One thing niche site builders are obsessed with is competition. We analyze domain authority, page authority, trust flow, citation flow, Moz rank, domain rating, yadda, yadda, yadda...
But the thing we should remember is that these metrics are lagging indicators. They're analyzed for a split second and then cached into the servers of Majestic or Ahrefs.
This isn't going to be a post on keyword research, but it will be a post on not obsessing over those metrics and SEO competition. This might be the most white-hat post you'll read here on HPD, but its something that's surely in the mind of people that are at the top of their game - in terms of ranking sites.
If you're really obsessed with keyword research then I suggest you step away from the keyword tools for a second and do your research manually. Don't rely purely on the keyword tools as they all have different metrics that ultimately lead to different opinions. If you find a keyword that's low competition and it's congruently low between Ahrefs, Long Tail Pro, and KW Finder then go for it.
But if you can't narrow down a niche and the competition looks too high, I just want to remind you that it's all of that is relative....
This means someone with an aged site is more likely to look at the same competition and think it's easier. It's just how the world of SEO works - older sites get to throw their weight around easier.
Now, let's bring it back and assume you're starting a brand new site on a new domain.
You've narrowed down your keywords but you're stuck...
1. The metrics tell you competition is too high for the keywords you're keen on
2. The "low competition" keywords aren't something you're passionate towards and don't want to dedicate the next 2 years towards
3. The "low competition" keywords have too low of volume for you to pursue
First, you shouldn't worry about number 3 at all because these are simply keywords you can put in your back-pocket for later. Even if you don't pursue them in your first content sprint.
Let's start diving into how you can get "unstuck" with your niche site research and think more long term.
1) Competition Will Come, Competition Will Go
As I mentioned above, competition is all relative.
Both in time and perspective.
By "time", I mean that the competition for a keyword changes hundreds of times each week. When you look at a keyword one week, it'll be different the next week. You may not notice the first-page changing a whole lot, but second-page certainly does.
By "perspective", it means that competition is relative to the person analyzing the SERPs. In fact, your own perspective will change as your site grows. It doesn't really matter how you measure yourself against the competition (Domain Authority, Domain Ranking, etc.), but your rating will grow and you'll start competing with more authoritative sites soon enough.
But for now, you're starting at ground zero and you gotta get your ratings up in order to change your perspective.
2) Overcoming Niche Site Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome is something most business owners face. It just means that you think you're a fake when trying to achieve something great.
As the saying goes "fake it till you make it." This also applies to your niche sites too. Make your site look bigger than it really is! (PS. this helps with link building 😉 )
What I mean by this is to establish your site's credibility in a few ways:
1. Utilize several avatars. On my site's 'about page', I have 1 founder, 1 media person, and 2 writers. All their photos aren't perfect and they gels together nicely. This took me some time to find the perfect group of people.
If someone visits a review on your site and they don't click through to Amazon but explore your site a bit more - a solid about page is going to make your site stand out from the rest.
2. Add local citations to your site. Local citations are what local SEO practitioners utilize for their local clients. It's pretty much the Name, Address, and Phone Number repeated over and over on business directories. We talked about this in a recent article on SEO lessons from a $1K per month site.
3. Don't use an avatar and act as the guinea pig. Pat Flynn is probably the biggest example of this. He has positioned himself as the crash test dummy for all things internet marketing. Even if you don't agree with that, he's done a well-done job of teaching everything he knows along the way.
3) Defeat Paralysis By Analysis With Narrow Focus
A lot of new Amazon affiliates are halted because of paralysis by analysis. There's just an overload of affiliate SEO advice and a million and one niches to choose from.
If the keywords you look at just aren't attractive enough, keep exploring and continue niching down. This is one way of getting rid of competitors and can offer quick results for a beginner.
Many sub-niches have tons of search volume and the majority of niche site builders have cleared away from these topics because their too complicated to write about as a newbie.
We talk a lot about going after low competition keywords but in reality, you can go after any keyword no matter how difficult it is. You just have to be dedicated to grabbing it.
Here are two case studies:
The first is from Dmitry Dragilev and Pipedrive, a sale CRM. They documented their journey from nothing to number for the high competition word "sales management". You can imagine that they didn't care how much competition was there for that keyword... they wanted it.
The second is Brian Deans website Backlinko.com. It only contains 77 indexed pages and in reality, this is well below the average 'authority site' you hear about with 100+ pages. You can't argue that Brian Dean isn't an authority in our niche either.
Yes, Brian is an SEO expert but it goes to show that a narrow focus is favorable when it comes to SEO and do you think Brian Dean worried about competitors?
4) Adapt Your SEO Strategy To Your Situation
You may reach a point where you've written every single article for every keyword you laid out for your sites initial build. Whether you picked up one of our keyword packs or you did the research yourself, it's quite the big accomplishment and you're probably quite tired haha.
The reason why you shouldn't stress about competition is that you'll eventually want to start optimizing your site based on what Google is telling you. Not what we're telling you, not what others are telling you, not what your fellow niche site competitors are telling you...
You have to take action on the signs Google's giving you. Your site will naturally be more attuned to ranking for a specific area than the others. It just happens because your content is filling in a need and Google realizes it. Now it's up to you to optimize for it.
Here's something you can do to make an incremental improvement to your continuing SEO efforts:
Step into your Google search console and see which keywords you're ranking for. Some of your keywords are going to be closer to page one, while others may be in on the 9th page. Implement our extra mile SEO tips and be sure to record each change. So you know what really helped.
After you've tested out those tips, listen into this podcast with Dom where he explains an evolving SEO strategy.
The moral of the story here is that you can attack any keyword you want, but you need to be persistent. Even if the competition looks tough through your SEO tools. You may not rank for your main keyword soon because the sites on the first page never change, but keep putting out content and you'll start to see rankings from other long tail keywords simply from the fact that you're putting in work - consistently.