How To Do Keyword Research For Niche Sites- Step by Step Tutorial

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Hi Guys,

First of all, You should note that keyword research "process" is not same for every business. This guide here is specially for "niche sites monetized with adsense,amazon or clickbank". This is NOT a guide for ecommerce website or local business websites. I am going to cover that in later posts.

Step 1. Brainstorming keyword Ideas

Do you think keyword research starts with GKP? The answer is “No”. It starts with your brain. You 1st need to brainstorm some topics which you’ll later use to expand your research.

So, how the heck this brainstorming process works? There are so many topics I can think about!! How should I start? I know, I know. Let me walk you through these steps.

You can start brainstorming in two ways:

a) Listing topics you are passionate about or good at
b) Finding topics that other people are looking for.

If I am to list topics in which I am passionate about, I can think of a couple of things such as watching movies, coin collection, hiking etc.

I want you to take a notepad and start writing these topics in which you are good at.

Next, You want to see what other people are looking for. The best way to find it is to look into the forums-

Looking in to the forums:

No matter what topic you think of, there’s a forum for almost everything. So you need to look in to the forums 1st. The simple process is to go to Google, pick a broad keyword you can think of and add the word "Forum" to it. Here’s how it looks like:

Search string: keyword + Forum(s)

Now you want to take a look at some of the topics in that forum that sound like a keyword and jot those down in your notepad. For example, I went to that skincare talk forum and under “basic skin care” section I found topics like Self tanners for face, Redness around the nose area, Best Spot Treatments etc.

Ebay and Amazon Categories:

These are another great source of keyword ideas. Here’s the link to ebay category page. You’ll be amazed to see so many keyword ideas.

You can apply the same procedure for Amazon too. Look at the amazon categories and also in the best seller section and take note of ideas.

Spying on competitor sites.

You can also gather ideas from some of your competitor sites. For example, in the skin care niche you can take example sites such as total beauty and plug that site into the GKP. Here’s what it look like:

This technique is especially useful for clickbank products. Most of the time CB products get a lot of search for their domain name keyword. So once you put the domain in GKP it will show you a lot of keyword ideas.

Google Auto Suggestion:

You may be familiar with this technique. You can type some keyword in Google and it will come up with other related ideas to enrich your list!

Analyzing the Private Blog Network Sites:

Often time you’ll see many sites are using PBN links to build backlink to their sites. They typically use exact or thematically matched keyword to create the backlink to their client sites. This can give you a better idea on what keywords other people are targeting

To do so, you need to find websites who has got a lot of links from PBN sites. Then go to each of those PBN sites and take a look at all the posts and anchor texts within that! Here's one example I found:

So, By Now You should have a large list of seed keywords in your notepad if you have followed these instruction so far .

Handy Tools for Brainstorming:

Thankfully there are couple of tools to make the brainstorming process easier. Check out Keyword Map and HumanBrainCloud. They are very easy to use.

Step2. Expanding Your Keyword Research

The structure of affiliate or adsense sites is as such that there is usually one main keyword and other related long tail keywords. So the 1st step here would be to find an appropriate keyword for the “home page”. The keyword should have some characteristics which I have discussed below:

Beyond Search Volume and Competition...

Although both search volume and competition analysis is important, there are other things you should keep in mind for the selection of main keyword.

Keyword should cover a niche to some extent

The keyword should be as such that, there will be many other ideas that are closely related to that main keyword.

For example, If you find a keyword “how to tie a tie” which has over 550,000 monthly searches. Now, ask yourself, “What else can you write if you are to make a site surrounding this keyword?” I am sure you can’t go deeper. So this is not the keyword you are looking for.

Instead, you want to find a keyword for which you can generate at least 20-50 other post ideas.

Buying Intention or Commercial Intent

Put yourself in a searcher’s position. Now think, you are searching for “how to tie a tie”. What would you do with this information? Is there any buying or action taking intention behind that keyword? I think “No”.

CPC and Other Metrics-

For Adsense sites, you need to choose a keyword that has a good CPC. I recommend choosing keywords with CPC $1.5 or more. Because, you’ll not get the actual rate as shown in GKP. Consider 30-40% of actual CPC.

For Amazon sites, Make sure there are at least 10+ items available on Amazon with 4.5 star or more. Otherwise, you won’t have many items to review. I don’t really care about price of the item.

For Clickbank sites, it’s not necessary to pay attention to gravity score. Some people say higher gravity products are good, which is a total myth. Some of my best converting products are in 5-15 gravity range. So for your keyword, try to find a related product which pays $20+ commission and have a gravity of 5+.

