Niche Site Duel 2.0.2: I Have an Itch to Tackle This Niche—But Should I?

Niche Site Duel 2.0 LogoIf you pronounce “niche” phonetically (e.g. “neesh”), then the title of this post doesn’t sound quite as good.

What about: Should I Beseech this Niche?

Or perhaps: Should I Police this Niche?

To be honest, that’s just silly – and…it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that for the past two weeks I’ve been conducting keyword research and I’ve discovered a handful of wonderful potentials that meet the requirements and criteria I was shooting for. A couple of them actually match two that I know others have selected based on the Mastermind Learning Group applications I’ve received and read so far – which I’m going through all this week (and probably all of next week too, now that I know how much time it’s going to take).

One thing is bugging me though.

Out of the 6 keywords I have on my list, one stands out to me the most because it’s the one I’m most interested in. It’s also the one that is, by far, the most challenging – and I think that’s why I like it. 

I can’t stop thinking about what I might be able to do in this particular niche. By that, I mean I’m really excited about possibly creating THE ultimate resource for people in this target market. The other keywords are unmatched as far as excitement.

I am within this target market myself.

As many of you know, I’m always up for a challenge. Plus, if I can publicly conquer something that’s a little more challenging, it’ll only show those of you following along that this is truly possible.

If I go with something less challenging, then that gives you some excuses. 

This is not going to be easy and it’s not guaranteed that it will succeed, but based on my research there’s definitely an opportunity here.

To be honest – I am scared. But – I like that I’m scared.

I’ve learned, over time, that when the resistance shows up – when I’m standing against a huge wall and it doesn’t look like there’s a way to climb over, that’s a good sign that whatever I’m thinking about doing is potentially worth the effort. If I wasn’t scared, then that’s when I should be worried and ask myself, “Is what I’m doing even that important to me?”

So (since I know this is on your mind) – what is this niche and what is this uphill battle going to look like?

The Niche I’m Thinking About Diving Into is…

The target keyword is best minivan.

We just purchased a minivan last year and had no idea where to even start. Now that I’m a proud owner, I’ve probably annoyed some of my friends who are starting their families soon about how much we love our minivan and the process that we went through.

I have an obvious interest in this niche, but is it a passion?

Probably not, and that’s okay.

I don’t think about our van all the time or have dreams about it, but when my friends ask me about our minivan I can definitely keep talking for a while, and I have given tours of the interior before. 😉

Besides the fact that I own one, there are other things that I love about the idea of building a website around minivans.

  1. Typically, people purchasing minivans have a family with kids, or they are about to be joined by kids in their lives. I can speak their language with two kids of my own. In other words, defining and speaking to the target market would be easy.
  2. There’s a lot of content to be written about minivans. This niche easily passes the 50-Post Test as outlined in my guidelines for finding a niche that I’d want to get into. Just the number of different models alone encourage a site with a lot of content that could potentially become a top resource for those looking to purchase a minivan.
  3. The earnings potential, in my opinion, is quite large. This is a niche where people are spending money, and lots of it. Minivans are not cheap, which means that people may be willing to spend money to learn how to save more, the advertisement income could be very generous, and besides focusing on the customer, I might be able to focus on the dealers and make deals with them as well. I remember reading a post on a while back where he said he received $50.00 per phone call lead that he produced for a local car dealership. It might be fun to figure that out.

Now, if you jumped ahead and punched in “best minivan” into a keyword research tool, you might be surprised at the resulting data because it’s not very exciting – and the competition is downright nasty.

The local exact match search volume is only 3,600 searches per month, which barely meets the criteria requirements (min. 3k), but when you look at the SEO Competition it doesn’t seem like it’s worth the effort. The keyword competitiveness in Long Tail Pro is 39, which is relatively high, and the top 10 sites in Google are mostly from sites like, and – reputable and highly authoritative sites that, on the surface, might seem impossible to outrank.


So why even attempt this in the first place?

A few things to mention here:

First, one of the top 10 sites for this keyword is an article from – an article directory that I’m quite familiar with based on having written articles on it before. I KNOW I can create a resource that’s better than this page, so that gives me a sign that there’s room on the first page for this particular keyword.

But the keyword has relatively little search volume!

That’s the real challenge here. How do you take a keyword with so-so search volume and high competition and create a successful website?

The funny thing about keyword research that no one else talks about is this: the target keyword is just one of the many keywords that a site talking about a particular topic could be reached from. In essence, when selecting a target keyword, what you’re actually doing is selecting the niche and defining your target market – the keyword is just your barrier of entry.

In my experience (for example, with, the target keyword – even ranking #1 in Google – only generates about 20% of the overall organic search traffic thanks to the hordes of long tail keywords that I get traffic from, since there’s a decent amount of content on the site.

Some niches are more expansive than others, but I think a site specifically about minivans in particular has a huge potential – not only for being found with several other keywords, but also becoming something worth talking about – and maybe even getting to a point where it doesn’t matter what the ranking is in Google. There aren’t whole lot of sites dedicated to minivans and minivans only – and that makes sense. Minivans aren’t that sexy, and who wants to take the time to dedicate to just talking about minivans.

This works to my advantage, of course. Even against the bigger car devoted sites like KBB and edmunds – they have great information, but they aren’t dedicated to mini-vans. The approach would have to include a bit of personality because that’s what would help the site stand out from the others that have a wider focus. But again, the numbers aren’t all that attractive. Should I dump the idea because of that?

It’s risky – but I think it would be cool to give it a shot. If it takes off and does well, then you’d have proof that you don’t need incredibly attractive search volume and SEO competition matrices in order to succeed. Plus, you’d probably witness a whole lot of creative, different techniques to getting traffic and spreading the word that a lot of other people aren’t really talking about.

This is me, thinking out loud, so you can get an idea of what’s going on inside my brain. Whether I decide to pursue this niche or not, I think it’s an important topic to discuss – because is it really all about the numbers?

Again, the numbers are just one way to see what’s possible, and the research has still guided me in this direction.

You might also be wondering then – if I do decide to tackle this niche and perhaps add a bit of my personality into it – then can I really call it a niche site, or is it more of an authority site, or a blog?

To me, the definition doesn’t really matter. The point of this challenge is to build a site – any kind of site that targets a specific group of people and best helps them with something. No matter what kind of site it is, it should always target a specific market, or market within a market. That’s a niche site.

And just so you remember, I’m not an expert at this stuff, I’m just someone who doesn’t mind being the crash test dummy and seeing what works and what doesn’t. I could be completely wrong about this, but I don’t mind giving it a shot and finding out.

The other keywords in my list, although the numbers are more attractive, just don’t excite me like this one.

What do you think? Should I give it a shot, or am I shooting myself in the foot and setting myself up for failure? Would this be a good experiment and useful to you?

Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

Thanks for hearing me out. Cheers!


  • Jamie Anderson

    I think you should go for it Pat! I’m looking forward to see how this goes, I think it’s good that you’ve picked an obscure niche in comparison to the IM norm. Best of luck!

  • Bibi

    wow minivan! My day job is actually closely related to that, I work for an international trader in vans :) So following you on this one is good for my job as well :)

  • Brandon Turner

    Can you really stay that enthused on the topic for the long term? I mean, it might make sense with the numbers, and you obviously have some skin in that game having bought one and have some knowledge -but is this something you want to tell your family/friends/the world about for the next several months?

    I’m not saying “don’t do it” – I’m just hopefully playing a little devils advocate since you’ll probably get a lot of “go do it” messages. With such a massive audience as you have, and if you are okay going for a term that was competitive, you could find one with a lot more search traffic that also excites you and makes it fun, not just profitable. Thoughts?

    Either way – I think it will be fun to follow along.

  • Josh Kearns

    Do it Pat! I think that it is exactly the type of niche site you need to try and set the bar for everyone else. I am getting ready to start my foray into niche sites, and I have decided to go more with something I’m passionate about, than something that will make me the most money. I decided that helping people out outweighs more than making money online. I hope to make the website breakeven in my first year, but we will see. Good luck with your Best Minivans!

  • Meghan

    I’d love to see how you would attack the minivan niche as an experiment.

    It’s your decision, but personally, I’d be extremely hesitant if I were going for that keyword. Minivans seem to be fading in popularity and like you said, competition is tough. I think you could make it work though and I’m a big believer in going for something if it excites you, even if isn’t the most optimal choice. Enthusiasm counts for a lot.

  • Adam Roseland

    Glad to see you selected a niche. This is not an easy task to rank for this keyword, so I am glad to see you picked such a challenge. Good luck!

  • Alex B.

    I can’t wait to see what you end up doing Pat!

    Thanks so much for sharing and giving us the opportunity to “look over your shoulder!”


  • Georgiaberry/Sunshine for Dinner

    You should totally go for it! Here is a cool thing about that keyword, “best minivans” – you get a fresh bunch of topics each year when the new minivans come out! A never ending source of new reviews, comparisons, speculation, styles, colors etc to choose from for posts and features. Based on that aspect, combined with your interest, I think it is a great choice.

    Choosing a niche site topic can be about the numbers alone – if you are the guy with the 200 sites going all at once. But it doesn’t HAVE to be that way. For your situation, don’t torture yourself. Get a topic you can live with.

  • Jon Cooper

    My issue with this keyword is that if you don’t rank #1, it’s not really worth it. With bigger volume keywords, ranking #2 or #3 isn’t really that bad, because you’re still getting decent traffic.

    And with that said, I don’t think you’ll have an issue getting on the first page, just because even though it’s mostly high DA sites on the first 20 spots, none are really targeting that exact phrase, so that’s great news.

    However, going back to the first point, it’s a no-go for me because the #1 spot is going to be quite difficult to unseat, and you also have their sitelinks right below it which:

    1) Will give you even less traffic if you’re ranking below it (they’ll basically get the traffic of #1 + #2).
    2) Shows how difficult it will be to rank higher than a result Google is giving sitelinks to (kind of along the same lines of outranking a brand for their own brand name; obviously not that extreme though).

    And for long tail traffic – good luck trying to get it when you’re competing with all these very high DA sites. You’ll get some, but i.e. with the security guard training site, there just was no brand out there that would steal it away; you were really the only one which is why you got some.

    Hope this advice is taken into consideration :). Best of luck Pat.

  • Alex B.


    Would this be THE niche site you create for NSD 2.0 if you chose to go after it? Or would this be a side experiment in addition to another keyword you go for, with regards to NSD2.0?

    All the best,

  • Ryan Hart

    You hit on a really important point – it’s not always about the numbers.

    As long as you choose a specific market (with paying customers), opportunities will present themselves that you never saw coming. I think it’s these surprises that make each project worth doing.

  • John Ryan

    My opinion is its just not enough traffic to spend my time on – but I could be wrong.

  • TrafficColeman

    I took a quick look at it and to be honest with you I would tackle it. The other sites are not going deep into the topic so a resource website will blow them out of the more people will link to it and pass it on to their family and friends…can you say link bait

  • Tony

    If this is your gut feeling, go for it mate.
    Wishing you all the best.

  • James Petzke

    I’d say go for it Pat. The niche I selected was similarly competitive and exciting. I really hope I can build a site that dominates it, but even if it doesn’t, it is a great experiment. Worst case scenario you lose a little bit of time and money, and all of us readers learn why it didn’t work out.

  • Matt Henn

    Let’s see it Pat. I would say the Google dieties are on your side. I think you could draw in a lot of other searches built under the best minivan umbrella. Go for it!

  • Monja

    hey pat,
    sounds like a fun idea. i’m sure you already thought about that: what kind of products do you offer? actually offering cars will be difficult so do you think of any additional things?
    i once heard an interview from rosalind gardner where she said that people search for information about cars online but then leave the house and buy at a local store. what do you think?

  • Stuart

    Definitely go for it! I’d love to see how you go after a market like that and I think it would be extremely encouraging to all kinds of people to see you succeed in it. Doing keyword research can be a long, frustrating process and it’s possible to talk yourself out of anything. Show everybody that it is more important to choose a niche (regardless of the numbers) and focus on creating a highly valuable and informative site for potential customers.

    Good luck!

  • Beth

    Pat, I would be interested in how your strategies work in this niche….also a fail (or less than a homerun) is EXTREMELY VALUABLE, both to your readers and for you. Lastly, aren’t we talking about a 6-7 week investment in time for one niche? If this one doesn’t go as planned…start all over again, it might even increase your readership. I think misery loves company and this whole thing is about learning together. I think some of us might end up pursuing niches which we are passionate about because we feel there’s lots to say about it. The big question is…..would Gramma approve? Minivans….pretty dicey!

  • sibo

    Hey Pat,

    In my opinion, you should go for it and I am willing to learn more from you!

    You are right, KC 39 (when I was searching for it, it was 36) is hard enough, however there are some upside for your keyword.

