Keyword Research – How I Do It

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Keyword Marketing Research Techniques I Use –

Keyword research…what a BIG topic that is! While I am far from a keyword research genius, I do have my own way of doing longtail keyword marketing research to find phrases I CAN rank for fairly easily. To me, it’s not only about how many web pages Google returns (either with quotes or without) – It is more about finding out how many web pages are my REAL competition. Keep reading and find out how to do keyword marketing research – PotPieGirl style.

Keyword Ranking Research

When you are optimizing a web page to rank highly for a certain keyword phrase, you do certain things TO that web page to help get it to the top, right?

Let’s take a Squidoo lens as an example.

On a Squidoo lens, we make SURE our targeted keyword phrase is:

1. In the Title. In the Title. In the Title.

Gee, did I repeat that THREE TIMES? My bad, I meant to say it FOUR times! Make sure your keyword phrase is in the title of your Squidoo lens (or article title, or blog post title, etc etc etc). That title area is a VERY important piece of real estate on your lens (or article, or blog post…). Use it.

The words you put in the title of your lens are the words people see (and CLICK) when they find your web page in Google.

2. Within the first sentence or two of the intro module of your Squidoo lens.

Many times, Google will return those first few sentences in your intro module as the description people see in Google when they find your lens. We want it to be relevant to what they are looking for, and we want it to be interesting enough to entice them to click and visit the lens or web page.

3. In the anchor text of links ON your lens or web page.

Google puts weight on the words it finds ON a web page that are a “clickable link” (ie, hyperlink, anchor link, text link, etc). The benefit of having keyword optimized anchor text links ON your web page go for your web page, too – not just the page you are linking to.

4. Sprinkled throughout your content on your webpage –

Using the keyword phrase you are optimizing for naturally on your web page or lens is very important to helping Google understand what your lens is about. Try and get that phrase and related phrases into the module titles and subtitles as well as in your Squidoo tags.

Don’t obsess over some magical number for keyword density… just try and get the phrase in there about once per every hundred words or so. Don’t force the phrase in there… make sure the readers experience is a good one or else they’ll hit the ol’ back button and it won’t matter WHERE you rank!

5. In the links you create TO your web page or Squidoo lens.

Yes…. make sure your links to your web page, article, blog post, or lens have the keywords you want to rank for as the anchor text linking to that lens. In other words, make sure the words people can click to get to your lens are the words you want to be found on Google for.

I will add that having your keywords in your url can help, but I don’t think is as important as the 5 places I just listed.

Your title and the anchor text of links TO your page are probably most important, in my opinion

Ok, PotPieGirl, What The Heck Does This Have To Do With Keyword Marketing RESEARCH?

Oh, this has a LOT to do with keyword research!

How in the world do you find keywords you have a chance at ranking for without too much effort?

By putting the phrase in quotes and then searching Google? How many competing web pages is too many? What is the right number? Should you be looking for less than 5,000 results in quotes? What about without quotes?

Make you nuts? It does me, too!

I don’t go into depth about keyword research that much. Personally, I think it can be a bit over-rated when there is more time spent on searching for the magic keyword instead of making a web page and getting it online.

BUT- I still gets tons of email asking me how to do keyword marketing research. How many pages they should “compete with”, etc.

So, I’ll share what I do to find out my real competition and decide whether or not I will tackle that keyword phrase in many cases. Now, for some of you, this may be WAY over your head right now. But I promise, if you stick with all this, a light bulb will go off one day and it will all click.

LongTail Keyword Marketing Research

The beauty of using a site like is that you can rank fairly easily for a long tail keyword phrase. You can also rank much quicker than if you made your own new site.


Because Squidoo already has built authority with Google – your new website has not.

Now, we just talked about how WE optimize our Squidoo lenses and web pages, so how do we find out who the true competition is?

We find out how many OTHER web pages are doing what WE are doing to optimize for a keyword phrase.

We know that we must have our keyword in our title and in the anchor text back to our lens to rank well, so why not find out how many OTHER web pages there are that are optimizing that way, too?

Instant Keyword Marketing Research

As many of you know, I use the keyword tool at and/or the Google keywords tool. Both are free and between the 2 of them, I feel I get all the info I need.

