Market Samurai Review: 3 Market Samurai Problems and What I Use Instead

[LAST UPDATED: September 12, 2023]  I think you will agree that finding the right keywords can be a daunting task without the right tools (tools like I’ll talk about in this Market Samurai Review).

It’s REALLY difficult and time consuming finding keywords that you can convert into cold hard cash.

Or, is it?

KeywordCloud example for this Market Samurai Review.

While it is very difficult to find great keyword without help, the good news is that there are several tools out there that DO help.

Using these tools correctly is the difference between a site that gets very few visitors, and a site that is a money making machine.

Market Samurai is one of those tools that can help you to turn your site a money making machine.  However, the tool does have some shortcomings.

In this Market Samurai Review, I will discuss 3 problems with Market Samurai.

Not only will I share what has led me away from Market Samurai, but I will share with you three other tools (2 are FREE) I use, how I use them, and how they have turned a two year adventure of despair, into a growing group of websites that are earning real money.

My Experiences Have Led Me Away From Market Samurai

When I first got into the internet marketing business, I learned all about the importance of keyword research.

Several different mentors that I follow pound the importance of finding quality keywords and writing articles in a way that answers questions about that keyword.

The bottom line?

The folks at Market Samurai were one of my mentors.

They not only provide a pretty decent tool for keyword research, they even provide free videos (in their dojo) that I found to be very useful.

But, in this Market Samurai review I want to talk a little about some of the pitfalls I ran into using Market Samurai.  And, some of the alternative tools that are available.

I Took the Bait (and it didn’t taste too bad at first)

I took the bait for the free trial of Market Samurai, and off I went using the video tutorials to try and find my golden keywords.

During the process, I actually grew to like Market Samurai.  So, I ponied up and spent the $70 at the time for lifetime use of the tool.  I don’t know if that’s still the price.  But, it’s been a while now, so it’s likely gone up.

I spent a lot of time learning the tool.  And, even more trying to apply the Market Samurai 4 Golden Rules.

I learned a lot.

One of the main things that Market Samurai preaches are the four Golden Rules.  The rules per Market Samurai are:

  • Relevancy
  • Traffic
  • Competition
  • Commerciality

I don’t disagree with these four rules being critical factors to keyword research.  But, when I went about applying these rules, I didn’t find the success I wanted.

In this Market Samurai Review, I’ll dig into the problem with focusing only on these rules.

3 Problems with Market Samurai

During my learning process, I found three problems with the Market Samurai tool and training.  These problems are the main reasons I don’t use Market Samurai as often as some other products I now like better:

  1. No help with picking a niche.
  2. Traffic statistics are over emphasized.
  3. Too many confusing options.

Let me explain in more detail about each of these points as I dig deeper in this Market Samurai Review.

No Help with Picking a Niche

The process of picking good keywords is explained pretty well by Market Samurai.  The videos step you through the process.  But, in this Market Samurai review, you’ll see that picking a niche is critical to your success.

And, that would be great if you already had a good niche for your website, and you just needed to find new keywords for that niche.

So, here’s the catch…

Photography and The Law

“Photography and The Law” by Rohan Kar (CC BY 2.0), via

The videos from Market Samurai kind of assume you already have a niche (photography in the training material).

The videos then use Market Samurai to find keywords for the photography niche.  But, the photography niche is just grabbed out of the air on the video.

There’s no real explanation for why that would be a good niche to begin with.

Is This A Problem?

The step of picking a niche is very important in the process of creating a great internet marketing web site.

Believe me, I created several sites before I learned this hard lesson.  Once you’ve picked a bad niche, you don’t even know it until you’ve spent many hours of time pouring your heart and soul into it.

Then, you don’t want to give up on the niche because of all the work you have put in.  So, you stick with it really hoping it will someday turn it around.

That’s not all…

The worst part is you end up sticking with a bad niche and wasting valuable time on it.  Time you could be spending on a niche that could actually make you money.

If you don’t have a good niche picked out, it will be infinitely more difficult find keywords that meet all of the Market Samurai criteria.

So, for me, when I was a newbie, I needed training in the Market Samurai materials that steps you through the process of picking a profitable niche that will be rich with great keywords.

Traffic is Over Emphasized

During my Market Samurai training, what I took from the videos was that traffic is very important.  In this Market Samurai review, we’ll dive into exactly what that means and why I (as a newbie) was confused by this.

Actually getting traffic IS very important.

However, after years of working on multiple web sites, I found that a high amount of perceived traffic makes it very difficult to rank for a keyword.

