Creating a Keyword Universe
Keyword universe isn’t just a cool sounding internet marketing fad name … it’s a real thing, and actually, the name is rather well crafted.
Just to give you a simple definition: Your keyword universe is the total number of keywords and keyphrases you track (or want to track) that bring traffic to your website. This means that your website obviously ranks for those keywords.
The term “universe” isn’t an exaggeration. A common scenario for most websites is to have thousands of different keywords bringing them traffic. However, only a handful of them brings 95% (or more) of this traffic. Many keywords bring as little as one or two visits a month. This is just an example of the 80/20 rule, and it’s nothing unusual.
This vast number of keywords, however, creates one big problem … how to create and then manage your keyword universe?
1. Use Google Keyword Tool for Research
Google Keyword Tool is one of the most popular keyword tools available. It’s free, it pulls data from the most important keyword ranking database on the internet – Google, and it gives you a list of similar keywords you might consider targeting … this tool has it all.
The main rule of keyword research (apart from tens of other rules) is to search for keywords that have high search numbers (visitor popularity) and low competition numbers (competition popularity) at the same time. Such keywords are often the easiest to rank for.
2. Use Google Analytics for Research
Google Keyword Tool is all about finding new keywords. Google Analytics is all about finding keywords that are already bringing you traffic. In the next steps you can take those keywords, include them to your universe, and then create some kind of an SEO campaign to improve their results even further.
One approach you can take is to set a given threshold a keyword needs to reach to become “interesting” to you. Then you can go through the list of keywords that are bringing you any traffic and pick specific keywords that have reached your threshold. Those keywords go into your universe.
3. Use a Spreadsheet to Manage Your Keyword Universe
As we’ve said here, your keyword universe will contain hundreds if not thousands of keywords, which creates a challenge in keeping it usable and easily accessible.
Spreadsheets have been designed to be able to handle big amounts of numeric data, and keyword data is mostly this. Also, the most popular spreadsheet software allows you to sort data by all kinds of parameters, which comes really handy when working with keywords.
We advise you to go either with free Google Docs, or invest in something like Microsoft Excel.
4. Track Your Search Engine Rankings
Tracking your rankings is the most important everyday task when maintaining your keyword universe. You need to know where you stand in the search engine results pages if you want to be able to tell what can be improved. Usually, the higher the rank is the bigger the traffic you’ll get.
There are many great rank tracking tools. Nowadays, two of the best ones seem to be: Raven Tools and Market Samurai. They are both paid products, but they also both offer a free trial.
5. Divide Your Keywords into Two Groups
The groups are: (1) keywords you’re already tracking, (2) keywords you’re not yet tracking.
This is best done by creating another field in your spreadsheet that says whether a keyword is being tracked or not.
A possible approach for the first group is to track every keyword that you want to rank for (your goal keywords – ones that seem valuable), and to have other keywords in the second group – these keywords are usually the outcome of your Google Analytics research.
6. Choose Primary and Secondary Keywords
This is yet another field in your spreadsheet.
Primary keywords are ones that have the most potential and seem the most valuable. You can base your decision on the traffic potential/estimates, or current traffic these keywords are bringing you.
Secondary keywords are all keywords that bring you just a small amount of traffic, but you still find them worthwhile to track and target. Some long tail keywords usually fall into this set.
7. Choose Destination URLs for Keywords
You should always choose a destination URL (on your site) for each keyword you track and want to rank for.
This is obvious when you’re doing traditional keyword research, and end up with a set of keywords to target. Usually, your next step is to create pages on your site that you want to rank for those keywords.
On the other hand, if you’ve found a keyword during Google Analytics research, and the page ranking for this keyword is your home page then there’s probably a lot more potential there. That’s why it’s important to take such keywords and create landing pages for them too.
8. Start SEO Campaigns Around Your Best Keywords
You won’t improve your ranking if you don’t do any SEO work around your keywords (or outsource it to someone else).
The best approach to take is to set some amount of time to go through your keyword universe and plan some SEO campaigns for keywords that seem to have the most potential.
No matter whether you like it or not, SEO is an important part for every affiliate website.
9. Update Your Research Data Regularly
Keyword data changes almost every day. A keyword that was valuable just a couple of weeks ago may be completely useless today. Or the other way around.
You should update your data every week. The most important pieces of information to observe are search numbers (visitor popularity) and competition numbers (competition popularity).
10. Monitor Your Competition
The final step is to keep an eye on your competition. You can use tools like Google Keyword Tool or others to check what keywords bring the most traffic to your competitors. Then you can take those keywords and include them into your universe if you find them valuable enough.
You have to remember that your competition is probably working just as hard as you are. That’s why taking a look at their work is usually worth it.
This concludes the list of 10 steps to creating and maintaining a keyword universe. Now it’s your turn to share, and tell us what strategies and tools you’re using.