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How to Perform Keyword Research without Spending a Dime

If you want to start getting traffic from Google and the other search engines, one of the most important things you need to do is target the right keywords.  Keywords (or key phrases) are the things that people type into the search engines.  Targeting them simply means optimizing your site in such a way that the search engines know that your site contains information about that specific topic.

When done properly, you can get your site to rank well when people type that word or phrase into the search engines.  While this is a fairly simple concept, it is quite difficult to do properly.  To get it right, you really need to make sure you are starting with the proper keywords for your site, and this requires keyword research.

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is any activity where you attempt to come up with the right keywords for your site.  There are a number of factors that you need to consider, the most important of which are:

  • Number of Local Searches – You need to know how many times per day people are typing that keyword or phrase into Google. If people are only searching for it once per day, it is not worth the effort to try to rank for it.
  • Keyword Competition – Looking at other sites that are already ranking for a specific keyword is very important. For example, if you want to try to rank for a keyword such as ‘Online Fantasy Football’ it will be extremely difficult (if not impossible).  This is because the sites that rank for that keyword are huge and spend thousands of dollars per week to maintain their rankings.
  • Effectiveness of a Keyword – This one can be difficult as it will vary depending on what your goals are for your site. If you are looking to sell a product, you want to rank for keywords that people type in when they are looking to buy.  For example, if someone types in ‘how are running shoes made,’ they aren’t likely looking to buy shoes.  If, on the other hand, they type in, ‘what are the best running shoes for shin splints’ they are more likely to be looking to actually buy.
  • Value of Keyword – Some sites want to make money by displaying advertisements through programs such as AdSense. If that is the case, you need to know about how much money you’ll make per click.  This is what the value of the keyword is.

Of course, there will be many other things that you want to know about the keyword.  When looking for the right keywords to target, there are many great programs available to help you do the research.  Unfortunately, most of these programs can be quite expensive.  If you’re on a tight budget, you can still do excellent keyword research without paying a dime, as long as you know where to look and what to do.  The following information will help you to identify keywords that can help benefit your site.

Google AdWords Keyword Planner

This tool, which can be found at is an essential option for any site owner.  It is actually designed for people who are planning on purchasing ads through the Google AdWords network.

With this tool you can type in one keyword, and it will generate dozens or even hundreds of related keywords to give you ideas of what people are searching for.  It will also show you how many people are searching for that keyword or phrase per day, how much it would cost to buy ads for that keyword (this is the value of the keyword) and even how difficult it will be to rank for the keyword.

To use this tool you just need to sign up for a free account, and if you already have an account on any other Google property, you can typically just register for this site with the same email address in just seconds.

Look at the Competition with is a website that offers a variety of different tools to help people improve their websites.  They have one of the most impressive keyword research tools on the market today.  Note that this tool has an upgrade option that you can pay for to access additional information.  For the vast majority of people, however, the free version is more than enough.

All you do is type in your competitors URL and it will pop up all sorts of information about how they are ranking, what they are worth, and what keywords they are targeting.  This will not only help you to see how strong your competition is, but will also give you some great ideas of what keywords you should target in the future.

Compare Sites with allows you to pull up a vast amount of information about your site right next to information from any other site.  This is a great way to quickly see how your site compares to others in your niche, and what you need to work on in order to improve it.  While not directly related to keywords per say, you need to know this information or you’ll never be able to rank for any good keywords.

Where is Your Traffic Coming from?

By visiting you can quickly see which keywords are generating the most traffic for your site already.  This is an essential tool for any site once it has become established and is getting some traffic from the search engines.  This is very useful because when you know where you are already getting traffic, you will know what type of keywords to start looking into.

Targeting related keywords to those that you are already getting traffic from is a very smart strategy.  Not only are you going to target keywords that you know are driving good traffic, but the search engines will likely rank you much more quickly than they would with other keywords.  This is because they have already determined that you are a good resource for information about that specific topic, so it makes sense to rank you for related terms.

Never Stop Researching

Whether you decide to use these keyword tools or you want to pay someone to do the research for you, it is essential that you never stop doing keyword research.  The more words and phrases that you rank for, the better your site will perform overall.  With a little time and effort you can start bringing in thousands of visitors per day (or even more) to your site.

Pesach Lattin
Pesach Lattin
Pesach "Pace" Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pesach Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.


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