But then I learned…

Once I stopped over emphasizing expected traffic as predicted by the tool, I started to rank for keywords.  The tool pretty much get its information from Google’s Keyword Planner.

Google’s Keyword Planner provides a range of how many times a month a particular keyword is searched.  However, that absolutely does NOT mean that if you target that keyword that YOU will get that amount of search.

Why is the bad?

What I found is that if you are not ranked on the first 2 pages (top 20) for a keyword, that you really will only get a few search hits a month.  And, if you are not on the first page of Google for that keyword, you really won’t get anywhere close to the numbers the tools says the keyword provides.

Bottom line?

Once I started using lower traffic keywords, I was able to get to page 1 of Google.  And, once on page 1 of Google, I started to get impressions from Google for my target keyword AND other Long Tail keywords.

So, even though the traffic levels appear to be low, the Long Tail keywords make up for what might be perceived as low traffic if you only gauged the value of a keyword by the specific traffic level that keyword supposedly gets.

Another Secondary Keyword Problem with Market Samurai

Another problem others have identified while doing keyword research is the over emphasis of page rank over domain rank.  This video by David Viniker MD FRCOG is another Market Samurai Review that gives an explanation of the Market Samurai problem the tool has when looking at how competitive a keyword is:

Market Samurai Review: Problems identified !

It’s Just Math…  Right?

Maybe you are doing what I did early on.  When I was first learning this business, I just mentally did the math and figured traffic was critical.

I figured:

1000 Impressions/month at a 10% CTR yields
100 actual visitors where 1% click Adsense = $$
The same 100 actual visitors click affiliate links at 10% yields

10 actual affiliates visited which converts at 10% yields
1 affiliate payout of $$

With this example, with 1000 impressions per month you would get 1 Adsense click per month, and 1 affiliate payout per month.  Depending on your Adsense keyword value and affiliate products your promoting, these values may be different.

But, when ballparking your potential filthy rich future, these numbers are probably high.

Instead, let’s assume .50 cents per Adsense click.  And, .50 cents per affiliate purchase.  So, if you get both, then for 1000 visitors in one month, you earn $1 per month.

So, if you create 30 pages that each do this, you can yield maybe $30 a month.  Then, if I could do 60 pages, then I could make $60 a month.

And, so on… And, so on…

When I was doing the math I thought, if traffic is 2000 impressions per page, I can double my numbers.  Or, 4000 per page, and now we’re talking serious coin!!

But, after working to create 15 pages, I realized just how difficult and time consuming it is to create great content that ranks.  Especially if you are not a writer by trade.

I also tried paying for content.  But, I was still picking keyword the wrong way.  So, paying $20 an article for a keyword that never ranks just runs up the bills with no real returns.

The Fly in the Ointment

What most “get rich quick” folks don’t tell you is that you only get Click Through Rates anywhere close to 10% if you are in the top 3 for your keyword.

They also neglect to mention that your climb up the Google search results occurs at glacial rates.  Most of my really good keywords start showing up around 100 on the Google search results.

And, they took over ONE YEAR before getting to page 2.  And, many of them will just stall in their climb as they reach the level that Google thinks is appropriate for your page (usually that means you’re not beating the competition above you).

Google usually will give you more Impressions as you move up the rankings.

But, clicks don’t really come (at any acceptable CTR) until you get to page 2 in the Google SERPS.  And, really good percentage CTRs like 10% don’t come until you typically on page 1.

They also forget to tell you that if your keyword choice is too competitive, that you might never, ever get any where close the page 1 of the Google SERPs.  In fact, you might never make it into the top 30.

And, a Google search result that isn’t on the first page often give you very low CTR.   No where near the 10% I mention above.

How Does Market Samurai Handle This?

Market Samurai does take the last part I mention above about competition into consideration.  However, it is very difficult to find a keyword that averages 1000 Impressions a month that is NOT competitive.

It is down right impossible!

I wouldn’t be doing this Market Samurai Review justice if I didn’t mention that the folks at Market Samurai do make you think these keywords are all over the place.  They are not the only keyword experts saying this.  So, perhaps it was this way a couple of years ago and those keywords have just been gobbled up.

What I learned from a guest that Spencer had on one of his podcasts, was that if you go much lower on the average Impressions per month value, that you will rank higher for that keyword much more easily.

And, here is the trick.  If your site ranks higher and does well, Google seems to be much more agreeable to move you up the rankings for other keywords that you didn’t even know you were ranking for.  Some people call those other keywords Long Tail Keywords.

