60 Experts Reveal How to Find Your Niche and Build a (Profitable) Blog…

collage-finalAre you dazzled by the money other affiliates are claiming to be making? Does finding your niche and starting a profitable blog keep you awake at night?
Not sure which path to follow and how to avoid the costly mistakes that most
beginners are prone to?

I believe things always tend to be foggy and daunting when we embark on the “NEW”. And it’s no different with affiliate marketing, micro sites and authority blogs.

First of all, you have to believe you CAN achieve your goal (build a money-making property). Confidence is the #1 secret to success that my experience taught me. And it all starts from your core passion or skill.

Secondly, the affiliate game has competition, so you’ll have to look up for hot affiliate products that people want to buy, or your effort won’t benefit you long-term. You also need to know which “money” keywords to target, and also check on the Google / search engine competition before you do anything else (e.g. register your domain, and build your money site).

Having the right information is priceless. No matter what niche or business you run,
you need to have access to valid and up to date data. Plus, you also need to arm
yourself with the best (detective) tools on the market.

Now, this information cannot be found freely available on the forums. You’d have to
pay for it, one way or another. Or, you could interview the best niche site specialists
and SEO experts and grill them. That’s why I’ve got my partner (Codrut Turcanu)
to scour the web, and look up people who are already running successful niche sites
and affiliate blogs. They had to be open and honest about their answers, and they had to explain their methods in simple terms… so that anyone reading could understand and implement.

The million-dollar question we asked these guys was:

“What do you recommend to affiliate marketers/bloggers looking to find a niche that is both profitable and has little (web page) competition in Google SERP listings?”

It made them think differently and share insights you’d probably never thought
possible. Enjoy the ride and take these gold nuggets to the bank.

Onto this note, I’d like to send a BIG THANK YOU to all participants
and everyone else involved to help spread the word about this unique post!

Ryan Biddulph

Ryan Biddulph
Website/Twitter

Here is one piece of advice that many people offer but few follow; pick a niche that
makes you come alive. Pick a niche that you feel so enthusiastic about, that you can’t
POSSIBLY have any competition, because nobody will be able to replicate your energy,
nor will they be able to out earn you, because you’ll be so detached from outcomes,
and creating such epic content, that money will keep flowing in the back door
because you’re not looking for money.

I own Blogging from Paradise. I’m in love with travel. This love shines through my work, and all I do, so naturally, my three posts each week, each 2500 words or longer, gain some serious traction on the web. I see one glaring mistake among bloggers and affiliates; they research a niche and make money with it, but don’t care about it.

What’s the point? To have money in your pocket. You can make that same amount of money, or likely tons more, by blogging about something that makes you feel alive.

Blog about something you could write 3000, or 5000 words about, 2 or 3 times a week. The profits will come in, and the competition will disappear….not because you’re a brilliant monetizer, or that people in a niche – or similar niches – vanish…..nope, your authenticity will shine through, and when you are genuine, and authentic, and create epic content by dissecting a topic you love, you’ll rarely struggle online.

I am far from an SEO guy but I find my posts popping up on Google here and there. I may include a key phrase or 2, but I have a monster network of friends who share my posts through sites like Triberr. Why do they share? Because I’ve posted in-depth, helpful comments on their blogs, for months, and I’ve aggressively promoted them through social media channels, for months, or years.

Some feel that this approach is too simple, but I’m typing these words from a cliff-side house 50 meters over the Pacific Ocean, with a million dollar view, in Savusavu, Fiji. My new eBook received an endorsement from a New York Times best-selling author a few weeks ago too, so following my passion, and connecting with leaders hasn’t hurt me.

One piece of advice; drill down a few levels to hyper target your niche. I share blogging tips on Blogging from Paradise. So do a zillion other bloggers out there. But

I chose to drill down once: I share the tips for people who want to retire from the 9-5 to become pro bloggers. Then I drilled down twice: I share the tips for people who want to retire from the 9-5 to become pro bloggers who island hop.

I then chose the tagline: Retire to a Life of Island Hopping through Smart Blogging.

So, I stood out from the blogging tips crowd, then I stood out from the internet lifestyle crowd, by choosing an even stricter niche of island hopping pro bloggers…which is the life I’ve lived for the past 40 months straight, living in Bali, Fiji, Koh Lanta, Koh Phuket, Penang, Malaysia, and Costa Rica, among other paradises.

Take the 1 thing you love doing. Blog about it. Connect with authorities in your niche by commenting on their blogs – leaving whopper-sized comments. Learn from them. Take notes. Then, write, write, write, write and write some more. Keep writing. Publish super in-depth, passionate posts, and make friends with industry leaders, and you’ll be blogging from paradise, like me, or working from wherever you want in the world.

Thanks so much for asking me to share my thoughts!

Richard Marriott

Richard Marriott
Website/Twitter

This is more of a case study than a recommended strategy:

I recently got into a niche with incredibly low competition and high volume search terms.

I realised I could dominate it as soon as I looked at my competitor’s sites using SEMRush.

SEMRush tells you what keywords deliver your competitors the most traffic. It also shows you if their site has been hit by any Google updates.

After I put a few sites in the prospective niche through the tool I discovered almost all my competitors’ traffic had dropped dramatically since early 2013.

I then used Ahrefs to check out their backlink profiles and quickly realised why – All their links were self submitted and very shady.

So this told me instantly I would have no problem dominating the competition on Google if I created better content and attracted natural links.

To find out if the niche was profitable, I simply looked at the market leaders. That’s all you need to do to find out if a niche is profitable – Look at the big guys. If they’re making big money you can too!

What I found is only a small handful of sites in the niche I’m talking about were making serious money – as in multimillions. And almost everyone else was only making chump change.

That’s because the market leaders had created their own products, built an engaged audience and had used sustainable traffic generation techniques.

Most of the other sites in the niche were “set and forget” sites with no audience, none of their own products and no strong branding. In fact, the niche is kind of like an elephant graveyard.

Since discovering this niche in late 2013 and building out a site, I have already started biting at the toes of the market leaders. When I say biting at the toes I mean overtaking them for the most sought after keywords in the niche and having built a site that gets 1/3 of the traffic they’re currently getting (and their sites are more than 5-10 years old).

I did this by creating a strong brand and got featured on a number of radio stations which attracted quite a few natural links. I also did a lot of broken link building and clinical onsite SEO to lift my most important posts up in the SERPS.

The site now brings in over 2K visitors per day.

I have not created any new articles or built any links since June this year because I am now working on creating my own niche product.

We discovered a demand for a product that doesn’t even exist yet simply by ranking for a couple of high volume keywords and working out what people were REALLY searching for.

By really searching for I mean say you rank #1 for “how to be more productive”.

You’ll probably find that the end goal of people searching to be more productive is actually to get more rich. Because by being productive they can make more money.

So rather than selling a product that teaches you to be productive, sell a product that promises to double their income through productivity.

Anyway, that’s why I strongly recommend focusing on getting traffic from organic search, NOT paid traffic generation methods (at the beginning).

With organic search you can test what people want and not risk spending money on creating a product that has no demand or sending people to a landing page that doesn’t convert.

With organic search you can tinker with your traffic until you know EXACTLY what they want, create a funnel that converts and then pay for more leads later (knowing you’re guaranteed to make sales).

We will be launching our own product in about two months time.

So basically my advice is when you find a niche with high volume searches and low competition, it doesn’t even matter if you can’t find the right product to sell to the prospective audience in that niche at the beginning.

If you have money, build out a site, rank for some keywords, survey your audience, find out what they’re REALLY searching for and then launch a product that fulfills their needs.

That way you can create the market and become one of the big fish.

Oh and btw, I’ve tried selling other people’s products and it’s a friggin nightmare.

Having control of your own product is far, far better.

For example, 2 weeks ago we were averaging $150 a day from a particular product which we are ranking #2 on Google for.

But then, 3 days ago, the vendor changed the copy on their landing page. Over the last 3 days we have made ZERO sales!!!

So that nice $150 a day has since turned into nothing.

So, just to recap, if you’re going to go into a niche with low competition but high search volume (and aren’t sure if you can make profit) you should:

a) See if you can dominate the niche on Google

b) Check that the market leaders are millionaires

Then go rank, work out what people are really searching for, create a product around that gap in the niche that solves their problem, launch it on your site, tinker with the landing page until it converts like a beast and then scale it up – i.e. pay for Facebook ads, Google Adwords etc to drive targeted traffic to your proven product.

 

Jason-Chesters

Jason Chesters
Website/Twitter

Finding a profitable niche can be a difficult task for affiliate marketers. Finding a profitable niche with little competition can be even harder, but there are a few steps you can take when trying to find the perfect niche for you.

A good place to start is Amazon. As you probably know, they sell pretty much anything, so the idea is to find out which products are popular; we can do this by using http://www.Amazon.com/gp/bestsellers

Down the left hand side you will see a list of categories. I usually start with something that I am actually interested in, or at least have had experience with. As we are expecting a baby any time now I like to think I know a little bit about babies at the minute. So I click on the babies’ category. This brings up a list of all of the best selling baby products on Amazon.

I have a quick look through and notice that a ‘full body pillow’ is one of the leading products, now I know that my girlfriend used one of these and she loved it. It has a lot of sales and a lot of good reviews on Amazon. It currently sells at $49.95 so it’s a decent price product to work with.

Next I fire up ‘LongTailPro‘ to check the competitiveness and too see what keywords we could target for this product! Having entered ‘Pillow for pregnancy’ the software brings up a load of related keywords.

Pillow for pregnancyFor less competitive keywords we are looking for a KC score below 35. The lower the score, the easier it is to rank for. As you can see, ‘Pillow for pregnancy’ looks like a good keyword to target.

For a keyword with a higher search volume but still quite easy to target is ‘pregnancy body pillow’ with a local monthly search of 5,400 and a KC score of 31.

The key to finding a good niche is to home in on a specific part of a niche. In the example above we started with babies and narrowed it down to a pillow for pregnancy. We then find as many long tail keywords about ‘pregnancy pillows’ as we can and this will then form the basis for our niche site.

Your job now is to go out and provide a better site/content than the competitors. If you think you can find a profitable niche that has no competition then you are very much mistaken. You also need to build a solid back link profile. Here you will find what some of the experts say about building links to new niche sites.

There are literally thousand of small niches like the one I found here. It took me about 10 minutes to find this using Amazon and LongTailPro.

If I were to go for this niche I would do a little further digging before starting, but it’s definitely a start and this method of finding a good niche with low competition is certainly effective!

Alan-Bleiweiss

Alan Bleiweiss
Website/Twitter

Affiliate marketing & related blogging is more challenging than ever.

It’s not gone, dead or impossible to succeed in, however with the efforts Google has initiated through repeated dramatically more severe penalties both algorithmically and manually the past couple years, it isn’t the cake-walk it used to be.

Finding those niche’s that are both profitable and have low competition are rare, few and far between.

What To Avoid

I’d also suggest that whatever niche you’re thinking about, step back and look at it objectively. If the overall industry the niche is in is typically mostly associated with spam or highly controversial claims about benefits to consumers, be very wary of that. Because even if there are legitimate businesses in that niche, you start right out the gate with a bigger challenge to prove trust, and to overcome the algorithmic/manual penally hurdle.

So payday loans, weight loss programs, cure all dietary supplements, gambling, newer MLM type programs – niches like these are red flags. Only the extreme edge-case affiliates in these niches are able to succeed these Days.

How To Research

One approach is to scour ad networks such as CJ (Formerly Commission Junction), LinkShare, and ShareASale. Really take the time to see what’s out there in those networks. Then do some serious research into various offerings. Google Trends data, cross-compared to Google Adwords Keyword Planner can show you overall volume trends held up against competitive costs for those advertising in each niches.

Apple, Amazon, and a host of extreme high trust brands with their own affiliate programs are also something to seriously consider.

Just because they’re big brands does’t mean every product they offer is in a very high competition scenario. You may be able to find products within their offerings that you can focus on – instead of going broad, go narrow in your choices. I’ave been advocating this for a few years already. In fact, SugarRae wrote a good article on this very concept not long ago…

http://sugarrae.com/affiliate-marketing/find-best-affiliate-programs-niche

Tactics & Methods

As someone who has always advocated sustainable solutions, my personal position hasn’t changed specific to affiliates through all the turmoil.

