Find Niche Keywords That Pay

One of the most fundamental aspects of SEO is being able to pick keywords that are going to give you a return on investment. Niche keywords are those with a high search volume but low competition, you can rank for these very quickly, however first you have to be sure that you are going to make a return.

Before we get into the meat of this post I want to clarify that the techniques I am going to discuss are no secret and many internet marketers use them to find niche keywords, I obviously add my own tweaks to the process as experience tells me certain figures and measurements work better.

Also let me make it clear this process is far too time consuming for optimising posts and other deep pages, this research is to use when you start a new site based around a niche topic for the sole purpose of converting the traffic.

There are two things I want to make clear in this post;

A – How to find niche keywords

B – How you can tell if a particular keyword is going to be profitable

First thing I need to stress is that if you’re thinking about targeting the ‘make money online’ sphere, forget it. I consider myself an accomplished SEO and would not even consider starting down that path for two reasons; 1) competition is fierce 2) even though I could beat them 🙂 I think my energy is spent better elsewhere and so is yours

Some Guiding Principles

We have already established that niche keywords are those with traffic but little competition, however how on earth do we know if they will be profitable. The truth is you never actually do however there are a few things we can do to narrow down the process.

First of all any niche keywords need to be “buying keywords”, keywords that searches input in order to buy a particular product to buy. Whether you are monetising with adsense, affiliate links or actual products this principle is fundamental, if the visitor hasn’t come by way of a buying keyword they are not going to click or purchase.

So it makes sense to me, to start our search for niche keywords on sites like Ebay or the mighty Amazon, here you will find hundreds of products to target, scroll through some and then let’s move to the next step.

Using The Google Keyword Tool

Yes it’s my favourite, the good old Google Keyword Tool and we are going to use it to work out which keywords are going to give us a good profit.

Here’s a quick example on the keyword ‘bracelets’, I don’t target this niche nor do I intend to, this is simply an example.

find niche keywords

There are a couple of things you will notice from the picture and I want you to set up your keyword list in the same way.

1) Change the Match Type to Exact – This shows the amount of searches for the exact keyword on Google

2) Lose every column except the CPC price and the monthly global search

3) Order your list by the largest to the smallest search volume

4) Once this is in order download the keywords using the .csv (for excel) link

You should have a list of keywords that looks like this (You can order the columns as you wish)

niche keywords

Now what we need to do is estimate the income column.

Estimating Keyword Income

I must warn you at this point, we need to make a number of guesses and use a little math to figure out how much ranking for a particular keyword could be worth.

The only way we can work out potential income is by taking the Cost per Click into account and presume were trying to make money from adsense on our sites, this is not accurate but in my experience it is the ‘most’ accurate way to understand keyword potential.

So to do the Maths we do the following;

1) Multiply the Estimated Avg CPC by .25 – We are presuming that Google pays around 25% of the cost per click to the adsense publisher

2) Then multiply this amount by the monthly search volume

Now even if we get a no.1 ranking we are not going to take all the traffic and my experience you will only see about 35% of the traffic figure, so….

3) We multiply the amount by .35

4) Finally we multiply the running figure by .04 (This is presuming we can generate a 4% click through rate and most adsense optimised sites will exceed this percentage)

On your spreadsheet the sum will look like this;

profitable keywords

Once we tap enter it will give us a monthly income figure for the first line like so;

niche profits

That’s right people a number one ranking for the keywords bracelets could be worth about £4782.40 in adsense income or $7651.84. If you doubt that much money can be actually made ask yourself first, have you ever had a number 1 ranking in Google? For a product related keyword??

Of course the figures are not pin point accurate but I believe they give you a great idea about how profitable a niche is, this is how internet and affiliate marketers make money

Now of course you might not want to spend the next two years of your life attempting to rank for bracelets, however there are lots more keywords to go at with less competition.

niche keywords

Just look at some of the other keywords you could pursue and be ranking for in the next 6 months given the right SEO strategy.

I have not competitively analysed these keywords so I do not know what kind of competition they have, if you like the look of these keywords you will have to check out the top five on Google, below I’ll give you some guiding principles

Understanding the Competition

This is the main part people tend to get mixed up.

