Most niche sites don’t make a dime.
And the reason is simple: They aren't attracting enough interested visitors to their site.
It’s much harder to reliably generate traffic than just choose a niche or create a blog.
But if your Google Analytics still shows single or double-digit visits, don’t panic. You’re not alone.
90.63% of all content gets no traffic from Google organic search, none at all.
If you want to start your niche site with a bang, you need to do niche keyword research the right way.
In this article, we’ll teach you the basics of good keyword research strategies, and how to use smart tools and tactics to find more specific niche keywords for your site.
You can use the links below to jump to the section or tactic you’re most interested in.
Niche Keyword Research Strategies: The Basics
Even if you have some understanding of basic SEO concepts, there are special considerations when it comes to keyword research for niche sites.
In this section, we’ll quickly cover the basics of keyword research for niche sites. With an understanding of the foundational skills and tools, you’ll be better able to implement the specific tactics below.
How Do You Research Keywords For a Niche?
The main difference between regular keyword research and niche keyword research is that you should focus on a single, narrow topic.
Starting out, with the authority of your domain, you can’t really tackle any of the major topics or keywords. You can’t write broadly about an industry.
This often means that you have to dig deep for very specific long-tail keywords. For example, niche product comparisons like “model x900 vs model x800” can be good starting points.
Steer clear of “mass market keywords,” terms that are more relevant to multiple niches in a larger industry.
3 Keyword Research Tools You Can Use
There are many different keyword research tools you can use to find and explore keywords. You have both free and paid options, but the paid options make your life a bit easier.
Let’s start by looking at a free option:
Google Ads Keyword Planner
The great thing about the Google Ads keyword planner is that it gives you access to search data straight from the source. When Google has 92.05% of the worldwide search market share, it’s essentially the only source you need.
You can easily find the total monthly search volume for a keyword and all related keywords. Beta tools even allow you to explore certain types of related keywords by category.
But it’s far from perfect.
One issue is that it’s not that great at listing relevant keywords. But the main problem is that it doesn’t show any reliable competitive metrics for organic search.
In affiliate marketing, it rarely makes sense to invest in PPC advertising. Your goal is to drive traffic with SEO, but the keyword planner doesn’t let you spy on your competitors, or estimate how competitive a keyword is.
That’s where paid tools come in.
is a complete keywords research and SEO tool.
It’s one of the best-paid SEO platforms on the market. You can monitor keywords, spy on your competitors, and do SEO keyword research easily.
The Keywords Explorer tool shows you everything you need, from competitive metrics to volume and the potential value of the traffic.
It makes it easy to evaluate the quality of a list of keywords, all at the same time.
Is another good paid option, keyword research, and evaluation tool.
LongTailPro is a dedicated tool for finding long-tail keywords. It’s often highlighted as the best option for niche research but offers few unique features when compared to industry-leading platforms like Ahrefs or SEMrush.
The 4 Main Criteria For Evaluating Niche Keywords
Search Volume: You want at least 1,000 monthly searches for a keyword unless targeting keywords related to very valuable products.
Competition: Medium or lower in Ahrefs, only a handful of ranking posts with any number of backlinks.
Search Intent: Commercial investigation is ideal, where the searchers are actively researching and comparing alternatives to buy.
Relevant Products: Keywords must be relevant to your affiliate programs so you can promote products, directly or indirectly, and make money.
Niche Keyword Research Strategy #1: Finding Product-Based Keywords
Want to make money directly from your posts? Your best bet is targeting product-based keywords like comparisons and review posts.
One of the best ways to get started is to focus on a popular niche product and expand from there.
Don’t Know the Leading Products? Ask Amazon
If you’re not already familiar with these products, you can explore the Amazon Best Sellers in your categories.
The first method is to just start at the top level, and click through the categories until it gets specific enough.
If you already know a few of the leading products in your niche, you can just search for the product names.
Then you can scroll down to the product information, and click on the categories they’re in. Then you can look at other best sellers in that category.
Amazon’s best sellers in your niche’s product category can be a great source for keywords that will drive traffic and affiliate commissions. You can also explore other relevant marketplaces based on your niche.
Add these product names to a spreadsheet or list and collect at least 10–20 options
Once you have your list, it’s time to explore the potential of your newfound keywords.
Using Ahrefs, this is as easy as exploring the keywords one by one (or in bulk, if you’ve got 50+ options).
Going one-by-one will give you context one each keyword, like potential value and competitiveness, and more.
Add columns like “intent” “volume” and “competition” to your keyword list, and fill in the values with Ahrefs data. You can also add the value of traffic or CPC prices.
