Day 6 - Keyword Research


Final Boss ®
BuSo Pro
Boot Camp
Digital Strategist
Sep 15, 2014

Keyword Research

"People waste more time trying to rank on Google then generate revenue" - CCarter​

Our focus is on profits - everything we are after is for profits aka the biggest bang for our efforts. Keyword research is the difference between you making 20 sales a day by ranking for 'womens shoes' (Google shopping's organic results values products at $24.95 to $85) - generating between $499 to $1700 in revenue a day, versus making 10 sales a day by ranking for 'red bottom heels with diamonds' which cost $795 to $995 per pair - generating you $7950 to $9950 in revenue per day.

One keyword might get you a lot of visitors and several small sales the other will generate you tons of profits. Like I stated we are going to concentrate on profits - and understanding users' intent is key. You can't do keyword research properly without understanding your potential user's intent.


The AIDA sales conversion funnel which was most recognizedly made famous by Alec Baldwin in the movie "Glengarry Glen Ross" shows how salesmen gauge a prospect's mindset, walks them through the process and get them to sign on the dotted line.

A – attention (awareness): attract the attention of the customer.
I – interest of the customer.
D – desire: convince customers that they want and desire the product or service and that it will satisfy their needs.
A – action: lead customers towards taking action and/or purchasing.

Using a system like this gives one a general understanding of how to target a market effectively. Moving from step to step, one loses some percent of prospects.


The difference between "Glengarry Glen Ross" and you is your "salesman" is your website, and the customer is the searcher arriving at your website with something in mind before hand. Like during the sales process the salesman (your website) is going to prospect, gauging what level of intent they are on when they arrive on your website on a particular landing page can mean the difference between a bounce and a sale. That means the landing page a user lands on needs to fall in-line with the mindset of the user visiting that page.

AIDA translates perfectly over to the internet realm and search engines specifically by understanding user's intent when they use "keywords" to search within search engines and platforms for solutions to their problem.

Penn State has an excellent white paper on user intent which you can take a look at here: (Here forth known as the Sauce: Penn State whitepaper - I'll be using this for a majority of the rest of the post so I'll highlight the important parts for you.

They only have 3 levels, but we are going to expand upon it for our exercise:

Awareness = Informational
Interest = Navigational
Desire = Commercial
Action = Transactional​

Let's start from the top of the funnel and work our way down.


Informational searching: The intent of informational searching is to locate content concerning a particular topic in order to address an information need of the searcher. The content can be in a variety of forms, including data, text, documents, and multimedia. The need can be along a spectrum from very precise to very vague. (Sauce: Penn State whitepaper)​

The whitepaper states about 80% of searches fall into this category. The remaining 20% seems to be evenly split between the last 3 (when adding commercial into the equation).

Now here is where the problem most website owners will fall prey to, they'll target keywords which are informational based and not closer to the sales/action funnel of the equation. A desired destination for informational searchers are websites like wikipedia which are purely for the "awareness" factor.

Your job as a website owner is to get people to buy your product or service (or fill out a lead form) OR click on an advertisement (for CPC or CPA offers for you), so the visitor can buy a product or service (or fill out a lead form).

So if you are starting to grasp the problem of the situation targeting keywords that are at the top of the funnel is LESS profitable than it can be for you. You want to target keywords which are closer to the action funnel with commercial intent and you'll see a direct correlation of an increase on their CPC (cost per click bids within Adwords).

Higher CPC (especially for MFA - made for adsense sites), means when people click your ads, you'll get paid higher for that click. Higher CPC also means it's more valuable so when people browse your site using one of these keywords they will be more likely to buy immediately and in the buying mood versus in the researching what the hell is going on using Wikipedia mood.

Quick Notes
-uses question words (i.e., ‘ways to’, ‘how to’, ‘what is’, etc.);
-queries with natural language terms;
-queries containing informational terms (e.g. list, playlist, etc.);
-queries where the searcher viewed multiple results pages;
-queries length (i.e., number of terms in a query) greater than 2; and
-queries that do not meet criteria for navigational or transactional (or commercial).

(Sauce: Penn State whitepaper)​

Examples Keyword Search Queries:
915 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Phone Number: (312) 867-5309
News: Bath Salts Miami Beach Homeless
DIYers Research: How to play Guitar
Research: Who is Natalie Dormer?
Research: Actress From Firefly?

-The user will need help determining which product/service is best. (Great for MFA clicks)

-Specialized articles, images, videos, infographics and other media are critical here. The content should educate, entertain, inform, and inspire - using a balance which is in-line with the rhythm of the keywords used.

-Users are looking for quick answers - phone numbers, news, sports scores, or recipes.

-Think along these lines: 'latest features', 'simple steps', 'voted the most', 'receive the latest', 'installs in minutes', 'why you should replace your outdated', 'more efficient', 'Learn how X improves', 'learn why', 'the facts about', 'why most mothers prefer', 'expert review', 'which actress in Game of Thrones marries the king'



Navigational searching: The intent of navigational searching is to locate a particular Website. The Website can be that of a person or organization. It can be a particular Web page, site or a hub site. The searcher may have a particular Website in mind, or the searcher may just ‘think’ a particular Website exists. (Sauce: Penn State whitepaper)​

The intent a user in this stage is to find something they BELIEVE exists already. This can be a brand, a specific website or domain, or a query that SHOULD return an entity that SHOULD exist (they may be confused on the actual end name). Company's brands terms are included in this, since users may simply do a search for your brand within search engines rather than inputting your domain directly into the address field.

