How to Create a Huge Keyword List

Keyword research is a basic but very important task for website optimization. I’m not going to cover all the ins and outs of keyword research in this post; but I’m hoping that after reading it, you’ll have a better understanding of how to do your keyword research more effectively.

A Common Mistake in Keyword Research

A common mistake people make when conducting keyword research is they keep the list too narrow. Here’s an example: let’s say I wanted to build a weight loss website. My first step would be to use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool and type in ‘weight loss.’ Below is an example of the results from this search.

Google AdWords Keyword Tool

At this point, many consider their research done and start building their site around the most trafficked phrases.

There are a couple of problems with this approach:

  1. Many of these keywords will be too competitive for my website.
  2. There are numerous other directions to approach this industry with keywords that I could actually rank for.

A Better Way to do Keyword Research

So what should be done instead? Rather than focusing on a narrow but deep list, consider many avenues to approach the site’s topic.

After a little brainstorming, here are additional phrases that relate to ‘weight loss':

  • Lose weight
  • Burn fat
  • Fat loss
  • Dieting
  • Weight management

There are a multiple ways to approach this topic.  Not every industry will have numerous variations, but there will be at least a few.

By going broad, you’ll find additional ways that people search for something. And chances are, you’ll also discover high-traffic phrases that are less competitive.

Once you have a broad list, utilize your favorite keyword suggestion tool and drill down deeper to find other related keywords. This creates an extensive list of keywords to consider for both SEO and PPC campaigns.

Getting Ideas for a Broad List

Here are several ways of going broad:

  • Use thesaurus.com to find synonyms for your main terms.
  • Use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Below the first list of recommendations, you’ll find another list of ‘Additional keywords to consider.’
  • Wordtracker.com is a useful tool that provides keyword suggestions.
  • Spy on your competition. Look at their titles, meta tags, and content to discern the keywords they are targeting.
  • Make a list of categories, brands, and any other classifications of products you sell or promote. People looking for a specific item or brand are more qualified visitors to your site anyway.

Get the Most Out of Your Keyword Research

By developing a broad keyword list and drilling it deeper, you’ll have a large list to pick from.

One caution: don’t go too broad. You want to be sure that any keyword you consider is relevant to the topic of your site. If a phrase is not relevant, take it off the list!

As you repeat the process, you’ll get the hang of it. As keyword research is one of the most critical tasks in online marketing, there will be plenty of chances to perfect your research skills.

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24 Comments

  1. Jacob Stoops says

    Also, when starting a new site it is best to focus on less competitive long-tailed keywords rather than the super-competitive ones.

    Also, you have to consider all of the different variations in the way people might type something.

    For example, the search queries “real estate columbus” and “columbus real estate” are pretty much the same thing, but can bring up very different search results.

  2. Dan Patterson says

    Agent SEO,

    I agree, you really do want to go after the longer phrases because they’re easier to get ranked for. When people go for one word phrases they just don’t realize how hard it’s going to be to get a ranking. Thanks for the additional points!

  3. Valerie Neblett says

    What would i look for instead of the usual:

    puerto vallarta villa rentals

    or

    villa rentals puerto vallarta?

  4. Ben says

    Selecting keywords that match the search terms being used by your prospects when searching for property online is mission critical…!!!
    Generally speaking real estate search remains localized and it is certainly not super competitive at this level…so the good news there is lots of opportunity to improve your rank and get noticed!

  5. Dan Patterson says

    Valerie,

    I always like to start broad and then drill down to get more specific. So start with ‘puerto vallarta’ and look for anything that relates to what your site is about. Then drill it down from there. You can almost always find other ways of saying something when you do it this way.

    Good luck!

  6. Dan Patterson says

    Ben,

    Yeah, the real estate market really is that way. But like you said, because it’s so local you have a much better chance of ranking for those local keywords! And from what I’ve seen not too many real estate agents get involved in search, so go for it!

  7. Adrienne Doss says

    I would also recommend looking for misspellings and typos. Aaron Wall has an awesome tool that automatically generates huge lists of typos.

  8. Patrick says

    Dan definitely knows what he’s talking about. Many people simply don’t have any idea how important keywords are for their website. What usually happens is they try and compete for the ultra competitive basic keywords for their business venture. A guaranteed way to fail online.

