The More Keywords The Better!?

Share Button

There is a common misconception that in order to develop a successful online business you need to be targeting hundreds or thousands of keywords.

This perception often causes a great deal of confusion and can lead to ‘Analysis Paralysis’ as people spend months analyzing keywords looking for the perfect opportunity. As a result they never follow through to create a complete and profitable business.

Last week, a group of us were discussing this problem and came to the conclusion that the reason this misconception is still so prevalent is that in the past, focusing on quantity versus quality DID actually work.

In the early days of Internet marketing, if you placed a large number of related keywords on a page or included them in Meta and Alt tags you could often get rankings that led to traffic.

Similarly, in the early days of Google Adwords, it was possible to load your account with thousands of keywords and generate a steady stream of traffic to your site.

However, while this may have been the case in 2003, it is very important to realize that THINGS HAVE CHANGED.

The old approach was a ‘shotgun strategy’ in which you targeted a large number of keywords, took a shot and hoped for the best.

With the continuous improvements in search engine algorithms and the development of quality metrics such as Google’s Quality score, this approach is no longer effective.

The mantra of “The more keywords the better” is a thing of the past.

The alternative to the old shotgun strategy is a new ‘laser like’ approach in which you explore your market carefully and then zero in on a small subset of specific keywords.

old keyword strategy versus new keyword strategy

To understand why this laser focused approach is so important we need to examine something we call the ‘Iceberg Principle’.

According to the Iceberg Principle, finding a good keyword is just the tip of the Iceberg.

In order to transform a keyword into a genuine asset for your business, you need to undertake a range of tasks that most people unfortunately never get around to.

These tasks include:

On-page optimisation

Off-page optimisation

Obtaining high quality backlinks

Writing articles

Conducting targeted PPC campaigns


The truth is that every one of these activities requires time and effort. Clearly, if you are trying to target thousands of keywords, following through on these activities becomes virtually impossible.

So, instead of generating lists containing thousands of semantically related keywords, here is the laser focused strategy that we recommend in today’s SEO environment.

To get started, use Market Samurai to generate a sample of keywords in your niche and then continually refine and filter these keywords until you find 5-10 keywords that have the following characteristics:

(1) They are highly relevant to your niche

(2) They have reasonable levels of traffic eg. 100 visitors per day

(3) They have acceptable levels of competition eg. Less than 30000 competing web pages

(4) They have low strength of competition ie. The top 10 sites in Google are not well optimized

Once you have identified and selected your target keywords, redirect your focus to the on-page and off-page SEO tasks necessary to transform your keywords into genuine traffic-generating assets for your business.

Dr Anthony J. Fernando is a respected internet marketing expert, and Head Sensei of Training at Noble Samurai.

Anthony has written 3 post(s) for Noble Samurai

173 Responses to “The More Keywords The Better!?”

  1. Great article. Like the keyword approach you suggest, it was clear, concise, and to the point. Great stuff, as usual! Thanks.

    John Zajaros

    David replied:

    Couldn’t agree more with you. Its amazing how things have changed since 2006 much less 2003! Keep it up guys.

    Simon replied:

    Awesome article, I will be revisiting my sites and marketing ASAP.

    Eric Chua replied:

    Thank you for providing such great information. Google is getting smarter nowadays, they want to provide user with the most relevant and quality page. Therefore no matter what strategy or optimization method we use, the quality of page content is still the key factor for top ranking.

  2. It’s great to be kept up to date with what is happening on the net. It is a face changing world online and your blogs is always enlightening.

    Thanks :)

  3. As always, great info from the boy at MS

  4. I never believed ‘more is best’ for keywords, however I do believe in having a main keyword and several secondary keyword-phrases (usually long-tail or LSI) on each page. Any suggestions for selecting these?

  5. ahhhh! The good ol’ days when you could just type in the dictionary and get ranking…LOL I’m not sayin’ I ever did that! ;) Thanks for the great iceberg image and explanation. Great visualization.


  6. Great and useful post. It is so easy to think that more is better and get lost in lack of clarity.
    You’re so right that there is lots of work that needs to be done under the ice berg

  7. Thanks for the article. When you say “acceptable levels of competition eg. Less than 30000 competing web pages” am I correct in assuming that this is competition measured by doing a “phrase search” (not a broad search) in Google for the keyword term you are targeting?

    Quincy replied:

    That’s correct, Les.

    “Phrase search” shows you the number of websites that are using that phrase in an EXACT order. While broad search shows keyword phrase in ANY order on any given page. Phrase match just gives you a better idea of how many sites are actually optimized for a given phrase.

    Hope that helps.

    seomarketingph replied:

    I have the same question as Les. Nice to have more clarification about this. Actually I’m still trying to digest everything here. I have read a lot of things about IM already and been trying to start my own business. This seomarketingph site of mine is not even up yet cuz I don’t know what to write (on page optimization) for the content. Been searching for the best way to make the site. As of now, I’m still studying key search (thought I already know a lot) but I still don’t know how to get those long tail keywords. Can any of you guys suggest what I do first? :) thanks

    John Bruin replied:

    I would suggest that you go to the 30 Day Challenge and watch the videos for market samurai. Drilling down will get you your long tail key words. Example: Back Pain—>Low Back Pain—>Lower Right Back Pain. This has been a real world example that I used during the 30DC.

    seomarketingph replied:

    thanks John!

    I’ll have to be honest though, I dont have the budget for now. I have to do things manually. But i’ll try and see what I can do with samurai. Thanks again.

    @Anthony, you rock!

  8. Hi guys. I have to say your product is amazing. I found Market through the 30DC and haven’t looked back. I know much of the research can be done manually but how amazing to be able to do it at the touch of a button and so clear to understand.

