The Beginner’s Guide to Keyword Research for Niche Sites

JillAffiliate Marketing, The Basics31 Comments

Keyword what now? Research huh?

What is this keyword business and why do I need it anyway?

Sound familiar?

That was my exact thought process only a few short years ago when I first started out online. And though I convinced myself that I didn’t need to do this “research”, I soon found that my website was floundering because I was so resistant to it.

Now I know the term “keyword research” can sound a tad overwhelming and even a little advanced, but the truth is it’s actually quite simple once you get the hang of it.

And best of all, conducting solid keyword research for niche sites is one of the easiest strategies you can put in place to give your website a fighting chance at dominating Google and beating out your competition.

But how?

Simple.

The Most Simple Form of Keyword Research for Niche Sites

First things first, why the hell do you need keyword research? And more importantly, what the heck is a keyword anyway?

Basically, a keyword is the specific word (or phrase) someone searching Google (or Yahoo or Bing) uses to find information on whatever it is they want to read, watch, download, or buy.

Your job then is to identify what the best keyword phrase is for you to target, based on how many people are searching for it and how many other people are ranking for it.

But how do you go about identifying these keywords? Well, you could start with reading my basic beginner's guide to keyword research for niche websites…

The Step-by-Step Process of Finding Profitable Keywords

Stay with me now. All you have to do is follow this exact process:

  1. Go to bit.ly/JdwF0N
  2. Sign in with your Gmail account
  3. Click “Tools and Analysis” in the header bar
  4. Click “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas”
  5.  Type in the name of the product you are promoting or the general pain point your product solves (ie. “how to lose weight fast” if I was promoting a diet pill product)
  6. Pick the most relevant sub category (go as deep as possible)
  7. Target “All Locations”
  8.  Click the “Get ideas” button
  9. Once you get your results, click on “Keyword Ideas” which should present you with a strong list of results
  10. Repeat this process until you find a lot of keywords relevant to the niche

From there you just go through the lists and look for keyword phrases (ie. longer than 2 words) that hit the sweet spot, or have between 300 and 2000 global searches.

Personally, I like to look for longer phrases (or longtail keywords) that can be worked into the title of a website, blog post, or even a sentence.

That way when I am targeting specific phrases within my content it won’t sound unnatural or forced, and will be much more fluid for someone to read.

Now it's important to understand that our method for keyword research might be tad different to other marketers out there. What we have found to work for our niche sites is to target one main primary keyword which will appear in the post title, the URL, and throughout the content 1-2 times.

We then include 1-2 sub-keywords that appear throughout our post only once, but is enough to get picked up and recognized in Google.

Here's exactly how we do that:

  1. Make yourself a list of 4 primary keywords to use as the target keyword for each post—for this method you will want to use the keywords that have the highest search volume, but less than 200 relevant results (which I'll explain in a minute)
  2. Make another list with 1-2 sub-keywords that are relevant to the primary keyword you are targeting in each post. So if your primary keyword is “best diet pills” then a sub-keyword could be “how to lose weight fast”
  3. Open up a Google search
  4. On the bottom right hand side of the search page you will see “Settings”, click on it
  5. Choose “Search settings” from the menu
  6. Scroll down until you see “Results per page”
  7. Slide the box all the way to the right so you select “100”
  8. Click save

From there, simply copy and paste your keyword phrase into the search bar with quotes around it, so your search should look like this:

How To Preform Basic Keyword Competition Analysis

When you get your results, scroll all the way to the bottom and click on the very last page.

Right under the search box you will see a results notice that says “page (number) of (number) results”.

If you find a search returns less than 200 results, you know you have found yourself a keyword that is easy to rank for right away.

The goal here is to find yourself a keyword that has as many searches as possible with the lowest amount of Google results, and one that can be worked into the title and body of a blog post.

Find yourself a list of 4 rankable primary keywords (including “[product name] review”) and write them down with the number of searches each gets and how many results each has.

And just like that  you have found yourself 4 money-making keywords (as well as a slew of sub-keywords) that you can start writing on straight away.

See? That wasn’t so painful, was it?

Of course, you could skip this whole process and just have it done for you—an option I personally prefer

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  • Diana Jo

    See my business is home decor, I’m still trying to narrow it down to, that’s a lot to narrow down. I have an idea what niche I want, but I want to play with a few niches first, to see which one is best for my decor style. Thanks for this research info Jill & Josh!

    • Happy you found it useful! Keep us in the loop with your progress 🙂

  • Brett

    Awesome! I’ve learnt more from this post than I have from one months research on just about every IM blog on the net. Thanks heaps Jill 🙂

    • BOOM! That’s what I like to hear, Brett!

