Virtually every niche website out there today started with a single keyword. Whether or not keyword research was the first thing performed when choosing that site, finding the “winning” keyword was usually the green light needed to get started.
But is one keyword really enough to decide to go ahead with a site? Can you choose a niche based purely on one search metric?
And more importantly, when you DO find a great keyword, how do you then turn it into a niche website that will one day make you money?
It's actually something that a lot of people struggle with. Most of the failed sites I started as a beginner were down to poor keyword research, but there were also a few sites where I just approached the site wrong after finding a good keyword.
I've seen plenty of sites started by others that have had the same issues, so today's post is going to cover some of the things that you can do differently, or if you've never started a site before, some of the things you should consider when planning your very first one.
First Off – What Kind Of Keyword Is Ideal?
As I'll show you later, no single keyword is ideal. You really want a whole group of keywords. However, to find the group, you first need to find one keyword.
That keyword could theoretically fall into various different categories, but I'll show you the type of keyword I usually start with when researching an Amazon or other niche site.
A good keyword should:
- Be a buying keyword
- Be popular
- Be rankable
Please note, I usually use Long Tail Pro (read my review) to do my keyword research.
These don't have to contain the word “Buy” in them. A buying keyword is simply something somebody would type into Google if they're interested in maybe buying something.
Compare “running shoes,” which could be about anything with “best running shoes” and you'll see that the latter has much more buying intent with it.
I like to start with a keyword that has over 1,000 searches, because this usually suggests there will be lots of other keywords and there will be interest in the niche. However, you could just as easily start with a keyword that has 500, or even 250 searches.
There are too many variables involved to just rely on search volume. What if the product gives a huge commission? What if there's virtually no competition? What if there are hundreds of different keywords you could rank for with the same site?
It's always worth doing further exploration, so don't rely solely on the popularity of one keyword.
This may or may not be a real word, but the reason I choose “rankability” rather than “low competition” is because it's easier to measure. I've found keywords in the past with low competition that were still hard to rank for, and vice versa.
A classic example is when a keyword appears to have low competition, but that competition is all eCommerce sites. You're probably not going to get an affiliate site to rank alongside them.
Typically you want to find a keyword where the top sites are affiliate sites, or even authority sites with lower relevance.
So when I find a keyword and think “Ok, looks like a keyword that Google will rank affiliate sites for”, I don't immediately dismiss it based on the strength of competition.
Further analysis is needed later.
Good Keyword Examples
We've touched upon “best” keywords, and these ones are ironically enough, usually the best to go for.
Here are some other good examples, using the running shoes term again:
– Top running shoes
– Running shoe reviews
– [brand] review (example: Nike air review)
– best [brand] (example: Best nike running shoe)
Depending on the niche, there will be other variants too. These examples are just to get you started. You can read some more about good vs bad keywords here.
Digging Deeper And Building The Site
Once you've found one or two keywords that look promising, it's time to think about how that might make a good niche site.
This is where people often go wrong. It's all too easy to find one keyword, and think “Yes!!” and then move forward with the site, when perhaps it wasn't the best plan.
Generally this is when the keyword is too narrow, and you build a whole site around it.
An example might be something like the term: “Best running shoes for plantar fasciitis”
This is a decent keyword and well worth further investigating. The mistake a lot of people make is to build an entire site around running shoes for plantar fasciitis.
You're only going to have so much success before you hit the ceiling on this site.
So here's how you move forward:
1.) Do additional research to find similar keywords and broaden the scope of the site. In this case, you could find other running shoe keywords, or even other plantar fasciitis keywords.
Maybe you can build a “footwear for plantar fasciitis” site or a “running shoe for different ailments” site.
The idea is to go broader, but not too broad where you've got a bunch of unrelated keywords.
2.) Do this research by putting your keywords into Long-Tail Pro, SEMRush, or even ubersuggest.org and seeing what other related keywords come up. Then analyze those keywords for their merits and strengths.
3.) Research products available and look for keywords related to them, such as “ review”. This gives you the ability to link to 5-10 products from one “best of” article.
4.) You can also find more informational keywords. You don't have to have EVERY keyword on the site as a buying keyword. If you could find things like “How to run with plantar fasciitis” then it would very much complement your other keyword.
Here's what the site might look like:
Plantar Fasciitis Angle:
– Best running shoes for plantar fasciitis
– Best hiking boots for plantar fasciitis
– Best shoes for plantar fasciitis
– How to run a marathon with plantar fasciitis
– Plantar fasciitis shoe review
Running Shoe Ailment Angle:
– Best running shoes for plantar fasciitis
– Best running shoes for flat feet
– Best running shoes for varicose veins
– Running shoes for verucas
– How to run with sore feet
I haven't checked the metrics of these keywords, they're here as examples.
There's actually a really good article about digging deeper here, from an author who has a lot of experience in this.
Why This Is Better
Aside from the obvious reasons (more keywords = more content, more visitors, and more money), there are a few more things to consider:
1.) You're hedging your bets.
If you rely too much on one stellar keyword, and you never rank for it, what next? I have some sites where my favorite keyword just won't get beyond page 2, but the niche is wide enough that I still get thousands of visitors and make good money from that site.
2.) The old EMD strategy is dead.
The idea of finding one keyword and building a site around it comes from the days when people could buy a domain name to match the keyword, like bestshoesforplantarfasciitis.com. Google closed that loophole, which means there's no real advantage to choosing one keyword anymore.
3.) More content = more ranking.
The more content your site has, the better Google will view it. So even if you are building out content for other keywords, your original keyword will rank higher because it's on a more filled out site.
I typically launch a site with 8-10 pages, and once it starts to rank, build it out from there.
Final Tip – If You're Unsure What Content You'd Have, Drop It
If you have done the steps above and you're still unsure what content you'd build around a keyword, then chances are you haven't got enough to complement it.
As mentioned before, it's all too easy to rush into niche selection and go with a site idea purely because you found one or two good keywords.
Now, you CAN build sites without doing any keyword research at all, but you should still have a lot of content ideas. Without these, then no niche is really going to be broad enough to have the ROI you're looking for.
While there might be a handful of exceptions where a single keyword earns you a lot of money, experience tells me that it's best to stay away from single keyword sites.
And as always, if you'd prefer to get our help building a site for you, then you can learn more about that here.