    With the research I have done through Market Samurai I have a few sites now on the first page of Google and getting great hits.

    Thanks for the reminders in this article and for a great product.

  9. Guys, you rock!

    Thank you soooo much for the post! Right to the point and just what I needed, right now, having completely been lost to the keyword jungle.

    There are so many “consultants” still teaching: “The more the better.”

    Your Iceberg model is the best I’ve seen in ages.

    Thanks again,
    - kimmo

  10. What can I say, another super quality article.

    I love the analogy of the ice-burg and concentrating more on quality rather than quantity of KW.


  11. Now that’s a very true conclusion :)

    But I admit I do use more is better in a different way.

    The actual money site may target about 5 to 10 keywords but the web 2.0 properties linking back to it will target those very keywords and many more related keywords.

    Doing this avoids one appearing as though they’re keyword stuffing or spamming the engines or even over optimizing their sites.

    With several accounts on the same web 2 property, it’s the best approach to stay under the radar.

    I know, I know; some frown upon this but … :)


  12. Good post and advice, I rate Market Samurai as the best tool for Online Marketing in my im toolkit

  13. [...] More Keywords The Better!? October 22nd, 2009 | Author: James Roughton via [...]

  14. [...] result they never follow through to create a complete and profitable business. Read the full post: The More Keywords The Better!? | Noble Samurai . __________________ GARRY DUFRESNE My Personal Mission Statement:…

  15. They have low strength of competition ie. The top 10 sites in Google are not well optimized

    Can someone spell this out for me. What am I looking for?

    The article makes a lot of sense and I admit I have been confused by
    different tactics being preached. However NSAM is my benchmark so now I know better what to do.

    CD Rates replied:

    For low competition phrases, you are looking to see if the top 10 sites have the phrase in the URL, Title, and H1 Tags.

    You want to check the PR (not necessarily the almighty deterrent, but if all 10 sites have a PR of 6,7,8 you’ll have a hard time beating them).

    You want to check the number of links they have. If you don’t have MS, Yahoo’s Site Explorer can tell you this.

    Then are those links targeted with the phrase you are after. MS doesn’t do this, but that would be a handy feature.

  16. But what do you do when your niche is too competitive and there are no other keywords that relate to your company? Just work on those 5 keywords, regardless?

    John Bruin replied:

    Not to sound crass but find a new niche or sub area of the bigger niche.

  17. I recently read that the more keywords you have, the more you dilute each one. The author recommended 7 keywords (or phrases) is ideal, so make them count!


  18. Veronica, there’s an earlier post called “A Blueprint for SEO Competition Analysis” just a few posts down from this one which should explain what you’re looking for. It’s probably the part of MS I’m getting the most value from of late.

    Here’s the URL:

  19. The competition is getting very stiff in many niches so utilizing refined tactics is always the way to go.

    Great, useful info as always.


  20. 20

    I’m lazy, can you make it a video so I don’t have to read?



  21. I always wondered how many competing sites were “too many” and now I know! Thanks for the objective ways to measure the market.

  22. To be honest, if you are not laser targeting your keywords, then you are not focusing your business on your niche correctly (thinking in a blogging format).

    You really need to be picking up on a particular subject(s) regularly in some cases so your readership/customer comes to expect that you are the authority…and that subject should be your laser guided, awesome, low competition, decent traffic, nice PCI keyword :)


    Now just to work out the sum below, I hated maths at school ;(

  23. Hello!

    Yep sure Steve is right video always is beter.


  24. All this talk of keywords has me thinking of reorganising mine now :S

  25. Hello MS Folks-
    I use your product daily it has transformed my ability to get multiple niches up. It’s awesome, and your kw research article here, well, I’m glad to still see this as relevant.I’ve been a customer for over a year, when you first launched and I can say that if this is the direction you suggest the search engines are optimzizing for than your software is the best in the biz!

  26. Totally Agree. Most of the traffic you get will be searching for your main 2-3 keywords anyway.

  27. Thank you so much for this Iceberg principle. I never regretted having Market Samurai. From the trial day until now. From its usefulness to its support. Thank you.

  28. I absolutely agree, you need to focus. And when it comes to competition I think you need to pay as much attention to the quality of the competition as to the quantity.

  29. I am new to Market Samurai and your blog. Great reminder and info to stay focused. While I may personally use up to 10, I do recommend 5 to clients. However, it’s still a challenge to educate some clients about the importance and value of keyword research until they become serious.

  30. I think that there is more to it than SEO. A wide range of keywords means that there is no focused nich there – you are trying to get anything and everything. Marketers much wiser than myslef concluded long ago that this way you get nothing and no one. The keyword concentration should be the result of focusing on your specific nich, your competitive advantage, not a technical decision concerning SEO and site building effort.

    If you DO have hundreds of relevant keywords in your nich, than there is perfect sense in trying to get them all – you will make more money! The effort is then irrelevant – hire the help you need, it will pay off.

  31. Great article, thanks.

  32. Great post but what about the future of keyword research. Will your own research still be viable in the near future?

  33. I’ve been in a bit of “paralysis by analysis” lately myself. I made a commitment to get back to basics and re-focus like a laser on more conventional on and off-page SEO tactics.

    Perfectly timed reminder.

  34. I love MS and was just wondering about this since I am new to KY stuff.

  35. Absolutely the best tool and advice for internet marketers. Thanks guys!

    I have a list of five main keywords (Is that to many?). I recently received feedback from a directory that there was an issue using “bounce house” in all the long-tail keywords. Is that really an issue?

