Keyword Research for Niche Websites: A Beginner’s Guide!

Keyword Research Guide

Affiliate marketing is tricky, do it right and you can make millions, make one small mistake and forget the dream of making even a single dime!

Affiliate marketing has come a long way since people first started making money online and nowadays it seems to be the most popular source of Passive Income.

With a lot of opportunities such as Amazon offering lucrative affiliate programs, building affiliate websites and promoting them through search engines and in turn driving traffic to your chosen products have become a trend.

And in fact, why not? Affiliate marketing is profitable and it works!

But….. hold on, you there!

Is it Easy to Make Money as an Affiliate Marketer?

Well there is an old saying which goes something like this,”nothing worth having comes easy.”

Same applies affiliate marketing as well. It works only if done right and its not easy for sure. It takes a lot hard work, commitment and investment to build a successful business.

But once you are through all those, the ROI is lucrative and you will have a passive source of income which could be scaled into a full fledged business or sold for great profits.

With that being said, lets dig deeper in the process of building successful niche websites, the role of proper keyword research and how to find profitable low competition keywords.

The Process of Building Successful Affiliate Websites

 

Building Amazon Affiliate Websites and making money from it can be divided in four most basic steps:

*Note: There is a lot more to building niche websites than just these four. But these four are the foundation of success for niche websites.

My goal is to write a no-bullshit guide on all these four steps because I see these questions asked everyday at all the networking platforms I am active on.

Another reason I am writing this guide is because I see a lot posts which are recommending a list of methods which are impractical and confusing.

  • I mean when was the last time you found a good keyword using the Google Auto Suggest? Yet it is one of the most recommended keyword research technique.

So, with all these things in mind I am writing this guide with following goals:

  • Help you find profitable affiliate keywords for your niche website endeavors.
  • Keep the process as simple as possible.

Tools Recommended in This Article:

Whenever you are doing keyword research, you need a combination of tools which can aid you in finding the best low competition keywords. Here are the ones I personally use and recommend for everyone:

#1. Google Keyword Planner

For extracting the search volume data and also finding related keywords. One downside of using the GKP is that unless you have are spending money through their AdWords program, it is not going to be of much help.

Though if you start and run a campaign it will start functioning as normal. Even if you don’t want to spend money on AdWords just for the sake of using Google Keyword Planner, you could create and run a campaign and pause it later.

Check out Google Keyword Planner

#2. SEMRush

SEMRush is hands down the best keyword research tool that I have ever used. Having personally used almost all the Keyword Research tools out there, I have no doubt in saying that it way better than it’s competitors such as Ahrefs and likes.

If you are just starting out as an Affiliate Marketer or are even an experienced Affiliate Marketer, this is the tool you should be investing in.

Here is what makes SEMRush better:

  • Keyword Analytics: SEMRush has a really strong keyword research module and it’s data is closest to accurate.
  • Data: It is way better than Ahrefs and others in giving the Volume and Related Keywords, a very important data for your niche site project.
  • Competitor Analysis: The best tool out there for analyzing and stealing low hanging fruits from your competitors.

Check out SEMRush using my affiliate link. If you do, I will get a commission while your prices remain same.

There are many more pros and cons to discuss for these tools and others, but I will leave that for a later post. For now, let’s head to the next section.

Important Things to Look for While Choosing Keywords

When performing keyword and selecting keywords to build a website, there are many important factors which can make your life easier:

#1. Search Volume

At the end of the day, it all comes down to one thing i.e., traffic. Which is why the keywords you select must have a respectable amount of search volume. So, when you hit the page one, you get enough traffic to generate a considerable amount of profit.

I normally aim for 700+ searches for main keyword and 100+ for additional pages. Some people might say the volume I recommended is very low, but they fail to take into account the long tail keywords you will rank for when you start ranking for the main keyword.

Quick Example: To put things into prospective, one of my websites was ranking in Top 3 for a keyword with 880 searches per month as per GKP, yet I was receiving over 100 visitors per day to that page. All from long tail searches and variations of that keywords.

Four most important factor for keyword selection:

  • 500-700+  searches for Main Buyer Intent Keyword
  • Enough number of Additional Keywords with minimum 100+ searches each.
  • Main product priced above $50
  • Commission Category if the search volume is in the lower end
Important tip: In some cases, keywords that have lower volume can be also prove to be profitable if done right. I will write about it in another blog post.