If you want to target a heavy niche then forget this part and just be prepared to work at it for a few years for a big return.

If you want to target lots of small niches do the following;

1) Search the chosen keyword on Google

2) Check the PageRank of the top 5 sites if any are a PageRank 4 or above move on, unless they do not use the ‘exact keyword’ in the title tag

3) Check the link popularity using yahoo links count (download the SEObook plugin SEO for Firefox) Any pages with ‘page’ link popularity of over 1000 then move on, unless the keyword is not in the title tag

What we are aiming to do here is target niches that we can rank for very quickly and start earning within 4 months, hopefully ranking in the top 5 after 6 months SEO work.

So there you have it!!!!

If you want to create a profitable niche you must first make sure the keywords are capable of pulling in the money.

Disclaimer – I have to say at this point that the above is not accurate and click value may differ depending on multiple factors, this is a system I and many other internet marketers recommend

I can’t finish this post without giving credit to the internet marketers that I know use this system.

Court and Mark at the Keyword Academy teach pretty much the same methods for locating profitable niches, they have a membership site which goes into a ton more detail, so if you are interested in this form of SEO you should check it out.

The methods I use, even though are very similar to others, differ slightly, as you do this more and more you will find out what works and what doesn’t. It can be a painful process but you make fewer mistakes the more you do it.

This is not a ‘make money online’ site

I am mindful that this sort of posts ventures into the ‘online money’ realm, I am mindful that I want SEO wizz to remain an SEO blog, however there is no getting away from the fact SEO is closely related with generating an income online. The make money arena is not for everyone, still even if you own a different sort of site this is great method of checking the potential of the keywords you are targeting.

Anyway hope everyone got something from it.


is the CEO of Branded3 a Search Marketing Agency in the UK. Tim has over a decade of experience in Search and regularly speaks at key events and conferences.

13 thoughts on “Find Niche Keywords That Pay

  1. Hi Tim..I just started a new site and I am using this method to find all of the main keywords for every post.

    I am also using related keywords that have much less competition in each post. You talked about this some time ago when you posted about getting a little bit of traffic right away from keywords that don’t have so much traffic and also not so much competition.

    My new site is only 5 weeks old so I can’t really give an accurate opinion about how well this strategy is going to work. I do believe that it makes sense to pick keywords the way you described.

    I will be starting a major backlinking campaign in about 2 or 3 weeks. Then when I start moving up in the SERPs and hopefully achieving number 1 on Google for some terms I will have a better picture if all of this is going to work. Like I said…I’m pretty confident that it will.

    Kinda strange only seeing you post once a week now. But I do understand why you are doing it this way.

  2. Hi Pchef,

    Thanks for the input, a lot of people do use these methods or similar ones to it, and trust me 80% of the time you hit a winner. Nothing is guaranteed and as far as internet marketing is concerned the percentages here are good. I have around 11 sites I ran this kind of research on, some under achieve income potential but others over achieve. For example I have one site that was going to make about £80 a month in actual fact the figures are closer to £200, swings and roundabouts.

    The weekly posting is all I can do at the minute anyway, I would like to post more but I am juggling so many other things. As I said my feed stats are still growning and traffic stats are at an all timie high, so I can’t complain. I am considering about having guest bloggers, however I am extremely picky about what I will post 🙂 We’ll see how 2010 pans out.

    Thanks for dropping in.

  3. I have been looking over keywords like you have mentioned in a few articles and I think I found a few good ones. I have a few questions regarding a keyword I found.

    First, I have about 1,200,000 sites on Google for the keyword, but all but one of them on the first page are not targeted to that keyword in the visible tags. The main reason for this, is that the words are slightly out of order for what makes sense. If I created a page running with this slight misorder of words, is overcoming 1,200,000 small enough to realistically overcome to get in the top 10? (the top ranking for the search is a PR of 3 and external links is 65)

    I’m just having a lot of trouble understanding what is a surmountable amount of results on google (given some reasonable PR and external links)

  4. Hi Kevin,

    To be honest with you I would forget about the number of results for the purposes of putting a niche site together. The results mean there are that many sites that kind of relate to that keyword. Remember Google works with words and the meaning of words does not come into play in the algorithm as yet.

