Tutorial: Keyword Research That Works

Thank You for choosing to read this post. Over the past few months we have been able to nail dozens of first page rankings in the search engines. This has propelled our business from nonexistent, to earning a full time passive residual income. If you have come here expecting to learn how to make a gazillion dollars by sitting on your butt doing absolutely nothing, then feel free to leave and go buy some lottery tickets with your fingers crossed. However, if you’re ready to start working and making things happen, then we invite you to go over the following tutorials and join us in building real online real estate!

To Your Success!
– The WSOtesters

Keyword Research Intro

1. Keyword Research

After initially trying out Market Samurai, we found that it was just too slow for our liking.  Long Tail Pro not only does searches faster, but we find that using their competition analysis page, we’re able to get a much clearer view of whether or not we can rank for the key term.


Basic Keyword Strategy


Sites/Tools Used In The Video
Long Tail Pro (Paid Tool)
ebay.com (Free Site) 

As you can see from our videos, every tool we suggest is a tool that we use regularly and stand behind 100%.  The links to the tools will be posted here as well.  These are affiliate links, so if you do use them – thank you very much – by doing so you’re helping to fund this website 🙂

Overview of Video:

The filters for our keywords using Long Tail Pro are as follows:

    • At least 1000 Exact Match Searches in Google Keyword Tool
    • At least $1.00 CPC
      **Notice in the video we chose to use $0.70 CPC.  This is because occasionally we will go for keywords that have a lower CPC if the Search volume is much higher.  Vice versa, we may go with a keyword that has lower search volume if the CPC is much higher.  A general calculation you could use is SEARCH VOLUME x CPC is equal to or greater than 1000.  For example, if a keyword has a search volume of 2000, and a CPC of $0.75, we would get 2000 x 0.75 = 1500.  Since 1500 is greater than 1000, it would still be worth it to go for this keyword.
  • We are going for Exact Match Domains.  For example, if the keyword we are going for is “dog training collars” we would buy a domain name like “dogtrainingcollars.com”.
  •  Low Competition on the Google Top Ten :
    Less than half are optimized for keyword in the title
    – Low PR on at least 2 or 3 of the top ten sites
    – Low amount of SEMoz/Juice links
    – Presence of other Sniper Sites


Notice that unlike some “guides” we do NOT include “phrase match” competition as a limiting factor in choosing a keyword.

From our tests and the tests of multiple marketers  we know that “phrase match” competition is irrelevant.  Consider this, would you have a better chance of winning in the 100 meter dash against 10,000 rookies or 10 Olympians?  That’s why using these filters such as “phrase match of 40k or below” is deceiving, because the top 10 could be Olympians.  Likewise, seeing “500k phrase match” may have top 10 positions still filled by rookies.  So basically, if the competition on the first page of Google is weak, then we will go for it.

Keyword Trick #1 – Sniping The Snipers

Sites/Tools Used In The Video
Long Tail Pro (Paid Tool)

Overview Of Video:

By seeing sniper sites in the search engines you’ll have a better gasp as to where you may be able to rank with your own sites. The best case scenario is to see another new sniper site ranked at the top spots of google with No PR and no backlinks. Using our on page optimization and backlinking can almost guarantee that you’ll either be right up there with them or you’ll beat them for the top spot.



Keyword Trick #2 – Learning From Others


Sites/Tools Used In The Video
Long Tail Pro (Paid Tool)
seocentro.com (Free Site)


Overview Of Video:

If you found what seems to be an open niche, but you see that other sniper sites before you have failed to rank for it, check their on page optimization and their backlinks to gather any clues as to where they may have messed up. If you can pinpoint their mistake, you can attack the same keyword and achieve better results. However, be careful to recognize when a legitimate sniper site with very little flaws fails to rank. This could mean that the seemingly open niche may be a bit harder then you anticipated.