If you want to succeed, I’ve always believed it takes a significant effort to create a presence that’s not going to fall in the ‘churn-and-burn’ column. Now, that perspective is even more valid than ever.

So the most important considerations are going to be what can I focus on that will allow what I/we put out there to be seen as ‘clean’? When I say clean, I don’t mean “white hat” vs. “black hat”. I mean – however I/we go about it, can we create enough of an appearance of trust with what’s done? This then gets expanded to what I consider the 5 “super” signals to SEO – Quality, Uniqueness, Authority, Relevance & Trust (QUART).

Everything that’s created needs to pass that test. This doesn’t mean you need to create (artificially or naturally) authority and trust signals right out the gate. It does however, mean that when someone comes to a site/blog, do they perceive it to pass enough over the quality, uniqueness and relevance threshold? If so, authority and trust will follow.

Focused Efforts

Whether it’s an aggregate/lead gen site/blog, or a click-through

eCommerce/Affiliate code site, make it the highest quality possible. Come up with actual unique content across the board. Make it relevant in the Extreme.

Do this consistently over time, and you’re not only more likely to reap the rewards, you’ll have done so in a sustainable manner.

ANY shortcut you look to take will be more likely to burn you than ever before. So avoid overnight skyrocketing profits at all costs unless you hit on a very rare, truly viral piece of content. (real viral content can of course naturally bring skyrocketing visits and profits, however if it’s real, it’s natural and thus trustworthy.)

 

Christoph-C.-Cemper

Christoph Cemper
Website/Twitter

An easy route to success does not exist. Every effort you take is related to hard work and accurate analyses. You can start with general analyses to find out where you have opportunities to rank in the SERP.

The Link Research Tools include a tool to find the right keywords and niches to get better SERP listings. It is the Competitive Keyword Analyzer (in short CKA). This handy tool compares the top keywords in every niche and offers you an extensive result of which keywords are strongly competitive.

How to start? You simply enter up to 10 keywords, choose your search engine and language, to be sure that you select the correct market, and then you are already on the right track! A graphical heat map gives you the information about the top rankings for all the entered keywords and give you the option to recognize potential anomalies and thereby finding keywords, with which you can rank more easily.

You should always aim for a natural growth of links. Otherwise unnatural tops and large deviations should be avoided, although they can be natural too for instance if a company is in the media or starts a new marketing campaign.

Check out how many links you need in average per month to reach the top of the ranking for this specific keyword. Especially the detail information is interesting, if you hover your cursor over one of the entries you will see detailed information about the value, the average and the difference to the other rankings respectively.

Here you can see one example:

auto-insurance-christoph

In this example you can see that for the keyword “car insurance” the URL ranking “www.moneysupermarket.com” comprises of 44,718 backlinks. The average of the top 10 ranking pages for the keyword “car insurance” is 7,219 backlinks. A large deviation from the average is an irregularity, which is, in this particular example, marked dark in the heat map. For the URL “www.moneysupermarkt.com” the deviation from this average is +37,498 backlinks.

car-insurance-small-christoph

If you need a more detailed research you should start the Competitive Landscape analyzer (in short CLA) to find out more about your actual market situation. You can see at a glance if you need more FOLLOW or NOFOLLOW links or if you want to get more backlinks for the landing page or a subpage and so on. The goal is, again, to receive a natural link profile.

Tom Black wrote an article about how to use the CLA Tool for competition analysis. You can find it here: http://www.linkresearchtools.com/case-studies/competitive-domain-analysis/

comparison-metrics-christoph

Another tool for competition analyses is the Competitive Link Detox (CDTOX). With the CDTOX tool you have the option to check the risk of your own domain in comparison to your competitors. You can use this tool to see the risks of your particular niche and identify fast what you need to avoid. You can also use this tool for finding link opportunities. Which link with a lower risk does my competition have, which I definitely want?

Speaking of getting links:

When you have decided which niche and keyword is the right one for you, then you can start with your high quality link building and make sure that you only aim for high quality backlinks. Proof every potential link in the Link Detox Tool using the What-If mode. Making this part of your regular link risk management, you can make sure, that these links will not harm your rankings in the future.

Google is improving their ways to find bad backlinks, and so do we. With the help of the Link Detox rules, you can find out why a link was rated as riskier than another one. You also have the option to tweak these rules, if you do not agree and want to make some amendments. In order to get safe links it is absolutely necessary to evaluate every single link regarding its trustworthiness.

To sum it up: At first you need to find out where you have chances to get some rankings more easily. As a next step you will need to start the high quality link building and avoid spammy links. If you are not careful your rankings may drop instead of increase.

 

David-McSweeney

David McSweeney
Website/Twitter

Finding a profitable niche with little competition is tough, but most certainly can be done.

Exactly how you go about it depends on lots of factors, for example:

How you plan to monetise the site

If you are building for the short or the long term

Tactics vary depending on the above (and other factors), but for the moment I will concentrate on one specific method, which perversely involves first finding a niche with lots of competition!

The best way to explain it is to give an example.

Identifying A Problem

One of the best ways to make money online is to identify a common problem and then provide the solution to that problem.

Lots of people smoke and many of those smokers want to give up, but have a big problem doing so.

It’s no surprise therefore that the ‘stopping smoking’ niche is very profitable and has lots of competition.

A google UK search for ‘stop smoking’ (without the quotes) currently returns 63,400,000 results. Scrolling down those results we have a mixture of huge authority sites (NHS, major newspapapers etc), charities and various blog sites.

Using google’s keyword planner tool (free) we can see that the phrase receives an average of 12,100 searches in the UK each month and competition is high.

DavidMcSweeney-01

So, if we are going to set up a generic ‘how to stop smoking site’ it is going to be tough to get any traction and build authority. We’ll be lost in the smokey fog as it were.

But we know it’s a big, profitable niche so what can we do?

Getting Specific!

Well, what’s (probably) the biggest problem smokers face when trying to give up? I would wager it would be nicotine withdrawal.

Let’s do a search for ‘nicotine withdrawal’: –

DavidMcSweeney-02We now have just 711,000 results and google’s keyword planner tells us that there are an average of 1,000 UK searches for the phrase each month and competition is low.

DavidMcSweeney-03

So, if we set up a micro niche site (within the wider ‘stop smoking’ niche) dedicated specifically to nicotine withdrawal there is a good chance that we could be successful and build an authority site.

Building The Site

What sort of content could we develop for the site? Well google’s auto suggest will give us some handy tips on where to start!

DavidMcSweeney-04In terms of monetising, a search on Amazon for ‘nicotine withdrawal’ returns 2,096 products, so plenty to target there.

DavidMcSweeney-05From Small Acorns Do Mighty Oaks Grow

The beauty of starting with a specific subset of a niche is that it is much easier to establish your authority.

Once you establish that authority (and google begins to trust your site) you can start to expand out and over time…

… you can end up with the wider niche authority site!

So after 2 years our nicotine withdrawal site might have become the authority site for stopping smoking in general.

With that in mind, I would recommend avoiding going for keyword targeted domains and trying to build a brand whenever possible.

So don’t go for ‘howtogetovernicotinewithdrawal.com‘, go for something like ‘nicotino.com

Well, you could go for that if I hadn’t just registered it 😉

So, to summarise a good way to find a profitable niche with low competition is: –

1) Find a big niche

2) Identify a specific problem within that niche

3) Create an authority site based around solving that specific problem

4) Watch the money roll in…

5) Expand!

Good luck in creating your own successful niche affiliate site!

 

Benjamin-Beck

Benjamin Beck
Website/Twitter

For affiliate niches I am looking to quickly drive traffic and build authority to my niche website. Before I put the work into building out the site and niche I like to investigate the niche to see how hard it would be to build this traffic and authority.

I use BuzzSumo to find what content gets a lot of shares around the niche topic. This free tool also gives me a list of website who could publish my content.

I export this list of potential websites from BuzzSumo and import it into BuzzStream. I use this tool to see how authoritative the websites are and to quickly start emailing them to see if it would be possible to do a similar post with them.

If I find a list of websites that get a lot of social shares on my topic that are authoritative and respond positively to my outreach I have a good start for a niche website.

 

Francisco-Perez

Francisco Perez
Website/Twitter

Let me talk about finding the right product(s) to promote as I am sure many other experts will cover the keyword and niche research aspects.

The steps I will share with you next are by no means the only way to find and promote hot products, but it is a method I use often and has been working for me. It is not a very simple process, but it is highly effective. Even if you don’t implement exactly the same steps here, it should provide you with some ideas on how to improve your online sales.

Essentially, here are the steps that I apply to get me rolling…

  • Find or identify products using Google Insights For Search
  • Build keywords “around” the product by using Google’s keyword tool
  • With the help of Google Analytics or Clicky, use your top landing pages, or
  • Create niche websites for the “product” or “group of products” identified on the research phase.

Finding Products To Promote:

What we really are interested in promoting is preferably what people are looking for to buy. One of the best ways to promote products are those that are hot and breaking out on search queries and knowing what users are looking for is a great way to start. Do remember that “these” things vary from time to time so don’t insist on products that were hot a year ago. That is not a good practice, unless they are evergreen products and have not been updated or replaced by something “newer”.

You can read more about my methods here:

http://www.iblogzone.com/2011/12/find-hot-products-to-promote.html

 

Eric-Gati

Eric Gati
Website/Twitter

If you’re looking for a niche that is both profitable and doesn’t have a lot of competition, it’s going to take a bit of digging and research. Sometimes, you just need to play around with a keyword tool (such as Long Tail Pro) and experiment with different keywords. Take a look at the top 10 ranking sites in Google for any given keyword, and evaluate the competition. It’s the first page competition you’re trying to beat, not the hundreds of thousands (or millions) of other page results for the keyword.

What you will find is that, if a keyword has no competition, there’s usually a good reason for it. And of course, if you are looking at an extremely profitable niche, you will probably find lots of competition.

One possibly good approach is to target a slice of that niche – or a sub-niche, if you will. For example: “Life insurance” in general is extremely competitive. But what about life insurance for children? Probably also competitive, but maybe not as competitive. This may not be the best example, but you get what I’m saying.

At the end of the day, in my opinion, you should be focused on delivering the best quality content that you can. Don’t try to find areas of low competition. Find something you’re interested in, that is profitable, and go after the competition. Be better than them. This may be impossible in many established niches, but there are still plenty of niches out there where you can be part of the top 10 if you’re really dedicated to it.

 

I recommend using the tools we have today. Numbers don’t lie. That said, sources can be flawed. Use at least two tools to corroborate your information. In addition, search for products being sold in that niche on sites like Amazon/Clickbank. A niche can have a high search demand, but very little monetization potential. Spirituality is one such example. The point is that KW research is just one part of it, the other is monetization avenues.

I would also like to add that ranking a niche site with thin content is almost impossible today. An alternative may be to spend advertising dollars on PPC campaigns to drive traffic. As long as the arbitrage works (You earn $1.10 for every $1 spend), you can do this all day long.

 

Tadeusz-Szewczyk

Tadeusz Szewczyk
Website/Twitter

Finding a niche reminds me of the hunter-gatherer archetype we are still similar to at least when it comes to our brains. The problem with finding not yet crowded niches is that you need to find uninhabited land. On the Web for years it was easy to do so. There were many niches left to dominate and monetize. Just think about the MMO “niche” itself before John Chow appeared on the scene.

Now here comes the deal: to be first today you can’t just search for an existing niche you have to create one.

When I started out in blogging several years ago I almost did it right instinctively. I claimed a niche for myself by blogging about SEO 2.0 at a time when that term has been barely mentioned by a few other bloggers and nobody covered it in-depth. The second part of the deal is to come up with a product from day one.

Either you have a product yourself and you use affiliates to spread the word about it or you use an existing product (range) but sell to a new and different audience.

When I started writing about SEO 2.0 it was a unique combination of blogging, social media and search. Things like inbound marketing weren’t popular yet back then. I tried selling SEO and web dev products to my readers but it was like selling steam engines to rocket scientists. It was preaching to the converted.

Most people had web hosting by then and my audience already knew about conventional SEO. Start with the product you want to sell and then think about the audience. Then let the audience arrive directly or via social media and ultimately let other people search for your new brand, product or name. Come up with terms to name them and then you will be first to rank for those.

