Lesson 2.1) How to do Keyword Research for FREE using the Google Keyword Tool (and Google Keyword Planner)

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In this lesson I teach you how to use the Google Keyword Tool to do keyword research and determine the approximate value of a keyword when it ranks #1 in Google (when monetized with Google Adsense).

In other words, if I get a website to rank #1 for “toaster ovens” and put Google Adsense advertisements on that website, how much will that website make per month passively?  The formula to determine this is:

(Keyword Average Cost Per Click) * (Global Monthly Search Volume) * (0.42) * (0.68) * (0.04) = Passive Monthly Earnings

The 0.42 is the average amount of traffic that will click on the first link in the search results. The 0.68 is amount of revenue Google will share with the owner of the website. The 0.04 is the average amount of visitors that will click on an advertisement when they land on a website.

So for “toaster ovens,” this would be what you plug into the formula:

($1.04 average CPC) * (5,400 global monthly searches) * (0.42) * (0.68) * (0.04) = $64.16

A website that ranks #1 in Google for “toaster ovens” and is monetized with Google Adsense will make roughly $64.16 per month.

Make sure you are logged into Udemy and signed up for the course before clicking the video below or you won’t be directed to the correct video (it’s completely free to register).

how to do keyword research

(Or click here: How to do Keyword Research for FREE using the Google Keyword Tool on Udemy).


UPDATE: Google has retired the Google Keyword Tool and has replaced it with the Google Keyword Planner. Luckily, we can still find the exact same information we need using this new tool. The following video lesson shows me using the new tool. Once you are done watching it, go back and finish watching video lesson 2.1. Be sure to watch the ENTIRE lesson (even the part of me using the old tool). This is because there is still valuable information in it regarding how to analyze keywords.

Note: In the following video, the CPC is the same as the “Suggested Bid.”

Make sure you are logged into Udemy and signed up for the course before clicking the video below or you won’t be directed to the correct video (it’s completely free to register).

how to use the google keyword planner

(Click to watch How to do Keyword Research for FREE using the Google Keyword Planner on Udemy).

Leave comments if you have any questions!

Mike Omar

Next lesson: Lesson 2.2) How to do Competition Analysis for Keywords using PageRank

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131 Responses to “Lesson 2.1) How to do Keyword Research for FREE using the Google Keyword Tool (and Google Keyword Planner)”

  1. I would like to stay Thank you for this website. It has helped me greatly in my website designing career. I have a question in regards to your Lesson 2.1 Keyword Research. When I click on the Google Keyword Tool link It brings me to the google adwords website. Under Tools I see Keyword Tool but I don’t have a Traffic Estimator. Why is that?

  2. Never mind just got it. Thanks again for this website.

  3. It seems that you can once again get the estimated CPC through the Google Keyword Tool.

    • That’s good to know, thanks for letting me know!

      It is very annoying that Google keeps changing its mind about things like this, but no matter what, we will find a way!

    • I’m sorry have they relocated this functionality? I only see keyword tool on the left, if it has come back where is it may I ask?

      • I don’t know why they keep taking it away and bringing it back. If it’s gone, you can use spyfu.com.

  4. Hi Mike,

    Don’t you think that it will be almost near impossible to build a website that will rank # 1 in google ? I think this needs huge investment and long time.

    • Hi Mohammad,

      Not at all! I have plenty of websites that rank #1 for plenty of keywords. It takes work and dedication and time, but it is definitely doable. After all, someone has to rank #1.


    • I agree. Google truly looks for relevant and quality content and if you give them that, and follow Mike`s advice on page layout, specifically the on page SEO components, you can rank #1. I have a page #1 by following these same principals. Just recently found this site, after reading your ebook Mike, and am glad I did. Love it!

  5. Hi Mike,
    Thanks so much for the great lessons; you make everything so easy to comprehend.
    There is no traffic estimator on the keyword tool.
    What are some other options?

    • Hi Tracy,

      I appreciate the compliment, thank you!

      As far as your question…I just checked out the keyword tool to see if there’s been some update from Google and it seems to be working fine for me. Are you sure it isn’t showing up for you?


    • Yes,thanks to you Mike for making this all so easy to understand. I couldn’t find the traffic estimator on Google until I clicked on the link to sign into AdWords which allowed me access to more options. Hope this helps!

  6. I was able to do est cpc on keyword tool and download them all at once. Wouldn’t it be better for me to use the cpc for each keyword and its related keywords since available now or replace them with the cpc for the main keyword?(have a different cpc per word or the same cpc for each list downloaded). My first download is 802 keywords and goes from .10 to 5.20 and the main keyword is .61.