This also can be a waste of time if you are simply trying to rank for a brand's name in order to gain affiliate sales without adding value to the sale (looking at you lazy affiliates). Smart brands are catching on to this and now utilizing a first visit cookie (tagging a customer on the first initial visit) instead of a last visit cookie (giving credit to affiliate even though the visitor has already been on the site before). But if you can successfully rank underneath a brand or a competitor's presence that can give you "leaked" SERP traffic that you can use to sell customers on or convince would-be buyers of your competition to buy your brand instead (comparison charts work best for this).

Quick Notes
-queries containing company/business/organization/people names;
-queries containing domains suffixes;
-queries with ‘Web’ as the source;
-queries length (i.e., number of terms in query) less than 3; and
-searcher viewing the first search engine results page.

(Sauce: Penn State whitepaper)​

Examples Keyword Search Queries:
SERPWoo, Builder Society
Domain Query:
Specific Query: Builder Society Bootcamp
Specific Intent: Traffic Leak Bootcamp C Carter
Search Example: Alaska Airline flight #1234

- They are not sure exactly what they want or need.

- They are searching with keywords that are "Problem" focused rather then solution focused.

- The landing page they land on should present solutions to their problems. (noise canceling headphones)

- The landing page should also show HOW this problem can be solved.

- These are direct searches for a brand, company, website, or a person (ie. Apple, Coca-Cola, Facebook, etc.)



This one is added which is not included in the Penn State whitepaper. The user is relatively familiar with the product.

Examples of keywords used within the search query by categorization:
Category - Gender/Sex:
womens, mens, kids,
Category - Variations: xtra small, small, medium, large, extra large, XXL, red, white, black, blue, purple
Category - Comparison: versus, best, price, pricing, reviews, deals
Category - Discovery: Expert For My Time Piece Seattle

- The user knows what they want, but not which one just yet.

- Keywords can include 'compare', 'best', 'recommended', 'review', 'comparison', 'rated', 'outperforms', 'quick comparison', 'features', 'in-depth comparison', 'case study', 'reveal the benefits', 'how it compares', 'Time piece watch fixer'

- The answer they are looking for on the landing page is for the question in their mind: "which ones is best suited for solving the problem".

- These keywords start focusing on the end stage of the buyer process when the emotion starts taking over a bit more. The users will start imagining themselves with the product/service, and utilizing it daily. Capturing email at this stage is going to be easy.

- These keywords lead up to the purchase and are prime for MFA sites.

- Commercial searches require more touch points and a good way to provide needed information is through surveys, polls, subscription newsletters and white papers.



Transactional searching: The intent of transactional searching is to locate a Website with the goal to obtain some other product, which may require executing some Web service on that Website. Examples include purchase of a product, execution of an online application, or downloading multimedia. (Sauce: Penn State whitepaper)​

This is the money shot. Users are ready with wallet in hand and the emotion has taken over. They are looking for the best deal or most convenient way of getting the product/service - which can include directions to a store nearest them and phone number to call to see if that location has the item in stock. This is where an MFA would have the call to action to get users to click on their advertisement and end the sales cycle on the other side ( for example), or where an eCommerce platform's landing page should offer a discount or an incentive to get the close right then and there.

Quick Notes
-queries containing terms related to movies, songs, lyrics, recipes, images, humor, and porn;
-queries with ‘obtaining’ terms (e.g. lyrics, recipes, etc.);
-queries with ‘download’ terms (e.g. download, software, etc.);
-queries relating to image, audio, or video collections;
-queries with ‘audio’, ‘images’, or ‘video’ as the source;
-queries with ‘entertainment’ terms (pictures, games, etc.);
-queries with ‘interact’ terms (e.g. buy, chat, etc.); and
-queries with movies, songs, lyrics, images, and multimedia or compression file extensions (jpeg, zip, etc.).

(Sauce: Penn State whitepaper)​

Examples Keyword Search Queries:
Meat Restaurant Lincoln Road Miami Beach
Address: 915 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Experience: Free Shipping, Online, Sign Up
Supporting Keywords: Purchase, Sales, Buy, Discount, Coupon

- They know exactly what they want, and are looking for where to buy the product/service.

- keywords can include 'cheap', 'buy', 'discount', 'purchase', 'order', 'lowest price', 'low-price', 'refund policy', 'money-back guarantee', 'fast shipping', 'free shipping', 'trusted', 'great customer service', 'hassle-free', 'safe ordering', 'sale ends soon', 'reader's choice', 'sweat deals', 'Greek food near 60607'

- The landing pages should show clear benefits of the product and a way to order the product/service through this site (Amazon's job at this point, hence why weak sites shouldn't be targeting these keywords, you'll get high bounces).

- These keywords are the most valuable and competitive since they are at the end of the buyer funnel. Pages need to provide a simple and easy way to convert. Next Steps, clear instructions, and easy instructions are the keys for this landing page.

- Transaction searches require a landing page with some sort of conversion mechanism with a purchase, buy, or download button.


Now if you were a little confused about the 4 stages, don't worry the next stage is going to tie it together for you.
Starting The Journey

A user's journey through AIDA is now magically going to start coming together. It's at the edge of your mind right now you feel some of it is starting to form a solid image but it's still blurry. Let's make that image sharper. Knowing the user intent allows you to create content around the different levels each type of user will be at. The ideal scenario would be to have the Awareness pages linking to the Interest content, then having the Interest content moving the user along to the Desire stage - which then takes them into the Action mode.

Most website owners just create content around keywords they think users would type in without a proper intent funnel and can't figure out why their landing pages and content isn't converting. The key is to understand what level the user is at in AIDA and answer the potential problems there (you providing the solution).

