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At this point, pretty much everyone knows about Google's keyword tool, as well as Wordtracker and the basics of long and short tail keyword phrases. We're going to skip over all that for this post and talk instead about some other useful tools to get data about your niche. Here is a list of some that we like to use, and what they are good for:

These tools are all either free or have useful free versions!

http://stats.grok.se

This is a really great site that pulls data about Wikipedia's page view counts from wikimedia.org. It does some cleanup of the data and then displays that information in a graph representing the views of pages containing your chosen keyword over time. It's an excellent tool that lets you do two different but equally important things:

  • You can use it to get a quick grasp of just how big a niche is when compared to others or even the smaller, longer tail versions.
  • You can use it to get an idea for whether interest in your topic is increasing or decreasing, or if it has seasonal characteristics.

http://www.google.com/trends

The trends tool is a great keyword tool that allows you to find out what is popular right now. It's like a little peek inside what's churning through Google's indexing engine right now. The stuff you find with Trends will usually include new products being launched or things that are hot in the news. Try it; we think you'll find that it's a terrific tool to generate ideas and find inspiration.

http://answers.yahoo.com

A ton of the search terms people use these days come in the form of questions. If you want to get ideas for relevant questions based on your niche, just go do a search for your root keyword here and you'll get plenty to think about.

http://www.marketsamurai.com

If you haven't heard about Market Samurai yet, you definitely will if you continue in Internet Marketing. We use Market Samurai all the time here at the IMC. It's a truly excellent piece of software that has very powerful keyword research features. The keyword research module is completely free with the trial version, but the other features, such as the SEO competition module, do cost money to activate.

http://www.alexa.com

This is one of the grand-daddies in the traffic info field. While it is not the most accurate resource available these days, it is still really useful for a lot of general information. It's very good for checking out your competitors' websites, finding out what keywords people are using to find them, and getting a feel for their overall ranking in terms of traffic volume.

http://www.compete.com/us

This site is quite similar to Alexa, and it does a pretty decent job of revealing what a website's top search terms are, as well as some other useful tidbits. One of the features we really like about it is that it makes it easy for you to compare websites with one another -- but be aware that it's not terribly accurate.

http://www.google.com

This isn't about using Google search results directly; it's about a feature that people have gotten used to and may not really appreciate: Google's suggest feature! You can use this to come up with a lot of keyword variations that you might not find any other way.

As an example, if you are creating a site on organic farming and are brainstorming for a blog post idea, you can just type 'organic farming' into the search bar, hit the space bar and then start punching in random letters and see what Google suggests. Since these suggestions are based on what Google is actually seeing people type in most frequently they can be very useful for getting insight into specific topics people are interested in within your niche. You may find yourself shocked to see how many different things people search for around your topic.

http://www.google.com/analytics

Another simple but very useful strategy is to have a look in your own analytics to see what keywords people are typing to find your site. You might be surprised to find some gems in there worth writing an entire post on, building a page around or working on your SEO for.

These are all great (free) tools you can use to find hot, lucrative topics and keywords in your chosen niches. Use them wisely and with some imagination, and you can create a lot of new free traffic to your sites!


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