 

Harris-Schachter

Harris Schachter
Website/Twitter

I recommend getting hyper-specific with segmentation for your affiliate efforts. The parent websites of most products/services are barely targeted at all in order to avoid excluding anyone from being a potential customer. For example there might be a website that sells dog training equipment to everyone who owns a dog. This strategy is casting a wide net, and therefore is likely facing stiff competition.

However if you’re an affiliate marketer for this site’s products, get down and dirty with segmentation. Maybe you find out that owners of English Bulldogs have a higher income than people who own Pitbulls, and are more likely to buy tons of dog accessories. In this case, position your own site to target English Bulldog training equipment.

You’ll have less competition in the SERPS and likely have higher conversion than the parent site because it is so specific. Obviously the site itself should be designed with the right content and cues to make English Bulldog owners feel like they have found the definitive source for their dog training needs. This is just one example of how you can get hyper-specific to find a profitable niche.

 

Ramsay-Taplin

Ramsay Taplin
Website/Twitter

This is a really good question but I would challenge the idea that you have to find something that has low competition in order to be profitable. Sure, it’s easier if there isn’t much competition but often you find that the competitive markets have enough room for a few players because the profits and traffic levels are so good. Think Subway vs McDonalds vs KFC.

What I really try to focus on is building something distinctive – something that stands out. For example, if you’re promoting an affiliate product you might have a very catchy advert or promotion method. Or if you’re doing it on your blog you’ll have an epic post with tools and videos and so on like my 9,000-word article on how to start a blog.

I’m sure there’ll be heaps of awesome tips in this post about keyword research and understanding Google so instead I’d like to encourage bloggers to look for new methods of traffic. A cheap advert on BlogAds can tap into targeted traffic and save you months of link building heartache.

 

Doug Cunnington

Doug Cunnington
Website/Twitter

My experience is primarily in the affiliate area as it relates to the Amazon Associate program. So, I’ll stay in my area of expertise.

The overall recommendation is to take your time when choosing your niche. Build up a long list of potential keywords and niches. Use tools like Long Tail Pro Platinum for your research and be sure to manually evaluate the results too.

The key is to take your time. Don’t rush. Picking the wrong niche can really waste time and effort. It can be discouraging.

Once you have a list that you think is good, find a person or two that are more experienced than you with niche sites. Ask them for a few minutes to review the keywords and talk over the pros and cons for each of the keywords. Getting a 2nd & 3rd opinion can be super valuable – people can see things that you missed.

The competition is fierce for niche sites that have reviews for products sold on Amazon. It has been trending that way for a while and when Spencer Haws at Niche Pursuits published his case study on Amazon Associates in 2013 the amount of competition went up.

With that said, the competition is tougher than it used to be. It’s going to take 4 to 6 months to get your site to rank within the top 10 results in Google. The pros that know what they are doing take that long to rank a site.

A quick note about picking a profitable niche of products in Amazon. Amazon pays out commissions based on the number of items sold. So it’s great to have expensive products so you get a higher commission. You can also get a higher commission if you sell a lot of products. The sweet spot is to find a niche that has a range of product prices, ranging from very low to high. The range I like to find is around $10 on up to $200. If you can find something that has a lot of products around $100, that is perfect.

 

Chris Dyson

Chris Dyson
Website/Twitter

I think that there are a lot less “easy” money making niches out there than just a couple of years ago and that’s not just because Google have clamped down heavily on link spam and thin content which many affiliates relied heavily upon for a long time.

The reason that there are fewer easy niches is simply because SEO is a zero sum game. Early adopters have the upper hand in online marketing. So if you want to give yourself any chance you have to take action – fast!

Whenever I am looking for a niche to enter I generally accept that whatever I plan to do needs to deserve to be ranking number one, so if you want to get in to a lucrative space like web hosting you better invest in a solid web design, have a serious content strategy and deep pockets for all the links you’re going to need to build.

Good tools for Niche hunting:

1. SEMRush

2. Longtail Pro

3. Google Trends

4. Ahrefs/Majestic SEO

That said there are new trends every few months and being the first on a rising trend can mean the difference between making $XX,XXX per month and $XX per month from a niche site. For example if you look at the rise of popular games such as League of Legends you will see there is a huge demand for various cheats, tips and add-ons, getting on a trend like that early could mean a great ROI.

 

Josh Escusa

Josh Escusa
Website/Twitter

Finding a niche that is profitable and has little SEO competition is all about doing your keyword research correctly. Don’t expect this to be easy. If you want to go the free route, the tools that I would recommend for finding low competition niches is the Google Keyword planner, the Moz bar, and Majestic SEO or Open Site Explorer.

Use the keyword planner to search for keywords that have high search volumes. If you’re planning on putting going the adsense route, you’ll need keywords that have “high adwords competition” and high CPC. If you’re planning to sell affiliate products, you should search for keywords that have buying keywords in them such as “Buy blue chips” or “Blue Chip Reviews”.

Use the Moz bar to scope out the competitions Page Authority and Domain Authority. The lower those numbers are in the top 10 spots of Google, the easier your competition will be.

Use Majestic SEO to scope out the competitions backlinks. If the competition is using spammy links such as blog comments and forum posts, then chances are that you can overtake them eventually.

If you’d like to save yourself some time, I recommend using tools such as LongTailPro (LTP). LTP will allow you to do almost all of the above and it will speed up the process by several fold.

 

Joseph Ho

Joseph Ho
Website/Twitter

The keywords for the niche must be at least 1000 search volumes.

I will then use market samurai to check the competition, basically if I see something like the below screenshot i will avoid because there are too many competition.

Too many red (colour) means a lot of competition going on.

image-joseph-ho-o1I will then continue to do my keyword research and find something like the below screenshot which had many green colour.

image-joseph-ho-o2Then I will look at the BLP ( total page backlinks pointing at that URL) lesser and more green meaning less competition on the SERP.

 

Kevin Muldoon

Kevin Muldoon
Website/Twitter

I am not sure that it is necessary to have little competition in the SERPS in order to generate traffic and income. Of course, the blue ocean strategy does work, so if you can develop something that hasn’t been done before, you should do well.

However, I feel that affiliate marketers and bloggers can do well simply by focusing on providing good value to visitors; whether that be good content, useful tools, or recommended resources.

Forget about search engines and focus all of your attention on providing a great resource and targeted traffic will arrive.

The fact is that most other affiliate marketers and bloggers are looking for shortcuts to success. Yet by building something tangible, something valuable, you can increase your chances of making a profit.

Consider an affiliate program that promotes an expensive medical product. One way to promote the product would be to create a landing page and send traffic to it via Adwords, Facebook, or 7Search.

Alternatively, you could create an information website with over 30 pages of useful content that helps your targeted audience. In general, these visitors will be much likely to be interested in the product than someone who clicked on an advertisement.

Like many other internet marketers, I have made money by luck. I once uploaded a mirror website from an affiliate company on a separate domain. It took me 10 minutes to set it up, yet it made me thousands of dollars.

Events like that are more of a fluke than anything else. Most of my success has came from building useful websites and recommending affiliate products to the targeted traffic those websites generate.

Perhaps it is a boring “system”; but it works. If you continue to offer value to people, traffic will increase, and affiliate income will increase as a result of that; regardless of how competitive your niche is.

 

Marc Andre

Marc Andre
Website/Twitter

I tend to take a different approach. I don’t really look for small niches with low competition. I look for popular niches with a lot of sites/blogs, products, and a large potential audience. When I do keyword research I like Longtail Pro, but generally I do that to find topics for specific posts or pages rather than trying to find a niche for a site.

With a popular topic you will definitely have competition, but if you can take a unique angle or find a way to do something a little bit different you can still stand out. Plus, you have a very large potential audience.

There are also a lot more opportunities for link building, writing guest posts on other sites, finding affiliates to promote your own products, and finding advertisers and affiliate products to monetize your site. It will take more work to have success in a popular niche/industry, but the income potential is much higher.

 

Dave Schneider

Dave Schneider
Website/Twitter

I haven’t been building niche sites as of late, but when I did I used Long Tail Pro, which is a software for keyword research.

I would brainstorm different keywords (whatever popped into my head) and then use the tool to find keywords with a competitiveness of 30 or less hat I thought was good.

 

 

Jon Haver

Jon Haver
Website/Twitter

My #1 strategy for finding a profitable niche is to not focus on keywords first but focus on a problem first….what I mean by this is that we don’t get financially rewarded more for helping to solve problems than simply for ranking for a keyword.

If you can find a high paying problem and create a website that truly helps to solve that problem you have the foundation for a profitable site.

Once you have the problem and solution figured out then it is time to check on the keywords, their search volume and competition. Both of these are most easily accomplished in my opinion with the tool LongTailPro.

 

Chris Guthrie

Chris Guthrie
Website/Twitter

I just use a combination of SEMRush.com, Moz.com and LongTailPro.com. Ultimately I never enter a niche unless I think I can win so the competition never really scares me that much.

The only stuff I don’t like to deal with is the super high competition things like weight loss, credit cards etc.

Not sure if that’s sufficient but that’s all I really do.

 

Zac Johnson

Zac Johnson
Website/Twitter

 

Finding the right niche is always crucial for the success and life of your online business. In most cases you are going to find something that you have a slight interest in, otherwise it will become a complete drag and you won’t put in as much effort and it will become a job in itself. The easiest way to see if a niche is worth pursuing is to search keywords around it on Google, if you see ads appearing for it, then you know advertisers are spending money to get exposure.

LongtailPro is a great tool for anyone looking to spend a few bucks. Google Keyword Planner is another solution for anyone looking for a free alternative. Once you find a niche, be sure to research monetization methods such as affiliate marketing, clickbank and creating your own product or service around it.

 

Adam Riemer

Adam Riemer
Website/Twitter

This is Adam from AdamRiemer.Me, and here’s my response.

The most important tool is your gut. You can have all of the experience in the world, but if your gut tells you no, this won’t work, I can’t write 100 posts, articles, develop infographics, etc,,, you are probably going in the wrong direction. The next thing you can do is search through top (insert number) lists and find urls that are abandoned, expired or no longer exist.

This helps you to have a site with at least some possibly good backlinks and can give you a head start. The last thing is to find multiple options for monetization.

Having one clean merchant is not enough. You need at least two or three where at least one works with no coupon sites ranking for url + coupons, toolbars, etc… and two to fall back on. Make sure you can run ad sense, have enough traffic volume available for advertisers and future media buying networks and also that you care enough about the niche.

If all of that is not in place, there is no way I would move into the niche, unless my gut told me it is the right one.

 

Justin Cooke

Justin Cooke
Website/Twitter

We’re seeing a ton of success in the medical education space recently, where website builders and entrepreneurs are building geo-targeted content as lead generation platforms for affiliates like Quinstreet. One thing I particularly like about this niche is that it’s attached to a high-growth industry (medical education) that is profitable and expected to continue to expand over the next 5+ years.

I would look to target a similar strategy in a parallel education niche. (legal, financial, etc.) You can use Long Tail Pro Platinum to do a quick analysis of the difficulty of the SERP or a tool like MOZ Premium. You can take those that score less than 45-50 with either tool and investigate further until you have a niche that looks like a winner.

 

Stuart Walker

Stuart Walker
Website/Twitter

Despite being a guy that reveals a lot of niches (like the 1109 I revealed here for example – http://nichehacks.com/1109-profitable-niche-markets/) I don’t have a specific strategy for finding them but rather a mix of different ways.

A lot I simply discover by having my ‘niche hat’ on at all times and paying attention to what’s going on around me and taking note of things I see, hear, read, talk about etc or things that happen in my day to day life (problems I face, activities I do and so on) – you can literally discover dozens of niches a day by doing this.

If I’m on the hunt for niches for site ideas or to create posts about I might go browse categories in Amazon and drill down into the sub-categories to see what I can find.

Or go to PLR sites and see what ebooks or articles they have created as they tend to create them around in demand niches / problems so those can be good for inspiration.

Tools like LongTailPro and Keyword Snatcher can be useful too but those tend to work better when you already have some niche and keyword ideas.

I talked about 101 resources to find hot niche ideas here http://nichehacks.com/101-resources-discover-hot-niche-ideas/ and they range from browsing Clickbank to scouring documentary channels to using Flippa.com and Magazine.com to checking Google Trends.

There’s niches everywhere if you just open your eyes.

As for finding niches that have low competition in the search results…well that’s not what I do…I like big competitive niches as it means there’s lots of demand, money being spent, tons of products on sale and more being released every day, and easy to find target audience, lots of advertisers and so on.

