Using Market Samurai for Keyword Research

I don't use Market Samurai much anymore. If I do keyword research, I use Long Tail Pro now.

Try Market Samurai For Free!Most people never take the time to do enough research before creating their websites. So they often target keywords that are either too competitive or not searched for enough.

This can be a huge mistake and often ends in failure when it comes to ranking in Google for relevant terms.

Keyword research is also important for existing Webmasters and Bloggers because as you continue to pump out content, you want to target the right keywords in your articles.

My Disclaimer

Let it be known that I have never been a fan of keyword research and analysis. All the data and number crunching drives me bonkers. :)

In fact, I talk about this in my niche website tutorial video.

When I got started building websites years ago, keyword research wasn't as imperative as it is today.

I would just do a quick search in the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, check the rankings in Google to see how stiff the competition was, create my page and called it a day.

This worked pretty well for years. I would often find my pages ranked within 2-4 weeks and I would repeat the cycle.

However, things are different today. There are hundreds of thousands of websites online competing for the same phrases. So if you want to capitalize on search engine traffic, you have to take the time to research "profitable" keywords.

Profitable keywords are ones with a good amount of searches and minimal competition.

While the Google AdWords Keyword tool is enough for many people even today, Market Samurai takes that data to the next level and displays comprehensive reports to help you compare and analyze potential markets.

So I'm going to show you how to use MS to do some basic keyword research.

Market Samurai Overview

Please note this is not a complete keyword research tutorial. To really understand how to use and interpret all the data provided by Market Samurai, you should watch their videos. This is just an overview to get you started and illustrate how it works.

Launching the Software

To begin, download Market Samurai and install it. You can use the software for free for 30 days.

When you first launch the program, you will be prompted to name your project. It doesn't really matter what you enter here. I usually use whatever keyword phrase I plan to research.

Market Samurai Project Settings

Now select "Update" and click the "New Keyword" tab on the left to start researching your first keyword phrase.

Let's say you have an idea to do a website on acne scars so you want to check what people are searching for related to this phrase. This is your seed word.

Enter acne scars into the keyword field and select "Update."

New Keyword Market Samurai

Now select the Keyword Research option.

Keyword Research Market Samurai

On the Keyword Research screen, select "Generate Keywords" in the upper-right corner.

Generate Keywords

This will give you a listing of keywords that are searched for and related to the phrase acne scars.

keyword list

As you scroll through your list, you may notice some unwanted terms or phrases that may not be as relevant to your search as you'd like them to be. Removing them is super easy.

Negative Keywords

Let's say you don't want to research any keyword phrases with the word laser in them. You would click the word laser so its underlined and then click the X across from that keyword phrase.

keyword laser

This will automatically remove any term with that phrase and add this word to the Negative Keyword List. You may also add negative keywords manually one per line.

negative keywords

Positive Keywords

You can tell MS to only show phrases with certain keywords. These are called positive keywords.

Maybe you only want to see phrases with the word acne. Select the word so its underlined and then click the check mark button across from that keyword.

acne keyword

This will add that keyword to your Positive Keyword list.

positive keywords

Just like the negative keywords, you can add them manually if you wish. Click the "Update" button after you've entered your keywords.

Phrase Length

You may also decide to narrow down your phrases by setting a limit to the phrase length. Terms that are longer (3 words or more) are often searched for less, but they are more targeted and in some cases, easier to gain a top 10 rank.

These are called long tail keywords.

phrase length

The majority of my search engine traffic (thousands of visitors per day) is from long tail keywords. Yes, you may only get a handful of visits per day from these keywords, but they add up.

So if you only receive an average of 3 visits per long tail keyword but you get found for 400 different long-tail phrases per day (sitewide) then that adds up to 1200 visits.

It's much better to target these kinds of terms instead of competitive phrases.

Once your list contains the keywords you want to analyze, now select the "Keyword Analysis" button.

keyword analysis

This will now bring up an analysis of all the keywords you chose to research.

keyword analysis results

The Searches column shows you how many times the keyword was searched for every month. Obviously the phrases with the higher number of searches, will have more competition.

