How to Choose a Niche Website: Keyword Research

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This post will provide specific, step-by-step instructions on how to identify a killer keyword phrase for your Niche Website or Blog.  In the next post, I will continue this example and dig into SEO Competition to size up the competition for the keyword phrases we come up with.

I just updated this post in Feb, 2014 to make sure everything was up to date for my Podcast Episode 2 on Keyword Research.  The exact screen shots will be slightly different, however, the keyword research is just as relevant now as when I created the original post.

In order to do our keyword research, we will utilize a software package which is a huge help for anyone that wants to be successful online, called Market Samurai.  It is available for both Mac and PC.  My recommendation would be to download the free 12 day trial and follow along.

The first time through, I’d recommend you type in the same keywords and do exactly as I did in the screenshots below so that you can see the results for yourself up close.  Then, go back and type in your own keywords and do some research on a particular topic which interests you.  Repetition is key. 

I just heard something on Pat Flynn’s most recent Podcast that is very relevant. There is an MIT study that showed that as far as retention goes, you retain 10% of what you read, 20% of what you hear, 50% of what you see and 90% of what you do. The art of keyword research is really essential and the more practice, the easier it gets and the better your chances for success down the road.

Let’s get started.  Click this link to get the free 12 day trial of Market Samurai and enter your name and email address.  You will instantly get an email with a link to download the software, no credit card or payment information is required.  Click the link inside the email and then follow the steps to perform the installation.  Once you have it installed, you’re ready to follow along.

Niche Keyword Research

I have a sister that is currently pregnant.  For her baby shower, my wife and lots of others enjoyed shopping for baby clothes as a gift.  Since that was fresh on my mind, I thought I would use “baby clothes” as the example niche site idea for this post.  I’m sure there are lots of parents, or soon to be parents out there that are interested in finding and sharing information about baby clothes and perhaps want to buy/sell baby clothes and would be interested in setting up a blog or website on the topic.

If you did not have access to the Market Samurai tool and wanted to setup a serious website/blog about baby clothes, my guess is that you would go to a place like GoDaddy to search for some different domain names that have something to do with baby clothes.  Then once you found one that was available you’d register the site and work on setting up a site.  While that is all well and good, but I’ll show you why that is not the best use of your time and effort.

Open up Market Samurai and click on New Project.  Then type baby clothes in the keyword box and hit the tab key.  That will automatically fill in the title field.  Then click the Create button as shown below.

After that you will be presented with the screen below.  Click the Keyword Research button.

On the following screen change the phrase length from 1 to 2 and click on the Generate Keywords button.

Before Market Samurai can go out and pull keyword phrases from Google, you will be prompted to either enter your existing free Google Adwords account login and password, or you will need to set one up real quick.  You can do that here free Google AdWords account.

Once you do that and hit Generate Keywords, you will then be presented with a screen similar to the Keyword Research screen below, showing keyword results in alphabetical order such as “adorable baby clothes”, “affordable babies clothes”, “baby boy clothes”, “baby clothes boutique”, etc.  The number of results may vary from one day to the next as search data changes often.  So far it’s just a list of keywords.  Click on the Keyword Analysis button as shown.

You are now on the Keyword Analysis portion of the Keyword Research screen.  The original list of keywords from the prior screen are now filtered down by the software based on what they call the Golden Rules.  Those are Relevancy, Traffic, Competition and Commerciality.

Note: In the latest version of the software, in order to get the SEOC, or SEO Competition field, you will need to click the checkbox for SEOC on the top portion of the screen.  Do that and then click on the Analyze Keywords button.

At that point, you will see a screen similar to the one that follows.  This is our final results screen.  Let’s analyze our results below.

What we see on our last screen above is that of the results that we started with, the Market Samurai software has narrowed that down quite a bit.  They are ranked in terms of greatest SEO Value.  SEO Value (SEOV) is a term utilized by the software to indicate the total daily value of traffic that a site ranked #1 in Google could potentially achieve.  The exact amount is not of great importance.  The important part is the amount relative to the other phrases in the list as well as the value in the SEOC field.

That is the SEO Competition field.  That is the total number of webpages globally that mention the specific keyword phrase in the same word order in Google’s index.  Basically, how many other sites you’d be competing with for that keyword phrase.  Ideally you want to pick a keyword phrase that has the highest value in the SEOV column with a relatively small number of competing webpages in the SEOC column.   You also want a decent number in the SEOT column, which is the maximum daily clicks a #1 site can expect to receive.  75 or above is decent, the higher the better.  Let’s zoom in on our results below.

Your results will differ, as the original results were from back in 2012, but following the process is what is most important.  You can see our original search term “baby clothes” at the top.  That has a pretty high daily potential value of $48,251.44 that could be generated from a site that ranked #1 on the first page of Google for the term “baby clothes”.  Pretty impressive.  However, there is a catch.  Check out the SEOC column.  The number of websites out there competing for that keyword phrase is over 31 MILLION! 

As an individual just starting out, your chances of moving up to #1 or anywhere on the 1st, 2nd, or even 10th page of Google search results for the term “baby clothes” are pretty much non-existent.