These fields will help you choose which keywords are worth choosing.
If any of the relevant keywords for the product, like review or comparison posts, are viable, add them to the list as well.
In Popular Niches Focus on Comparisons (vs.) over Review Keywords
In popular niches with a lot of competition, you’ll probably struggle to get top rankings for “PRODUCT review” keywords.
In that case, you can focus on product comparisons by targeting “PRODUCT A vs PRODUCT B” keywords.
The easiest way to do this is to set up a filter for the word “vs” in the relevant keywords list.
For the most popular products in larger niches, you’ll still see healthy monthly search volumes for these long-tail search terms.
If one by itself isn’t enough, you can create a comparison post that targets multiple keywords, like “PRODUCT A vs B vs C vs D.”
Niche Keyword Research Strategy #2: Spy On The Competition
The next tactic is to spy and learn from your competitors. Use your keyword tool of choice to explore competing sites and blogs.
You can use the Google Keyword planner for this, but it has no way of filtering the keywords in a meaningful way based on what’s actually driving results for niche competitors.
Ahrefs or SEMrush are better choices.
Find the Top Competition By Exploring Valuable Niche Keywords
The best way to find your organic SEO competition is to find out who’s winning for the most competitive niche keywords.
If you go too general, it’s often larger magazines that target lots of unrelated topics, where it can be hard to find relevant keyword ideas.
So start with a fairly narrow search term. Something like “lawn care guide” or “lawn care tips” is a decent place to start.
Identify potential niche competitors, like Green And Vibrant, Pennington, and Wikilawn, and add their domains to a spreadsheet or list.
You don’t need the full URLs of the page. Just the domain names.
Repeat this process for a few of the main niche keywords you can think of until you have at least 5–10 clear niche competitors.
Then, you want to run your list through the Quick Batch Analysis tool to see who’s the best example to learn from.
Only keep the competitors who have a meaningful amount of traffic, backlinks, and keywords.
Once you’ve got your list of “enemies” it’s time to dive deeper.
Spy On Their Keywords and Pages for Ideas
The next step is to learn which pages and keywords are actually driving traffic for these leading competitors.
Click the dropdown menu on any of the domain names, and select overview, then click through to the Top Pages section.
Each page will also show the top keyword and will show further keywords when you click on a link.
Focus only on pages and keywords that are directly related to your niche. Explore these pages and add any relevant keywords to your spreadsheet.
Again, make sure you add their volume, competitive score, and search volume.
Remember to keep your list as short as possible. There’s no need to include a general seed keyword if the competition is too hard. It’ll only add fluff to your list of keywords and distract you later in the process.
The ideal output of your keyword research is a list of keywords that reads almost like a content plan. Then you can easily work out which ones to target based on volume and competition.
Niche Keyword Research Strategy #3: Finding Relevant Long Tail Keywords
Competing for the general mass market keywords of one to two words isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Almost 40% of searches come from long-tail keywords with under 1,000 monthly searches, perfect for niche sites.
If you’re using a paid tool, you’ll be able to find these keywords just by searching and exploring your competitors.
But if you aren’t there are other ways to quickly identify meaningfully related keywords.
Google autocomplete is a great way to get keyword ideas for longer search terms. If you just start with a basic keyword like lawn care, it will output the most popular longer terms automatically.
In this case, you’ve got lawn care equipment, lawn care tips for spring, lawn care DIY, and other keywords. And you get these ideas in just 5 seconds.
Explore multiple terms like this to find popular long tail keywords for your niche. Repeat the process until you add at least 50 items to your spreadsheet.
Another useful Google tool is the related searches section.
It’s on the bottom of every search results page, so all you need to do is search for a keyword and scroll down.
Many of these keywords will overlap with the autocomplete suggestions. Only add the unique ones to your spreadsheet, avoid duplicates.
In this case, that would be lawn care basics and lawn care products.
Find the Most Popular Questions with AnswerThePublic and Google PAA
A question is one of the most popular formats for long-tail keywords. Just think of how many articles start with “what is” or “how to” these days.
One great source of these questions is the Google “People also ask” box.
But trying to rely only on this box for keyword research can be problematic. It only displays three options at a time. To expand it with three more, you need to expand the answer to a question.
It also doesn’t show up for all search terms and can show up in different places on the results page. This makes finding related questions a time-consuming process.
Thankfully, there’s a free tool that makes the process a whole lot easier.
AnswerThePublic lets you instantly find all the top questions and export them as a CSV file.