After finding what phrases people are using to find info on my niche, I go to the next best of the keyword research tools – Google Search.

Let’s say I want to optimize a web page or lens for the phrase learn squidoo. All I really want to know is how many OTHER web pages are actively optimizing for that phrase, too?

How many other pages have that phrase in the title of their web page and in the anchor text TO their web page?

Who cares how many are in quotes? I want to know how many pages are WORKING to rank for that keyword phrase the way I intend to.

Interesting way to look at it, isn’t it?

Ok, so this is what I do:

I go to Google and use two special search operators (search functions) and get Google to TELL me who else is optimizing for that keyword search phrase.

I’m tellin’ ya – once you learn how to fully use Google, you can find ANYTHING out online! haha!

So my search would look like this:

Google tells me that there are only 32 web pages that are also optimizing their page for the exact phrase ‘learn squidoo’. This means that as far as Google is concerned, there are currently 32 web pages that have both ‘learn squidoo’ in the web page title tag AND in the anchor text linking BACK to that page.

THOSE are the web pages I am truly “competing” with.

I typed this into Google:

intitle:”learn squidoo” inanchor:”learn squidoo”

Please note that there is NO SPACE after the colon for this particular search function, but there IS a space between the two searches.

Now, I will also peek at how many have those terms without quotes, ie, who has the words “learn” and “squidoo” in their web page title and the anchor text of their back links.

Now, that search is just an info gathering technique for me. The first search, with quotes, is what I really go by. This second search (without quotes) will return pages that might have something like Learn how to make a Squidoo group in the title or something that is not totally relevant to me.

Keyword Research Example

So, let’s take a “real life” example. Let’s say we want to promote Fat Loss 4 Idiots. It’s a hot Clickbank product and we want in on the action.

We head on over to and punch Fat loss 4 Idiots review into the keyword tool to see if people are looking for that phrase. We find this:

Cool, people ARE looking for that! So, now we check Google:

Now that doesn’t look so bad for a search without quotes, does it?

So, we go for it. We work and we work…. and nothing. We can’t get our Squidoo lens or web page on that first page for love nor money… What happened?

Here’s Why Your Lens Won’t Rank:

There’s your problem! There are 263 OTHER web pages that are actively optimizing for that same keyword phrase! You’re gonna have to really bust it to break into that top 10.

How Many Web Pages?

Now, I know this question is coming…

“How MANY web pages, when using intitle and inanchor, should I try and limit my competition to?”

Ready for my answer?

How many web pages do you WANT to compete with?

How hard do you want to work in order for your web page or lens to rank highly on Google?

Look, no matter how perfect the keyword is, it is highly likely that your lens or web page will NOT come out of the gate swinging and hitting high rankings right away.

Google will have to find your web page. Google will have to find your back links. This takes time. For back link reporting tools (like the Squidoo health check), Yahoo will have to find your back links and that takes MORE time.

Me? I would say that anything over 100 results returned for a search like the intitle/inanchor technique I showed is gonna be tough.

My best advice – ESPECIALLY if you are new – is to start with the lowest competition keywords you can find and optimize ONE lens for ONE keyword. Don’t set yourself up for frustration by trying to optimize for tough keywords or by trying to optimize one piece of content for MANY keywords.

You know what my Grandmother used to say?

“When you try to please everyone you end up pleasing no one”

So, to twist her wise words into internet marketing advice –

if you try to rank one web page for many keywords, you end up ranking for NO keywords.

As you get better, take on more competitive keywords. Not only will you know what you’re doing – you will also have seen PROOF that what you’re doing IS working.

Personally, I don’t obsess over it anymore.

I pick a long tail keyword, optimize my web page or lens for it. Set it up with the steps in One Week Marketing to get it indexed. Build some back links – and then let it go….and build MORE web pages and lenses. Google will eventually find them, I know that from experience. All the parts WILL come together to make a whole – I KNOW that, too.

Just keep moving forward =)

If you’d like to learn about my favorite keyword research tool that saves me a TON of time by automating the process I outlined above, stop by my site.

Hope that helps! Any questions… ask away in the comment area!

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