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15 Keyword research Tips for finding the Hottest Niche Phrases Quickly

By John Alexander

These days most professional search engine marketers all have access to the most common research tools. 
For this article, we'll explore one of my favorite research tools,

But before we get started, have you ever wondered why some people experience limitations initially in performing effective keyword research? What are the most common elements can that block some people from doing fast and effective keyword research? Why can't some people find the best results as quickly as others? 

Let's talk about this first. Then I'll share some quick and easy "how to" tips that I hope will help you.

A few years ago, I wrote an e-book called Wordtracker Magic and now I have just completed volume two which is called, Wordtracker Magic 2.0 - Keyword Forensics

I've spent time helping to teach students about how to quickly tap into the best keyword phrase trends and niches very quickly. Let's start by outlining a couple of the more common errors some people can make initially, when first using Wordtracker. For a while, I actually had the privilege of working with Wordtracker support and answering peoples keyword related questions on a regular basis, a few years ago. That was a great learning experience. 

What I learned was that often, people were sometimes not finding the best niche phrases available, simply because many people naturally tended to want to "guess" at keywords, rather than fully explore the existing fresh data. 

Some people say and use the word "research," but then tend to want to rely on their own "logic" or recent real world experience to examine specific phrases. In short, whether we admit it or not, there is a tendency for some of us to "guess at the keywords" that we *think* that make the most sense, but at the same time we miss a wealth of information in the process of having such a narrow focus.

First tip: Stop guessing at what keyword phrases people "might" be entering into the search box.

One of the biggest blocks to the process of exploring the fullness of Wordtracker's available data, is simply that most people naturally tend to guess at keywords, rather than explore all of the data. Many Wordtracker users start out with the idea of trying to dictate to the tool, which keywords that they ***THINK*** are most relevant. But the truth is every time we guess at the terms that make the most sense, we are not really letting Wordtracker reveal its best information.

Think about the process more in this way....The more you "think like everyone else thinks" (usually drawing keywords that are already lodged into your mind based upon your experiences)....then the more you will be thinking like the rest of your competition. The more our eyes and our thinking and our ability to observe is attracted towards keywords that "make the most sense" to our brains the more we tend to discover exactly the same keywords as the rest of the world are discovering. So we can get disappointed real quick and have the feeling that there just are no real "niche phrases" available anymore. In this mindset, we only find limited results based on logical guess work.

What this usually means, is huge numbers of competing pages all trying to rank for deadly dull, obvious phrases. 

Of course you can build your skills so you can compete with highly competitive phrases and you can win the game too, but that's not the point. A much wiser approach is to learn how to "think differently" in order to allow yourself the ability to explore the data that 99% of your competition never will see or find. 

Why not tap into important keyword phrases that are legitimate (with fair to high usage but that have MUCH lower competition because most competitors never even find it or often they never even see it? 

The focus of genuine keyword research is not to guess at keywords, but to learn how to quickly explore the best data, OTHER than the common logical keywords that are already lodged into our minds.

Second Tip: Stop relying on allowing your "logic" and your "experience" to dictate how you will explore data.

This is easy to say but in the beginning it takes a little practice to do.

Sometimes when you research single keywords using Wordtracker's powerful comprehensive search functionality, you will discover multiple instances of how a specific word is being used within a phrase, but without any guess work at all. Try working with a single, action related "root word." 

Now listen carefully. It does not have to be a word that your logical thinking dictates. For example, what happens if you research a term in its most generic form and let Wordtracker piece together exactly how that word is being used. This is one of the rare times when using human brilliance or natural logic can actually prevent you from seeing the most powerful truths in your process of research. By avoiding "logic" you will explore more legitimate working data than 99% of most other Webmasters ever do.

Let's give you a few creative examples to get you started.....

1. If you are a real estate agent, instead of using an obvious logical phrase like "real estate" (with 323 million competing pages on Google) or using a keyword acronym such as MLS (over 40 million competing pages on Google.)

Let's try a researching a single "root word" term like "listing" just all by itself.....leaving Wordtracker to do the hard part. 

Here are a few examples which I grabbed in under 3 minutes of Wordtracker research: 
(each example here with under 1000 competing pages)

At the time of writing this article.....

"house listings parry sound" -   Currently only has   90 competing pages for this exact phrase.
"Wyoming MN home listings" - Currently only has 197 competing pages for this exact phrase.
"michigan real estate listing" -  Currently only has 197 competing pages for this exact phrase.
"Wisconsin Home listings" -     Currently only has 697 competing pages for this exact phrase.
"Central Virginia land listings" - Currently only has 95 competing pages for this exact phrase.
"north oaks minnesota home listings" - Currently only has 233 competing pages for this exact phrase.

2. If you are an affiliate marketer. 

Instead of researching the exact product you want to explore in a phrase (for example "candlestick holders,") try using a single word like "holder" to determine exactly what type of "holders" are in highest demand with lowest competition. 
You may discover many other products with much better windows of opportunity. 

