Gangster Profit

Business and Marketing Web Radio Show featuring Robert MacDonald and Kevin Bombino

Episode 007: Keyword Research

Filed Under: SEO, Length: 13:15
The guys go over keyword research, from the beginning.


K: Alright. We are here to talk about “Keyword Research.”

R: Keyword research is one of the most important topics in internet marketing, or any kind of marketing in general, any kind of starting a business. If you want to start a McDonalds...if I wanted to start a McDonalds, I would be doing keyword research before any of that probably.

K: So what is keyword research? Keyword research is where you attempt to look into exactly what people out in the internet are searching for in relation to your proposed niche or potential product.

R: Keyword research is really about diving into people’s needs, which cuts to the very bottom of any kind of marketing, especially internet marketing.

So, when somebody is searching for something in Google, they need something. That’s why it’s so amazing. The Google keyword tool, or any keyword tool, is, like, just a long list of needs and how many people need that thing per month.

I mean, just take a second, let that sink in. Because that is why it is the centrepiece of every marketer’s strategy for building a business at this point.

K: Yeah, the Google keyword tool is really like a gift from heaven.

R: It is a gift from God. It is insane. What did marketers do before keyword research?

K: Yeah, like, literally, we can peer into the collective needs of the entire world, more or less. Figure out exactly the information they’re looking for, exactly the products they’re trying to buy, and in what quantities and when. It is absurd.

If you were trying to start an online business, or any business, and you haven’t done the keyword research, you’re nuts.

R: Yeah, you’re gonna fail. Flat out.

Okay, so we love the keyword research whatever, we love keyword research in general, we love it all, give it to me.

So, what do we do when we start or when we want to start a business or look into a niche? Well, we fire up the Google keyword tool. And if you want to find that, it’s a free tool. Completely free. We’re not trying to sell you anything here. You just go to Google and type in “keyword tool external,” and you will find the Google keyword tool.

Once you get in there, basically, you type in a couple ideas of what you want to sell to people, and then the keyword tool will give you back ideas about what they think that you should actually be going for. So, like, they’ll give you keywords.

I don’t know where I’m going with this right now.

K: Yeah. So let’s say you throw in “discount cruises.” It’s gonna tell you exactly how many people search for “discount cruises,” and it’s also gonna give you between one hundred and a couple hundred suggestions of other keywords that people are also searching for. So, maybe: discount cruises from Miami, discount cruises from New York City, discount cruises from New Orleans. And you can see the relative popularity of each of these cruise type searches.

It may suggest that you go for keywords for other cruise lines. It may suggest airfares. It may suggest hotels. I’m not actually sure what it’s gonna suggest, but you should go on there and find out.

R: Just play around with it. Go in there and throw in some random keywords. Throw in “weight loss.” Throw in “how to make money.” Throw in any word, anything, “diseases.” Throw in all sorts of stuff. You will find the most interesting data about how many people are searching for these different things.

And then, if you go in, you can also find cost per click information, which basically show you how much marketers are bidding on each of these keywords. And that is a great way to figure out how much need a person has per search.

So, if somebody is really, really looking to buy, then marketers are gonna really want to advertise on that particular keyword because every keyword is a different battle. Even if you’re going from the difference between “barstool” and “barstools,” you’re gonna have a different need there. If someone is searching for a barstool, maybe they just want to know what a barstool is. But if they’re searching for barstools, maybe they’re shopping.

So it comes down to very small things like that, and that will often be reflected in e-cost per click.

K: Right, so let’s just...a quick refresher for people who are not a 100% sure what we’re talking about here. On Google, when people run a search, Google shows both the free organic search results, which is any page on the web that’s eligible to be in there. They also have paid ads. The cost per click we’re referring to here is the cost to get in those ads.

The other thing I want to point out on Google keyword tool is if you look, there is an option on there called, I think it’s called, “Match Type.” And the options are, “broad,” “exact” or “phrase.” So, you typically wanna set match type to “exact” when you’re doing most research. That’s gonna tell you the amount of people who search for that exact search. So the case of “discount cruises,” it will people who go to Google and type in “discount cruises.”

If you had it on “broad,” it’s gonna give you a number that includes “discount cruises,” but also “cruises for discount,” “discount cruises Miami,” any kind of search that includes “discount cruises.” And, what you end up getting is if you’re looking at a hundred broads, most of those are gonna overlap. So, by looking at the broad view, you’re gonna think the traffic is a lot higher than it actually is. So make sure that you’re looking at exact view when you’re trying to compare numbers of similar keywords to each other.

R: Yeah. And then, so once you figure all that out, you basically just want to check it out, and go out and look at what the actual search results are for some of those things. And see what kind of pages are showing up. See if Wikipedia is showing up there, then you probably know that there are a lot of information type searches where people are just looking for a definition or a background of that thing.