As you can see from our videos, every tool we suggest is a tool that we use regularly and stand behind 100%.  The links to the tools will be posted here as well.  These are affiliate links, so if you do use them – thank you very much – by doing so you’re helping to fund this website 🙂

Do you enjoy our beautifully crafted posts?  Then subscribe to our mailing list and get even more awesome stuff!  Did I mention we’ll be sending out Bonus Materials such as Extra Tutorials and Giveaways and such, so you’re either on the list or you’re not…  Also if you enjoyed this post…then please share it and like it on the buttons bellow. This will show us that what we’re doing is making a difference and it will provide more fuel for our fire 🙂

Once again a big Thank You to all of you who choose to buy Long Tail Pro through one of our affiliate links on this page.  It’s an amazing tool and our business would not have made it this far without it.  Thank you also to Spencer Haws for creating this fine keyword research masterpiece!

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  1. Luk3Luk306-27-2012

    About two months ago I entered the MNS business. After days and days of research, I essentially came up with a keyword finding method very much like yours! (except a few particulars) I even went through a few payed tools and decided on using Long Tail Pro. I’ve essentially come up with a good plan to build sites en masse up until backlinking… I entered the market at a bad time because not even the pros seem to know how to go about backlinking since the penguin update… Needless to say, I’m very excited for your post on backlinking. Could you create that post perhaps before your other ones? (Perhaps other people will agree). It seems to be the area others have the most trouble with right now. I don’t know how to thank you for sharing your proven methods with the rest of us! Thanks and best of luck!

    • MarkMark06-28-2012

      With good keyword research you can rank EMD without building links 🙂
      Or just do some social bookmarking, I saw that WSOTESTERS use SOCIALADR.

      • Josh E.Josh E.06-29-2012

        Yes, very true! And yes, we use socialadr for most of our sites right after we build them.

    • Josh E.Josh E.06-29-2012

      Well, I actually want to keep the tutorials in order. To be honest though, I don’t know if these tutorials are generating enough interest yet and it’s a lot of work to put them up. We may or may not continue with them, depends on our response.

  2. ConnersConners06-27-2012

    Hey guys, the post looks great, I plan on watching the videos when I get back from my day time job today.I have to agree with Luk3, I would love to see which backlinking strategies work for you. As of right now I have 20 sites online and I am planning on learning magic submitter to start a back linking campiagn in a few days time.

    • Josh E.Josh E.06-29-2012

      That’s awesome Conners! I’m sure you’ll catch up to our mark in no time. Keep it up!

  3. AdsenseNewbieAdsenseNewbie06-28-2012

    I would agree with “Luk3”. I would like to see your post about exact backlinking methods you use for your sites etc. What services you use, any article marketing, social bookmarking etc.

  4. Paul KostoffPaul Kostoff06-28-2012

    Now as i know that the next tutorial will be for building sites, can you explain little bit more about Hosting. I mean if you are building around 100 sites, are they all hosted in one hosting plan account (for example: GoDaddy – unlimited) or you diversify it by hosting 20 sites in one account then another 20 in Hostgator for example and another 20 in other hosting company?

    • Josh E.Josh E.06-29-2012

      Hey Paul,
      Typically we have about 20-30 sites per hosting account. This is just a general number though because each hosting plan that we use can hold an unlimited number of domains. To put it more accurately, the amount of sites that we put on a hosting account is related to how much that group of sites is making. If the group of sites is making say 500/mo, then we’ll put the next group on another host. If the group of sites isn’t making that much, then we’ll keep adding sites to that host until it hits close to that mark. The whole reason of putting sites on seperate hosts is to protect your investments.

  5. DanielDaniel07-03-2012

    Hey Josh,

    really great article. I myself use LongTail Pro as well but I used it in a different way until now. So I found some nuggets in your post. But what I am really interested in are your next two posts – site building and backlinking. I really look forward to them. I can only agree with Luk3 here and say that this is where a lot of people struggle at the moment.

    Anyway I stumbled upon your page today and already read through all posts in the last couple of hours. Great stuff and thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. Always nice to see that at least some people are willing to share their knowledge for free which builds trust in return.

    • Josh E.Josh E.07-04-2012

      Hey Daniel,
      Thank you for the positive response, we really appreciate that!

  6. DanielDaniel07-03-2012

    And I forgot to ask something. Now that you have collected quite some information with your sites. What theme (I think you use Prosense, Bluesense and CTR) converts the best? And what about your anchor text variety? Do you vary your anchor text a lot. I mean they all say it is crucial after Penguin update. If yes, how do you vary your anchor texts?