    I have been playing around with LTP for just over a month, so I want to share some of my thoughts below:

    – an article site is considered a weak site, so it’s a good sign to see it in top 10 in Google (good)
    – Except for the 4th site, juice page links are all weak (good)
    – key word only got exactly matched 3 times in top 10 (good)
    – not many commercial sites – where you can buy the minivan (good)
    – 3 of 10 top sites have > 3 page rank (it’s okay)
    – 6 of 10 top sites have > 35 page authority (not so good)
    – Exact matched domain is not showing up in top 10 in Google, so nothing to study in moreh details (bad)
    – there are many related secondary key words to possibly focus on:
    hybrid minivan (KC 26, search 1600)
    best mpg minivan (KC 27, search 210)
    best minivans 2013 (KC 35, search 320)
    all wheel drive minivan (KC 28, search 390)
    8 passenger van (KC 32, search 390)
    best family cars 2013 (KC 35, search 320)
    just to name some of them.

    3600 search per month is okay. I know There is a person making $1000+ on the second month after ranked a niche site with a keyword getting only 1000 local monthly searches, so this is doable for sure.

    I know you call this challenge NSD2.0, but even from what you have done last time, it was really an authority site instead. For an authority site with more than 50 posts, in my humble opinion, this keyword is all good.

    BTW, I am ranking a niche site with keyword (KC 38) with 15 articles on it already and the site is going nowhere, however I have not started my link building strategy yet. (I am actually learning it now. about 100 hours on Spencer’s site. I know there is probably another great way to enjoy life. lol)

    Lately, I am not just helping you. I am trying to impress you and hopefully to join your MLG :)



  • Matt – Begin To Invest

    The thing I worry about is what would make people keep coming back to the site.

    For example, smart passive income. I wanted to start a website and I found you. Now, 2 years later I still check back here several times a week because no matter how my website is doing, I know I can improve it and you will have information relative to me.

    But if I am shopping for a minivan, once I buy it….then what? I probably won’t visit your site again, unless it has some further resource to me.

    Maybe the sheer quantity of people looking to buy minivans is enough…I’m not sure. Like you, I am just thinking out loud.

    But if I was looking to start from square one, finding something that allows the readers to continue to grow and that gives them a reason to come back again and again seems like a better option.

    Imagine if your site was only about how to choose between bluehost and godaddy. (Like you would be helping them choose between a Dodge Caravan and Honda Odyssey, for example). Once I made that decision, I would probably not come back to your site.

    But instead you have content on SPI that gets me to start a site and develop it over time that makes me want to come back again and again.

    Hope that ramble makes sense. Best of luck to you Pat!

    • Joseph Michael


      You make a great point here. I never really thought about a site that way, but it brings up a good question. Could that be the difference between an authority site and a niche site?

      Take Pat’s security guard training site for example. I can’t imagine that people would return to that site either once they get the information they need but apparently that does just fine. Or maybe it just depends on the niche? Sometimes there is a need for quick information and sometimes there is a need for an ongoing education like here on Smart Passive Income. Either way it is definitely something to think about…

      • Mike

        It depends on the niche and how people are spending money. There’s a reason the CPC for security gaurd training was so high, because if someone signs up for their school they make big money.

        You need a lot fewer clicks when it’s $10 per click than when it’s $1 per click.

        • Joseph Michael

          That makes sense. Good point.

  • Robert Harper


    This is not going to be easy, but I do have confidence in you. Give it a try.

  • Maik

    I think the numbers count as a threshold for sure like you said in an earlier post. But in my opinion the most important things are that you are enthusiastic about the particular topic AND that you will make something that will contribute making the world a better place.

    What’s making the world a better place is of course up to you. But if you can envision yourself making this site and already having plans of monetizing it, then you should definitely give it a shot!

    Good luck Pat!

  • Jan Koch

    Hi Pat,
    I would give this keyword a try, because the numbers doesn’t seem to hard to compete.
    Also you’re going to create a LONG TERM income stream, so you’ll be working on that page not just for the next few weeks.
    What I like about this keyword is the fact, that you are in your target audience. That’s exactly the approach I have with my keyword as well!

    Good luck to all of us :-)

  • Steve

    The fact that you are even considering a niche with such high competition gives me hope for all the keywords I earlier passed on. I figured it would be a waste of time and I would never have the possibility of ranking #1 in Google.

  • Adam

    I’m the farthest thing from an expert in site building Pat, but from my view point and to hopefully give you some words you might need to hear. Go for it man! What if years down the road you think about this and wonder “what would’ve been”? You’ll never know if you don’t try.

    I’ve gotten some awesome keyword research done and trying to figure out for sure what I want to target. Don’t know yet, I’m not using very strict search criteria as I’m using NSD2.0 to learn how to build and rank a community more than how to make money.

  • Robert

    Could be a good site. There is a ton of content you could create. Side by side feature comparisons, etc. It’d be great to see in depth video tours of different current models. Maybe you could strike up a deal with a local dealership to have them allow you to do video reviews. Post them on Youtube, boom more traffic. :)

  • Joseph Michael

    That’s funny, my wife just mentioned to me this week that we should possibly be looking into getting a minivan with #2 on the way :-) My first thought was “oh man I guess I have to start researching minivans now.” So uhhh I think it would be an awesome idea! I’m sure my wife would love to hear even MORE Pat Flynn stories hehe.

    Hey and by the way – just in case you don’t end up choosing this site what minivans do you recommend???

  • Takeshi

    Getting to the #1 spot for this keyword might be tough, but getting to page 1 is definitely within reach. And like you said, long tail traffic is going to amount to more than the main term anyway. This isn’t an SEO contest, you can still have a successful niche site even if it doesn’t rank #1 for its main term.

    Don’t be scared off by the numbers either. There are plenty of keywords I’ve ranked for that I would have given up on if I’d just looked at simplistic metrics such page authority.

    If you feel like you can create the best site out there in the niche, then that’s the most important factor. If you have the best site out there, that’s provides genuine values to your audience, then the links will come, the traffic will come. SEO isn’t the only source of traffic out there either, there is plenty of potential with something like this to receive good traffic from social media and guest blogging on parenting blogs and related sites.

  • Tao

    Wow. That’s a wide niche to tackle!
    However it does lead me to think that you could make good money from advertising accessories that you might find on amazon. Also, people love to talk about their cars (you included it seems) so the social aspect of a site like this could work well.

  • Mike

    What’s the monetization strategy?
    People will research a van and then go buy locally, so you won’t be making any affiliate commissions off of minivan sales!
    I know with your Security Gaurd Training HQ site there were schools willing to pay to be in a directory, but I don’t know that dealerships would necessarily pay for exposure, unless you had geo targeting on your ad system.
    Google AdSense might be your best bet, and maybe some amazon related products – trailer hitches, bike racks, floor mats?

    Make sure you put on your site interior measurements and how many car seats will fit side by side in it (and then you could Amazon link to the narrow car seats) 😉

    Loved your point about additional keywords, and other ways to get traffic to your site. In my niche research I found a fairly low traffic keyword (2,900 local per month) but lots of spin off/related searches as well.

  • Jeff Andrews

    I am very eager to see what success you have with such a broad topic as Best Minivan. I am interested in the strategy you take as Matt points out that you need to come up with something to generate repeat interest.

  • Darlene with BlogBoldly

    “I don’t think about our van all the time or have dreams about it, but when my friends ask me about our minivan I can definitely keep talking for a while, and I have given tours of the interior before”

    haha! I’m still chuckling.. :)

    Well, it sounds booooring to me.. but like you said, you have been known to give tours. LOL

    I’m sorry.. I don’t know why this strokes me as TOO funny.

    But I’ll bet if you do this, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank!

    ~ darlene :)

  • neale

    Interesting I was surprised at the lack of volume on the main term, if you take it a step further and look at all the terms with just “minvan” included, check the box “Only show ideas closely related to my search terms” there is a lot of terms a lot. Again though volume is low and most look to be pretty competitive. For example [nissan minivan] 1,300 exact matches. KC 41 even a lesser term like [8 passenger minivan] 480 exact matches. KC 34 is not what I would call easy.

    Two ways of looking at this.
    1) I have to produce a lot of content to be consider a source that provides information on the “best minivan” makes it not worth it.
    2) If I can produce the content and be an authority on the “Best Minivan” I’ts going to take someone else a lot of effort to even get close, so I will have a solid site that will probably last.

    It is also not an evergreen topic, continued updating will be part of the deal, again two ways of looking at this like above.

    I say go for it, a lot of work yes, with your resources, personal & business I think you can do enough to be considered an authority on minivans.

  • Mike

    Personally, I would advise against it not because the numbers don’t add up but you’ll have trouble creating content as cars usually require video reviews to be deemed high quality content. If you want to review the different types of minivans especially as new models come out every year it won’t exactly match your motto here at smart passive income which is “passive income”.

    • Pat Flynn

      Mike – I think no matter what niche I decide to get into, video will play a crucial role – not only for the material and content but for the backlinking and authority that it can provide a site as well. And yes – new cars and minivans come out every year, but after a certain point, who says I have to be the one creating that content? :)

  • Chad

    PLEASE do this!!! It would so greatly help those of us that have been sitting on the fence for ages because we can never seem to find the right keyword with the right “numbers” that would make it seem feasible.

    If you pull this off it would be a huge inspiration, case study, example, and guide as to how to jump in and tackle those niche’s you really want to pursue – numbers be damned (to a certain extent anyway).

    GO FOR IT PAT!!!!!

  • Theodore Nwangene

    I love the keyword Pat and i know what you can do,
    Just like most people said here, i will also go for it if I’m you. The most important thing is that you like the K.W and you know its something you can rank for irrespective of the K.W competition.

    In this case, I’m not afraid because i know that you’ve done it before and you can still do it again.

    We’ve all shared our various opinions here, its now time for you to make the final decision and then, focus on the facts remember, you have the final say here.

    Good luck man, I’ve also found my own KW as i told you on the email.

  • Jody

    I’ll need your new site pretty soon Pat as our family will be shopping for a new minivan within the next few months… The thought of going to a bunch of different sites to research minivans is like watching paint dry or haircuts:-( At least I know your site will be entertaining!!

  • Rick

    Good luck, Pat! Personally I’d be thrilled to see how you’d tackle a market that, to my mind, would be very difficult for all the reasons that you’ve mentioned. But yes, also inspirational if you can pull it off!

  • Edgar

    You should do it, plus there’s a lot of high paying affiliate offers like car insurance, free gas cards, the list goes on.

  • Chris

    “Plus, if I can publicly conquer something that’s a little more challenging, it’ll only show those of you following along that this is truly possible.”

    Pat, I love your work and think you’re a great guy doing a great service for us but this quote gets me really annoyed. The fact is, it won’t prove anything if this site is successful. We can learn from it of course but the fact is, you are going to get thousands of backlinks pointing to any niche that you choose just because of who you are. You say, “I’m a regular guy” but that’s not the truth. You’re an expert in the field that’s widely followed and talked about. It is naive at best, offensive at worst, to say that you’re in the same boat all of your readers are in.

    • Pat Flynn

      Chris, I’m sorry if I offended you – that wasn’t the intention. I’m starting a website from scratch – anyone can do the same. That’s my point. Yes, I may be ahead and have this platform here, but I’m going to build the site in a way, hopefully, where my authority here doesn’t affect the outcome. I have a few things planned for that. Plus, there will be 5 others doing this publicly with me who will be anonymously sharing their results as well. Again, I apologize, but I hope you know my intentions were not to annoy and offend.

      • Chris

        Pat, don’t get me wrong. I love this project. I think it’s awesome that you’re doing it really is on the verge of insulting to say that if I can do it, so can you. That’s just not true… yet. We may get to your authority one day (unlikely) but until then we’re not on the same level.

        • Dean

          hate to say this, but the one who think that you are not on the same level as Pat is just you. it’s the same as you see a rich man walk in front of you and say “ow well, he’s not on my level, no wonder he’s SO RICH, while I’m DAMN POOR!!!”

          you’re just try to find a reason why you CAN’T DO IT. no offense, but that was your mindset talk ..


        • Malcolm

          Wow! You’ve quit before you even started Chris.
          Why not just do it and maybe you’ll surprise yourself. There are sites being built by newbies today that at some point in the future will sell for millions.

          Seriously, good luck. I hope you do well and prove to yourself that anyone can do this.

    • Dror

      That is a good point Chris and I pretty much agree with it. I think that aside from the backlinks, the traffic that the site is going to get simply because it is revealed here as a live case study would be a huge benefit that most people don’t have when they are starting a new site.

      Consistent and growing traffic is a big factor for rankings today so this would be a big advantage.

  • John Verbrugge

    Hey Pat,

    I would like to see you go for something challenging to you. I like to be challenged, and I think I’d get a lot more out of the NSD2.0 process to see you overcome challenges as well. Think if it like a reality show. If everything you do is easy, then there’s no excitement. But if we watch you overcome a challenge, especially if you build some suspense into the discussion (“How will Pat overcome the antigravity SEO droid???? Stay tuned!!!!”) it will build some momentum and make us even more excited to be a part of it. Your ratings will dwarf [fill in your favorite reality show here].

    Just my thoughts on the topic.


  • Adam

    I agree with Chris in spirit on this, but considering Spencers niche challenge I realize that it doesn’t matter as much and it might actually hurt Pat to get so many backlinks too quickly from random sites.

  • Miki Vicioso

    The whole idea on the niche duel is to go after something that will challenge you professionally while you also learn in the process. Also, if you know by fact that you couldn’t find a reliable source when buying yours then is something to look after.

