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Niche Site Duel 2.0.1: How to Conduct Keyword Research and SEO Analysis (Free and Paid Methods)

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Niche Site Duel 2.0.1: How to Conduct Keyword Research and SEO Analysis (Free and Paid Methods)

By Pat Flynn on

Niche Site Duel 2.0 LogoSince the official launch of Niche Site Duel 2.0, I’ve been doing quite a bit of keyword research, spending an hour or two each day hunting for those keywords that may potentially be a good niche to built a resource for.

It’s been a while since I’ve last tackled keyword research like this, and a number of things are coming back to me that I’ve experienced in the past:

  1. Keyword research can be addictive. It’s almost like fishing – you never know what you’re going to get – and the idea that the next seed keyword that you plug into your keyword research tool could be the one that leads to your next website and a potential income stream can be very exhilarating. I go through daily life now with open eyes and ears wondering how that random thing I just noticed would look when I run it through my keyword research tools. 
  2. Keyword research IS frustrating. I’ve scrutinized thousands of keywords over the past few days – filtered through them and ran SEO and earnings analysis on the more promising ones, and the excitement of keyword research can only last so long – we all get to a point where we just wish we had our keyword figured out already. It’s tough not to think of those hours spent analyzing keywords that end up not working for us as a waste of time, but you have to remember that each keyword you move on from puts you one step closer to the one that you’ll eventually use.

I’ve discovered a handful of potentials – and one keyword I’ve found is really close (although it’s a little bit more competitive than I want it to be), but I’m still conducting research and have yet to finalize my decision – so if you’re frustrated at this point, which I know a lot of you are, don’t worry – I’m right there with you.

The truth is: this is not easy.

Most things that are worth doing are not easy though – so just keep that in mind. 😉

If you’re having trouble or have yet to get started, I recorded a video for you that may prove to be helpful. In it, you get an over the shoulder look at how I conduct keyword research and SEO analysis, and I use both free and paid tools to demonstrate.

Below the video is a list of links and tools mentioned in the video.

Conveniently (and I say that sarcastically), after publishing this video a couple of hours ago, SEOMoz, which I talk about in the video, just changed their website to Moz.com. Not a huge deal, but still – the timing couldn’t have been better, lol.

(or click here to watch on YouTube)

Competing Against E-Commerce Sites (like Amazon)

One thing I do want to mention is that often times when conducting keyword research, you may find a keyword that meets the search criteria, and then when analyzing the SEO competition you’ll notice that a lot of the sites in the Top 10 positions in Google are e-commerce sites such as Amazon, Ebay, BestBuy and any other big brand websites.

The data may suggest that those keywords aren’t very competitive, since a lot of those e-commerce site show low page authority and a relatively low number of page and juice links – but you have to be careful here.

Spencer from NichePursuits.com recently published an incredibly good article about this, and the title itself will suggest what’s going on here when you come across these types of keywords: When SEO Rules Don’t Apply: eCommerce Sites and Other Anomalies

In a nutshell, Spencer avoids building websites for keywords when most of the pages in the Top 10 in Google are e-commerce sites. The reason is because Google highly favors these sites – almost unfairly (similar to Wikipedia) – because the usual rules of quality page links and high page authority, and even PageRank and MozRank don’t apply. The domain authority is weighed much more heavily than normal in these cases.

Personally, I still feel some product niche sites could outrank ecommerce sites – there are examples of this out there – but it’s definitely an uphill battle so you may want to avoid keywords like this.

On the flip side, remember that if you were to create a valuable resource that people talk about and are happy to link to, you may not even need to worry about Google rankings and how they treat these other sites, you’d be able to get traffic anyway. Depends on the topic, of course, and the “viral potential” that you’re able to provide.

Again, this stuff is not easy, and it’s not as clear cut and “if this then that” as we all want it to be, but just keep going and realize this this is all about experimentation, trial and error.

Wishing you all the best with your keyword research, and I’ll see you in the next NSD2.0 installment!

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