    • Hi Mike,

      The amount you of money you make on a click will actually be determined by what ad is clicked on (and in theory, the ad on your page will be determined by the content on your page). However, this isn’t always the case: sometimes the ad will only be someone related to the content on your page, but not that closely. The ads on your website may be switched up and varied, and the CPC may vary too. This is why I like to make my spreadsheet based on the average CPC of the main keyword of the overall article (or topic of website). This is also why we go broad at first making lots of websites with lots of articles each, and then later on focus on the best performing websites / articles (this is also why your income grows exponentially later on in the business – because you start using your Google Analytics data, instead of CPC and global monthly searches predictions).

      I hope this helps better explain my thought process when doing keyword research.


  7. Hey Mike,

    I’ve been reading your ebook on my kindle along with taking many notes and now I have watched your first video. This is really interesting. Its mind boggling that someone could figure this all out! =O

    I have a question though.

    I entered in a keyword and google traffic estimator gave me a average CPC of $6.32 based on the MAX CPC of $1000 and Daily Budget of $100,000 just like you put in.

    That same keyword on spyfu gave me a CPC of $1.08 using the exact column.

    Which should I put into my excel sheet as my CPC?

    Thank you,


    • Hi Derek,

      Thank you for the kind words! I’m glad you’re enjoying the ebook.

      I know the discrepancies between keyword CPCs on different research tools can be huge (like in this case) and that can be confusing. That’s why I generally try to find the average CPC of entire keyword topics (once you’re doing averages of keywords within a topic, the discrepancies shouldn’t be nearly as big).

      Also, remember that in the beginning we’re making educated guesses about what websites to make and keywords to attack. That is why the strategy involves making so many websites with so many keywords at first. Later on, we simply focus on the ones that are doing the best of the batch, and then grow them based on Google Analytics data. Once you’re working on established websites that are already strong and expanding them based on Analytics data, that is when your traffic really starts to explode (as well as your income!).

      I hope this explanation helps!


  8. Bill Walker says:

    I want to get something clear in my head: When I look at the top four Google entries for a selected keyword phrase do I eliminate it if any ONE of the entry pages is 4 or above? I find some that are like 4, 2, 0, 1 or 0,0,4,3.

    • Hi Bill,

      In those close-call cases, you want to make your own personal judgement call (experience really helps with this, but that comes with time). As your website grows in age and authority, you will be able to rank for keywords that have tougher competition (and are worth more money!). So at the very least, mark those close-call keywords down as keywords to possibly target in the future. Once you have a powerful website with many posts, you’ll find that this business becomes much more exciting (since you can start ranking for much bigger keywords more easily).

      Another thing to consider when doing your search results analysis is whether the PageRank 4 result is truly relevant to the keyword that it is ranking for. Sometimes, it is merely ranking because it is a page on a powerful website, but the page is not directly related to the keyword. In this case, you could easily get your own post to spot #1, even though there is a result with a PageRank of 4 in the top four spots. This could be due to the fact that there are just not any good pages out there about that specific keyword (and this is where your website comes in!). Also remember that as you grow your own websites, you’ll start ranking for a lot of keywords you weren’t specifically targeting (a great feeling!).

      Also, sometimes powerful pages in the top results are about the keyword, but don’t offer what the searcher is looking for. For example, if someone searches for “toaster ovens”, they are likely looking to buy a toaster oven. If the top spot is a Wikipedia entry about “toaster ovens” with a PageRank of 7, even though it would be EXTREMELY difficult to beat, most searchers will likely skip it (because they don’t want information on how toaster ovens work, they want to buy one!). In this case, if you can get to spot #2 directly after the Wikipedia entry, and your post is a bunch of toaster oven reviews (with links to Amazon, of course!), the searcher will likely click on your post instead of the Wikipedia entry. In this case, a PageRank of 7 at spot #1 is irrelevant.

      In other words, this is not a black and white system! It’s just a good way to get started while you are gaining experience and start to understand the process better and better over time.

      I hope this explanation helps clear the fog some.


  9. Manuel Díaz says:

    Hi, Mike.

    Just discovered your site; fantastic content. I have one question, though. In the Adwords traffic estimator the Average CPC seems to change according to the data one puts in Max CPC and Daily Budget. Is there something I’m doing wrong?

    The Adwords site appears somewhat different to the way it was when you made the video. Maybe they changed that particular feature?

    Thank you very much for your time and invaluable information.

    • Hi Manuel,

      I am glad you are enjoying the website!

      Regarding your question, the average CPC shouldn’t change that much once you start using really large numbers for both the Max CPC and Daily Budget. Also remember that this isn’t an exact science, so finding a rough estimate of how much a keyword will make per month will work just fine (and we simply get rid of the ones that don’t look like they’re going to make enough per month to be worth chasing). Later on, once the website is ranking for several keywords, Google Analytics will give us a much more clear idea of what keywords are truly valuable, and our strategy will go evolving based on the Google Analytics results (instead of the Google Keyword Tool predictions).

      Google is always switching up their interface, but the basic functions that we need from them will never be taken away (I hope!). To get to the traffic estimator, I typed “Google Traffic Estimator” into Google and it was the first result that came up.

