A Niche, a Keyword and Google Adwords Keyword Planner
The online world moves, functions and operates based on words…keywords! Maybe in the future this will change and the way the internet works shifts towards another model, but for now and definitely for the foreseeable future, keywords rule the day!
Finding the right niche and performing a proper keyword research is one of the most important (if not the most important) skills for anyone who creates online content. While no one denies that focusing on creating value is absolutely necessary, unfortunately that alone is not gonna cut it.
Even if your content is top notch, you won’t reach a large audience just by creating good material and expecting people to come by and subscribe. Keyword research helps you actively target people who are already looking for your content. The internet consists of keywords: hundreds of thousands, which means that you have to define where you stand, aka find your niche.
Keyword research and finding a niche; both are interconnected and inextricably bound to one another. To write an article or content in general, you need to have your niche figured out. To create a website or any kind of online business, again: you need to have your niche figured out.
To find a suitable niche, you need to do keyword research. For your content to achieve its maximum effective reach, your niche, the proper keywords and your writing must come together to distill the raw material and transform it into a new and polished version which will be eagerly consumed, both by the internet and your audience.
How to Do Keyword Research
In this post, I go over my approach to doing keyword research, whether that’s for a new article, a new website or just simply brainstorming ideas. While there are many tools out there (paid and free) to help you with your keyword research, I have always used Google Adwords Keyword Planner.
In my humble opinion, Google’s solution is enough and more than adequate for anyone, be that a beginner or an experienced power user. Plus saving on some expense is never a bad thing, right? So, after you sign in to your Google account, you are presented with the following screen:
(ignore the red warning about my account being inactive – It’s a new account I created for the purposes of this post, it doesn’t affect the tool’s functionality) Select the first option as indicated on the screenshot: “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category”.
In the first field, enter the desired keyword(s) separated by comma. Leave the rest of the fields blank and change the location or the language options in case you want to search within a more specific demographic. Once you are done, click the “Get Ideas” button.
Ok, this is where all the magic happens. At the top field, you may enter the preferred keyword and search for a combination or a phrase you like. All the results are displayed in a table and the 2 columns you are interested in are: “Avg. monthly searches” and “Competition“.
As a general rule, you want to find keywords that have tens of thousands of monthly searches and low competition but this is not necessary every single time. Let’s assume that I am interested in creating an affiliate marketing website about headphones (as in the example above).
The keyword “headphones” has 368,000 monthly searches which is extremely high, but the competition for the keyword is “High” too. This means that there is a lot of content available for headphones and the market is kinda saturated. It will take you longer and it will be harder to rank for this keyword.
Now, there are two ways you can tackle this issue:
On the one hand, you may try to break into this saturated niche. Do so if you are convinced that you have genuine value to add to the subject or have something unique and new to offer. On the other hand, you may consider specializing more, becoming more specific, going for a micro-niche instead. A micro-niche is a narrower niche within the original:
With a little sorting through the results, I could get those low/medium competition keywords with enough thousand searches that could turn them into profitable micro-niche ideas. All these keywords could be micro-niches. They belong to the wider keyword family of “Headphones” but they can easily stand on their own.
The good thing about micro-niches is that you can rank faster and easier. Take “best over ear headphones” for example. It has low competition and a nice almost-15k searches! With quality, keyword targeted content, you could rank for it in the top 3 Google results much easier than going after “Headphones”.
Hint: Keep in mind that becoming an authority source for a keyword, allows you to rank other keywords easier later on. So, if I have managed to rank a website for “best over ear headphones” as the number #1 for this micro niche, I could then easily start focusing on other keywords like “earphone” and start ranking for them as well. It will be easier because I would already be an authority for a keyword and my site would get an added SEO value.
All this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go after large keywords. Actually, if your objective is to monetize a website with PPC ads like Adsense, then you need to go after large keywords, you need the traffic and a micro niche won’t benefit you much. If, on the other hand, you want to create an affiliate marketing website, then a micro niche could be much better.
Conversions aren’t based on quantity – like in ppc ads – but on quality and engaging content. Micro niches are also suggested for new users who want to wet their feet first in the keyword ranking war before moving into more complex scenarios.
How to Utilize Keyword Research for Content Creation
What about content creation? How can you utilize keyword research for writing a blog post or an article? Let’s take the aforementioned example with “Headphones” and assume you want to write an article about headphones.
Since you are familiar with basic on-site SEO (check these two articles for a complete guide on how Google ranks your website: Part 1, Part 2) and you have performed a keyword research for “Headphones” you are good to go, SEO-wise at least.
You are writing an article about headphones, so your main keyword is “Headphones”. This should be part of your title. Your Heading 1 should not contain the word “Headphones”. Instead go for another high ranking keyword. “Wireless Headphones” is number #2 with just over 300,000 searches.
It’s ideal for you heading 1. For your headings 2 and 3 utilize the next highest ranking keywords (obviously if they are relevant). For example: “noise cancelling headphones” which has 90,500 monthly searches is a potentially good fit. Your meta description should incorporate “Headphones” and some other, lighter weight keywords. And don’t forget to enrich your keyword targeting with some tags.
In the end, you’ll have an article that hits the spot for: Headphones: 368,000 searches Wireless headphones: 301,000 searches noise cancelling headphones: 90,500 searches That makes us: 759,000 searches combined. This is without adding the extra keywords in: meta description, headings 2 & 3, article content and tags! You could even potentially target as much as 1,000,000 searches altogether with a single article.
Google Adwords Keyword Planner is your friend. use it whenever you want to find out about potential keywords, get an idea about the ever changing trends out there, or even just for research purposes. Obviously doing the proper keyword research alone isn’t enough. Your content has to be original and to add value to the selected niche. Google is extremely smart and can identify which content is useful and which is not; and guess what happens to the useless content…. So all in all, if you create interesting and valuable content along with some effective keyword research you are on the right track.
Have you found this article to be helpful in any way? Do you disagree with any statement made? Maybe you want to add something; if so please feel free to post a comment and I’ll get back to you asap.