Unfortunately, it adds some unnecessary data, so you can’t import the CSV list directly into the Ahrefs keyword explorer (or equivalent).
But the solution is simple. Open the file in Excel, and copy the column with suggestions.
Then paste it into the Keywords Explorer and press the search button.
Ahrefs will automatically filter out questions with a low volume. You can then explore the rest of the list for competitiveness, volume, and value.
Keep the keywords with a decent volume and low competition and add them to your target keywords spreadsheet. It can also just be a separate column in the same spreadsheet.
Make sure you also include the top related questions you found in the Google PAA box. That way you can explore and qualify both lists of keywords at the same time.
Niche Keyword Research Strategy #4: Monitor Trends in Your Niche
Don’t think that you can just do the research once and be done with it.
You must stay on top of search trends so you can grab opportunities when they present themselves.
For example, in early 2020, 90s fashion exploded in popularity in the UK, with the rise of the bucket hat among other trends.
This would be a vital search (and real-world) trend to know about as a niche fashion blogger.
If you notice something catching on at an early stage, you have a clear advantage. You could already have content ranking before it becomes a highly competitive keyword.
Explore Google Trends
The best place to start is Google Trends. It lets you explore all search trends for general topics and niche keywords.
First off, search for a general keyword like “lawn care” or something similar. It will give you the general lay of the land when it comes to trends.
Then, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and focus on the related topics and queries. You’ll quickly find up-and-coming keywords that you should target ASAP.
It’s especially important during these times, when industries are often rapidly changing and new questions and lingo emerge.
You should also check the trends for specific brands or product lines to make sure you’re covering the newest products.
It can be a great way to identify an up-and-coming product or a new keyword for an existing product.
For example, lawnmower bags are increasing in popularity, which could be a new general keyword idea.
Subscribe to Search Trends to Stay Alert for New Trends
Instead of constantly checking the trends to see if anything changes, it’s much more efficient to just set up alerts based on what changes.
To avoid cluttering your inbox, you should probably set the subscription to once a week.
In most cases, this will still allow you to be fast enough where you can beat out your competitors.
If you are in a particularly fast-moving niche with tons of breaking news every day, you may want to set the schedule differently.
- Consider the search intent and the availability of relevant affiliate products, not just the search volume and competition of the keyword.
- Steal valuable keyword ideas by exploring top competing niche sites, stores, or magazines.
- Don’t underestimate the power of long-tail keywords, often you can target multiple with a single page or post to gain significant relevant traffic.
- Create a narrow list of potential keyword ideas that meet all your requirements of the competition, volume, and search intent. A narrow focus will make it easy to start your SEO and content marketing efforts.
Keyword research for niche sites doesn’t have to be complicated.
As long as you keep the goal in mind, stay on topic, and use the tactics above, you should be able to generate hundreds, if not thousands, of keyword ideas quickly.
Whittling them down to a hundred or so ideas with high potential is easy with a paid tool like Ahrefs. But if you have to evaluate competition manually, it can take a long time.
If you have a very limited budget, take advantage of cheap or free trials for SEO tools to validate your keyword ideas.
Once you complete the process, you’ll have more niche content ideas than you’ll know what to do with.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Which is the best keyword research tool?
The best free keyword research tool is probably the Google Ads keyword planner since other free options are typically extremely limited (like only showing the top 20 results).
For paid SEO tools, there are several top-of-class options that are very even in terms of functionality and price. The three best-paid keyword research tools are Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz.
How do I find my micro niche keywords?
You can find micro niche keywords by exploring broader niche keywords with a tool like Ahrefs. Or, you can use Google autocomplete, related searches, or people also ask questions to go more and more specific.
You can also manually brainstorm different target markets based on age, geographic location, work history, or more. Like weightlifting for 60+ year olds, or job searching for veterans.
How do I generate keywords for my research?
The very first seed keywords you use should directly reflect the niche you are targeting. For example, you don’t want to search for weight loss keywords if your niche is actually keto.
From there, you can use a keyword tool, Google Trends, or other tools to find relevant long-tail keywords to target.
How do I find local keywords?
If you want to focus on local keywords, you can restrict the location you set in the Google Ads Keyword Planner or other tools to your city or state.
This will help you find keywords that are relevant to your local area and business. If you aren’t located in a large town, you may have trouble finding the keywords because of a lack of volume.
How do I search for keywords for free?
There are a lot of free tools you can use for keyword research, including the Google Ads Keyword Planner, Google Trends, Google autocomplete, AnswerThePublic, and more.
We show you exactly how to effectively use all of them for keyword research in this article.