  36. As always, great info from the folks at Market Samurai!

  37. @Veronica
    They have low strength of competition ie. The top 10 sites in Google are not well optimized
    Can someone spell this out for me. What am I looking for?
    Maybe Anthony has abetter way, but I believe in Samurai, you open the keywor din question in a new tab (tick and open in new tag, or click the magnifying glass to drill down)
    Then click the SEO OCMPETITION TAB on teh left.

    Look for a lot of green sqaures :-)

    Waet we’re really looking for is holes.
    Do all of the top ten have AGED domains ie 1+ years), are all their pages Ttiel optimised, do they have EDU backlinks (hard for most mortals to get) do they have lots of backlinks.

    That is the basics. But you should drill deeper.

    How many of the top ten are unmoveable (ie amazon, wikipedia, goverment or edu sites, about, etc.)

    But IMHO that isn’t the full story either.

    How many of teir backlinks are “real” ie not by them, or sites owned by them. That takes more research. Because then you can still crush them anyway.

    But personally I do not care.
    Competition is frankly irrelevent IF you are truly cmommitted to the business that keyword/s relates to.
    And that IMHO is a large part of what Anthony is so rightly reminding us.

    The green squares anf easy competition is frankly the lazy non committed method.
    If you are committed, you would use the pink buffalo technique in conjunction with market samurai.

    When you don’t know what you want, market samurai is good.
    Whnen you do knwo what you want, noble market samurai is incredible!

    BTW GREAT iceberg!!!!
    And you forgot to mention teh pink buffalo.
    Seriously you did!

    Peace and light.

  38. This is a superb posting; simple and to the point. I used to get overwhelmed with keywords and thought I needed a ton of them to make it online. I’ve come to find out in my past finding and with confirmation from this article that this is not true.

  39. Great Post…

    My Question is … Is 5-10 KW’s Good enough… Do you focus on building backlinks for those 5-10 till the endo of time or do you grab other related keywords after you have built up the 5-10?

  40. I agree. Things has changed to the iceberg approach.

    And yes, with MS we can find those keywords according to the criterias, what I am concerning about is how to do a good On-page/Off-page SEO and building backlinks?

    If you can further elaborate about that it will be very good.

    Anyway, thanks for this article.

  41. Yes, laser target, but make long posts. You’ll be surprised what keywords people find you for. Some of our higher paying phrases are for 2 -3 searches per week. For instance, we had a 5 word phrase that was searched once, paid over $4. The CPM was like $300. Our higher traffic phrases have a CPM of around $35 to $85.

    Great stuff.
    cd :O)

  42. 42

    Great article – simple and to the point. If only everything was this easy.

    Keep ‘em coming.

    Regards to all at M S.

    PS The best Tool in the business.

  43. Thanks, a great article. Concise, to the point and very useful information, as always.

  44. Very good information. I think I am still in the shotgun era, trying to stay afloat on the tip of the iceberg but its melting. :)

  45. Superb article with just a few easy step-by-step instructions. I believe having to do to many steps in order to create one revenue creating strategy, is one of the reasons most of us give up, before we get some momentum. I own MS, and it`s a great tool.

  46. Awesome content, just reconfirms what I am doing now. And your software makes it that much easier.

  47. I learned about Noble Samuri via Ed Dales 30DC and find is so valuable in both research and time saving that I won’t be bothering with any other k/word tools.

  48. Excelente artículo, un enfoque para poner en práctica ahora mismo.

    Market Samurai es excelente, siguiendo sus estrategias posicioné mi página y palabra principal en primer lugar en menos de dos meses.

    Gracias, muchos éxitos.


  49. I love receiving your e-mails. You never try to sell me anything and all you do is give quality content. The internet marketing community can learn a thing or 2 from you guys.

  50. monthly traffic > 3000
    competing websites < 30000
    Badly optimised top 10 sites
    Got it, thank you!

  51. I agree with you here guys…

    Its a matter of getting involved with the keywords that are in your niche and working on them to get you the traffic!

    I love Market Samurai for that

  52. Excelente Article. How about an example done with MS? And how can MS help to create an LSI-optimized template and LSI-optimized content?

    A video with an example would be very helpful.

  53. So we took the ‘T’ out of ‘ShoTgun’ and it became ‘Shogun’ cool! Keep me informed on the SEO Bushido!

  54. thanks to Ed and 30DC for introducing to noble samurai. I found so many marketing online that I looked at using these techniques for Google local search for local business’s with a website and no traffic.

  55. Thanks, Anthony. You always explain well, like in the 30DC videos.
    Bought MS recently. Great piece of software. Besides KW research, there are loads of other useful features. Great stuff.

  56. Is there a separate strategy for choosing SEO keywords Vs. PPC keywords? I would love to see a future article about that…


    Justin Eckrich

  57. Great post! This has been a problem of mine since I got started online. Trying to get a huge list of keywords in not only time consuming, but nerve racking as well. Wondering if you’re wasting money on too many keywords. Thanks for clearing this up and giving some specific action steps.

  58. Interesting post. I think I agree with it having tried the paralysis by analysis route. Only to find that many of the “excess” keywords don’t result in PPC clicks for example.

    The difficulty with the 5-10 keyword approach is finding the right ones. e.g. it’s not just about traffic or their competitiveness it’s also about whether they include some form of “intent”.

    I think MS is generally superb by the way. However, I do think it could be improved in terms of the long tail keywords. Other than using Analytics to see what people actually search on (Surprising!) I have yet to find anything really good for the long tail keyword. Any suggestions?

  59. I think it is good that the more keywords the better is a thing of the past. The new strategy of a “laser” approach where you can use only a small subset of specific keywords is less time consuming and more relevant.

  60. More to think about; more to learn; another great article from you lot. Keep it up!!!

  61. 61

    Great post. This is one the best products I’ve ever owned.

