The bottom line on SEO is that there are three primary things with which you need to concern yourself:
- How many people are searching for your term?
- How much are advertisers paying for that term (which is directly related to how much you make)?
- How much competition will you have for that term?
Lately I've been using a tool called Micro Niche Finder to help me with keyword research. It gives me all three pieces of information in one place and allows me to organize my keyword research easily so that I can come back to it when I'm ready to write.
So how does Micro Niche Finder (MNF) work? Very simply, you enter a term you're interested in researching and the MNF software provides you with a long list of relevant key words with a lot of information about each keyword including the three important pieces I listed at the beginning of this post: number of searches, cost of ads, and strength competition.
Probably the best way for you to see how it all works, however, is to view it in action. James, the creator, has created five free videos that will spell it all out for you. It's pretty amazing to watch. I encourage you to take a look.
Note: The videos are not eHow specific. Micro Niche Finder is about finding profitable keywords and niches that you can use anywhere online, not just at eHow. The videos will show you how to use MNF with Squidoo and Ezine Articles and it's a pretty easy leap to use those same techniques with eHow.Okay, beyond the basic SEO information, Micro Niche Finder has some really neat features that are so helpful to me when it comes to my writing, at both eHow and other places online. Here are some of my favorites:
So it's okay that the videos are not eHow-specific. In fact, it's better than okay. If you have an interest at all in moving beyond eHow and/or learning more about SEO so you can use it on eHow, the videos are very educational. I guarantee they're worth watching.
- The ability to sort the results. Once I have my list of keywords, MNF allows me to sort by any of the column headings. Typically I'm interested in two: 1. sorting by search results so I can see the most searched for terms and 2. sorting by ad cost so I can see the terms that are likely to make me the most money per click.
- Strength of competition. This information is provided with one of three symbols: a red x (competition is high), a yellow exclamation point (moderate competition), or a green checkmark (competition is low). If you learned your stoplight lesson in kindergarten, you can interpret this part of the tool: stop (don't write), yellow (proceed with caution), or green (write away!).
- Commercial Intent. One of the columns on MNF had me confused for awhile. It was titled 'commerical intent' and allowed you to 'get OCI'. What this piece of information gives you is the number of people searching for that term who intend to make a purchase. Why is that important? People who intend to make a purchase are the most likely to click on an ad advertising something. They are also more likely to click on your affiliate link in the eHow resources section and actually buy something. The one thing my quest to learn how to make money online has taught me is that you want to target searches who are ready to make a purchase. This column helps with this.
- The ability to create and manage projects. Once you've done your research on MNF, you will probably want the ability to come back to it at a later date. The software allows you to create projects and label them anything you want. You could simply label a project 'eHow' and store all your keyword ideas for eHow articles. You could also create projects for different niches you intend to write about, either at eHow or other places. Then when you're ready to write and needing ideas, you can just re-visit that project list.
- Hot Trends and Brainstorm Features. Speaking of needing writing ideas, there are two buttons at the top of the MNF page called 'Hot Trends' and 'Brainstorm'. This is where you go when you want ideas on what to write about. Hot Trends shows a list of 100 popular search terms and Brainstorm shows a list of terms that are currently being searched.
- The ability to 'drill down'. What do I mean by drill down? Here's an example: I just clicked the 'brainstorm button' and one of the terms that came up was 'chef hat'. Let's say I'm interested in writing about chef hats and I want more terms I can use. If I click on 'chef hat' I'm given a list of 200 additional keywords that are related. Everything from 'white chef hat' to 'where can I buy a chef hat'. Even terms like 'grilling aprons' are on the list. (By the way, 'grilling aprons' gets 480 searches a month, has an ad cost of $1.10, has low strength of competition, and 83% of the people searching for 'grilling aprons' are looking to buy. Interesting.)
Here's something I really appreciate about James Jones, the creator of MNF. He not only provides the tool but he tells you how to use it. He is full of information about SEO and internet marketing in general. That is really valuable whether you just want to learn more about how eHow works or you want to diversify and move beyond eHow. I'm using the Micro Niche Finder information at eHow, Hubpages, Info Barrel, my own niche blogs.
But what if you're just an average eHow writer who wants the odds in your favor when writing articles? Let's say you want to write about making homemade soap. Wouldn't it be nice to know which keywords were being searched for related to that topic and which ones have low online competition so that someone might actually find your article? (Here's a hint: there aren't many.)
I've used MNF to analyze some of the eHow articles I've already written. Really, it's no mystery why some have made a lot of money and some not at all. While MNF won't guarantee you high paying articles (no SEO method can), I've found that it greatly stacks the odds in my favor.
As an eHow writer, using Micro Niche Finder can be as simple as:So what does Micro Niche Finder cost? Currently it's at $97 and that includes all updates and future versions of the software. It's not cheap but I can tell you that, in my opinion, it's an incredible value for what you get. I was happy to spend some of my eHow earnings on it. It also comes with an 8 week, no questions asked refund guarantee so there's no risk for trying it.
- Enter a term you know something about.
- Find the keywords with 2000+ searches and green checkmarks.
- Start writing an article or articles around those keywords.
What about support? I can tell you this: James offers support through a blog, a FAQ page and a support center where you can submit tickets. The blog and FAQ page are great but I can't tell you how well the support center works because I've never had to use it. I assume it's great too. :-)
Honestly, I waited a while to write this review because I wanted some time to try the software out. I could not be more pleased. Besides all the cool information and bells and whistles, it's just plain fun to work with. I wouldn't want to have to do SEO research or write online without it.
(Note: If you click on the links in this review and purchase MNF, I do make an affiliate commission. I'm committed, however, to only recommending products on this blog that I have used myself and fully believe in. In fact, you may have noticed that I recently took down a product review with affiliate links that I had up on thsi blog for a short while. I took it down because I decided that I wasn't 100% comfortable with the product so it was better not to have it appear here.)
So if you've made it with me this far (whew this was a long review!) I encourage you to go check out the Micro Niche finder videos. The first video shows you how MNF looks in action and the next five show you how you can use the results to make money at places like Ezine articles, Squidoo, and Yahoo Answers. And of course those techniques will work well to make money at eHow as well.