  7. LarryLarry07-05-2012

    I really like your website and this post was just what I needed. One thing I didn’t understand though was sniper sites. What are they? Are they like the sites you’re building with this method?

    • Josh E.Josh E.07-07-2012

      When we talk about sniper sites, we’re referring to other simple sites that utilize similar techniques to us (EMD and few targeted articles). Typically these are made for adsense or made for amazon sites.

  8. newbidsnewbids07-08-2012

    can you sharing SOCIALADR strategy
    thank you

    • Josh E.Josh E.07-09-2012

      Not much of a strategy to it. We just fill in the blanks, do a quick spin of the titles, and put submit limit at 20.

  9. AlexAlex07-10-2012


    I am wondering is there any different compare to Micro Niche Finer? I use MNF sometime the result is different from google keyword tool. What is your opinion for MNF?

    • Josh E.Josh E.07-11-2012

      I’ve never tried them, Alex. If we see enough people having success with it though, then we’re open to trying them out, but right now our success rate with LTP is pretty hard to beat.

  10. JCJC07-12-2012

    Very nice tutorials! Now I just have to wait until I have enough money for buy Long Tail Pro so I can implement the techniques you use in these tutorials.

  11. ZedZed07-12-2012

    Hi Josh
    Great tutorial.
    Have you any evidence of which is best domain to register, if .com not available.
    ie a hyphenated EMD .com or a .net/.org

    • Josh E.Josh E.07-17-2012

      If the .com is not available we go for .net or .org. If those aren’t available and we really like the keyword, then we’ll shoot for Partial Match Domains with a suffix at the end. We have never tried a hyphenated domain yet. From what I’ve read, these really aren’t that great to go for.

  12. Nest28Nest2807-14-2012

    Please continue to make these great tutorials , I enjoyed all of them and look forward to seeing more from you guys, thank you for offering all this knowledge for free. To get extra attention post these on warrior forum.

    • Josh E.Josh E.07-17-2012

      Hey Nest,
      Glad the tutorial was helpful to you. We are working on getting more up very soon!

  13. JCJC07-15-2012

    I was able to get Long Tail Pro, lucky me! 🙂

    When analyzing the competition, does the URL column matter?
    For example, if the sites listed there include big companies like eBay, Amazon, Home Depot, etc.
    Is it wise to not try to rank for that keyword?


    • Josh E.Josh E.07-17-2012

      Hey JC,
      I believe I mentioned that exact scenario in the videos above 😉 I consider the shopping sites low to medium competition. Whether or not you should try to beat out the big “shopping sites” really depends on other factors such as what other sites occupy the top ten.

  14. RayRay07-21-2012

    Hey, I was looking at the tutorial for “learning from others”. Could a reason be that they got hit by panda/penguin for having alot of anchor texts etc and not just amazon/ebay competition?

    • Josh E.Josh E.07-22-2012

      Yes. It’s very possible that they got hit by penquin/panda. That’s why I would examine their backlinks. If everything they’re doing looks great though and they’re still not ranking, then I would start to question my chances. Would I still go for the kwyword? It really depends on what the other sites on the top ten look like. The guide was meant to give you the blueprint so you have the highest chance or ranking – so you can still rank even though you “lower your chances”.

  15. RayRay07-22-2012

    Oh ok, that cleared up alot things for me. I like these tutorials, as it is the best to rank for low competition key words.
    Btw, just a quick help with analysis, I found to EMD sniper sites on google top ten, with page rank 0, 1 respectively. They also got roughly 30-40 backlinks each. One is ranking 3rd other is 8th. Is this a great chance for me to rank? Or should I target even lower competition keywords.

  16. RayRay07-22-2012


  17. Jamie FarrellyJamie Farrelly07-24-2012

    Have to admit, I’ve never heard of Longtail Pro but it does look interesting. The last tool I used for keyword research was market samurai but I heard a whilea go that it doesn’t work as well as it used to?