You just have to work out what your unique angle / sub-niche is to compete.

I’m not interested in niches where the only possible way to get traffic is through search engine rankings as I won’t build a business around Google which is unpredictable and I have no control over – you’re always just one algorithm update away from being out of business.

I prefer long term and sustainable sites that aren’t reliant on one source of traffic. Sites that bring in traffic from blogs, forums, social media, email, paid, video and so on not just SEO.

 

Andrew Shotland

Andrew Shotland
Website/Twitter

Pretty straightforward.

1. Get to know an industry and read a lot abut it

2. Study the trends so you have a good idea where the industry is going

3. Target the next big thing in that industry before everyone else does by talking about it on your blog and promoting your ideas to other influencers who might be interested.

Here’s a real-life example:

I do a lot of work in the local search industry (it helps if your new niche is related to one you currently work in). In 2012, it was clear that Apple was going to launch Apple Maps on iOS. Given my experience with Google Maps, I knew there were going to be a lot of questions about how Apple Maps works for businesses. And given my experience with Apple, I was pretty confident that Apple would not be giving out a lot of helpful information.

So I launched Apple Maps Marketing, the first and only blog about how to market your business on Apple Maps. Over two years I have only put up about 30 posts on that site – there’s still not a lot of great info out there about Apple Maps – but it generates several thousand highly qualified visitors per month (starting from month 1!) and is a great source of leads for my SEO business.

 

Daniel Scocco

Daniel Scocco
Website/Twitter

A good strategy in my opinion is to go after niches that most webmasters ignore, either because they are not aware of or because they are not interested in.

For instance, most webmasters focus on online stuff. They know the Internet, so they want to make money focusing online stuff like ‘making money online’ or ‘online tshirts’. Few of them think about local stuff, like creating websites to promote local stores and businesses. I have seen people who had a lot of success building websites that cater to and promote local businesses like restaurants, dentists and the like.

Second, most webmasters are men, so they will naturally focus on men’s stuff (e.g., cars, finance, business, gadgets). However, at least half of the web users are women. This means that there is a gap between supply and demand as far as web pages go. The opportunity, therefore, is to create websites that are focused on women’s stuff (e.g., fashion, bags, shoes, makeup). Again, I saw people who did extremely well using this strategy.

 

Bill-Sebald

Bill Sebald
Website/Twitter

Great question! One I’m not sure I have the best answer for (so I’m certainly interested in reading this post when it’s complete). My affiliate days have slowed down as of late, but my last few active sites are mostly driven by my own interests like music, instruments, traveling, or beer.

Years ago I could take a niche I cared nothing about and write (or buy) content valuable enough for Google to trust the site. But that content tends to stall now (or, get burned by Panda). So my few remaining affiliate sites are really driven by things I want to personally write about, or something I’m already financially invested in.

Either way, I tend to still find opportunities with search data. I’d follow footprints until I find a potential gem, then qualify it. I’ll think about niche products, like unique gaming accessories, or aftermarket Harley performance parts, or specific productivity apps, or boutique guitar pedals, or microbrewery swag, (etc.) and build out keywords for them.

I’ll then run these keywords through something like Advanced Web Rankings (with the research tab) to get the search and PPC data or something like Scrapebox to get organic competition. Next I might take some keywords that now look like opportunity, then cross-check with Scrape box or an SEMrush competitor report (depending on how big the niche is since the smallest stuff won’t chart here) to see what kind of sites are already out there. Even if there’s a low competition metric, there might be some heavy hitters in that small count. I suppose I do a lot of the qualifying by hand.

I haven’t done this yet, but a step worth considering at this point might be to take those competitors you’re now wondering about and run them through URLprofiler to see if they’re easier to beat. Profitless is an awesome way to get a ton of site metrics quickly. I’ve been getting into it lately.

I’ve also had luck finding reasonably worthy topics in Google Suggest aggregators like keywordtool.io or Ubersuggest. I still think the game is the same – make as educated a guess as you can before you start sweating over just any old affiliate site, and hope (at a minimum) that at least one hits and offsets the others. Don’t skimp on the data analysis.

 

Daniel-Cuttridge

Daniel Cuttridge
Website/Twitter

There’s so many ways to find a niche, one thing we often do is go and find a good keyword research tool and enter in some basic ideas we have and see what it comes up with.

For me this isn’t a good idea for a lot of different reasons and most of all because the data puts you off good niches.

When looking for a niche we aren’t looking for a single keyword or a group of keywords that look easy to rank for.

The most important part is the commercial viability and the level of competition.

I don’t even pay attention to the number of competing web pages in total, my preference is to look at the top 10 for that keyword and that’s just google.com

You can niche down into entirely different countries where the TLD is important…

Google UK will always give preference to co.UK sites and so the competition will always be different even if there are familiar faces there.

I start off my niche research the same as many others… Coming up with ideas from my own interests, fears, wants and so on, as well as looking through Amazon, Flip and other sites where you can find great ideas.

It’s the second step that I do differently and for me I pay attention to if there are advertisers there, if the top 10 sites contain any sites such as YouTube as while sites like this have strong metrics on the whole, for a specific keyword they indicate weakness in the top 10.
This should always be verified by doing some research on that page with a site explorer though.

If you find a niche that’s got money in it and the top 10 aren’t extremely competitive with many other CEO’s competing then the odds are that you can make it work with the right SEO strategy and this is what it all comes down to.

Pay attention to the CPC for a keyword once you get to that stage, the kinds of products available on advertising sites and see if you can sell the same as an affiliate for Amazon or as an affiliate through an affiliates network.

I like to use Digger as a site to search for multiple affiliate offers from different networks at the same time.

All aspects are important such as keyword research, deciding if there is enough search volume to get an ROI on your running costs and initial outlay.

The main thing is to watch that top 10 very closely and see what the commercial viability is.
Worst case scenario is the niche is too competitive which means you just select a smaller part of the niche and ‘niche down’ which can always be expanded on later.

 

Josh Bachynski

Josh Bachynski
Website/Twitter

I make 15 – 30k per month on affiliate sites. Finding a good affiliate market is actually very hard.

— Google is trying to do away with such sites, unless they also provide a unique and compelling view point on the product as determined by other web viewers…

— Any affiliate market where there is good money will have lots of competition.

— Many affiliate companies are scammers and do not pay out commissions properly.

As such, the short answer (to what could very well be a book) is this:

1) Determine if you can even get into the field or should do something else – if you need money now, then don’t. It will take 1 year to make any money at this, maybe longer

2) Simple SWOT analysis – as you SHOULD do for any business venture: — what are your strengths, your unique abilities. Are you hot? Charismatic? Funny?

A boring website with reviews of products will NOT likely work – you need to get creative to be long term.

If you do not have any skills like this, then you will need to go black hat and this means you will be very high risk, and will cost a lot of $$$ to get started.

3) You need to find a combination of

a) products that people want

versus…

b) affiliate companies that actually pay out

a) Products:

If you have some means to generating TONS of traffic then a bigger market like Amazon could work for you – but this is getting difficult — otherwise you will want to go for ye Nolde tried, tested and true vice and vanity products: dick pills, weight loss pills, anti aging cream, etc. these rise and fall – get in on ones that are newish but will last long term – ones that are mentioned on Dr Oz, or fad ones, will be gone in a year you will need to run 5 sites if you are going to go with those kinds of fad products or find a way to make one giant site that talks about them all in a way that is very valuable for people.

b) You need to do research on what affiliate companies are out there, selling what products – check the reputation of both the products and the companies – if you find a little bit of bad press on the products, this is fine. However, if you find tons of bad press on the products, or any bad press on the companies shafting affiliates, then you don’t want to get involved with that one.

4) now you want to check the SERP of the list of products you think you could promote. Each SERP will typically consist of:

— the top 5 about XYZ site

— the emd

— the buy here site

— the free / special offer site

— the video review

— the “it’s a scam read this first site” etc.

(or some combination) you need to target the weakest one.

If Amazon and eBay and Wallmart are there then don’t think you can take them on. You can’t. Check each in ahrefs to see the links/no follow links/ and social shares (likes or +1s not as important) each has – you will need to beat this.

Check each site to see the design and user interface – yours will need to be better than this. Check each site to see how interesting / funny / sexy the content is — yours will need to be better than this (note – if you have no skills you will need money to buy the skills from someone else to make the content for you).

If you have neither you will need to look for another job :-) Sorry, this is just the way it is however, if you are dedicated, but don’t have skill / talent – then you will need to go more black hat – short, partial match domain in .net, .com, .org, or a regional ccTLD that you tell WMT is actually for a larger area.

Otherwise everyone needs:

You will need a secure server / cms kept up to date.

You will need a way to gain non-search phrase dofollow / nofollow / and mentions on other sites that DO NOT look like they sell links (like guest blog posts from sites that do not sell links) – or have any other search phrase anchors either. This is expensive and has diminishing returns.

You will need the forums, blogs, and social accounts that are into your topic area talking about you in a positive way (in dofollow, nofollow, or mentions – that’s fine – google tracks it all these days) and not a negative way.

You will need to learn about negative SEO and how to protect yourself and use it – too big to go into here – email me. The more spammy black hat way is high risk and will not last long – you will need many sites running to mitigate your risk.

The more “we have something very valuable on this site and so people are naturally sharing it and talking about it more than the black hat site” will last a bit longer but is also fairly high risks as well IF you start to fail on your very valuable content.

Conclusion:

If you have chosen the right company and right products, after you start to get rankings, the money will start to come in. Maybe even enough to live off of – invest it wisely into the next business idea that is more stable.

 

Tom-Harkman

Tom Harkman
Website/Twitter

A lot of people have had success building sites around a single type of product with an EMD or PMD, but what if your site takes off in the SERPS? You’ll have a site that Google likes and have nowhere to grow it.

This is why my preferred strategy is to find a product or topic with low competition that also has a larger parent niche with a deeper pool of keywords that I can target at a later time.

I follow a 5 step process to find these niches.

1) Use Fresh Key to scrape Google and Amazon’s auto-suggest and generate a list of seed keywords.

2) Paste the list of keywords in to Long Tail Pro Platinum. LTP by itself is a limited tool. You really need the Platinum subscription to enter your keyword list to calculate monthly searches and the all-important Keyword Competition (KC) metric.

3) Calculate the KC for the top results in LTP and favorite anything under 30 that has a few hundred searches per month or more.

4) Analyze the SERP top 10 results for each potential keyword. Don’t overlook this step. You don’t want to wastes weeks and months trying to rank in niches dominated by big brands or e-Commerce sites.

5) Once you have a niche with low KC and monthly searches, spend time researching the parent niche for related topics and products, using steps 1-4.

When I find a niche that I feel could easily grow into a 30-50+ page site, I can be confident that I can will develop it into a profitable site.

 

Alistair Cochrane

Alistair Cochrane
Website/Twitter

The words “affiliate marketers” and “bloggers” suggest to me very different business approaches and the advice I’d give to each of those groups is very different.
For a blogger finding his niche is something totally different from an affiliate marketer doing keyword research to try to get visitors to a web page.

If anything I’d think a blogger should be looking for spaces where there IS a lot of competition.

Competition is a sure sign that there are people interested in the subject, this is a good thing.

Certainly I don’t think a blogger should be picking his niches from keyword research or his ability to rank a keyword. Bloggers need to think bigger than that.

If a blogger is only chasing easy to rank for keyword phrases then he is focusing on the wrong thing.

I think blogging is more about social than search, and you definitely need to be thinking about real people and creating real relationships and not in terms of visitor numbers.

Bloggers need to gain respect, credibility and develop a recognizable identity.

I don’t really count myself as a blogger so I’ll stop with the blogging tips there.

I can talk with a little more authority about affiliate marketing with regard to niche websites as I have made money using search engine optimization to create websites that get traffic through Google.

To help with keyword research I have used Long Tail Platinum and recently I switched to SE Cockpit.

Long Tail Platinum is an excellent program and it’s a major reason why I have been able to start earning money through niche websites.

If you are starting out I highly recommend Long Tail Platinum it will help you find keywords that you have a reasonable chance of ranking for.

SE Cockpit is great because it allows you to check the competition for 1000’s of keywords fast.

All visitors are not created equal, their value depends how likely they are to buy and the cost of the product or service and your rate of commission.
When I make niche websites I look for keywords that have commercial intent. For example, “best blue widget” or “blue widget reviews”.