    Good luck pat!

  • Marty

    I say go for it Pat, I think the challenge will actually motivate you more and to create the ultimate resource really does require some interest in the niche to begin with! My own approach is to target secondary keywords with the hope of ranking the primary keyword eventually on the strength the domain builds up over time. I’d bet there are a stack of great secondary ‘minivan’ KW’s available.

    Also, re: you getting an advantage by being well known. To me this is a double edged sword, sure you might get some links…but you will more than likely also be targeted just like Spencer was with negative SEO. I personally don’t consider you have an advantage at all if anything I think it evens out pretty well.

  • Debbie

    Hmmm yes I think you picked a great topic. There are a few concerns I have mentioned already:
    – Minivans becoming less popular. Could be a problem but if you kept your domain broad to “family cars” then you could adapt the site to other non minivan vehicles.
    – Non re occurring customers. That’s my problem and all the more reason to be high in SEO rank. The trick is always keeping enough evergreen content and another ebook like a checklist for evaluating vans from a family point of view.
    – Will you still like the topic in a year or so? Outsourcing the site is ok but looses the personal touch that you will need to be different from all the other car review sites. A solution might be creating a community of mom bloggers who will go out with your checklist and do the reviews for you.
    – Who makes the buying decision? Men may do the research but its usually the moms ultimate decision and that’s often based on instinct. Just something to keep in mind- who is your target markets’s gender and how do I style my site to them?

    Ok my kid just came home. Back to parenting! Best wishes to you. I am sure you will do great!

    • Max Turner

      Debbie those are some great points – she mentions that you won’t be getting REPEAT customers.

      If I purchased a minivan I am certainly not going to visit your site for reviews or any other information pertaining to minivans UNLESS you have something unique like:

      –Accessories for the car
      –Ebook or something similar to how to utilize it for camping for the family
      — Recall notices
      — video/ebook on saving gas in the city or fwy by reprogramming your minivans chip (If they have this for minivans, I know they do for Jeeps and Trucks).

      I would also like to see if you think minivans are declining in popularity. Though I agree with Debbie’s opinion, but statistically I can not prove it one way or the other. To me that is something that needs to be researched thoroughly unless your are building it to sell it.

  • Jamie

    I’d say go for it, I know I am in my niche. I have big colleges in the top 10 along with studios and other bigger names.

    With that being said it is proving to take longer to break in the top 10 (currently 90th in google after 5 months), but I am truly passionate about the niche, and my progress is starting to show. That and long tail keywords are already ranking in the top 10, and some are number 1 in google just like you said.

    Besides if in the top 10-20 are all colleges and studios I am finding out people will look past those knowing they will not get the info they are looking for in the given niche. I may even be able to strike a deal with those colleges for advertisement and other affiliate opportunities once there is more traffic, and the website is built out more.

    It may also help that I went to school for the given niche, and live in a city that the niche is tailored for as well. Once I am ready it should make for some great podcast interviews when your backyard has some of the best in the world in your niche.


  • Matt Sullivan

    Yes! Yes! – A million times Yes! You have never done things that are easy – in fact it is the reason why we follow you.

    When I made the plunge and bought a mini-van – it was an exhausting search. So many options and it was so frustrating. The price points were all over the place and the car salesman were liars. You can build an integrity-driven, authority site.

    There are so many streams of potential income from that category…so much money for leads from dealers, advertising from car makers, and so much more.

    Go for it, Pat! As always you will achieve massive traffic and it will be your most lucrative endeavor.

    God Bless,

    Matt Sullivan

  • Lyle Fredette

    I say go for it. I’ve been using both Long Tail Pro and Market Samurai for keyword research and I’ve come to the conclusion that there is definitely at lot more to ranking in Google than just those metrics. So, I’d like to see how you attack the project.

    I’ve got my niche picked out and I’m ready to go – it conforms to the guidelines of good traffic and low competition. However, as an experiment, I’ve also started a side-project where the competition metrics don’t support pursuing that niche at all. So, watching your approach could potentially help me in both projects. :)

  • Ben Branam

    What’s the monitizatoin model? High items or just cheap stuff? What is the possible profit per visitor? That could easily be your deciding factor.

  • JB


    I am not sure if you are just testing our reactions on the niche because I am shocked you would reveal it so soon in the process.. but I do think that it’s good to be excited about the project you are working on. The question you should think about in the end is will there be too much emotional attachment to it? Will you be able to Let Go of it or will you feel too personally attached or invested in it. Think of uncle Kevin on the investor show.

    Don’t be another dude mom blogger because you can easily get lost in the crowd. And to play devils advocate.. how would you monetize it? It’s highly unlikely someone is clicking through a link to buy a mini van online!! I try to put myself in the buyers shoes and in this case, they are looking for pure information and then heading to the dealership.

    My Vote: NAY

    • Max Turner

      I agree with what you have to say about monetizing it with affiliate links. However if he chooses to create his own products then he might have something.

      When I refer to making his own products I mean:
      Ebooks about how to utilize the van for camping trips, sports, carpooling, etc.
      Maybe some kind of gas saver guide or APP! Since he is in the App business as well
      Videos about maintaining the car and where to get parts if you need the job done cheaply


      I personally am 50/50 with him doing this keyword personally I would like to see something that involves more of a personal touch – I think that he does so well on this blog has a lot to do with how personable and unique he presents himself.

      I just don’t see how you could make a minivan site personable – I just see it as another site reviewing a van.

  • Maggie

    Perhaps do two case studies as a side by side experiment? Maybe you can outsource the work for the niche you’re not as excited about, thus teaching us how to outsource as well. Just throwing it out there.

    • Maggie

      Plus, that would really capture the spirit of “niche site duel”…Passion Vs. Profit!

    • Max Turner

      great IDEA!

  • Steve

    We (your readers and listeners) will certainly gain a lot from you doing this. Since it is more challenging you may be forced to discover new techniques of reaching your target market. In this sense you would be ahead of the curve and charting new territory.

    So, I guess there are some questions you need to ask yourself.
    Why are you doing the niche site duel 2.0?
    Are you doing it to make a successful niche site?
    Are you doing it for the challenge?
    Are you doing it for your readers/listeners to learn from?
    Would another keyword work better but be less exciting? Does that make a difference?

    I am doing this because I have an interest in the niche I found, I like the idea of a passive income, but I also need it to succeed because I need the money. So I am picking a relatively safe key word (if there is such a thing).

    But maybe for you it is more about discovering new ground and learning new things (I have a feeling money is pretty secure for you these days). This may allow you to take more risk since you have less to loose and more to gain.

    You may say you are not an “expert” at this, but I think most of us consider you the “thought leader”. We are learning through your actions. Whether you succeed or fail, we (your readers and listeners) always win in the end.

    Thanks so much for sharing everything you do.

  • Jeff Coleman

    Go for it……if this is the one topic that gets you excited, they you should give it a shot…..I agree 100% in regards to your comments about the potential for long tail search traffic. As you stated the primary keyword used in your URL is only the starting point. The bulk of your traffic will come from various other keywords and phrases from your various articles and posts.

  • Darin Mandy

    Hey Pat – I say go for it, I love, plus the fact that you have 5 others building sites negates what others have to say I feel. I’m ready to go with my own Niche Site which I will not promote on here nor on any of my other websites or Facebook Page, just to see what kind of traffic I can get.

    On another Blog I run I ran a test today with the Google Adsense live and found that the name of my post or page an immediate effect on the adverts on the page vs me changing the copy – found this interesting, also of course the adverts will change based upon the viewers search history too, anyway just saying :)

    All the best Darin – Great Post Mate!

  • Brian Williams

    I think there definitely is something to say about building a niche site that you may not be passionate about but interested in.

    Many times people will start niche sites based purely off the numbers. I can tell you from experience this is a huge mistake. Unless you are a totally driven type of person, it will be very difficult to build a site and rank it well if you aren’t at least interested.

    I think you should go for it Pat. Just think of what you will be able to teach all of your readers from the experience.

    Lets say the site goes well and you rank it highly on the first page, you will have learned a tremendous amount of information from that experience and will be able to teach almost anyone how to do it.

    If you aren’t able to rank it, well, you may learn even more. We will all learn even more on what we should look for when building a niche site.

    I guess you would have to ask yourself, what is the ultimate goal? If it is purely to rank a niche site well, you may want to look elsewhere. If it is to teach your readers of SPI, then go for it! Though I am sure you already know your answer deep down.

  • Rusty

    Pat – I love the keyword. Sure it’ll be tough but aren’t they all these days?

    While I can see where the site would be ripe for great content, I’m still not sure how you’ll monetize the site. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes.

    Also, are you going to post the next steps for others to follow along and participate? Almost like a course.

    – Rusty

  • SWJG

    Hey, Pat—

    Big yes! “Best Minivan” would definitely be a challenge, but I think that in the end, it would be a win/win: if you end up at #1 on the SERP, great. You can detail your process and how you ranked a high-KC site. But even if you don’t end up at the top of the rankings, you can learn/teach how to make a site profitable when it’s not in the #1 spot. That would have a TON of value for your readers.

    Thank you for revealing your thoughts and your process—it’s incredibly helpful!


  • Lucy

    Are you teaching step-by-step how to build this niche site?
    I really enjoy reading your articles. Thanks for everything.

  • Chris @ Stumble Forward

    It sounds like it may be a tough topic to topple Pat but it would be interesting to see you make it to #1 and more specifically how you do it. My niche will be a lot less competitive but I’ve already picked my topic and even found a really good affiliate program that would make a great fit for my niche site and very profitable.

    When it comes to your topic the profitability will definitely be there but I have to wonder how hard it will be to hold number #1 for a topic like that without at least some sort of ongoing maintenance such as the odd backlink or two and new fresh content on a regular basis.

    On the other hand I can see how starting a niche site about minivans is total out of the blue and a pretty good chance that you won’t have anyone copycat your site since that is an obvious risk for you.

    Anyways can’t wait to get this rolling.

  • Kimmoy

    I guess I’m the only one that thinks he can make money by creating info products around how to shop for a minivan and also how to repair/mainrain it? And what about minivan rentals? Minivan accessories? I see potential, go for it Pat!

  • Steve Wyman

    Hi Pat

    10000% go for it.

    You eluded to this yourself but here’s my take

    Were always talking abut the long tail. And this keyword phrase (at 3K6) is some way down the curve.

    However there’s no reason that you cant build the site out using “short tail” keywords!

    And go down there curves to long tails as well. such as minivan rental which will open up a ton of more content and traffic ops.

    Plus by going to a tougher niche you’ll avoid some of the copy cat issues Spencer has seen where it was easy and fairly cheap to copy his work.

    Best of luck with the Duel.

    p.s. my sword is cleaned and ready for action :-)

  • Jason Gracia

    Go for it, Pat. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  • Melissa

    You just are a minivan kind of guy, Pat, so I bet it works. Plus, no one has mentioned, and I think it important to note, that there are four sites in your top ten Keyword competitors with a page rank of zero, and four with zero page backlinks: this would look highly potential according to Spencer Hawes, Longtail Pro.

  • Jason Ramynke

    Funny that you landed on an automotive related keyword, I was researching some of my favorite automotive niches today myself as a back up to my NSD2.0 project. I couldn’t find one that I was happy with the volume with a KC less than 50.

    I find it interesting that you think that a KC of 39 is pretty high, I think that you will be successful with this keyword. I can’t wait to see how you monetize this site, since I think that the typical players may not have a high conversion rate. I think you may have to dig deep to find some unique services and advertising links to get clicks/conversions. Good Luck!

  • Ron

    I’ve never created a site, niche, blog or otherwise so really am interested to see if you tackle this one.
    I’m using Long Tail Pro but still can’t find the numbers I want.
    Also I’m torn between going with passion (crappy numbers) or something with better numbers that I might not stick with. What will you do? Hmmm.

  • mj

    I will say that your niche selections surprise me because I never would have chosen these niches (meaning your first niche as well). So I do thank you for helping me to understand and broaden my ideas on niches. I am with another reader, I am surprised you revealed it so early. However, I am glad you did it opens my eyes a little more.

  • Tung Tran

    Hi Pat,

    Actually I think the keyword is easy to rank for, here’s why:

    – There are 4 No PR’s on the top 10
    – Most of the top 10 pages have less than 10 backlinks.
    – Only 4 pages have the exact keyword “best minivan” in the title
    – They are all ranking by no intention, you can know that by reading these pages:





    Those articles are not opimized, they are on news website.

    – I think you should not rely completely on the KC, it’s not always accurate. Dont get me wrong, I’m a big fan of LTP and I use it everyday but I just take the KC as one metric for reference.

    Just my 2 cents!

    • Maggie

      Good point, Tung. Do you have any idea how the #1 site got there? It has an authority of 1, 0 page links, and moz rank of 0. Could it be the PR? (scratching head)

      • Tung

        I think it’s because of the strength of the root domain a.k.a the power of authority 😀 But you can outrank it easily

    • Dror

      I agree with you Tung.

      This keyword is actually pretty easy to rank for and it proves that relying on KC isn’t really a smart move because you might be missing easy to rank keywords. It is also a great keyword as it will allow to enter into a much bigger niche with some serious traffic and money to made.