#2 Keyword Difficulty

Keyword difficulty is another very important factor not to be overlooked because it is whats going to decide how much effort you are going to have to put in getting to the first page.

A quick way to check keyword difficulty is taking a look at the top 10 search results and determining the relevance of the results to the search term.

You can also use SEMRush to analyze their backlink profile and determine how hard it is going to be secure same amount of links.

Here is how to determine if a keyword is low competition:

  • Low quality sites in top 10
  • Sites with weak backlink profile
  • Newer sites ranking in top 10 i.e., less than 1 year
  • Older pages not updated since 2012 or earlier ranking in top 10
  • Low number of search results returned
  • Length of content in top 10 ranking pages less than 1500 words
  • Sites not using keywords properly in title and description ranking on first page
  • 1-3 Affiliate Sites ranking on first page
  • Forums ranking for main keyword
Quick tip: Never use any automated tool for determining Keyword Difficulty. Instead go through the top search results and analyze their Content and Backlinks to determine if you can beat them.

#3 Buyer Intent Keywords

Buyer intent keywords are those keywords which a searcher uses when they are about to buy something. For example if you are about to buy a dish washer, you might search for “best dish washer.”

The reason behind selecting buyer intent is simple i.e., Conversion. 1000 visitors who land using buyer intent keywords can convert better than 10000 who land for other random keyword.

Here are some of the variation of buyer intent keywords:

  • best [product name]
  • top [product name]
  • [product name] under [price]
  • [product name] reviews
  • [product name] buyer’s guide

Please note: When I am talking about Keyword Volume and Product Pricing, it is for the buyer intent keywords, not generic keywords.

So above, you have a quick snapshot of what to look for while doing keyword research and selecting keywords. You may go above and beyond depending upon your personal preference, but most of the times they are good starting points.

That’s all you need to know and have before starting the actual research process.

Let’s get started:

#1. Use Amazon To Find Low Competition Keywords

I mean it makes sense, right? Building an Amazon Affiliate Website, then use the power of Amazon to find profitable keywords. Amazon is the largest eCommerce retailer, so it lists virtually all the products that are sold online.

There are many reasons to use Amazon for your Keyword Research:

  • Huge directory of products means more and better options to choose from.
  • Take the hassle of checking product pricing and popularity even before starting your keyword research.
  • No limit on the number of Keywords you are going to find using these methods.
  • With your associate account, you can generate an affiliate link in no time.

The only downside of using this method is, it could be time consuming.

Tools Needed

Apart from the official Amazon website you need one or both of these tools:

Let’s get started:

Step-1: Head over to official Amazon website and click the “Departments” option on the top left corner below logo, it will open the full store directory.

The Full Amazon Directory

Once, the directory is open, you will find all categories from which products are sold on Amazon, which basically is everything. All of the products are assigned in their specific categories and sub-categories. So, if you want to find products to promote from some specific categories, you can easily do so.

Using the directory method has become really helpful for those who want to promote only higher commission products, from the 8% category.

Step-2: Decide on which category you want to promote. For this particular post, I am going to go with the Sports and Outdoor Niche and Accessories Sub-Category. You can choose any other Category or Sub-Category as you wish.

Once that Category page is open, you will see the normal Amazon page with products from the category, it’s sub categories and some other options. Ignore all that and head over to the next and very important step.

Step-3: Before we start looking at the products and analyzing the keywords the old fashioned way, we need to set a very important filter i.e., Pricing filter. There are multiple reasons for doing that:

  • Ranking a website in Google takes a lot of time, money and effort. So, when you achieve the desired results, having a product which is fairly priced can be really beneficial as low priced products means lower commission. Price too high may also mean low number of sales, so I normally stick to products priced above $50.

So, scroll to the refine options in left corner, find the pricing box and enter 50 in min. box:

Once, you are done with that, you will have a list of products which are priced above $50. You can use some additional filters like customer reviews and discounts, but you will do fine even without them.

Now starts the difficult part, start looking at the products and if they seem good enough to promote, then copy the product name and look for the buyer intent volume it is generating in Google Search.

Step-4: Open the Google Keyword Planner and enter the product keyword to check for volume, but do not forget to set the filters as shown in the image below:

Use The Filters Highlighted in This Screenshot

After doing all that hit ‘Get Ideas’ button and let the Google do it’s magic. Since you are using the buyer intent filter, you can sort the results by volume.