Examples using a root word of "holder"....(my research time here was 90 seconds - each phrase under 10 competing)

"motorcycle wheel holders"     KEI  676.0 Competing pages on Google 1
" southwest pot holders"         KEI  768.0 Competing pages on Google 3
"hanging vine holder"              KEI  924.5 Competing pages on Google 2
" folbe fishing rod holder"        KEI 1156.0 Competing pages on Google 9
" .30 Remington shell holder"  KEI 1444.0 Competing pages on Google 1 

3. Try working with descriptive verbs.
Instead of researching a specific product using comprehensive search, try researching descriptive verbs like "new" or "old" or "rare" or "limited" or "reconditioned" or "polished" or "bronzed" or whatever...? Try using any type of descriptive terms to explore all kinds of interesting data.

4. Did you know there are differences between the written word and spoken dialogue?

Instead of researching common descriptive terms, try exploring natural sounding "dialogue." Try to remember to explore "words" based on dialogue, not just on written copy. Your customers often will say things to you in their dialogue that give you a great starting place to explore data.

5. Don't forget to research and explore the world of color.
What happens if you enter a single term representing a color like "red," or "aqua" or green or any color?

6. Explore any type of data at all in terms of a root word.
Don't forget to explore everything and anything that comes to mind. From a topic you notice on the news to something that may not even be a word at all. What happens if you try to explore a number or a price like $9.95 instead of a word?

7. Instead of just thinking of your research as "keywords" try thinking in terms of your audience's "topics of interest."

8. Instead of researching keyword phrases try watching for "behavioural trends" or keywords that "tell a story."

Examples of keywords that are telling:
"miniature doll instructions"             KEI 961.0
"golf swing instruction dvds"            KEI 1741.0
"how to build secret compartments" KEI 280.3
"building a basement in your home" KEI 512.0
"easy build shed kit"                      KEI 520.0
"How to Build an Icehouse"             KEI 661.0
"build a reptile rack"                        KEI 676.0
"how to build military bunkers out of sand bags" KEI 729.0
"how to build custom furniture"        KEI 1444.0

9. Consider any type of tools that you might research using terms like "calculator" or "maps" or "directions."

10. Consider exploring topics related to specific seasons, which may be appropriate for your Web audience.

11. Consider exploring common acronyms (related to your industry) to open up more "unexplored data."

12. Try to discover and satisfy the searcher by delivering up highly valuable content that meets their needs first.
Make your objectives come second and give the searcher what they are looking for first based upon your research.

13. What if you are feeling stumped...about keyword research? Try a reverse approach. If you feel challenged because the keyword you're researching seems to have no potential, try and explore your audience's "searching behaviour" first to see what else they want or need based on the conditions, then create the exact high quality content that they're looking for.

Instead of common terms like "Web design" try to chunk it down to the services or special aspects you offer as a designer. You might try root words like "database" or "content" or other aspects that you offer in your services.

14. Develop your lateral thinking skills to press beyond a keyword hunt mindsest. 
While most people are thinking about what keywords to use, try to expand your scope to focus on discovering the fullest possible picture of what your customer REALLY wants, what they really are doing, by simply studying their searching behavior on the major search engines.

15. Don't forget to explore the most common, everyday type single terms that most people will assume have no potential.

Example: From exploring a boring sounding word like "word" 90 seconds I found:

"free wedding program word template"        KEI  289.1      1  competing page in Google
"Words to a Spanish Song"                       KEI  462.3      4  competing words in Google
"What Does the Word Hinder Mean"          KEI  841.0      4  competing pages in Google
"WORD TRIVIA QUIZZES"                        KEI 5712.0     10 competing pages in Google
"Words That End with Letter Q"                 KEI 53,730.0  10 competing pages in Google

Is there any greater discovery than having an understanding of a target audience's "search behavior"? 

Best described, if you are researching your data well, it's like a light coming on in your mind. It's like flipping a switch on to an huge "idea generator!" Truly it is like looking through a porthole on the world's searching behavior. 

Wordtracker will give you absolutely AMAZING detail if you take time to think about it laterally and outside of the context of just a "keyword hunt." Don't let the natural tendency to "guess at keywords" stop you from exploring all of the hidden evidence that just needs a little practice to uncover. I never get tired of exploring behaviorally related trends that are easy to gather like "low hanging fruit."

Check Out Wordtracker's Free Keyword Tool Now

About John Alexander
John Alexander is Co-director of Training at Search Engine Workshops offering live, SEO Workshops with his partner SEO educator Robin Nobles, author of the very first comprehensive online search engine marketing courses. John is author of
an e-book called Wordtracker Magic and has taught SEO skills to people from 87 different countries world wide. John is also Director of Search Engine Academy with localized Search Engine Academy training centers where the Complete SEO Mastery Workshop and 6 Month Mentoring program is taught locally to business owners and individuals in communities across North America and Internationally in Asia

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