      I hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions.


      • Manuel Díaz says:

        Indeed, once you type in large numbers, the average CPC doesn’t change that much.

        Thank you!

        • Manuel Díaz says:

          Just had another doubt. Should I choose “Every country” and “Every language” in the search settings? Cause if I do, the CPC seems to increase a lot (about 5 dollars more, when looking for the keyword “cement”), as opposed to to results I get when searching with USA-English settings.

          • Hi Manuel,

            Nah, just go with the default settings (USA and English); those results will be more accurate. If you end up getting traffic from other English speaking countries (or even other countries in any language), just consider that bonus traffic you hadn’t accounted for!


  10. Manuel Díaz says:

    Hi Mike,

    Sorry to ask again, but there seems to be a really huge difference (about 18 dlls) between the estimates of your video and the ones the appear to me, even though I’m using the same data. I understand that this is just a prediction, however, I reckon it won’t do any good if it misses the mark by so much.

    Could the difference lie in my living in Mexico? When I set traffic estimates to my country and language parameters, the difference between your video’s estimates and my estimates shrinks down to nearly nothing.

    If this is the case, would you, by any chance, know how would this affect the process of creating niche sites? It seems much more profitable to target niche sites to an english speaking audience, so I’m really hoping my situation won’t be much of an issue.

    Again, thank you very much for your time and help.


    • Hi Manuel,

      There are definitely huge differences in the CPC of keywords between different languages / countries. Right now the most valuable keywords are in English because more English speakers are participating in the Google PPC program than any other language AND the dollar is one of the more powerful currencies.

      If you have two websites that are exactly the same except that one is in English and one is in Spanish (and they are both monetized with Google Adsense), the one in English will make more money because the clicks will be worth more (due to the fact that more English speakers are participating in the Google PPC program AND the dollar is worth more than the peso).

      That being said, it is entirely possible that there are some HUGE keywords that exist in Spanish that are much more easily rankable than in English because the competition isn’t there yet (whereas with the English equivalent, the competition is too fierce). It’s definitely not a bad idea to use my methods in other languages and get an early start on some giant keywords (after all, the Internet is still very young).

      Hope this explanation helps.


  11. Bill Walker says:

    You may have mentioned this in the video but I missed it, even after watching several times:

    Where do I stop with Global Monthly Searches? I’ve gone as far down as 36. In general terms, at what point do I come to the law of diminishing returns?

    • Hi Bill,

      When you stop is up to you, but I don’t usually bother with anything less than 140 searches per month.

      This all depends on your goals however: If you are a direct producer of a product or service and one lead could be worth over hundreds of dollars to you, you might want to attack every single keyword that exists related to your topic.


  12. Hi Mike,
    I am trying to get estimates for my keywords and I am using the max cpc of $1000 and $100000 budget and my words have way higher averages than yours, am I doing it wrong or did you intentionally pick a word for the video that isn’t very popular?

    • Hi Jen,

      The keywords I chose for the video lessons were picked at random. Different keywords can vary wildly in terms of their CPC. This is because some keywords will be bid on by more people than others (depending on the size of the industry), and some keywords will have a much higher RIO than others (depending on the ROI of the industry). For example, someone who is looking for “health insurance” or “car leases” has the potential to spend way more money than someone looking for “striped socks” – see what I mean?


  13. I am having the toughest times finding keywords to make websites about. All the ones I put in are extremely competitive. I will admit I’m trying topics that I am interested in which maybe the problem. Should I try different topics that I may not be interested in? Are there any books or websites you recommend to help me get ideas? Thanks again for this website.It shows that it is possible to make money online.

    • Hi Mike,

      I understand your frustrations, but this is one of the most important parts of the process. Tougher keywords that fall out of the guidelines of what I suggest are definitely rankable over time (after all, someone has to be in the number 1 spot at any given time for any keyword), but when you’re first starting out, I always suggest going after keywords that are easier. Once you’ve learned the process and got a few number 1 rankings under your belt, you can start going for harder (and more valuable) keywords. Just keep going…there are countless blue keywords out there.

      For ideas, you could jump on Amazon and just start exploring categories. After all, anything on Amazon is a product being sold that you can promote.

      You may also want to try using Market Samurai to facilitate your search (you can downloading a free trial version from my resources page). Market Samurai makes the searching process a lot faster and a lot easier.

      Hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions!


  14. Hi Mike,
    I used the Google keyword tool a couple of times and now it won’t let me in, saying that my computer may be sending automated queries ;-/ Huh!!! It’s not.

    I’ve spent the whole day running scans to see if there are any nasties on the computer, but none are to be found and I have no problem searching any other website, or sending or receiving mail.

    Their message tells me that if there is a captcho (??) where I type in the squiggly letters to continue I can, but there is no option on the page to do that.

