Huge Keyword Research Resource

In doing some research for another post I came across a huge resource for keyword terms for your Adwords and other PPC campaigns and for content pages. Believe it or not, it comes from Mahalo.com. It was bound to happen, I’ve finally found a use for Jason Calacanis’ search-engine-thingy-whatever-you-want-to-call-it.

It’s actually the category section of Mahalo and it is extremely useful. On this page you’ll find every category listed in Mahalo and then those categories go to their specific category page listing even more keywords linking to their individual page on Mahalo. It’s awesome because categories are listed in keyword fashion such as in the toys category. When you click over there you’ll get a list of all the most popular toy search terms for the last few years. And it gets even better because the words a listed in a way that you can just put your cursor over them and then click and scroll to copy whatever words you want in the list.

With Christmas coming up you could use the toys category to do keyword research for promotions for the buying frenzy during holiday time to figure out what parents will be spending their money on for kiddies. Want a list of popular toys that won toy of the year awards, go here.  Want to make a buck off of the Hannah-Montana-I-can’t-even-go-into-Wal-Mart-without-seeing-her-freekin-picture-EVERYWHERE insanity, checkout the Hannah Montana category.

Some categories are a bit sparse such as the vintage cars category (great for maybe doing ppc for vintage car parts) and other categories are overflowing with every keyword and subject you may have forgotten about such as the Xbox 360 games category. This one has thousands of keywords. I’m sure you could find something to do with all those words.

Some of the categories are listed in a way that you can just copy and paste your keywords into Adwords campaigns (I’d still divide them up into small adgroups by hand or with a keyword tool such as in PPC Coach) or you can just check them out to get some great ideas for further keyword research.

Check out the Mahalo category page and find a ton of great keywords to ramp up your ppc efforts.

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Following The Rules, Or Taking Advantage Of Them?

 Sign In A Rest Stop

What about the rules, how closely should we follow them? The slaps, algorithm changes, TOS updates and constant policy changes we’re supposed to comply with as affiliates can be a bit overwhelming at times. And we know that the mother of all rules changes is the almighty (they just think they are) Google. If you don’t comply with Google, you essentially don’t get to play the game…that is unless you look at the rules a different way.

My financial advisor told me some time back that our politician friends running the show (if you want to call it that) in DC just go about their business continuing to complicate the tax code and then people like him read it and figure out ways to get around it. It’s just a game that’s been played ever since the wicked lawmakers have inhabited the halls of Congress and state capitals. My financial advisor’s job is to look at the complicated mess and figure out a way to save us money. People pay ridiculous amounts of money to Uncle Sam when they don’t have to.

I’m beginning to learn that rather than freak out about what Google throws my way, it’s a whole lot better to just absorb it and figure out how to use it best to my advantage or what to do to get around it. One thing I’ve learned to get around lately is the big freakout about lading page quality. The only thing Google wants there is your landing page to reflect what’s in your ad and they only look at your destination url. As long as your top level destination url matches your top level display url (even when it goes through a tracking link) and there aren’t any quality problems, you are good to go. You can then set your individual keyword url to whatever you want.

You can use this to your advantage if you direct link to offers and are having a hard time getting a good quality score, don’t put in your affiliate link as the destination url, use the top level url of your offer and then use your affiliate link with a tracking code as your keyword url. This works on both Google’s search and content network. Now put on your thinking caps and brainstorm on ways you can really take advantage of this little trick and you’ll never have to worry about quality score again.

Just as a warning here though, I’m not in any way condoning purposely breaking the rules or the law. If you violate Google’s terms, you will get nailed and if you break the tax laws, you may go to jail. There is a big difference in taking advantage of what’s in the rules vs walking over them and crossing the line. If you do Adsense, there are ways to optimize your ad placements so you earn the most possible, then there are idiots who ask their friends to click on their ads and can’t figure out why they get banned.

Don’t worry about the rules, adapt and take advantage of them. Oh, I was looking for my wife when we stopped at a rest stop, so I climbed up on the planter wall.

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Harsh Realities Of Affiliate Marketing Review, Parts 1-7

I finished up the Harsh Realities of Affiliate Marketing series a few days ago but wanted to write a short review and have 1 single post where you can find all 7 posts in the series and get a quick summary of what each one is about.

I did the series to let mainly new affiliates know that as much as the ebook pimps want you to think how easy affiliate marketing is, it takes lots and lots of work, there really isn’t any shortcut. But as long as you are willing to put in the time, it can be very rewarding and can give you the freedom from a job that so many look forward to, you just may want to be aware of the obstacles in the road ahead though.

The post titles and a short summary of each are listed below:

Harsh Reality 1 – Ranking For Keywords That Get Zero Traffic Means Nothing
Don’t make the mistake of spending time getting your blog or web site to rank for keyword phrases that don’t bring you any traffic.

Harsh Reality 2 – You Will Lose Money Starting In PPC
If you are going to try your hand at PPC, be prepared to lose money before you make money. Set a budget you can afford to lose before you get started.

Harsh Reality 3 – You’ll Never Make A Living With Banner Ads
We’ve all seen those websites plastered with nothing but affiliate banners. If you own a site like that, I can guarantee you aren’t making enough money to buy yourself a decent dinner once a week, probably not even once a month.

Harsh Reality 4 – There Will Be A Major Setback In Your Affiliate Career
If you don’t get slammed at least once in your affiliate marketing efforts and have a disappointing setback, you aren’t trying hard enough.

