Understanding Basic Keyword Research

Keyword research is an important step towards creating a successful niche website that generates good quality traffic through good quality content. There are two key elements that go into keyword research, such as the level of competition that is out there trying to rank for the same keyword, as well as the number of monthly searches that are actually being done for that keyword.

The goal is to find a keyword that strikes the perfect balance between these variables: low competition with a high number of monthly global searches.

Basically, you must ask yourself the following:

    Is this keyword profitable (i.e. are people searching for the keyword)?
    Is this keyword rankable (i.e. is the competition low)?

With some practice, you can pull some great keywords using the Google Keywords Tool in no time. Between these two variables, however, the one that seems to cause the most confusion is determining the level of competition for a keyword.

It is quite easy to see how many searches are being performed on any given keyword, because the Google Keywords Tool tells you in plain black and white.

But, determining the level of competition is not as straight-forward.

This article is going to walk through some key tips to help you advance your knowledge and skills in finding a keyword that can be easy to rank for.

A Deeper Look into Competition

Once you have found a set of keywords that you are interested in targeting for your niche website, you are going to want to look deeper into that keyword to see if you can rank for it easily. The first thing to look at is the number of results that are returned when you type that keyword into the Google search box.

Often times, a keyword that returns over a million results looks quite intimidating, but in reality, this competition metric shouldn’t hold as much weight as you think. It’s important that you look deeper into this before tossing the keyword out.

If you place quotes around the keyword, resubmit your search, then more than likely the number of returned results will have decreased. In many cases, the results can decrease drastically.

So, let’s put this into an example.

If you type in the keyword gifts for twins (without quotations around it) in the Google search box, the initial estimated results returned is around 2.1 million.

At first glance, this keyword looks like it would have quite a bit of competition. But, watch what happens when you add quotes around your keyword for your search. Google reports that there are actually about 600,000 results. This is quite a drastic change from 2.1 million.

Hidden Keyword Competition Strategy

Now, this next step is important. It doesn’t always work for every keyword, but when it does work, you can really get a more accurate glimpse into the true competition for your keyword.

Scroll down to the very bottom of the Google page. What you want to do is advance to the next set of page results until you get to the last page of all results.

For example, you should see the Google pages numbered at the bottom (1-10). Click on page 10 to advance to the next set of results. Scroll down to the bottom of the page again (you should be on page 10), and click on page 19.

Continue to do this (i.e. click on page 28, 37, etc) until you get to the last page of the results. You may see something similar to the following at the bottom of the last page (assuming this works – remember this won’t work for all keywords):

“In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 448 already displayed. If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.”

If you scroll back up to the top, you will also see that (using our example) the keyword gifts for twins actually has only about 446 results:

“Page 45 of about 446 results (0.15 seconds)”

So we have managed to determine that this keyword really only has about 446 results! We’ve dwindled the competition down from 2.1 million to 446. This keyword looks quite promising at this point.

Additional Keyword Research Methods

Now, you will need to do some more digging before you can make your final decision. Determining the level of competition on a keyword not only requires checking out the number of results that are returned, but it also requires checking into how popular your competition is.

So the competition looks low, but can you beat out the competition that is there?

Backlinks and Traffic Data

It is important to look into the existing backlinks of your competitors (typically the top 10 competitors) so that you can determine how popular your competition is on the Internet. Many Internet Marketers have their own beliefs and standards when it comes to backlink standards.

A good rule of thumb to follow (again, this could vary depending on who you talk to) is to avoid keywords that have top ten competitors with 250-500 backlinks. Typically, competitors with less than 250 backlinks is a good indicator that there aren’t many others trying to compete for the same keyword, making that keyword easier to rank for.

More on Traffic

As you learned earlier, traffic is very important to keyword research. If no one is searching for your term, then there is no reason to worry about targeting that keyword. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t target keywords that receive low searches each month.

It really depends on the type of keyword you are going after and what type of method you are planning to ue to make money with it.


If you want to succeed online, it is going to take work. There is no crazy secret that is going to make you millions overnight. If anyone claims this, then it’s more than likely a scam and you should just run away. Do your keyword research right the first time, and you will be one step closer to building a successful (and profitable) niche website.