So, even though you might be targeting a keyword that only has 10 search attempts by users per month, if your article is great, it will typically have related keywords in the article.  And, you can also rank for those keywords.  So, the combination of your target keyword AND the other Long Tail keywords can easily add up to more than 1000 search queries per month.

Too Many Confusing Options

My third complaint in this Market Samurai Review about Market Samuari is one of the main reasons I don’t use Market Samurai on a regular basis.

There are too many confusion options.

MarketSamuraiOptions picture in my Market Samurai Review

Now I’m not usually one to complain about having too many options.  In fact, I almost always complain about not having enough options.  But, in this case, it just wasn’t clear how I needed to use all of these options.

Each ‘+’ you see above can open up a box that typically allow you to enter a “maximum” or “minimum” value.


I suppose it is once you become an expert.

But, I’m not sure how you are supposed to know what the minimum or maximum is supposed to be for any of these fields.

So, what ends up happening is that you don’t mess with those values because you’re not sure how to tweak them in a useful way.

VERY Important…

There is a lot more to say about Market Samurai in this Market Samurai Review.  Both good and bad.  But, a lot of the things I like and don’t like boil down to personal preference.

Like I mention above, for me, even though I paid for the full working tool, I just don’t find myself using it very often.

There are a lot of options.  So, you might find some set of options that work for you.  So, don’t let me sway you if you think you see something that would work for you.  Actually, if you find something that works, post it in the comments for everyone.  Or, just drop me an email.  I’d love to learn your secrets!

Every once in a while I go back to Market Samurai to see how the numbers and findings compare with my other tools and methods.

And, there is a lot about Market Samurai, so it makes no sense to request a refund.  It’s just that each time I use it, I find myself going back to my other tools.

What Are the Alternatives to Market Samurai?

[LAST UPDATED: November 6, 2017]

These are my current favorite alternatives to Market Samurai.

1. Long Tail Pro

Long Tail Pro just seems to be my go to tool over and over again.  I use several tools.  But, when ever I have doubts about a keyword, I always end up returning to Long Tail Pro.

Market Samurai vs Long Tail Pro

One of the reasons I return is that it also has a lot of options.  I know, that was one of my main complaints in this Market Samurai review.  But, Long Tail Pro does a better job of having options that make more sense.

For example, in Long Tail Pro, I have the option of filtering based on the number of words in the keyword.  The option is clear and concise.  And, I know how to use it without having to go to a User Guide.  And, it doesn’t have some Made Up name that has no meaning to me.

For example, I might enter a seed keyword like Best Charcoal Grill into Long Tail Pro.  All of these tools will give you a list of similar keywords that are typically associated with the seed keyword.

But, almost all of the time, one or two word keywords (or even sometimes three word keywords) are just simply too competitive.  So, to limit my competition, I can just configure how many actual words I want Long Tail Pro to show me for all of the keywords it has returned.

And, Viola!

I have a great short list to go through that usually shows me a keyword that will work great!

Here Are Some Of My Results

It typically starts with four actual words and I can then click on the Number of Words column and see the list automatically sorted by Number of Words.

I can’t tell you how many times that has either pointed me directly at a successful keyword, or pushed me away from a bad keyword.

Just to give you an idea of my improvement in selecting keywords, here is an image from a ranking tool I use that shows some of the results for keywords I’ve found using Long Tail Pro:


The column Latest shows the current ranking on Google.  I spent several years trying to get a LOT of keywords as high as page 2 for Google.

But, once I started using this method, I was able to get onto page 1.  And, in several cases the first half of page 1.  The CTR for those pages is tremendous compared to my pages that don’t show up on page one in the SERPs.

My Personnel LTP Experiences

[UPDATE] In the graphic above, I have 10 keywords on the first page.  I now have 13 on the first page using this method of keyword selection.  And, this is just one of my niche site.  I have a second niche site with 15 keywords on page 1 for Google.

[UPDATE] Now I have 14 keywords on Google page 1.

[UPDATE ] I have 15 keywords on Google page 1 for my main site.  And, now have 15 keywords on page 1 for my other site that is making a strong bid to be my main site.  I actually have 48 keyword in the top 100 (out of 58 targeted) for my 2nd site.  And, of those 58, 28 are in the top 30.

My site looked pretty much like January and February of 2016 for all of 2015 (minus the spikes).  It wasn’t until I started picking better keywords that traffic started taking off.

