Keyword Understanding & Research
An important piece of good news is that when you are dealing with free visitors (E.g. not paid vistitors like from PPC ads on Google) from search engines, detailed and precise keyword research is weirdly unimportant. Follow my advice and don't get stuck in this stage, feeling like there is something that the rich and powerful experts know here that you don't.
Follow the few important principles explained in the paragraphs below and then move on and focus on the part of online business that comes after keyword research. Since people are making tons of money in hundreds of thousands of different niches, it stands to reason that picking the perfect niche, or knowing just the exact number of expected monthly visitors to any particular keyword, isn't the big secret to making money online.
A general ballpark idea of a keyword phrase's monthly searches, a decent idea of related relevant terms, and an estimate of the competitiveness of a keyword phrase, is all you really need to get from your keyword research in order to make a lot of money online... if you learn what to do with your website after you've done that research!
The real skill to money-getting starts with getting visitors to your websites (or clients' websites), and then creating a profitable visitor experience after they arrive.
Use the average pay-per-click values given in the Google keyword tool (see 'PPC values' pic below) to estimate the competitiveness of a ranking for a keyword phrase. To see these values, you must login with any normal free gmail email account login. The Google keyword tool also gives you a “low, medium, high” estimate of a keyword's competitiveness.
An avg PPC value of $2 or less is rather easy to rank for, as a general rule. At $5-$10 you need to be more serious and patient with your efforts. The main use that I have for keyword research is to find related terms that visitors to my niche type into Google that are related to my main keyword. I also try to get a sense of the hierarchy – of which terms are the main terms, and which are sub-topic terms. Google tends to reward you for incorporating subtopic terms into your website pages and in your general search engine domination efforts. One method of doing this is called “siloing,” a powerful technique that is beyond the scope of this post but is covered in detail later on in my Ultimate Guide.
If you are making an affiliate site, I would recommend picking a niche that is interesting to you, then finding a product or two to promote (read: Finding Products To Promote), and then doing some general keyword research to get a feel for relevant, related, primary and secondary keywords. Just enter a common-sense starting keyword phrase into the Google Keyword Tool and see where it takes you. Keyword tools always give many related phrases, which you can then take one of those phrases and type it into the main keyword tool search box, and repeat the process.