      I hope Pat will go for it. It would be interesting to see what he will be able to create.

  • Tim Morrison

    I say go for it Pat. Being out of your comfort zone is what its all about.

  • Zoe Moss

    What is that Chris guy talking about, of course anyone can do this and build a profitable niche site! Looking forward to seeing what you do next and following along. I just registered a new domain I found.

  • Vinod Poyilath

    Pat, looking at all the articles that are ranking on page 1 for this, and also looking at the Google auto-suggest for your keyword, it seems to be a highly “year specific” keyword. It does raise a few questions in that case doesn’t it?

    1. Obviously Google is promoting the pages that talk about 2013 models.. this can be the reason why many of the pages rank without too many backlinks… just with the domain authority + the year specific factor. Imagining you reach the 1st page in about 2 to 3 months or so… in another 3 months, these “big sites” are going to talk about the 2014 models and their domain authority might give them the advantage over your new site, even if you too start talking on 2014 models. What do you think?

    2. Won’t that mean that you’ll have to update this resource year after year, the earlier pages becoming less useful or even useless in a few month’s time every time? I know you wouldn’t mind putting in that work, but won’t that take some of the “passive” thing out of it?

    3. Again, imagining that you do update with new “year relevant” articles every year, won’t that mean you’ll have to focus on SEO and link building aimed at those new articles each time?

    As you mentioned, the niche does have a space and need for a “all in one resource” site, and it would be awesome if you can create one.

    I am a huge believer in going for the riskier option when faced with a safer and riskier one. I believe the answers to whether you can rank can be known only by actually doing it. But then points 2 and 3 above raise the question of whether you really want to do it, not for the fear of failing, but for the time and repeated efforts it might take over the years.

    And out here on SPI, you are the leader, and we are the followers. So I guess you’ll make the right call :)


  • Monique

    Pat, please take on this challenge!

    I would love to see how you tackle the more difficult aspects. To keep on learning and growing, we need to keep on challenging ourselves.

    Besides, if things don’t work out then there’s still A LOT that both you and your followers can learn from the experience. Onwards and upwards!

  • Ibrahim

    This is tough one Pat but it will definitely bring up some new things to handle. Interesting but challenging and not at all recommended for guys who are participating for the first time or trying to make first Niche site.

  • Omar Lodhi

    Definitely seems to be a challenge.

    Although I am a bit confused.

    In Long Tail Platinum the average key competitiveness is only 39. I thought around 35 is ideal and we an go upto 45, whereas you say 39 is relatively high.

  • Joe

    Trouble with reading this at 6 AM is having to stifle the giant laugh I had when reading “best minivan”. :) I didn’t see that one coming!

    Anyhow, I like this idea because I have always been intrigued about developing a resource that can act as a lead generation machine. I think you could do that, as you mentioned, with car dealerships not to mention any ancillary vendors that could offer customizations (luggage/bicycle racks, etc).

    I think Vinod, above, makes a valid point to consider however. Choosing this niche depends on your long range plans for the site. It is not at all “evergreen” and will constantly need to be updated as new models come out. That eliminates it from being any valid part of a “set it and forget it” portfolio of sites.

    Best of luck on your decision!!

  • Jeremy

    I hope you do it… I’m curious to see how this will turn out.

  • Minecraft Websites

    Definitely go for it. If you don’t, you will never know. You never know how good an idea is until there is some action (and time) behind it.

  • Kingsley | Guest blogging

    Pat, from my analysis, the keyword is a very profitable one (you even saId that ABOVE).
    Just like what Joseph Archibald would say, “the main thing you should focus on id the backlink to the page or website that is ranking for your keyword.”

    From what I’ve discovered, the highest backlinks to the pages/website ranking on the first page for the keyword “best minivan” are smaller; some have just 10 backlinks. While others have 40.

    So you see? You can outrank and get to number 1# on Google first page for the that term without blinking an eye.

    The only thing you need to do is build quality backlinks to your niche site. That’s all.

  • Sal Coombes

    Love it Pat! While this project is about crushing a niche, it’s hard to not get excited when an industry/market shows so much potential to be totally shaken up…. I’m talking about the way we research and purchase a car. SEO is important yes, but what about social influence? I discovered this platform dedicated to creating social influence and for CAR DEALERS… it’s called I Love My Dealer Might spark some (more) ideas for you. Go with it Pat, the excitement will make it a winner.

  • Bruno

    I totaly agree with you Pat. I think what you really have to look when searching for Keyword competitiveness is if you can build better comtent than what is on the first page of Google. Because in the end Google always change his algorythm only to gibe his searchers the very best resulta for what they are looking for. You will also get more real traction from web users that way, real links and good social signals.

  • Bruno

    Oh god… In the last couple of months it seems that my thumbs just got bigger, it just became impossible for me to write on my iPhone without doing that much typos…

  • Tigue Burgess

    I say go for it. I don’t want this to sound negative, but I would like to see you struggle a bit.

    Many times you see case studies show how easy it is to get your site on the first page of Google, mostly because the keyword was the easiest to rank for, this might be more compelling and interesting to know what it would take to rank a more difficult keyword.

    Is is just a little harder, or exponentially harder?

    • Jan Paul

      I agree, a little bit hard is good. If it’s not at least a bit challenging is it really worth making a case study about it. Challenged are good especially for case studies IMO. And since you will be the expert or student,it will be really interesting to see how you conquer those challenges

  • Max Turner

    Pat I am not using Long Tail Pro and I am looking at Market Samurai. According to what I see in Market Samurai – There isn’t a crazy amount of competition. As a matter of fact most of the sites (again according to Market Samurai) states that there is no Page Ranking nor any trust value and most don’t have the keywords in their title, description or url.

    Maybe I am doing something wrong? Or am I missing something here?

    Thanks Max.

  • Conrad

    I love the idea of tackling keywords or a niche that doesn’t have the best numbers and I also love the way you are approaching this in a Case Study format.

  • Mark Cash

    Interesting choice, The competition is a little bit over my criteria. But I wish you good luck. I will definitaly focus on your moves with my new niche site based on you second duel.

  • Pascal

    Being a huge automobile fanatic myself, I had looked into this niche before. If you plan to go this route, make sure to check out’s affiliate program on It is a very neat service (I have not tried it yet myself, but hope to in the future) that allows you to do all the price haggling BEFORE even stepping into the dealership. Basically allows dealerships to compete for your business by pricing out the vehicle you want, before going there. So when you walk into the dealership, you already know what you’re going to pay for the vehicle you want.

    Now, the commissions aren’t huge ($8.00), but it can be a very useful service to provide to your readers who are ready to make a purchase based on the info you’ve provided them with; and naturally for you, provides an additional stream of income on a somewhat hard to monetize niche.

    Good luck,

  • Derek @ MoneyAhoy


    Go for it!!! I’d like to see the battle. It wouldn’t be fun if you could get to number one in a month or two with old techniques.

  • Charlotte

    That looks like a significant challenge laying ahead of you. There are quite a few forums out there, which will be competing for long tail traffic.

    If you feel passion for this niche, then you should go and beseech.

    Okay, it’s not a perfect rhyme …

  • Riza

    I say, you should. Aside from the fact that you’ve done a decent amount of research about your desired niche, and that you seem to be so excited about it, it’s for the win because you’re a fighter. Of course we can’t ignore the challenges it posed, but as you’ve admitted, it is what fuels you.

    It isn’t about how unrealistic it would seem for us to compare our being amateurish to your professional resume like what others feel; it’s about overcoming our fears, working hard, and believing.

    So go on, and keep us inspired, Pat. :)

    By the way, I read and “Kingged” your article on the IM social networking site,

  • Rus Anderson

    I’m mixed. I’d like to see what an easy win looks like in real-time, but would also like to see how you handle obstacles. I guess there would be more value for the masses in the later because finding good keywords and building niche’s around them is getting tougher.

  • john

    pat, so glad to read this post. I’m in the same boat and can’t get my head past a competitive keyword. I was a bit worried about jumping into it but definitely going to do it now. I think going with your passion will only make the site more authentic, valuable and improve the web overall. good luck!

  • Lye

    I am not sure whether you accept failure on a public niche site as an option but there is no reason why you shouldn’t go for it since it’s a topic you are passionate with. I am 100% sure whether the niche site is a success or failure, we will have something to learn from.

  • Lourdes Welhaven

    Please do this. I am so interested to see how you are going to tackle this. Also, looking beyond the numbers to delve deeper into what is possible is helping me to understand better…the numbers only tell part of the story…and you are showing that.

  • Roy

    Have you seen the security guard training site has dropped to 5th position? What do you think is the reason for that? Penguin2?

  • Sunday

    Hi Pat,
    My advice to you would be to go ahead and try it out. There is no limit to may work when it comes to niche websites.

    However, I am sticking my conviction with the fact you have experience with The Security Guard niche and the lessons can be employed if you go for the minivan site.

    The goal is indeed challenging but it would probably make you become better in creating successful sites out of near “impossible” websites!
    I have left the above comment in where this post was shared and “kingged”.

    Sunday – contributor

  • Naveen Kulkarni

    First of all, congrats Pat on picking up the Niche keyword. It seems a really good keyword as per LTP since there is at least room for 4 or 5 new entrants one of which should be your site ultimately :-)

    Curious to see your journey in this niche. Of course we all are sailing 😉 All the very best Pat and waiting for your announcement of Master Mind Learning Group finalists.

  • Rodolfo

    I believe you should go for it! If it is not something you are at least a little bit passionate about it really is not worthy… my niche is somewhat competitive too but there is no real authority sites on it and I really like the subject and have literally hundreds of ideas of posts and how to monetize it (I think I will try to go mainly with Amazon Associates…)

    As for the differences of the words a Niche Site is really what you said: a niche inside a niche… if it goes from micro to authority all the better! You have more chances that you will have a long term stream of income IMHO!

    Really excited to start this duel!

  • Travis

    “Pat Flynn – Crash Test Dummy for Niche Websites”

    Time for some new business cards.

  • Glady

    I would really want to see what strategies you’re going to make on your chosen niche. I’m new to niche sites and the soonest that I found a good keyword, I found out that somebody good with niche sites has purchased an exact match domain . But I still bought a domain related to my keyword because I’m really passionate about the topic.

  • Holly

    Whether you go for “Best Minivan” or not is a mute point. What you learn and are able to share with your audience is how you can best help us. Just hearing your thoughts helped me tremendously because I likewise was having the same internal battle. My keyword is just over 3,000 local monthly searches but I feel confident going with it because I enjoy the topic. All the work I did on metrics (on keywords I’m not passionate about) made me just feel like a “niche website machine” with no person involved in the process. I think integrating a part of who we are into our website is what can make the traffic numbers work.

    I did the keyword research, but more to find a way to make my passion work. Through the keyword research process, I had to broaden my scope. Hopefully, this will make a difference.

    Another great post. Thank You!

  • Ingo

    This is an interesting point of view for a niche site.

    I am from Germany and perhaps I will try a similar keyword in german just for fun (i am a petrolhead). The market in Germany is very small, but I think it is much more interesting to connect a niche site with the real / offline business world and hve some success.

    It would be a pleasure to compare the results with an USA site to a german site.

  • Dave

    Hey Pat, love these projects and love that you’re really sharing your detailed thought process.

    On one hand, I can only imagine the killer resource you could build out here. It could be a must visit sight for anyone in the mini van market. Once off the ground, I can only imagine the free backlinks you’d get form folks on forums or other sites.

    On the other, I wonder if you don’t end up creating a site that requires significant maintenance as each new car model rolls out. Of course, the upkeep may be worth it but its something to consider given the dynamic nature of the product.

    So…, what do you have in mind for the other KWs you found???

    Thanks and keep it up!

  • Waiters and Waitresses

    Really interesting post Pat, thanks for thinking out loud for us. It’s really great to see you weigh out your options in front of us.

    In my humble opinion, I think it’d be most interesting to see you do something that you find difficult. If you have an easier route, you may be more successful, but I think it’s important to note that one of the best parts of Smart Passive income is that you display both your successes and failures equally in front of us.

    So if this niche is difficult and you succeed as well as stumble along the way with something that is harder than some of your other options, not only will you be challenging yourself, but you’ll likely be providing even more value to us as your readers. I realize that it’s a somewhat selfish opinion, since I (and I think we) would like to see you take on a giant for our benefit, but it seems like it’ll be lucrative once you make it to success.

    Thanks for all the free advice and letting us in on your journey. Keep up the great work.



  • Nathan

    I think it’s a pretty tough one Pat.

  • Tom

    I guess I don’t see how this is super competitive. I have LTP too. Sure there are big website names, but the title looks good (many top 10 without exact keyword in title), 4 pages with PA of 1 and 9 sites with juice linke of 10 or less (6 with zero), 4 with mozrank or zero.

    But you’ve been doing this way longer than me …

  • Benji Walklet


    Do you plan to collate reviews? Or is it going to be more like post after post of buying guides?

    Consumer Reports has been my biggest competitor for my first niche site…but it looks like their particular page for this niche doesn’t have too big of a link profile…so this may be worth going after.