    • Josh E.Josh E.07-24-2012

      I think Market Samurai is still a great tool – and we do own it. The depth of research that you can do with it is pretty impressive. However, for niche sites there’s really no reason to use a lot of the extra features of market samurai. The speed and efficiency of Long Tail Pro is what makes it our #1 choice.

  18. tylrr123tylrr12307-24-2012

    hello,guys.thanks for your great tutorials,I am really love it. I hope you will upload more tutorials at next days.I have subscribed your maillist.
    🙂 hope you earn more and more. best regards

    • Josh E.Josh E.07-24-2012

      Thanks, I’m glad you’re enjoying the content. I’ll be posting the next tutorials this week.

  19. akashakash07-30-2012

    hello mate,
    I started building MNS site from last 2 month, the first site which i built has reached #1, though i didn’t did proper keyword research at the start, it still gets me 4$ a day average, my cpc of the site is very low 0.10.

    Now i have launched 6 more MNS site. did proper keyword research this time. I saw your video, it seems long tail pro is very nice, will buy it soon.

    1 more thing i would like to add to the keyword research video, we should take a look at the local search trend of the keyword as well.
    what do you think?

    • Josh E.Josh E.07-31-2012

      Great job on building that successful site. The great thing is when you have that success, it removes all the doubt and you know what your doing is real. Keep it up and build on that momentum.

      Also I think that taking a look at local search trend is a great idea…and it’s something that we have done before. One time we ranked for a keyword that was supposed to get a really good amount of traffic, but when it got up to the top of the rankings, it barely saw any visitors. When I checked the keyword tool the stats said local exact search volume was good, but when I checked google insights, it said that there was barely any traffic coming from the US. Apparently most of the searches for the keyword were from New Zealand, according to ‘insights’.

      • akashakash07-31-2012

        Yes ! Local search trend is important 🙂 ,
        For link Building I am using social bookmarking, web 2.0, link directory submission, and doing some manually blog commenting. I don’t want to over do OFF PAGE SEO .. and get slap by Google.

        I have some question ?
        Do you think high PR profile backlinks still good ?
        And what backlink strategy you are using for your micro niche website ?

        And I have read at many places using CTR theme for MNS are getting slapped by google ?

  20. Nicholas CNicholas C07-31-2012

    Great information on the site, keep it up! You can in some cases rank a hyphenated domain and i have ranked those a few times as well. They aren’t as desire-able but in some cases it is just about the only option.

    • Josh E.Josh E.07-31-2012

      Thanks for the input Nicholas. We may run some tests with hyphenated domains soon. Right now we’ve actually got a couple of .infos that we’re trying out.

  21. NathanNathan07-31-2012

    Keep the Tut’s coming! You guys ROCK, and I am following in your footsteps 🙂

    • Josh E.Josh E.08-03-2012

      Thanks Nathan! We’ll as long as people are using them, we’ll keep making them.

  22. darrendarren08-03-2012

    When analyzing Adwords competition for a keyword, what is your minimum? .6 or higher or “medium”? One of my sites has a cpc of 2.74usd and low comp. .2 However i still get $1 clicks every few days.

    • Josh E.Josh E.08-03-2012

      Hey Darren, we use to go for only keywords with high competition, but we’ve tried going for a few with low competition and ended up doing well still. At first I thought it was weird, but then I noticed that when I checked on the site, the ads that were placed were relevant. So my suggestion is that even if keyword tool says “low competition”, still check a website or two and find out if relevant ads are showing up. If they are, then you will likely still do well with adsense.

  23. EricEric08-04-2012

    I was curious about what Long Tail Pro displays as pagerank and thought you guys might be able to answer. I was researching and I found a site for a keyword and it had a PR 4 but had maybe 4 backlinks to the page. Does PR carry over from their main page? Would this mean it’s still difficult to rank for?

  24. TonyTony08-05-2012

    I really enjoyed reading your post and i am also motivated to see how much you guys are pulling in .I am currently searching for a modest linking building methods that works fine .I sent you guys an email though.

    • Josh E.Josh E.08-05-2012

      Hey Tony,
      We’ll be making tutorials on link building soon. Also I’ll check the email and get back to you.

