5 Steps to Finding Your Most Profitable Keywords

“Do you want more traffic or more money?” google keyword research tool analyzer

That was the million dollar question my SEO friend asked when I shared a goal for one of my websites.

My mother always told me that when a millionaire search engine optimization (SEO) expert and entrepreneur asks you a question that could make a million dollar difference in your business…you shut your mouth and listen.

(OK, mom wasn’t that specific – she just told me to shut my mouth.)

One of my friend’s websites gets a pathetic 1000 visitors a month yet the monthly income from it is in the 5-figures per month range.

(5-figures is $10,000 PLUS per month for those of you working that out in your head right now)

Contrast this with one of my sites that gets a fairly respectable 85,000 visitors a month in free traffic from the search engines but the traffic is harder to convert into sales than to get my little girls to eat broccoli.

(With time, testing and tequila I’m confident I’ll crack the code on that website….When I do I’ll share all the gory details about what worked and what didn’t.)

Why the difference in sales?

The difference in revenue between these two websites is the keywords they’re ranking for. Let me explain…

Having been in his niche market for over 10 years my SEO friend knows which keywords make money and which don’t. So he focuses his search engine optimization efforts on ranking for keywords that have high buyer intent. I on the other hand, employed the old “spray and pray”  shotgun approach – blindly ranking for any keyword that I could.

More traffic doesn’t always mean more money. When it comes to search engine marketing – I like to say…”the cash is in the keywords.”

The 80/20 Rule of Keyword Gold

I’ll bet you that 20% of your keywords give you 80% of your revenue. That’s always been the way it’s been for me and any client I’ve consulted. In fact, it’s often more like 7%.

Good old Pareto’s 80/20 Law.

Sometimes it’s the search intent behind the keyword that makes it more profitable, sometimes it’s the competition, sometimes it’s your sales letter or your landing page, etc…

Whatever the reason, some keywords will make you far more than others.

What Are Your Money Keywords?

This is painfully obvious but a concept I find myself explaining over and over to beginners, experienced internet marketers and online entrepreneurs!

Your money keywords are the ones that…wait for it…turn into paying customers and moneyyyyyyyyy!


3 Steps To Finding Your Money Keywords

If you’re website is setup using Google Analytics with Ecommerce Conversion Tracking finding your money keywords is as simple as analyzing your historical data.

If don’t have analytics setup or are not tracking sales conversions (wagging my finger), here’s exactly how to uncover your money keywords.

Step 1) Keyword Research

Thorough keyword research is the foundation of  your search marketing campaign. I can’t emphasize the importance of this step enough.

The Google Adwords Research Tool is a good place to start. For the settings, I select only the countries that I want to advertise to. I also set the match type to “exact match” not broad or phrase…exact. The logic behind this is that I want to know exactly what real people are searching Google for so that when I start driving traffic with Adwords I know EXACTLY which keyword phrases are turning into sales. Those 20% of the keywords that turn into sales will be the exact phrases I’ll optimize my website for.

TIP: If you’re on a tight budget you may want to stick to keywords with 3 word phrases and up. Generally, they are less competitive and a cheaper cost per click. One to 2 keyword phrases tend to be more expensive.

Step 2) Find your competitor’s money keywords

The chances are pretty good that some of your competitors are spending their hard earned money on pay per click campaigns. If they’ve been in the game for a while the chances are good that they know what the money keywords are.

If they are spending money to advertise for a keyword they’re likely making sales or generating decent leads that become customers. Do you think it’s a good idea to spy on them and discover which keywords they’re spending money on?

Make a list of your top competitor’s sites. Then get yourself a copy of Keyword Discovery or SpyFu (love the name!) to find out the terms that your competitors are using to drive traffic. You may be surprised by some of the terms they’re paying for.

TIP: Keep in mind that your competitors are either very smart or very stupid with their money.

Step 3) Buy pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

How much money should you invest in PPC? It could be $50 or $1000. The amount will be different for every market depending on the cost of a click.

But you need to invest enough money as it takes to get enough clicks and sales to clearly identify which keywords pay and which are pathetic.

Keep in mind, every dollar you spend to uncover your money keywords today is a dollar you save by not wasting your time, money and energy trying to rank for it tomorrow.

TIP: Remember to have conversion tracking setup so you know how many sales each keyword is getting!

Step 4) Keep the best keywords and ditch the rest

The “best” keywords are the ones that make you money. That is, unless you enjoy blowing your money on keywords that don’t turn into sales. If so, have at ‘er.

Five, ten or twenty percent of the basket of keywords you use will deliver 80% of your revenue in the test.

MISTAKE: I know someone who swears Google Adwords is a waste of money for her business, yet because she doesn’t have conversion tracking setup, she can’t tell me how many sales she’s got or didn’t get for which keywords. (She’s a dear, dear friend of mine but that makes me want to ____ < fill in the blank)

Step 5) Optimize your website for your shiny new money keywords…with confidence!

I find that I can throw myself into a project with 100% energy and enthusiasm if I’m confident something will work.

There’s nothing worse than timidly tip toeing into a project – holding back time, money and resources because you’re afraid it may not work out.

When you know which keywords turn into sales for your business – SEO becomes exciting. When you know that every minute you spend working will give you higher rankings that will send buyers streaming into your website and money tumbling into your account?

You can dive into the  gravy bowl. SEO becomes exciting…Oh baby! Daddy’s getting jacked!

Do yourself a favour (Correct spelling…I’m Canadian), stop blindly chasing traffic and put your SEO efforts where the money is…by ranking for money keywords.

Otherwise SEO is an expensive, time consuming and sometimes very frustrating hobby…like golf.

And ask yourself, would you rather have a bunch of cool rankings and traffic or would you rather have more money?

OK – Do you have any other ideas on how to find profitable keywords?  Share them in the comments, below.


  1. Bob Gatto says

    After reading this post I have to say it is well written and very helpful. I’ve put some of its things to good use and it works very well.

  2. Ty T says

    Great article with step by step process for the newbie or experienced online marketer. I found another program named Webfire that has be extremely useful. I got a businessleadsrus.com, I got a free trial period too. It shows your competitors keywords, how many backlinks they have and more to help you understand online marketing.

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