Researching Profitable Keywords

Gain market advantage by using the search terms buyers use.

by Janelle Elms
- Oct 06, 2008

In my last article, we determined what buyers want to buy, and even where to start sourcing these in-demand products. Now you have your products, but how can your customers find them? Whether on eBay, your own Web site or Google, your buyer will usually type into a search box what they are looking for. It doesn't matter what you call your product, it only matters what the people with money call it.

Researching profitable keywords is crucial to speaking the same language as your targeted ideal customer we spoke about before. Knowing what words they are using in their online search will give you an advantage over your competition.

So how do you find the words in your buyer's vocabulary? Let's start with the basics. Here is a typical eBay title: Starbucks coffee cup.

Here is the same title after doing a completed listings search for profitable keywords: Starbucks Seattle coffee collectors cup mug 16 oz NEW.

TIP: Remember to use all 55 characters of your eBay title and fill it with "profitable keywords." This is your most valuable real estate on eBay. Your eBay listing title does not have to make sense; it only needs to contain the keywords that your buyers are using to find that product. We will discuss this in more depth in my next article.

Now, let's take a look at some of the best places to find the keywords that will increase your profits.

eBay completed listings: After you do a search on eBay, scroll down the left side and click "completed listings" to pull up the last 15 days of listings based upon your word search. Then at the top, use the pull down menu to reorder search results from highest priced to lowest (You only want to see what the people who are making money are doing). Now look at the titles of all of the successful completed listings (they are in green). Are there words in there that you didn't think to use? Different spellings? Sizes? Acronyms? This is the start of finding your profitable keywords.

eBay Pulse ( We talked about this eBay site in my previous article having to do with finding hot niches and trends that buyers are searching for. But you can also use the Popular Searches function with the Categories pull-down menu to locate the words your buyers are using for your products. For example: Let's say you have decided to go into selling music CDs online. After pulling up the Music category, you notice that in the top-searched words there is one that says MFSL. Well as an expert on music you know that stands for Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, but had no idea it was that important to your buyers. Now you can include those four important characters in the title of your listing, grabbing even more buyers' attention in the search.

Terapeak ( This powerful tool does many things, as mentioned in previous articles. One of our favorites for locating profitable keywords is the Title Builder tool. You can see it in action at This tool allows you to type in your initial keyword, i.e., Starbucks, and then the Title Builder will show you a list of additional popular keywords that usually go along with that word, as well as the average price for auctions with those keywords in them. When we type in "Starbucks" we receive an average auction price of $19.39. Then we add the word "coffee" to "Starbucks," and our average auction price changes to $16.06. When we start adding in all of our keywords—Starbucks coffee cup mug 16 oz—we are now up to $24.74. This tool isn't exact science, but it does give you a great visual of how important the right keywords are to being profitable in your online business.

Companies like Keyword Discovery and Wordtracker allow you to delve into your buyer's niche vocabulary and discover words that allow you to expand your list of keywords

Terapeak has another great tool called Hot Research. It includes Hot Categories, Media, Searches, Products and Titles. All of these will benefit your profitable keyword search, but Hot Searches and Hot Titles will be the most powerful in creating your keyword list. Currently you can view the top 981 keywords searched for on eBay, and you can view more than 14,000 Hot Titles including their bids, sell-through rates, and total sales.

Google Suggest ( This fun keyword tool is still under the Google Lab heading—basically they are still playing around with it behind the scenes but are willing to share with you what they have so far. You type a keyword into the familiar Google search box, and then Google shows you additional keywords having to do with what you are searching for, and the number of results for that word/phrase. For example; you type in Italy and Google Suggest also shows you "holiday," "tours," "trains," "travel" and more. Off to the right of each additional keyword is the number of results on Google for that additional keyword/phrase.

Google Adwords ( At this time you may not be ready to run a full Adwords campaign, but Google still allows you to create a free account and use its Keyword Tool. This will provide you with an extensive list of keywords based upon an initial keyword or phrase that you enter into search. For example, by entering "Gas Scooter" into the search box, you will be shown a large list of keywords associated with gas scooters, such as motor scooter, gas powered scooter, cheap gas scooter, etc. Google also tells you how much competition there is from other advertisers for that word, the average number of searches for that term by the previous month and annually, synonyms and negative versions of that word/phrase and more.

My favorite tip: Don't reinvent the wheel for your keywords. Simply go to Google, find the top five to 10 sites for your main keyword/category. Go back to Google Adwords and type those URLs into the "Web site content" portion of this powerful tool. Up will come a list of associated keywords having to do with the content on those sites!

What we have talked about in this article are some basic keyword tools you can use in building your profitable keywords for your online business—and most are free or low-cost. There are more powerful tools to go even deeper in your profitable keyword search. Companies like Keyword Discovery and Wordtracker allow you to delve into your buyer's niche vocabulary and discover words that allow you to expand your list of keywords. This in-depth list will then be used for your online SEO/marketing plan for your eBay Store, blog, Squidoo pages, Web site, Google Adwords campaign and more.

At the OSI Success Library, we have just completed an in-depth, step-by-step, four-hour training CD that walks you through these steps and more on finding the Profitable Keywords that your customers are using.

About the Author

Janelle Elms is a best-selling author, inspiring educator and Visionaire of the OSI Rock Stars. You can hear her on wsRadio every Wednesday on Ask Janelle Radio. Learn the success information you need to grow your business at For step-by-step training on how to set up an eBay Store for maximum exposure and profit, visit One Percent Coach.

Opinions expressed here may not be shared by Auctiva Corp. and/or its principals.

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