Snipe Your Way To More Money :: Keyword Sniping

by derek on July 9, 2008 · 39 comments

The Interweb is a strange, yet wonderful, beast that can take us to places we never anticipated. Today I had just such an experience and wanted to share my findings with all of you.
Lately there have been a handful of blogs that I read that have rolled out updated WordPress themes. With the decrease in traffic, not to mention the drop in earnings, I’ve been thinking it might be a good time to update the theme on my personal finance blog. While the customized MistyLook theme still works well, it is rather dated and might freshen things up.
After browsing through a variety of WordPress theme directories, I opted to peruse what my fellow finance bloggers were using on their sites. From site to site I bounced, evaluating their themes and taking notes on what I liked or didn’t like with each theme.
As I was browsing one of the sites, I came across a post titled Anatomy of an Optimized WordPress Blog that caught my eye.
Stopping to read the article, I had no idea the hours of clicking and reading that would ensue.
It all started so innocently enough, I was just looking at themes after all.
But the link to Courtney Tuttle’s article on keyword sniping caused my mind to begin churning the possibilities.
Could this be a way to restore some of my lost earnings?
Would it work?
Reading through Court’s article left me with sweaty palms and that queasy feeling in my stomach caused by the anticipation of something exciting. The article, as well as the 334 comments (which I did read) left me wanting more. One of the comments directed me to an experiment in keyword sniping that made me consider the possibilities a little more closely.
With the ideas racing through my head, I decided to sit down and follow the first few recommendations from Court’s article related to finding the right search keywords. Court suggests the following tips when selecting your keywords to target:

  • There are 200+ searches per day for said keyword.
  • There are less than 1,000,000 competing pages.
  • There is some level of value to an advertiser.

For this initial research, I navigated over to the free version of WordTracker and started entering keywords, looking for words that had more than 200 searches per day.
As I found keywords that sounded interesting, I would jump over to Google to get a feel for how much competition there might be. You can do this by searching in Google with quotes around the keyword.
At this point I began compiling a list of keywords that were of interest to me that also fit the criteria provided in Court’s article – well, at least the first two criteria. With a growing list of keywords, I jumped over to Aaron Wall’s SEO Book Keyword Suggestion Tool to confirm my initial findings.
From Aaron’s tool, I also checked out the results on the Google AdWords Traffic Estimator to get a feeling for the value of the ad clicks associated with these keywords. With the goal of keyword sniping being to secure the top spot in the search rankings, you can get a ballpark idea of the earning potential based on what people are spending for CPC ads on those keywords.
Are you excited about the possibilities that keyword sniping might offer?
I know that I am.
Based on Court’s article (which I highly recommend you read), you want to create a site that is optimized for one or two keywords that you then market and monetize. In most cases, bloggers tend to optimize a post or page for a keyword but not the entire site. By targeting the entire site, which doesn’t necessarily have to be regularly updated, you will improve your ability to rank more competitively for the keyword.
Depending on the keywords that you target, you might want to monetize with AdSense or it might be something that lends itself to affiliate links. This is where the third suggestion above comes into play, as you want a keyword that has some sort of value.
Maybe an example might help get you going.
Navigating over to the WordTracker tool, I enter the keyword “derek” and see that there are 21,438 searches per day. The first result is “derek jeter” with 4,354 searches per day. Unfortunately, Google indicates that there are over 4,000,000 sites competing for that keyword. That is no good as it will be much more difficult to climb over that many sites.
Moving down the list, we see “derek hough” with 2,425 daily searches. Checking out the competition on Google shows that there are 157,000 competing sites. So the first two suggestions are satisfied: 200+ daily searches and less than 1,000,000 competing pages.
Now the question is whether or not there is any value for this keyword.
Not knowing who Derek Hough was, I clicked through a few of the search results and discovered that he is a dancer that was on Dancing With the Stars. That might lead to some monetization possibilities, but you might be better served with a more marketable keyword.
Obviously selecting an appropriate keyword could make or break your ability to use keyword sniping to make money. As I mentioned, I’ve got a list of keywords that I believe have some potential for this type of effort and there is one way to find out.
While I continue with my research, I would love to hear your thoughts on this approach and whether or not you believe it can work. One thing is certain, as I experiment with this approach I will be sure to share my results with all of you.

