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How to Identify the Best Keywords for Your Niche

Written by David Harry   
Monday, 21 September 2009 12:14

(the following is a post from WordStream's - Tom Demers)

One of the most difficult aspects to effectively marketing online is "getting started". Whether you're starting out as an affiliate, new to an industry, or just launching a product it's extremely difficult to both predict the impact and effectiveness of a new campaign and to determine how best to attack a niche.

This post will aim to help a bit with both.

First, some required reading for those trying to get a new site off the ground, determine which affiliate niche is best for them, or launching a new product line or section of their site:

  • The Affiliate Newbies Guide to Finding Niches - Great post by Gab on identifying niches for affiliate marketing (as with a lot of strong content pieces, you can apply a lot of the theory and methodology to other things: like determining which "niche within a niche" is best to target).
  • How Predict the ROI on SEO - More from Gab, this time from his own blog. This is a great post on determining what sort of return you can expect from an SEO endeavor.
  • What is the Value of a Number 1 Google Ranking - Outstanding in-depth article on evaluating the value of a number one ranking by SEO Book's Aaron Wall. This is another example of something that can be tweaked and pushed out into uses other than just evaluating a number one ranking.

There are some great resources for both identifying which niche you would want to spend your time in, and how you would go about evaluating what you’d get from that niche. But what about once you’ve chosen a niche? What’s next?

Identifying the Best Keyword Opportunities within a Niche

So now we’ve selected our niche. Let’s say for the sake of this article that after some research we’ve decided to build out a site offering reviews of various organic baby products. The difficulty is knowing precisely which terms will be the most profitable for us. Even if we know a lot about organic baby products, it’s important to be able to identify the less obvious related terms that could potentially drive traffic and sales. You can do this in a few steps.

Step 1: Find the Keywords!

The first step is to actually identify a wide range of potential keyword opportunities. The thing to remember is that we’re new. We don’t yet have any data to leverage as a predictor of future performance. As such, we need to find a good basket of potential keywords we can drill down on.

Our recently released Free Keyword Tool is great for this:

Free keword research tool at WordStream

The important thing to remember here is that we’re trying to generate a broad portfolio of keywords. Really to come up with 1-7, it wouldn’t have been that tough. The trick is in coming up with the non-obvious keyword opportunities.
As you can see above, the tool is returning over 2500 keyword ideas! This is a great start, but there’s no way all of those keywords are actionable.


Step 2: Refine Your Keyword List

Lists of keywords, in and of themselves, are useless. That’s why effective refinement of your list is crucial. Using WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool, we can perform this function in a couple of ways (even without creating a free keyword tool account):

Related keywords

If we add a few of these less obvious high-level suggestions like “delivery” and “pregnancy” to the query for possible related topics, we can generate even more keyword ideas:

Keyword tool results

We could just export these keywords, but ultimately we need to remember these are just suggestions. The next step is to refine the list:

Filter the keywords

If we weren’t able to ship products to Canada, or if as an affiliate we didn’t have any products related to “wool”, we could quickly filter those terms from our list. This is the thing to remember: your keyword list has to be specific to you, your site, and your business.

Step 3: Evaluate Relative Difficulty of Ranking

Finally, you want to analyze how competitive a phrase is. To do this, I would recommend taking a look at this post on competitive query analysis, and if you’re looking for a tool to help with competitive research SEM Rush has some very cool and very useful features.

Step 4: Don’t Fall Asleep at the Switch!

Most importantly, you want to be sure you don’t let your keyword research efforts end at step three. The most crucial element of keyword targeting, for my money, is constantly monitoring and tweaking. Once you’ve invested all of this time and energy into identifying the best keyword opportunities, you need consistently see how keywords perform for you, on your site. The fact that any keyword tool (even ours) tells you a keyword is important doesn’t mean you’ll be able to rank for it, and certainly doesn’t mean you’ll be able to convert the traffic it sends. Constantly be vigilant and make continual keyword management a priority.

Tom Demers

About the Author - Tom Demers is a proud member of the Dojo and the Director of Marketing at WordStream; a software vendor offering solutions for keyword analysis, pay-per click, and SEO keyword research. To get in touch with Tom, you can follow him on Twitter, Email him at tdemers at wordstream dot com, or check out the WordStream Internet Marketing Blog, where he’s a frequent poster.

Related posts;

Using KW research to diversify link profiles - - Google Insights update - - Optimize for the Niche


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