Harsh Reality 5 – No Risk Equals No Reward
If you’re going to make money at affiliate marketing, you will have to risk time, money or other goodies until you get the whole thing figured out. Even when you start making some money, you’ll have to take risks to get to that next level.

Harsh Reality 6 – Those Who Analyse The Most, Do The Least
If you’re stuck in the perpetual cycle of over analysing and planning, the only way out is to actually do something. Ultimately it is the action part of affiliate marketing that earns you the money.

Harsh Reality 7 – Don’t Count On Your Blog Making Money
If you are blogging about how to make money online, it’s probably a good idea that you go out and make some money first.

The real harsh reality of affiliate marketing is that you can make some very good money having an online business, you just have to watch out for the lazy work habits, stupid mistakes, bad advice, deceptive marketing and false dreams that can end up hurting you in the end. However, some of these trials are a good thing to work through, that way you know what not to do. The better perspective you have on the truth about being an affiliate, the better chance you have of making a living at it.

I hope you enjoyed and benefited from the Harsh Reality series.

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Harsh Reality 1 – Ranking For Keywords That Get Zero Traffic Means Nothing

Tuna FrappuccinoSome time from minutes to hours after this post goes live, it will rank number one in Google for tuna frappuccino. While some may get excited about that, it means nothing, because the last time I checked, not a single person was searching for one of these tasty delights. And to my knowledge, Starbucks isn’t serving them yet either.

Depending on how much time you as an affiliate may waste trying to get your domain name or some clever phrase you’ve thought of, to get that high ranking in Google, it can either be a minor distraction or a huge mistake. You may be proud of the fact that you own the number one spot in Google for your name or some obscure phrase, but the harsh reality is that you’re the only one searching for that specific term and it is bringing you exactly zero traffic.

You’d think this would be a no brainer, but it isn’t. Someone might go to Google and think that ranking number one for tuna frappuccino out of more than 39,000 results is something special. It isn’t. There aren’t 39,000 results for the phrase “tuna frappuccino”, there are 39,000 results for pages that have the word tuna and the word frappuccino somewhere on that page but there are zero pages that have those two words together, that is until now.

Reading the little results bar at the top right on Google search results pages can be a quite misleading about your keyword competition. Some of this misconception probably comes from ebook pimps promoting their skills by showing those misleading results on those insanely long sales pages. They will tell you, and even show you, how if you buy their ebook you can rank for lots of obscure phrases as well. You then spend the money and start ranking for obscure phrases that bring you zero traffic, and find you still don’t rank for phrases that do bring traffic.

To get accurate competition results on a keyword phrase, you need to be looking for the pages where your phrase is in the exact order of a keyword that is actually worth promoting. To find your true competition, place quotes around the phase and then look at the results. For example, let’s take the phrase make super big money. Wow, there’s over 2 million results for that phrase! No, there are 2 million pages with some combination of those words on them. Some page may be a blog where a guy is happy about his wife making pizza for dinner and writes, “Super, my wife is going to make a big pizza for dinner. I hope I have enough money in my wallet to go to the store and get mushrooms, otherwise I’ll have to use the credit card.” That’s not really about making money.

When you put the phrase “make super big money” in quotes, the results come out a little different. There are only 4 pages with that exact phrase on them (but now probably 5 with this post) and most importantly, no one is searching for that term.

If you’re overly excited one day to find your name or an obscure term on your web site ranks number 1 in Google, head over to either the Free Keyword Suggestion tool at WordTracker or the Free Search Term Suggestion Tool at KeywordDiscovery and see how many people are actually searching for that term as reality sinks in a bit.

Maybe you can head over to Starbucks now and drown your sorrows in a nice tuna frappuccino. Did you want whip cream on that?

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The Harsh Realities Of Affiliate Marketing

I couldn't find a 2 by 4Just a short post today to let you know that tomorrow I’ll be starting a 6 part (maybe more) series on the harsh realities of affiliate marketing. While you can make a living online and you can even become what one would consider rich, affiliate marketing can be cold, cruel and difficult to make a buck with for those that either don’t get it or and trying too hard to become rich.

The series is mainly for newer affiliates just getting started and trying to figure out the whole game and may be a good reminder for those who have been at it awhile. If you’ve read any ebooks by gurus (most are garbage) or enrolled in courses that you purchased after reading a quarter-mile-long sales page, you may have found out that the reality of affiliate marketing is very different than the make money, get rich fantasy. There’s no doubt that this business is hard work. Some people however, just need a 2 by 4 upside the head because they just don’t get it.

My goal is to make this series that 2 by 4, with a soft cushion on the end you get hit with. Some people may be offended by something in the series because it resembles them too closely. I won’t be refering to anyone in particular in my posts, but you just may be the latest one to ask the question or leave a comment the post is addressing. Don’t worry, there’s a long line of people behind you who have asked the very same question, but sorry you had to be the most recent.

For now, here’s what the series will cover:

1. Why ranking even number 1 for some keywords is no big deal.

2. Prepare to lose money on PPC.

3. Banner ads don’t really cut it.

4. You will have a major setback.

5. Be too careful and you will fail.

6. Analysis will cause paralysis, and eventually death.

In writing this post I just thought of another topic, so now it’s a 7 part series before it’s even started.

7. Don’t count on your blog to make any money.

The post isn’t quite as short as I expected, but that’s the scoop on the upcoming series staring tomorrow. Stay tuned…

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