For instance, the Wikipedia page for “barstool” is going to be talking about the history of barstools. Now, if you’re seeing a lot of sites like that, that means there’s probably not a very high commercial intent. That means that there’s probably not a lot of people that are actually looking to buy when they’re searching for that term.

But on the other hand, if you search for that term in Google, and you see a whole bunch of stores popping up -- you see Amazon results, and you see the Google shopping results comparing prices for things, and all sorts of different offerings like that -- then you’ve probably got a real money keyword. And most likely on that, you’re also gonna see the cost per click, we were talking about before, being higher than on the cost per click where they have the Wikipedia, something like that.

K: Absolutely. So, now that you’ve done your keyword research, you’re gonna realize that there’s typically a very skewed distribution as far as the keywords.

So, what you’re gonna notice is...I’m just totally pulling numbers out of the air here...but you might find that “barstools” gets 30,000 searches, but “oak barstools” maybe gets 400, or “stainless steel barstools” gets 300, or “barstool sets” might get another smaller number. We call these keywords either longtail or we call them...I don’t know what the opposite of longtail is. I think it’s like head or the shorttail. I don’t know if there’s an official meaning there. They’re kinda like head keywords versus tail keywords.

Basically, the idea is...this comes from Chris Anderson’s book, “The Long Tail,” which you can look up, but it’s not that important to know what it means. Just know that a longtail keyword means that it’s a keyword that’s a lot more specific and doesn’t get as many searches.

R: The other good thing to know about longtails is that as things get more specific, they also tend to be more buyer-oriented. And it also means that buyers a lot closer to their goal of actually buying something. Because, for instance, if you’re looking at “barstools” still, if somebody’s searching for barstools, that’s it, then they are in phase 1. They just know they need a barstool, and that’s pretty much it. And they want to go browse around and shop.

But, if you see somebody searching for like “oak,” “Sears,” “3,400 barstool,” or something weird like that...I don’t know if they have model numbers for barstools or whatever...but if somebody is searching for this name of a specific barstool, then they’re like 3 stages further in their buying process. And you’re way more likely to get somebody just actually going into your site and buying if they see the right price.

So the good thing about longtails is, though they get a lot less search results, they often convert at a way higher rate in real sales. So that’s why we don’t really care that much about ranking for the head keywords or the big ones that everybody’s always talking about. We more prefer to be ranking for a whole big collection of longtails.

K: Yeah, absolutely. And furthermore, it’s a lot easier to make a page for a longtail than for a head keyword. If you’re trying to make a page for barstools, then you’ve got to basically be able to offer something to everyone. You’ve got to have every kind of barstool on there, you’ve got to have every shipping option, you’ve got to have pretty much anything someone could be looking for, or else you’re basically wasting effort.

But if you’re making a page for stainless steel, adjustable height barstools that come in packs of two, and someone searches for that, and you’re selling those, they’re gonna be happy. You know what I mean? You don’t have to stress that. You just make a simple page about that and that is gonna sell, if you’ve got the right price.

R: Furthermore, it’s just way easier to rank for those because the competition goes down unilaterally as you’re going down the longtail. So, the smaller the keyword gets, the easier it’s gonna be to rank for it pretty much all the time. So, if you can find a way to manage a lot of keywords, and rank for a lot of a different keywords all at the same time, then go for the longtails because in aggregate, you’re going to be having a lot more traffic coming from those longtail keywords that have a lot less competition, than if you’re trying to go after one or two head keywords that everybody else is trying to go after. It’s gonna take you forever to try and rank for it. You’re gonna be losing out on sales for months while you’re trying to go after that big pie in the sky keyword. And then once you get there, you’re gonna actually find out that those searches don’t convert nearly as well as the longtail searches that you’ve been able to rank for the whole time.

So that’s why strategy is always to rank for the longtails as many as possible.

K: Yeah, it’s crazy. And it basically comes down to just ego of other people. You have other major companies, like JC Penny, spending millions of dollars to try and rank for those head keywords because they want to be able to go to their CEO and say, “Hey look, we now rank number 1 for dresses.”

And the reality is that they would actually be much better off if they spent that money in the longtail keywords and rank for all the specific dresses that they actually sell. But they’re not gonna do that because...for a number of reasons, really, like: a) I think it is an ego thing where they want to be number one for these “money keywords.” But also, it requires a lot more work and thought to try and actually rank for the smaller keywords.

R: If you’re trying to rank for a ton of them. In like a one-on-one basis, it’s easier to rank for one longtail than one shorttail or head. But it’s a difficult problem to try and manage thousands and thousands of longtails in order to get an sufficient search volume to make up for the fact that you’re not ranking for those head keywords. But, in the end, you got to realize this is all about profits. This is So we’re not about rankings, we’re not about anything, we’re just about profits. And the longtails are where it’s at for profit.


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