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I have a Super Mario Bros website and business, Mario Planet, and I am looking for a target keyword for generating traffic - and therefore revenue - to the site.

Using the Google Keyword Suggestion Tool (quite a mouthful!), I found that the keyword mario generates:

Global Monthly Searches: 68,000,000
Local Monthly Searches: 7,480,000

That's quite amazing.

Now, to my intense surprise, the competition - as indicated by Google's little bar graphic - is very low!

I'm surprised about this, unsettled even.

Now, I think I have to optimize for this keyword, just because, I would assume - out of that many people - that a percentage will be willing to purchase toys.

And since the competition is so low, I doubt it would take a while to optimize for it.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!

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3 Answers 3

Google's Keyword Suggestion tool is designed for AdWords research. It can be used for SEO as many of the same keyword stats are relevant to both, but there are some differences. In particular, the competitiveness level for a particular keyword in GKST is simply a measurement of how many advertisers are bidding on each keyword. This might correlate with how many sites are targeting that keyword, but not necessarily.

Having a low competition rating in the Keyword Suggestion Tool also doesn't mean that the top-ranking pages for the keyword are easy to compete with SEO-wise. That's why most people use specialized tools for competitive research that specifically measure how competitive a keyword is for search, not for AdWords.

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Thanks for the clarification there! I didn't know that. Makes sense though. So, can you recommend any specific specialized tools to use for better research? Also, what do you think about bidding on this keyword with AdWords now that you mention it? –  Qcom Dec 17 '10 at 2:30
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@user3943 - If you want to bid on the term, be sure you're bidding on the exact term. I doubt many people searching "Mario Puzo" or "Mario Batali" are going to be qualified leads for your site... more specific phrases like "mario games" or "mario world" would probably be better-suited to your goal. –  danlefree Dec 17 '10 at 3:01
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Everything Lese Majeste said is right on.

Also, SEOMoz has fairly good tools to tell how many sites you are competing with for a given keyword but it can get expensive.

The reason why there is little competition for Mario is exactly because it is unclear what the user is searching for. Are the looking for Mario Kart, Mario Puzo, Mario Batali, or one of a hundred other famous Mario's. Few people are willing to spend ad money on poor conversion rates.

I have found it to be best to optimized for narrow but less competitive words and broad but specific words. The former is your long tail searches and the latter is your core market searches.

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You'll find that optimizing for long-tail keywords improve your aggregate ranking for the broader terms that they derive from.

To stay practical about SEO, realize that ranking high for longer-tail keywords will produce faster and more-or-less measurable results. The longer the phrase you target, the better idea you have of what exactly the searcher wants and the better you can answer their needs, as well. The broader a keyword gets, the more long-term variables come into play as you'll notice the top 3 rankings of most broad searches are "entrenched" websites that have been around for a while.

For example, I started targeting "role playing forum", "role playing games forum", "rpg forum", and other similar keywords a few years ago. Now I'm on the first page for words like "roleplay".

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