Those with a lower number of searches may not draw in as much traffic, but could be easier to rank for in the top 10.

The SEOT column shows how many clicks you can expect if you were to rank #1 for that phrase.

The PBR shows the percentage of people that used that exact phrase in that search. So the lower the percentage, the less likely they are to use that exact phrase.

Right now we are doing a broad search, which means it includes variations, synonyms, plurals, etc. of the phrase.

If you want to see how many people used that exact phrase, then you'll need to change your Match type to Exact. Then you'll get an accurate count for how many people searched for that specific phrase.

exact match

Keywords Disappearing?

When you click "Keyword Analysis", you may notice that many of your keywords disappear. I couldn't figure out why until I watched the MS videos.

The default filter is the "Golden Rules" filter which is great to use if you're trying to find a niche for a new website. This filter rules out a lot of phrases that don't meet the "Golden Rules of keyword research."

However, if you're using Market Samurai to find long tail keywords for articles like me, you want to make sure you set it to Long Tail and you'll notice more results on the analysis page. This was driving me nuts until I read up on the filters. :)

Keyword Filters

Checking Keyword Competition

As you research your list, let's say you become curious about the keyword acne spot treatment. Perhaps you have a lot of information on this and would like to consider targeting that phrase for your topic.

Double-click the gold key next to the keyword and this will add a new keyword tab that includes this phrase. Now you can begin some competitive research on this phrase.

acne keyword

Notice the new keyword tab at the top of MS.

acne spot keyword tab

Now we're going to look at the top 10 sites that rank on Google for this keyword phrase. Click the SEO Competition option and select Generate Results.

generate results

You should see something like this...

seo competition results

This matrix gives you an overview of the top 10 websites that rank for that phrase. Here you can see the age of the domains, PageRank, # of page backlinks, domain backlinks, whether or not they have a Yahoo or DMOZ listing and more.

This is where you get the bang for your buck with Market Samurai.

Notice the color coding. Red means high competition, yellow means medium and green means low. Ideally, you want to see a grid with lots of green and yellow and minimal red.

So if your report shows nothing but red, then that's a sign that you might want to research less competitive keywords.

For this query, the thing to note is that the top 10 sites are all older websites. Notice the DA (Domain Age) column is red for almost every site. Every site except the first one is at least 10 years old or more.

Older domains often have an advantage with SEO. Because they have been around longer, they may have more backlinks (sites linking to them), which can dramatically impact their rankings over time.

Rinse and Repeat

Now you can go back to your original acne scars keyword list and do a similar analysis for more keywords until you find a topic you want to target.

Key Points About Keyword Research

- Any niche that is worth going after is going to show signs of saturation. So be careful of paralysis analysis. There's no such thing as a perfect niche today.

- Don't rely completely on the numbers. Yes, you should use them as a guide, but also do physical research by visiting the top ranked websites.

If most are low quality, repetitive and outdated, then the competition may not be as tough as the numbers make it appear to be. Believe in your ability to compete.

- Remember, Market Samurai is not just for researching a topic, you should also use it for every page that you create. The idea is to make a habit of targeting long tail keywords for all your content to give your pages the best chance of ranking in the search engines.


I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for you to take the time to go through the Market Samurai videos so you fully understand how to use the data.

To be honest, I was completely overwhelmed when I first installed it. All the acronyms, reports and data can easily turn you off if you're not a number crunching type of person.

This article was just an overview so you can see how the software works. I also wanted to highlight what I believe are the common tasks that the average user would perform for keyword research. So I hope it was helpful to you.

I should also mention that you can use MS to monitor the keywords you currently rank for, locate keyword optimized domains, find affiliate programs related to your niche, and backlinks.

It is truly a powerful keyword research tool and one that any serious blogger/webmaster should consider using to compete in the search engine rankings today.

Download your free trial today.

Free Keyword Research Tools?

The Google Keyword Planner is Google's free keyword research tool. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of paid research software like Market Samurai or Long Tail Pro, but it can help.

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