However, check out the 2nd phrase in the list.  “Clearance baby clothes” has the 2nd highest daily potential value of $223.28 and the lowest overall competition with 13,200 sites competing for that keyword phrase.  If I was interested in creating a site about baby clothes and was ok with targeting the phrase “clearance baby clothes”, that is the phrase I would investigate further.  It has the highest potential daily income and the lowest overall competition in the list, setting the broader phrase aside.

If the phrase “clearance baby clothes” wasn’t what you envisioned as the keyword target for your new site/blog, fear not!  That was only one particular phrase of any number of potential options.  All you have to do is start over with a new phrase.  I will do that right now with the phrase “vintage baby clothes” instead and you can see for yourself just how quickly you can type in any number of different ideas and get results.

The results look pretty good.  “Vintage baby clothes” has a higher max clicks at 112, but also a higher number of competing sites at 42,300 and lower daily value at $147.64.

For comparison, we’ll investigate both “clearance baby clothes” and “vintage baby clothes” in tomorrow’s post when we size up our competition with the SEO Competition module.

That is the exact process I’m going through with my niche site ideas right now.  If you have a broad topic and are trying to come up with keyword phrases to utilize to narrow things down, one good way you might not have thought about is through Amazon.

Go to Amazon and search for books on your broad topic.  Check out some of the top selling books on the subject and click on the ‘Look Inside’ free preview available on many books and go to the Table of Contents.  There you will find a treasure trove of keyword phrases that you might never have thought of.

If you are struggling with how to find topics to start with, subscribe to my email list and you will instantly receive my free eGuide: Top 10 Keyword Brainstorming Tips. In that guide I will detail my top 10 tips for how to come up with ideas from scratch, I refer to the guide myself quite often when I’m drawing a blank. This is a SPAM FREE zone, your email address will always remain private.

Conclusion

Hopefully those specific examples showed you just how powerful the Market Samurai Keyword Research module really is and how it can save you a lot of time and effort up-front by identifying specific keyword phrases which have the best chance of setting you up for a successful online venture.  If you didn’t actually install the software initially, but followed along with the screen shots, hopefully now you see just how cool and valuable a program it really is.

Remember, today was just about how to identify a killer keyword phrase with the Market Samurai Keyword Research module.  In my next post I will continue this example and show you why it is critically important for you to evaluate your keyword phrases using the Market Samurai SEO Competition module to size up your competition.

That module effectively allows you to run a background check on the top 10 sites that are also targeting your desired keyword phrase to get a visual snapshot of whether you have a chance to compete or need to target a different set of keywords.  Those top 10 sites are important because they are the ones on the first page of Google for your keyword phrase and 95-98% of all search traffic for a particular search phrase goes to those sites.  Very cool stuff and a post you won’t want to miss.

In full disclosure, I receive an affiliate commission if you decide to purchase the Market Samurai software, at no additional cost to you. You will also be eligible for a 35% discount if you sign-up during the first 6 days of your free trial, which is exactly what I did when I purchased the software myself.   If you do decide to purchase the software, thank you ahead of time.  I truly appreciate it.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Spencer May 14, 2012 at 5:06 am

This blog is great. I really like studying your posts. Keep up the great work!

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Chris September 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Thanks Spencer, appreciate the kind words. If you have any specific questions, definitely let me know and I’d be glad to assist further!

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Mike March 27, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Great post on keyword research.

I have been using the Adwords tool and was disappointed when Google removed the keyword planner.

I had tried the trial for Market Samurai before but it felt pretty overwhelming…

Thanks for breaking it down here Chris, I am going to give it another look to get better at going my keyword research

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Chris March 27, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Thanks Mike,

I agree that it can certainly be a bit overwhelming at first, but like anything, after you get the hang of things, it becomes second nature. Enjoy!
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Bill Gates March 27, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Lots of great information in this article about keyword research. I’ve never done any tactical methodology when trying to begin a site, but you’ve inspired me and I think I’m now going to use some of the tools recommended when trying to create new content and sites!
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Chris March 27, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Thanks Bill, glad I’ve inspired you to take some action. As always, let me know if I can be of any assistance along the way!
Chris recently posted..NST 003: Four Profitable Niche Site Types and Having the Right Mindset For SuccessMy Profile

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Marcus March 29, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Great and simple explanation of keyword research. Chris have you tried using Long Tail Pro? I find it more user friendly.
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Chris March 30, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Hey Marcus,

Yes I did try Long Tail Pro and it is a little easier to utilize at first, but in order to get all the features that I utilize for Keyword Research and Competition/Backlink Analysis through Market Samurai, I would have to also subscribe to the Platinum version of Long Tail Pro which is an additional $17/month. For that reason, I prefer to stick with Market Samurai.
Chris recently posted..NST 002: Keyword Research and Competition AnalysisMy Profile

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Crystal March 30, 2014 at 3:49 pm

I have Market Samurai – I really need to dig in and get into some keyword research again! Thanks for the screenshots – it’s helps break it down much easier too! For any niche to be successful – keyword research is where it’s at!
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Chris March 30, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Hey Crystal,

Glad the post could help to break things down for you. It does take a few extra minutes to do the proper keyword research, but it can definitely go a long way towards setting yourself up for the best chance of success right from the start!
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