How to Find Profitable Niche Keywords for Free

So you’re finally ready to get your online business up and running and you’re chomping at the bit to get your first site online.  The first place you need to start is keyword research.  Many people skip this, which happens to be the most crucial part of internet marketing, and ultimately they will fail.  To find out why keyword research is important, read on past the break.

How to Find Niche Keywords that will be Profitable

The first and most important thing to know about getting started with niche sites is that you absolutely must spend the time up front researching to get the right keywords.  What are the right keywords?  Well, they can be just about anything, as long as they meet the following criteria:

  • There must be a market for this niche – this means there must be advertisers willing to pay for traffic (cost per click or CPC as is known in the internet marking space), or there must be sellers in the market for the niche you’re looking to dive into – think affiliates such as Amazon, eBay, etc.
  • Ideally there will be low competition for the keywords – if the level of competition for a particular set of keywords is too high, it can take many months and even years before you’ll even show up on the radar, and typically this means you’ll have given up long before this and moved on

So let’s explore these a little bit closer:

Is there a market for the niche?

So, the first place to start is determining whether there’s actually anyone out there willing to pay for products in the niche, or if there are advertisers willing to pay for traffic in that niche.  The free and easy way to do this is to use the Google Keyword Tool:

Using this tool you can quickly identify whether there is anyone looking for the keywords you’ve selected.  If there are only 100 people looking for a set of keywrods in a given month, then you should probably look elsewhere.  Now, some guidelines when looking for keywords:

  • Make sure you use “exact match” and disable the “broad match”  in the google keyword tool – this gives you a more realistic count of how many searches there are for that particular term over a month’s time
  • Once you’ve plugged in some keywords, I chose “dog collars”, hit the search button and you really want to pay attention to the “Competition” column and the “Global Monthly Searches” column

Keyword Competition in the Google Keyword Tool

This one is important – it’s not competing websites or pages, rather, it’s the number of advertisers competing for the right to purchase those keywords to advertise in google – typically, the higher the competition here, the better.  That means there’s many advertisers trying to pay for that given keyword and the potential for money making MIGHT be good.  You won’t know if there’s really money to be made here until you do some further investigation in Google Adwords.

Monthly Searches pretty much speaks for itself.  This is the approximate number of global (or local if you’re looking at that column) searches for the given set of keywords displayed.  Typically the more the merrier.

How Much Are Advertisers Paying for the Keywords?

The next step is to find out how much money advertisers are paying to display ads in google for your selected keywords.  To do this, you’ll have to sign up for a Google Adwords account.  If you’re serious about doing internet marketing, you need to go ahead and do this.  I won’t cover the steps as they’re fairly straight forward.  Just head over to Google Adwords and sign up for an account:

Once you’ve set up your Google Adwords account, you can find out roughly how much advertisers are paying to advertise for a set of keywords.  Go to the Tools and Analysis tab and enter in your keyword (in [] brackets – the brackets make sure you’re doing the exact match search again).  Put in a max value for the CPC – can be anything, you’re not planning on paying for this at this point.  Then put in a daily budget.  I put in $10 and $100 respectively.  Once I did the search for [dog collars], I see that the average amount I would expect to pay per click is $1.59 and that I can expect to get about 63 clicks a day which would reach my maximum out of pocket of $100 a day of advertising.  Now, I don’t plan on doing this myself.  I’m just showing you how you can freely find out about what you can expect to earn if you were to rank for the keywords [dog collars].  So, at $1.59, I don’t remember the exact rate, but I want to say that the person running Adsense gets about 50% of the CPC.  So, for each click on your site, you’d expect to get about $0.80.  There are a number of studies out there that show how many clicks you can expect to get for a given amount of traffic with well laid out ads for a #1 ranked site in google.

How Much Can I Expect to Earn?