  25. SufiSufi08-06-2012

    Hey Josh,

    Does Long Tail Pro come with a mac version? It doesn’t seem to state anywhere. I have to ask before I purchase in case its specifically for windows, then I’ll be in trouble.

    • Josh E.Josh E.08-07-2012

      Hey Sufi. Yes, long tail pro works well on a Mac according to the creator, Spencer Haws.

  26. MackyMacky08-08-2012

    How important are the PR-s when competing with other sites? The tutorial says to find keywords that have 3 PR 0 pages but there is almost no such kw out there. My one site is with PR 4 and it has NO competition, it still is on page 10 in google. Also I have another site that is EMD PR 0 and is on the second spot in google in the middle of pages with PR-s 4.

    It seems to me that PR is pretty useless in getting better rankings and therefor also in preventing other sites to take their places.

    I’d like to hear your opinion on this.

    • Josh E.Josh E.08-10-2012

      The 3 PR0s that we go by are just guidelines so that you get the highest success rate. You can break the guidelines and still do well.

  27. darrendarren08-08-2012

    I found an untapped niche that has about 9 easily rankable keywords. My question is that if they [word1+mainword], [word2 +mainword], etc, etc

    Is it better to make 9 separate sites or one main site and pages for each keyword? They all have 800 + lms, .70 + cpc

    maybe it would be better to have separate sites because the differing word is first and not last. I don’t know.

    • Josh E.Josh E.08-10-2012

      Hey Darren. I’m sure this is debatable and many will tell you to build 1 authority site. While this is something we plan to experiment with soon, at the moment we only have experience with building separate sites and targeting each word individually. So far it seems to be working really well for us.

  28. DarrenDarren08-09-2012

    Also, if Magic submitter does social bookmarking, why do you use socialadr?

    • Josh E.Josh E.08-10-2012

      Hey Darren, That’s a good question… we may be able to cut off SocialAdr soon. SocialAdr makes good use of other real peoples social profiles so that’s a big plus. But I think some of our own social bookmarking accounts are starting to get big enough to hold similar power.

  29. RobRob08-09-2012

    Hey Josh, love the site. For the kw research, it certainly looks like LTP is easier to get the info you want, but since I already own Market Samurai, I don’t want to spend another $97 for a kw software. Do you have any suggestions on how you would do it in MS?

    • Josh E.Josh E.08-10-2012

      Well, for the most part I would try to mimic the criteria we use for LTP as best as you can. If you see PR0 sniper sites in Market Samurai, that’s a great sign. Also if you see a lot of PR0s and low backlink counts, that’s also a good sign. We have been talking to the creator of LTP and he’s willing to give a discount to our readers. We’re currently setting this up at the moment and the discount should be up soon.

  30. dustindustin08-10-2012

    Thank you for the great information! I have a question regarding a domain. What if you find an exact match LT kw, with domain availability (and meeting other requirements as stated above) but it is a misspelled word? In my example it is a LT KW that has a double letter that is often misspelled by using only one letter. Would you recommend targeting this?

    • Josh E.Josh E.08-10-2012

      Hey Dustin. If it gets searched enough, go for it. HOWEVER, make sure you check if google auto-corrects the typo. If it does, DON’T go for it.

      • dustindustin08-11-2012

        Before you replied I was wondering that myself. Google’s search bar automatically generates the correct spelling underneath the bar. It doesn’t necessarily correct but certainly offers the correct option.

  31. Branko MileticBranko Miletic08-11-2012

    You guys really went to extreme detail in explaining if you should keep a keyword or not. Good job. nice nice

    • Josh E.Josh E.08-18-2012

      Thanks Branko, we’re glad it’s been helpful for you 🙂

  32. FrostyFrosty08-15-2012

    Thanks for this informative tut!

    For Market Samurai’s SEO Competition module, I’ve filtered it as:

    PR, BLP (page backlinks), Title, URL, Desc, Head.

  33. dustindustin08-16-2012


    Thank for the excellent tips! You guys rock. Quick question regarding competition on serp. You mentioned that it was ambiguous if big box stores showed up on the serp page. ie walmart, target, amazon etc…. What about the common internet monster sites ie. ebay, pinterest and other similar “large” sites?

