The Golden Rule of Keyword Research

9 replies
I find that many on this board are focused on unearthing keywords with a low number of competing pages and halfway descent traffic statistics. (This applies double to those who look to make money publishing content to Ezinearticles)

Thus people are searching frantically for nuggets of gold keyword terms with 50,000 or less competing pages right and left. Many will overlook completely keyword phrases that may have 15,000 unique searches p/day because that term also has 500,000 competing pages or more feeling the competition is too strong and they move on to the next.

As traffic is the ultimate goal, many people are mistakenly skipping phrases that they should be capitalizing on simply because of the number of competing pages. This is a mistake.

Remember this Golden Rule of Keyword Research:

"If You Can Beat the Top 10...
You Can Beat 'Em All!"

The number of competing pages is a guide post at best. Just the other day I found a keyword phrase for a well known product that has 24,000,000 competing pages. This term get over 100,000 searches p/day and Market Samurai estimates that if you were #1 for this term you would get 70,000 hits p/day.

The traffic to this keyword is saturated with buyers and the Average Adwords CPC is $3.00. Good numbers for a site in the Top 3 for this keyword if you are working Adsense.

Here's the kicker. Out of the Top 10, three of these sites had a PR of 3 or less. Three others were Amazon/Wikipedia/Ebay style entries which are, by default, easily unseated by a targeted niche site because of the diversity of those sites.

That leaves the field wide open for exploitation for an authority site to come in and take Top 3 honors (#1 is not possible as it is the brand name for the product) in 4 months or less with a fair amount of time/work invested.

I'm already on it.

Anyway...before you write off a keyword phrase because of the number of competing pages, run the Phrase through Market Samurai's SEO Comp function to see how entrenched the Top 10 really are.
#golden #keyword #research #rule
  • Profile picture of the author Lisa Gergets
    Bravo! Encore, encore!
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  • Profile picture of the author James Seward

    Good point, I totally agree with you. As a matter of fact I am doing my keyword research right now ;D However I do not have Maret Samurai but I do have Micro Niche Finder. Can I still check the stranght of the competition with Micro Niche Finder?

    I get mixed feeling about the SoC number which is where you are supposed to see the stranght of the competition. Can anyone help on this?

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    • Profile picture of the author badfun
      I agree completely. Competition evalution requires a lot more than just competing pages. I have some terms in the top ten for which the results are in the millions, and I didn't even really focus on them. But I am now!
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  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    Ok, I'm going to disagree (I think).

    Just looking at the top sites and saying they only have a PR 3 therefore you can easily beat them doesn't cover it I'm afraid.

    There are many competitive niches where a site with PR 3 is beating sites with PR 6 or 7.

    It's not all about Page Rank.

    The reason those lower PR sites usually rank at the top is because they're part of a much higher authority complex of sites or the page that ranks is PR but the main domain is PR7.

    Also, top results often change on a regular basis so you might see a PR 3 and think you can beat it and then a week later it's not there and the top 10 are all PR 6-8.

    Good SERPS are not a snapshot game but a longer term battle with many more factors than you're looking at.

    So don't be surprised if you get a brief spurt of rankings which then disappear in the SERPS for a long time afterwards.

    Staying at the top is where the proper work begins.


    nothing to see here.

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  • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
    Excellent point! My top Adsense earner is a site on page 1 at Google for a search term getting about 1 million searches per month. At the #5 position, my site gets about 2,000 unique visitors per day. I'm working really hard to get it 'above the fold' into at least the #3 spot to really ramp up the visitor numbers.

    I want to add something that you touched on. There are "low hanging fruit" keywords, which is what so many go after nowadays. And of course there are the really competitive keywords many avoid because they don't have the time or patience to tackle them.

    What I'm discovering is that the vast middle ground.... call it the "average hanging fruit" is where the money is. I'm talking about keywords that get lots of searches, but have only moderate levels of competition. The one I mentioned above is like that.

    If you really buckle down and write good content and go on a quality link building spree, many of those keywords can be conquered much faster than you probably think. I've shifted my own strategy toward this approach after some testing this year.

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  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    The other reason many people for go low hanging fruit is that it's the perfect way to start building an authority site but start getting traffic immediately.

    People talk about those keywords like people going for them are missing a trick but in reality - if you ever want to dominate any niche, you need to get those keywords anyway, so they're a great way to start out.


    nothing to see here.

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  • Profile picture of the author timer
    Interesting points made. I am a relative newbie and am have decided to go for the lots of mini sites route to make money as it appeals to my preference of tackling regular new things. I'll certainlt take on board the suggestions. many thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
    As most of you know, my stated position is that judging competing sites on the old "quantity" method is a mistake. I've said it before and I say it again: your REAL competition for your ranking is the top ten at Google (with a few caveats, of course). But that's where you need to focus, I don't care if they are 24,000 pages or 24,000,000.
    Read this SURPRISING REPORT Before You Buy ANY WSO! Click Here
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    • Profile picture of the author Paxton
      I don't do the "lots of small sites" thing anymore, as it got kind of tedious jumping in and out of niches all the time.

      The biggest myth ever was the "low hanging fruit" bit. All that ever did was get 100's of marketers competing for the low volume "low hanging fruit", making the particular niches that much more difficult to make any $$$ in.

      I pruned my portfolio of sites down quite a bit. Now concentrating on a couple of main sites, one with 1100 plus pages and the other at just over 600. Both in very competitive niches, but both in Top 3 in Google and Yahoo. Both affiliate sites but getting serious SE love.

      I don't cut corners, I don't automate content.

      Search results I don't count that much really. My main parameter is allntitle results. Anything upto 200,000 allintitle, I can break into the Top 10 in a couple of months. Less than that and it takes even less time.

      Search engines are getting very picky. Unique content has and always will be King, but the throne is getting bigger every day. Use regurgitated automated content and your sites will wither and die, no matter what the competition or high low the fruit is.

      Big sites, well SEO'd, site themes, silo structures, unique content = the only game left in town
      Never undersell yourself - SEO is a skill clients are prepared to pay big money for
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