I find showcasing complicating processes a lot easier with stories. Imagine you are looking for headphones - there is probably a reason you need headphones, but that reason hasn't been brought to your conscious yet. So you start in the Awareness stage. You'll go through the search engines typing in keywords in this stage like so:

(Customer is completely unaware and most likely not in the buying mood at any level)
  • Headphones
  • Headphones brands
  • Headphone reviews

Now as you went through the results for headphones, you came across specs and features, and now your mind made the connection when it read "noise canceling", since you've got a bunch of kids running around the house - you need headphones to block them out and concentrate. So your search queries now move more towards the Interest stage, and you'll be looking up keywords with these patterns:

(Targeting these keywords, you will be telling people the facts or the features of your offering)
  • noise canceling headphones
  • noise canceling headphones for babies
  • noise canceling headphones for sleeping
  • noise canceling headphone reviews

After reading reviews, you've arrive at the conclusion that Bose seems to be the premier headphones on the market and the best for noise canceling. (I've got a pair, they are great by the way). But now you want to start harping in on Bose and noise canceling headphones and models, you are now in the "Desire" stage, and are doing more researching. Your search queries start to look like this:

(Focusing on the benefits of the end product)
  • Bose noise canceling headphones
  • Bose noise quietcomfort 15
  • Bose noise canceling headphones reviews
  • Bose noise canceling headphones sales

Now from the Desire to Action, things can get really gray, since now you are really honing in on your target. You've made up your mind Bose is the one - emotion starts to take over, the logic part of the brain is off, and now it's time to do searches for the best options. You might look for deals, coupons, or the best place to find it within your physical location, cause you can't wait for something to get shipped to you. Your searches start to look like this:

(Customer is hot and most likely have their wallet near by ready to input it)
  • Cheap Bose Headphones
  • Bose Headphones Price
  • Bose Headphones Price Compare
  • Where To Buy Bose Headphones
  • Purchase Bose Headphones Online

Now at some point with one of the above searches within the Action section - you are going to buy. Now step back and absorb the funnel we just went through.

Obviously for an eCommerce store the most profitable keywords are going to be in the Action stage - since they've made the decision to pull out their credit card or drive to your location. But if you are building review sites like an An MFA site (Made for Adsense), You want people to click to the eCommerce stores for your CPA offer (Amazon affiliate program or your Google Adsense revenue). You'll want to create content for users within the Interest and Desire level, rather then the Action - since your site has no actual actions. You ranking for "Cheap Bose Headphones" with your review site is just going to create bounces.

Some of you may have had the "Ah Ha" moment, where you realized you were wasting time trying to rank for keywords that didn't have the right desired intent from your visitors. :wink:

The key with creating content going forward is to make sure you are using AIDA as a funnel.

Informational Queries:
Opportunities - Brand searchers with positive impression of your site, information, company, etc; Attract inbound links; Receive attention from journalists/researchers; Potentially convert to sign-up or purchase
Average Value - Middling

Navigational Queries:
Opportunities - Pull searcher away from destination; get ancillary or investigatory traffic
Average Value - Generally Low

Commercial Investigation Queries:
Opportunities - Convert to member/sign-up; Sway purchase decision; Collect email; Get user feedback/participation
Average Value - High

Transactional Queries:
Opportunities - Achieve transaction (financial or other)
Average Value - Very High



Now it's time for you to do an exercise, I want you to open up TextEdit (notepad for you savages using Windows), and input the 4 levels of user intent (Awareness, Internet, Desire, and Action) on separate lines. Now brainstorm on each level and create 3-10 keywords (without using a keyword tool, that's cheating), which you can think of off the top of your head. My attempt at a SERPWoo version off the top of my head:

  • brand monitoring
  • company reviews monitoring
  • online brand tracking
  • brand search engine monitoring
  • company search engine monitoring
  • online company tracking
  • track Google results
  • ORM

  • online reputation management
  • online reputation management software
  • best ORM software

  • online reputation management tracking
  • online reputation management software reviews

  • ORM Tracking Prices
  • Rank Tracking Prices
  • SERPWoo
  • SERPWoo Coupons
  • SERPWoo Discount

^^ I didn't get a lot of Interest or Desire terms like I should have, but that's because I didn't do actual keyword research with any tools. That's where we are taking things next, We are going to practice grouping keywords, making us think like our potential searchers. For some of you this might take a bit more brain power.
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Finding Keywords

There is a reason I haven't mentioned any keyword tools up until now. It's because the tools you use are meaningless unless you understand a user intent and why a user is searching for a specific keyword. In the last post I had you do a small exercise at the end going off the top of your head of what categories you can input a keyword in without cheating. Now we are going to find lots of keywords for you to flesh out your keyword lists.

Quick Definitions
1. Long-Tail Keyword Phrase - this is a keyword term which consists of more than 3+ words. It is consider "long" since it's has multiple words. Example 'red bottom heels with diamonds'. These terms are highly specific, usually more profitable, but have considerable less volume "ACCORDING" to most keyword tools. Now if you take away anything from this lesson it should be this - simply because a keyword has less volume doesn't mean the total related terms aren't worth it. A page ranking for 'red bottom heels with diamonds' will also rank for 'red bottom heels', 'heels with diamonds', and more. So discounting keyword simply because of volume is retarded, cause you are missing out on combinations of words which all rank and generate profits.

2. Short-Tail Keyword Phrase - this is a keyword term which consists of 1-3 words. Example 'womens shoes' or 'shoes'. These terms are high in traffic, but extremely broad and you are less likely to generate a sale. These are the typical keywords people that want to stroke their egos over go for. Instead of concentrating on long-tail keyword which are more profitable, idiots decide to go after short-tail keyword which have more competition and a lot more window shoppers and waste resources to get ranked high for them and more importantly keep those rankings since there are so many other idiots trying to rank for those same terms.

