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Choosing your niche and keywords

April 21st, 2009

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So if you have decided to join us on the challenge then we need to take our first step which is to actually pick a niche, find some keywords to target, and then selecting a decent domain name.  Your first and most important step is deciding on your niche and keywords and this can be quite a tricky step.  A good niche and keyword selection is what is going to bring in the money and choosing badly can make things a lot harder for you.

The basic premise is this:

You need to find a niche with high paying keywords but with low competition

What this means is that you are looking for keywords / phrases with a high CPC that will earn a good amount everytime someone clicks on of your adverts.  Finding such a niche with low competition should make it easier to rank your site for, which in turn will result in traffic!

What I did to pick my niche was to start with one of the following, typically high paying niches.

  • Medical
  • Holidays and Tourism
  • Legal
  • Financial

Obviously these are massive areas so you have to try and whittle them down to a more specific topic.  To do this you can, again, try think of the first thing that comes to mind, its better if you can relate this to you somehow.  For example if we look at Holidays and Tourism, I instantly remember my last holiday which was to Rome, so I could then try and look up Rome related keywords and see what that brings back.

Finding your keywords
Now you need to narrow your search down further, but there are some tools that can help.  What I tend to usually do is head straight to the google keyword tool and put my top level term in and search.  What you can do though is goto a site like kwbrowse first and put your keyword in there for more ideas to put into the google keyword tool.

When you search on the google keyword tool it will come up with a list of related searches (make sure “Use Synonyms” is ticked).  Your first port of call is to Show Estimated Avg CPC and you do this by clicking the dropdown that says “Choose columns to be displayed”, this will then show what an Adwords publisher would be likely to pay to show an advert on a page with those keywords.  You now want to order your searches by volume of traffic, I usually do this on average traffic rather than monthly.  Finally change match type from Broad to Exact as this will show you more accurate numbers.

So now what we want to do is find keywords with high CPC (try get it above $1 or £1) and with a relatively high number of searches.  Ideally you would like to find a number of related ones then base a site around that.  If you find a contender (I tend to stick about 10,000 searches) then you want to find out what the competition is like.

Note down all keywords and phrases that match this criteria.

Now we need to check competition
The easiest way to do this is with FireFox and the SEO For Firefox addon by Aaron Wall.  When installed any searches you do on Google or Yahoo will now show SEO information about each site.  PageRank is listed as PR under the SEO addon for FireFox, and the number of backlinks are shown next to “Y! Links”.  You want to look at the top 10 results for each keyword and phrase you noted down and try find out what the competition is like.  You will usually come up against 3 types of results.

  1. Pages that belong to a much larger site, such as Wikipedia
  2. Sites dedicated to the keyword / phrase with high PageRank and lots of backlinks
  3. Sites based on the keyword / phrase with low PageRank and few backlinks

You may also get a few other random pages appear.  If the top 10 is littered with more of type 3 then your in luck as you should be able to easily beat those sites with a bit of work.  Type 1 can be beaten too with a bit of work, usually Wikipedia is the hardest of these types of sites, others are easier.

So there you have it, with a bit of research you should be able to find a niche and some nice keyword phrases (long tail keywords) to target.  If you are having trouble finding one try look up things that you like to do and see where that leads you.

Don’t be off put if you find this difficult, it is one of the hardest parts of starting a website and is critical to your future site’s success!

Stay tuned for the next part in this series on choosing your domain name!

Related posts:

  1. Choosing your domain
  2. Starting your niche site
  3. The challenge: Profit off niche sites with Adsense!
  4. Exploring the earning power of a niche site

Chris Adsense Challenge