Keyword Research For Beginners ( The Free Way )

I recently ranked in the top #3 for a keyword that now brings me 400 unique visitors per day. I managed to do it by writing only 5 short posts and getting around 10 backlinks from articles and blog comments. This site is 2 months old and is now generating around $120 / month from adsense alone, without proper monetization. I plan to hit the first spot in 3-4 weeks which will probably quadruple the traffic and income.

Ranking for this website was easy as a breeze, but I had the chance to see this amazing keyword based on my past mistakes. I have worked 10 times harder to get results that were 10 times worse. So, good keyword research is probably the most important aspect of starting a new SEO campaign.

The Tools You Will Need

There are many different keyword research tools that are advertised on the internet, but I found that the Google keyword tool combined with the Quick SEO Results free keyword research tool are more than enough for basic research and for discovering your first 10 seed keywords that you will later compare and analyse in more detail.

How to use the Google keyword tool:

Use the filters shown in the image above (good for finding easy keywords that can help you build some confidence in this process, once you rank successfully for a keyword with 10.000 exact matches you can try taking on bigger challenges because you will have some confidence and experience)

  • Enable the CPC averages
  • Use exact match (not broad or phrase match)
  • If not using buying keywords (such as “buy something now” or “product review”, check the average CPC column so you can calculate the possible income from adsense.You will be probably earning something like %20 of this value per click (this is just a stab in the dark, the actual number varies from keyword to keyword).

Use the Quick SEO Results as a keyword difficulty analyzer:

This free online keyword research tool is similar to the market samurai. It gathers the most important SEO data for the top 10 competitors for the given keyword including page rank, backlinks, and the level of on page optimization.

The reports look like this:

Medium-Hard Keyword Difficulty: All pages are PR2+, have a lot of backlinks, however these pages lack direct optimization, you could have a shot but it is not guaranteed, and you should probably just move to the next keyword.

And if you find that there are a lot of red squares, high page ranks and a lot of pages with over 500 backlinks, you should move on to the next keyword, because it is probably too competitive for someone that is just starting out.

Easy Keyword Difficulty: Diverse PR0-4, low on backlinks, few optimized websites but not really hard, can easily beat them if we had an exact match domain (probably only with on page SEO, 1 post and around 10 backlinks)

Note: look at the site : which is ranking in the 4th position with exact match domain, on page SEO and only 4 links. (this keyword has over 150 searches per day and CPC of almost $3)

If there are only a few red squares, especially from sites that are not directly optimized for our keyword (they dont have keywords in URL and TITLE), then this is an easy keyword.

You can easily rank on the first place in a month or two with basic on page optimization, exact match domain and a few quality backlinks with the keyword as an anchor text.

Weed out the good and find the Great Keywords

  1. Find 10 potentially good keywords that match the guidelines above.
  2. Reduce
    Make calculations about the future profits for each keyword, compare the ranking reports, check the websites that are your real competition manually, and remove 5 keywords
  3. Rank from 1-5 based on estimated investment and profit.
    Check the competition for the 5 remaining keywords again, use the Open site explorer / Link Diagnostics / SEOspyglass to check the anchor texts of the backlinks. Use to see if you have exact match domains available for the keywords – those that have this available should get a HUGE favour in your ranking.
  4. The top 3 are your winners.
    Register your domain/s and start working on your seo campaign.

Common Keyword Research Mistakes

#1 Looking at the Number of Competing Pages

The only thing that matters is the SEO strength of the pages in the first page because they show you exactly how hard it is to rank there. If you do exactly what they did and then some more, you will outrank them. It is as simple as that.

#2 Trying to outrank Wikipedia

Wikipedia pages are favoured by Google and are extremely hard to outrank. Trying to fight vs wiki is a lost cause in most cases. So if you see wiki results in the results, RUN!


#3 Going for big keywords without experience

This is a really common mistake that a lot of beginners make. They see a quality keyword with a lot of traffic and underestimate the effort required to rank between the first 3 positions because they have never done it before. My advice is to start with a keyword that has below 6000 exact match searches per month.


#4 Not looking at the monetization possibilities

It doesn’t matter how easy it is to rank for a keyword if you cant get your investment back. Sure google adsense can bring you some return, but only if the trafic volume is high enough. Consider your goals before you launch a project and evaluate if it is worth the effort.


#5 Looking at the broad match data

The broad match data is almost useless. Use exact match to see exactly how many people are searching your targeted keywords.


#6 Thinking that all the people that search for the keyword will click your website if you are on the first position

Only around 50% will click your website if you are in the first position, so keep that in mind when you are calculating estimated traffic and profit.

#7 Making Overly Optimistic Calculations

Maybe you should look at life with an optimistic attitude but when it comes to analysing data you need to make sure that the worst case scenario is still profitable.

Make the estimates and calculate your projected monthly profits, make sure that it is worth the effort before launching the SEO campaign.



Keyword research is directly related to your SEO skills, it is mostly about knowing what you can handle and what is too competitive for you right now. There are keywords that you can conquer in weeks and there are keywords that are so competitive that you will need a whole year and massive back linking to rank in the first position.

So, start slow and progressively increase.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>