I am taking some much-needed R&R this week and have been getting a few tasks out of the way while enjoying the downtime. One of the tasks I tackled yesterday was the keyword research for a handful of new niche sites I will be launching over the next few weeks.
What I want you to take away from this post is that keyword research is THE most valuable first step you can take when creating any niche site. You can apply this to your blog or any other site where you want to create targeted high-traffic content.
I had at least a dozen niches I wanted to look into and ended up with five or six really good opportunities. If I had not done the due diligence and in-depth keyword research, I could have spent a lot of time targeting half a dozen niches that would have been impossible to compete in.
I will not get into all the specifics today but here are a few key guidelines I follow when hunting down opportunistic keywords.
First, I go to the free Google Keyword Tool and type in my main keyword (I use synonyms for this search). Step two: take each of those keywords and put them back into the keyword tool, one at a time, uncheck the synonym box, and use exact matches from the drop-down menu. I look for keyword phrases with at least 3 words and have 30 searches per day, although ideally, 100 if possible. If I have a niche that I am particularly knowledgeable in, I will allow myself to go closer to 30 if I have to. Otherwise, I stick to around 100 searches per day to be safe.
Next, I look for less than 100,000 competitive sites when searching for that keyword on Google. When you find a keyword that you think you want to explore a little further, go to Google's main search page and search for that phrase in quotes. The top right of the page will tell you how many competing pages were found for that phrase. This number should be under 100,000. Under 40,000 or less, you are getting into a good niche.
After finding a keyword that meets these criteria, I scour the top 10-20 listings that Google returned for my search of that phrase in quotes. If you find a majority of top domains (ie. Overstock, Bizrate, Amazon, eBay, etc...) within the top 10 listings, it is going to be very, very hard to make it to page 1 in Google for that phrase and you might want to find yourself a new keyword to target. I am not saying that it will be impossible, but it will probably require more work on your part and still may not get the desired results.
This is just a brief introduction to keyword research and should be enough to get you started. I will explore some of the tools that I use to help with my keyword research in the near future. But for now, this method should be a great help if you are not tackling keyword research the way you should.
A lot of times the right keyword is going to be the difference between success and failure. Why not put the odds in your favor instead of just taking a shot in the dark???
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