There I've said my piece regarding that, you have two choices, long-tail or short-tail in your journey....

Google Correlate -
This is some ancient script that Google probably forgot to turn off. You can utilize this to find out where the hot spots on the USA map are for different keywords, which is extremely useful for geo-targeting. Here is an example:


^^ Guess which states are more likely to be Googling about 'snow', the north of course.


Google AutoComplete and Auto Suggest -
This is built right into search queries as you use Google. Auto Suggest is at the bottom of most pages with additional suggestions for you to Google. Pay attention to what they think is relevant to the keywords you inputted, it'll help you gauge user intent.


-- -
This one is a interesting beast, cause it has an array of tools within in. Along with it's Google keyword tool it's got a bing tool, youtube tool, and Apple AppStore tool (which no one else has, yet).



Keyword Researcher 9.07 -
Great for expanding for ideas from Google's AutoComplete, I prefer to use this since it automates the stuff manually Googling things does in an easy interface. (9.07 is the last Mac version unfortunately, these savages decided to double down on the savage end of the market).



Keyword Snatcher -
This is one which most people don't know about but they combine Google, Bing, Yahoo, Youtube, Amazon, and Ebay's suggestions and outputs them. I've seen instances of outputs up to 50K keywords which should be more than enough for any user.



Long Tail Pro -
People talk about this tool so I'm going to add it for noteworthy. I've seen folks use it and they love it, so it's definitely worth checking out cause they seem to focus on long-tail keywords - which are the bread and butter of all industries (the money keywords).



SEMRush -
These guys are bosses hands down, they've been doing this for so long you might as well just get an account right now, they're data is second to only Google in my opinion.



SERPWoo's Keyword Finder -
At SERPWoo we couldn't find any keyword tools that took keyword research into an outerspace level to connect with SERPWoo, so we created our own. Similar to the others is we gather the related terms for the seed keyword you input.

How we differ, which absolutely no one else does (yet), is we then pull the top 10 urls ranking in Google for that seed keyword, and then pull ALL the keyword ranking that each of those pages are ranking for, so you get a diverse set of keywords, yet related since the pages ranking #1-10 have other keywords they are ranking for, and we give them to you without any additional effort on your part.

The record for a single output's total keywords is 82,000 results - from one seed keyword, so it definitely packs a punch, plus I coded it/ :tongue: We'll be using SERPWoo primarily for this guide, but you can literally use any other tool, but you'll have to input each top 10 url manually over and over to get the level of digging we display.



SpyFu -
One of the blasts from the past for me. I've noticed their interface wasn't updated for probably 7-8 years until magically recently when SERPWoo came onto the scene. I'm not going to give them a hard time but they are definitely good for the PPC side. They are the yin to SEMRush's yang.



Übersuggest -
Everyone's favorite free tool, usually people with no money get started with this, and now that you understand user intent and AIDA, this may get you started down the right road.


Term Explorer -
This is probably the motherload of SEO tools. It'll do deep digging for you and get you into every nook and cranny of your niche. The owner is also a great friend and a member of the Ancient Order I hail from.


-- -
This was the FIRST keyword tool I ever used and I have a nostalgic feeling towards it. They created the KEI (Keyword Effectiveness Index) metric so they are worth checking out.



There are a lot of great digging around tools, even Market Samurai still has a 1-2 punch, so experiment with all of them and find the ones which work best for you. At the end of the day all the data volume, CPC, and estimated traffic are all relative and cannot be exact unless the source, Google, were to tell us, but even as I speak Google is getting rid of volumes for exact phrases and more from their own Keyword Planner tool. Try a little of everything, play around with interfaces and then decide on 2-3 tools to get your job done.
Finding and Organizing

1. Select the country you want to target and input your seed keyword. Click on submit and wait for the data to process. (Any keyword tool should be able to accomplish most of this):


2. Once it's done processing input positive or negative filters to narrow down your content. I love inputting negative keywords such as 'free' and 'cheap'. Gets rid of a certain crowd in that mentality. You can input as many positive or negative keywords as you would like.

3. Adjust the volume filters, since we want "some" volume I suggest putting the min volume at 300, meaning about 10 people a day are at least searching for this, you can set it to zero though, and work your way up. I've gauged my audience enough know I can safely start at zero volume and still get traffic.

4. I personally like adjusting the PPC competition to at minimum $1. That means what I'm targeting for will have people wanting to compete so it's worth targeting with Adwords. Now for you folks running MFA sites, you'll probably want to target $5+ terms, and make further adjustments. i wouldn't lower the PPC competitive level since the more competition the higher CPC bids - the more Adsense dollars. You'll only want to adjust PPC competition if you are going to use these keyword to target PPC and want to target keywords your competitors have overlooked.

5. To start off I like to narrow things down to 100 keywords. Export this keyword list through CSV and open it up in excel.

6. Add another column at the end called "Category". Then add the "sort filter" to the first row, so you can sort by amounts or alphabetical order.


7. Now comes the work - work your way down the list and assign each keyword a specific category, 'awareness', 'informational', 'commercial', or 'action'. You can color coordinate your keywords according to the category by using conditional formatting within excel. I'm on one of my serf's computer at the moment so it doesn't have conditional formatting in their excel, but there is a quick tutorial on how to do this:


I like creating two lists, the first is a "supporting keywords" list and second is a "topic keywords". The supporting keyword list are keyword you'll want to keep in mind when writing content on your site, and can use as anchor texts for your pages. The topic list are keyword you'll want to create topics around and use support keywords, and funnel your customers from the Awareness process to the action process. The key with creating your content is you'll want to have a group of content for each of the 4 levels, but they all interlink down to the level below.