    Focus on them top five results, if all are PR3 or below with 500 or less page links, then you have yourslef a keyword that you can rank highly with between 2 and 4 months. If you have any doubts head over to the seo chat Keyword Difficulty Tool, generally niche keywords come out below 50% or just a bove.

    Thanks for the comment and all the best for the new year.

  5. Tim,

    I think if more people would read a post like this then less people will complain about not knowing how to find niche keywords.

    Btw, would you accept guest post from me? I will write an extremely good SEO post for you.

    Kai Lo

  6. Hi Kai,

    Thanks for your comment I appreciate it.

    If you can provide me with a quality SEO/SEM or internet marketing post I would be happy to check it out. I have a number of requests every week from people wanting to guest blog but the posts they send are not even worthy of ezine articles, however I know you know your stuff so email when you have it ready and I give you an email to pass it over with.

  7. Hi Tim,

    Must admit that I’ve just started to read your blog recently, in my favourites now and very enjoyable so far, so thanks for all of the tips and advice, this is a Great Post and I’ve started to employ the techniques mentioned…

    Obviously this post was written before the new keyword tool was launched and the old one dumped by Google.

    But as I use a UK TLD I’m interested as to why you have specified your metric to be calculated from Global monthly searched rather than local?

    Cheers and keep up the good work!


  8. Hi Paul,

    This post is a little dated now, in the case of global search and why I used it, when you rank a website for a broad term you usually pick up a lot of the long tail or associated traffic from having authority on that keyword. So picking the right keyword cannot simply be based on the count in Google and you have to appreciate the broader view.

    Another reason I used this figure is due to the fact most of my readers at the time were US based and therefore it was more relevant.

    Anyway I appreciate your comments and I’ll try and keep the tips coming through 🙂

  9. Hi Tim
    I am a regular reader of your blog, and had posted once a few questions about my news blog. I am a novice at SEO 🙂 but simply kept my strategy to follow your tips. I now rank in top 3 for the keyword ‘himachal news’.
    Many thanks for the tips!

    I am starting a travel agent website soon and this is the post, which I am referring again. I have zeroed down on keywords and a big thanks again for pointing to Firefox SEO plugin. It has been a life saver and a big boost to go ahead with my plans.
    One thing, I am not sure how to get back links for the site as it was easier for the news blog by commenting on other blogs as I am regularly publishing content. How do I go for backlinks for the travel site. Can you point me to the right direction.


  10. Hi Nityin,

    Good to hear about yout SEO success!

    In terms of building links to your travel site I would look to syndicate some content, write some articles and approach travel bloggers.

    One thing is for sure there is no shortage of sites out there to get links from in the travel sector.

  11. Hi Tim,

    My name is Eran and I am planning to build a web site in order to create passive income
    I read all of your SEO Tutorials, they really helped me to focus on my task – Thanks a lot

    Two issues are not 100% clear to me
    My first question relates to this article.
    You said:
    “2) Check the PageRank of the top 5 sites if any are a PageRank 4 or above move on, unless they do not use the ‘exact keyword’ in the title tag
    3) Check the link popularity using yahoo links count (download the SEObook plugin SEO for Firefox) Any pages with ‘page’ link popularity of over 1000 then move on, unless the keyword is not in the title tag “

    The thing I don’t fully grasp is the following indication: “, unless they do not use the ‘exact keyword’ in the title tag”
    So does it mean that if I use the exact keywords in my page title, I can be ranked in a higher position (then “stronger” web sites) in Google search despite the fact that my page rank and links popularity are less?

    My second questions refers to the actual content.
    Assuming I found a great topic (lots of searches, high PPC, low competition, etc.), but I’m really not an expert on it.
    Of course I can read hard copy literature and search the web until I become an “expert” on the subject and provide content, but I can never provide content that is already there
    For example, can I create a web site on a niche in Alternative Medicine even though I never had any experience or practice with it?


  12. Hi Eran,

    This is quite an old article but let me explain.

    If you have an exact match domain yes you will definitely have more chance of ranking.

    and , yes you can create a niche on whatever you want, it will take a little research if you’re a complete novice but it’ll be a learning process. Remember Google has no idea of your knowledge level.

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