As I mentioned in the beginning, there are lots of tools and methods for doing in-depth data mining that the SEO pros use. Eventually, you’ll also learn how to do these things, as you become more and more immersed in the world of blogging and Internet promotions.
However, to get started, we just want to do some solid basic research and know what is already happening in each niche. That will help us to know if a niche is starving, thriving, or flooded.
In order to have a successful blog or website, people have to find you. A vital part of that process is having good keywords that the search engines can match up to people’s searches. A good keyword is one that’s fairly popular (meaning people are actually searching for it), and yet is not too flooded in competing sites. Here’s a process that will help you find those keywords. You’ll do this process for each of your niche ideas.
- Start with a general keyword
In our example in the last article, we used “Fishing” as a possible niche topic. That one is probably too broad, but let’s start with it anyway. Go to Google.com, and type that into the search bar. As you type, Google will drop down a list of similar keyword suggestions. These are popular, similar searches. That means that these are possible keywords that people are actually searching for. Write these down. In my browser, it showed, “Fishing License Utah”, “Fishing Report”, “Fishing quotes”, and a few others. Save that list for later.
Do the search. You might see a number close to the top that says something like “About 500,000,000 results” or some number. This indicates how many websites Google knows about that are using this keyword. It’s usually a huge number. If you don’t see a number, but only see ads and pictures, then the number is way too high to display.
Scroll to the bottom of the page, and you’ll see another list of suggested search terms, like:
- Begin narrowing
Obviously, your first, most general search will be way too broad, and will need to be narrowed. Let’s try some more. Click into one of the suggested searches. The first one I tried was “Fishing tips”, with “About 211,000,000 results”. That’s better than before, but it’s still way too many websites. I’ll need to keep looking for my keywords.
- Narrow further
Next, I clicked into “Bass Fishing”. Right away, I saw that this one had “About 10,600,000 results”. That sounds like a huge number, still, but in the scale of the internet, that’s actually reasonable. This one could work. When you find a keyword in this range, look at some of the websites in the list. Click into them and begin exploring them. Are they commercial sites or informational sites? What sorts of information are they sharing? If you see websites that you’d like to emulate, write down the addresses for future reference.
And always write down the keywords you’re exploring, and the numbers you find.
- Try a different branch
After you’ve played and explored some with the keywords you’ve gotten, go back and explore another “branch” of the same “tree”. In our example, maybe I could try “fly fishing” or “angling” to see what kinds of new keywords I could generate.
After a while of this exploration and research, you’ll have a list of good possible keywords, and you’ll have a good idea of what’s happening and what’s available within the niche you’re considering.
Do this same process with each niche topic idea on your list, and you’ll have a lot of good information. You’ll probably start to see some real trends in the niche ideas you’re exploring and you might even be starting to formulate some thoughts on which ones might be better options than others.
Still, there’s one more step to come...
This article is part of a four-part series on researching and choosing your blog niche. The other articles can be found here:
- Introduction to finding a good blog niche
- Brainstorming blog niche and content ideas
- Keyword research
- Monetization product research
Mark is currently employed as an Internet Business Coach.
Mark also has other sites and blogs, including Mark's Black Pot - Dutch Oven Recipes, MarkHansenMusic.com and his MoBoy blog.