Launching a blog or a website online is costly and will consume a lot of time and effort if you are doing it properly and with a long-term plan. Considering this it’s very important that you verify how well your project can and will perform – you need to know the potential of your market.
Luckily, with online business it’s quickly possible to assess one market and niche quite easily. Enter niche and market research with the help of keywords.
This blog post will show you how you can do niche and market research in 5 easy steps with simple and readily available tools.
But first, what makes up a niche or market?
A niche or market is a smaller part or segment, of a larger market in which a service or product resides. Any type of niche can be divided into even smaller portions.
The better you can specify and reach your niche, its customers, and their needs the more likely you are to succeed with your website, and whatever business goal, product, or service, it might have, ff the competition is soft of course.
Now, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of researching your niche!
Step 1) Audience
Your first step should always be trying to identify if there is an audience with specific needs rather than behavior (in this case searches) that can drive your project.
There are a few standard key areas that can help you build and identify your audience:
Demographics: Age, sex, location, title, income, education and so forth.
But we should rather look at their pain points, their needs. Identify your markets problems and what its audience is actually trying to solve in their life.
If you are in the soccer niche and are about to launch a product about soccer and soccer training. Try to find out where soccer players gather and find out what their problems are.
- Lurk forums, blogs, social media, and other channels; you will gain immense insight into what their issues and questions are. Are they having problems with their strategy game, penalty kicks, or dribbling?
Take note of these problems and move to the next step.
Step 2) Keyword research
With your potential audience problems in mind, we can now use these as a cornerstone and starting point for keyword research.
Conduct your first research with https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner
Google Keyword Planner will give us insights into each keyword, such as volume and how much people are paying per click in AdWords for your keywords.
For our soccer example we can find this:
Results show over 1900 people searching for dribbling drills each month. People paying around 1 dollar for each click in AdWords for this traffic. Do note that these numbers are estimates and always should be taken with a grain of salt.
Continue with the rest of your pain points and build a solid list of keywords that represent your niche. Keyword Planner is an intuitive tool so it’s easy to get started! Once done, export it to Excel!
Step 3) Competition
The level and quality of any competition in a niche give you a clear signal in terms of possible profits, but also the effort you need to put into it to actually gain that market share.
You should always scan through your keywords and collect data of any top 5 competitors, and their websites, in the organic search results.
Key metrics when looking into your competition are:
- Cost per click from Google Keyword Planner – If people pay good money for AdWords there is money in the niche. The opposite is not always true however as the niche may be unclaimed
- Number of advertisers – if there are a solid 4 or more AdWords ads for a given keyword chance are it’s a profitable keyword
- Volume from Google Keyword Planner – Keywords should have a good and stable volume of searches each month. I would consider any keyword with above 200 searches per month if it’s targeted
- Quality of competition – Actually researching your competition’s content and finding quality websites gives you an indication of current potential and the effort put in by your competitors
- Link Metrics (Majestic, Ahref, Moz) – Low competition in the search results means that the niche has yet to be claimed by a strong competitor and is there for your taking
- The number of results in the search results – Results in the millions are often bad and show fierce competition.
Step 4) Trend
A quick look at the long-term trend of your keywords is a great way of assessing if your niche is a long-term one.
The example below clearly shows an initial growing trend, a peak and drop, and a “dead” trend afterward. Look for a trend that is constant (or grown) and similar over seasons.
We have reached the last step of this blog post; it’s time to make a decision on whether or not to make a move.
As a rule of thumb a qualified niche should:
- Display users with clear and distinct pain points
- Have a good choice of potential keywords that meet the above pain points
- Show a high CPC in terms of paid search, have a decent volume in terms of searches per month, few or no competitors with a distinct content plan, and finally low or moderate competition in terms of link metrics
- A smaller number of potential results, competitors and pages, for the keyword. Millions of pages will constitute a hard sell.
Generally you would want all the above statements to be true for a profitable niche. However, it’s up to you and other factors (knowledge, potential, commitment, passion) may outweigh situations where they are not.
Hopefully, you can make the decision or at the very least, have a good foundation for further research on whether or not you should commit.
What’s your way of assessing a niche in a quick fashion? Let us know in the comments!
This blog post was written by Mikael Uusitalo. He is the founder of Cubicle Dropout. – a blog about digital marketing.