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Researching Topics and Relevant Keywords

Whenever a website is built, its creator has a goal in mind. Before building a new website it is important to research and choose a topic that will accomplish whatever goal was chosen. For someone who intends to be a commercial Webmaster, that means choosing a topic which at least has the potential to make money.

Exactly how you plan to make money from your website is not overly important, because choosing the topic and related keywords is equally critical for all types of online business models. Never lose sight of this essential truth: if you cannot get enough targeted traffic to your website you will not be able to earn money from it, regardless of your monetization plan.

The aim of getting targeted traffic to a website starts with topic selection, and then quickly involves the nitty-gritty details of keyword selection. Topic selection is an important first step that many people unfortunately dismiss or take for granted. When you are building a website to make money, choosing a topic which lacks commercial possibilities is not going to help you achieve your goal. This fact will remain true no matter how many keywords you come up with. Microsoft adCenter Labs offers a tool for detecting the online commercial intention (OCI) of keywords, and this functionality is integrated into both Market Samurai and Micro Niche Finder.

By this point, you should be crystal clear that you must select a topic with profit potential. Generally speaking, the more popular a topic is, the greater the market potential it possesses. However, in most cases the general popular topic is too broad to compete effectively if you only have modest resources available. Therefore, narrowing it down into subtopics (also referred to as niches or micro niches) is the next step. This is the stage where keyword research and selection come into play.

Choosing a broad topic such as health and beauty is a good first step for example, but unless you plan to invest years plus tens of thousands of dollars to make the website competitive, you will probably want to narrow things down a bit. You may instinctively choose one or the other - health or beauty - or you may start researching each branch of that topic to see which has the greater profit potential.

Suppose for the sake of this example you choose the health topic branch. However, even on its own health is still quite broad though, because it covers fitness, exercise, dieting, diseases, and much more. Within each of those sub-topics there are even more potential topics that you can choose to create a website about.

Researching keywords is currently one of the best ways to gauge the potential of a given topic or niche online, and this process can be as simple or as complicated as you like to make it. There are many different schools of thought floating around the Web where keyword research and selection are concerned, but the reality is whichever tools and techniques you choose to employ, a bit of trial and error will inevitably still be involved. A specific formula which works for one individual or company may not work as well for another. Keyword research is as much an art as a science.

For example, one SEO expert may advise narrowing down your topic into keywords and phrases which are searched for at least 5,000 times each month, but which only have 1,000 competing websites specifically optimized for the exact term. While this sounds like it should be doable - after all you have an exact formula to work with - it is not always as simple or easy as it may at first appear.

Not everyone can think of, or indeed find, a keyword which has so many searches yet so few competing sites. Furthermore, not everyone regards 1,000 competing websites as "a little" competition. Some people may need to take smaller steps, and try to find something with only 20 competing sites. Other people may feel there is not enough potential profit with "only" 5,000 searches each month, and so on. In other words, we are each at different levels of experience and comfort. One size does not fit all.

The general rule of thumb remains valid though. Try to find a keyword or phrase related to your topic which gets an acceptable number of searches each month, yet has few enough online competitors for you to feel comfortable with. Make sure you also investigate the toughness of the competition too. A particular keyword may only have a few hundred results, but if the top ten are impossibly hard to outrank given your available resources, you will not get anywhere.

Finding keywords and phrases which meet these requirements is usually the most time consuming part of a website building project, but it can also be the most critical too. If you spend the time researching before you do anything else, you can save yourself the time and expense of building an underperforming website which does not meet your earning expectations.

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