  62. One problematic idea that I keep seeing repeated over and over is the the idea of finding keywords that have descent traffic and low competing pages…with numbers given out that are somewhere less than 50,000 on a phrase match search.

    The problem is that these terms are becoming less and less available as time goes on and marketers try desperately to hunt for them. The problem becomes even more of an issue if you are targeting any type of “product” keyword…which just so happens to be the kind of keyword you need to rank for if you are going to setup an online store or an ebay affiliate store.

    “Info” keywords can be found easy enough for those that want to develop a blog-style site and sling traffic to Adsense or other affiliate programs…but how long will that last?

    The “low competition” keywords are not infinite…and the days of hunting for them are soon over.

    In three or four years people are still going to be pushing this idea…but by then the only “low hanging fruit” left will only be available to those who are willing to learn a different language and mine keywords and build sites targeted at other language groups.

  63. I am so glad that I bought Market Samurai. It is one of the best tools that I have to work with. The more I use Market Samurai the better I get at knowing what works..the added features are great.. Your Iceberg Principle example is so relevant today, if you want your site to be ranked at the top in Google…. Thanks for the input as always…

  64. Like always…Great Info and Great Product. Market Samurai has saved us hundreds of hours of research time. Can’t say thanks enough!

  65. Thanks for yet another good tutorial on how to get more out of Market Samurai. Am glad I bought it and am SO happy you keep it current with the changes on the ‘net.

  66. I love your image and concept of the iceberg principle. You make it so easy to see and understand.

  67. I have to thank you all. Market Samurai has been such a great help to me in this iceberg principle way of marketing. Keep it coming. Love it.

  68. I think most people are scared because of the WORK that you have to do but the real gold is in the follow up.

    Once you run with a small group of targeted keywords your analytics will give you the real gold and then you enter the area of KEYWORD PIMPIN’.

    It’s just like the recent FTC scare. All the people who aren’t willing to step-it-up will have to step aside and allow more room for us.

    You guys at MS know your stuff and provide some great insights. Thanks

  69. Others have spent thousands or written millions of words to try and teach what you brillantly present in a memorable metaphor. Noble Samuri is a phenomenal product and I am glad I found it. It’s already a part of my internet marketing success and as you continue to over-deliver (it’s so good already), I know I’ll continue to thank you again and again.

  70. Great post! The Iceberg Principle is a great analogy of how the traffic generation part of online business should be viewed.

    Do you agree that optimizing for 2nd tier keywords first before optimizing for the more competitive keywords will actually give the webmaster an easier time optimizing for the more competitive keywords when once the site is optimized for its 2nd tier keywords?

  71. Thank you.. It is all too much some times.. knowing what tools to use is a Bit much. Other than yours, what tools to you recommend. I am trying the traffic bug at the moment, But i have old sites,, not sure if it will work. I keep going from page one to page two on google. My other site i can not even get to page three yet. Almost a year. But i keep trying, Thank you


  72. Thanks for the article which is spot on, I love the iceberg diagram as well. Keywords and seo competition are usually paid lip service but with your tool there is really no excuse for not getting it 100% right first time. Love the product, thanks.

  73. Great advice, your services have greatly helped my sites ranka nd position

  74. The one thing that constantly amazes me is the fear of keywords that have lots of competition. I see it stressed almost everywhere and by almost everyone. Sheesh, it’s really not that big a deal.

    Lol, you should try some adult searches where there are keywords with over a BILLION websites. 30K competition isn’t really any competition at all. I suppose that’s the point for newbies so it probably makes my amazement a moot point.

    With minimal effort you should be able to kick butt even with 100K competition. Even A million isn’t all that tough. Most sites are put up by amateurs and they have no clue if they are ranked or why.

    Not that what you wrotedoesn’t work, it will. I believe we scare people by telling them how tough the competition is and keep them from trying for more or worse yet teach them to fear anything with over 30K competition.

    Ciscko replied:

    Amen brother ( or sister)!

    Everybody says 30,000 but as somebody else mention, it is for the lazy one who don’t want to put up the effort.

    Now days it is possible to rank for more “competitive” keywords.
    A little research can have you in page one or two with little effort.

  75. Thanks for the information but I have never found a keyphrase that can generate decent amount of traffic and has competition less than 30,000

  76. I agree – it would definately NOT be possible to do ALL those tasks for too many keywords. Excellent article.

  77. @Veronica,

    I think the best way to illustrate the niche keyword optimization idea is with an old joke:
    Two guys are running from a grizzly bear and one stops to put on his running shoes. The second guy says, “What are you doing? You can’t outrun that bear!” To which the first guy says, “I don’t have to. I just have to outrun YOU!”
    You don’t have to do everything perfectly in a small niche if you’re targeting your market with targeted keywords, you just have to do it better than the competition. And chances are, what you see in Google as competition is more accidental than anything; they’re mostly not actually optimizing for your chosen keyword.

    Best of success,

  78. Hey Guys,

    Thanks for all the helpful suggestions on market research and Market Samurai tips. Your keyword tool is the best, a real time saver. Wish I would have gotten MS sooner.


  79. Best advices. And brilliant illustrations!

    Really visually more easy to understand “what text is mean”.

  80. 80
    On October 23rd, 2009 at 6:21 am
    tomartomartini said:

    This is a great AND valuable article!Which proclaims a functional mind set ….. the mind set being!

    Get 5-10 keywords PHRASES that have the following :

    (1) Highly relevant to the niche.

    (2) Traffic eg. 100/200 visitors a day

    (3) They have competition about 30000/5oooo competing web pages
    in phrase match – “dog training tricks”; not- dog training tricks -

    (4) They have low strength of competition ie. The top 10 sites in

    Google are not well optimized eg weak back-links [ THIS FACILITY in m/s is just beyond great.]
    well as we have all spoken” really thanx” you didn’t have too put this post here ,but you did ,,,looking to-wards your adword release. :)

  81. Thank you for sorting out a raging argument in a stroke, and I won. MS is the best.

  82. What? does it mean my strategy is not working anymore???

    seriously, thanks for the update and a great reminder too.

