The way I do my keyword research is a lot different than it was a few years ago. In the past, I would look for any low competition keyword that was getting 500-1000 searches a month and rank them within a month or two. These days, it’s not so easy.
Google gives so much weight to domain authority now that it’s getting significantly more difficult to build sites to a quick $10/day. But this does, however, make it easier to get to $100/day.
Why? Because once you build up enough authority to rank for anything these days, your domain carries enough power to rank for smaller long-tail keywords with far less effort than you needed in the past. You just have to know how to find the right keywords.
This is exactly why I begin my keyword research at the very top of the food chain. Instead of going for low-hanging fruit, I’ll aim for the ones with the biggest search volumes.
In this post, I go over how I find profitable keywords with low competition. Remember, keyword research is different for what you’re trying to achieve and how you’ll monetize the site. For instance, someone who’s going to push an affiliate product will have different criteria than someone like me who’s looking to monetize with Adsense. I’m looking for traffic, and lots of it. That’s my main criteria.
Every Niche is profitable if monetizing through advertising
Too many people get caught up in the idea that some niches are just very profitable no matter what you try with it.
This is true if you’re an affiliate marketer trying to push products to your traffic. Some niches don’t attract buyers, and will just get annoyed with any sales tactics. Have you ever heard of million dollar launches in niches like sewing?
But with Adsense, niches aren’t profitable. Traffic is profitable. You don’t need to push anything. You just need to get people to your site, and Adsense’s ad targeting will do the rest to encourage clicks.
Sure, some niches have a higher CPC, and encourage a higher CTR, but in the end, traffic converts into clicks no matter what your site is about.
Ads are rarely related to your niche these days
If you didn’t turn off Adsense’s default targeting settings, your traffic will see more ads about what they’re interested in than what your site is related to.
By default, all of these options are turned on, and I like to keep it that way. It opens the door to more bidding advertisers for each of your ad blocks.
If they spend most of their time looking at mortgage options online, they’re more likely to see an ad from a mortgage broker when they visit your site.
This means you can stop worrying about your niche not having enough advertisers to get a high CPC.
You might remember in the past, when you put up ads on a site where there weren’t a lot of Adwords advertisers, you would see a lot of blank or miscellaneous ads about Google or Adsense itself.
Not anymore. These days, every business is on Adwords. Companies are being introduced to re-targeting. And Google’s ad targeting system has gotten a lot smarter.
Finding Low Competition Niches
Now that’s out of the way, let me show you how I find profitable keywords, and the way I find opportunities with very little competition.
I like to stay away from competitive niches; by that I mean niches that are popular with internet marketers. The ones that come to mind are finance, education, make money online, and careers.
They’re popular for a reason. The monetization opportunities are endless. You have countless affiliate products to choose from, a bunch of CPA offers that are super targeted to your audience, and readers who are hungry for more information.
With Adsense, my main objective is traffic. I’m looking for ad impressions, not to push people on a particular product.
Do Adsense ads on an authority finance or insurance blog give much higher CPC’s? Of course. But you’ll also always have to work your tail off to maintain your rankings (if you ever get to the top 3). Profitable keywords like that will always have new competitors and there will always be affiliates working their butts off to bump you off the top spot.
That’s not really my idea of a passive income.
Therefore, I like to go after niches that aren’t very popular in the internet marketing space. These are things like crafts, hobbies, special interests, cities, etc.
If the search volume is large enough, I can build a big money-making site around it that pulls in passive income through Adsense. And, I won’t have to worry about a bunch of affiliate trying to negative SEO my site.
Tools I use
If you were expecting more technical details and secret push-button tactics with software, sorry there isn’t any.
What Keyword Volumes I Look For
I use KWFinder to discover big keywords with search volumes of 50,000+.
That might seem like a lot more than you’re used to, but it doesn’t mean my main keyword has to have a search volume of over 50,000. It means the top 2 keywords, and all of its variable phrases have to add up to 50,000+.
What do I mean by variable phrase?
By variable phrase I mean all the different ways you can type the keyword. They all count. They would be all the different keywords that I can target with a single page, and they add up.
