Free Affiliate Tools – Part 1 – Keyword Research

Free Affiliate ToolsSome people say there is no such thing as a free lunch but in the case of free affiliate tools I’m afraid I have to disagree. When we start out as affiliate marketing newbies (I hate the word “newbie” but never mind) we often don’t have the cash, or maybe even the confidence in our future success, to want to splash out on the most expensive tools and resources.

At the outset of your affiliate career you may be forced by necessity to learn lots of new skills. Some of these things you may prefer to outsource at a later date when you want to expand your affiliate marketing business, so why shell out huge amounts of money on tools and software that you may not ever make full use of?

Another reason to try out some free affiliate tools and resources is that the most expensive professional software is often also the most complex. For professional image editors and graphic artists, Photoshop is almost de rigueur, but for the rest of us mere mortals who just want to make a half decent logo or ad image, it is devilishly complex. A stripped down free image editing tool might well serve your needs better and may also prevent you from tearing your hair out in frustration!

I originally intended to cover several types of affiliate marketing tools in a single post, but as the post developed it was clearly going to be far too long and indigestible so I decided to break it down into a series of posts which I will publish over a period of time. Part one covers the vital area of keyword research.

Part 1 – Keyword Research

Keyword research is one of the basic essentials for most types of affiliate marketing. For article marketers it is what gets them organic search engine traffic, for PPC marketers it helps them to get the best return from their campaigns. Either way, we are unlikely to succeed without it.

Whilst I do most of my keyword research using James Jones’ excellent Micro Niche Finder I cut my teeth on Google’s AdWords free keyword tool and this will give you plenty of scope to get started. The Google keyword tool allows you to enter one or more keywords and returns the estimated competition and monthly local and global searches for that keyword or keyphrase. It also supplies a list of other associated keywords and phrases for you to consider.

Adwords Keyword Tool

The sceengrab above gives a sample of the results for the keyphrase “affiliate marketing”. It tells me there were 60,500 searches for that term in my local internet region last month and 365,000 searches globally. The green graphic bar also shows me that there was a high amount of advertiser competition for that keyphrase. No kidding! – perhaps I’ll give that keyphrase a miss then.

The Google search engine in itself is also one of the most valuable free keyword research tools. Try out your keyphrases, see how many results they generate, what type of sites are on the first page – can you successfully outcompete them? – are many paid ads returned? – this gives you an idea of whether there is a potential return in your chosen niche. All useful, some might say essential, info gained from a quick free search in Google.

Google Screen Grab

In this screengrab you can see that the keyphrase “affiliate marketing” generated 44,800,000 results. That’s a lot of stuff I’ve got to beat to get onto page one. To make it worse, all the page one results are for big .com and sites (we’ll look at that further in a second), if I wanted to compete for a natural search engine place on page one or two, I would ideally be looking for a few results from smaller sites and article sites such as eHow and Squidoo. I might have more chance of outcompeting these.

Finally I’d like to look at Google Toolbar which is again free, and easily installed into your browser. It offers a variety of little tools and widgets, but the one of most importance to the affiliate marketer is the Google Page Rank Display. This give a number ranging from zero to ten of the importance which Google places on the website you are viewing. This has a major bearing on what results Google returns for any search term, and consequently on your chances of outcompeting that site in the search results.

Google Tool Bar

The first four results returned by Google for “affiliate marketing” were a PR6 a PR5 and two PR4 websites. See the small green graph in the centre of the screengrab? That tells me is a PR5 and is going to be tough competition for me.

So there you have it, this wasn’t intended to be a lesson on finding the best keywords or search engine optimisation, rather it was to help affiliate marketing newbies become aware of the wealth of free affiliate tools that are available. I hope you have found something useful in this post if you are just embarking on your affiliate marketing career, if so please look in again or subscribe to my RSS feed as I will be continuing this series of posts with an article on free image editing applications.

If you are already a bit further down the line in your affiliate career and have your own free keyword research tools that you found useful when you started out, please leave a comment and let us know.

Free Affiliate Tools Series

Free Affiliate Tools Part 2 – Image Editing

Free Affiliate Tools Part 3 – Web Space

Free Affiliate Tools Part 4 – Traffic and Statistics

Free Affiliate Tools Part 5 – HTML and-FTP Resources

Free Affiliate Tools Part 6 – Reports and Guides

17 thoughts on “Free Affiliate Tools – Part 1 – Keyword Research

  1. I totally agree – you really can get by with these free tools and they are excellent. I try to say this to people in forums who are worried about spending too much money. Honestly I love using Micro Niche Finder, but it generally speeds up what you can do for free with Google searches and the keyword research tool.
    .-= Ruth – Web Career Girl´s last blog ..Can You See the Bigger Picture? How Your Effort Will Pay Off In the Long Term =-.

  2. Hi Ruth,
    yes I’d hate to be without Micro Niche Finder as it really helps speed up keyword research and helps in organising the results. I also prefer the competition analysis in MNF. But you can’t escape the fact that you can do pretty much all of this with free tools.

  3. Thank you! I would now go on this blog every day!

  4. I have used both SEOBook, WordTracker, and SpyFu. All 3 have their own FREE version that anyone can use and are very helpful.

    I always seem to come back to Google’s Free tools in the end though!
    .-= John´s last blog ..The $5 Mini-Site Formula Review =-.

    • Thanks for those additional suggestions John. It is also worth mentioning that it is often worth cross referencing your results between different tools, so it is useful to have a few that you are familiar with.

  5. Thanks for talking about the Google page rank display on the Google toolbar. I didn’t have it, but clicked on the “plus” image, which displayed the option of “Add buttons to your Google toolbar”. Did a search for “google page rank” and added a couple of buttons. Sweet!

    As for the Google Keyword Tool, I wrote a post regarding how to use it a little while back. I need to add an archive link soon.
    .-= Moon Hussain´s last blog ..eHow Report #3: Proof That Passive Income Exists =-.

  6. So true! Learning how to research keywords is the most basic fundamental in internet/affiliate marketing … and learning it by using the free tools available ultimately gives you a better understanding of the process.

    I now use Market Samurai which saves me oodles and oodles of time and gives me additional features as well.

    best ………..valentina
    .-= Valentina´s last blog ..Affiliate Marketing: Establishing a Control =-.

    • Hello again Valentina.
      Also, by cutting your teeth in keyword research using free products, when you do come to invest in more advanced tools you will at least understand the features and what you are getting for your money.

      Thanks for dropping by,

  7. Yusef…

    Gotta say, mighty fine article…

  8. Great resources indeed! I truly believe that when you’re first starting out, using free methods to just about everything is the way to go until you can invest in tools (like Micro Niche Finder) that help automate the process.
    .-= Flippa Chick´s last blog ..How to Properly Choose a Domain Name for Your Niche Website =-.

    • I agree, there is so much good free stuff available. In this series of articles, the one that causes the most discussion is whether it is worth starting out using the free blogging services or to get your own web space right away.

      Personally, I don’t see a problem with getting started on Blogger, so long as you get your own space as soon as you can.

      Thanks for dropping by,

  9. Mr Sparkle…

    Superb article, great writing style, content, and blog theme….

  10. The Record…

    I think you write superbly, wish I could write this well. Thanks….

  11. Layer…

    I have to agree with this post, well said….

  12. Twizzle…

    Excellent content, great read…

  13. Evenlope…

    Superb post, 10 out of 10 from me…

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