  • Andrew McGivern

    I’m very interested in seeing this site develop because I am going through this thought process myself. So if you build it I will be your target market. We have a toddler and will be welcoming TWINS to the family in November. So a minivan is definitely something we are looking for! By the way, what mini van did you get?

  • Carrie Rocha

    Hands down GO FOR IT! Passion first. The long tail keyword options are huge – with every make and model out there. If you don’t have passion for something then you’ll burn out much more quickly. Plus, from an SPI reader’s perspective – it’ll be interesting to see how you turn this ho-hum keyword into something awesome.

    • Dave

      100% agree with that last line, well said.

  • Bob

    Definitely go for it! Playing it safe is not inspiring.

    Nothing great was ever achieved by playing it safe :)

    I’m going to tackle a keyword that gets millions of hits a month. If I fail, at least I learn something; if I succeed …. !!!

  • Jerry Babcock

    In the long run, your passion on the niche will serve you well.

    In regards to competitiveness, your other site ranks first for “Security Guard Training” which is rated a 39 in LTP keyword competitiveness. Best Minivan keyword ranks 40. It may be tougher today then it was back then but I think it is very doable. Can’t wait to follow along.

    I say go for it!

  • Jason

    I just don’t feel that Pat is going to do as good as he did before in the original niche duel ( what ever happen to the other dude? Shawn???)

    There are too many people following Pat now that will attack the same niche and I an sure that some know a few more things that he does ( Love You Pat!)

  • Mike Collins

    I’m pretty much narrowed my search down to 2 keywords and I’ve registered domains for each of them. They’re both a little more competitive than most people would like but they are in niches that I am familiar with and enjoy and I know I can write about them. I give a little extra weight to these because I am already familiar with the niches and interested in learning more…I think I’m more likely to stick with it if the topic interests me and that’s important. Good numbers only tell half the story.


  • Lucas Vu

    Pat, go for it. I personally thinks that as competitions go higher and higher, good niche also become harder to find. And you are right, main keyword traffics only serve a minor part to the whole site.

  • Shauna M.

    I really don’t think “numbers” tell the whole story. I built a niche site a year ago about a particular health product. One of my posts went completely viral and still is today. The particular keyword for that post gets 260 Global Monthly Searches A MONTH according to the big google but yet the post continues to bring over 2,000 unique visitors PER DAY to the post. People are genuinely interested and excited about the information I provided in the post, yet they don’t know to search for it. I really believe viral marketing is going to be the future, with google favoring big sites and brands and everything. But right now a mix is definitely important. I do believe you can succeed with with the “best minivan” niche website, Patt. It may take a little more technique. But if you can reel in people through interesting posts and get them to share your content, there’s no way to tell where your site will go just with “numbers”

    Good luck!

  • Andrea Maida

    If you are excited by this niche I’d say that is a sign…I have no doubts that you will rise to the occasion :)

  • Pierre


  • Tanya Clapshaw

    Hi, Pat! What an interesting choice, and I am very intrigued by what you will do with it. I sometimes struggle with the idea that whatever I write or choose needs to be perfect, so the idea of taking something challenging, following your instincts and your passion, and just lettin’ it RIP is a good reminder of the real reason we do this! I am sure you will be able to help people make good decisions for their families. I look forward to seeing you transform minivans into Sexy.

    (Oh, and I have a Honda Odyssey. A gray one. That’s about as far from sexy as they get……)

  • Kyle M.

    I say go for it man! People may not understand why I picked the niche I did either but I have a passion and first hand experience with it. It’ll be my first time building a site ever! And after listening to you non-stop for months on end (“mini” for Christmas, great GF!) I more than confident I can make something happen in the niche. Thank for riding the subway with me each day!

  • Markus

    I would like you to do two pages. (I know, Lean Startup tells you not to, but seriously, this is not a startup)

    Put the 1hr per day into the easy keyword to produce results that “the rest of us” can use as a good baseline and focus more time on the minivan niche, just because you like it and it has different challenges – another benchmark for more experienced people.

    Realistically, this is still a moderate challenge if you put in 40+hrs a week initially. The question is, how much money and time do you want to invest?

    So if you go for this one, I would love to have you do an easier keyword “on the side”. I know, egoistic of me, but more motivating to me as someone that is just starting out and does not have a page like SPI to link to my new blog should things not work out that well using the natural approach. 😉

  • Arvind

    Awesome article Pat!
    Got me thinking about your first site that initially made you money, I wonder whether the keyword search would have yielded positive results for monetization then?

    If not, it’s even further evidence that you can generate a decent living as long as you get traffic with a dedicated following?

  • Mark

    Pat says he’s “not an expert” and yet he’s a professional internet marketer earning well into the millions annually. Hmm. Come on Pat…you can no longer play the “newbie” card!

    • Justin

      Haha… I have to agree with this. I think we can all agree that you’ve hung up your newbie card Pat. :)

    • John

      Actually, according to the monthly income reports he should be earning $600-720k per annum

    • KHer0

      Pat is gr8 at blogging. But he is newbie at Niche Sites.

      Making a lot of money in one category doesn’t make you expert in others :)

      He is just determined and well organized person.. so he will succeed where ever he goes

      Excellence isn’t an act.. It’s a habit

      • Justin

        Nice tidbit from Aristotle at the end KHer0. At least credit him.

      • Louie Sison

        Good points khero. That’s one attitude I really admire from Pat.

  • Joshua Rivers

    I think the minivan site would be good for you to do. I’m new to the niche site duel, but it definitely seems doable. I’m thinking about jumping, I just need a little time to study the process and choose a niche.

  • Raihan

    Hello Pat,

    I have been following you along since January 2012. Since then I’ve been following every post published here on SPI. Besides I am also following some other blogs such as the of Spencer and the of Glen. What I’ve learned from my study is that the seed/main keyword is something that creates a brand of you. In contrast visitors are landing on your blog for some other search terms which is LONG TAIL in nature. Therefore I think you have chosen a keyword with ample opportunity and with decent search volume. As you said your ranking #1 in Google – only generates about 20% of the overall organic search traffic. Nonetheless Search Engines are trying hard to display the most helpful and resourceful contents to visitors on the SERP through regular algorithm update. It indicates that if your site content is of high quality then you may also outrank the e-commerce sites as well as the article directories.

    So on an overall view, you can easily go with the keyword. I bet you will be on top of Google in no time 😉


  • Nick Ashcroft

    Hey Pat, I’m really excited due to the niche duel 2.0 atmosphere, I think the niche you selected might not be successful as the other one (security guard training). Nowadays the SEO environment is more penguin/panda style, so it’s more difficult to control the ranking output for a given keyword in google.
    Nonetheless I love that you are going for this keyword because of the the vibe it feels to you. If you quickshot the potential income with the indicative formula SEOT * CPC * 0,0125 (taken from Joseph Archibald ebook) you get a value. The actual value you can actually get according to me is much higher than that, as you could consider using some affiliate program or lead generation in place of adsense banners. Especially considering the high commerciality and the pretty high advertiser competition as showed in long tail pro. May I ask you for an intellectual curiosity? Did you find that lot of the partecipants of the mastermind group tapped into the same niches? Approximately, how many? I’d love to know this as you finish reading all the applications. Infact, as we are all proceding with the same criteria for good niches determining, that would give some nice idea of good-niche-density in nowadays SEO. This week I’ll be getting into the setup phase of my site niche, and I’ll register in the leaderboard ASAP, good luck to everybody!

  • Carolina Gily

    Your title is awesome. After viewing title i got Itch to read your rest of the post.
    And thanks for sharing nice article about Niche Site Duel 2.0.2

  • Gerry

    Hmm…That got me thinking about minivans too…I like your thought process…One of my niche sites actually targets private career colleges for advertising eventually. I’ll definitely be looking forward to more Niche Site stuff, but somehow I wish you wouldn’t get so involved in it–Leave some success for the rest of us! All the best!

  • Eftiel

    Very inspiring!
    And also, thanks because I found out in your article how to pronounce properly the word niche…

  • Tipjar

    Pat, I’d be happy to take those other 5 keywords that you wont use off your hands 😀

  • Sonny

    Hey Pat,
    I think this would be a cool niche IF…you wanted to be the minivan guy full time. The reason I say that is, the car industry changes ALL THE TIME, you would constantly be trying to keep up the latest trends, models, features, packages, offerings, promotions, re-calls…the list goes on. It’s a lot of work to actually put together content that would be relevant…this isn’t like your other niches where you can sit on the computer and hash it out, you’ll have to get into the field and do research, which takes a lot of effort and time.

    This topic would be just like going after, “The best smartphone”…what a headache.

    With everything you got going on, I would look for something more plug and play.

    P.S. I hate minivans, get a crew cab truck, get your manhood back :) I’m a dad of 2 with 1 on the way, my F150 has plenty of room for seating for 5 and I can haul or pull just about anything.

  • Tony

    Like mentioned above every year this list and content will need to be updated. No one wants to read a “best” list without the latest models thrown in. One way to update this is to have it dynamically pull the list from another source, but then you would need to write additional research and thoughts in order to be a better resource then the place you sourced the list from.

    I haven’t done any type of research on this but just wanted to throw out this idea. What about best used minivan? This would allow for more ‘green’ content. Visitors wouldn’t expect to see this years model on the list. You would be able to update this list and relevant content possibly every few years.

    **This is all assuming that you don’t want to write new content every year for the first 3 or 4 months of the year.

  • Phuong Le

    NO, you SHOULDnot choose this niche as it is too small and doesnot bring high potential income on the long run.

    • Perry Ning

      Phong may be right. I have “Heat Exchanger Central” on the first page for a few days now, but did not see any clicks. A portion of 3,000 searches a month may be too little. – Perry

  • S.J. Scott

    I say “go for it.” Few reasons why:

    1) You have experience in this market and know what type of content would resonate with a new mini-van buyer.

    2) You can monetize it in ways beyond Adsense/Associates. The “$50 per lead” idea sounds really promising. Perhaps you can even create “minivan purchasing” app, which will bring traffic and potential leads back to your site.

    3) You’re pushing the boundaries. By targeting stiff competition, you’re showing what it would be *really* like to go after tough niche where you have to bring your A-game.

    4) I’m sure there is also a ton of related, long-tail phrases that won’t be as difficult.

    Well, looking forward to seeing what you decide to do.

  • Karels

    Great article, I think you should give it a try.

  • Andy

    I love that you’re willing to step up and take on a challenging niche! Go for it! Prove that anything is possible with the right creative drive!

  • Troy Parke

    The whole time I was writing my application to the Niche Site Duel 2.0 MLG, I had the exact same feelings: Something I felt I could really contribute to and was attracted to, but the numbers didn’t quite align, particularly the competition.

    I did not call out the “80/20” in quite the same you have here, but the fact that 80% of the traffic to your previous niche site wasn’t the target keyword has been in the back of my mind the whole time. Many of your interviews from Neil to Dane and even Becker also imply this nature to understanding what someone wants from the search… but really give them what they need.

    I can’t comment on the automobile market, but I would love to see you make a destination and resource. To me, it would demonstrate beyond just sifting through nuggets until you find a gold combination of words.

    And I would love to be a part of it.

  • The Virtual Sensei

    I’m going to be a contrarian here and question your strategy. I look at what you have done with smartpassiveincome and your last niche site and am comparing them.

    The security guard site makes less than a tenth of your overall total. is where the bulk of your money is and it seems to me that the vast majority of your time should be teaching us to build big authority sites. I’m aware you can ramp up a niche site and it’s a good testing ground, but not sure how far up you can take minivans up the chain.

    I also say this because I am also guessing that this strategy will employ new but supposedly more effective link building strategies but I don’t know what approach you will take yet – that’s just a guess. If that’s the case, Google has advised us on multiple occasions not to link build and I’m wondering out loud if you do indeed recommend that we take that approach, why that would be the case.

    Let’s have a little fun here and I’ll take a different approach. You build your niche site but I’m going to take an opposite approach. I’m going to follow Google’s guidelines and not build links but I’m going to take the approach of putting up a ton of helpful content just like you have here at instead of a niche site.

    I’ve outlined my challenge here:

    • Pat Flynn

      Great comment! Let’s wait to see what niche I finalize in and how I build the site up. :)

      • Greg Savage

        I say challenge yourself. I’ve done a few experiments with pages on my site that I haven’t built links too and they are all over the place. Some rank in the top 5 some don’t

        I had a page I built links to that was in the top 3, it dropped down to the page 20 and then out of nowhere it’s back in the top 4. The funny thing is when i look in MS, I notice that the backlinks (some) have fallen off and the rank position increased!

        Odd, but interesting

      • Karo Itoje

        Hello Pat,

        So I’m exhausted here but I remembered it’s been a long time I haven’t been to your blog so I decided to stop by and read your latest post which is this one. I’m replying to your comment because I kind of agree with what the reader above said.

        Except you think most of your readers are people just looking for peanuts online (small income) you need to talk more about building authority site. And minimize the ‘quickly rank a site and make money experiments’ AKA niche sites. As you know SecurityGuardTrainingHQ is one of the very few niche sites that make a decent income most hardly make a hundred dollar/month. Is that the income level you think your readers really come online to look for? I know for sure I want much more than that.

