Are You Focusing on Too Many Keywords?

Sometimes as affiliate marketers I think we forget that bigger isn’t always better!  Too many times I belive we try to build these huge massive keyword lists when we are first entering a niche and while I appreciate the effort, I think it may hurt us more than help us!  In the video below, I discuss my approach to building a keyword list and what it would entail if I was a new affiliate.

Don’t Cut The Long Tail Short!

What if I could give you a solid piece of advice that not only has made me a lot of money, but will do the same for you? In this post I want to first describe what a long tail is and how it’s different from a short tail keyword.  Next, I want to explain why long tails are used by some affiliate marketers and the advantages to using long tail keywords.  Lastly, I’ll be talking about why you should NOT write off long tail’s when you are doing keyword research for a niche and how they can play an important role in your affiliate campaigns!

This post was inspired by Chad from CDFNetworks.  Chad wrote a post about the good and bad of using longtail keywords and I decided that I wanted to do a post along the same lines.  Even though he touched on both the good and the bad, this post will be one sided, I’ll only be talking about the benefits of using long tail keywords. I’ll be talking about some of the reasons Chad gave, and also expanding a little on those reasons and then adding my two cents on the issue of long tails.  Make sure to check out his post about removing long tail keywords.

What is a Long Tail Keyword?

A long tail keyword is simply a keyword that is made up of multiple words.  An example of a short tail keyword would be download ringtones, while an example of a long tail keyword would be download mp3 verizon ringtones.

Exactly how many words are required in order for a keyword to become a long tail keyword is really based on opinion.  I don’t believe there is actually anywhere on the internet that says this makes this a long tail and this makes this a short tail.  Basically if it’s short it’s a short tail and if it’s long it’s a long tail!  I know…Rocket Science stuff here!!!

What are the benefits of long tail keywords?

There are two big benefits to long tail keywords.  The first being that normally long tail keywords convert at a higher rate than short tails.  This is largely do to the fact that most long tail keywords are very specific as to what the user wants.  Now obviously the long tail keyword has to be related to your niche and product or service in order to produce the best results.

The second thing that makes long tail keywords valuable is the fact that you can bid on these keywords and obtain the top positions for a lot less than what you’re spending on short tail keywords!

Obviously better conversions yet you pay less for the clicks sounds great and a marketer would be stupid not to use them then…..right???

Actually, you’d be surprised at how many affiliate marketers don’t spend time and energy on long tail keywords.  “Why?” you ask.  Because there is one huge disadvantage to long tail keywords…and 99% of you already know that this is….lack of volume (traffic).  A long tail keyword might receive 100 searches a month or it might receive 1 search a month.  Obviously it depends on the keyword, but a long tail keyword will never be able to match the volume of a short tail keyword and that’s expected…..

So should I write long tail keywords off?

This is what I really wanted to talk about in this post…

As I said, believe it or not, a ton of affiliates write off long tail keywords and decide that their time would be better spent focusing on the short tail keywords only.  Why?

This is just my opinion and from what I’ve hard over the years during consultations with people, but the reason that seems to pop up the most is that it’s easy for people to launch a campaign with a thousand keywords than it is to launch one with tens of thousands of keywords.

When you are focusing on long tail keywords because there is a lack of volume, you make up for that lack of traffic by having a ton of long tail keywords.  Now this does of course mean more ad groups and ads, however, I really believe it’s worth your time…especially for new affiliates!

You need to remember one thing here.  Most of the big affiliates are probably bidding on the same short tail keywords that you are!  Now do you really think as a new affiliate you’re going to be able to take them on head on with your limited knowledge?  Of course not!  However, as I said earlier, a lot of affiliates don’t mess with the long tails and this leaves them wide open for you!

As you start to convert on the long tails, you are then able to slowly bring in the short tails and eventually you’ll find a happy medium with the two and have a campaign that kicks butt!  So please, please don’t write off long tail keywords.  They will and always will play an important part in your affiliate campaigns if you use them right!

Track Which Keywords Convert While Direct Linking

Most affiliates at some time or another use direct linking in order to test an offer and see if it will even convert before deciding to go all out and build an entire site around it.  However, most affiliates fail to realize that just because they aren’t building an entire site, they still need to be doing certain things like tracking which keywords are converting…that’s what this video is here to help you with…It will show you how to do just that.

You’ll need to maximize the video in order to view it properly and see and read everything.

Are You Bidding on Ready to Buy Keywords or Research Keywords

Real Quick, I just wanted to remind everyone that the second CC Radio Show airs in about 5 hours at 9PM EST (Saturday).  If you’ll be around I encourage you to check it out.  Last weeks show turned out really well and we had some great conversations about different things.  This week we expect to be even better as the topic we’ve chosen is about networks shaving leads and how to test for shaving, etc.  Make sure to bookmark and subscribe to our feed on Blog Talk Radio to make sure you know when the next show is and to get a reminder sent to you.

Let’s move on to the topic in the title now.  The question I have asked today is are you bidding on ready to buy keywords or research keywords?

Many affiliates when doing their keyword research do not take the time to go through their lists or to even sit down and think about their niche before they get started.  They simply open up a keyword tool like Wordtracker or Wordze and start punching in keywords that are related to their niche.  However, you really need to take a step back as an affiliate and make sure that you’re doing your homework before opening up these keyword tools and punching away.

