Apr 03 2008

From the Lab: Keyword List Building Basics

Published by Josh at 6:36 pm under Uncategorized

Grinding out a proper keyword list is like foreplay – it requires time and patience to do it correctly, but most rush through and do a very poor job. A robust, exhaustive, and targeted keyword list is the foundation of well executed online search marketing campaigns.

I usually begin with as many relevant “seeds” as possible. A seed is the main word or phrase pertaining to your market. For the example in the video, I only used one seed – “green card.” For a full campaign prepared for launch, I would have chosen even more seed terms like “immigrant” “immigration” or “lawful permanent residence.”

In this video, I talk further about the basics of Keyword Building:

As promised, here is the Excel file with the full ad group layout for the seed “green card” and an additional tab with a template that’s ready and waiting for your keywords.

Green Card Ad Groups and Template

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5 Responses to “From the Lab: Keyword List Building Basics”

  1. Marty McGuireon 03 Apr 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Good video and very nice Excel wrangling!

    One question: how did you get the keyword list and search numbers for the spreadsheet in the first place? Do they come from a Google tool?

    Also, one suggestion: I think it would have been helpful to see the “final product” at the beginning, so that it’s clear early on what the goal is.

    I love seeing info-wrangling tricks like these. Keep up the good work, fellas!

  2. Joshon 03 Apr 2008 at 7:26 pm


    Good question. There are many keyword tools available for free. Additionally, you can choose to pay for one if you like. Here at the lab we use:


    Most keyword tool interfaces are simple enough. Simply type in your seed and a list of keywords and search volumes is returned.

  3. Charleson 03 Apr 2008 at 8:19 pm

    For a quick gut check use this tool:

    It’s free.

  4. Scotton 17 Apr 2008 at 1:37 pm

    This really helps me understand the idea behind keyword list building as I’ve been confused as to what keywords make a good seed list.

    I’m having a bit of trouble developing my initial seed keyword list as I research a not-yet-created blog under the broad heading of “Personal Development”.

    I know it’s very general to start with but I’m trying to identify an angle or niche.

    In your example, you suggest “green card”, “immigrant”, “immigration” or “lawful permanent residence.”

    Can you give me any tips on how to develop my initial seed keyword list and the sort of words I should be aiming for?

    Thank you.

  5. [...] list for a given market. Yesterday we had an excellent comment from Josh’s recent post on Keyword List Building Basics, where Scott asks how to get started with his chosen market of “personal development”. [...]

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