As a blogger and copywriter I often have to do some research online collecting materials and information for my article or link bait. To be honest, I enjoy the process. For the years online (and while still studying), I have fine-tuned the process to be able to both find as much information as needed and do it fast and efficiently.
Here is the exact way I am doing that:
1. Get Focused
The first thing to do is to collect some basic info on the subject that would work as foundation to my further research. Here are the steps I usually take at this stage:
- Find definitions (Google's DEFINE: operator usually does a good job here);
- Scan through top 10 - 20 results in Google for the base term;
- While scanning, keep brief notes (open the .txt or .doc file and drop some basic info there: names, dates, numbers, major opinions, quotes, etc).
The most important part here is to save all the essential information using as few words as possible.
Once this initial step is completed, I usually have a "tree" of the basic information.
Here's an example of this "notes tree" I have done while doing research on "Online Shopping Behavior by Gender":
Now I can "grow" that tree expanding my search tools as well as the keyword range.
2. Expand The Keywords
For more results I need to vary the keyword phrase I am using: start experimenting with various synonyms and ways to express the similar concept / idea.
Besides using my brain, I take advantage of traditional (and not only) keyword research tools and other various ways to expand my search:
- Google's "Related searches";
- Google's "Wonder Wheel" (as well as other keyword research tools provided by Google);
- Online dictionaries and thesaurus sources;
- Any of the free keyword research tools from the list.
3. Expand the Search Tools and Sources
Now that I have created the list of all possible keywords and phrases to use, I can vary tools and sources to use in my search:
- Use Google's "Time" search;
- Use online glossaries and dictionaries
- Use Twitter search;
Tip: If you are doing research and using Twitter search, you may be up to useful resources on the topic. Get Twitter search results include tweeted links by using [filter:links] operator.
- Use social search aggregators like Social Mention (with plenty of filters inside, like Blog search, social network search, Q&A site search, etc)
4. Putting It All Together
With my keyword and source choice being expanded, I don't forget to grow my "tree" of notes as well. Here are my rules of thumb:
- Get really focused at the beginning of the research - this will save my time by letting me both get an idea of the subject matter and keep from going through unnecessary details;
- Expand moderately: the key is not to find as many related keywords and alternative sources as I can - the key is to move in the right direction researching the topic.
- When saving my info, use as few words as I can: my notes are to be used to save details, to create the content I am going to use my own brain (this way I will end up with the totally unique content).
Do you use any tricks when conducting online research? Please share them!
6 thoughts on “How to Do Online Research in 3 Easy Steps”
Hi..thanks for you great tips. I’ve been online for 2 years now and still learning how to conduct research especially before deciding into which niche I want to
jump into. Google Wheel is something new to me. So I’ll do some research for this tool. Thanks again!
.-= Dos hanif recently posted: 5 Real Secrets For Your Own Internet Business Success That You Must Follow To Avoid Failures =-.
My problem is not necessarily the research, it’s more the SEO part. It’s just so tedious and it almost puts the breaks on all that exciting, fast research.
Thanks for the article…you’ve given me new approaches to the way I currently research material. For instance, I never remember to see what the wonder wheel might give me for additional ideas.
I am totally agree with your three steps of online research.Thanks for Telling me that i am on the right track.
Wow ! Thanks for sharing the tips. I will follow your steps.
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