For instance, if the keyword was “blue blankets” then I would look for all the different phrases like:
big blue blankets
best blue blankets
blue and red blankets
new blue blankets
get blue blankets
‘Blue blankets’ might only get 25,000 searches, but the combined total of all of them can be multiple times that.
Remember the days when you would create pages for every single one of those keywords, optimizing it different each time just to target a variation?
I can target all those search terms with just one page, and those search volumes would add up. These days, if you optimize your page properly, ranking for one phrase ranks you for all the variable phrases. It’s happened for me for all my new sites, and you may have noticed it too.
It’s really… really awesome.
Do a Manual Analysis
Maybe you’re used to doing all of this with software, but here’s the way I do it:
When I find a big volume keyword, I’ll go through the top 20 results on Google manually. One by one. I’ll run them through Moz and Majestic to get a good idea of their backlinks and authority.
Second, I’ll read the content one by one. I’m hoping the content is really thin or outdated. I want to know how much of a difference my new site will be in terms of quality of information on the page. I’m looking to build the ultimate guide and take over as the #1 resource for the topic.
The Perfect Keyword
I recently wrote about ranking #1 for my biggest keyword ever. I won’t reveal the exact niche it was in, since it could be my biggest traffic site from Google search, but I will say it was in the hobbies niche.
I literally jumped off my seat when I found it. The top 5 keywords had close to a million searches per month in total, and every site in the top 30 searches were very, very outdated. It was clear there was no leader in the space. That’s what I’m looking for. Niches where I can easily claim the spot as the leading resource.
Where to Get Big Niches
If you’re not using Stumbleupon to find niche ideas, then you’re really missing out.
Stumbleupon has a list of “Interests” that you can choose from. There’s close to 100 (or more? I never counted them all) and it shows you how many people are subscribed to it. You can get a lot of new ideas for brainstorming by looking at this section.
Create a free account, then from your home page, click “Add Interests” to see the whole list.
Additionally, you can view top performing pages in each topic so you can get an idea of what type of content is popular.
I’ve gotten a lot of niche ideas from StumbleUpon. It’s one of my favourite places to hang out because I’ll always discover a new website opportunity.
Amazon, the biggest e-commerce site in the world is a keyword researcher’s dream. They sell everything and it’s so nicely organized.
Without the slightest clue, you can visit the site and leave with a huge list of niche ideas.
The massive range of categories and products on the site can be a little overwhelming. Just browse and click around on things.
Tip:When you’re browsing, don’t just think of the products as a niche, but think of their uses and applications. For instance, if you’re looking at lawn mowers, don’t just think of keywords like ‘best lawnmowers.’ Think outside of the product like “how to cut grass like a golf course” or “how to get greener grass.”
3. Your local bookstore or library
I love visiting my local Chapters. For one, I love reading, but it’s also a fun way to do keyword research. I guess it’s pretty similar to going on Amazon’s website, but the experience is different. You’re physically browsing around looking for topics to write about.
When I visit a bookstore or library, my favourite section is the business and computer science section. However, I literally look around the entire store just browsing for topics I can create niche sites about. I’ll take note of some subjects I’ve never considered in the past, then run them through Google Keyword Planner when I get home.
Focus on High Traffic First
The most important part about finding profitable keywords is traffic volume. CPC and CTR are important metrics, but not as much as traffic.
The majority of people starting out spend too much time thinking about CPC and increasing CTR, but their traffic is minimal. Even at a ridiculously high, CTR or CPC their income wouldn’t be near 100 with the level of traffic they get.
Keywords that bring in $100/day with Adsense need a lot of traffic, plain and simple.
Look for unconventional keywords in topics you never thought about before. Heck, even go run keywords related to sewing in the Keyword Planner and see what it brings back.
If you keep the things I listed above in mind, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to find great low competition keywords that are capable of $100/day. You’re just not looking hard enough.
If you’re new at this, and thought keyword research was a complicating, technical skill, then I just showed you that it isn’t, and if you do it the way I do it, it’s even simpler.