  83. Great post. I’m going to take a look at how I’m currently using Market Samurai to do my keyword research. It just get’s too overwhelming to try and target a thousand or so keywords!

  84. Nice article, all is to be applied.

    Hum…. I’m just wondering if your iceberg is upside down.

    I know it’s not so important, but turn it the right way and it should likely illustrate a better way your article.

    Continue on guys, I’m a fan of yours and a happy Market Samurai User !

  85. Hi Samu’s!

    So true -… so true… Iceberg I love it…
    I always started with the “time-consumers” issues first…
    Some times I jused too much time on them… and finally saw the result!

    Later… I saw the speed that the sites crawled up to GOOD positions…

    Spend the time, invest in your positions.. It pays off big time

  86. Yes, so many forget about the off page SEO and that you need to get anchor text links to your site.

    Love the graphic of the iceburg as that really shows that most of the work is below the surface.

  87. Awesome stuff you’ve shared. Times have really changed and Lord only knows what the landscape will look like 2 years from now.

  88. Great article

    More on this please: “Once you have identified and selected your target keywords, redirect your focus to the on-page and off-page SEO tasks . . .

  89. I bought Market Samurai in 2008 and it just keeps getting better and better. Thanks guys for the continuous improvements.

  90. Every little helps and days of throwing stuff at the wall and hoping something sticks are gone. Havent done adwords for a while and focus more on MSNads. I have noticed some movements in my ranking in the SERPS when I implemented some on page optimisation.

    Thanks for sharing

  91. I don’t think it matters how much competition there is for a phrase. For example the query ‘small car comparisons’ has 15,000,000 Google results, ‘estate car comparisons’ has 2,000,000 results, ‘toyota rav4 comparisons’ has 225k, ‘fiat 500 …’ 100k, ‘bmw 1 series …’ 560k. You can get there if you’ve the time to refer them there via several blogs. One blog is dangerous because it will take the top spot.

  92. Great article and we are starting to see some result for targeting specific keywords, super competitive market but doing what you have listed above we are slowly getting there.

  93. In one of your previous posts you discussed about outsourcing. If you ask me that’s the only way to cope with the many specialized aspects of modern SEO (onpage and offpage)

  94. Ah, for the good old days of 2003.
    I have to smile remembering back in 2000 reading articles entitled “Is it too late for Newbies?”
    I nearly gave up then.

  95. This is my favourite tip that you have had on your blog, I shared it on twitter I loved it so much. This is what I say to others, its wonderful to hear good advice in our industry.

  96. The game certainly has changed. In my experience listening to the experts and what Google are up to can lead to success. In some markets though, the theory of 300,000 or less competing pages I feel isn’t always rule of thumb. I’ve found within my industry some competitors under certain keywords have a website that is just ridiculous, is NOT well optimized and should be in the #1 spot out of 4 million competing pages. But they are!
    Some markets will never show fewer then 300,000 competing pages with keywords that are considered “the sweet spot” vs the amount of searches the keyword gets.
    But I do agree with what this article is saying. Have a point of reference is better then going in blind.

  97. Thanks so much for this explanation. I know I have spent a lot of time trying to evaluate good key words and I was frustrated when I could only get a handful. I thought I needed at least 100. I think what sets you guys apart is not only your smokin’ software but your commitment to superior customer service. Your videos and articles are very much appreciated.

  98. Thanks for that – quality information. I had never actually thought of it that way. I have got some work to do now.

  99. Preaching to the choir. Thanks for the confirmation!

  100. [...] a nicely crafted article that explains the new reality regarding keyword strategy and research. Bye for [...]

  101. Thanks for that. I miss the old times, Google cash times and shotguns strategies… Today i’m a little bit lost, but I work on it.

    Thanks for the good quality info.


  102. Thanks for sharing excellent content! I love the visual of the iceberg.

  103. In the past I have used 100′s of keywords. But thanks to Market Samurai I am starting to focus and research. Thanks for the value.

  104. Totally agree with this. Having managed large AdWords campaigns, the 80/20 rule applies. 20% of keywords generate 80% of traffic. Focus on the 20% with PPC and SEO and you’ll profit long term.

  105. Very good information. It helps to clear a good deal of misinformation spread all over the Web saying that you should go crazy and get thousands of keywords.

    That sort of wrong information can really leave doubts, in the minds of people not very experienced in IM yet, about what’s the best approach — truckloads of KWs or a high focus on just a few.


  106. Very good, the article was very clear an concise, thanks for the good work.


  107. I can back up and confirm that what you are saying Anthony is the total truth. We start with a list after checking with Samurai basically stare with 3 or 4 words to target once these words start the clime up the first page we start adding one or two more and drive them along with the others. one thing that I have noticed is when you get your base keywords up in the searches it is much easier to get the ones you add to rank faster.
    Brad West ~ onomoney

  108. Excellent written and explained. I could not have said it better! Google wants webmasters to put more effort in their websites so they can deliver better search results… and make more money! But hey; 5 years ago we had to put so much more time in creating a website. Now that we have WordPress and other Content Management Systems, we can easily spend some more time on optimizing keywords. I, for my part, love better search results!

  109. Good article and MS is a great time saving tool.

    I think people also need to consider looking at their monthly website statistics or Google Analytics. These do provide some insight into how people ended up on your website in the first place and can then form part of your Keyword & SEO strategy. It has provided me some insight as to what terms I should consider as part of my on-page strategy for all of my clients and further keyword research using MS.