    • TrevorTrevor08-17-2012

      Hey Dustin,
      It varies, but generally if the ranking page is an individual product page and not a category page we would feel more inclined to go for that keyword. Category pages tend to be harder to outrank.

  34. DavieDavie08-20-2012

    I found an interesting keyword, but none of top 10 sites in google are PR0, but 5 sites are PR2 and just 1 site is optimized for keyword in the title. No sniper sites, low amount of seomoz links, high amount of BLS. Should I go for that keyword?

    • Josh E.Josh E.08-21-2012

      Hey Davie. From what you’ve described this doesn’t sound like a keyword that we would go for normally, but lately we have been very open to testing out sites. If you wanted to make sure you had a high percentage of ranking though, I wouldn’t go for that keyword.

  35. EricEric08-23-2012

    Quick question.
    I found a long tail keyword that seems perfect, 6 no PRs, 3 PR 0s, little to no backlinks….(They are sites like walmart,amazong etc). However, All the EMDs were taken so I checked them out, one of them was a .org who was PR 0 with over 300 backlinks according to Majestic Seo. It isn’t on the front page and this worries me since this seemed like an extremely easy one to rank for. What would you do in this case?

  36. Josh E.Josh E.08-28-2012

    If it were us, we would try it. From the info you provided it sounds like it’s easy to rank for.

  37. Dex1Dex109-07-2012

    Great site, and very refreshing. I will be checking in on the regular. Great work, and many thanks.

  38. BayAreaSteveBayAreaSteve09-10-2012

    WOW! , what a great site … love the knowledge being shared here, and the tutorials are
    really very good.

    • Josh E.Josh E.09-11-2012

      Hey Steve. I appreciate the support and I’m glad you’re finding the info useful.

  39. MohamedMohamed09-25-2012

    Guys – great videos, very interesting to see how others are targeting keywords for AdSense. We do stuff mostly using free tools and outsource what we can – but was pretty impressed with Long Tail Pro and we’ll be looking at picking this up.

    Great videos – hope to see more!

    • Josh E.Josh E.09-26-2012

      Thanks Mohamed. We’re glad you enjoy the content. We’ve tried using free tools before, but found that it took much longer. It can definitely be done if you have the time to spend.

  40. MohamedMohamed09-27-2012

    You’re right. I tried last night, and it takes waaaaay too long. It can be done, but it is time consuming. As I work during the day and am busy pushing 10-hour days, last thing I want to do is tedious research. I’ll be picking up LTP…

  41. MohamedMohamed09-27-2012

    Great video. Have watched it a few times.

    Questions for you now:

    1. So what if your keyword shows up more than 5 times?
    2. Do you not look at edu/gov/Yahoo!/DMOZ links?

    • JoshJosh09-29-2012

      Hey Mohamed. Do you mean that there are a lot of EMD and PMD on the first page? If that’s the case then you’ll have to evaluate how well done their on page optimization is and also check their linking profiles to see if you can outperform them. And no, we have not been looking at edu/gov/Yahoo!/DMOZ links as a deciding factor for our keywords.

  42. JamesJames09-28-2012

    Hi guys, just discovered your site and you’re providing some great valuable content and tutorials.

    Now that big G has “officially” begun the slaughter of EMD from their SERPS I’m curious to know what your plans are to build out sites and or what you’ve been doing. Most of us with experience have known this was coming for sometime so I’m sure you’ve been doing your own testing.

    Authority sites now may be the best long term method… least until G decides they no longer like those either. LOL

    Hopefully you’ll at least update the text info below your videos so others don’t blindly go down the EMD path as this latest update/slaughter is very real.

    Fortunately I sold off several of my high performing adsense EMD’s and after checking them they’re no longer on the map!

    Time will tell the exact outcome of EMD in this new update and if some will come back but if they’re off the map now my guess is they won’t come back as G has already decided they’re not worthy.

    • JoshJosh09-29-2012

      Hey James, I’ve already been working a bit with a couple of authority sites. It’s really a business of learning and adapting. We’ve found some really nice authority niches that have lots of long tail potential – the interesting thing is that the keyword research doesn’t really change much.

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