    Am I going to get into trouble with google? Is it wrong to search for keywords and if that is the case why does google have a key word tool available for use???

    I’m really enjoying your book and tutorials and have amazed myself with how far I’ve come (not very technically endowed!) and disappointed that I’ve hit this snag and a little worried google will put a big fat black mark against me!

    Do you have any advice for me? Please.

    • Hi Linda,

      That’s really odd…no regular amount of use should do that (the kind of word we do would fall under “regular amount of use” by the way).

      One solution would be to clear your browser cache of all saved information, and then close and restart the browser. That should solve the problem and you can continue with your research.

      Let me know if this works!


  15. Hi Mike,

    Clearing the cache and restarting the computer has worked, so thanks so much for your help, again.



  16. Guys I don’t understand the value of cpc.

    the author uses the value of the first entry and assigns it to all the other related keywords presumably as an estimate.

    I don’t see how this has any value because when I tested the first 5 keywords of my chosen industry the cpc had a great difference between them, in fact despite the first result having the most global views the second,third and forth keywords had more than double cpc.

    so if I used the cpc of the keyword with the most global views as an estimate then it would have severely underestimated the cpc of the other keywords.

    just started the program, very interested in the idea. very much appreciate some clarification here.

    • This is actually a very good observation.

      I like to look over lots of keywords within the same category and get a feel for around what CPC most of the keywords fall around. This is because even if a post is targeting a specific keyword to rank for, the ads that are displayed on the post will not necessarily be for that specific keyword: they will be a mixture of keywords around that topic and will also change over time to (the ads are constantly being optimized the increase the CTR [click-through-rate]).

      At the end of the day, all we can do is make educated guesses with the information we’re given and then continue building our portfolio of websites based on which ones are performing the best. This is why my strategy is to make several websites with several keywords each; because some inevitably end up doing very well and those become the ones to focus on and expand.

      Also, once we are getting our data from Google Analytics (in other words, actual traffic) instead of the Google Keyword Tool, our information is much more reliable and it becomes much easier to increase the money being made off of websites.

      Hopefully this explanation helped a bit!

      • Yes thank you.

        But may I ask something, if a keyword isn’t worth much or doesnt have a lot of searches is there a reason not to include it besides the extra work?

        what I am trying to say is are you aware of any metric for overall value that google will reduce with a lot of unviewed content?

        is it possible some content can have an inverse affect or can I just shoot for everything?

        • Actually, I highly recommend that you include keyword targeted posts that don’t necessarily have a lot of monthly searches. There are a few reasons for this:

          1) It makes your website more legitimate and not purely SEO’d (a regular website or blog would have lots of posts that aren’t keyword targeted).
          2) It would increase the overall relevance and authority of your website for the niche you have selected to write about since you are now covering a wider range of topics.
          3) You’ll still drive some traffic to your website from this post anyway.
          4) More content is always a good thing (just avoid repetitive or redundant posts).

          Good question! I’m glad you asked this.

  17. Hi again Mike,
    Just wondering if you could recommend a keyword research tool other than google. I’ve been locked out again (see my post above on 3rd May). I only get time a couple of times a week to do this and it happened last night while I was on my 2nd word. I’m only searching very simple words and clearing the browser has not worked this time. Scanned computer and no nasties. Even changed browser, but no luck.

    I am only blocked out of this tool, all other internet functions are fine. I checked with the satellite internet provider and no problems there either. I wonder if it could be because I’m on satellite internet, but no one else lives within kilometres.

    I’ve sent an “unauthorised traffic” query to google through the group forum, but there is no option to explain anything and I’m not holding my breath on any form of response.

    I’m feeling very despondent that I’m stalled on the keyword search that seems to be such an important step. I don’t want to be a nuisance, but would you have any suggestions or recommendations for me?

    • Hi Linda,

      I still find it very odd that you’re facing this issue. Have you tried using Chrome in “incognito mode”? This might help since it clears your cookies and history every time you reopen it.

      Also, if you were to use Market Samurai you wouldn’t face this issue either (this is what I use when I’m doing keyword research). You can get a free one week trial from my resources page to test it out and if see if you like it.

      Try these out and let me know how it goes.


      • Hi Mike,
        Thanks for your help. The issue seems to be resolved now and I can only think this may be the result of my query to google about the error message. Interestingly, the page behaves differently now, so whatever has changed, it is all good and I am happily searching words.

        I will look at Market Samurai, but would probably like to get a little return before buying it :-). By the way, these forums are a useful resource in their own right, and have cleared up a few questions of my own, so thanks for sharing.


        • You’re very welcome Linda. And I’m glad to hear you were able to resolve the issue!

          Mike Omar

  18. Hey Mike! Thanks for all that you do!

    Question 1: YouTube page rank is high yet the author’s website that their video points too is ranked below 3. Keyword is good, right?