And, once traffic was coming from people on the first page of Google, started to get returns.  Since March sales have pretty much increased monthly.  And, September is my best month yet, and it’s not even over yet.  All of 2015 I earned maybe $5.

My site took another leap in traffic last month.  It also seems to be taking a nice angle during this time.  The keyword I found using LTP for my article that was released last month has already made it to the first page of Google.

I’m far from declaring my site a huge success.  But, now that I’m choosing better keywords, I feel that my traffic will increase each and every time I add new content.  And, that keeps me motivated!

Update Explanations

[UPDATE 9/18/2020] I’ve been away from my sites for 2 years now.  And, they have maintained traffic and have actually grown.  With the Covid-19 pandemic, my traffic has doubled.  I was actually making 4x profits.  But, then Amazon got greedy and slashed the fee rates in April.  It hit my site hard losing more than 50% of my profits.  I”m looking for alternative affiliates.  But, it seems Amazon is the big dog in this affiliate game for now.

[UPDATE] Well, my income for my site has doubled from September to November.  Now I attribute a lot of that to Black Friday and general preparation for Christmas.  But, I can still tell that the underlying “non-Christmas” purchase are continuing to grow.  I also have been modifying a 2nd site I have, and it has been growing similar to the early 4 months of this years for my site graph above.  I attribute a lot of the growth to me changing out some of my keyword on several pages that were doing poorly.  Before I figured out my formula for choosing keywords, I had already written several articles with keywords that were too competitive.  I’m now going back and re-writing those article using less competitive keywords and the site is reaping the benefits.

[UPDATE] As you can see from the graph, something is amiss with my site.  After some research, I found that I was having a performance problem.  With the holidays, I took WAY too long to figure this out.  I was kind of expecting some drops in traffic after Black Friday was over.   So, I waiting too long to investigate why things were dropping.  The performance problem was fixed towards the end of December.  So, I’m hoping we are back to the normal growth we were seeing due to great keyword research before.  I’m also hoping to put together a page that talks about my investigation into the performance issues.  I learned a lot and I think I now know a lot more about a very powerful ranking factor that Google uses.

Correction Results

[UPDATE] I’ve corrected the performance problems that were plaguing my site.  After the fixes, the downward spiral leveled off.  However, I haven’t seen the the rankings bounce completely back yet.  I’ve performed a LOT of research into why.

But, so far, I’m stumped.  I do believe that much of the spike in traffic was holiday related.  However, several of my keywords had achieved #1 before the drop.  And, while they are still on the first page, I’m a little disappointed they have dropped a few positions.  I still believe that I wouldn’t be on the first page if I hadn’t chosen great keywords.  So, it could be that other sites are just doing a little more back linking and this is pushing me down a little.

I do have to remember that no matter how great a keyword is, that other pages that somewhat target the same keyword are likely still going to do better if they have more backlinks.  As much as don’t want to do this, I’ve started to try and perform some backlink marketing to get back to the number one spots.  I used to have 6 or 7 keywords at #1.  For the last month I have about 1 to 3 keywords at #1 with the others still in the top 5 or 6.  A little disappointing.  However, the site still make over $60 for the month of January.  The good news is one of my other sites is now ranking like this one and it has about 6 or 7 keywords in the top 3 and is making up for the lost revenue.

The Tanking Has Leveled Off

[UPDATE] My keywords selection is holding steady.  I have 13 keywords out of about 45 on page 1 of Google.  My other site also has 13 keywords out of 57 on page 1.  This is with very little backlink building.  I have a few comment posts that I did before early on.  They are all nofollow links.  And, I did an Infographic campaign that resulted in about 5 backlinks.  So, I still feel confident that the success I have is due to good keyword selection using Long Tail Pro.

I am still working on a system that can provide more relevant backlinks.  I feel pretty strongly that if I can get just a few good backlinks, that all of my keywords will move together into a range that will again provide income.   For my main site with 45 keywords, 21 of them are in the top 30.  For my other main site, 39 out of 57 are in the top 100.  And, 23 are in the top 30 on Google.

Backlinks Results For Low Competition Keywords

[UPDATE] I’m starting to see signs of bottoming out since January 2017.  With my backlink campaigns starting to take shape, I’m hoping to get 2 quality backlinks a month going forward.  If I can get that number of quality backlinks, my keyword selection is good enough that I should be able to get into the money “zone” for several keywords without a lot of movement.

Finally Some Movement

[UPDATE 9/10/2017] I have been focused on backlink building for the last few months.  And, I really suck at it.  I did an Infographic campaign for each of my top two sites.  Both saw a nice upswing in rankings for each site.  However, nothing mind blowing.