        And with all these Google algorithm nonsense aren’t people tired of link building strategies? I know I’m tired; I even had to let my authority site on blogging go because of that. The site got affected by the first Penguin update and I didn’t see what I did wrong. Fought to get my traffic before Penguin back but didn’t get most of them back. And then too many people talking about blogging, I thought why not take a break from blogging and make money in general; at least for now.

        Then I decided to start a wedding site but targeted it to my country Nigeria. The site is 5 months old, I’ve never built any link since I started it. I decided I wouldn’t, done with the Google bullshit and don’t even do much page optimization anymore (using specific keyword several times on page). All I do is select the keywords that I write on carefully and now my traffic range between a little over 150-260 daily. And I have a Facebook page for the site with almost 1900 Likes in just 5 months without building any links and not publishing everyday. Yet Google is still my top traffic referral. Haven’t ranked for any specific keyword yet, I get the traffic I do now from long tail keywords.

        And guess what? I have no professional experience in wedding, I didn’t learn wedding planning and have never planned one except witnessed my sister’s wedding. But I knew it was something I could write on because love, relationships and marriage are topics I really enjoy talking about with friends. So I asked myself how hard could it be to write about weddings?

        I just added Adsense to the site 2 days ago but main monetization will be getting offline wedding vendors to buy advert especially site sponsorship (already working on a flyer for this) and then eventually ebook sales.

        Why I am saying all this is because I wanted to show that we don’t need too many strategies really to build an authority site that gets traffic. What I am starting to realize is that it seems easier and quicker to succeed with a niche that arouses readers emotion (for lack of the right word to use) and then target local audience than otherwise. For example niches about pets, weddings, marriage, inspiration etc. People easily click, read, like and share. When I had a blogging site I put so much energy into writing solid articles sometimes more than 2000 words long and it hardly got any shares. But now most of the articles I write within few days already have more 50 shares especially on Facebook and ShareThis. So without doing anything I get the social vibe that search engines need from the site.

        Well I’ll end it here because I really have to sleep now plus I think the comment is getting too long. Old habits die hard :) But I hope you understand what I mean.

        Always enjoy reading your posts and admire you a lot.

        • Michael

          Now this is smart because it is tapping a market, in a very new not so developed country like Nigeria, which is so new and not so saturated with so many other websites and competitors.

          I know from experience since I started a small service business in a country outside the US which is so new that it gets less than 1 search a day from what I see on Market Samurai however I still earn about $25 for each session

    • MiaGal

      While niche sites are currently only 10% of Pat Flynn’s revenue, a monthly income of $2,500 per niche site that takes minimal effort after set up is GREAT money and more than many people make in a full-time job ($60k+ per year for both niche sites) Also, remember that almost half of his monthly income ($30k) is from Blue Host (aka lots of eggs in one basket). That money could evaporate at any time with some disruptive strategy elsewhere. We all need that balanced portfolio of work that continues to evolve, especially when it comes from a technology-based business.

      I plan to follow along with Niche Site Duel 2.0 because while I’m working to roll-out a more robust blog site focused on a specific industry this fall (similar to your thoughts on what it takes to build a big authority site), I want to see if I can be successful earning money from smaller niche sites on some things of interest to me that requires minimal effort after set up.

      Also, I think that developing the niche sites aligns with and pays homage to the “passive” in his business namesake.

      Since this is my first post here, though I’ve been following your work for a several months now Pat, thank you so much for sharing your online life in such a transparent way! My mental journey about an online business started by reading the books “The 4-hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferris and “The Long Tail” by Chris Anderson a few years ago, but then life got in the way. However, it was tripping across your site that became the spark plug to put all my thoughts and ideas in action.

      Those books, your generous in-depth and transparent website, reading by Corbett Bar and (and the book by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett) has provided me with all the pertinent information I need to confidently pursue my online goals.

      Each of you came at it from a different angle so synthesizing all of ’em provided some great mind-gum chewing as well as an incredible foundation to help me define my plans.

  • Stephanie

    Hi Pat,

    I am not sure if you ever going to rank the keyword. It is going to take huge effort from you to rank the baby unless you spend big on purchasing high pr links which defeat the purpose of the niche site duel.

    For most of us who follow your niche site duel, we would like to see if you can rank without much spending on backlinks.

    You can give it your best shot but be prepare to slog it for as long as takes.

    Good luck to you, Pat.

  • Sarkarinaukri

    very good sir. we really appreciate your guidance.

  • mon site

    You’re pushing the boundaries. By targeting stiff competition, you’re showing what it would be *really* like to go after tough niche where you have to bring your A-game.

  • Tom

    Build a site with a topic that is for you. A topic where you can write some content.

  • Toms Top Smartphones

    It sounds difficult to compete with the big shots – and I not only think about KBB, but also the manufacturers who have big Budgets and agencies doing all the work for them.
    Creating Content Need work (Research, writing), but you can also have your visitors generate Content. Think about voting for the most popular Minivan of the year and things like that. Have users submit their experiences and Minivan related stories. Have a Directory of Minivan related Clubs/organisations. Have a pimp your Minivan section (affiliate links to autoparts sites or specialized Workshops (50$/Lead) are possible).

    There is a lot of potential in this niche.
    Go for it!
    All the best – Tom

    “Man who says it cannot be done should not interrupt man doing it”
    Chinese proverb

  • Sharon

    Thank you so much for sharing what is going on inside your brain Pat!! I am still in search of my niche and have definitely come across some keywords that have just so-so numbers as well, but is something I really feel strong about. It’s not totally about the numbers (and they don’t have to be perfect)…I will definitely go back and re-evaluate some of those keywords.

    I say go for it. There is only one competitor with decent juice page links. Go with your gut feelings!! In the long run it will help all of us since there may be a lot of us out there needing additional creative techniques to get traffic.

  • Thomas

    Great work pat, Best minivan I cant wait to see how you do this. I will be following a long and will give it a go myself. I hope this works out for you.

  • Sacha Jackson

    I say go for it. 2 reasons:

    1. It’ll prove to the rest of us that something in the high 30’s in LTP is realistic (I’m hunting a 38-40 at the minute).
    2. If you’re planning to do a “beastly resource” then it’s going to be an authority site anyway and not a neesh site.

  • Dean Patino

    Hi Pat,

    There’s no doubt we are all excited for you to create another niche site and watch/learn from the process.

    Why are you so concerned about the keyword instead of how whichever topic you are choosing will be solving a problem to help others or providing entertainment that others enjoy?

    Sounds to me like you’re suggesting the only way to go into a business is if the keyword is a good one to leverage, no? It’s no wonder you are hesitating about “best minivan”.

    The other day I received an email from Google to verify my website for Google+. I have had my website for a long time and it’s ranked within the first page for the keywords it needs to be for years. Yet, I finally broke down and took the 5-10 minutes and did it. That verification pushed my site anywhere now from #1 to #3 across the board for all keywords I want it to be ranked for in Google.

    I’m not suggesting that’s the only reason it’s ranked high, for I have generated lots of content about the topic of the business I have. Point being that I think you can be very successful as you have been if you go back to the fundamentals.

    Are you helping others and are you passionate about the topic that is doing so.

    My .02, good luck Pat and again, thanks for all you do.

  • Denise

    What’s your gut telling you? It sounds like a big “Yes!” to me.
    Make it happen, Pat! :)

  • Perry Ning

    Hi Pat and Everybody,

    How do you define what is your niche? I can clearly see what SecurityGuardTrainingHQ is about, but “Best Minivan” could be a car seller, a movie title, a family blog, or a vehicle to carry any conversations.

    Thanks for any help for me to understand this, Perry

  • Gustaf Byström

    Sounds interesting. As a fairly new reader it would be really interesting to follow a project like this in real time. Good luck mate!

  • Cody Smith

    lol Definitely interesting Pat. Any Niche can be profitable if enough people are intertwined in it. Best thing to do is to just do it and try to profit. Thanks Pat!

  • Varsh

    Go for it 😉

  • Mike

    It sounds like a tough niche to break into BUT if anyone has the chops to do it, I’d say it would be you. It will be fun to see what tactics you use to do it.

  • Mike

    Hey Pat,

    Let’s think this through for a moment.

    1. Best minivan’s is a topic that doesn’t have a lot of competition even though you say it does. When google finally sees your site is a dedicated resource to help potential minivan buyers make a decision to purchase the best minivan for their needs then you easily rank above and edmonds.

    2. You know what the potential customer needs to know. Your experience in the market of buying a minivan will push your resource past any others. You have the perspective that shoppers want to see, KBB and edmonds do not. While they do host some reviews of minivans, they are really an overall car information site and don’t focus on helping a specific market.

    3. You are excited by the idea of working in this niche market. You will probably enjoy this more than anything else you could be doing.

  • Brad

    I’m interested in seeing if and how long it takes you to outrank the well-established sites. I think it would be a great example for others that might be intimidated by sites with high authority.

  • CaptainKraft

    Do it Pat. We all want to see you kick ass and show us what can really be done.

    I’m sure you’ve read Derek Siver’s post about saying no unless the answer is HELL YES. Pick what makes you excited. You only live once bro

  • Jamie

    If you were just trying to build a niche site and rank for a keyword, I would say no.

    But, if you want to build a proper business, I’d say yes.

    I know most people would be happy with a successful niche site, but I think to take your brand up to the next level building a business in public would be huge. It would also be interesting to watch.

    It would also help people who want to build a business on a smaller scale because everything you’re doing could be applied to both.

  • sandeep


  • James

    Nice post, I think it must be try.

  • Cynthialil

    I’m glad you brought this up because I’ve been building a couple of sites this past month and I keep trying to convince myself that my subjects choices were great, they don’t look that good by Keyword search standards. I still like the concepts I chose so I’m taking a shot. And I keep second guessing my choice – glad to see I’m not alone.

  • Terrence Kommal

    I’m extremely happy about the pending decision of Pat and the great feedback from our fellow readers here.

    The insights shared by both Pat and the respect commenters, and may I say my fellow niche’rs :-D, is encouraging.

    I have applied to the Duel with a very hard niche that has a 38 LTP score, and it is vs some strong government agencies and media houses.

    The intent is two fold:

    1. Provide leading content that seems to be limited in the specific niche.

    2. I am a professional working in the niche field, and it is indeed lucrative, and therefore without any lead selling, I will be able to action the same leads for some good profits.

    Yes the link-building strategies may cost some serious work, and time but I am certain it will be worth the effort.

    As mentioned by @MiaGal, most of Pat’s income comes from Bluehost, which may change the game in the future. There are no guarantees when one’s income is primarily based on a single other company.

    I did note however, and although I am not certain, that there are a few sites, very very similar to I am note sure if Pat has already developed these or owns them, or some other innovative reader here has literally copies Pat’s style for the niche sites. I have visited a few sites when the Duel started, and stumbled upon these that have almost identical layouts and disclaimers etc, as Pat’s.

    All in all I am in support of building an authority site in a competitive niche, esp. if it can add great value!

    Regards to all!

  • Ern

    You mention about Babble, an article directory, taking a spot on the first page of the keyword in serp. Like what you said, this is a sign that there’s room for a better site or article. This is basically what I did in one of my new sites without a help from a keyword tool. :-)

  • Johnnny Dull

    I think Pat should go for it! Good luck!

    • Vijay

      I strongly feel that pat should NOT go for this. I personally tried sites from these niche and found extremely difficult to compete with authority sites especially I see drastic change in Panda update that removed all niche sites from first and even second page of Google.

      But this is just my experience. Even I know some of Spensers sites were on this and 7 passenger vehicles niche 😉 but he gave up as those sites are ranking nowhere these days. Spenser correct me if I’m wrong.

      If pat can outrank authority sites for this keyword then I think he will be the most respected SEO guru for me!

      Thanks Pat!

    • Patricia Lim

      During this time you (Path) became my role model in blogging, although still far from good for your size. congratulations on everything. and Greetings.

  • Noel

    This is really exciting because it’s not a home run and it is similar to my lines of thinking when I was coming up with my keyword although i’m cautious of the mantra:It takes as much work to run an unsuccessful website as it does to run a successful website.
    Can’t wait for this thing to get started and really apart from monthly bluehost fees what is the major risk?

  • Yamato

    With every new project you face trial and error. Think about Edison who tried thousands of things to finally come up with the best light bulb possible.
    Compeition IMHO is a good sign that there is money in the market.

    Pat, go for it !!! It iis worth a try and fits your specifications for the NSD. You already have lots of content ideas (own and posted in the comments).
    Good luck.

    PS to all: think about the chinese proverb posted somewhere above in the comments – lots of truth in it.

  • Okto

    Hi Pat,

    It seems you like challenge much. With all the experience you have, you should go for this one

  • Ronny

    Picking a higher competitive keyword is a good thing. You can show your audience how to tackle such a thing.

    From a passive income perspective: minivan models and technology tend to change alot. So i’d think you’ll have some upkeep on the site with adding new models or the latest technology.

  • John Alba

    I wish you a positive results and experience. I know it will help prepare us in our attempts. Good luck.

