How to Build Massive Keyword Lists

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Mon, Oct 11 - 12:59 am EDT | 14 years ago by
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As keyword marketing becomes more and more expensive and competitive, it has become essential when building your lists to focus on the maximum number of phrases and their variations that a surfer might enter into the search engines.


Because according to Amit Singhal, principal scientist at Google, a guy who really should know what he’s talking about, over 50% of the 200 million searches performed a day have never been searched before. He also said: “When performing a search most surfers give a 2-4 word query.”

So here are my top 18 recommended ways to build massive keyword lists:

1. Visit your competitor’s web pages and look in the title and meta tags.

2. Search for brand names in Google’s Sandbox. This will return additional keywords that searchers entered when using the brand name. You can also enter regular keyword phrases and get related keyword phrases that have been searched on Google.

3. Look over your past customer testimonials, and see if there are any keywords you can use. This strategy lets you get inside your customer’s mind to produce more market centric keywords.

4. Consider synonyms. A synonym is a word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another word or other words in the language. Enter your keywords into Roget’s Thesaurus for a list of related synonyms. Also visit LexFN.

5. Think of singular and plurals keywords.

6. What about verbs? Example: Ride, rode, ridden, ridding, rides.

7. Use hyphenation and variations. Example: off-shore, offshore, off shore

8. Consider domain names. Many people enter domain names into the search engines rather than their browser address bar. Example: In July 2004 was searched 633677 times on Overture.

9. Get books on your subject and use the terms in the index and glossaries to grow your keyword lists.

10. Download a free copy of Weblog Expert Lite. Then ask your web host how to download your raw stats files. Run them through the software and you will then discover every possible keyword combination that surfers have used to find your website. This can also be accomplished with many of the tracking packages that come with your hosting account.

11. Use Wordtracker. What does Wordtracker do? “helps you find all keyword combinations that bear any relation to your business or service – many of which you might never have considered.” Wordtracker is an essential tool to use.

12. Then go to the Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool. Enter in a keyword and Overture returns all the prior month’s searches that include your phrase. The problem with the Overture tool is that it doesn’t give you the exact way that the search was entered. This is why it is essential to use a tool like Keyword Tumbler (see # 18) to generate the maximum possible number of keyword combinations that a user might enter a search phrase into the engines.

13. Use abbreviations and misspellings. A good misspelling tool is Search Spell. Search Spell uses actual misspellings entered into the search engines.

14. Use acronyms. An acronym is a word formed from the initial letters of a name. Example: due diligence becomes DD. A good acronym generator is Acronym Finder.

15. Combine your keyword phrase into one word. Example: strawbale houses => strawbalehouses.

16. Use “space” and “+” with keywords.


  • strawbale+houses
  • strawbale +houses

17. Visit Crossword Compiler and download their demo software. Plug in your keywords and discover a multitude of additional words.

18. Once you have your list compiled visit Keyword Tumbler and download the free software. Put your keywords into a text file and then let Keyword Tumbler generate multiple variations of each keyword phrase you have – instantly!

It does this simply by mixing the words in each phrase around. Example: “horses for sale” generates a list like this…

  • horses for sale
  • horses sale for
  • for horses sale
  • for sale horses
  • sale horses for
  • sale for horses

As Perry Marshall, author of the Definitive Guide to Google AdWords said at a recent seminar: “Every combination of keywords that somebody could conceivably type in on Google is a market.”

I hope you have found this advice useful? It’s the exact same procedure I use everyday when fighting the pay-per-click wars.

Rob Taylor has been marketing online since 1996. He’s sold anything from books, debit cards, security products to art prints.

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  • Bryan

    WOW. thanks Paul. Great information and great advice.

  • huphtur

    Over the years, various meta tags have come in and gone out of favor with search engines. One of those which has lost its value is the “keywords”� meta tag. Most search engines say they don’t look at it anymore but if you have time to create one, go ahead and do so. It doesn’t hurt.

    The only meta tag that all search engines presently acknowledge is the “description” meta tag. Once again, this tag should be unique to each page and match the content on the page itself.


  • Scrivs

    You are right huphtur, but I think this article works best when applied to finding keywords for text ads such as Google Adwords. This is when you need to know what keywords people are searching for so that your ads become successful.

  • M

    whats the point in finding a huge list of keywords if most of them wont generate any clicks for months? surely its more efficient to build up, track and otherwise manage a smaller list that performs well.

    we currently have 2500 we manage organically and in adwords – and if that was to be a few times its size (which it would be if we use all your ‘tips’) we wouldnt be able to manage them all – including the ones that are performing the best, its just an inefficient way to do things.

    the best way to research keywords are to find out which ones will actually bring you traffic. paying for clicks is all about getting the most volume for your money and not bothering with the smaller keywords that bring in one or two clicks – its absolutely pointless.

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  • DevelopAll

    Interesting suggetions – thank you; Despite the broadness of the online ads trend – keeping tab on the possible interest and/or thinking of the visitor may add a competitive advantage over others. I have tried to add a large number of relative keywords in the past – unfortunatelly, google has put many either on hold or even disabled for whatever reason. I will use the above mentioned tools to give it another try. Thanks again for putting it together.

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