I’ve been working on some scripts to help me automate my backlink building campaigns.  The progress is very slow.  I think my main problem is that I just don’t like being a spammer.  I keep telling myself that I’m providing value to my email receivers.  But, it still feels like spam.

My latest update to my scripts is to automate extracting the email from the site I find.  I read an article that made a big impact on me.  It was basically saying to try and spend no more than 60 seconds searching for the email contact.  If the site owner doesn’t want to hear from you, they won’t make it easy to find an email to use.

So, I’m going forward trying to live by this philosophy.  Only contact those that want to be contacted.  They will be the ones most likely to respond with a positive response anyway.  So, now all I’m trying to do now is to make sure that my content is worthy of a cold call contact.  And, to only contact those that would really be interested in the content I’m providing.

My updates are starting to get away from the original objective of being a Market Samurai Review.  But hopefully for those that stumble upon this page, that my experiences will be useful.

Backlink Building Beginning to Ramp Up

[UPDATE 11/6/2017] The Infographic link building campaign had moderate success.  I obtained several backlinks from Infographic sites.  However, I suspect Google has made it so they don’t help me much if any.  MOZ has these sites as having a respectable DA.  So, hopefully they don’t hurt me.

I have updated my scripts to create Broken Link campaigns.  I’ve been sending out emails.  But, so far mostly just “thanks” and no backlink.

I believe the few links I obtains via my Infographic backlink campaigns has kept my rankings level.  That and the fact that I still believe I have chosen pretty good keywords.

I’m starting to see something new over the last year.  I have SEVERAL pages that are getting huge gains in Google Impressions.  However, as the impressions go up, my CTR goes down.  I’ve had my CTR go down on several pages that are in the top 3 for their target keyword.  They have dropped from more than 10% down to less than 3% (and even down to 1.5% for a couple).  I attribute this to 2 things.

  1. Google is getting better at putting SERPs of their own at the top and getting people to click their own links before anyone else’s links.
  2. Feature snippets are starting to dominate what people click on and I’m not doing any featured snippets yet.

[UPDATE 2023] I still have 18 keywords on Google page 1.  I have 36 in the top 30 across 4 different sites.  I have been focused on writing a book over the past 2 years.  See other links on this site to access my book.  So, even though I haven’t done hardly any work on these websites, I am still ranking and earning some money from these sites.  LTP found these keywords and they have remained successful despite what I would call some significant neglect on these sites over the past 5 to 7 years.

[UPDATE September 2023]I have dropped to 15 keywords on Google page 1. This site has 35 in the top 30 across 4 sites. One of my sites has had its traffic drop to almost zero. Google hasn’t notified me of any issues with my site. This seems to happen way to often where one of my sites inexplicable acts like it has been penalized. It wouldn’t surprise me that some other competing site has linked a bunch of spam to my site. Its going to take a fair amount of investigation to see what the deal is here. It’s very disappointing how often this happens and Google doesn’t allow for feedback to help identify why the drop.

2. Google Keyword Planner

The second tool I’m going to recommend as a free alternative in this Market Samurai Review is Google’s Keyword Planner.  It is often the underlying source of data for many of the tools that are similar to Long Tail Pro and Market Samurai.

And, I often just use Keyword Planner on it’s own.

But, the in page scrolling is frustrating for me.  It is just sluggish in responsiveness.  I’m always ready to scroll and the page is still loading.

Plus, I have to click next over and over to go through all of the keywords.  That is also frustrating.

3. Google Search

The third tool I’m going to recommend in this Market Samurai Review is Google itself.  Using Google search I use the special search modifier to find out how popular a keyword is.

For example, for the keyword Best Charcoal Grill, I will open a private browser page and surf to Google’s search home page, and enter something like allintitle: best charcoal grill and press return.

As you can see from the picture below, that keyword has 7,080 other web sites that have this combination of words in their URL:


That’s a lot of websites that have my keyword in the title.  So, a lot of competition for this keyword.

I think I’ll pass!

Market Samurai Review Conclusions

We hope you found this information in our Market Samurai review useful.  And, that it gives you something different to think about in your internet marketing endeavors.

If you enjoyed our Market Samurai review, please share using your favorite social media platform!

What are your thoughts about my Market Samurai Review? Please share your experiences as all feedback is welcome. I know a lot of what I’ve provided is a matter of personal preference.  In this post you’ve heard my experiences, nothing more, nothing less… Cheers, Emily 


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