Market research is an important component in helping you to move forward with your business idea. Time spent on research will help you substantiate the merits of your idea and to identify your sub-market.

When I began my online business, one of the first skills that I learned was how to perform keyword research, which is the task of finding out the actual terms that people are looking for when they use a search engine such as Google. As well as being useful for brainstorming ideas and identifying your target market, it’s a vital aspect of search engine optimization (SEO).

People search on hundreds and thousands of terms every day, and this leads to endless possibilities to find good keywords for business opportunities. If you are new to this and looking for a free keyword research tool, I would suggest that you learn the basics via the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Once you become proficient with simple keyword research, you could then consider using an advanced keyword tool such as Market Samurai.

Google Adwords Keyword Tool

The Google Adwords Keywords Tool is used to find out what people are searching for on the Internet. The Google Keyword Tool provides search volume information, which is the number of people searching on a particular term each month.

In addition to finding out how popular a search term is, another useful piece of information to gather is the competitiveness of a keyword. This is measured by the number of competing pages that appear in the search engine results page (SERP). A search term that displays one million pages in the SERPs would be considered highly competitive, while a search term with 30,000 pages would be thought of as relatively open to competition.

The things that I find useful about the AdWords keyword tool:

  • Monthly search volume. Provides the search volume for a keyword. You can click on the search volume heading to see your results in decreasing or ascending order.
  • Cost per click (CPC). Find out the cost per click of advertising on the search network for your keywords. It’s always useful to know whom your competitors are and what they pay to advertise.
  • Advertiser competition. Find out how competitive a keyword is amongst advertisers. If it’s a highly competitive market, advertisers will be paying more to advertise their products or services.
  • Seasonality information. Search volume trends are displayed for each month of a year by keyword. Use information about seasonal trends to gain insights into factors that may impact your future business. For example, sales in your market may be affected by the holiday season, or by the weather.

Market Samurai

Market Samurai is a keyword research tool developed by the Australian company Noble Samurai, and is a market leader in keyword research due to its many useful features.

I use the tool for a range of tasks:

  • to discover good markets and keywords to target,
  • to find topics to write about on my website,
  • to see who my competitors are, and
  • to assist with my link-building campaigns and pay-per-click campaigns.

As a web entrepreneur, you have to juggle your time across the many business tasks that all demand your attention. So any intelligent tools that can help to save you time are a worthwhile investment. Market Samurai is great at improving your efficiency in both the market research stage of assessing your idea and for ongoing research when you are in business.

Once I am up and running with my business, other features of the tool that I use to manage my online business include the following:

  • Rank Tracker.
    Monitors your site’s ranking for keywords. This is a useful feature when running link-building campaigns to improve your website’s ranking. Keep in mind that good search engine optimization technique is more about ranking individual pages of your website, rather than just your home page.
  • Online Commercial Intent (OCI).
    Provides information about whether a keyword has good market potential. If you are planning to run a pay-per-click campaign, this is useful information for deciding on what keywords to bid on. It is quite possible to select a good keyword that can rank well, but if it doesn’t have good commercial intent, it may not be the best choice of keywords for selling your intended product.

With the above keyword tools you will be able to do the market research to substantiate your gut feeling about the viability of your business idea.