Example: "Awareness topic" for me "Brand Monitoring", will have 2-5 links to content in the below level of "Interest" ('online reputation management' in my case). All my "Interest" content will each have 1-4 links to the "Commercial" content. Then my "Commercial" content will have 1-2 links to my Action content. Overall you'll have less action pages then Awareness, since that follows the natural course, and those action pages you have to monitor like a hawk, and make sure they are converting into sales. Use A/B split testing on those especially, and know what percentage of people which land on those pages convert into a new customer/sale/lead/revenue or click-thru to your CPA offer.

Now obviously you'll be sprinkling supporting "commercial" keywords within the commercial content, and not mixing and mashing shit like a savage all over the place. But understand the Awareness content, when they link to the Interest (or dare you link to the Commercial), they should use the "Interest" content as a anchor text (or within the sentence linking), so the user gradually follows your funnel.

Since you have your excel keyword lists color coordinated with conditional formatting, easily finding support keywords and keywords to create content off of it for categories is going to be a lot easier, and your flow of what to target will make sense.


As you do this exercise and continue creating more content, and then looking for opportunities to traffic leak, market, and engage users in conversation with, you'll start realizing the intent of the potential visitor's keywords, and will mentally be able to connect with them and understand the stage they are at. Then you can take a sip of your coffee cause now you're a closer.

One of the advantages of using the SERPWoo keyword tool is you'll know the pages your competitors using to rank for related keywords, so you'll be able to view their content easily and dig into your competition's funnel (or most likely their lack there of a real funnel).

With user intent, you can decided on what level you want to target and narrow your focus - which just means more profits and sales for you - not wasting time with window shoppers. Let the uneducated try to rank for "Headphone reviews", you'd rather go after "Buy Bose Noise Canceling Headphones". :wink:

Also pay attention to the words competitors use for their PPC campaigns, you can get ideas for seed keywords from them and then input them into your keyword tool and go from there. You can also get ideas of what languages your potential customers use by joining LinkedIn and Facebook groups, visiting Yahoo Answers and Quora pages ranking within your SERPs as well as Twitter. You'll find keywords you never would have thought of without having your ear to the ground. Also your competitor's help and FAQ pages can be the first line in understanding their customer's difficulties and what solutions the competition came up with.


My goal was to keep keyword research at a macro view instead of diving deep with specific tools and learning about the tools' capabilities instead of a true understanding of intent. The reason is so you can understand WHY a user would type in this keyword and what type of content you can create. The user's intent level is critical to creating content that will not simply answer a question but rather create profits and revenue for you. Most people just create a keyword list, and create content which follows no flow or funnel, just "bla" - here it is, and there is no direction to go from there, if you don't know the next direction cause they aren't in the right mindset, they definitely won't know, they are consumers after all... :wink: Lead them all the way through the sales process.

- CCarter ( @MercenaryCarter)
Holy s***, I now know exactly what's wrong with my business. Instead of putting in so much effort to try get 100k/day views, if i actually chose the right keywords I could have 1000-10k per day views and make double.

This is exactly the guidance I needed, I was still so confused on choosing keywords but this post cleared everything up.

Thanks @CCarter
Mind=blown. I knew it wasn't only about making sure the competition was beatable, the CPC was good enough, and the search volume was good enough. But matching user intent to keywords this specifically never crossed my mind. This literally changes everything. Especially the idea that something like "headphone reviews" isn't a buying term. It looks like it, but now I see why it's not.

I can't add anything on the level of the original post but I do want to ask, hopefully without derailing, what an acceptable exact search volume would be? Here's what I'm thinking and I hope someone can fix me where I'm wrong. It seems that the longer the tail, the higher the intent and the lower the volume. So I'd want to make sure the competition is either extremely low or the value is extremely high to make up for the really low volume.

Like... I could see trying to rank for a term that gets 20 searches a month if a conversion was worth $1000, like a lawsuit or something. But I'm thinking about how in general the #1 spot only gets 40% of the traffic. So we'd be talking about 8 visitors a month, unless you could get the top 3 spots or more. But your conversion rate would have to be really high. You see what I mean? At what point is the volume too low even for really high value?

I see why this matters so much and why so many of us are failing. The guys who can figure this out must be balling. I'd way rather do this type of marketing than try to get a half a million views a day for $3 CPMs with viral content.
This is an awesome write-up.

As a keyword strategy would I be correct in assuming that affiliates should focus on creating content around 'interest' and 'desire'?

Like build and rank a "best noise cancelling headphones" page (easier said than done, right?) which brings people to the site. The page will contain say 5 reviews of the best products. Each product will have a teaser review with a link to the full review on your site. So once the customer transitions from interest to desire you move them through the website until they are ready to buy and you send them through an affiliate link to Amazon.

Would this be correct?
It seems that the longer the tail, the higher the intent and the lower the volume. So I'd want to make sure the competition is either extremely low or the value is extremely high to make up for the really low volume.

If a page is ranking for a keyword with only 20 searches a month you aren't taking into consideration the "extra" long-tail terms that page will also get that add on to those 20 searches a month. A page just doesn't rank for 1 term and that's it, it ranks for that term, and the related terms as well as expanded upon thoughts and new searches Google has never seen.

Google claims 15% of their searches they've never seen before (source: Around 15% of its 3.5 billion daily searches have not been seen before), so there are brand new variations of that one 20 visitors a month term that will never show up on any keyword planning tool or volume estimates. What if that 20 keyword term also has 1-2 people with a variation of it coming to that site a day. 20 visitors just turned into 50 to 80 visitors a month and you did nothing else.