These types of keywords indicate that the searcher is interested in buying a blue widget but are just not sure which one to buy yet.

BUT DON’T make the mistake of thinking too much about keywords and SERP listings.

Yes spend time finding a good looking keyword, with a reasonable amount of traffic where the SERP is not showing really strong sites.

But realize that much of your traffic is going to come from the long tail keywords that you didn’t even think about. They call it the long tail for a reason, it’s long.

There are so many keywords that people will type into Google, make sure you are writing long articles to try to capture more of that long tail traffic.

The more words you have in your article the more chance you will have the words that the searcher is looking for.

Ultimately, earning from niche sites comes down to 2 things. Link juice and content. Everything else is just tactics and optimization.

You increase your earnings by increasing the amount of content that you own and/or the amount of link juice that your pages are holding.

Successful niche site builders are not running scared of competition. They are seeking out competition because that is where the money is. They are then building sites with long articles and making sure that those articles have the required amount of links to rank. The question of competition is, how many links is this going to cost me to rank and can I afford it?

Successful niche site builders are not looking for freebies they are looking for value-for-links. Because generally links cost either money or effort to obtain. Links are the currency of search engine traffic.

Keyword research for the successful niche site builder is about how to spend his links wisely.

If you are doing keyword research and you are not in this mindset, you’re kinda in the store without any money trying to find the best thing for free.

My instinct tells me that the people who are failing are simply ignoring the links half of the equation, or are only obtaining poor quality links for their websites.

So my final recommendation is to work on increasing your ability to point authoritative links at your sites. Then hit the store with a big fat wallet and take your pick of the most attractive niches in your price range.

 

Marko-Saric

Marko Saric
Website/Twitter

First I would say keep your expectations in check. Thanks to all the buzz about making money online people have too high expectations and think it’s all quick and easy. It is not. Most people fail. And those who do not fail work dedicated for a longer period of time before they actually see any results. Be prepared to put in the effort.

In terms of finding a niche I recommend looking inwards instead of looking outwards. Don’t worry about competition or even making money at first. Look to find your sweet blogging spot – http://howtomakemyblog.com/how-to-turn-your-passion-into-a-blog/ . You do that by looking into these three areas:

A niche topic that you really love and care about – What gets you up in the morning?

A niche topic that you are really good at – What skills and abilities do you have?

A niche topic that there is interest and demand for – Does this actually solve real problems that people have?

sweet-blogging-spot

 

Adam-Roseland

Adam Roseland
Website/Twitter

I am actually going to refer to a conversation I had with my kids the other day… and it is based on a quote: “Stop competing with others, and start competing with yourself.”

Now, the reason I bring this up is because I asked my kids what it meant to them, and the whole time I was thinking about how it would apply to marketing. So many people in the marketing space try to look to others and see what they are doing, and then copy them… because they think they are competing with them. In reality, the only person you should be competing with is yourself, and trying find ways to make your product/service/marketing better each and every day.

So my advice is “don’t follow the crowd” when researching niches. Stop thinking about what everyone else might want… and think about a topic you have interest in. Buy a domain, get a web host, install wordpress and start writing.

Create articles and blog posts around the topic, and include offers… but here is the big thing… take a perspective that nobody else has!! If everyone is talking about how the apocalypse is coming… write your content about why it never will. Or if people are writing about the most comfortable bed to sleep in… write about which bed will make your friends jealous when they see how cool it is.

This perspective won’t please everyone, but what it will do is define a niche for you… and you will find “like minded individuals” that will grow to like and trust your content. Once you have that… getting them to buy is easy!

 

Matthew-Paulson

Matthew Paulson
Website/Twitter

I’m not sure that a good niche is defined by having relatively low competition on SERPS for the keywords you’re targeting. That’s like asking “What’s the easiest possible way I can get Google to send me any amount of traffic?” Do you think Pat Flynn or John Lee Dumas are asking “What low competition keywords can I rank for to get people to listen to my podcast? Not so much.

The real goal should be to identify a niche that combines passion and profits. You need to work on something you’re excited about, otherwise you probably will get bored of working on the project before you see any real results. However, you also need to work on a project that there’s good revenue potential for.

Even if you’re totally passionate about making sour cream and raisin pies, it’s probably not a niche that’s going to lead to huge financial gains. Instead, select a niche that you have some interest in but also has some real economic possibilities.

In other words, are people that are interested in this niche willing to spend money on relevant products and services?

If the answer is yes, you might have a winner. If you select the right niche, you’ll be able to position yourself as an expert and build partnerships that send much more valuable traffic than search engine referrals for low-value search terms.

For example, I have a friend that’s currently making six-figures creating video courses for golfers. He’s a PGA certified coach and is incredibly passionate about the golf industry. Also, golfers are very much willing to pay money to improve their game. He isn’t worried about any individual low competition keyword, but he’s positioned himself as an expert well in a niche that combines both his passions and profits.

Because of his dedication to his niche, he’s been able to create partnerships and generate traffic from other sources that are far more valuable than referrals from the keyword “blue golf shoes.”

 

Dennis-Seymour

Dennis Seymour
Website/Twitter

There are different ways for affiliates to make money online, even in the more competitive markets due to all the changes that have happened the past couple of years, especially in the SEO side of marketing. So it’s really a great time to learn and make money online off of affiliate marketing.

Since the question is about finding a niche with few competitors, I’ll break this down into a list of actionable tips:

Tip 1: Find a Market You’d Like To Create Content For

As cliche as this might sound, you will find yourself sticking with a niche that you like.

True, a niche that makes you money, CAN make you stick with it but in the long run, you will find yourself out of ideas or you might find yourself neglecting it for other projects.

If you like to be part of the health market, look at it horizontally and vertically. Big markets like that will actually have more opportunities for you.

For Example:

Health -> Nutrition -> Recipes -> Healthy Food -> Vegan Food -> Chinese Vegan Food -> etc.

Tip 2: Crap Out Keywords

This is the key to finding those niches in the market where you will have few competitors. It’s where you can offer a different take, a different style. It’s where you can develop your blog’s brand and in an SEO standpoint, it’s how you will build trust and relevance.

You can use free web apps like http://keywordshitter.com/ (sorry for the language) or paid apps like Keyword Researcher.

There are a LOT of keyword research tools out there and what these tools have in common is that you will be able to find good keyword phrases that people are actually looking for, or typing in. These are suggested keywords from Google’s results or Google Instant.

See for yourself, type in something in your browser or on Google, you will see suggestions there, right?

It means people are looking something using those keyword phrases.

And the beauty here is that these keywords usually have lower competition. The trade-off is, you have lower search numbers BUT when you add them all up, you get more traffic plus you are more optimized for conversion.

Note: I do use other keyword tools like Market Samurai (I’m old school like that) and Google’s Keyword Planner if I need more data.

Tip 3: Organize

You know how sites like Wikihow get traffic? They pump out semi useful content for stuff people are already searching for!

I mean, they even made an article about “how to drink water from a bottle” – because people look for something like that!! But seriously, we won’t be able to sell much with keywords like that BUT it can still get you traffic, which can lead to your other content.

So with all your keywords, you should start organizing them into groups. You can eliminate or group together extremely similar keyword phrases.

Note: If you are going the SEO route, then you can start your competitive research here. Tools like Market Samurai, Micro Niche Finder, Open Site Explorer from Moz, URL Profiler etc can all help you gather data and check if the competition isn’t too hard.

Tip 4: There’s a Product For That

A lot of people will recommend to start with a product first. I would advice that back in the day, but nowadays, there are products for everything. There’s probably even an app for whatever that niche is.

Once you are looking for products, don’t just immediately stick with Amazon, Clickbank, CJ or whatever.

Try to go directly to the supplier’s site, odds are, they can offer you a higher commission. It’s just more convenient to use the big affiliate networks.

Note: Cookies – be sure that your program uses cookies. It will get you more sales, even if it’s not about the product they clicked on.

Tip 5: Content that ANSWERS

These low competition keywords usually have lack luster content ranking. Do your research and identify all the holes in the existing content.

Ask the right questions, play it out in your mind. You will see what content you need to create and who you will be catering to.

CREATE CONTENT that will actually help searchers. Don’t be a generic WikiHow. Be useful. Be a resource.

The Rest: (Not Part of the Question)

Tip: Content Calendar

Since we are talking about content, be sure to use a content calendar, otherwise known as an editorial calendar. It will make you more consistent and your readers will expect regular content from you.

Tip: Analytics/Tracking/Testing

You need to have Webmaster Tools and Analytics installed. It’s required!

You’ll be able to find other keywords and how people on your site move around. You’ll be able to craft a new content plan that would funnel them down to a conversion for you.

When you start to get serious (and depending on your niche) you can use tools like Unbounce, Optimizely, Visual Website Optimizer etc.

Tip: Promotion

Understand where you will get your traffic from.

There are NUMEROUS ways to gain traffic online.

All the courses out there, the forum posts, the tutorials, etc, they will all just confuse you.

Pick one type and stay with it. Learn it and hone your craft.

I’m not saying that you should limit yourself. I’m just speaking from experience.

Learning SEO alone is hard enough. Mixing it up with Social Media Marketing? Media Buying?

Too much information will just stop you from doing anything – and with affiliate marketing, you already have to think about your niche, your products, research, your content, support, etc. That’s too much information already, especially for a beginner.

Once you are accustomed to one type of traffic source, then you can diversify. Odds are, you already have traffic coming in and doing the other things will just increase it even more.

Tip: Retain Your Traffic

Build an Email List. Invest with an auto-responder like AWeber, Getresponse or MailChimp.

Statistically, popups are still the best performers when it comes to getting signups, but using HelloBar or ManyContents on your site is also a great way to get subscribers.

RSS is still useful but email is still the way to go. It will bring back users to your site and you can market to them repeatedly. It’s basically an ATM if you have a good relationship with your subscribers.

You can also use social media to retain these users so be sure you have social pages for your brand.

There’s really no easy way to success. It takes a lot of work if you really want to succeed with affiliate marketing. Finding the niche is just one part of the equation.

Once you see something working, be sure to push promotions even further. Eventually, you will start to work less as you gain more ground.

Too much thinking will only lead to inaction.

Just dive in and start working. Get some experience and keep learning.

There’s nowhere to go but up.

 

Larry-Kim

Larry Kim
Website/Twitter

Ultimately whatever niche you end up picking, you’ll need to become a leading expert within that field in order to be successful since there’s little profits to be made in niches where you’re unlikely to be a top contender. As a result, your niche selection criteria has to do with finding a topical intersection of own abilities and interests along with favorable Google SERP characteristics including sufficient commercial interest (high search volumes, high average cost per click, etc.).

Don’t stress too much about the competition since any niche worth pursuing will likely have competition, which you’ll eventually displace provided you’ve picked a niche where you feel very confident in.

 

Robert-Farrington

Robert Farrington
Website/Twitter

If you’re looking to blog in a niche, I suggest the following:

First, be passionate about whatever topic you want to get into. There is a myth that you can create a niche site with a little outsourced content and make money. That’s not the case anymore. You need to build a blog or authority site if you really want to see results, and that takes time, energy, and enthusiasm. You can still outsource content, but it requires a different level of writing – not just 350 articles, but meaty 800 word articles with strong references, pictures, and more.

Second, accept competition from other sites and use it for your advantage. If there are no other sites in your niche, I’d be concerned about the profitability and usefulness of it. Other sites means people want that content and will pay for something. Instead of fearing the competition, build relationships with them and work together. It will yield you more results faster than trying to go it alone.

Finally, be unique. Consumers today want to consume their news/resources/whatever from a person with a unique angle. Think of why consumers watch Fox News versus MSNBC versus The Daily Show. Consumers relate to people, and people can sell products and services by building trust. Make sure you build trust by putting out awesome content, build authority, and keep a unique angle on whatever topic or niche you’re in.

 

Mike-Allton

Mike Allton
Website/Twitter

My advice is to first and foremost, consider topics that you’re passionate about, and feel as though there is no end to what you can write and talk about. The challenge with looking for a “niche” topic is that, the more specific you get, the less material you may have to work with, and the less interested you may be. So find your passion first. Then, if it’s possible to narrow your focus, then so be it.

In my experience, the bloggers that start with an extreme laser focus on a specific topic quickly lose momentum. It’s challenging to come up with topics for content, and therefore challenging to continue to actively talk about and promote your affiliate product(s)/business.