For SEMRush:

SEMRush user can go to their dashboard and paste the product name in the search box and hit search as shown below.

After SEMRush shows the results for your keyword, scroll down a little to Phrase Match Report and add a filter to show keywords with only “best” in it. Here is how it should look:

Once you hit apply, SEMRush will return a list of buyer intent keywords related to your main keyword. Keep repeating the same until you find your money keyword.

After fooling around for a a few minutes I landed on this keyword: “best polarized sunglasses”

Here is why I would choose this Keyword:

  • Main Keyword Search Volume: 2,900
  • Diverse pricing range and quite popular in lower as well as higher price range
  • Respectable amount of Additional Keywords
  • 3 Low Quality sites targeting the keyword ranking on first with the top result itself is low quality
  • A few results not directly relevant to the search term
  • With some good content and some effort on link building, the top result is quite achievable

#2. Use Flippa to Find Low Competition Keywords

Flippa is an online marketplace where people Buy & Sell websites and domain names. With the recent growth in Website Flipping business, Flippa has established itself as the top and go to player for buying and selling websites.

While Flippa is a good place to buy and sell websites, it is an excellent resource for finding low competition and profitable keywords without putting much effort. There are multiple reasons to use Flippa for Keyword Research:

  • Easy to find low to medium competition keywords.
  • Can get an idea of SEO and Content efforts required.
  • You will already have an idea of earnings.
  • You could be more calculative at every stage of planning.

The only downside of using this strategy is that it couldn’t be very if you plan to build multiple niche websites as the number of good keywords that you can find using this keyword research strategy could be limited.

Tools Needed

Here is what you need to get started with keyword research using Flippa:

Let’s get started:

Step-1: Click the above link to head over to Official Flippa Website and once it is open, click “Just Sold” section under Websites in the menu, exactly like shown in the below image:

Once the Just Sold section is open, Flippa will display a list of websites sold recently. There are around 4000 websites being displayed under the Just Sold section while I am writing this post. But we want to narrow it down as per our selection. Thankfully, Flippa has a really cool search filter, which could be used to narrow the list down as per our liking.

Step-2: Click the more options link just below Save Search button to expand the options. Below, I will list how to set-up each option and how is that beneficial:

  • Website Age: Unless you are planning to build an Authority Site, this option should be set to 0 -3 years. The reason want to do that is because, if someone was able to rank a website within last one year or so with low to moderate link building efforts, then it is a good indication that you may also be able to replicate that.
  • Monetization: Click this option and check the box left to Amazon. Self-explanatory, as we are building an Niche Website especially targeting Amazon Affiliate Program.
  • Monthly Profit: You can set this to starting at 100 to sort only the websites which have been making min $100 per month. I normally skip this option and instead use the next option.
  • Price Range: I set the min. price of the website sold to $1000, to filter only the websites which have been sold for $1000 or more. Normally a website which is sold above 1000, tends to be making above $50 per month.
  • Website Type: I set the website type to “Content” > “Blog” + “Review” to weed out any unnecessary websites from the list as we are focusing on building niche blogs only.

There are a few more options there, but these five seem to do the job just fine. Below is an screenshot where I have highlighted each of these options.

Here is another screenshot of websites that Flippa returned:

Google shows a list of 11 websites using all the filters that I recommend. So basically that gives you a list of 11 website that you could short from and choose to pursue. I personally like the concept of CigarHumidorGuy.com and SprayerTalk.com as they are relatively new sites and not even ranking at their full potential, yet making decent income with very less traffic. The backlink profile also doesn’t seems too strong and smell of PBNs are there.

Note: If you just go a little easy on the site age, the list becomes quite bigger and better. When I switched from 0-1 years to 0-3 years, I got around 50 results and lot of them really low competition as well.

You can use the keyword selection guide provided in the first list to decide which niches you want to delve in.

#3. Harness The Power of SEMRush to Find Low Competition Keywords

My most favorite method for finding low competition keywords to build niche websites on. SEMRush (affiliate link) is a great tool for keyword research, in fact the best out there in the market as of now. I use this particular technique to find low competition and long-tail keywords. Especially low hanging fruits, what I like to call them.

