There are two important factors to take into account when we talk about niche size – level of competition and audience size. Some competition is good because that’s an indicator that there’s money to be made. And you need a healthy sized audience to monetize your content. It’s as simple as that.
You will rarely, if ever, find a perfect situation where a niche has a large audience ready to spend and no one catering to this audience. It just doesn’t happen often.
Don’t get me wrong, these things do happen on occasion. Some people do end up being “in the right place at the right time” when a new trend is born, for example.
But chasing this unicorn will make you waste a lot of time and delay the important things like creating content.
You will end up in a vicious cycle of hopping from niche to niche and not doing anything of substance.
Follow your gut feeling and decide on a general niche that you want to be in and let the research guide you from there.
For example, let’s say you’re passionate about makeup and you love the idea of creating content in this niche.
Obviously, this puts you on a collision course with thousands of content creators in the makeup niche. Going more specific than simply “makeup” is strongly advisable.
At this point, you may want to break down the “makeup” niche into smaller sub-niches based on a criteria.
Let’s say you decided this criteria to be the skin tones.
You’ll probably run into The Fitzpatrick Skin Type Test. This test breaks down skin types by how the skin reacts to sun exposure into 6 basic categories.
From here, you could start creating makeup content around a single skin type. Let’s say you went with Type II, which is “fair skin.”
Even still, this sub-niche feels too broad. It could be narrowed down to something like “office makeup for fair skin type.”
Or maybe the “office makeup” itself could be your niche. Especially if your “day job” is an office type gig. You may already have plenty to say about “office makeup” and related topics.
As you can see, the options are limitless. This may cripple some people and send them into an endless spiral of research.
My advice would be to put everything down on paper and not spend more than a day or two deciding what niche you want to go with.
After that, stick with your decision and start creating content.
What if there’s already a site with the same type of content you want to create?
Don’t be deathly afraid of some competition. Have the confidence that you will beat your competition and make this your goal and motivation.
Think of it this way, how many sci-fi shows are there on TV? The answer is probably too many to count.
Point being, they’re all slightly different from one another and the market is big enough for most of them.
Especially if they’re good.
And you should definitely aim to put out good quality content.
Furthermore, the presence of some competition tells you that there’s money to be made in this specific niche. Roll up your sleeves and start producing content.
You will end up using hundreds if not thousands of keywords anyway. The risk of “your sci-fi show” being exactly the same as someone else’s are almost non-existent.
Your audience WILL find you and you WILL carve out a place within the niche for yourself if the content is good and you don’t give up.
How to research niches using Google search engine?
Open Google and start putting in keywords relevant to your niche of choice.
Pinpoint 30 keywords with low search results quality. This means that the competition for said keywords is weak and you have an opportunity to rank high in the search results.
(more on low-quality vs. high-quality Google search results later on in this article)
You will now have 30 keywords to base your content around since each keyword could be a topic for an article.
Make sure all the keywords belong to a single niche and aren’t all over the place.
In the beginning, you will not be competing for the big keywords that bring in lots of traffic. There is no point in doing so because you wouldn’t be able to rank high for such keywords anyway.
However, you will start gradually building your website authority in Google’s eyes.
With 30 published articles, your website is going to have some meat on it.
At this point, you can go a step higher and start competing for the slightly “bigger” keywords.
Rinse and repeat.
The goal is to crush your competition with content quality and quantity at every step.
Remember, it can sometimes take years before your site builds up enough authority and Google starts ranking it above the “big boys” in your niche.
What makes all this worth it is that the growth is usually exponential when that happens. Your revenue can ten-fold in a short period of time.
In other words, you could be making $200 to $300 per month after two years, which could turn into $2000 to $3000 at the two and a half year mark.
It’s pretty spectacular when that happens.
What are the signs of low-quality Google search results?
Generally speaking, Google will always try to provide you with the best possible search result for your query.
If Google returns low-quality results for a keyword you typed in, it means there’s an opportunity for your content to rank high in search results even if you have a newer website.
Here are several signs that the competition for a keyword you typed in is weak:
● Search results are forum threads – while forums are often fantastic medium for sharing information on the internet, Google doesn’t typically push them to the first page of search results unless there are no blog articles on the same topic.
● Search results are similar to, but not exactly what you asked for – when there are exact matches to your query, Google will try to be as helpful as possible and offer you the “next best thing.” This is a clear indicator that there’s an opening and the site that fills it will get the traffic.
● Old and outdated articles – Google likes newer content over the older content. The idea behind this preference is that content can and does get outdated in certain situations. If you see articles that are written in, for example, 2011 on the first page, this means that there’s room for newer content on this keyword.
● Shorter articles (under 1,000 words) showing up on the first page – It’s no secret that Google likes longer form articles. When you see really short articles show up high in the search results, this means you can probably crush your competition with a killer long-form article that offers a lot more value on this particular keyword.
● Articles from website that aren’t a big authority in the niche – if you see search results from websites you’ve never heard of, or websites that look and seem “spammy,” odds are they’re only showing up because there’s nothing better that Google can offer.
Use your judgment and try to size up your competition on a couple of dozen relevant keywords.
That should be a big enough sample for you to get a clearer picture of your prospective niche.
What are the signs of high-quality Google search results?
It’s much easier to judge if you’re kind of “in over your head” with a niche.
If you type into Google something like “makeup tips” you will get results from one high authority site after another.
Maybelline, Cosmopolitan, Stylecraze, and The Trend Spotter, to name just a few of the top results, all made articles on this keyword.