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelvin Kao@Puppet Kaos July 10, 2008 at 12:13 am

Yeah, I’ve heard about keyword sniping, and while I think it’s an interesting idea, I never bothered to really look into it in detail. But I just might do that now that you hyped it up so much. 😉
Kelvin Kaos last blog post..Editing Trick: How to Make an Object Hover (Garbage Matte)


derek July 10, 2008 at 12:41 am

Lol! It isn’t a new concept by any means but I too never really considered it until reading everything today. We’ll see how it goes.


Larry @ Commercial Lighting July 10, 2008 at 6:43 am

I have been doing keyword sniping for my e-commerce sites. I look for a product this gets searched regularly, doesnt have much competition online, is easily shippable and can be sourced cheaply from china or india. Thats my little money making formula.


Ling@Uptake July 10, 2008 at 6:52 am

Wish you luck. I tend to focus more on content than optimization, but I’ll give you one free tip, which works for me. Use names inside your content. As an example, you can optimize a page for ‘hybrid cars’, but if you include ‘Prius’ inside the page, that’ll be an additional, and related keyword. Plus, it adds on into combo keywords, like hybrid prius, prius car, and so on. Best way to do it is to select a top level generic keyword, and then make a list of related names and places, etc. (things which are specific), and then use all that inside the post.


Jake July 10, 2008 at 10:24 am

This is a fantastic tip.
Jakes last blog post..Debt Consolidation Programs


Nicole Price July 10, 2008 at 7:52 am

Court’s sniping advise has been doing the rounds for quite some time and there have been mixed reactions to it. The problem is to find the key words to every post! In theory, it certainly makes sense to follow the advise, but in practice, it is difficult.
Nicole Prices last blog post..Hair Care Products: Discounts and Deals


Nicole Price July 10, 2008 at 7:59 am
Stephan Miller July 10, 2008 at 8:38 am

My problem is not taking my posts down to this level of detail at times. I know from running an ecommerce site at my day job that this type of slow, detailed keyword research pays off immensely. It’s just when I start working on my own sites that I lose patience and want to get things done fast. I am making it a rule to start paying more attention to keyword research. Great post.
Stephan Millers last blog post..The Magic Russian Website Submitter


Jake July 10, 2008 at 10:22 am

I make over 80% of my income on some keywords that I found a couple of years ago. I dedicated some sites to these words and they have been amazing!
Jakes last blog post..Debt Consolidation Programs


mia July 10, 2008 at 10:24 am

A very interesting article and nice tips. Thank you for sharring your ideas with us. I like to read here 🙂


Andrea July 10, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Good reading! 🙂
I learn so much from you. You are like my Obi Won Kenobi, except I wont turn against you, wear all black and get all dark or anything like that.


Nick@romandock dot com July 10, 2008 at 1:46 pm

Wow! I am going to have to re-read this post later and actually click through to some of these other sites and posts! It will probably be sometime next week before I get a chance though because I’ve been dedicating all my time to a new site that I am going to be launching and haven’t even been updating my existing site.
Nicks last blog post..Sunday Snapshots – 006


Eva White July 10, 2008 at 9:03 pm

I knew keywords were important, who doesn’t, but this particular brand of keyword sniping is something that I have yet to try for the full site. I should maybe give it a go as well.
Eva Whites last blog post..Herbal Viagra – A New Discovery


Luggage Replacement Parts July 10, 2008 at 10:29 pm

Great article. I am currently working on a few keyword sniping sites and hopefully they pan out to my expectations.


Bryan Clark - Site Flipping U July 11, 2008 at 12:09 am

I remember running across a couple of posts on keyword sniping on Courtney Tuttle’s blog a while back. It definitely got me excited, and I even went out and bought a yearly subscription to Wordtracker because of it.
I’m going to have to go back and re-read those articles! Thanks for the great information. 🙂


Garage Floor Paint July 11, 2008 at 2:18 am

I have been following Court’s KW Sniping method for quite some time now and have seen the results with the steps he provides on his website. Like with anything else, you need to be focused, determined and most of all, patient because success doesn’t happen overnight. I have well over 30 KW sniping sites and have seen more than a handful of them reach the first page of Google within 3 months.
Garage Floor Paints last blog post..Garage Floor Paint Mats