  110. The thing is, and this is another way of looking at it – each keyword brings in some traffic from the search engines. So, doesn’t this mean that the more keywords you have, which bring in small numbers of vistors, the more your visitor count will go up to higher levels?

    Yes, I know we have heard about the iceberg princilple in many other subjects 20%/80% rule,etc etc they all quote the same kind of reasons, but no matter, each keyword you have will bring in some traffic and so build up your visitor count.

    200 keywords at 1 or 2 vistitors per day will bring in more than just one keyword at 80 visitors per day, and by the way, not many people get to number 1 in Google to see that traffic of 80 per day.

    Any responses to that alternative viewpoint?

  111. Great content guys. In a way I wish Market Samurai was not so popular. It’s been my secret weapon since March of this year.

  112. Thanks for the great article. This certainly opened my eyes.

  113. An excellent article…

    It’s all about giving Google exactly what they want or rather what their users want. Accurate and timely answers to their search requests.

    I try to build my free “one page” high ranking sites for single at most two keyword phrases… Works for me ;-)

    I’d rather build 6 quick high ranking pages in an hour than spend three days working on a blog with tons of keywords that may or may not pull the results.

  114. Thanks for the article, you guys are great not only is market samurai a great tool to use but you guys even write very useful blog posts.

    When I first started out, I felt that the more keywords the better. I did this not really understanding how Search Engines work. Thanks to years of trial and error I seem to be getting better. Thanks mainly to sites like this one and some courses I’ve purchased along the way.

  115. Your article is right on target. I have been keying in on 7 or 8 keywords for the school fundraising niche and literally was sent to first page on most of them by doing exactly what you mention in this article. 1. Good content 2. Targeted keywords with the right set of competition 3. Quality backlinks

    Doing this increased our site traffic by 3000 visits per month on a site that was getting only 2500/month mostly via PPC!

  116. 116
    On October 23rd, 2009 at 2:35 pm
    Jan Gregory said:

    I have a question for you Anthony. There’s a mixture of ideas and statements here divided between SEO traffic projects and PPC landing pages, which are two different purposes, strategies, and indeed different Google algorithms measuring each.

    If I take your overall message to mean… choose only a few higher traffic keywords(>100 daily) with doable competition(10 daily) whereby we treat each long tail keyword as a “main keyword” with its own page.

    This is where I ask for more info. Quote:
    “In the early days of Internet marketing, if you placed a large number of related keywords on a page or included them in Meta and Alt tags you could often get rankings that led to traffic.”

    Assuming this statement refers to SEO traffic where the page owner hopes for “free” traffic from searches, are you referring here to targeting a single page for many different Main keywords? If so, that’s something we shouldn’t do anyway, at least in my own experience… one main keyword-one page is the strategy of choice, along with adding related keywords to each page.

    Are you really suggesting that SEO projects restrict a domain/site to only pages focused on keywords that offer >100 searches daily?

    Having said all this, I’m hoping for a reply. I currently have quite a few long tail pages that still do quite nicely with SEO traffic in very low competition areas. It’s a numbers game of course, but small starts to matter when the multiplier effect compounds the total annual return on all those long tail pages combined.

    I don’t ignore the ideal goal for SEO should be targeted traffic that leads to monetization either. But, in my experience, all pages that are rewarded with traffic drives up the overall domain ranking and trust factor. So, even when the visitor isn’t going to add to my bank account, there is benefit overall from building that low-traffic long tail page. And you can often get lateral click-thrus to another domain page with monetization potential… quite often actually if you design your page properly.

    I completely agree that every keyword for SEO is a footrace that only 10 people can win by attaining the first page. I completely agree that there are many, many onpage SEO factors too… some experts estimate over 500 in the total SEO algorithm. But I’ve found that very low competition also means that those people in the race with you do little or no onpage seo, so the battle is easier won with that type of competition.

    “tiny blue lefthand widgets”

    …exists in its own universe for searches and also in the Google index. That is a single footrace for the annual searches for that phrase. In my experience, with an aged domain/site with a good trust factor… a page focused on that phrase exclusively very often beats out the pages for “lefthand widgets” even on the high authority domains for widgets. Because Google still seems to reward the exact phrase optimized in tag and other onpage SEO factors much higher than the “lefthand widgets” pages in the index. They will typically show in the SERPS below any pages optimized with the exact phrase

    If I target that keyword on a single page for SEO, I’m ignoring the searches for blue widgets, or lefthand widgets, and even tiny pink lefthand widgets. And if the investment is low and the page can produce some monetization, that’s Okay in a long tail strategy as long as the investment is low.

    I’m not advocating “page sculpting” for long tails at all. Just do a lot of them knowing there is almost nil competition.

    And I suspect that is the message you wish to convey… to choose higher traffic and page sculpting to a degree on all levels, which is an excellent strategy as well. Just depends on which horse you want to ride.

    Finally, since I signed on with Market Samurai on the very first day you launched… I will gladly say that MS is my tool of choice and I own 23 of them. MS works for my SEO strategies and my PPC strategies by analysing the google data better and faster than anyone else.

    I strongly recommend that anyone give MS a try if you aren’t using it, and don’t forget to begin each keyword session with a single purpose in mind to serve the strategy you have chosen. its very easy to get lost in the numbers, calculations, and the myriad streams of advice you get.

    Just remember that Google does everything with the single goal to deliver the most relevant results to every searcher, SEO or PPC. The money follows Google because most of the world goes to Google to search expecting to get fast relevant results… and they do that consistently using Google.

