Given you have a good idea of where to start and are fairly confident you are speaking the same language as your client, jump start research by generating related keyphrases and long tail variants with the ever so easy to use Google Autocomplete. This tool makes predictions based on what you are typing that are a reflection of Google search activity.
Keyword Researcher is an easy-to-use Keyword Discover Tool. Once activated, it emulates a human using Google Autocomplete, and repeatedly types thousands of queries into Google. Each time a partial phrase is entered, Google tries to predict what it thinks the whole phrase might be. We simply save this prediction. And, as it turns out, when you do this for every letter of the alphabet (A-Z), then you’re left with hundreds of great Long Tail keyword phrases.
So whilst Long Tail Pro has just continued to grow in revenue every single year and comes highly recommended, you may want to check if all the important features are fully functioning before signing up. Especially the KC feature (keyword competitiveness) as it is so fundamental to keyword research and making an informed choice on whether or not to go into a particular niche.
Using the good ol' free Google Keyword Planner is great. But there is an alternate universe of Long Tail keyword phrases that live in Google's other database--namely, their "Autocomplete database." That's the database that is accessed when you're typing queries into the Google search box (notice that list of suggested keywords that pop up as you type?)

For example, assume your search ad generated 5,000 impressions in one day, of which 100 visitors have come to your site, and three have converted for a total profit (not revenue!) of $300. In this case, a single visitor for that keyword is worth $3 to your business. Those 5,000 impressions in 24 hours could generate a click-through rate of between 18-36% with a #1 ranking (see the Slingshot SEO study for more on potential click-through rates), which would mean 900-1800 visits per day, at $3 each, or between 1 and 2 million dollars per year. No wonder businesses love search marketing!
3. Set your pre-search filters. Depending on whether you are looking for a new niche to build a site around or trying to find keywords to target on your already existing website, the minimum amount of local monthly searches (LMS) you set might vary. For new niches my LMS criteria is 1,500-5,000 searches, for posts anything from 10-800 is fine. Also, depending on one of these goals you can add a lower or higher number of words in the respective filter: for new niches 3 (or, at times, 2) words minimum, for new posts from 3 or 4 words up.
I actually don't use any keyword tools aside from Google Trends, but only rarely do I even use that. I try to talk to many of our target audience members (entrepreneurs) as I can. I attend events, I have phone calls, I sit next to them while working. Generally speaking, I think it's a waste of time to START with keyword tools instead of actual customers. Yes, you can target people in broad swaths and get a high level sense for what's interesting and trending, but at least in the case of our business at NextView Ventures, it's way more powerful to talk to actual "customers" you serve.
I came across Longtail Pro this morning, downloaded the trial version and was about to buy the $97 program…seems like a good buy. But the more research I’ve done today, it seems the KC score is an absolute must for anyone who is serious about making money with niche sites. I hate to spend the bucks, but hate even more leaving money and possibly niche site success. Any advice?
Let me show you an example. I just surfed over to a very popular blog called The Busy Budgeter (www.busybudgeter.com) to find an example topic. Rosemarie is the blogger over there and I’ve been following her journey recently. She’s absolutely killing it online! But, I happen to know that she gets most of her traffic from Pinterest and that working on SEO is one objective that she wishes to tackle. So, let’s see if we can help her out… A quick scan of her homepage tells me what type of content she produces and who her audience is. It appears her audience is largely female, lots of stay-at-home moms and a good portion of her content revolves around teaching others how to make money online.
If you're a regular blogger, these are probably the topics you blog about most frequently. Or perhaps they're the topics that come up the most in sales conversations. Put yourself in the shoes of your buyer personas -- what types of topics would your target audience search that you'd want your business to get found for? If you were a company like HubSpot, for example -- selling marketing software (which happens to have some awesome SEO tools ... but I digress ;-) -- you might have general topic buckets like "inbound marketing," "blogging," "email marketing," "lead generation," "SEO," "social media," "marketing analytics," and "marketing automation."

I want to share how and why I sold the company in order to both educate and inspire potential software entrepreneurs.  I certainly don't know everything and obviously companies sell for much more than I sold Long Tail Pro for (I won't be featured in Tech Crunch anytime soon); however, I'm willing to share what I have learned and hopefully that can be beneficial to a few of you.
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