Jimmy Choo July 11, 2008 at 3:55 pm

Thank you for the link to the anatomy of an optimized site page, there is good stuff there. Keyword sniping is interesting but hard to do – good ideas though.
Jimmy Choos last blog post..Swarovski


Mike - Best Metal Detectors July 11, 2008 at 5:10 pm

I’ve read Courtneys blog, and it all makes perfect sense, but now I finally have to apply the lesson.
I have had some blogs in the past unrelated to my site, but I think I can dominate the niche if I just follow through and really go after my main keyword phrase.
What really has me scratching my head is looking at some of my competitors sites and the lack of all of the things that the “Big G” wants in a quality site, yet they still have first or second page position for my target phrase.
We’ll see how this strategy works.


pauletet July 12, 2008 at 10:08 am

Thanks for the info.


Jaxson@Tool Belts July 13, 2008 at 11:08 pm

I think it is a great idea, I will be trying it out this week.


mark July 14, 2008 at 9:57 pm

Cool stuff. I’d like to see a site that offers up pre-qualified (in this way) keywords/phrases for me to choose from. 🙂
marks last blog post..Hey baby…whatchadoin’?


derek July 14, 2008 at 10:20 pm

Are you referring to sites that are already built for pre-qualified keywords or just a listing of the keywords that satisfy the above criteria?


Abdominoplasty New Jersey July 14, 2008 at 10:13 pm

Great post, you have gotten me excited about the possibility of keyword sniping.


Kathryn July 15, 2008 at 12:23 pm

Ouch, my entire site is based on a keyword that averages about 100 searches a day. I knew when I started a machine knitting blog that I was pursuing a niche within a niche.
The good news is there are only a few bloggers in my niche vs literally thousands of hand knitters. I’m already ranking well in Google even though I’ve only been on Wordpress for two months. My previous platform, iWeb, was horrible for SEO. I’ve gone from 5 uniques a day to 50+. My goal is to reach 2500 a day.
In the future I’ll have to try and branch out keyword wise without abandoning my targeted knitters.
Kathryns last blog post..What Is A Knitting Machine Sponge Bar And Where Is It Located?


Steve@Free iPods July 15, 2008 at 4:47 pm

I;m in a similar boat Kathryn, my two main sites are based on just a handful of keywords. Admittedly, there is not much depth to them (the sites) but I am not expecting visitors to stay too long!


Steve@Free iPods July 15, 2008 at 4:49 pm

Sorry, forget to ask, was the site down last night Derek, couldn’t access it for love nor money.


derek July 15, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Yeah, unfortunately there was a network switch in the data center that was acting up and needed a reboot. Sorry about the inconvenience.


andrew August 20, 2008 at 5:31 am

A very good article. Thanks for sharing the info.
andrews last blog post..Gadget Review Site


BigMick@Domain Names January 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Thanks Derek. If I wasn’t already busy enough.
Now I have more sites to create. Sheesh.


olly@cheap computer parts January 22, 2009 at 3:14 am

This is an interesting technique that could well work.
I guess trial and error will prove if this technique could work for your own individual sites – assuming you have the time to do the research!


Matthew credits February 25, 2009 at 1:59 pm

An eye catching article. if this really work it would be a great help to increase your earnings. Good luck and thanks for the information.


Matthew the v8 supercar driver March 14, 2009 at 7:24 pm

The article you’ve just did was so nice and very interesting. It gave me more idea on keyword sniping which I’m now trying over the past weekends. Hope it would help me a lot to earn more money from here.


Brian H. February 15, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Derek, I checked out wordtracker but I typed in words and saw the number of searches. I clicked on the ? and read that that number under “searches” was for the past 365 days not daily. How do I find out how many daily searches a term has? Thanks.
.-= Brian H. hopes you will read… December 2009 News =-.


derek February 23, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Brian, it has been quite some time since I have looked at this but taking a look at the WordTracker site now it does appear that those results are over the last 365 days and not daily.
Here is another tool that you can use to get an idea of high volume keywords:


Kamagra February 22, 2010 at 4:58 am

On Brain H. Do you prefer wordtracker. Well how about the google adwords tool.


Brian H. February 22, 2010 at 10:14 am

I did find adword checker and that was a bit helpful. Thanks for asking.
.-= Brian H. hopes you will read… Cubbie News Bites (Feb 21) =-.


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