    Question 2: Google itself is selling items, yet the links within its link goes to sellers websites that are all ranked below 3. Keyword is good, right?

    Question 3: I’m totally confused about your use of the word “Rank.” Best page “rank” is 10, so why do we want to be ranked #1?
    Do you mean that we are aiming to be the first listed on a google search?

    Thanks again!!

    • Hi Butch,

      1. I generally ignore YouTube results unless the keyword is specifically searching for a YouTube video (i.e. “baby videos”, etc.).

      2. Yep, as long as the top search results have lower than a PageRank of 4, go for it.

      3. “PageRank” is a score between 1 and 10 that Google assigns websites to assess the authority and power of that website (with 10 being the highest). We want our websites to rank number 1 in the Google search results (not to have a “PageRank” of 1).

      Hope this helps!

  19. Great video and content Mike. today I completed the reading your Book “How to Make Money Online” I read it on a go while at work on my Smart phone so couldn’t watch the YouTube video you have mentioned. Just came down to your website after coming home and now starting to watch the videos to see what you have.

    For now thanks for the great content and will be back to get connected with you and your audience.

    • Hi Fernando,

      Thanks for the nice words about my book and website! Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll answer you the best that I can!


  20. Hi Mike!

    Thanks again for all of the information you’ve shared with us. I’m moving along thanks to your help!

    I have a question related to the KW research and how long it’s good for, so to speak. I did a lot of keyword research in the beginning/mid of April and spent so much time on my first site that I am now just getting around to my second. My question is, would your recommend that I re-do my KW research since a couple of months have lapsed since then?

    Thanks again!

    • Hi Mae,

      Glad to hear you’re making progress!

      Nah, I would just move forward with the keywords you have. If they were “blue” before, even if some things have moved around, that only means that the top rankings aren’t very stable anyway (good news for you!).


  21. Hi Mike, I’m not finding “traffic estimator” under tools in google adwords. I’d appreciate your help.

    Thanks for this great website and book 🙂

  22. Never mind, found it 🙂

  23. Hi Mike, quick question, I’m doing some keyword research, and for one topic I searches the first website had a pagerank of 0 while the second website had a pagerank of 7. How can that be? Thanks

    • Hi Sawsan,

      Although it’s not common, this sometimes happens because even though the first website is not nearly as strong as the second website, it is much more relevant to the keyword (at least, according to Google’s algorithms).


  24. Hey Mike,

    You rock! Spent all of today loving on your videos and taking notes. Thank you so much for all the training you provide FREE. You are amazing and really appreciated!

    I am just wondering if you know of a way to figure out the excel formula on a calculator. I tried to do it and so did two of my friends and no go…Would you have to know how? It works great in Excel, but would be nice to have the calculator as an option also.


    (Keyword Average Cost Per Click) * (Global Monthly Search Volume) * (0.42) * (0.68) * (0.04) = Passive Monthly Earnings

    • Hi Kimber,

      Thank you for the nice words!!

      I don’t understand your question…you mean like an actual calculator? If so, wouldn’t simply multiplying all the numbers together work? I’m not sure if that’s what you meant haha.


  25. …OOPS…Last comment meant to read, “happen to know how,” instead of “have” to know how…

  26. I cannot find the traffic estimator???

    • Hi Michele,

      Unfortunately Google updates their tools and layouts all the time, so they might not be exactly where they were in the video when I made it. Just do a Google search for “Google Traffic Estimator” and it should be the first result.


  27. Hi Mike,

    Just bought your ebook and watched the videos. Love your analytical approach to making money online!

    Question: When Google used KeyWord Tool, you advised readers to be sure to choose “exact” vice “broad” so our research results and assumptions about value would be most accurate. I don’t see that feature in Google KeyWord Planner. How do we compensate for this? For example, my Keyword Search term in Planner was “cruise” and the results are laid out in keywords by relevance, but those results don’t all include the word “cruise” and how to we know they are exact vice broad. What advice do you have for us about how to interpret our research results and drawing conclusions about value?

    Thanks again for your awesome instruction! – Alyssa

    • Hi Alyssa,

      I suggest using “exact” instead of “broad” because it would give you your most conservative estimate in terms of earnings (and if you are getting the kind of numbers “broad” predicts, you’ll be making even more money!).

      To find “exact” versus “broad” numbers, click on the little pen next to average CPC and it allows you to select which one you want.

      Also, would you mind leaving a positive review on my Amazon book? That’s the best kind of thank you I can get. 🙂

      Let me know if you have any further questions!



  28. Using Google’s keyword planner, should I use the average cpc, for the main keyword im searching for or use the individual cost per click it gives you for the related words.

    • Hi Coy,

      Because the Google Keyword Planner makes it so easy to get each individual CPC for each keyword now, I like to do it that way (since it makes the results a little more accurate). However, doing it the original way (average CPC across the board) shouldn’t give you very different results anyway.