If you’re a new blogger, recognize that you’re a new blogger. This isn’t just a new business, it’s a new skill that you’re learning which will take time to develop. It’s quite possible that your first or second blog / site will not develop the way you wanted or intended.

And that’s OK.

Consider them as learning experiences and keep at it. Keep writing and reading and connecting with other bloggers and readers. Once you find that passion and focus, realize that it may require a completely new blog and site and business. It did for me. But even now, I’m not a “niche” blogger. I blog about Content Marketing which encompasses business blogging and social media and even SEO. But I love it and look forward to the times I’m able to write and publish and engage with my audience.

The passion for your topic that you’re able to bring to the table can overcompensate for a bit of lack of focus.

 

Felix-Tarcomnicu

Felix Tarcomnicu
Website/Twitter

I’ll answer from my experience and what worked best for me. Every time I want to get into a new niche, I spend a few days researching what my competitors are doing to get traffic, drive conversions are get to know what works best for them in terms of online marketing.

Never start a new online business (blog) without doing your own research. Try to see where you stand and what are your chances to become greater than your competitors. Always try to be better than they are, but avoid using sloppy methods. If they write one article / week on their website, you should write at least two longer ones. However, you should always pay more attention to quality rather than quantity.

Check how they are using social media to get traffic and conversions. I wrote a popular article about stealing your competitors followers on social media, and I highly recommend everyone to read it.

In terms of SEO, always stay up to date with the link building methods they are doing and keep an eye on all the backlinks they are getting. Avoid over optimizing your website for SEO, because getting rid of a Google penalty can be a pain most of the time.

 

Bastian-Grimm

Bastian Grimm
Website/Twitter

In my opinion there is not a niche out there which really is “that easy” – considering that you want to make a decent amount of money out of it… if it pays good money, chances are that people have had the same idea way before you did. And even more so since Google started on cracking down link networks which always have been (and in some countries still are) a crucial part in SEO for affiliate websites to build up a link-profile fast and easy.

That said it all comes down to real work these days, “the churn and burn times” are mostly (not completely) over and therefore affiliates absolutely have to consider the amount of work (and time) a niche requires to conquer before it actually makes them any real money. From an SEO standpoint a good understanding is extremely valuable; so here’s what I’d be looking at:

1. The first indication on how lucrative and valuable a niche might be can be obtained from just having a look at the PPC status quo for a given query. Are there any ads? If so, how many and who is advertising (big brand)? Also have a look at CPCs once you consider digging deeper.

2. Check out who is ranking: This seems fairly obvious… but make sure you work out the details though! Are there only big brands ranking top-10 or mainly smaller sites? And what are they ranking with – homepage or some (less optimized) lower level page?

3. Do check out their link-profiles: Depending on what you discovered in step 2, run a backlink analysis (using f.e. ahrefs, MajesticSEO, etc.) and get into those details as well! How much links do they have? Are we talking 10, 100s or 1000s? The less they have, the easier it might be to compete.

4. Also make sure to do the same for your keywords plus their respective combinations. Google Suggest as well as Google’s related searches are a good source to start looking at (http://bg.vu/sesldn14 – Slide 40 to 42 if you want to automate this).

Once you’ve done your initial research you should have a first feeling on how competitive that niche is. What I usually do then – before moving any further – I’d absolutely love to run a specific reports using LinkResearchTools.com which is called CLA (Competitive Landscape Analyzer; see http://www.linkresearchtools.de/tools/cla/) which basically performs an in-depth audit for a given niche and tells you everything you need to know.

This really gives a great overview on everything you need to know – and usually backs up my decision to move in our not. And maybe – as a closing remark: Do not only look at a niche from an SEO standpoint… also make sure there is multiple revenue opportunities (e.g. affiliate programs, AdSense, direct ad sales, etc.) just to not rely one single revenue stream.

 

Kevin-Bland

Kevin Bland
Website/Twitter

When I was a young boy, aged 8, my Grandfather said to me:

“Son, when looking for a niche to target that is both profitable and has little competition in the Google SERPS, always use the right tools to help you succeed”

Back in 1984, this made no sense to me or anyone else for that matter, but Grandad was a visionary when it came to future advancements in computer communications.

But his wise words stayed with me for years and years, and only in the past 6 years has that particular piece of gold dust actually meant something to me. The tools I would need to do this properly is a search engine called “Google.co.uk” a computer and SEMrush. Thanks Grandad!

I work in one of the most competitive niches on the internet “Online carpets” and “Midget and Amputee Porn”. I literally make hundreds and thousands of rupees a month with my affiliate websites, and I owe all of my good fortune to my Grandfather as well as the tools that I use to help me uncover the gold.

How did I find these competitive but untapped niches I hear you say? Well here are some of my top tips to finding some hidden gems.

1. Look for niches that aren’t that well covered in the SERPS…

Normally you’ll see the top results full of pinterest and facebook pages, and hardly any proper sites. This is where you can take advantage of these niches.

Example: Pet Sex Toys

No one is targeting this niche, but if you run that keyword through Google Keyword Planner, you’ll find that there’s 15K searches a month in New Zealand. Yahtzee!!

2. Don’t follow the trends or follow the beaten track…

The biggest mistake I made in my career is going for the top money terms like “Bingo” “Poker” “Forex” “Smerging”. These terms are well covered by big brands, established / aged domains and expert spammers, so don’t even waste your time. Just because there’s loads of money there, it’s likely that you’ll make none of it!

3. Think outside of the box…

Yeah I know, everyone uses this phrase, and I’m not imaginative enough to come up with something even more profound, but it’s so true when it comes to affiliate marketing.

I like to brainstorm possible niche affiliate ideas by thinking of a word, then adding another word to it. For example, lets think of a first word “Disabled” and then another “Handbags” and there you have it, a possible niche that you can target with a website selling handbags for the disabled.

4. Think of weird hobbies…

Everyone has a hobby of some sort or a pastime that they enjoy doing at the weekends. Mine is Warhammer and battle reenactments. I love the thrill of role playing some of the most amazing battles in history like the D-Day Landings, Battle of Hastings and The Stonehenge Slippery Cock Fight of 1467.

This is where you could potentially tap into a lucrative but untouched niche by giving people who love this sort of stuff, awesome content with loads of affiliate links to stuff they want to buy.

Ask your friends questions about their hobbies, find out everything there is to know about what they love doing. Send them all a little survey on Facebook to find out what they do in their spare time, but don’t tell them why you’re doing it or they’ll all go out and set up a niche website to pull in mega bucks from affiliate sales! Also you don’t want them to be influenced by the fact you are trying to make money out of their dumb asses!

For example, let’s say you have a mate who likes to race pigeons and look after them. They might look at your question and think “he can’t make money from keeping pigeons ” and not answer the question properly. When really, you’re not looking to make money from actually racing pigeons yourself but trying to make money from selling people like your friend the supplies you need to keep and race pigeons like feed, pigeon houses, toys, fish and pigeon beer. Keeping pigeons is actually a lucrative business, and if you look online, there’s no-one doing it!

5. Identify the problems your niche audience may have…

If you can solve a problem that your potential niche may have, then you are on to a winner and will probably become a hero. Example: Warhammer players find it incredibly difficult to get girlfriends. So if you can come up with a solution to that or a product that would help, then please email me.

This involves doing research into the problems, challenges, pain points, aspirations, and desires that your niche audience has. There are many places online that you can find this information, including niche forums, how-to websites, popular blogs, and “trend” websites.

Tools I use:

SEMrush for keyword research and competitor analysis. This saves me so much time and it’s completely free for me, as I still have the login from my old employers (Don’t tell them.) Type in a broad keyword like “Supplies” and it will bring back a ton of results for you to explore. People who are searching for supplies or accessories of something normally will give you some scope to create a site that caters to that demand.

  • Archery Supplies
  • Horse Whispering Supplies
  • Midget Supplies
  • Disabled People Supplies
  • Ferret Accessories
  • Chicken Accessories
  • Sunbathing Accessories
  • Gameboy Accessories
  • Warhammer

So many new and exciting niches to be uncovered with SEMrush

6. Go and have a look in your local Newsagents..

I like going to WHsmiths in Canterbury, Kent and looking at all the magazines on the shelves, not to perv at the naked females on most of the covers, but to unearth some hidden and popular niche that isn’t being rinsed online. If some publishing company is going to great lengths to produce content and print it, then there must be a monetizable audience for that niche.

If you’re a bit of a recluse and don’t like going out (like most SEOs and affiliate marketers) just go to magazines.com and have a look at all the weird and wonderful shit the have on offer for you to subscribe to.

You can head over to a site like Magazines.com and browse through the thousands of magazines they offer subscription options for. I certainly had never even heard of “garden railways” before. Having a look at the term in SEMrush shows me that this is a niche that could make me a nice profit over the next 20 years.

 

Paul-Rone-Clarke

Paul Rone Clarke
Website/Twitter

My route is not the only one available. In fact it isn’t even the most popular and certainly isn’t the only option out there. Hopefully though, this also means it adds something new that others might not talk about.

First off, I’m very wary of people who are tied to one method or one set of tools etc. How you proceed depends on a lot of factors, the biggest two are your own skill set and your niche competition. There is no “one method fits all” in SEO, and I’m wary of the “noobiness” of anyone who claims there is.

My general system is to create “mini authority” sites, Using a twist on the well known silo structure for effective on site SEO to catch as many associated keywords and phrases as possible.

I looking for new or semi established, product based niches. Getting in early is an advantage (getting a site set up before the product is even launched is an advantage)

The most important aspect here though is competition. I’m not going to promote Ipads or whatever, I really don’t have the time or patience to go up against the tens of thousands of sites that spring up for these massive consumer launches. Instead I’m looking for niches where I judge the marketplace to be 5 or 6 figure sales worldwide. Then I analyse the competition for the product name and the product name alongside buying imperatives.

So where xxxx is the product name “discount xxxx” or “bonus xxxx” etc. I also prefer high ticket items. I want to make over $100 per sale as coms. I’m not interested in a few cents per click. My average product I promote pays around $250 per sale in affiliate coms, the most expensive is well over $1000. I did try adsense sites back in the day (2009) but the admin overhead orf running enough to turn a good buck was very high. I now make a lot fewer sites but a lot more profit – and the admin overhead is tiny in comparison.

As for the overall method. I look to win with content and links.

Getting good authors was a vital part of the process. I will write the sales copy myself, but want good, unique and generally decently informed on-niche filler copy for these semi authority sites.

Maybe 10 articles (1000 words per article) Finding authors that were affordable and produced good copy took a few months on services like SEO Generals and Iwriter. My PA Su does some excellent copy as well.

In these niches I also need links. This is a massive win at the moment with so many SEO’s terrified of making any. I don’t create tens of thousands, often a few hundred good ones spread over several landing pages works well, refreshed 2-4 times a year as they erode/get deleted or archived etc.

The semi authority sites are basic silo structures that I make myself. It really is a very simple process. No need for software to create it. I can get a site up, content written and linking campaign under way inside a day for around $150 including content, domain name and hosting (shared, so the cost is spread over 10-15 sites).

I add at least one piece of content monthly per site. After 90 days I might give up on sites that are struggling and create more.

No real reason to have more than 12 running at once – my main source of income are a set of old sites from the 1990’s and demondemon from 2011/12. The niche sites contribute about 30% to my income, the majority of my income comes from my main 4 sites, 3 of which were created before the phrase “niche research” in conjunction with SEO had even been invented.

 

Shawn-Collins

Shawn Collins
Website/Twitter

My recommendation is to go a different route and to focus on a subject they are interested in. I’d suggest they make a list of their interests and passions. It can be a country, a sports team, a breed of dog – whatever it is that they really care about.

After they’ve created a list of potential topics for their site, it’s time to narrow them down and decide where they will focus. They can go a few directions here:

– The most popular topic: more audience, more competition.

– The least popular topic: less audience, less competition.

These are generalizations, but they’re true to a degree. So, then they should check out the popularity of your potential topics. This exercise is more to give a peek at the potential, since they can make it work either way.

They should start by going to Google and searching for their first potential topic with quotation marks around the words (i.e. “science fiction books”).

When I just tried that one, Google had about 1,220,000 results for “science fiction books”. That’s an awfully big audience, but it’s also one that breaks out into a variety of sub-categories. So, if this were me, I’d think about the genre, author, or some other thing I prefer, to make it more focused. Let’s say I go with “science fiction books for kids”.