  • Alain Schlesser

    Hi Pat,

    I can think of a lot of ways on how to monetize a site like this once you’ve got it ranked. I don’t think that the low search volume should worry you, as you’re probably not going to be using adsense (only). It only means you’ll have to keep your conversion rate in check! 😉

    I have chosen a similar site to apply to your MLG. It is not the best keyword I have found in terms of profit, but the content I imagine writing for it is the most fun, and I’m sure that the articles I’ll write about building the site will be more fun too. What’s more, I keep underestimating the effect it has on myself if I really am helping other people with a genuine problem they have (instead of luring them to a poker site or something along these lines). It really boosts motivation and makes you care so much more about the quality of your site.

    So I say: Go for it!


  • Jack

    Hey Pat, go for it and I’m really excited to see what will turn out. It will be a long process for sure but with determination I believe you can do it.

  • Chris Garby

    Hi Pat,

    The choice is yours, but I thought the challenge was to create a niche site, get it ranked #1 or at worst on page 1 of Google and set it up so it generates a passive income. Rinse and repeat if people choose to do so.

    If you select Best Minivan and have the goal of turning it into an authority site or huge resource sit, then won’t having different goals affect everything you do with the site from the beginning?

    If it doesn’t then go for it, but won’t you have to write posts about your steps and list the differences based on if your building a niche site do this and if your building an authority/resource site do that. Can you just build a niche site with it initially and see if you can get it ranked, post all the steps you took, then have a 2nd goal of building it into an authority site or resource site and document that as part 2 of the niche site duel 2.0, for those who want to build a bigger site.

    Just my thoughts

  • Carl

    Hi Pat

    I am a relatively new visitor to your site and to the niche World and FYI, being English, I say neesh and have previous taken up the way you all say it wrong in the states with Spencer Haws haha – this is a really great post and offers a real insight to looking at a keyword objectively.
    I find it much more useful when you actually have a word and can understand your analysis than just talking in general terms.

    The only risk here is that I can imagine 30 or so people have just read this, taken your idea and will try to copy you… This could impact the overall result?

    Thanks again

  • Sher

    You have been asking yourself the exact questions I’ve asked myself with regard to some of the keyword research I’ve been doing. I love knowing that!

    Whether you go for it or not, peeking behind the curtain on your thought process is great for me. Calms my nerves. :-)

    Thanks, Pat.

  • Roland

    Hello Pat,
    i´m a follower of your posts since 2011. I think you made a good decision when you pick up the topic for your new niche site. It´s not directly linked to earn money.
    I hope to make some progress in my own knowledge of building my own niche site by following you furthermore.

    Best regards

  • Fakhri

    Hey pat!
    i really appreciate the information and the tips you’re giving us!
    Can you please tell me what do you think about my website? and if you have any tips..

  • John Lufadeju

    Hey Pat,

    You’ve clearly done your homework on this topic – so, Go for it.
    Given you have a first-hand experience, achieving your goals is a step closer.
    Remember, whatever the mind of men can conceive and believe – it can achieve.

    All the best.

    Regards, John

  • Karol

    I was a little disappointed of myself because I did the keyword research and stumble upon a keyword that I was excited to developed but that was too competitive. And I thought: “I am not doing this right, this is not what I am suppose to do, uggh! I am a failure doing niche sites” 😀
    And it turns out that you were in the same dilemma :)
    Thanks for taking the extra challenge! I am so happy that I am going to do that too..

  • Jean Sebastien

    Hi Pat,

    How about the long term tendency for minivans? Before investing time in this niche, I would ask myself questions such as:

    1. Is the demography going to increase demand for these vehicles in the next 5 years?

    2. Have minivan sales been increasing or decreasing over the pas years?

    Answers to these questions may help you decide whether or not it’s a good bet.

    Good luck!

  • Ally

    I think you should go for it! I would like to see you go after a more competitive keyword. As for me, I just found my niche last night! I’m so excited that I already bought the domain and have been working on getting the theme and basic pages set up. The niche keyword is pretty basic and something where I can cover multiple topics within the niche. I was about to give up on finding a keyword and just go with brandable domain name and rank the pages of the site instead but I literally stumbled onto this keyword while trying to find a domain name that sounded good. It only gets 1,100 exact matches a month but it’s good enough for me since the site will mostly rank on long-tails. I can’t wait to see what this site becomes as well as what you do with yours.

  • Dustin

    This is exciting. I think you should go for it. I think you’ll learn a lot along the way, which will be really useful for us (the readers!). I’m excited that you’re doing another public niche site. With the numbers presented, I actually think that it will be really difficult, but like you said, mini-vans aren’t a sexy subject, so many people don’t talk about it. This may help your chances in google searches. My only question involves the advertisements that you’ll get. I am curious what types of ads will be placed on your site, and if they will be attractive/useful to your readers.

  • Prateek Bansal

    In my view point this is not the niche which I will be going for when I have such a big audience and I have been challenged by many other people in niche sites. Hope to know what are your view points

  • Miriam Nance

    Your target audience wants to buy a minivan and will probably expect tons of model reviews and comparison charts etc. Surely this site would simply be a review site as content about other aspects of minivans wouldn’t be relevant? Any other content would just be a way to assist with SEO and would be irrelevant.

    Also (and this is not a criticism), the site is bound to have links from SPI and other websites out there discussing niche site dual 2.0, so chances are the site will do really well from those backlinks. This is therefore not a fair comparison to those out there following the exact same method, as those sites won’t benefit from huge numbers of backlinks. Just a thought.

  • Piyush Agarwal

    That seems like quite a challenge but should you go for it just because the idea of a challenge seems exciting, maybe not. From a business point of view I feel you should let this one go… But love the thought process and effort put in this one Pat.

  • mike

    I think working on a more difficult niche would present a more interesting case study and will be useful to see how you get creative about ranking and monetizing the site for more competitive markets. I say go for it Pat. Is interest to see that even you have struggled to find a really killer niche. I guess all the low hanging fruit has been picked

  • J Poland


    As a fellow father, I say go for this!!!!


  • Alexei (recovering van owner)

    I cannot add anything to the pros column (impressive as it is). Here are two cons: poor potential for social traffic; low value of the email list (you can only sell so many vans and accessories to a person before they move out of the van demographic).

  • Carlos Coto

    Hi Pat, I would say GO FOR IT!!! This Niche Site Duel is supposed to be FUN!!! as it is a great experience in learning. I am not a Niche guru, or anything, probably Spencer has a few words on the topic… but I am a Psychologist, and I can tell you, if you don´t go for it.. The ITCH will be awful! Better to go with the “I did it!”, than the “boring…and bad I should´ve…”


    I need to rethink my keyword… darn… back to step 1!

  • Michael

    He is NOT going to choose the minivan niche. It was just an idea. Remember the fact that he did change his target keyword in the first duel. All you people who are cheering him on should realize that he is NOT going to choose this minivan niche. He does read these comments and makes informed decisions from the feedback. He will change and alter his behavior and choice from what you tell him since he is only one person and needs to see what most people think.

    There are a few people who replied who have worked in the car industry and they have expressly told him that it is too hard. Charlie Munger said that 80% of life is knowing which ventures are going to end up in failure and avoiding them like the plague.

    All the comments that are positive don’t help him. It is only the critical, analytical comments with numbers and facts backing them up that will help him. If you are reading this I know that you will ultimately not choose this niche.

    But good for making us think.

  • Catherine Mills

    Pat, I would love to see you tackle this. As soon as I saw “minivan”, I thought “KBB” and “Edmunds”. Seriously. It was that reflexive. HOWEVER, have you ever really gotten what you needed in a “best of” quest from those sites? Or Consumer Reports without a subscription, for that matter? I haven’t. I generally run several searches and waste a day or two trying to find the info I need and then put off the purchase because it’s overwhelming.

    The first goal of this exercise (NSD2.0) is, of course, to rank on the first page of Google and make money. Given what you said about the competition, I think you could achieve that. Remember what you said in NSD1.0 about a lower ranked website getting traffic because the description looked more useful? That’s your in.

    The other thing I think you are looking for is whether you can produce a resource that actually helps people. And the resounding answer is YES! I seriously doubt I will be in the market for a minivan; however, if I was I would HOPE for a site like what you are describing. If you go for it, an easily accessible table comparing key features would be wonderful. And if that table could be customized to include just the features the reader wants to compare, that would be even nicer. :)

  • Sharon

    Sure you should go for it. Whether it is successful or not is irrelevant you will gain knowledge from the experience either way.

  • Gary Sanchez

    I’m not (yet!) a niche site builder, but I can play one in this thread.

    The low search volume does not scare me as many have pointed out there will be many other long-tail keywords that will serve as traffic sources.

    When I look at competition, I’d want to be in the ballpark of your initial guidelines of competitiveness on PA, MozRank, & Juice Links, etc, which these words appear to be, but just as importantly, I’d want to envision how well my planned content would compete. 50 articles on minivans (say 2-3 per make) would appear to go deeper (and provide more helpful shopping info) than the existing sites do.

    Monetization of a referral program to dealers is intriguing, but it’s likely to work best on a local market, but I can imagine generating leads across brands that could be handed over to multiple dealers in SD. Of course, this then is a business model much different than your past public sites, but I don’t see why it couldn’t be relatively automated and still be relatively “passive”.

    The biggest challenge I see, as a few have pointed out, would be the challenge of keeping the content updated and current. Cars change far more frequently than do the processes of studying for a exam or in becoming certified in a job. I imagine it would likely require more time (yours or VAs) and money to update and keep current. Does this raise the bar on the revenue you’d need to earn to make it worth the effort? Probably.

    Having said all that, I believe that many of the entrenched authority sites do a relatively poor job of helping buyers make decisions. If you can envision better content, more helpful content, and easier to source content all in one location, that’s when great marketing gets rewarded with visits, links, and ultimately, income.

    I personally would love to see you stretch on a project of this nature. We’d all learn a ton.

  • webnishad

    Hi pat,
    Your experience is great and we learn lot from this, Thanks for posting.

  • Cesar

    Hey Pat,

    Nice choice of target KW. Speaking from years of experience doing this kind of analysis/work, you would be able to rank on page one for this in short time with an EMD. Top position may take two to four months with steady content output. Perfect example of how valuable good keyword research/SERP analysis is–yet remains a very underutilized process. Good luck and keep up the good work.

  • Eden

    Best minivan? Pat your getting old :-) jokes. Good outside the box thinking I reckon. Best of luck, I’ll be following along.

  • Veronica

    Well that’s a great idea I think Pat. I’m sure you’ll have lots of babyboomers typing that in and even young people like myself and you and your family who perhaps wish to be a bit adventurous and check out the scenery and enjoy little escapes. Can’t wait to see how this goes.

  • Thriftypreneur

    I think it would be interesting to see you take on this niche. Particularly since Penguin2.0 was just rolled out and Google has made it absolutely no secret they are favoring big brands in most of their searches.

    I think “best minivan” would be one of those keywords that may feel the affect of this, as you eluded to in your post by citing the big names already ranking in the top 10.

    Either way, I’m following and can’t wait to see what you do. Best of luck!

  • Nate

    DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!!! Hahaha…. Seriously though, if there’s a guy out there that has the know how and resources, it’s you Pat.
    Or if you like, I’ll go all Biff on you and ask if you’re “chicken” or “yellah”? Come on Eastwood! Pull the trigger!

  • Heather

    Your gut is telling you something and I think you are right to pursue this.

    The best things in life rarely go by numbers alone, and it sounds like you might have the x-factor that makes a good venture great.

  • Al Holtz

    Pat–great idea to go after something that will challenge you. I like your thinking on this–not something you eat, sleep, and breathe, but when asked, you can go on talking about it for a while. I bet all of us have topic like that. This approach has me thinking of a few more sites I’d like to start.

    Good luck–can’t wait to see how things progress.

  • Mark Henry

    I don’t know anything about starting a website like this (yet), but I love the idea. I’m from Texas, and my family just finished a tour of the 13 original colonies, where we rented a mini-van for the trip. We had no idea how great mini-vans were until this trip, and now we don’t want to return it. If you do it, I’ll be watching and learning, if you don’t I might just do it myself!

  • Zac Higgins

    I think you should go for it Pat, all-in brother. I’m trying out the classic car niche, just to see if I can make any money at all online. Thanks to you for putting the thought in my brain. I came up with a site dedicated to restoring classic cars, my Dad’s 1956 Buick, to be exact. #fathersday Who knows how this will work, but who cares! It will be fun, and educational. One thing I have found, is that the keyword research can give you some numbers to think about, but no matter what the niche is, there are plenty of people interested in it online. Good luck man.

  • Alex

    I can see that a site which can provide answers for a lot of specific search requests can compete against bigger competitors. I think Pat saw that with his security guard training site where he got a lot of traffic from longer search queries. But that requires a lot of content to put out there.
    I can see also that a site can be successful even without much search traffic if that ‘little’ search traffic is generated from people who are willing to spend. However I never wanted to buy a Mini Van, but I rent them from time to time. And that is when I search for Mini Vans. Simply to see what is available to rent.
    I may think too much on the small side, but since there are not even much accessories sales to make, I personally wouldn’t go for it.

  • Jack

    When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it’s best to let him run.

    • Patricia Lim

      Sometimes big things come from small ideas.

