Before we can settle on a particular niche or topic and start building our empire, we have to make sure it’s a viable niche – that there is money to be made, and that competition won’t prevent us from doing so.
In other words, we have to assess demand and competition.
Entire company’s, careers, and publications have been built on these functions, and we’ll delve into some deeper exercises and considerations in the “Experienced Marketers” sections, but for our initial primary purpose of niche selection, it’s pretty simple & straightforward.
one of the quickest, surest, most straightforward means for assessing the viability of a niche is to see if money is being spent advertising in that niche.
How do we do that? Very simply: do a few searches on that topic or niche category. If you see advertisements on the right and on top, you know right off the bat that there is money to be made in this niche. This doesn’t mean that you’ll make money in this niche, we still have to assess the competition. But a high number of advertisers tells us right away that companies are spending money to sell products or services because there is more money to be made.
Don’t limit yourself to just one search, try different searches, variations, etc. If you see very few or no advertisers, it doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities; more than a few times we’ve found topics that had few or no advertisers and made a lot of money as early entrants into a niche. For this blueprint, however, we’re looking only for niches that we can validate.
In addition to playing searches, there are some tools which will tell you if companies are spending money to make money in a particular niche or topic.
Spyfu.com (http://www.spyfu.com/) is a terrific competitive intelligence tool. Typing your keyword or topic and see how many people are advertising, how much they’re paying, etc.
KeywordSpy Pro ( http://www.keywordspypro.com/ ) is another tool that will do this for you.
Keyword research can tell us not only if there is money to be made, but give us the necessary intelligence about competition to see if we can make money there.
Once again, entire websites, publications, and careers are built entirely on the discipline of keyword research.
For that reason, it might be smart to hire a professional keyword researcher. It can be a little boring and time-consuming and fraught with chances to mess things up – all things you don’t want.
So what do you need for good keyword research? You need to be strong and you need to be thorough. Personally, I don’t like leaving any potential keywords on the table.
This is Google Keyword Tool, and it’s more or less Keywords Central online. Get yourself an account if you don’t have one already. It’s free. Now, let’s say we’ve picked a niche… and we want to promote a physical product like a sewing machine. Finding out which ones to target is as easy as typing.
I’d like to advise you not to spend too much time on Google’s keyword tool, as some of the information there can be deceptive. Remember that it’s targeted for AdWords advertisers, not
SEO-based marketers. The Competition bar shows the competition for paid advertisers for a given keyword – which is fine if you’re planning to monetize with AdSense but isn’t too useful otherwise.
Check off the Google Keyword Tool checkbox and check “Include Additional” from the drop-down menu if it’s not there already - it’s going to give you a bigger list of keywords to choose from. Make sure you’ve got a minimum keywords list of 2 (don’t worry, you will probably never ever rank for a one keyword term).
Are People Interested In This Topic?
I don’t stress out about SEO, it’s a number based on 42% of total searches (ie, the number of hits they think you’d get as the #1 result), and that’s an extremely optimistic number that usually overestimates the initial traffic and the click-through rate.
Instead, take a look at your total number of searches. As far as the number of total searches you want, I try to get at least 1,200 per month for each keyword. You can get ranked for a keyword this size even if you don’t have any resources. Remember, you can get ranked for a smaller keyword and then target tougher keywords from there.
Get a Phrase to Broad of at least 15%. This makes sure that people are looking specifically for the keyword we’re targeting instead of only part of it.
You should also take a quick glance at your trends line for targeted keywords. This only needs a quick glance. Some keywords are seasonal, and some niches are seasonal. Check out the results for the keyword “get ex-boyfriend” - they tend to drop off a little bit during the middle of the year and peak in the early months.
Is There Commercial Intent?
Use the SEOC rating – for the purposes of sorting. As you look at these keywords, ask yourself:
Do you know exactly what this person wants to read when they type this into a search engine? Are they looking to buy something or just learn about a topic?
Can we connect them to a product that will make us money?
Can we actually help them solve their problem?
Is there a good number of searches?
Get between 10 and 15 of these. Now, you’re probably a little bored with keywords, but you should absolutely take a little time and research your competition in those keywords you think look really sexy.
How Much Competition Is There?
There’s a popular myth that you can gauge competition by the number of pages that pop up when you type a phrase into a search engine – mostly spread by shady marketers who want to impress people by ranking for one of these “paper tiger” keywords.
But it’s not the be-all-end-all. Really, no matter what your keyword is, you have ten competing pages – the ones on the first page of Google. You can get a good view of this by loading up the Market Samurai competition module.
There are some really worthwhile batch competition research tools (Stealth Keyword Competition Analyzer, among others), but let’s just plug them into Market Samurai’s SEO Competition module and have a look at the top ten competitors.