That cuts down the results dramatically. Now we’re at about 161,000 results in Google. Repeat this process with each of your topic ideas, and then pick one. What would I suggest? Go with the topic that appeals to you the most.

 

Sachin-Bille

Sachin Bille
Website/Twitter

It’s not that difficult to come up with a winner niche and handful of best keywords that can bring traffic to a website. If you plan your keyword strategy right then you win half the battle.

For beginners it is always better to start with what they have tremendous interest in, because if you have interest in a specific topic then you can able to work consistently for long time, even though you could not able to see the results in your early days of your journey. Start with your heart then let brain take over it.

That being said, never limit yourself to a specific niche that you are best in; because there are thousands of keywords out there waiting for you to find them.

Keyword research has to come within. Use your BRIAN. It is the best keyword tool in world. Write down the ideas that come in your mind, make a list of products that you use in home and office, make a list of problems that you face everyday & how you overcome each.

Once you get your list ready (these are your seed keywords), go to Keyword Planner and see how much traffic each product and each problem gets. Do not forget to use filters from keyword planner to sort your keywords.

Set your own criteria for winner keywords.

Usually I look for two types of keyword criteria –

  1. High Search Volume With Low Competition in SERP & LOW CPC
  2. Low Search Volume With Low Competition in SERP & HIGH CPC (Or HIGH PRICE PRODUCT)

If you are well verged with keyword planner and how to understand SERP Competition then you don’t need any paid tools but IF you are a newbie and have some money to invest then I recommend using Long Tail Pro to ease the process.

The more time you spend on keyword research to find a GOLD NUGGET keyword, the more you save yourself from being a failure or spending money on SEO.

To run a profitable online business it is always better to learn all the steps that involve FINDING A GREAT KEYWORD. Remember there is no shortcut to success, if you find any…..probably it will not last forever.

 

Sarah-Bundy

Sarah Bundy
Website/Twitter

One of our Digital Marketing Strategists, SEO / Video Optimization Specialists, and experienced performance marketers, Dan Maynard, says it best. In his words and based on his experience, here are some of the steps he goes through when considering a niche.

The short and blunt answer to that is that there is no easy path. In fact, it’s a good thing to have competition. Imagine if you will, finding a niche where there is very little competition in the search engine result. He takes that as a signal that not many people are competing for that keyword phrase because it doesn’t hold high value. The reason is because not a lot of people are searching on that term. Search volume would likely be low as well.

One technique he does like to use is to go to Google trends and try different keywords for various niches and see if it is upward trending. Next he goes to Google and types in that keyword phrase and to look at the competition i.e. the number of search results. Next he looks at the pay per click ads. If there are a lot of ads then that tells him that this is a profitable keyword phrase and a potentially profitable niche.

The next thing he does is to look at those ads and try to discover what problem they are solving. Are they all solving the same problem? Can the affiliate solve the problem in a different way that is not being expressed by the ads? The next thing he would do is go to the merchant of those advertisings and once again try to discover a new way of solving the problem that is better than anyone else

Finally he would go to Quantcast and Alexa and plug-in the merchant’s website to get an understanding of the target market demographics such as age, education, income etc. and use that information to determine how to reach that target market as well as how to speak to that market using the appropriate language.

The question is, and something that cannot be overlooked, is how comfortable the affiliate would feel focusing on that target market in terms of the language and communications required to reach the target audience in a way that resonates with both the affiliate and the audience.

If all these things fall into place, then there is a great opportunity for an affiliate to test the waters of this particular niche and see how well it performs and fits.

 

Matthew-Woodward

Matthew Woodward
Website/Twitter

Instead of worrying about whether a niche is competitive in the search results you should worry about how you can add value to the niche.

If you take a look at what competitors are doing and make a note of what they do well and what they do badly you will begin to see that there are great oppertunitys even in the most competitive of niches.

Forget about Google and link building when your doing your research and really focus on the people and the problems they face in your niche. Make a list of what these are and make that core to your content strategy.

Then work out where your target audience lives online and where they discuss your niche/their problems. It is important that you get involved in those communitys and live where your audience lives.

Once you have all of that in place and have built a site that helps people solve their problem and engaged those people directly – search traffic & rankings will come naturally.

You can learn more about my zero link building approach.

 

Gregory-Ciotti

Gregory Ciotti
Website/Twitter

If we’re talking about running a pure affiliate site, I’ve found that building a site around a peculiar hobby is really effective. The reason being is purchase intent is high with hobbyists; they love buying gear for their favorite hobby.

I used to browse forums for inspiration, and then validate the niche with SERP IQ. Look at this thread on Reddit’s AskWomen section, requesting hobby ideas.

Examples:

  • Rock climbing (the gear is expensive)
  • Archery
  • Crossfit
  • Crochet
  • Yoga
  • Glassblowing
  • Pole dancing (get ‘em!)
  • Gardening

People actually buy things in these spaces, so no need to rank for a niche with great keywords, but no buyers.

 

Nicholas-Scalice

Nicholas Scalice
Website/Twitter

When it comes to finding the right niche to pursue with an affiliate campaign or blog, I’ve used many different methods. For instance, I would often look up the “hottest” niches that were generating the highest costs per conversions, or had the most traffic. However, very soon, I realized that going after the big fish was not the smartest approach.

So, I started targeting smaller niches that had low competition but a decent amount of search traffic (1000+ global monthly searches). What I found was that after a while, I got bored with these niches, because they were related to things that I didn’t really have an interest in. I remember very clearly one night when I was working on building a website centered around “insulated water bottles.” Yes, a whole website devoted to that. I just couldn’t do it any longer.

So now, what I recommend is that you start with your passions and try to solve problems. Marketing of any sort is a long-term play. Affiliate marketing is no different. The big players in the field are all in it for the long term. Look at Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income for instance. He started in this business by creating a resource for getting LEED certified, which was something he was deeply interested in. His first website has helped countless people get certified as well. In other words, he used his passion to help other people solve a particular problem.

In conclusion, authenticity is key today, for affiliates and bloggers alike. You need to be authentic with all of the content you produce. Authenticity often comes from passion. So begin by exploring what you are passionate about. Become the most well-known blogger in your field of expertise and try to solve someone else’s problem. If you share your interests with the world in a way that can help other people, usually you end up succeeding in some way or another. It might not happen right away, but stick with it and you’ll see the reward.

 

Stacey-MacNaught

Stacey MacNaught
Website/Twitter

In all honesty, I think if someone is looking for an “easy win” in SEO, they need to go back in time 5 years! Certainly in the English speaking search engines, there’s competition everywhere. Of course, it varies in terms of quantity and quality of that competition. But you will encounter people who are challenging you for your visibility.

I think the best opportunities for quick wins in SEO terms these days are some of the emerging (non English speaking) markets if you have the resource to do it.

But my personal view is that starting by asking “what’s an easy route to success?” is the wrong place to begin. If you’re looking for a niche, you need to start by finding something you are passionate about, excited about or genuinely have some knowledge about. Because to compete you will need to produce a lot of awesome content about a specific niche and you’ll need some creative ideas.

So, in short, don’t even start if you think it’s going to be easy! Explore some of the emerging markets if you do want lower competition and are able and focus on an area you know something about.

 

Daniele-Besana

Daniele Besana
Website/Twitter

Building niche blogs is getting harder and harder because of two reasons. First, the amount of people scouting the web has grown dramatically.

Second, the model of dong keyword research and build a nice blog with 10 keywords-stuffed articles is over.

It’s clear that we’re moving more and more towards quality: quality of content, quality of user experience, quality of service.

Creating a successful website take more time and resources than ever.

Having said that, if you’re building an online business relying on the Google SERP listing, meaning organic traffic, a proper keyword investigation is extremely important.

Tools like Market Samurai or Long Tail Pro are really helpful to accelerate the process, but never underestimate the time required for the ‘keyword research’ process.

Once you’re confident, go full on to create something that really adds value to the visitors and trust life… in few months time you’ll reap the benefits.

 

Charlotte-Waller

Charlotte Waller
Website/Twitter

Affiliates are notoriously difficult…and I won’t pretend to have much experience. With regards to Google SERP listings though, competition is tight…and getting more so. Having worked on the SEO side extensively, anything related to fashion or food is extremely difficult to rank on Google for; shoes, clothes, snacks, recipes, style – even niche areas within these big industries are tough.

However…if you’re a blogger than building up a large social presence and following that can lead to those affiliate sales is key. And getting Twitter followers, social proof and traffic in all the above industries comes easy!

So I’m sure me sitting on the fence is very helpful…

Ranking is tough – really tough and you need social proof to do it nowadays. SEOwise sites that do well are REALLY niche; compression hosiery, wedding umbrellas, car cameras, blue ribbons.

Blogger-wise and exposure wise though kids blogs, fashion, sports etc all do well as they’ve got a much wider net to fish in for traffic.

If you really want to make a go of something affiliate-based and online you need to offer something special, and to do that you need to know about it. Therefore to give new insights via content in a world chock full of content I believe blogging about something you are truly expert in is the only way forward – else, how are you different from anyone else out there trying to do affiliates? You have connections, you know the ins and outs and you can offer something to people, and that’s what will make it work.

 

Jeff-Fruhwirth

Jeff Fruhwirth
Website/Twitter

Niche selection is they KEY thing that will determine if your site succeeds or fails, so you need to make sure that you do it right and spend as much time that you need on it.

The way I go about finding keywords is to look at hobbies – most specifically mine.

Every hobby has a ton of gear that is associated with it, and most of the time you don’t need those products, but those that either a) have more money than they know what to do with or b) are really into the hobby. For instance, if my hobby was playing tennis,

I’d look into some gear that was associated with tennis playing, like racquets, or to get even more specific, a way to fix racquets when they break – a tennis racquet stringer.

Now, not everyone that plays tennis buys a racquet stringer, but there is a fair number that do. Typically, as you start to get deep into hobbies, you’ll find that these products are more expensive (better Amazon commissions) and lower competitions.

If you cant think of one of your hobbies, then check out wikipedias list of hobbies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hobbies

 

First of all, I would like to thank YOU for making me a part of this roundup. Herein, I will be discussing some of my “top secret” techniques I have developed over the years to find untapped niches and how to milk them for profits by providing value to the end user. Now, onto the guide without any ado…

The best way to make money online is to find hot untapped niches. What we really need is a group of people who are looking for solutions, products, reviews, discounts. This kind of traffic is “buying traffic”. Here’s the exact model you need to milk the buying crowd.

1) Finding an untapped niche

2) Find out how you can put solutions in front of them. Think of affiliate products, e-books and online courses geared towards your target demographic.

3) Drive targeted traffic. Use SEO, Social Media, Forums and other online portals to drive traffic to your website/blog/store.

4) Most importantly, convert that buying traffic.

Here’s a nifty diagram I created for the newbies:

untapped niches

Finding Untapped Buyer Keywords

In this guide, I will only be delving into finding niches and buyer keywords. This guide is not about SEO and other advanced tactics for ranking and conversions.
Technique #1: Advertisement Spying

1) Browse authority sites in your niche.

2) Take a look at the advertisements being displayed.

The reason being, lots of upcoming companies advertise their product lineup on these high traffic sites to get a head start. In this way, their products reach a lot of consumers and in the future they will surely get searched on Google and other search engines.

Here’s what I found using an authority site in my niche.

niche-a3) I just sifted through some pages on this authority site and uncovered huge niche goldmines. Here’s a nice buyer keyword I found with little competition in Google SERPS.

niche-b

Technique #2: 43Things.Com

A. Go to 43things.com.

B. Take a look at what people are setting their goals as.

niche-c

C. Scout potential niche goldmines.

Technique #3: Forum Recon

(1) Perform a google search using this advanced footprint:

intitle:where to buy [product] inurl:showthread

(2) Let’s say I do this: search intitle:where to buy weed inurl:showthread. I’m not promoting weed smoking but using this just as an example. This will give you a rough idea of what problems your target demographic is having.

niche-d

(3) Scout for potential keywords and niches.

So guys, that’s it for now. I have more techniques and tricks to find untapped niches and keywords. I will surely share them sometime in the future.

If you still have any doubts and queries, feel free to ask me. Also, don’t forget to circle on Google+. DOWNLOAD THIS GUIDE IN PDF FORMAT, here.