  117. 117
    On October 23rd, 2009 at 2:38 pm
    Jan Gregory said:

    Edit for my Reply above. Darn spell checker.:)

    If I take your overall message to mean… choose only a few higher traffic keywords(>100 daily) with doable competition(<30k pages) whereby we treat each long tail keyword as a “main keyword” with its own page.

  118. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I have learned from you guys and I really appreciate it. I love my Market Samurai and it has made a huge difference in my business. thank you

  119. Hi,

    Funny I had just about reached this realisation and am in the middle of planning web sites for sub niches to my main niche, based on 2-3 Keywords each.

    Putting plenty of relevant content in these sites.

    Although relatively new to all of this, it seems to me that all Google wants is for the person who enters the KW to get a good valuable experience, so, having a highly relevant site would seem to be the way to get Google rankings.

    I amm pretty much down to following 30Dc and Commission Blueprint – both of which swear by Market Samurai, as do I.

    Great product great post..>Sam

  120. Great article and some good advice, I have done exactly this with my most successful website and can say that this method does work. However once you have succeeded with these core keywords, it is then important to look towards other keywords to continue grow your business.

  121. Great advices in there. You guys rock with solid software and solid tips!!

  122. Great post. It is remarkable how the Internet is an ever changing animal. In fact I think that is one of the major problems for newbies.
    What worked once, no longer has the same impact now. In this world of information overload it is really important to find a valuable source of up to date info that you can trust.

    Andy Beveridge

  123. A great post and I like the iceberg analogy and diagram! Very good.

  124. This, as always from you guys, is really good stuff. I find though that more and more I am pushing strength of competition to the top of my list. After all it doesn’t matter that much, imho, if you have 1,000 or 1,000,000 competing pages if the top 10 spots are really well optimised or absolute garbage.
    In other words I find my keywords first then check out the top 10 and don’t really worry about the number of competing pages.
    Seems to be working for me.


  125. Indeed it is just what you say.
    I even try focussing on only one keyword, but becoming the alpha and the omega in that particular niche.

    Let’s give it a try.

    Anyway, thank you very much for your time and effort!

  126. I am mainly active as internet marketing specialist in the Dutch market. Here still lots of companies do not even use meta tags of any kind. Then a big part of the pie is using ‘keyword stuffing’-techniques… A small part is doing SEM the right way.

    Nice article. Thanks

  127. Off page optimization!
    In my view if you use the “keywords” that you placed on your site! And the same “keywords” in your articles that you submit to EzineArticles, then what happens is that your articles “Full of your keywords” compete with your website which is “Full of your keywords”.

    Articles compete for the spot in search engines against your website!

    Isn’t that The case?

    kind regards

    idex7 replied:

    I’ve actually found this to be true and now omit my primary keyword from the related articles. I now use secondary keywords to create article and other off-page content.

  128. “Once you have identified and selected your target keywords, redirect your focus to the on-page and off-page SEO tasks necessary to transform your keywords into genuine traffic-generating assets for your business.”

    Can you submit some more information – in as much detail as possible – on your blog explaining and showing the way to set about on-page and off-page SEO tasks?

  129. I use your market samurai daily and agree with your keyword strategy.

    I used it to get my new website on the top pages of google in 3 weeks out of 21 million results.

    thanks guys

    Michael Podgoetsky replied:

    Yeah I checked and found your site to be where you said it is. The first page of Google and out of 21m sites! Wow!
    How did you manage to do this?

    I am trying to get my two sites and to the front page and fighting an uphill battle.

    Great staff.

    can you suggest?

    kind regards


    Lloyd Hester replied:

    It is not difficult but takes time to do. I have a team working for me who are link building. Writing articles, creating web 2.0 sites, videos and social bookmarking properties.

    You can contact me at my website if you like and I can give you more details. Click on my name comment and leave an email address I will answer it.

    Michael Podgoetsky replied:

    Hello Lloyd and thanks for your reply. I went to your site but the email was not functioning. So I could not leave my email on your site. But do have some questions that etching to be thrown at you.
    Nice site though.


    Another time, another place perhaps?

    Lloyd Hester replied:

    you can either add a comment there with your email added or email the contact us at

  130. I experienced that 1 to 3 keywords is not enough, maybe (also) because of the way people are searching. Finding the right keywords one should think about: Who should be visiting my website or blog? What might they be looking for? What words and phrases might they use?
    This is why a few keywords is better than too few or too many.

  131. QT…I’m an SEO nitwit and have stumbled on to great Google ranks for certain keywords for my site for local search….i.e. car wraps COLUMBUS OH and similar ranks high for me. Do my own site w/a WYSIWYG software package. Go look at it and you can tell. I am not a techie!

    I keep reading Google doesn’t rank for keywords anymore yet everyone emphasizes them in blogs etc and lots of noise about keywords…keywords…keywords…

    Have read more than once…meta keywords aren’t important and in some cases have read webmasters say they don’t even include them when doing all the tags for a site…

    Yet all the ongoing noise about keywords. Your post is prime example. Get the best—get the long tail—be concise—not too many/page etc.

    What gives?

    Michael Podgoetsky replied:

    This is actually an interesting collection of letters and words. Do you think you can try one more time but this time in English? Like finishing sentence so I don’t have to guess?
    Things like that.

    With respect, of course!

    Of course!

  132. I agree with you and the group about the analysis of niche keywords. working on hundreds or thousands of keywords are very tiring and boring and eventually tend to not focus and decrease struggling spirit. I also add about your laser theory of internal/external linking are important as well. But not the PPC yet…

  133. I have had MS for over a year now and it amazes me how much is now packed into it.

    It is truly an amazing tool.

    But these Blog posts really add an element of added-value to the mix and make you re-evaluate how you work.

    Keep up the good work.