You need to take into consideration the variations when looking at keyword's estimated volume.

As a keyword strategy would I be correct in assuming that affiliates should focus on creating content around 'interest' and 'desire'?

Yes, that's the perfect scenario.

Think about it from your perspective. Example: you want a brand new Mac and then googled "Apple Macbook Pro 15", and you are in the "Action" state. You have your credit card out, then you click on the first result and it's a review website, you are going to click back, since you've already made your decision, you WANT, so you'll look a little closer for the result, not the review result.

Now I know some people are going to be up in arms that they want to rank for that exact keyword cause the user's credit card is in hand and they can get the affiliate commission. Realistically though as an affiliate you HAVE NOT provided ANY added value from Apple's perspective except take away a portion of their profits. The user already had their CC in hand, so they were already sold. Throw in some coupon, sure go ahead, but that further reduces Apple's profits and your own commission, so who benefits? Apple certainly doesn't, you just took money that was already going to their pockets.

Remember we are marketers folks, but we have to benefit the brand OTHERWISE the, and's of the world will reduce their commissions or eliminate their affiliate programs altogether. At some point they looked at the affiliate numbers, the terms affiliates are ranking for then realized, hey they are sort of just taking money we would have already gotten. So what do you see? You see affiliate programs like Ahrefs, Amazon, and others closing down or reducing commissions even further. Some of it might be "greed" but there is a good chunk of it as a result of affiliates' actions, like people spamming a brand using GSA SER throughout the internet in an attempt to just rank for the brand's name. As affiliates we should be trying to add value so it's mutually beneficial.

If someone is in the "Interest" or "Desire" stage they are looking to home in on a product, that's the perfect opportunity for an affiliate to come in and convince this individual "Yes, you should go with the Apple Macbook Pro 15 if you are a Graphic Designer or Video editor due to the 16GB of Ram on the laptop", in fact here is a link to get it right now!" You helped convince the user that the Apple product is the best product, you've just added REAL value to Apple by turning a visitor into a customer, they would be 100% happy to reward you with a commission for that, since the user may have not even consider Apple's Macbook and you turned them into a customer. You added value.

As a business you have to add value to people's lives, if you are finding yourself having to "trick" or "scheme" your way to getting revenue you need to step back and rethink your strategy, since eventually those brands will get tired of you just taking money out of their pockets. But also recall the example with you as the user with your Credit Card in hand, you'll just click the back button and go to

This isn't directed at @rothschild - rather the people that are going to disagree a bit with this line of thinking since they've always just wanted to go down the easy route. There are always going to be people that want to play in the mud, but if playing in the mud has not worked for you yet at this late date, maybe it's time to re-think your strategy and go with adding value. If we as a whole and individual affiliates do not, we will find affiliate programs reducing commissions, or completely eliminating them when they hit 100% brand reach like Apple, Amazon, or Ahrefs have done within your target audience.

Now the reason I know this is I also have affiliates trying to rank for several of my brands' name without actually adding any value by attempting to rank right underneath each brand. Adding "XYZ brand Discount" or "XYZ brand Coupon" doesn't add value to any of my brands at any level, you are just taking money that was already going to be their and reducing profits - twice, with your commission and your discount. Usually I just remove those type of affiliates from the program or just work with affiliates who have a big reach and authority within each industry I'm involved in. It's always a double edge sword, since it's like playing with fire when it comes to affiliate marketing. If you play with it wildly you can burn down the whole village, and we see that a lot in affiliate marketing.

Recall Norb, owner of DubTurbo and the former NicheChoppers forum, he had one affiliate hack 2 major record companies in Europe's database then spam out the DubTurbo offer to the whole userbase. Lawyers got involved, Lawsuits were threatened, and criminal charges occurred to the affiliate that did that - and he didn't get a single commission cause Clickbank withheld it. I was there with Norb when it all went down and talking to him throughout the whole ordeal. You know what the end result was? He changed ALL affiliate's commissions immediately went from 70% to 1%. Then a few weeks later affiliate now had to be whitelisted and 99% of the affiliates were removed from the program. Then a year later the potential to be an affiliate grew to a selected dozen, and now the program is completely closed off, but DubTurbo is still alive, there just is no longer an opportunity for affiliates to make money cause of one person's actions they burnt down the whole village.

The only reason I'm posting it here is because the article mentions Awareness, Interest, & Desire in a psychological aspect that ties in very well with the above write up.

This is actually perfect, since it will help get people in the mindset for one of our future days on social.
Our focus is on profits - everything we are after is for profits aka the biggest bang for our efforts. Keyword research is the difference between you making 20 sales a day by ranking for 'womens shoes' (Google shopping's organic results values products at $24.95 to $85) - generating between $499 to $1700 in revenue a day, versus making 10 sales a day by ranking for 'red bottom heels with diamonds' which cost $795 to $995 per pair - generating you $7950 to $9950 in revenue per day.

As soon as I read this, I put my finger tips to my temple and thought back to all the hours of work I've done finding and writing for keywords much like the 'woman shoes' example.


Up until coming across the crash course, I've had so much knowledge but really no sensible order to that knowledge. This crash course is the WD-40 that I needed to get all my rusty gears moving once more. I'm only up to day 6 and I've already figured out so much.
So lets say I am doing a shoe review article. I pop 'mens running shoe review' in Adwords and out pops like 700 Keyword Ideas. How do I choose a title for my review article? Do I use a long tail keyword that has all the big generic words in it? Should my url match that title, or should i use the url to stuff more keywords? I also use Yoast, so should I select that long tail or big high volume keyword as my focus keyword?
So lets say I am doing a shoe review article. I pop 'mens running shoe review' in Adwords and out pops like 700 Keyword Ideas. How do I choose a title for my review article? Do I use a long tail keyword that has all the big generic words in it? Should my url match that title, or should i use the url to stuff more keywords? I also use Yoast, so should I select that long tail or big high volume keyword as my focus keyword?