So, let’s break this down with the numbers I got from the Google Keyword Tool and the Adwords Tool for the term [dog collars]:

Global Monthly Searches: 49,500
Google Click Through Rates for Page Placement (Click through rate is the number of times a person is likely to click a website in that position in google) – these numbers were found here:

Postition 1: 42.13%
Position 2:  11.90%
Position 3: 8.50%

So, given that table able here’s the breakdown:

Position 1: 0.4213 * 49,500 = 20,854 clickthroughs
Position 2: 0.1190 * 49,500 = 5,890 clickthroughs
Position 3: 0.0850 * 49,500 = 4,207 clickthroughs

Doing some searching on actual ad clicks seems to yield an average of 1-2% clicks for well placed ads.  So, to be conservative, let’s assume a 1% ad click rate.

Position 1 Ad Clicks: 20,854 * 0.001 = 208.54 ~ 209 clicks
Position 2 Ad Clicks: 5,890 * 0.001 = 58.90 ~ 59 clicks
Position 3 Ad Clicks: 4,207 * 0.001 = 42.07 ~ 42 clicks

Now, if we calculate the estimated earnings for this particular keyword, we’ll come up with what our expected monthly income could be (remember, $1.59 * 50% = $0.80):

Position 1 Monthly Earnings: 209 * $0.80 = $167.20
Position 2 Monthly Earnings 59 * $0.80 = $47.20
Position 3 Monthly Earnings 42 * $0.80 = $33.60

Is there Too Much Competition for the Keywords?

First, make sure you don’t confuse actual keyword competition with the google keyword’s tool competition column.  Remember, the Google keyword tool competition relates to how many advertisers are trying to compete for advertising with those keywords.  In regards to actual competition, you need to find out an approximation of the number of websites vying for that #1 position in Google.  The free way to do this is to load up Mozilla Firefox and get the SEOQuake plugin  The SEO Quake plugin is also available in Google’s Chrome browser as well if that’s your preferred browser.

Once you’ve loaded up SEOQuake, you’re going to head over to Google and type in your search – in the case of my example, it’s [dog collars] (with the brackets []).  Again, the brackets are important because that tells google to do an exact match search.  Once the results load up on the page, you’ll see that the SEO Quake plugin shows a small toolbar above each of the results.  The thing you’re looking for here is the indicator for PR (Page Rank).  This is a calculated number that indicates how popular the page is relative to Google’s search algorithms.  The lower the better if you’re an internet marketer.  The rule of thumb that you’ll see used everywhere is if you add up all 10 of the results on page 1, you’re looking for a number to be lower than 30.  All that’s being said here is that in general you want the average page rank to be 3 or less – a 3 is considered moderate competition, something that can be achieved with time and good internet marketing practices.  Ideally, you’d much prefer to see a number of 0’s, 1’s and 2’s in this list.  One thing to keep in mind that I haven’t see a lot of people talk about is if there are a few of 4’s at the top of the list and the remaining sites are all 0’s and 1’s, it might be worth trying to go after that niche anyways as you might be able to rank in the 3rd or 4th position relatively easily.

Putting it All Together

Just to be clear, you don’t have to do the Adwords portion first and the keyword competition analysis last – personally I would do it in whatever order is the quickest for you.  Just be sure that you do BOTH.  If you skip either one of these essential pieces of research, you’re likely to find yourself in a niche that is either too competitive and will take too long to break into, or you may find that you’ve chosen a niche with minimal earning potential and you’ll give up simply because you’re not making any money for your efforts.

I hope this step by step tutorial has helped.  I will be putting together videos of this whole process in a quick and easy manner to follow.  It will likely be easer to follow a video step by step so you can pause, rewind, etc. at your own pace, but I believe that this post will be an essential guide for filling in the gaps.  Again, this is the way to go about doing all the research for free.  This is a fairly time intensive process but one that can yield great results.  The best time you can spend when trying to create your first niche sites and delving into the world of internet marketing is ensuring that you’ve chosen the proper keywords – if you choose the wrong keywords, you’ve lost before you even started.

In upcoming posts I’m going to walk you through two other tools that you can use to make keyword research much faster and easier.  If you don’t have the money to spend on tools at this time, follow the steps above, get your first sites up and running, and later, after you’ve made some income, you can worry about buying tools to help automate and speed up your research.

Please don’t hesitate to ask questions and leave any feedback you have below.  Best wishes to you all.


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