  134. I have the MS for 2 months now and think it is great. keep up the good work.

  135. Excellent post –
    concentrate on your keywords
    and then concentrate them!

  136. Hi Guys,

    Thanks for sharing…I think targeting specific keywords is the go and I’ve had great success doing so for my clients…another valuable tip I have is to use the same phrase in title and h1 :-)

  137. Great tips. Now I know what is missing. Should try them ASAP.

  138. Great post. I have been told that five keywords are the max that you should target on any single webpage. That SE’s penalise pages with any more than that. Does that fit with your thinking?

  139. I wanted to ask if you guys and gals think that we should pay attention to the Google Adwords Keywords. The keywords that people pay money for and not the free keywords that no one pays money for.
    For example, I’ve been doing this site for my client I had it in the front page for about 1 month and not a lot of calls. I then started to look for the keywords that Google Adwords produce and now I found an expensive keywords: airport transfers and to airport, hence I’ve named my URL : , I yet to get it to the front pages of Search Engines, though. But what opinions might you have in relation to this stragedy, the Google Adwords Keywords?

  140. An awesome read. You’ve isolated exactly what works in keyword research in one post!

  141. As always, great info – great and useful.


  142. I have viewed the video on how to set up the keyword searches in MS, but wish they would give a more intensive video on what each selection means and why and what values should be given to each selection (i.e., pbr, seoc).

    Maybe I am the only one, but I still find doing keywords searches in MS overwhelming, although I like the product a lot I still get the feeling I am not fully utilizing it to its maximum capabilities.

    For instance one place says SEOC competition 100,000, then I read 50,000 and now 30,000. Similar to PBR; the video I watched said put in 15 but I have no clue as to why I am using this value.

    I would love a webinar so that we can build keyword lists and ask specific questions while doing it and know how to figure out if the results I am getting for a specific keyword is a “go” or “no go.”

    If there are any MS experts out there that can patiently help me make sense of this please, please contact me. info(at sign)vitalityrich(dot)com!



  143. I love all the info I get from here it definatly helps with trying to get my site found, still have so much to learn, but thank you for all the info

  144. I love the Market Samurai. I have been using it for a couple of months now and it is great!
    I totally agree about the keywords. I much rather find 5 great longtail keywords to work with and concentrate on getting traffic with. That is also even more effective when it comes to Local Marketing and Local Search. You can find goldmines! Just look at “atlanta hotel reservations” has an exact search of 110,000 per month according to the google keyword tool. 3 words might not be all that longtail, but with a search that high I would not say no to it if i were in the hotel niche:)
    Anyway, thanks for a great article and a great tool to use!
    Jan Riley

  145. Thank you! Awesome information that can save months of frustration.

  146. Thank you for your great, useful, very important information! I love Market Samurai!

  147. 147

    This is by far the best course I’ve taken on Marketing. Congrats! However, as questions arrises is hard to get answers as ticket are not responded on time manner and I understand this fact. No complains.

    However, my doubt is about territory.
    My product to this challenge is one to be offered locally and not nationwide. (Our state (Califonia) has almost twice the population of Australia, so the market seems to be beg enough to me) So I would be interested on local results not nationwide. Should I try to find bigger numbers to discriminate this factors? Let say, increase the number of web pages and clicks for a given keyword, keeping the ratio? Well it is confusing to me!

  148. I’ve seen things change, as you said, over the past few years. I wish it hadn’t changed. It was easier back then. But no matter how much I wish, that does not change reality. So iceberg approach, it is. Thank you for MS which helps us a great deal with that. Your work and updated information is greatly appreciated.

  149. A good post encompassing the basic SEO tasks. I disagree with Dana (above). It wasn’t easier in the ‘old days’ when SEO amounted to stuffing keywords in the text and meta tags. All this achieved was too much badly written content and poor websites ranking well. Google (who now puts no importance on the meta keywords) is now a lot more sophisticated and the rules have changed.

    If you want to get to the top of Google you need a good site, good content and a good SEO campaign. That means it’s easier NOT more difficult for people who work in the industry.

  150. Great outline on what works in keyword application today. This is no small matter from the folks whom I consider to have devloped the best keyword support and research tool on the market! Keep up the good work.

  151. Great information and great advice. With the rapidly changing Internet, it’s hard sometimes to keep up with the latest effective ways to drive traffic to our sites. And, it’s too easy to get stuck doing things that used to work, but don’t work any longer. Thanks for pushing me forward.

  152. Great infos and very helpfull article greetings from Greece drossos cheap hand made carpets

  153. Absolutely, Positively Right On The Money Fellas! Great breakdown and reality check regarding what’s now truly REQUIRED FOR PPC SUCCESS!!

    As always…. much appreciated! I am making ready for review my Overcome Adwords product and this really confirms my instructional platform throughout!! Thanks Again!!!

    By the way you are featured as an exclusive in the resource section and on the Bonus Disc!!! Because I use your tool(s) day in and day out and could NOT SURVIVE OR THRIVE WITHOUT IT.

  154. Samurai team thanks for the info. I love this software and they updated info you keep providing us. I still learn but light years ahead of my competition.

  155. This particular illustration (the iceberg) really hit me between the eyes – I have, for too long, used as many keywords as I could find in my very small PPC campaigns for a few different sites. I’d get clicks (and the bills to go with them), but I did not notice any real conversions. I recently got started with MS, and absolutely love this tool! I know I have a lot to learn – especially about getting quality backlinks (I’m getting tired of the dozens of ‘link exchange’ requests that I receive that do not appear to be genuine – and they tend to waste a LOT of my time in response) – but I’m now feeling hopeful! Thanks for this amazing tool! :) Kathy

  156. I wish I could get my clients to understand this principal!
    You couldn’t be more right.

  157. Always good info from these guys!
    Everything from the videos they make to articles like this!