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Drilling for Paydirt: Keyword Search Tips for Success

Written on May 22nd, 2014 by

Your keyword search is one of the most important steps in any online marketing campaign. Screw it up and you’ll be fighting a losing battle.

Imagine your next online marketing campaign (it could be SEO or PPC) is a house. It doesn’t matter what materials you use, the craftsmanship of the work, the top end appliances and gadgets you fill it up with or anything else if you mess up the foundation.

If the base of your house is messed up, you might be able to build it but it won’t stay up for very long, and not without a huge ton of problems along the way.

This is why doing proper keyword research is so important. If you rush this step to start doing “fun” things like building websites and links then you’re going to regret it. You could be targeting extremely difficult keywords that are beyond your ability and budget to rank for. Or, you could be targeting keywords that are easy to rank for but don’t have any monetization potential.

I can hear you saying, “But keyword research can be boring and tedious. And I don’t want to have paralysis by analysis. I just want to start doing things!” Yeah, we know, we’ve been there before.

That is why we made keyword research so easy with Traffic Travis, which you can download for free here. This handy keyword tool will help you exponentially expand your keyword list, see your potential competitors and know quickly whether a keyword is worth pursuing or not. 

Here’s how we do keyword research using this powerful tool.

Step 1: Research

Before you pick keywords, you need to decide on what market or industry you will be working in.

These are broad topics like health and beauty, fitness, money, sports and so on. At this higher level, don’t be afraid to dig into many different industries. Once you get a feeling for the general field you’re interested in, it’s time to start digging into niches.

In case you don’t know, a niche is just a smaller subset of a market, industry or subject. For example:

  • Market: Money, Niche: Stock Trading
  • Market: Fitness, Niche: Ab Workouts
  • Market: Sports, Niche: Surfing

But even niches might be too broad to be viable and you might have to specialize more. For example:

  • Niche: Stock Trading, Micro Niche: Forex Day Trading
  • Niche: Ab Workouts, Micro Niche: Ab workouts for busy moms
  • Niche: Surfing, Micro Niche: Surfing wetsuits

Coming out of the gate, you’re not going to be able to dominate a broad topic like surfing. Your best bet is to specialize in a subset of that topic, dominate it, then expand to other subsets under that topic. Get enough of these under your belt and you will be in a position to dominate a wider topic.

But not all niches are created the same. Before jumping into your keyword search, here are some loose guidelines you should consider:

  • Is the audience engaged? Do people care about this niche and spend their time consuming content about it?
  • Profitability: Are people spending money in this niche? Is this information people are willing to pay for or are there products/services they will buy?
  • Marketability: Can you market effectively to this niche? Are they online and spending money there?
  • Does it tie into your end goals? What kind of monetization strategy are you going to use? Does your niche fit with that? If you ever decide to sell your site, is it something that someone else would be interested in buying?
  • How is it trending? Use Google Trends to see if your niche is becoming more or less popular over time. You don’t want to get on board a sinking ship, right?

Step 2: Start Researching

Now that you have decided on your niche, you will have your general root keywords in hand. These are most likely just the name of your niche (surfing wetsuits), easily thought of variations and so on.

Here is where the awesome starts.

  • First, open up your free copy of Traffic Travis.
  • Click on the Research tab.
  • Keyword research will be selected by default but make sure it’s highlighted anyway.
  • Enter your keywords in the box. If you want to include multiples, just use commas to separate them.
  • Decide on how many results you want from the drop-down menu.
  • Hit the “Fetch” button.

After Traffic Travis has gone out and done the heavy lifting, you should see something like this:

Traffic Travis Keyword Results

Advanced Settings

If you need to get a little more advanced, you can crack open the advanced filter section and tinker with those settings.

Some of the settings you can change are country, language and keyword match type.

Traffic Travis Settings Options


At the bottom of the screen, you will see a list of export options to pull your data out of this Traffic Travis screen. Here are your options:

  • Hide: You can hide selected data if you don’t want it showing up in a report.
  • Add: You can add keywords to a project, saving them to work on later.
  • PDF: Export this report to a PDF. This option is perfect for sending reports to clients.
  • CSV: Export the report to a workable spreadsheet for additional manipulation.

Traffic Travis Keyword Exporting

Alternative Keyword Research

You are going to get more keywords than you could possibly think of when you use the Traffic Travis tool. But a keyword tool is only as good as its inputs.

If you have scoured through the keyword list you generated and you’re not finding enough gems, then it’s time to think outside of the box a bit. If you don’t have a lot of knowledge about the niche you’re starting the campaign in, this might be difficult.

Try these tricks to gather more root keywords. Once you have them, plug them back into Traffic Travis and see what pops out.

  • Read Authority Sites: Chances are there is already a go to website, publication, book or some form of information about your subject out there. Find it, read it and write down potentially interesting keywords. These will usually be found in page/post titles, book chapter names and magazine section titles.
  • Top 10 Method: To get even more dialed in on topics, go to Google and search for “top 10 [keyword]”. This will give you some insight into the top 10 products, services or whatever you’re looking for. Then take each of these results and plug them back into Traffic Travis.
  • Google Suggest: Have you ever noticed when you start typing a word into Google’s search box it comes up with suggestions below that it thinks you might be searching for? This is called Google Suggest (clever name, I know) and you can find some interesting keyword ideas here.
  • Talking with People: Go old school and ask average people what they would type into a search engine if they were looking for your niche. My go-to is my mother, who is technologically challenged but doesn’t have a mind cluttered with years of SEO and Internet marketing thinking. Sometimes the most simple answers are right in front of you, you just can’t see them.

Don’t Get Stuck

Personally, I really enjoy keyword research. Maybe you do too. But don’t get stuck researching and never taking the next step.

Yes, you want to make sure that you’re picking good keywords with good volume and moderate competition. But don’t keep digging and digging and never do anything about it. That would be like working in a diamond mine but never bringing the small gems you found out because you kept looking for bigger ones.

Do your best to narrow down your keyword list, then move on with your campaign. You might succeed, you might fail. Either way, you’ve learned something and you can go back to the drawing board whenever you want.

Get started on your online marketing journey today! Download your free copy of Traffic Travis and get going!