  9. Brandon Buttars says

    It’s amazing to look at Google Analytics when you have implemented this strategy with your keywords. There are so many phrases you get traffic for from so many places.

  10. Dan Patterson says

    Adrienne – If misspellings and typos have enough traffic they might be worth considering. Thanks for the link to the tool!

    Patrick – You’re right, it is a very common mistake and explains why a lot of site fail before they even have a chance. You have to do the keyword research or else your site is not likely to do well!

    Brandon – Analytics is also a great place to go to get ideas for additional keywords. As you start to get traffic you can look for keywords that are sending you traffic that you didn’t even know you were ranking for. Then go back and research these phrases to see if they are worth doing more work on.

  11. Tommie says

    I agree with you 100 percent.

    I also do some old fashioned market research by using free tools such as Twitter, Youtube, Amazon, eBay, etc. to find out what’s hot and what is already the main interest of the market. All these tools (and many more) have a search function.

    In my opinion, Youtube is the second best Search Engine online. If you go there and find videos related to your market that has the most views, you will find some awesome keywords in the tags and descriptions that you can easily rank for that is highly relevant.

    • Benjamin Atuma says

      Thanks Tommie for the fresh insights:  Twitter, Youtube, Amazon, eBay are rich sources of trending buyers' (longtailed) keywords.  Works best for old website/blog.

  12. Dan Patterson says

    Hey Tommie,

    I really like your YouTube idea! YouTube, Twitter, and other social networks really are great places to get keyword ideas from.

  13. Gabe Hoggarth says

    “YouTube, Twitter, and other social networks really are great places to get keyword ideas from.”

    So true, social networks are great for additional keyword ideas – and advice! I found the link to this article by searching for “keyword research” through search.twitter.com.

    It’s also worthwhile to search the most competitive term, in the article example above for “weight loss” and scan the title tags of anyone in the top 10. Doing this I notice the keywords “weight control” and “diet plans” are used a lot.

  14. Phillip says

    Check out Jon from Wickedfire’s blog about doing keyword research…he talks about some good strategies there. I think the post is titled Enough B.S. Let’s Make Some Money…

  15. Gideon says

    It also helps to look at what your competitors are trying to rank for too. See what they might be trying to outrank you on that you can use to benefit later from.

  16. Gabriel LopezSeco says

    I love the thought of using an online theraurus, very basic, but powerful. In the race to use the latest and greatest resources for keyword research, I think we sometimes forget that some very basic tools, when used properly, can help greatly improve our keyword mix.

    Thanks for providing me with the right tool to help broaden my SEO keyword research.

    Gabe
    Galonet

  17. Frank says

    you can get tons of keywords from youtube. But I personally use market samurai to get keywords from competitors.

  18. Brian says

    Thanks for this helpful article .I am a newbie to internet and i am planning to launch few content based sites.After reading this post I am sure i will be able to choose good keywords

  19. Akash says

    Thanks Dan Patterson for such a useful article. I am newbie and i am going to create my blog on wordpress related to tech tips. this article will really helps me a lot. may be this is not a right place but i have a single question that ‘ Is twenty eleven wordpress theme is seo optimized ‘

  20. Benjamin Atuma says

    Good insight.  Long tailed (buyers) keywords could be generated from a number of sources, as already stated above.  I completely agree that going for the top 10 high ranking keywords is usually difficult to rank high for organically, more difficult for a new websit/blog.
    Going for a less competitive keywords in the range 10,000 -20,000 has been helpful.  I recommend it.  Making those keywords your anchor texts would also improve your organic ranking.
    Remember that to sustain your traffic and ranking, buyers' keywords are just a bit of the pie.  You must integrate social media, and have useful, relevant and dynamic contents. 
    Infact, if well integrated you gain comments, sharing, and backlinking. These are human votes that SEO 2.0 is all about.  Google Panda, in my opinion, loves this. And so do you.  Isn't it?
     

  21. Shad says

    Do you know if you back link using the same keyword too much will google give you a penalty and rank you lower for that keyword?

  22. Nicky says

    Great article. Its smart expanding your reach by searching for simular keywords. I wonder if wordtracker is better then Google Keyword Tool? Im using Google Keyword Tool alot and its great. But which of the two is better? Many people say Google Keyword Tool is more reliable because its from Google. What do you think? 

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