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Keyword Research is Critical to Your Success with Niche Sites

When it comes to niche websites, the keyword research you conduct will usually dictate your success as the website evolves.

I have repeatedly written that the internet is one big playground of keywords, and therefore ranking high on search engines is one big game of keywords.

Each time someone searches for a keyword, search engines scour the internet and find web pages that are focused on that particular “keyword”.

Since there are a million web pages competing for the same keyword, how do the engines decide which webpage to rank higher relative to another?  There are several factors that are taken into consideration, but none more that search engine optimization (SEO), which is essentially a strategic use of your selected keywords.

On page” SEO is really no more than utilizing targeted keywords in specific places of your web pages in a very specific manner. Keywords are used in your website’s domain name, individual web page file names, meta data such as title, keyword and description tags, within the body of the web pages or blog posts, as well as anchor texts for linking purposes.

Keyword research is how I start with establishing a niche content website.  Proper keyword research involves learning keyword supply, demand and potential for profitability.

Supply refers to the number of competing web pages online that compete for a particular keyword, and demand represents the number or searches people are conducting within a specific timeframe.

It is after a detailed keyword research exercise that I am able to put together an architectural blueprint for my website.  This is essentially the skeletal system of my website, which lays out the main pages that will be linked to my home page (called tier 2 pages) and the web pages linked to them (called tier 3 pages).

I understand that targeting everything you publish online for specific keywords may sound impractical if you are running a blog, although it is possible.  A better application of this discussion however is relevant to a static content or a niche website.

So when building your next website, you can either go with your gut and target keywords you think should be targeted and might do well with, or you can research the hottest keywords and guarantee that you definitely do well.

In a subsequent post, I plan on discussing the best keyword research tool as well as the one I use when planning my niche websites.

What about you, do you consider keyword research a critical component of your success online?  Why or why not?  What methods have worked best for you?

Keyword Researching

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32 Responses to “Keyword Research is Critical to Your Success with Niche Sites”

  1. krantcents says:

    I use SEO technology, although I am not sure effectively. I look forward to your next article.

    • Sunil says:

      Won’t be the exact next, but it is in the chain. A blogger has an advantage in that he or she can develop a community of recurring readers / followers instead of solely relying on SEO like many niche websites do.

  2. Sunil, You’re right, research is absolutely critical and I had no idea how important when I first started. I recently redesigned my site with SEO in mind and it has made a big impact on traffic already.

    • Sunil says:

      And it will continue to Geoff as your pages gain more traction over time. As you know one way to expedite the progress is through link building (focusing on each page) with relevant and quality back links over time.

  3. Adler says:

    thanks for this article. I have had problems in the past with keyword research but I am slowly getting better at it.

  4. Hi Sunil, I do agree with you on the importance of Keyword research for a successful online campaign. Your selection of keywords is what that can make or break your campaign. I am also looking forward for your next article of this series on “best keyword research tool”. I hope i will get to know about some good tools and tips to use them.

    • Sunil says:

      Very true – and that goes for most businesses online, especially ones that are trying to capitalize on free organic search traffic.

      I am working on putting together a comprehensive post on the keyword research tools I have used and each’s pros / cons. Looking forward to sharing it.

  5. It is right that keyword research play vital role for niche sites and in SEO field but it is also true that keywords research is very hard job to select right keywords for right products and sites. Your points are really helpful and i think most important thing is keyword research tool that which keyword research tool you are using? and if you are on right tool then obviously you can make good strategy for your niche sites.

    • Sunil says:

      The tools certainly vary in both the source data they fish from as well as the presentation to the user. Which one are you currently using? How do you like / not like it?

  6. Key word research tools like google’s own keyword tool becomes very handy when you doing some Power SEO. 🙂

    • Sunil says:

      The Google Adwords Keyword tool is certainly a good free option, though it has its limitations which creates a gap for more sophisticated tools to fill in. Just depends on your objectives at the end of the day.

  7. Hey, have you read Pat Flynn’s keyword research blog post? I find it really useful. He tells you exactly how to build a niche site from the ground up, starting from keyword research to building backlinks. I’d personally like to build niche sites, but just don’t have the time.

    • Sunil says:

      Yes I have Tony and I do engage in some of the steps he talks through. It is important to realize that there is no one way to build a niche site. It comes down to the competitiveness of the keyword you are targeting (the amount of effort you put in is predicated on competition).

