Niche Site Challenge – Keyword Research for SEO 101

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You want to attract tons of visitors to your niche website, right? Then finding the keywords associated with your topic is absolutely crucial to your success. This isn't easy stuff, but it's worth it. This is usually the step in building niche websites that people get hung up on, and it's for a good reason.

This is where the elbow grease and stick-to-it-iveness part will kick in. But doing the planning first and digging in to research will payoff in the end when your site is making money!

Now that you've spent time going over the niche site topics you want to cover for your new website it's time to dig in and find seed keywords around which you can build your content.

The goal of a niche website is to be able to build traffic quickly through natural efforts in order to monetize it. That's not the only goal though, and be careful not to get stuck on that. As I mentioned previously, it's essential to focus on building great content. Great content. We're not gaming the system here, but we are trying to hit hard on the essentials that will get us where we want to be. 

Now it's time to start putting the pieces together.

So How Do You Do Keyword Research?

We're looking for specific terms that can be used to get your site to achieve solid rankings in as short a time as possible. This is about learning how people can and will find your site, which can sometimes be completely different than what you may think. Remember to keep your future visitors in mind – they're your target.

Let's first start by thinking about your target audience. Simply put, you need to know who your audience is. That makes sense as a starting place, right? After all, yes – you want get picked up by search engines, but you're creating content for humans.

Think about what terms and phrases are associated with the market for your niche. A lot of times you'll notice that there is a certain language that is common to a community or group of a particular market niche. In web design we use all kinds of terms that mean little to nothing to those who are not designers.

The Keyword Discovery Phase

You've done your homework for your topic and audience so, how do you find these keyword ideas? A great way to jump in is to build a mind map or an outline with your main topic idea as your starting point and build a list of the top terms that come to mind that are associated with your topic.

You need to get a good idea for what keywords for which you're going to optimize your content. Clarity is important here. Vague terms are definitely not something you want. You want to have a good seed keyword phrase that you can build on.

If I were a financial advisor I would come up with list of every keyword phrase that I could think of, then I'd look through that list to find a couple solid seed keywords where I could start. Then I'd work out from there.

It may look something like this:

  • financial advisor
  • personal financial advice
  • financial coaching
  • financial advisor Orlando
  • etc.

You want to start with your main topic keyword and then build sub-topic and category keywords from there all the while keeping your main concept in view.

Now, you might have guessed that this can quickly get tedious and that's where Market Samurai comes in. It really is the quickest and easiest way to do this. It makes a long and laborious process easier.

How I Did It

Let me tell you how I did it for my new niche site. The two biggest factors that will determine your success will be the topic and associated market that you've chosen to work with, and the keywords associated with it. 

As I mentioned before my topic hit me square between the eyes when I saw a site that was doing something kind of similar, but in a totally different way. 

As soon as I found my topic my first thing I did was create a new project in Market Samurai and started doing my research. My main keyword was the concept or topic, but I quickly found out that this wasn't going to be the source for my seed keyword phrase I'd be working on because of low traffic and opportunity. It would have to be something a little different with decent opportunity and traffic, so I started working through what Pat Flynn calls the chain method in this video.

This way I came up with a ton of great ideas, some solid keywords to target, some not so solid, but I was able to dig down deep and find out where there are opportunities.

As I found a new keyword I'd first run it through the keyword research module, then I'd run it through the SEO competition module and make some decisions based on what I saw for each keyword.

The more that I dug the more topic ideas I came up with. There were things in there that were a complete mystery to me until I googled them to find out what they were and I found still more opportunities.

But just because there were a lot of cool ideas to write about didn't mean that they'd all be viable targets for a new domain with new content.

Golden Rules of Keyword Research

Since in this challenge some people are starting from scratch, the goal will be to find keywords that have four distinct characteristics for the greatest potential impact. I first learned about these rules through Noble Samurai, the company that makes the keyword research tool, Market Samurai.

  • The first rule of effective keyword research is that your target keyword needs to be relevant to your topic. Seems fairly obvious, right? The content that you create for your niche website needs to include keywords that are relevant and specific to your niche. 
  • Next, there needs to be acceptable levels of traffic for your keyword. This means that there needs to be enough people searching for the relevant term and that the term generates a sufficient level of traffic.
  • The third rule that you want to pay attention to is that there needs to be acceptable levels of competition. This is something that's getting harder and harder for to do. 
  • The last rule is that there needs to be sufficient commercial opportunity for you to monetize your website. If your keyword phrase is relevant, there is enough traffic, and the competition level is acceptable, but there isn't very much opportunity to monetize it, then you'll likely end up with a nice website that doesn't do much in the way of making money.

If you do you keyword research right, you should be able to put together a basic map of what your website can look like with your seed keyword at the center and some other related content areas branching off from that. You'll be able to chart what pages your site needs, what kind of related phrases you need to optimize for, and your first content categories.


The biggest part of building your niche site is doing this homework up front. Yes – it's hard. Without a doubt. But that just comes with the territory. But doing the hard work up front of researching your topic and its market and uncovering its relevant keywords and phrases will make all the difference. 

You don't want to spend all your time building a website that ends up sucking the life out of you because you spend all your time on it with little to no return. Do the research, investigate the possibilities, make your target lists of keywords that match up with the four rules mentioned above, and you will be on the right track to making something that is relevant to your audience and will generate income.

image by House of Antique Hardware