Defining the perfect niche for your website or blog is a skill that all affiliate marketers need to work on and develop, particularly if you want to carve out your success using SERPs traffic. Many types of business only need to identify a single niche that they want to attack, but as an affiliate marketer in the online world, it is a trick you will probably have to successfully repeat many times over. But look on the bright side, practice makes perfect!
In this post, I will go through the current thought process I use whilst selecting a niche, and how I might apply this to different types of project. For me this is most definitely still a work in progress, and I learn new things with every site and blog I set up.
Sitting Comfortably? – Here is the Scenario
OK so imagine I am a nutcase for electric guitars. I play like Eric Clapton, I have guitars in the wardrobe and under my bed and hanging on the wall. I know all there is to know about them and consistently bore all my friends stupid about single coils, humbuckers, tone and sustain.
I also know that it is a hot topic on the internet and that there is a great market for quality second hand guitars on places like e-Bay.
So how do I go about sharing all this great knowledge I have and earning some money along the way? For the purpose of this discussion, I will look at setting up a niche for a five or ten page mini site.
Identifying the Niche
Our top level or generic subject here is probably “electric guitars”, and simply because it is so generic it is certainly not what you would describe as a niche. You might get away with it as a broad based subject for a blog, but I would struggle to get SERPs traffic for our mini site.
Well, since I play guitar like Eric Clapton, I can narrow that down further to perhaps “Fender Stratocaster”. At this point I will start checking competition, first in Micro Niche Finder and then if it looks like it has potential, I will drill down further with Google.
After checking in MNF, I find that “Fender Stratocaster” has a monthly global search count of 368,000 and a statement of competition of 247,000. That is still way too much competition for it to be described as a niche, so I need to dig a bit deeper.
In MNF I can re-order the search results, and simply by clicking at the top of the global search count column this gives an ordered list of related search terms from the most searched down to the least. I am looking for something in the region of 1000 to 3000 global searches per month with a low statement of competition (this is indicated by a green tick in MNF).
Two search terms catch my eye – “vintage fender stratocaster” and “American fender stratocaster”.
The first term gets 2,900 searches per month, the other, 2,400 searches. Both appear to have low competition (but we will check further in a minute).
Vintage Fenders are not really my thing as they have always been priced out of my reach, but American Strats are right on the money for the articles I have in mind for my mini site. I know I can write some useful content for my visitors and there are plenty of monetization options.
Checking for a Domain Name
At this stage I would usually visit Go Daddy to check if a matching domain name is free. In this case americanfenderstratocaster.com is already taken but americanfenderstratocaster.org is available so I could purchase this if the rest of my competition check goes to plan.
n.b. This post is only intended as an example. I would personally never choose a domain name containing two of the world’s most recognised registered trademarks!!
Further Assessing the Competition
We now need to dig a little deeper into assessing the competition we will be up against in the search engines. I usually only research Google and let the others take care of themselves. I use Firefox browser and an additional plug in called SEO for Firefox. Once downloaded and installed, this can be switched on and off from the Firefox tools menu.
Entering the search term “American fender stratocaster” we go down the entries looking at the Google page rank displayed by SEO for Firefox. In our chosen example, ranking on page one of Google is going to be a tall order as Fender and other big names are dominating the front page. Pages two and three look a bit more attainable with several PR1 and PR0 sites I might be able to displace. So in general I am happy with my domain choice and primary keyword (apart from my trademark warning above!).
Researching Additional Keywords
At this point in the proceedings I go back into Micro Niche Finder and research around twenty or thirty additional keywords for the mini site to target. Five or ten of these will need to form the basis of my site’s article titles (depending on the number of initial pages I am putting up).
I start the search again, this time using “American fender stratocaster” as the seed term, and look for three or four word terms with 1000 to 3000 global monthly searches and low statements of competition.
These additional terms again need to be cross checked in Google for competition, and I would typically be looking for a lower level of competition than for my main domain name keyphrase.
When fully researched, these keyphrase terms can all be marked and saved as a campaign within MNF or alternatively exported from MNF into a spreadsheet. These keywords will form the basis of both my site content and articles to build backlinks.
Well in broad brush strokes, that is the process I currently run through when selecting a niche for a new project. Even though it has turned into quite a long post, I have had to cut things down a little, and I would advise going to greater lengths on certain things (such as the competition assessment) than I have in my example.
The following are some key points that are useful to keep in mind:
- Too wide a niche is not good for a mini site, but may be suitable for a blog or larger authority site
- Too narrow a niche may not provide sufficient traffic
- Too narrow a niche when used for a blog, may not have sufficient subject matter to sustain regular posts
- Make sure there are enough supporting key words for your niche
My apologies if this post reads a bit like an advert for Micro Niche Finder (and yes I have used my affiliate link), but there is no getting away from the fact that it is probably my most used tool for performing many of these tasks. There are other tools you can use without having to lay out any cash – check out my Free Affilate Tools series for more info.
So are there any additional steps that you take when assessing new niches for your own web projects? Please let me know in a comment, it’s always good to learn more and refine our techniques! Oh, and before you ask, no unfortunately I can’t play like Eric Clapton! 😉