You, see, I personally believe that the success of your niche depends entirely upon the Keyword and Content strategy that you follow.

What Type of Keywords Can You Expect to Find Using This Technique?

Even though, you can use it as your main keyword keyword research strategy and not even worry about putting any effort in any other method. I normally use this strategy to find these type of keywords:

  • Low hanging fruits i.e., easy to rank keywords.
  • Low volume, long tail but related keywords.
  • Decently priced products from the same or related category.

  • Important tip: Finding a decent volume keyword is not hard, but every decent volume keyword is going to come associated with some form of competition which may delay your ability to rank higher in search engines. So, if you want to start seeing some action even before your website hits page one, these low hanging fruits are your best bet.

How I Use This Keyword Research Strategy?

I don’t normally use this strategy for my main keyword selection, even though there is no harm in doing so. But I select my main Keyword mostly using the first strategy mentioned because I have no problem going for a low to medium competition keyword with decent search volume, price and commission category.

I am willing to take the risk of competition but I know at the end of the day that I building the website to make money and only that, there is no other noble cause involved.

So, along with 1-2 decent volume keywords, I also go with 5-10 related long tail keywords. These keywords are normally between 50-300 in volume and are normally easy to rank. Which is the reason, I am able to leverage the effort I am putting to rank for my main keywords, in ranking these keywords as well and way earlier than the target keyword.

Tools Needed:

As clear from the title, you are going to need SEMRush while using this strategy and Amazon website for checking out the product pricing etc.

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Let’s get started:

Step-1: The most important step in using this technique is finding an authority affiliate website in your niche. So, if you are starting some tool review website, then perform a search for something like “tools review site”.

Step-2: Google being the good boy it is, will return a list of mostly authority tool review sites. Now take the URL of any of these websites and put it in SEMRush and hit search.

Now scroll down a little bit and click “View Full Report” option under the Top Organic Keywords section:

Step-3: Now when the full organic report is in-front of you, scroll “Organic Search Positions” section and here set a few filters:

  • Keyword Filter: Set a Keyword filter to include only the buyer intent keywords. I normally only include keywords with best in it.
  • Volume Filter: Set a Volume filter to only include keywords above certain number of searches per month. I normally set it to 80.

Now, scroll down and start analyzing each keyword and choose the ones suitable. You can use the keyword metrics and selection criteria mentioned earlier to make your decision easy.

Look at these two bad boys I found sitting on top 🙂

I am sure if I dig deep, I am going to find dozens of them. So, use the list wisely and choose best keywords for your niche websites.

Bottom Line

I can list out many more methods to perform keyword research for niche websites but I won’t want to confuse newbie affiliate marketers. These strategies alone are going to find you a lot more keywords than you require.

So, put the excuses behind and get right on it!

Let’s hear your take in the comments section!

*Note: It took me while to complete this post due to my hectic schedule, so if something feels out of context, pardon me and point it out in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

About author View all posts

Qaiser

Hey there,
I am Qaiser, an Internet Marketer and Blogger from India. I have started this blog to share my passive income journey with others and help them start and grow their own business!

7 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Nice guide Qaiser..SEMRUSH is damn good and at the same time very highly priced and out of reach for many marketers.

    Other than Google keyword planner,do you suggest any other keyword tool of low price?

    • Thanks for the positive words Sreenivasa, it’s always good to hear praises about your hard work 🙂

      I can understand the cost factor when it comes to using SEMRush. But in my personal opinion, your success depends a lot upon how you conduct keyword research. So, having a strong keyword research tool at your disposal is always a great help.

      With that being said, I can recommend you a few Keyword Research tools which are good Overall for those who can’t afford SEMRush:

      1) KWFinder: Is a good keyword research tool for those in budget, not as strong as SEMRush but a good alternative if you are on budget.
      2) KeywordTool.io: Another good alternative to SEMRush. They have a free version as well but the Free one will not give you volume data. It is also a very strong tool for generating long tail keywords.
      3) Spyfu: You can give Spyfu a try as well. Though haven’t personally used it much.

      Thanks.

      • What about Long Tail Pro, I am using it and it’s really quite some of the keywords I found which are ranked very fast. I would like if you can write comparison for beginners.

  • Hello Qaiser, This was a beautifully written post. I am just starting out with amazon associates and want to start earning as soon as i can this was very helpful. would love more amazon associates post

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