@Asad, I'm going to answer this one since it relates to On-Page SEO more so than keyword research.

First and foremost, those 700 keywords aren't likely to all fit within the sub-grouping you're looking for if you want to create a hyper-relevant article. You can likely boil that down to 10 or so. With those and the inclusion of natural LSI phrases along with links, you'll begin to rank for most of the other long-tails that aren't worth focusing on alone anyways.

In your case, I would focus on the grouping that includes words like "reviews, best, top, cheap" and similar words, since this is deeper in the sales funnel. Those will pre-qualify the searchers.

I'm going to completely make up some terms here so we can illustrate the answer to your question:
  • mens running shoe review
  • best mens running shoes
  • cheap running shoes for men
  • top 10 mens jogging shoes
Now, on top of those you'll find a ton of variations that may get decent search volume on their own, but we're past the days of even needing to type them in our article. Google understands which are related and will rank you for them if you're wort it. So definitely optimize around the highest volume terms, as they will act as the "leaders" of each relevancy group. That's the signal you want to send Google.

You asked:

How do I choose a title for my review article? Do I use a long tail keyword that has all the big generic words in it?
You also continued on to mention the use of long-tails, but "mens running shoe review" is already pretty long. I suppose we could mention a longer-tail like "mens running shoe review for competitive trails."

Let's say those are your two main keywords along with their modifier variations. I'd title the article something like The Best Men's Running Shoes For Tracks & Trails - Top 10 Reviews. Now you're covering indoor, outdoor, and wilderness... have Best, Reviews, and Top in there... and you can mention Cheap, Jogging, Competitive, and other words in the headers of the content. And you don't turn away searchers who think you're only dealing with trails.

Should my url match that title, or should i use the url to stuff more keywords?
It depends on your existing URL structure. If you're dealing with long URLs like hxxp:// then I wouldn't care to slap a couple extra words in there. It's an important place to use keywords, but it's not a deal breaker.

So if you equally had URLs like hxxp:// then I'd keep it short with the most important keyword exact-matched in there. You'll have an easier time with the main money-making term and you'll might see some preference for having a short URL.

I use long URLs and it's not hurting me one bit. This isn't such a strong signal that it should be much more than a matter of preference.

I also use Yoast, so should I select that long tail or big high volume keyword as my focus keyword?

If you're optimizing for the modern day Google and not the one everyone else pretends still exists, then you'll be optimizing around entire groups of terms. You're optimizing for concepts and groupings, not one term, if you want to maximize your ROI on each article. Not only will you get more traffic from more terms, but your optimization for each individually will be stronger do to relevancy and LSI usage.

On the sites I use Yoast on, I put the big high volume term in there just so I can remember at a glance what the group I'm going after is and which term is the money-maker. I pay zero attention to Yoast's optimization suggestions. It's a good guide for one-term-per-page type of work if you still operate like that, which can be great for micro-niche sites.

Otherwise you ought to be casting a wide net and building authority and ultimately owning that entire relevancy sub-group. You'll see this is the current reality if you take a sub-group out of the Keyword Planner and take a good look at each SERP. The same 15 pages will reappear over and over and over with little variation in the top 3. Because they own it.
Bruhhhhh I cant thank you enough for boiling that down! On site SEO has been a challenge for me so thanks for helping me sharpen my strategy!
and obviously, as the adprice goes up so does the competition. just about anything I searced that would fall in the "desire" category is high competition.

it appears newbies and/or new sites trying to rank in google would be better served addressing the middle of the road "interest" keywords and supplying content to transfer them into the desire/buy category no?
it appears newbies and/or new sites trying to rank in google would be better served addressing the middle of the road "interest" keywords and supplying content to transfer them into the desire/buy category no?
I would agree, the "informing" then "moving them along the funnel" is the proper affiliate marketing strategy, that way they made a decision based on your content and you tag them with an affiliate cookie when they are looking to purchase the product/service.
@CCarter can you talk a bit about competition for keywords? I am using the SerpWoo keyword finder and the niche I'm looking around in has high competition - 100-95 for almost every keyword. This extends down into keywords with only a handful of searches per month.

Is this a good indication that I should look elsewhere?
Is this a good indication that I should look elsewhere?
Not necessarily. Look at the urls ranking. If they are simply the homepage of the domain, yet are ranking for the long-tail keyword variation then it could be a sign Google would rather have content that talks about the specific long-tail variation versus just websites that are in the general niche. Google and more importantly USERS do not like getting links to the homepage when searching for stuff. They both prefer to land on content that's usually an inner page talking about the topic.

I'd love to find profitable keywords where just the homepages of my competitors are ranking, that means they aren't optimizing or even targeting those lucrative keywords correctly. A David can definitely beat a Goliath in that scenario.
Hey @CCarter firstly thanks for the wealth of information you've contributed to the bootcamp alongside other fantastic writers.

I have a few questions:

1) While conducting research on a niche I discovered a niche with decent search volume for words with buyers intent but also a good community where I assumed traffic leaks would work (by essentially skyscrapping current content). But then I saw on another thread that you don't recommend this.

I love SEO, I have an SEO product, it generates targeted visitors that need a solution. BUT SEO doesn't work for viral sites. The traffic is purely driven by emotion and sensationalism. SEOing a viral site - that's a waste of time. Viral sites are here to make people tons of money quickly and that's it.

Do you mean don't focus on SEO on a site that's exclusively going to be for viral traffic?

