The niche you choose will have a big impact on the profitability of your website. More importantly the keywords you intend to rank in your chosen niche will be critical to your return of investment (ROI).
While niche/keyword research is more of an art than an exact science, here’s a practical guide for you if you don’t want to spend anything at all for your niche research.
Without further ado let’s start:
Starting with a Niche Idea
For the sake of this exercise though, I’ll use Google Product Search and see if we can find a profitable niche. The product bassinet catches my attention:
And I look it up to see if it’s something worth buying.
It’s a product for babies. Looks good, an evergreen niche, but now these questions linger, will I be able to find an opportunity within this niche? Is this profitable at all?
Drill Down with the Google Keywords Tool
Time to investigate further. I login to the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Always login to the adwords account because the external tool will only display a limited set of keywords if not authenticated. Just create an adwords account if you don’t have one yet, it’s free. I type in “bassinet” without the quotes and make sure the following are set:
Country should be set preferably to US and the language should be set to English. I’m using the following setting because my target audience are folks from the US. To limit my search I indicate that I only want results with the word bassinet in it:
Also I want to limit the results to only include keywords that has at least a thousand local searches per month. Anything less than that would be difficult to monetize because of the minute amount of traffic being generated. Do note that this is just the general rule and is NOT ABSOLUTE, there are “buying” keywords that have very little traffic but has a high conversion ratio.
From where I’m looking at, I’m getting 104 results with local search volumes ranging from 1,000 to 18,100 per month. I pick out one keyword arbitrarily “rocking bassinet” for the following factors: It has a good amount of traffic volume, the competition is just above middle and the search average is stable (pretty much the same month after month). Again, this is just a calculated guess and is not absolute.
Let’s See if this Keyword Makes Money
Now at this point, we’d like to know if we are going to make anything if we rank for this keyword on the first page or better yet on the very top of the results. First off, let’s check at SpyFu.com if anyone’s bidding at the term:
Looks good, if anybody’s paying for a keyword and at the $2 range, it’s a good indication that this keyword is profitable. Now what we need to do next is to find out if this is a buying keyword (people searching it has an intent to buy). Let’s head over to Microsoft’s Online Commercial Intent (OCI) tool and look it up:
Looking good, according to the tool, it’s 99% confident that the person searching is likely looking for a “rocking bassinet” to purchase. Another good indicator if there’s money in a particular search term is if you see Google Ads showing up on the right side or the top of the search result.
How Difficult is it to Rank for this Term?
Now what we need to find out if it’s easy or difficult to rank for the keyword “rocking bassinet” (without the quotes). Here’s the general idea to gauge ranking difficulty: Obtain all the PageRank (PR) of the first ten sites in the search engine (SE) result, then get the average. I call this the Ranking Difficulty Index (RDI). Anything lower than 2 is easy enough to rank with a little amount of back links.
You’ll be primarily interested to evaluate the PageRank PR and the Yahoo links L (in bound links to the URL indexed by Yahoo). The lower the values on these 2 parameters the easier it is to rank. A tip, if you find a couple sites that has a Page Rank of 0 (zero) or n/a in the results page, that’s a good indicator as well that it would be fairly easy to rank. As of this writing, the RDI (sum of PageRank values on the first page divided by 10) I obtained is 1.8, looks good, with a couple of targeted back links, you can rank for this term!
Again, I can’t stress enough that what I mentioned above are not absolutes, these are guidelines based on quantifiable observation. There are occasional exceptions but at least at this point you’ve narrowed down your research with a certain level of certainty. This is a WHOLE lot better than guessing if a niche is worth the effort or not without any figures at all.
More Micro Niche Keywords
Now that we have a certain level of confidence that the keyword we chose will have some monetary returns. Here’s a cool feature in google you might have overlooked that will expand your niche research, just go to Google.com and type in your keyword:
This is Google’s Autocomplete feature and it’s suggesting that these are the other terms related to your keyword. If you look up the keywords, you will not get any data from them because these terms are new and doesn’t have enough information yet (some are rising trends) but here’s the thing, these are keywords that users (or buyers?) have actually typed in their browsers! How cool is that. You can find a better explanation of Google’s Autocomplete feature by clicking here.
Rinse and repeat. You get 9 more keywords that have the same parameters as “rocking bassinet” and this will be your base set of terms to rank for. You can definitely go find other niches as well, about 6 more that you are interested in so that you don’t get overwhelmed. Use the extended long tail keywords from the Google autocomplete feature and add it to your list. Now that you have a comprehensive list of keywords for your niche/s, you can proceed to the next step and build your site around these keywords.
Let me stress this out again that before you begin any campaign (building a website, SEO, PPC), niche/keyword research is one of the MOST CRITICAL aspect of the process. This will be your foundation and your chosen niche keywords will determine your success or failure in a given market. To sum it up, this method of keyword research involved the following:
- Get a niche idea and seed keyword from Google Product Search.
- Use the Google Adwords Keywords Tool to drill down and look for keywords that has a good enough search volume with limited competition. Don’t forget to login to get the most results.
- Determine the monetary viability of the term using SpyFu and MSN’s Online Commercial Intent tool.
- Determine the Ranking Difficulty Index by using SeoQuake plugin for Google Chrome.
- Use the Google Autocomplete Feature to get more keyword ideas and some hidden/trending long tail keywords relative to your chosen niche.
There you have it folks, not a dime spent but we got the job done. However, let me remind you though that this process is a bit tedious and time consuming. At least you won’t have any excuses about having no capital to spend for a keyword research tool like Micro Niche Finder. Now that we are here I really suggest you get to work and start gathering ideas for your niche. In case you have questions, let me know, I’ll be happy to answer them.
All the best,