  29. Mike,

    A couple of questions:

    First, since Google Keyword Planner gives us the CPC for each individual keyword, would it make sense to sort the keywords in our Excel spreadsheet by the monthly potential earnings rather than average monthly searches? That way, when we start at the top looking for blue keywords, we’re starting with the highest potential monthly earnings.

    Second, do you ever abandon a topic as not worth your time? I might have found a topic that has tremendous earning potential for the top ten keywords, which are all dominated by a few high-ranking sites. The earning potential drops away rapidly to fractions of a dollar per month once you get away from those top few keywords, so that even if my site ranked number one for those keywords, I might only make a few cents for each keyword. It seems to me there wouldn’t be much point in setting up a site in that case. Is that right?


    • Hi Lynn,

      I would sort the keywords by monthly potential earnings overall (since this incorporates both the CPC and the average monthly searches).

      And yes, I am quick to abandon topics that are already dominated by high-ranking websites for most of the keywords (unless I plan to build a cared-for blog that I plan on growing on a regular basis – for those I am less wary about the competition).



  30. Hi Mike,

    I know you said it is better to use the average CPC for the main keyword for all the related keywords, but the average CPC that I get from the traffic estimator is way different from the number that I get from averaging all the “Average CPC” from the keywords on my excel sheet. Which one would you recommend me to use? Or should I use the individual “Average CPC” for each keyword?

    • Hi Paula,

      Now that we have the “Average CPC” of each individual keyword available to us through the Google Keyword Planner, I would use that (it’s what I’ve started using).


  31. Hello Mike,

    I have been enjoying your content and I am now starting my keyword research.

    I want to make sure that I have this correct, what you are calling the CPC is that what google Adwords is calling “suggested bid”?

    If so, do I then use that individual CPC and plug those numbers into your formula?

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Trinity,

      Yes, the “CPC” and the “suggested bid” are the same in this case. And yes, I’d plug each individual “suggested bid” into the formula.


    • Steve Berner says:

      Mike – love the site, thanks.

      you use $1.88 as the average CPC in the cement example, but SpyFu as of 10.8.2013 hows the EXACT is .93 and the BROAD is $1.87. Did you mistakenly use the BROAD instead of the EXACT in your example?

      • Hi Steve,

        The CPC of the keyword may have changed over time (which is fairly common). In any case, you want to use EXACT search results (which is the default in the new Google Keyword Planner).


        • Is that setting now under “Keyword Options” – “Only show ideas closely related to my search terms”? Is that the same thing as what exact was in the previous version?

          • Hi Tim,

            Now you need to start using the Google Keyword Planner since the Google Keyword Tool has been retired. With this new tool, the default setting is “exact” so you don’t have to worry about changing anything.


  32. Well, it appears I’m lost AGAIN! I already have a website. It wasn’t based on KEYWORD RESEARCH. So how does the keyword research connect to my present website. Am I to understand WHEN MAKING A WEBSITE IT SHOULD BE BASED ON KEYWORD RESEARCH.

    • Hi Helen,

      Keyword research helps for certain types of websites, but if you have a services based website (like your cleaning services one), it really doesn’t matter (you can just advertise your website on business cards, in person, on other websites to get direct traffic, etc…no SEO needed!). However, if you want to build passive income websites for the rest of your portfolio, you should do keyword research first and then build out your websites based on the keywords you find.


    • Thanks Mike sometimes I know a little more than I give myself credit for.

  33. Hi Omar…. Big Fan….

    I just want to know.. have you ever try this in “Mexico” I mean spanish? I see yous site on spanish wich can be improve since you have some details that dont sound correct in spanish… but thats not the point… I mean I am from cancun I have more than 15 years of experience on Emakerting and web design and ive seen many models like yours and let me tell you I am trying yours… so I am having some problems trying to choose the correct niche, I mea between popular phrases that pays good money with so little competition… any advice to get the ricgt niche to attack? for example I will create a site in spanish to help people for SEO because I can write about it and I will try your model on spanish… so any tip? and if you stop by in Cancun or wanna visit please be sure to let me know…. best regards… cordially…. Yofu

    • Hi Yofu,

      I’ve never actually done this in another language, but I actually suspect that it would work even better than in English! This is because not only are other language markets continuing to grow as the Internet grows with time, but I’d expect that SEO is much less common in other languages, which means much bigger keywords are easier to get! If my Spanish was good enough, I’d be doing this full time with Spanish websites as well. I’d say go for it!

      And thank you for offering a helping hand if I’m ever in Cancun. If one day I am in those parts, I will let you know!


  34. Hello Mike,

    I am in the process of building my very first website thanks to you. I just wanted to let you know how you have inspired me to take the step in creating passive income as I have been thinking about doing this for a while.

    • Hi Elsie,

      I love hearing stuff like that! 🙂

      If you have any questions along the way, feel free to reach out to me and I will be happy to help!