    • Jeff

      Riches are in the niches!

  • Louise Coe

    Hi Pat,

    What an interesting idea. Not the normal type of niche site, as not easily monetised using things like Amazon and other such sets.

    Your point about long-tail keywords I totally agree with. I have a site that is ranking for over 5000 search terms, most of which I have not deliberately targeted. It is amazing to see, and also helps creating content around these search terms.
    So much is talked about Keyword Research, but it is really just a base the foundation of the site. I think it is more important to chose a keyword (or topic) based on what you can create content on. These days the 2 / 5 page mini sites are not good. The more pages of content a site has the better, although must be quality.

    My vote is go for it, it will be interesting to see how you plan the back-linking strategy and getting the word out. As well as approaching dealerships for advertisers. You could do another US map and have local ones per state. Even a dealership review site, for people to add comments. Like TripAdvisor, but for minivans.
    Good Luck and I look forward to reading the posts

  • Jae

    I actually love the idea of you tackling this niche and seeing what you could pull off. 1) because for those of us trying into this business model it would highlight that we can even make a go of something even if we chose incorrectly our keywords to target. 2) if it goes wrong then it shows us how and why so as to avoid those same mistakes.

    Happy hunting.


    P.S. choose me for the mastermind group. thanks!

  • http://comingsoon! Hannelore

    Go for it, Pat — your enthusiasm and energy will carry the day :)

  • Ed

    Although not everything, having an interest in a subject is important. I’ve built more than one site that turned into a job eventually because I started out with little interest in the subject – eyeing only the financial aspect of the equation.

    I’d say go with your gut, and it seems to be rumbling towards mini-vans.

    Looking forward to your further developments!

  • Rob

    I would say definitely go for it. You can tell by the way that you write you’ve got lots of content to write about it and can bring something different to the table.

    Video tours of the interior for prospective buyers would also be great for them to see. If you had a lot of them then they could have a virtual tour without having to go to the shop.

    Good luck,

  • Valerie

    Hi Pat,

    Lovin’ the NSD 1.0 & 2.0! Thanks for sharing & teaching!

    For “best minivans”, you said you could beat the #1 site that’s in an article directory (on – could you or someone here please tell me if I could beat I found a good keyword a few months ago but I just checked again and now the top 3 results are all from, number 4 is from and number 6 is from Those sites have high Page Authority (high 40’s), domain authority (92-100) and good site age, but their other numbers look easy to beat. Are they hard or easy to beat? Anyone? Anyone? Buehller?

    Related to that, if Wiki How sites are easy to beat, and articles are easy to beat, why is Google ranking them at #1 at all? Is it possible that Google is giving certain sites preferential treatment that makes competing useless?

  • Rodrigo Stockebrand

    Go for it dude! Also, big opportunity to piggy back on Google’s QDF algorithm with content on 2014 models;)

  • Curt

    I say go for it!! That will make the challenge even more interesting. It will help us get confidence by learning the process needed to rank a niche site it what appears to be a difficult niche. Lets face it, we all probably have passion for more mainstream topics and niches but are afraid to compete against what we feel are unbeatable odds, you can help us see the light!

  • charlie duvall

    Go for it your enthusiasm is really good..Gud luck

  • Fred Williams

    I say let it rip Pat! Plain and simple as that. :)

  • Sean

    Definitely go for it. It will be good if you struggle a little because the strategies you employ then may be even more useful to us than the original ones.

    I will be following this intently for use with my own site.

    Good Luck!

  • Paul

    I say “go for it Pat!” I started an authority site in a tough niche (a passion) and its got me scratching my head. I would be grateful to see how you tackle those problems.

  • Patrick

    Go For It !

    And if you get stuck on anything just ask a question on this blog good chance that some reader has an answer your looking for.

  • Bob B

    I think you should go for it ! It would be great to see if a site built at the lower end of the spectrum could work, that would open the door to many more opportunities.

  • Gjivan

    Well, Patt your blog posts are always informative and to the point. I have been a silent reader of your blog for a long time and this is probably the first comment i am publishing in your blog.
    Firstly, Thank you much more for publishing the premium articles to help bloggers and curators like us to improve and develop our blogging skills so as to be a pro-blogger and live full time.
    I have gone through your niche site video tutorial where you taught the keywords research process easily with free and paid tools. I am also a user of Market Samurai but instead of targeting a specific niche, i cover variety of niches and topics. And Matt Cuts has also mentioned that spam sites, mini sites and prolly most of of the niche sites (having specific targeted keywords and few pages) will be discouraged and de-indexed with frequent updates as we can experience Panda, Penguin and Post Penguin is on its way. So, can i use your method of keywords research via free and paid tools (market Samurai) to use in my huge blog instead of creating a exact match domain site??

  • Kevin

    Nice Artikel Pat,

    I read here very happy with

  • Nick Kizirnis

    Hi Pat,
    A close friend of mine has been selling and managing dealerships for years. He found me the minivan of my dreams – we were looking for an off-lease Honda which looked it would be a great value, sweet price point, etc. He found it at an auction several states away and scored me a great deal. But I had to use several sites and reports to sort out what I wanted and discover that opportunity.

    During the rough times they’ve found that web listings have generated A LOT of leads, so I think your point #5 is the big opportunity here, as I personally think the site that my friend has been using is pretty weak and you really have to go to several places to get your research done.

    An extra point, I hear from him that their are some really interesting personalities that come in, some armed with research and some of it completely misguided. People show up at weird times of the day (like right at closing) and their sales teams burn up a lot of time working with the people that come in and find it challenging to follow up on qualified – or what they think are qualified – leads from the web.

    Just wanted to share as I’ve wanted to help him set up a better lead generation site but my research hasn’t turned up any big opportunities … so if best minivan isn’t your final choice, you might still want to consider putting it in the incubator as a separate project.

    OK, that’s all for now. :)

  • kendrick

    really good share go for it…Gud effort…..

  • Steve

    I say go for it….it’s a risk but I think we can all learn from it. The fact that the traffic and comp are questions means we can learn from the experience.

  • Javid Hussain

    I’m really excited to see you break the general rule around niches and experimenting for a great beginning.

  • Jeremy Jameson

    I like this idea! The main keyword I’m thinking of targeting isn’t very impressive in searches per month either but there’s also not bad competition for it. However, it’s certainly involved in a niche where there’s significant money and commerce. Seeing creative ways of driving more traffic to the niche site as you would do in pursuing minivans as a niche would certainly be helpful to my own pursuit as well.

    I also like the idea of challenging yourself to do more with less. This will indeed be a stronger testament to the power of creating quality websites for profitability than would be choosing an easy target. Most “easy” targets aren’t really all that easy anyway; they’re either high on searches but also high on competition or low on searches and low on competition – neither being an obviously attractive opportunity. This choice being an imperfect but workable one would be a greater inspiration to those of us who are participating in NSD 2.0, following along and striving to make the most of our imperfect niches as well.

    In summary, I say go with it! :)

  • Christopher

    Can’t wait to see how you get your website ranked mate!

  • Stefan

    Hey Pat,

    will it hurt your ranking if you are trying to combine 2-3 keyword phrases in your domain name? Have you ran across such thing? For example if you want to combine best mini van and best motorbike. Of course you will have content on both, but I am wondering if your domain becomes, would that hurt your chances of growth for each keyword?

    Interested to see what you have to say.

  • Lou Pemberton

    Hey Pat,

    Just made the decision to jump on NSD2!

    I haven’t started Keyword Research yet, but I have a few ideas. I’m also considering documenting my own progress on my blog, so yeah, let’s bring it!

    Also, Stefan; in my experience, it is better to choose a domain you can brand these days, and then rank pages for the two keywords you mentioned….Something like Minivan Mayhem could be the brand, but then have a page titled Best Minivan and another Best Motorbike and rank them separately…that’s just the way I do things, though it seems to work as long as you have all your META tags in place and H1’s and Image properties set right.

    Cheers, and good luck all! Lou :)

  • Jeremy

    It is always great to notice someone took a fresh website from new to authority. This is a learn MOMENT to study every single piece of it. Thanks Pat! I’m inspired to find you as one of the top passive income builder.


  • John-Paul the smallstarter

    I have found, from my short but interesting experience, that passion is the fuel that drives and inspires the early days of building a website.

    It’s so easy to drop the project when the profits you expected aren’t coming.

    I’ll go with passion any day. I consider it the best form of insurance any blogger could ever dream of.

    Let’s go with the minivans!


  • David

    Nope, don’t do it. 2 main reasons:

    1. Consumer Reports gathers tons of customer reviews and conducts their own testing on the vehicles. You aren’t going to do that, you can’t match that research and raw information so the chances are your site isn’t going to improve the internet and any one coming to you is going to be worse off than if they went to Consumer Reports.

    2. There are new minivans from every manufacturer every year, with a ton of different configurations and options. I’m sure you could keep up but no one could consider that ‘passive’

    Don’t let the ‘could’ distract you from the ‘should’, best of luck!


  • Mantra


    You are not a newbie in this game anymore. Of course you should go with this niche. You can make it and so can we too (hopefully).

  • Rus

    Hey Pat,

    David has some good points, however wrt #2, new minivans coming out every year, that’s a ton of new and exciting content with it’s own rich set of keywords for you, it could be a good challenge! Either way, good luck.

    I’ve found not one but two keywords ,so I’m going to push the boat out and try and build two sites at the same time during this duel and I’ll be blogging about it all the way!


  • darren

    I’d say pass. Don’t let your personal interest get tied up in your business interest. I guess the important questions to answer before jumping in further would be:

    Is there a clear & good path to monetization that you would consider passive? That’s not a high purchase keyword if you start thinking mind map. They are very much in the research phase, not the buy phase (minivan dealer or security guard training new york).

    Does the long tail (of search or of referral partners) that you’ve identified have specific intent that you can capture and turn into dollars?

    Can you really help people (thus links, eyeballs, money) find the best minivan? Are there that many choices that this is a real problem?

    My gut to all that says I’d pass unless it’s purely a hobby kind of site rather than a niche site expecting to make good cash. I’m right in the target market too, so I can understand the initial desire.

  • Chuck

    I’m actually working on my first niche website based on NSD1.0 and could really use some help! I’ve read through everything here, got Market Samurai and quickly got stuck researching keywords. The catch is you need an Adword account for MS to work, and you need a web address for Adword to work. Catch-22! I opened an InfoBarrel account and got published because it said you could use that address to get Adsense (and Adword) but apparently that was old info as they no longer take URL’s with / in them. ( Can anyone help me with this? Do I really need to just start a website, any website, in order to get MS working?
    Thanks to Pat and everyone for all the info, it really helps, but it is just amazing how much there is to learn when starting from zero like I am!

    • Anastasia

      why would you need any of that??? All you need is a gmail adress that you use to register an adword account. You don’t need to run any ads to use any of the tools provided in your adword account.

    • Shad Arnott

      I just opened a blog and put one post in, AdWords let me sign up with that, I just signed up today. The part I didn’t like is that adwords requires a credit card to sign up, but I just set my daily ad budget at 0.05 so that if they DID end up charging me (not likely) it would only amount to $1.50 a month.

  • Chuck

    Sorry for the distraction, but I found the right page and now have my account set up and MS working.

    Back on topic, I think the real problem will be the one already noted, the work involved in keeping up with all the new models. It seems easy now because you’ve been studying and driving, but putting all that time in on an ongoing basis? Yikes!

  • Anastasia

    I am itching to get goining (keyword selected, content being produced) but really waiting to fond out how to build links post-penguin – When will we get goining?:-)

  • Lyricsguru

    Well, I think you should give it a try, 3K search is not bad at all.

  • Kyle @ Whales and Business

    I just love how excited you are!

    I use LongTail Pro and I think the KC # is important, but only a start. [Best Minivan] has top ten results with low PR which are relative to their juice links which I think is a good sign.

    For me, I like things to be simple and I am not sure if the monetization would be simple for this. However, the extra complexity could have a substantial return. Can’t wait to see what you do!

  • Andrew

    So I’ve narrowed down my niche and it’s a physical product. The top 10 pages don’t look very competitive, low PR, low backlinks and juice links, etc but they are all major retailers. How hard is it to rank over these major retailers with good domain authority but very little links coming into the actual page I’d be competing against. Thanks for any insight!

  • Josh

    Pat, I REALY Dig the show! And these financial updates motivate me. I have a question,

  • Bedding

    Great work in keywords.

  • Comforters

    Marvelous post and effort.

  • Twin XL Comforter

    It is more than an excellent post.

  • Matty Boom!

    No way, don’t do it. Not because of the low search volume, or the competition, but because they come out with new minivans every year. In 1 year your site will be old, in 5 years it will be ancient. So even if you can do it and rank #1, unless you want to keep up with all that content….. Nothing passive about this at all.

    • Tobias Angus

      Hey Matt, would love to share improvements about blogging and learn from each other esp about wordpress

  • David John

    So I’ve narrowed down my niche and it’s a physical product. The top 10
    pages don’t look very competitive, low PR, low backlinks and juice
    links, etc but they are all major retailers. How hard is it to rank over
    these major retailers with good domain authority but very little links
    coming into the actual page I’d be competing against. Thanks for any