Don’t Get Caught Chasing Rainbows! (The pitfalls of amateur keyword research)

As anyone who has not been sleeping off the mother of all hangovers for the last week knows, Google are now showing Search Volumes in their keyword research tool. HURRAH! I hear all you posh types say, but here is the thing, Life is not that simple, many are now rushing out, grabbing numbers, and off they go on the back of a virtual donkey, complete with a spade and a pan to find their gold. It is the Yukon all over again. 

So before you follow them off chasing rainbows, let me show you that the pot of gold is NOT at the end of your rainbow, it is at the bottom of a hole, you just have to dig for it.

When using the AdWords keyword researcher, there are a couple of things to take into consideration. 

 I am going to show how 2 of them can have a dramatic affect, and send people off chasing rainbows for a pot of gold that doesn’t exist.

1. Location setting. the default is US

2. phrase matching. The Default is broad.

The data you are seeing is not search data per se, it is AdWords search data (yes I know they are the same thing, but not quite. 😉

Here is an example of how wrong you can get it unless you appreciate the above 2 points.

a. you run ‘windows software’ through the kw researcher you get 670k for last month & 800k as a monthly average. Quick Martha get me my burrow, shovel and pan, we are going to be rich!

b. you run ‘windows software’ through the kw researcher with ‘UK’ selected, you get 165k & 201k Hold the burrow Martha, lets have some tea and toast, and a think before we go for the pot of gold, the rainbow seems to be diminishing..

c. you run ‘windows software’ through the kw researcher “phrase matched” you get 8100 & 9900 . Hold the tea and toast Martha, not sure we can afford such luxury, lets just have the tea and no milk, as we may have to eat the cow.

d. you run ‘windows software’ through the kw researcher [exact matched] you get 880 & 2900. Martha! Forge the tea, I am off to the office. Thank the lord I didn’t email my resignation to the boss. 🙁

As you can see, it is very easy to get it wrong, and go off chasing rainbows. I pulled the phrase above out of thin air, and look at the difference. People would be optimising for the phrase expecting 800,000 a month in clicks if they get to #1, when the reality is, 880 people searched for that EXACT phrase last month!

On forums around the world for the last week, people have bee shouting ‘KW research is easy now with Google’s KW tool’. To those people I say HA! Unless you know what you are doing, you are STILL going to waste a shed load of time chasing rainbows.

And the moral is simple, and it is something I have been saying time after time after time, keyword research is KING, keyword research is the bedrock of success for an internet based business. As that old Chinese fighting bloke Sun Tzu said, “Know your enemy”.

Don’t cut corners on KW research, let others chase rainbows 😉

6 Responses to “Don’t Get Caught Chasing Rainbows! (The pitfalls of amateur keyword research)”

  1. that’s quite something!

    I compiled a list of brand search volumes to optimise our keyword placement, seems I’ll have to do it all over again now 🙂

  2. Gareth

    Nice post! Keyword research is just so important and if you do it badly everything else is wasted. You’ve illustrated that very well. It’s buy far the most common issue I come accross when working with clients. “I rank well for all of my keywords but only get 50 hits per day” ….I wonder why!

  3. Old Welsh Guy

    Gareth, it is amazing how many people get it wrong. I often get the following when discussing target keywords with clients, “Are you saying I don’t know my industry?”.. My reply is normally, You knowing your industry isn’t what matters, it is your CLIENTS not knowing your industry that matters!

    Especially in technical areas clients get wrong footed. EG. I am selling a hypertension measurement device and THAT is what I want to aim for.. Me, so what exactly IS a hypertension measurement device? Client it’s a ‘blood pressure monitor’, are you stupid?

    And there it rests! 😉

  4. “Me, so what exactly IS a hypertension measurement device? Client it’s a ‘blood pressure monitor’, are you stupid?”

    So true, no accounting what phrases people will find you by, made even harding guessing in niche markets! 🙁

  5. Old Welsh Guy

    Hi Richard, my clients used to look at me as if I had 2 heads when i told them I was not building a site for them, i was building it for their clients.