Affiliate Marketing – How to Do Keyword Research

Affiliate marketing wouldn’t be nearly as hard if more people understood the principles behind it. There are certain things you must do if you plan on making one red penny with your efforts.

And the first of those is keyword research.

Keyword research is the online equivalent of market research. Basically, you are determining how big your market is and how many competitors you are going to have to beat to win market share.

Here is a quick rundown on how to do keyword research:

In the Beginning

I’m assuming you’ve already chosen a niche and an offer to promote. After that, the first step is to analyze the offer itself and the sales page the advertiser is using to sell it.

What you are looking for are cues as to what people will be searching for to find such a solution. These will be « power phrases » that stick out to you as you read the sales letter.

As an example, a landing page selling a dog clicker training product might have a blurb about how you can house train your dog by using it. This is an important factor and a reason somebody might want to know about this product.

So, here’s the keyword phrase I would pull the following from that particular blurb: « how to house train my dog ».

You continue this process until no more keyword phrases stick out to you.

Next, you take these basic keyword phrases and write out every variation you can think of. From our example, I would write down things like:

· Ways to house train a dog

· How do I house train my dog

· Train my dog house training

· ETC.

Do this for all of the keywords on your now growing list.

While I’m generally opposed to using too many tools when you’re just starting out, this tool is a major help and it’s free to use.

Go over to and type in the offer page URL into the site profile section. It will bring back all kinds of data. What we are interested in the top 5 keywords delivering traffic to the website.

Add these to your list, and make sure to write out variations as well.

Google External Keyword Tool

This is another free tool offered by the big G itself. I use this tool in two ways. First, I type in the keywords I pulled from and my initial research to formulate more variations and to get an idea of search volumes. I write down the keywords that strike me as relevant to the offer.

Next, I use the website analysis functionality to analyze the offer website. This will give you a list of keywords that Google deems as relevant to the webpage.

Write all of these down… we’ll need them in the next step.

Competitive Research

This is really a step on its own, but I find it important enough to touch on here. The competition really will determine which keyword phrases are worth pursuing. (Side note: I am also assuming you are chasing these keywords for organic traffic as opposed to paid traffic.)(This process is different when determining competition for paid sources.)

Hope over to Google and type in the keywords you have on your list. Take note of how many different web pages your search brings back… this is your competition. Personally, I stay away from phrases with over 200K competing pages. This is a personal decision though, and you can set your own limit higher or lower.

Next, we need to determine the strength of our competition. Specifically, we want to know how long each page in the top ten is and how many quality backlinks your competing page has. There are tons of tools for finding out this kind of information, but another free option I prefer to use is called SEO Quake. It doesn’t cost a dime and is a Firefox add-on… making it very easy to use.

Now what?

So, now you have all these keywords with acceptable levels of competition. You have a product to promote and a dream to chase. You are ready to run… now what?

The next step is to test your keywords using one of major PPC platforms. But we’ll leave how to do that for another article.

So, get out there and build your keyword list. Remember how important this process is… it will make you or break you as an affiliate. Good luck!