      I have experimented with a few approaches most of which have ended up in successful niche sites. I talk about what worked and didn’t for me on this blog. I will also be discussing my methods in detail in upcoming posts.

  8. I personally think that for every kind of website and online business your keywords research plays an important and vital role in your future success, because if you can’t chose right keywords which are not representing your business as well as you can’t rank these keywords then there is no need to waste your time and money.

    • Sunil says:

      Success will definitely take more time when keywords are not targeted or the inappropriate ones are. But big brands have proven from time to time that with a lot of time, and a lot of money invested behind the brand, one can override the basic keyword principles that we small players live by.

  9. Extensive and proper keyword research fuels businesses online as keywords connect buyers and sellers. Being able to identify profitable keywords and niche markets that people are searching on the net is the best way to generate you website traffic, leads and sales.

  10. I have been thinking about one thing
    For some niches is almost impossible to beat some old sites in terms of SERP.
    Sites that for years are in the first positions not only in google, but yahoo, bing (samething ) and others for very disputed keywords. In my opinion on this situation the solution is change the keyword and focus on social network.

    • Sunil says:

      Welcome to the blog Luis.

      Although the route you suggest is certainly easier, you might be pleasantly surprised to know that it is not always difficult to outrank a “veteran” website. I have niche websites that I am able to rank on spot one within six months that surpass the existing top 10 sites, in many cases with domain ages of 5+ years. If you email me I can share with you some examples where I’ve surpassed a 10, 11 and a 12 year domain within 9 months.

      Hope to see you here more often.

      • James says:

        Hey Sunil –

        Can you share with me via email too how you out ranked an old site to get the #1 spot?


        • Sunil says:

          James, I suggest reading my free report in its entirety, and then coupling that info with my posts on building an effective website blueprint, sitemaps, directory subs and all my article marketing posts. I write about all my methods openly

  11. ag says:

    Fantastic blog, Sunil! I found you write very well and your intelligence certainly shows through as well.
    Apart form keyword research, what are your main determining factors before going ahead on a website. Do you think of how you can monetize it initially or is it more if you have some interest/passion towards a niche?
    Also, what’s your opinion on product review based sites monetized with adsense/amazon? Do you believe it is an obsolete business model?

    • Sunil says:

      Welcome to the blog ag and thank you for your comments.

      Some other factors include how strong (PR wise) are the top 5 competitors, what type of existing related products/services are selling well, whether I can write or find a strong writer for the topic, whether it is timeliness content, etc.

      I am at a point where monetization is a key criteria before diving into a niche. If you are starting out I recommend a mix of passion and profitability potential. Read my post on this if you haven’t yet.

      Product review sites are very much going strong, and I own a couple that are continuing to do well. These are great acquisition targets if you wanted to exit someday. Why would you question whether it is obsolete? What are your concerns with this model?

      Looking forward to interacting with you more.

  12. ag says:

    Like yourself, I started my IM journey using SBI and think it is a great vehicle for beginners to use. I’ve developed 2 sites so far, the second one being a product review site which unfortunately is not converting well. I think the main reason is a poor choice of niche/topic. I went with products which I though would have future potential but am not seeing it so far. So I’m at a stage where I can start another review site (using better kw research) or try a different online business model altogether.

    • Sunil says:

      ah – SBI is great indeed. I have several profitable sites designed and hosted on the SBI platform. Feel free to email me your website – I’d love to have a look and give you my thoughts.

  13. ag says:


    Today, if you had to choose to either build a information site (like your Dubai site) or a product review site which would you choose and why? Which one do you think is more profitable?

  14. Akil says:

    Relevancy is the most important in google eyes so the main point is to included and create a website that is relevant to what the person is looking for online. You touch upon some important which I learn about last month and over the time since I have been online.

    The more I heard people repeat the same thing the more I know its something to follow especially if there making a living from it.


    • Sunil says:

      true – and this will likely only increase in importance as search engines weed out not so relevant sites that are ranking high today because of aggressive SEO/marketing efforts.

  15. I agree that keyword research is critical. this is how we start every consultation. many times clients come to us wanting to promote certain keywords, but we ask them if they know how many are searching for that keyword. the answer is a blank stare

  16. Yes, If you want any chance at making money online, proper keyword iresearch is a must. I use a spiderweb research sheet that can create more potential keywords options. I have noticed with implementing the proper keyword research options, my success has risen.

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