 

Kevin-Duncan

Kevin Duncan
Website/Twitter

Ah, the elusive goose who lays golden eggs. Or, as I like to call her: The profitable niche with little competition.

Here is the reality: 99% of profitable niches have intense competition. Why? Because they’re profitable! And what of the niches with little competition? Well, they lack said competition because they — yes, you guessed it — aren’t profitable.

I don’t say this to discourage you. In fact, I’m rooting for you to become one of those rare bloggers who discovers a “1% niche” and retires to a tropical island!

You just need to know it’s not going to be easy. But, like all things worth having in this world, it’s not supposed to be easy. Fortune doesn’t just favor the bold, it favors those who work harder than everyone else.

I’ll let others who are more knowledgeable in the nuts and bolts offer specifics on tools you can use. Me? I’m going to keep it simple. Here is my thee-step recommendation:

1. Find an already big and profitable niche (preferably, a niche in which you are familiar and have an interest).

2. Focus on a specific subset of this big, profitable niche.

3. Get to work.

Yes, that’s all of it.

If you concentrate on a specific subset of an already-profitable niche, you’re ahead of most other marketers and bloggers.

Why?

Because they’re trying to be cute. They believe they can think of a profitable niche no one has thought of before. The odds are simply not in their favor.

No, let the other guys and girls try to find the needle in the haystack. You? You’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. You’re going to take a niche you know is profitable, and target a super-specific group within it.

For example, weight loss is popular and profitable, right? “Women who just had babies and want to lose their pregnancy weight” is a very specific subset with considerably less competition. It’s a niche within an already-popular niche. And those who were smart enough to jump in early were handsomely rewarded.

Go find your women-who-just-had-babies “niche with a niche.” And then find another. And then another.

There is no secret formula or easy route to success. Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work?

 

Tricia-Meyer

Tricia Meyer
Website/Twitter

If you are creating your first niche site, you should start with something that you are personally interested in. Starting out will take a lot of technical trial and error and it is usually easier if you are familiar with the subject matter. You don’t have to be an expert, but it does help if you can at least quickly generate content and have a good idea of products to promote.

Finding a profitable niche depends in large part on the merchants available for the niche. I usually go through the major networks (CJ, Linkshare, eBay Enterprise Affiliate Network, and ShareASale) and search for merchants with high EPCs. Look for merchants with low reversal rates and strong EPCs plus other favorable terms such as cookie duration.

Once you find those, start searching in Google to make sure that the high EPCs are not high just because someone is trademark bidding on the merchant’s name or the SERPS are saturated with coupons. If you are building niche traffic, you do not want to have to compete against other affiliates who can sweep in and steal away your commissions to close the sale.

I also tend to look for merchants who are managed actively by good affiliate managers or Outsourced Program Managers. One of my most profitable niche sites came about as the result of an OPM suggesting a merchant. The caveat is that you should never base your niche around only one merchant in the event that merchant closes their program. Make sure that there are at least a couple of other competing merchants with solid programs that you can promote in addition to or instead of your “favorite” merchant.

Once you have found the merchant and products with a good program and low probability of having your cookie overwritten by other affiliates, then you can start focusing on the exact niche angle depending upon what you are seeing overall in the SERPS for that niche.

 

Gianluca-Fiorelli

Gianluca Fiorelli
Website/Twitter

When it comes to deciding what niche – both for SEO and/or blogging – to exploit as affiliate, I always tend to consider the quality of the time I will have to spend on the site.

Let me explain clearer my thought.

Surely it is possible to find not so competitive or over-exploited niches in every industry, so that even a not exceptional (but still good) affiliate site can have success, earn traffic, conversions and money. And that’s substantially the philosophy that is below many “churn-and-burn” affiliate sites.

But – if your intention is to make of your site/blog a long-lasting successful site, then I consider that we must feel passion for what we are going to sell via the affiliated links.

If we don’t really have that passion, it will be increasingly hard for us to find those motivations, which push us writing a new blog post everyday and/or continously providing our affiliate site with great content.

Once that passion is existing, a technique I use for discovering and then analyzing niches’ potentiality is exploring Wikipedia definitions of main industry terms.

Let’s take, for instance, this list of the different kinds of Tourism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_adjectival_tourisms). Those “adjectivations” are specific niches of the tourism industry.

Once we have found some that really inspire us, we can use tools like Keyword Planner, KeywordTool (http://keywordtool.io/) and Google Trends for finding out the search volume, kinds of searches and trends of the keywords related the niches we are thinking to create a site/blog about.

Using tools like the AlchemiAPIs (http://www.alchemyapi.com/) or RelFinder (http://www.visualdataweb.org/relfinder/relfinder.php) we could also dig into semantic/entities relations, but that’s something we can also decide to explore later.

During this analysis, we can also dig into sub-subniches, as could – for instance – “Wine Tourism in Italy”, “Wine Tourism in Spain”, or even smaller niches like “Wine Tourism in Tuscany” if they offer really interesting forecast data.

Another thing you can do is examining if the niche you have finally chose has potential also in terms of international SEO, which could be something you want to think about for potential future evolutions.

But all this, if you don’t feel passion for the niche’s thematic, is just wasted time.

 

Danny-Denhard

Danny Denhard Website/Twitter

Firstly I think if you are going into affiliate marketing, you really need to have a real interest or passion in that niche, affiliate marketing tends to be very broad and you compete with large companies, especially more recently you compete against companies on the stock market or publisher brands trying to obtain monetisation.

Or you potentially compete in a specific niche that has business owners who have had businesses in that given niche for many years or, smaller nimble business who are in that given vertical because it is their passion and they want to make a life’s work from it.

Finding a business opportunity with low competition is very difficult: unless you are creating a new business type / product offering or re inventing something that is very old (dare I say “disrupt” like Uber did) and aim to re-introduce that product or offering into the market.

With all that said, if you are looking to develop something, you should:

– really build out your brand first.

– understand your actual audience.

– develop your offering from just a website.

– develop a great product with the best possible customer service.

The best way for you and your business to find how competitive your proposed niche is to break down your business into:

  • category
  • products
  • competitors usp’s

By searching the SERP’s with the given keywords associating with the category, the products and competitors USP’s you will be able to understand what you are challenged with.

Look at the top 20 results per term, mark down how difficult it might be to challenge the top 5, understand the competitors that you are truly up against and what you need to do to compete.

From your research understand who you are commonly competing with, the larger the business the harder it is for you, however over time if you offer the best products, the best user experience and actually offer the best user satisfaction you will be able to compete longer term.

Your business has to be seen as a brand, not a site, not a twitter account, a brand that fully services customers needs.

For bloggers I would really concentrate on what the main subject of your blog is and leverage your content to sell product, whether that is through affiliates or if it is better to have a dedicated store on your site (if you have digital products look at something like gumroad).

Bloggers often have a dedicated audience, to keep your audience happy you must stay true to your content and offer more than just affiliate links, buying the look and offering advice is the most natural and organic way of converting your readers to shoppers.

You could also think about leveraging social media as a platform, as social media is completely consumer driven there is far more opportunity to speak directly consumers and target your actual demographic and push them down the sales funnel. There is a real lack of businesses who actually understand social media and really does not leverage social selling.

The tools people should look at using:

Keyword research:

Keyword volume and research:

https://adwords.google.co.uk/KeywordPlanner

http://www.wordstream.com/keywords#.

http://www.wordtracker.com/

http://www.bing.com/toolbox/keywords

Search Engine Suggestion keywords:

http://suggester.promediacorp.com/

http://mergewords.com/

http://ubersuggest.org/

Finding long tail keyword opportunity:

https://www.hittail.com/

Competitor Analysis:

http://www.similarweb.com/ Pro version for detailed keyword analysis

http://www.alexa.com/

Social Media Tools:

Finding if your brand name is already taken across multiple social networks – knowem.com

Social mentions – http://www.socialmention.com/

Find who shared your tweets – http://topsy.com/

Manage and engaging your community – http://www.commun.it/

Find the right people to follow and engage on Twitter – Followerwonk

To schedule your social media accounts – http://bufferapp.com/

To analysis your performance of your tweets – http://ads.twitter.com/

Tools to use…

For Analytics:

https://colibri.io/

https://mixpanel.com/

Relationship management:

http://www.nimble.com/

Customer communications:

http://www.olark.com/

Emails:

http://intercom.io

Personalised emails:

https://www.getvero.com/

Visitor tracking

http://bounceexchange.com/#.

 

Sharon-Mostyn

Sharon Mostyn
Website/Twitter

There are several items to keep in mind when you’re looking for a niche for your blog. Sometimes CPC doesn’t just stand for cost-per-click – when you’re trying to find a profitable, yet popular niche for your website, CPC stands for Community, Passion and Competition.

Community:The first thing to consider is what your target audience or community is – do you have an established community or are you building something from scratch? If you’ve got an existing blog, you need to find out what is important to your target audience and then build your content strategy based on their interests. If you’re starting a new blog or affiliate website, use sites like Google Trends or Yahoo News’ Trending Now section, or social media sources like YouTube trends or Twitter’s trending topics.

Look at trends popular with your community over time; don’t look at just recent trends. Although the ice bucket challenge is popular right now, it’s highly unlikely that it will be something your community is talking about a year from now.

Passion: The next aspect is to align that with what general topics interest you. If you are a homebody, it doesn’t make sense to start a travel blog, even if the topic is popular. It also doesn’t make sense to write a cooking blog if you have a tendency to burn water. The topic you choose is something that you’ll need regular, usually daily, content about for the life of your site – hopefully years.

Competition: Looking at blogs on the topic that you’re considering is a great way to find a niche to target. An obvious way to find websites is to search for the topic you’re considering in the search engines. Google AdWords Keyword Planner is another great help in determining which search terms are popular for your niche…and which ones your competition is missing. You can get info on estimated search volume, competition level (high, medium or low) and what it would cost if you wanted to bid on that search term using the “other” CPC: cost-per-click.

 

Spencer-Haws

Spencer Haws
Website/Twitter

This is an excerpt from my blog post on…

How to Brainstorm for Seed Keywords

On the live webinar, I reviewed why building niche sites works well (low competition), and how to find long tail keywords.

Here a few ways that you can brainstorm for SEED keyword ideas:

  • Existing Customers/Blog Readers
  • Forums in your niche
  • Amazon and eBay
  • Look Around You
  • Watch TV
  • Go Shopping
  • Use Google Trends
  • Use Affiliate Networks (Clickbank, CJ, Neverblue, etc)
  • Go to the Library
  • Use Google Instant
  • Try Wikipedia
  • Pick up a Newspaper or Magazine
  • Look at Online Ads
  • Notice other Niche Websites
  • Ask Someone

These are ideas that can help get you thinking about seed keywords, if you can’t come up with anything on your own. I highly recommend searching around for these base keywords before you really dive into the nuts and bolts of keyword research.

To read the full article go here:

http://www.nichepursuits.com/nsp-update-1-finding-the-right-keyword-to-target/

I talk about the “winning keyword” criteria, how to analyze Google competition, and more.

 

This post shows it’s not rocket science to find a niche, start a (profitable) blog of your own and make money with affiliate products. What counts is to find a topic you’re passionate about and build your niche site (empire) around it, while at the same time, ensure you’re using the latest keyword research / competitive tools on the market.

If you’ve found our expert round up post practical, then please help spread the love about it: share it, vote for it, and tell your friends and contacts to check it out.

Thank you very much!

John Gibb – http://nichesiteformula.com

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21 thoughts on “60 Experts Reveal How to Find Your Niche and Build a (Profitable) Blog…

  1. Excellent post, very informative. It was really good to see you guys got some of my favorite bloggers to tell you their secrets :)

    And I agree with all that said this requires work, determination and it is definitely easier (in the beginning) if you go with something you already like (bad side of it: it might not be that profitable as “weight loss” for example).

    Off to share this now :)
    Nenad recently posted…Location Independent doesn’t equal Work Independent!My Profile

  2. Learning from experts is always a great pleasure. I would say this is the ultimate post for everyone who want to get started with niche blogging. Really like the way you crafted this article along with suggestions from experts. You used venn diagram to explain “how to find right blog topic” was the best and creative way to explain. Your post really helped me out.
    Keep doing :)
    Kamlesh Nishad recently posted…The Common Misconceptions Surrounding Online Phone RepairsMy Profile

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