Carrying on from the last article ‘finding a niche market‘ I promised I would tell you how to do out keyword research to see if your niche was worthwhile or not. As I mentioned in the previous article before this stage you will have researched niches, come up with a few ideas and have a few keywords with over 1,000 local USA searches. There are a lot of different ways to do research and no one way is best but this works fairly well with me.
First go to the Google. Type your keyword or niche idea in with quotation marks around it, i.e. “SEO” and press search. Under the search box this will return the number of results that contain your keyword. These are your potential competitors. Don’t worry if the number is stupidly high. Under 50,000 is better but it’s not too important just yet.
Now delete everything in the search box and type intitle:”keyword” and press search (i.e. intitle:”SEO”) this will show you how many of your ‘competitors’ have done on page SEO and put the keyword in their title. Less than 30,000 is preferable. I know it seems high but don’t panic yet.
Delete everything from the search box again and type inurl:”keyword” and press search this will show how many of your competitors have the word in their URL. Again less than 30,000 is good. Now delete all that.
This time type in intitle:”keyword” inurl:”keyword” (i.e. intitle:”SEO” inurl:”SEO”) this will tell you how many sites have the keyword in both. This shows who the more serious competitors are, the number again should be below 30,000 and it should be a lower figure than intitle and inurl were separately.
Now this gives you a rough idea of how many real competitors you have, if it’s several thousand don’t freak out and think it’s not worth targeting as all you really need to worry about is the competitors on the first page, those are the REAL competitors and the ones you’d be competing against. To analyse the first page I use Traffic Travis SEO software, they have a great free version you can use if you don’t want to buy it just yet.
Open up Traffic Travis, go to the SEO tab, click on competition, enter your keyword into the box
and click analyse. It will start analysing the first 10 results in google for that word, telling you the page rank, age, amount of backlinks each site has and so on and give you a verdict on how easy the site would be to outrank with good on page SEO and backlinking.
If you’re new to SEO you’d want to concentrate on sites that it tells you are ‘relatively easy’ or ‘easy’ and of page rank 3 and below. These are beatable sites. I also like to have a look manually at the sites in google, to see what I’m up against. If they are big well-known players like Wiki, Amazon, Youtube or major brands you know it’s going to be difficult to beat them as a newbie.
Test out your different keywords and see what your results are, you may find that some are just too difficult so forget about these and concentrate on the easy ones. If all of your ideas are showing as being too difficult don’t despair you’ve probably just went for really obvious key phrases, it’s what we all tend to do first time round. The best keywords are buying keywords or ones where people have a problem and are searching for help, so pay particular attention to phrases with ‘buy’, ‘purchase’, ‘comparison’, ‘review’, ‘discount’, ‘where to buy’ etc or that uses specific brand names as this shows buyer intent. Also look for ones where the searcher has indicated they have a specific issue they need resolved such as ‘how to cure insomnia’ or ‘supplements for insomnia’ for example. These are much better than more general keywords even if the general ones have higher search volumes as it’s best to catch the search engine user when they are the buying stage of the process rather than just seeking information or doing research.
A good tool to find other variations of your keyword is ubbersuggest. You can enter your word and it will bring up hundreds of alternative search terms people have googled containing your chosen word, you’ll probably find terms you never thought of. Check these in google key tool to see which are over 1000 local searches then go through the above process again until you find something suitable. Once you have a term or terms that seems easy, put that term directly into the google key tool and search again, it will bring up other closely related search terms and you’ll likely find those are easy to beat too giving you a whole list you can target when building your website.
That’s how I do my research, using a mix of automated and manual work. You definitely need software but don’t rely on it fully. If you don’t like Traffic Travis then Market Samurai or Long Tail Pro are both excellent too. Once you have your list of keywords you can think about building your site and adding content based around those words. Many people build sites first without doing this stage which is a big mistake, always do the research before creating a website.
If it all seems like too much work and you’d prefer a professional to do it then check out our page on affordable search engine optimization. Alternatively read out SEO software reviews if you’d simply like to automate the task.