  35. If a blue key word has a very high cost per click but relatively low monthly searches (100 or less) is it worth going after? Using your formula, some of my key words calculate out to $50-$100 per month but bu the low search count concerns me a little. Thanks.

    • Hi Tim,

      If the keyword produces $50-$100 per month on such few searches, it must be a VERY valuable keyword! I would definitely go after it. Also (generally speaking), keyword posts with a high CPC can generally be monetized in other more profitable ways.


  36. Two words: Thank you. This post is a really big help for everyone out there who are in the process of starting their own blogs and online businesses. I on the other hand, learned a lot of tips from your video and I’m looking forward to know some of your future tips and advice. More power!

  37. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for all of your videos and books. They are awesome. I have a question about Keyword planner. Since there is no option I can find to search for exact keywords(like there was in keyword tool) should I turn on the option “Only show ideas closely related to my search terms” when I do a keyword search or leave it as “show broadly related ideas”?


    • Hi Robert,

      Thank you for the kind words! If you have the time, a positive review for my books on Amazon would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

      As far as your question, both options will show the “exact” search results (since that is the default). Then you can pick which one of those you prefer depending on if you are looking for related keywords or possibly other ideas for other posts / websites.


  38. Hi Mike,

    Most of the keyword research I am doing shows a result for ‘image for the topic I am searching for as one of the top 4 website. This website is powerful like Wikipedia with ranking above 8. If the other top 3 website have page rank below 4 but this image website for the topic I am searching ranks above 4 should I consider this word as one of my blue keyword. I am having difficulty in finding keywords with all the top 4 website ranking below 4.


    • Hi Mimi,

      No need to worry about the image result because that most likely won’t be what the searcher is looking for (in most cases they want information or to buy something). This goes for YouTube videos and Wikipedia results as well (assuming those results won’t serve the searcher’s need).



    • Thanks Mike for getting back to me. This gives me some hope in finding the blue keyword.

    • Hi Mike,
      What about eBay? Most of the items I am doing the keyword search also list eBay as one of the top 4 website. If all the other 3 website rates below 3 but the eBay page rank is 8, is it worth going after this keywords?


      • Hi Mimi,

        That’s one where you’d have to make a judgement call. If you think the searcher would benefit from that eBay listing and click on it, then skip the keyword. If you think the searcher wouldn’t click on the eBay link because it isn’t really good for what they’re most likely looking for, then go for it.


  39. Hey Mike. Love the books/site!

    Do you find that topics you’re naturally interested in tend to be too competitive to write about and that you typically have to write about more obscure topics with less competition?

    Ideally, I want to write about topics I already enjoy. It’s proving difficult so far, however.

    • Hi Bill,

      A lot of the more popular topics tend to be more competitive; that’s just the nature of the online world. When I first started I went for more obscure things (and it’s what I recommend for beginners), but once you have some experience, you can choose how competitive you want to go. I pretty much go after any niche I want now. 🙂


  40. Hey Mike –

    Thanks for all the info and going through everything step by step. I am a beginner and want to make sure I pick topics that give me the best chance to succeed. You mentioned starting off with something more obscure. I want to do something about cooking. I assume that is too general?

    • Hi Jesse,

      You could start off with a domain that can be about cooking in general, and then within your blog be more specific with your targeted keywords. What’s cool about taking this approach is you can still attack more obscure keywords, and then as your blog grows and becomes more powerful, you’ll be able to target tougher keywords as well. This leaves the direction you take your website more open ended.


  41. Hi Mike –

    Please reply to this comment. I forgot to click Notify follow up via email.


  42. And one other thing … just want to say a big thank you for putting all this content and instructions together.

    This simple and systematic approach has really excited me to build the sites. I have wanted to for a long time but this has put me over the edge.

    Thanks again

  43. One other quick question – When searching on Google Adwords, it appears as though the default option is searching Broadly (see below).

    Keyword options
    Show broadly related ideas
    Hide keywords in my account
    Hide keywords in my plan

    It then allows you to customize, turning the Exact keyword search on or off.

    Only show ideas closely related to my search terms

    You mentioned in a previous comment that the default is Exact but the way it’s set up now seems like it’s defaulting to Broad.

    Which way is best for our purposes?

    • Hi Jesse,

      You definitely want the EXACT amount of searches per keyword (this will give you a much more accurate potential value). For the rest of the options, think about them critically when trying to figure out what information you’re looking for. You can choose to “show ideas closely related to my search terms” if you are looking for similar keywords and want to expand within a smaller topic, or turn it off to get keyword ideas that can expand your website to other types of topics.

      Hope this helps! 🙂


  44. Hi Mike

    I am going through the keyword search with Keyword Planner and am still confused as to what is ‘Exact’ and what isn’t.

    Here is an example. Let’s say my website topic is Flowers. If I type in FLOWERS without changing any of the default settings, I get 801 keyword ideas. If I change the Keyword options to ‘Only show closely related ideas’ the number of keywords drops to 591.