      Let us know if you have any questions 🙂

  • Daniel

    I don’t know if I’m doing it right, I’m not getting a very big list

    • Can you give me a bit more info Daniel? How many keywords are you finding and how much search volume does each have?

      • Daniel

        Hey! Thanks for the reply, I only get 1 or 2 keywords and as for search volume I’m not sure…

        • Okay the search volume should be listed beside the keyword as “Global search volume” – but you’re right 1 or 2 keywords isn’t ideal

          Have you tried searching the brand name + review?

          Or any variation of that…assuming you’re targeting a brand/product name.

  • tracey

    Why find keywords between 300-2000? I thought the more global monthly searches the better

    • Josh Stanton

      Okay good question. Normally keywords with less than a couple of thousand searches have lower competition on Google and 300 is a little low as far as traffic goes.

      As an even better rule of thumb, just stick to keywords with more than 500/month. I then recommend taking the time necessary to check page 1 competition and make sure there’s not too many “big” sites taking up the top spots.

      • tracey

        Okay, I’ll do that. Thanks for answering my question!

        • Josh Stanton

          No problem 🙂

  • So, I am checking to be sure I have this correct. I enter the keyword, within quotes and search Google, then click on the last page number at the bottom of the page and then read the number that comes up under the search box…is that correct? I think it looks something like this:

    Page 2 of 132 results (0.53 seconds)

    Thank for your help…:)

    • Josh Stanton

      Yes spot on Karen 🙂

  • Staci Taylor Brindle

    I’m finding many of my google searches producing 300-360ish instead of less than 200. Do I keep looking or is less than 200 simply ideal but not essential. Obviously the lower the better for this number, correct?
    Also, any ideas how I might limit searches further so to achieve results less than 200?

    • Josh Stanton

      Okay so this is just a really quick indicator of search competition. Generally if I find a keyword above 300, I would run it through Long Tail Platinum to more accurately figure out how competitive page one is.

      Usually when you find a keyword with really low numbers like less than 200, it means that it’s going to be fairly easy to rank for. Anything above that, I recommend checking using something like Long Tail Platinum – http://screwtheninetofive.com/longtailpro

  • Raya BlissfulBelly Zane

    what if the bottom of google says “In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 438 already displayed.” Do I want to show the omitted results or not?

    • Josh Stanton

      No just take note of the number which is “438”. So as far as competition, this would be above that 300 number. That means it might be a little harder to rank for on page one. Not impossible, just a bit more difficult.

      If you want to get the most accurate competition data, I recommend using something like Long Tail Pro

  • Raya BlissfulBelly Zane

    does it matter what the competition is in google adwords? Are you wanting to find low competition words?

    • Don’t pay attention to the Adwords comp. It’s not relevant as you’ll be using a different method to gauge competition 🙂

      • Raya BlissfulBelly Zane

        thanks, could you answer my question below too? 🙂

        Love the work you are doing

  • Raya BlissfulBelly Zane

    why do you put quotations around the search term?

    • Josh Stanton

      It tells google to only look for the “exact match” for the keyword

  • Raya BlissfulBelly Zane

    ok another question (i have so many!) If you are doing your research with quotations around the keyword terms and you get, say, 100 results. How are you going to be at the top of google for that keyword term when most people do not use quotations around their searches?

    • Josh Stanton

      The whole point of running that kind of search is to determine how many pages there are indexed on Google who have specifically targeted that “exact match keyword”. Otherwise Google would pick up results targeting keywords which are similar but not exact match.

      • Raya BlissfulBelly Zane

        thanks so much for your quick replies! You guys are awesome!

  • Raya BlissfulBelly Zane

    I would love to purchase Long Tail Pro eventually, but right now I need to start for free, so I am very motivated to make google’s keyword tool work for me!

    • Josh Stanton

      Yeah for sure. It’s a great idea to get the lay of the land with the Keyword Planner before deciding to spend any money on tools.

  • Muhammed Kilic

    Hello, I know I am probably a little late to the discussion. If you happen to see this, please help! I am looking for my niche, I am trying different keywords and I am wondering why I need to go to the last page of the search. If I search something like “Best Gaming Computer” for example, I get low results in the 200s for the last page. But otherwise there are at least 150K results on the first pages. Any help is appreciated!

  • Kashish Trivedi

    Nice tips Jill. Keyword researching does sound hard but with practice you will get the hang of it in no time. You should also try creating a mindmap starting for a seed keywords, then building your list longer. I also mine for possible keywords in Wikipedia, Reddit and Quora. You also get to understand what your target market is looking for. Then for more possible keywords I also use UberSuggest then finally put them all together in Google Keyword Planner to get high traffic low competition k eywords for your niche. For a more detailed tutorial on keyword research, check out this article: .