Go to your average internet marketing forum and ask a newbie what they think the most important factor is for building profitable Adsense Microniche Sites and I bet at least 80% of them will tell you it’s linkbuilding. Another 20% will probably offer up one of the following: unique content, internal linking structure, on site SEO etc.
And why wouldn’t they? They’re just spouting back what they read. But then again, on these same forums you read post after post of newbies spinning their wheels, worrying about buying e-books & link building services, how they should structure their website, whether to pick a .net or .org, or my favorite: that it’s “impossible” to make money with Adsense, PPC, PPV etc.
One of the factors that gets overlooked the most by beginners is keyword research. It’s obvious why: Keyword research isn’t “sexy”. No one sells a “How I Made 5,322,239 Dollars In 37 Hours By Clicking 1 Button While Shark Diving Off My $50,000,000 Yacht ” e-book for $997 by talking about keyword research. But since I don’t own a yacht and I’ve never made any money pushing a button, I’m going to go over what I think are some of the most common newbie SEO mistakes when it comes to keyword research.
1. Not knowing the difference between exact match and broad match
For most internet marketers, this is so basic it’s barely worth mentioning. For most, it’s like 2nd nature to change the checkbox from “broad” to “exact” when doing keyword research. But still, it’s a pretty easy mistake to make when you’re just starting out. Use exact match, or prepare to be constantly disappointed in your traffic numbers.
2. Not checking local searches and using google insight to see where searches are coming from
Knowing where your searches are coming from is important. A keyword might have a $5.00 CPC in the US, but if 99% of the search volume is coming from Nigeria, the real CPC you get might be 10 cents. To avoid getting surprised in this regard, pay attention to the “local searches” column. If the majority of searches are coming from somewhere other than your target country, go to Google Insights For Search. Google insights will tell you where the traffic for your keyword is coming from. You can then go back to the google keyword tool and check the CPC, though it’s not strictly necessary if most of the traffic is coming from Western Countries like the UK, Australia, Canada etc.
Beyond the geographical info it gives you, the Google Insights For Search tool can also give you a window into what keywords are trending, sometimes allowing you to get a jump on up and coming keywords/niches.
One more thing to keep in mind with the CPC figure is that it’s for Adwords, and is the same amount you’ll get for Adsense Generally, the actual amount per click you’ll receive as a publisher from Adsense will be lower than the Adwords CPC, but its a good ballpark metric.
3. Targeting Niches/Keywords With No Relevant Advertisers
I see a lot of people on internet marketing forums asking “Why am I not getting click throughs”? Most of the time, its followed by a long description of the themes and ad placements they’ve already tried. Well guess what…if there are relevant, targeted ads being shown for your keywords, you can put your adsense block in the bottom right corner of your site below the fold and you’ll probably still get some click throughs. The fact of the matter is some keywords/niches simply don’t have a high clickthrough rate.
One thing newbies are often told, is to take a look at the “Competition” column in the Google Keyword Tool. This column indicates whether Advertiser are bidding on the keyword in Adwords. While this is a useful first step, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
If you have already have a 336×280 under your headline and its not getting many clicks, think about the keyword you’re targeting. Does it address the need your visitor is seeking to fulfill? Does the visitor searching your keyword even have a need to fulfill? Are advertisers showing targeted ADs for your keyword?
Next time before you register that “juicy” EMD, try searching your keyword in ezinearticles and seeing what ads come up, or search your keyword in google, copy the url of the first page, and take a look at the ads that come up in the Google Sandbox. Ask yourself, if you were visiting your site searching for your keyword, how likely would you be to click these ads?
While the ultimate goal is to get a high CTR AND a high CPC, these keywords usually have higher competition. Keep in mind its also ok not to have an extremely high click through rate, but you’ll need to make sure that when the visitor DOES click, the clicks are worth it. What you don’t want is to have 1 cent clicks, or occasional clicks on a low volume keyword for $.10. That’s never going to be worth your time. Finding profitable keywords for Adsense is a careful weighing of search volume, the presence of relevant ads, the “buying” or “problem-solving” mindset behind the keyword, CPC, & SERP competition.
In the 4 Biggest Newbie Keyword Research Mistakes Pt. 2, I’ll discuss what I think is another common newbie mistake when doing keyword research for Adsense sites. Feel free to Add SEO Flipper To Your RSS Reader or follow along on Twitter to be notified about future updates.