    The first search results has a variety of ideas that do not necessarily include the word FLOWER i.e. – roses or bouquet. For the second search, every result has the word FLOWER within it i.e. – dried flowers, bulk flowers, etc.

    Which is the better search results to use for building the websites for what we are trying to accomplish?? This is similar to a question from a previous person but I am just confused about which key words are the best ones to use.

    Sorry if this is redundant.


    • Hi Clark,

      “Exact” refers to the amount of searches there are per month for a specific keyword (we want to search for things in “exact” and that is the default setting in the Google Keyword Planner, so we are good there).

      As far as which keywords to use for your website, that is up to you! If you want a website that is more focused on a very specific niche or one that is more broad and includes more things, that is your choice. Both options (“only show closely related ideas”) will show you different keywords that may or may not make sense for your website.

      Hope this clears things up some for you! 🙂


  45. Hello Mike, First of all thank you so much for a nice website and lot of good info for people like me interested in passive website and have no idea how to get started. I have so far found your web videos on the subject very useful.

    One question, I went to sign up for “Google keyword planner” and Google is asking me to setup an initial Ad and also asking for billing credit card information. Is google going to charge my credit card? and what is the right way to setup the google adwords account.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Ford,

      Thank you for the kind words! 🙂

      As far as your question, you only need to sign up for an account with them, but you shouldn’t have to submit any credit card information at all (and therefore, you cannot be charged).



      • Hi Mike,

        I am not having any luck finding the keyword search as your video shows. Is there a new class on how to do this since Google changed things?



        • Hi Luci,

          The process is still exactly the same even though Google has made some updates. Finding keywords is a tough and tedious process, but there’s definitely still countless blue keywords out there. If you’re still having trouble, you may want to consider purchasing Market Samurai to make the process easier. You can also try it for a one week free trial here.



          • Currently, to create a new AdWords account (in the U.S. at least), you must provide Google with a payment method to complete registration, either bank account information or credit card (they force you to create your first ad during account creation).

            What you CAN do, however, is specify a daily budget of as little as $0.02 and choose a ridiculous keyword phrase that will result in no impressions and/or clicks (they show you the estimate on this initial page). Then, after you complete this initial ad setup, you’re finally allowed to go to your account where you can pause or delete that initial ad, leaving nothing that can be charged to you. After that, proceed to the Keyword Planner as normal (it’s now just under “Tools” at the top–Google has again changed the interface somewhat since the video was created).

            I enjoyed the book, Mike. Thanks!

          • Thanks for the tip, John!

            As much as Google wants you to spend money with them, they can’t FORCE you to! There will always be ways to use their keyword tools for free. 🙂

  46. Hello Mike,

    When doing SEO keyword research should I exclude Ebay and Amazon pages when doing page ranks?

    • Hi Cameron,

      I wouldn’t exclude results from Ebay or Amazon because those results will most likely be something the user would click on (especially if the keyword is a product keyword). Sometimes results from Wikipedia or YouTube could be ignored (depending on the type of keyword that is being searched for).


  47. I am still learning and deciding on what my websites will be about while searching out keywords on my interests. I want to be sure I have this right. We get all out posts together for 10 websites and launch them all around the same time? Also we are supposed to link them. Will this hurt if they are about different subjects?

    Thanks for your help in advance,

    • Hi Becky,

      It doesn’t matter when you create your websites – all 10 websites are 10 separate projects (so you won’t be linking them together). I recommend building 10 because that process will teach you so much about how making money online works within different niches and then you can focus on your best performing websites or your favorite ones once they’re all created. It’s also a good way to keep your income safe (the more websites you have, the less risk).



  48. Hi Mike,
    The new google keyword planner is a little different, again. instead of the ACPC, there is a column that says “Suggested Bid” is that the same thing?

    Thank you,

    • Hi Lily,

      They’re the same thing. 🙂



    • Hi Mike,
      Spyfu doesn’t have rankings 1-10 now, rather they just use various numbers for seo difficulty and it says you look at the average and determine what is lowest that way – Makes it a fair bit more time consuming to know what to go after – some may have a number of 245 and some 197. Do you recommend a threshold to be under – 100 for example?
      Just read your book – great advice!

      • Hi Harley,

        I don’t really use SpyFu anymore since the Google Keyword Planner now gives the CPC (or “suggested bid”) and you can get PageRank from PR Checker or Market Samurai (and you can try a free one week trial). I do believe that it’s a good idea to look into how others do their keyword competition analysis too though. Always try to be learning and experimenting; that’s the best way to get good at this business.

        Also, if you have the time, a positive review for my book on Amazon would be greatly appreciated. 🙂



  49. Stephen says:

    In the keyword planner, I do not see a button for “Exact”. It has “show broadly related ideas” or ” show closely related ideas”.

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