There’s a lot of traffic around this keyword and, naturally, everybody wants a piece of that pie.
For a single blogger on a fresh blog site, it would be nearly impossible to rank on the first page of the Google search results for “makeup tips.”
What do you do? You simply niche down and get more specific with longer keywords. And you keep doing this until you find keywords with low-quality search results.
Be mindful of not going overboard when niching down. There still has to be an audience for the topics you want to cover.
What are good signs that there is search volume behind a keyword?
I learned about this simple rule of thumb from Jim and Ricky of incomeschool.com.
Basically, if you start typing your keyword phrase into Google and the Autofill functionality kicks in and finishes the keyword for you, it’s a safe bet that other people are searching for this exact keyword as well.
Jim and Ricky recommend skipping the keywords and topics that Google doesn’t recognize and autofills for you.
This rule of thumb makes a lot of sense because Google autofills keywords and questions that have certain amount of search volume behind them.
However, it’s called a “rule of thumb” for a reason. It’s not set in stone. Always try to do more research and use common sense.
Sometimes, you just have to trust your gut feeling even if you don’t have any “evidence” that a certain keyword has decent search volume behind it.
Don’t end up in endless loops of researching. At some point, you just have to go with your best guess and start creating content.
Where do you get more keyword ideas from?
There are literally hundreds and sometimes even thousands of keywords in any given niche.
You can probably think of a few off the top of your head, but then you start drawing blanks. Don’t worry, that’s just the way human brain works.
What you can do is type in your main keyword and then simply follow this up with letters of alphabet and see what Google Autofill feature suggests.
This method is very thorough and you can be sure you are getting relevant suggestions that are actually used by people.
For example, if you type in “makeup tips for a” you will see something like this:
As you can see, all of a sudden, your keyword opens up into more specific keywords. Do this for the entire alphabet and you will end up with tons of relevant keyword ideas.
Another thing you can do is go to answerthepublic.com.
Answer The Public is a query data visualization tool that maps the keyword suggestions and displays them in a neat way.
If you type in a keyword, the tool will pull suggestions from Google and Bing and display them in four categories: questions, prepositions, comparisons, and alphabeticals.
The basic functionality of this tool is free, with some advanced functionality locked behind a pay wall.
No worries, though. All you need for this is the free stuff.
How to research niches using YouTube search engine?
For some, YouTube is a website where they get their daily dose of cat videos.
Others use YouTube as a powerful search engine that it is. In fact, YouTube is the second most-used search engine in the world. Second only to Google.
YouTube and Google work very similarly, which is no surprise since Google actually owns YouTube. Well, to be more precise, they’re both owned by Alphabet, their parent company.
You can use YouTube to research your niche the same way you would use Google. Just start putting in relevant keywords and see what comes up.
Some of the questions you should be asking when interpreting the results are:
How well do the videos match the keyword?
– low-quality – videos kind of match the keyword, but not exactly
– high-quality – videos perfectly match the keyword
How many videos that match the keyword perfectly are there?
– low-quality – not more than 2-3
– high-quality – 10 or more
Are the videos younger or older than a year?
– low-quality – older than a year
– high-quality – younger than a year
– caveat – older videos that are still getting views and likes are considered very relevant. Look at the comments section and see how recent the comments are. Many recent comments generally means the video is still getting a lot of new views.
How many views do they have?
– low-quality – not more than 3 videos with 50,000 views or more
– high-quality – many videos with hundreds of thousands or millions of views
Is their like to dislike ration good?
– low-quality – sub-80% like ratio
– high-quality – above 80% like ratio
Are they coming from authoritative channels with big followings?
– low-quality – channels smaller than 10,000 followers
– high-quality – channels bigger than 10,000 followers
The lower the search results quality, the weaker the competition is.
Word of caution: these are simply guidelines and not rules to live or die by.
Repeating this process enough times will help you get a clearer picture of how big or small your niche is on YouTube.
It will also help you pinpoint the opportunities for higher search rankings.
Foreign language niche sites
Be cautious if you are looking to start creating content in a language other than English. Especially if that language is not one of the top 30 languages by number of speakers.
Your audience will be smaller and you will inherently have a tougher time monetizing your content.
However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Just be extra diligent in the research stage.
If you conclude that the audience is still big enough and there are suitable affiliate programs available to you, go for it.
On the flip side, your competition should be weaker too.
By putting to work everything you learned and creating top notch content, you will crush your competition more easily.
This is all relative, of course.
For example, the evergreen niches (health, wealth, and relationships) have competition in any language and any market.
They also have big audiences in any language and any market.
Again, do the research and use common sense.
Growing a successful affiliate marketing business is a long and arduous journey.
It’s not uncommon for this to take multiple years if you desire truly lifestyle changes.
You will be spending a lot of time warming up that chair and creating content.
This is why choosing a niche is an important step.
It’s even more important to choose a niche you are at least interested in.
Otherwise, your heart won’t be in it and you risk burning out quickly.
Luckily, doing some research can help you size up both your competition and your audience.
Having some competition is A-OK. This only means there’s money to be made in your niche.
If you see too much competition from huge authority sites, consider niching down until you start getting lower quality Google search results for your keywords of choice.
Keep in mind that you still need a healthy audience size so you can’t niche down too much.
There’s no point in niching down so much that you end up having no competition, if it means having no audience either.
A better mindset to have is accepting the fact that you’ll have some competition with a goal of crushing that competition by producing better quality content and more of it.