You have two types of searchers when it comes to people looking for products or services.  The first searcher you have is the one that is simply searching for information about a product or service.  These people are typing in keywords looking for more information about a niche.  They are trying to find the best product, price, features, etc.  They are basically shopping around.  They are not in the buying mode yet and are very hard to convert into a sale or lead as they haven’t even made their mind up yet as to whether or not they even want or need the product or service yet.

The second type of searcher you have is the searcher that is ready to buy.  They have already done their research, found which product or products appealed to them the most, found a price they were willing to pay and which features they need, etc.  They are the cream of the crop and are the ones that will convert with ease if you have even the slightest idea what you’re doing!

Of course, it’s hard to tell sometimes whether a certain keyword is a ready to buy keyword or if it’s simply a research keyword however just to give some examples, I’ll use some of the more obvious ones.

Types of Research Keywords:

  • Information on Canon Cameras
  • Digital Camera Features
  • Top 10 Digital Cameras
  • Cameras with Steady Shot Feature
  • Digital Camera Price Ranges
  • Buy a Digital Camera
  • etc…

Types of Ready to Buy Keywords:

  • Buy a Sony Cybershot DSC1310
  • Best Price for a Kodak EasyShare E915
  • Special Package Deal for Cybershot DSC111
  • Nikon SLR151 with Fast Shipping
  • etc…

As you can see most of the easy to tell ready to buy keywords get very specific in terms of the camera they want, however, as I said above there are more not to out there keywords that could still very well be ready to buy keywords.  Of course, with these types of keywords you’ll need to use some wisdom and also at times may need to actually try them out to see.

The bottom line is that you should always stop and think before you actually start your keyword research and consider what types of keywords are going to be your ready to buy keywords and which ones will be your research keywords.

Ready to buy keywords will always have a higher conversion rate if you can meet the need of the customer which allows you to bid higher on these types of keywords to start and can make the difference of having a campaign that gets enough volume and conversions versus someone just bidding the same thing on all their keywords to start.

Researching Keywords Doesn’t Have to Suck!

A sample of Wordtracker ResultsResearching keywords for your affiliate campaign can be a pain in the… butt… In fact, most new affiliates find that this is the step they have the most problems with when setting up a new campaign in a new niche. Does keyword research have to be hard? Does it have to suck the very life out of you every time you load up Wordtracker or Wordze? Of course not! This post is going to guide you through the steps to creating a well thought out and well planned keyword list!

Step One: Researching Your Niche!

One of the most common mistakes I see affiliates make is researching keywords for a niche when they know nothing about the niche they are gathering keywords for! Understanding your niche is an important step to creating a keyword list that will help you rise to the top in any given niche. Each niche has their own lingo, slang, or sayings that are specific to that niche. Without researching your niche, you’re not going to type in these words in whatever keyword tool you’re using!

Before you even start researching your keywords, you need to make sure that you understand all the terminology for that niche, understand what different sayings mean, etc. Without this knowledge, you will most likely fail!!!

Step Two: Understand How Most Affiliates Research Keywords!

The next thing you need to realize before you even start building your keyword list is the fact that most affiliates, I’d say about 90%, open up a keyword tool and start typing in generic keyword phrases for their niche in order to build their keyword list. If you do this as well you’ll end up bidding on the same exact keywords that 90% of other affiliates are bidding on!
Be creative, think of other ways people might be searching for your product or service! Are there terms you discovered in step one? If so, use those terms instead of the generic keywords that every other affiliate is using! Is there another type of audience closely related to your niche that you can target? Think Outside of The Box!

Step Three: Start On Paper!

When I first start thinking of keywords for a niche, I don’t just open up a keyword tool and start punching them in as I think of them. I first brainstorm my keyword ideas on paper or in a notebook. The reason I do this is so I’m able to look at my sheet of paper and know exactly which search terms I have already used.

This also allows me to focus on making sure my list contains a ton of various keywords and keep my searches as broad as possible allowing me to cover all the bases. Keyword tools are there to help you, but they can’t replace your brain! USE IT!

Step Four: Take Your Time!

Instead of timing yourself and seeing how quickly you can get done gathering your list of keywords, I challenge you to see how long you can gather keywords before you get so tired of doing it that you swear you’ll never use one again!

Again, keyword tools are made to help you get your job done faster, however, if you move too fast you’ll miss out on a ton of keywords because you’re in a rush! Slow down and think while you’re building your keyword list! Think about each keyword you type in and see the results the keyword tool gives you, don’t just add them to your list and go.

By giving yourself a minute and looking through the list as you go, you’ll most likely see a keyword phrase or two that will pop out and make you think of another keyword phrase. By doing this, you’ll turn a list of 10,000 keywords into 50,000 keywords!

Step Five: Make Sure You Actually Use Analytics!

So, you’re proud of yourself because you did everything you were told to do including installing analytics on your site. However, have you actually ever logged into it and taken a look at more than just how many visitors you had for the day or month? Most analytic tools will allow you to see what keywords people are typing to find your site organically in the search results!

By checking this out, you’ll find keywords to put into your keyword tool to expand and grow your campaign even more! Make sure you use this tool to it’s full advantage or you’ll miss out on some great keywords you could be bidding on!


Keyword research doesn’t have to be a hard and difficult task. However, it shouldn’t take you a couple hours to build your keyword list! Make sure you take your time and do it right the first time and use the tips above and you’ll come out on top with a keyword list that 90% of affiliates aren’t using!

Do you have any other suggestions for keyword researching? Anything to avoid? Let me know in the comments!