How to generate more Keywords from your seed keyword's list?

Obviously, most of you are already using tools like long tail pro, Market samurai etc. Though I am not a great fan of any of these tools, but still long tail pro is better than many others.

Remember you have gathered a list of seed keywords in the notepad? It’s time to play around with those !

Put some of those keywords into Long tail Pro.

No need to fetch “exact match domains” as they are not important anymore. Under “Apply Filter” section, Select “average Local searches” select 2000 to 15,000 (You can put any number but that are what I prefer). Next, select the number of words “2”. Hit “Generate Keywords”.

Step3. Competitor Analysis

Before you do any competitor analysis, you need to know who your actual competitor is/are. There are few misconceptions regarding competitor analysis.

Misconception1. allintitle:”keyword” is your competition.

Misconception2. Competition column in Adwords is your competition.

Some people say, the competition column in adwords keyword planner is your competition. I am referring to this actually:

The competition column here is actually advertiser competition. This is not your SEO competition. The “High” or “Low” competition in this column means how many advertisers are competing for these keywords for PPC campaign. So this is nothing to do with your seo competition.

So, who is your actual competition then?

It’s the Top 10 sites ranking for your target keywords.

There is no exact formula for finding the golden keyword.

Here are some of the key metrics you should look at while analyzing top 10 sites:

1) Relevancy
2) Page Authority
3) Number and Quality of backlinks
4) Moz Rank
5) Check if similar site is ranking or not.


Understanding of “relevancy’ is a perception skill which will grow over time as you do more keyword research.

To understand it even better, take a look at the page titles of the ranking pages and see if they are using the exact match keyword or not.

Also visit the pages and see what type of content they have written, content length, social share etc.

Authority of the Website:

The Next thing to look at is “Page Authority”. The lower the PA is, the weaker a page is. Usually PA less than 25 is a good indication of low competition. So you want to see many such PA’s in top 10.

Another thing to look at here is the presence of authority website. In the above example, you can see many authority website such as webmd, mayoclinic, Wikipedia etc are ranking in top 10. So this tells us that this keyword is obviously competitive.

If you are not sure whether a site is an authority website or not, then take a look at the domain authority column. Anything over 80 can be considered as high authority website.

Home Page Ranking or Not?

Next thing to look at, whether the “home page” or an “inner page” is ranking. Home page ranking in top 10 is an indication of strong competition. So if you see too many home page URLs in top 10 then you should avoid that keyword.

Number and Quality of Backlinks

Number and quality of backlinks is another important criteria. The higher the number the stronger the page is usually. So, target is to see many pages in top 10 with less number of backlinks.

To analyze the quality of backlinks, Take the top 3 to 5 results and enter the URLs in

When the results are returned, set the filters to see all external backlinks (as shown below) and click on “filter”.

Now take a look at the backlinks column and the PA, DA metrics beside. You don’t have to analyze all the backlinks.

Just take a look at the top 10 backlinks and their PA, DA. If you see the links are from low Page authority sites then it’s a good indication for you. PA less than 20 is usually good.

Similar sites ranking:

This is not absolutely necessary but it gives you some sort of surety about the ranking. Sometimes, you’ll find results where all other metrics will match but there is not any similar site ranking. By “similar” I meant the type of site you are about to build.

Now, you must be wondering, what’s the exact figure I should take into account or when should I avoid a keyword.

So I have set up a rule for myself that I follow every time I do keyword research. Check out my personal keyword research cheat sheet here.

Step4. Gathering Secondary or LSI Keywords and Organizing

Now that you have found the main keyword, it’s time to find other related keywords. It’s not 2011 where you can go far with a 5 pages website. Your goal should be to create a website which carries some sort of authority.

So the higher number of quality article you can publish the higher the authority will become over time. You’ll be ranking for other long tail keywords too which will drive more traffic as well.

Keeping that in mind, you need to look for other keyword ideas. Other than finding some random low competition keyword, you want to keep the keywords in an organized way which is popularly known as “SILO Structure”.

This is not absolutely necessary but I prefer to do it because it helps search engine to understand the architecture of the site and rank for other themed match keywords.

To understand this structure even better you can check out this article.

Long Tail Keyword Generation

They are very important and it's not hard to find such keywords. I don't put much research effort on long tails. You can use a tool like Scrapebox or Ubersuggest to find long tail keyword ideas for your posts. Keep everything above 200+ monthly search volume and try to fit those into your posts.

Wrapping it Up

So this is how you should complete your keyword research. How do you do your research? Do you check anything else? Let me know your thoughts in the comment below!

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