence and are 90% of the way to their buying decision.

Let’s look at an example. If you’re interested in buying a new LCD television are you going to search for just “LCD TV”? Nope. You’re going to look for something more like “Samsung LCD TV” at first and then as you’re refining your decision even more you’ll search for “Samsung LN40D630 LCD TV” and then just as you’re about to buy you’ll probably search by using a keyword phrase like “Samsung LN40D630 LCD reviews”. The more focused your search terms are on the buyer decision the better your sales conversions will be.

Look at the tail

Several years ago now the term long tail keywords entered the language of search engine fans all over the world. In a way long tail is very similar to finding buyer keywords but it delves a little deeper than that and long tail keywords are basically phrases that have average or below average search counts but that have very little (sometimes almost zero) competition. So if we look at acne for example. The keyword “acne treatments” might have 550,000 searches per month but you’ll also find it probably has millions of competing web pages. That’s a no go for a keyword beginner.

But then if you look at a keyword like “best acne treatment for adults” you’ll find that it has only 500 searches per month but only 1,000 competing web pages—now you have a winner.

Even if a long tail keyword like “best acne treatment for adults” had only 50 searches per month that’s fine because you can take 10 or 20 phrases with similar counts and suddenly you’re adding another 500—1,000 unique visitors per month to your website. It’s not unusual for long tail keywords to be the most searched for keywords on your site.

Check your web stats

This is one of my personal favorite ways of finding niche keywords once I’ve set up a website. After your site is 30-60 days old you need to start digging into your Google Analytics, AW Stats or whatever statistics package your site or web host is using. The reason is that your site is being found for keywords you’d never have thought of and that keyword tools simply don’t generate. You can then take these keywords and create an entire new page of content around them and hey presto you’ve just added a whole new traffic stream to your site.

If you’re looking for a keyword tool to get you started that allows you to work with this article then the Free Google Keyword tool is available to anyone who has a Google Adwords account. If you don’t have an Adwords account you can sign up for one for free and start grabbing all those valuable keywords that are just waiting for you out there.