Because I was thinking about following a tiered system similar to @Ryuzaki (if I remember correctly).
But with only two steps

Tier 1: Best / ultimate guide to xyz with affiliate links
Tier 2: Content to gain traffic / traction but interlinked to the articles explaining the products

The way I saw it (possibly incorrectly) is that I could use SEO to rank for the Tier 1 terms while using the Tier 2 content to not only gain links but get a 'roughly' target audience visiting the site and possibly gain a following from them. So for example if someone is reading about protein intake and in the article I would mention that I have a guide to the best protein powders.
Also don't worry fitness is not the niche ha
I would have though about using traffic leaks with the Tier 2 to drive traffic to the Tier 1 as well as using other methods on monetisation on the Tier 2.

I think I'm worrying a bit too much and just need to dive into the it all run and gun and see what happens, it's my first site. The experience is much needed.

But at the same time I want this website to be an asset and a business not just a micro-niche site doing $100 a month and having 50 projects on the run to make a good chunk of cash. So want to make sure I'm doing the right thing.

2) With regards to sites mainly focusing on monetisation from affiliate programs like amazon / home depot would you worry about CPC? As quite often search terms for best xxx 2017 will have 1,000s of monthly search volume but a very low CPC.
In my head it would seem like these are buyer intent keywords and therefore worthwhile attempting rank for

3) At what point do you consider a KW too competitive? I'm looking to invest just probably $500 a month into this site initially (excluding hosting / registration / design ect.) but worry that I will be up against too many big time players with budgets 10x that.

4) Also the content you link out to from wickedfire have you cross posted here?
I'll gladly sign up for wickedfire if you haven't but would rather not waste money if you have.

Sorry for the wall of text, but hopefully these are questions that other people will be asking too and can gain value from it.
Do you mean don't focus on SEO on a site that's exclusively going to be for viral traffic?

1. Your website about "Best / ultimate guide to xyz with affiliate links" isn't going to be a viral site no matter how much you want it to be. A website about "protein intake" or "protein powders" isn't going to go "Viral" in the ViralNova sense. It's not sensationalism nor emotional. Those are informative sites that can have content pieces that are "viral" but the overall site is not viral focus. A viral site is a site that talks about stuff absolutely no one will care about within 2-3 months.

You are confusing "Viral" with "Popular" within a niche. The masses go to viral sites. They aren't there to buy anything, that's why all those viral sites have a ton of ADs that end up crashing your browser if you stay on there long enough.

The website you sound like you are looking to make is an "authority"/"big brand" or "Popular" site WITHIN YOUR NICHE. The key is that your website will be industry/niche focused. Viral Sites aren't narrowed down, That's why they get 250K visitors from Facebook but it's all based on gossip/sensational topics that have no buyer intent in mind.

Separate the ideas of "Viral" and "Popular (within your niche)" and you'll remove a lot of the confusion.

would you worry about CPC?

2. Buyer Intent keywords will usually have higher CPC since more commercial bidders will be bidding on them. CPC is a great indicator whether people are willing to bid on the terms and buy adspace - therefore making a website Adsense dollars.

At what point do you consider a KW too competitive?

3. Never consider anything too competitive. You can create an interactive content piece that blows the industry away and everyone and their mother will be linking to your website and you've just gained a ton of backlinks since you created next level content.

You are thinking too small and with fear since you don't have "how to promote" a content piece down or a marketing plan once you create a content piece.

Here is an example of "next level content":

America's Favorite Halloween Candy State By State

^^ That piece right there went "viral" in terms of getting a ton of people talking about it and a lot of visitors to the website. The website itself is not a "Viral" site, but it's got content pieces that are next level. They took the time to add Halloween gifs, add a MAP of the USA and showcase what each state's favorite candy is. Two very simple things that generated that article thousand of backlinks, tons of traffic, and lots of "page juice".

That's why I don't like SEO, cause people are trying to measure "metrics" and all this stuff without stepping back and thinking about the overall interaction of users. Users till this day are commenting on that single article - the article was written over 6 months ago in time for Halloween.

I talk about it in the Compelling Content thread: Example of Compelling content GOLD

In there I give another example of the World Bank and who is being awarded contracts. All did was take a D3 javascript, add the data after doing research, and then implement it. Now imagine instead of just writing blocks of content, you create an interactive javascript that showcases a graph, chart, a Map, or "calculator" that users can interact with. That alone will have people talking about the content piece within your industry and you'll get a ton of backlinks, traffic, and become "newsworthy".

In your protein intake example you can create an interactive chart with a slider that showcases different foods and the amount of protein they have, then a user can slide to "Spinach" for example, and input how many cups of spinach they are about to consume and then it calculates the output of how much protein they are about to intake. BAM, now you got a "tool" / interactive content that no one else in your industry has, making your website unique and people will talk about it, send links to their friends, and it will become popular.

It just requires you being creative. In the thread there is a link to several javascript libraries you can utilize to get started.

Ask yourself what are some pain points in my industry, can I make a graph, a small tool, or Map solving those pain points?

Marketing is being creative - it's not to be approached form a "scientific" approach. It's not hard, but it requires being creative, right brain stuff - that's where SEOs fail, since they waste time with PA/DA/CF/TF/WTF/IS/ALL/THIS/SHIT metrics when they can just step back, think about their audience and then create content piece are interactive or with gifs - at least not a "wall of text", and allowing them to have that content piece "go viral". Even an Infographic will have visitors coming in from everywhere.

You are wasting too much time "thinking" or looking for a "perfect" blueprint or something.

Also the content you link out to from wickedfire have you cross posted here?

4. Most of the content is already here at BuSo.