NSP Update 1: Finding the Right Keyword to Target

By Spencer Haws |

Welcome to the first official update on my public niche site project!  Last week I held a live webinar to kickoff the project and to start researching keywords live in front of everyone. As of today, I have found my keyword that I will be using publicly, but more on that in a minute…

I received a lot of great positive feedback from the webinar, and only one person told me to never talk to them again (really)…so that’s good odds.  Maybe the guy didn’t like my story of me crying in the back of my family suburban.  (Can’t believe I just brought that up again!).

I also shared a picture from my 1st b-day on my webinar (seen above here); that might have upset some people too.

So, I’m going to warn you – if you don’t like free information, just stop reading now.  You might hate me for this stuff! 🙂

How to Brainstorm for Seed Keywords

On the live webinar, I reviewed why building niche sites works well (low competition), and how to find long tail keywords.  Here a few ways that you can brainstorm for SEED keyword ideas:

  • Existing Customers/Blog Readers
  • Forums in your niche
  • Amazon and eBay
  • Look Around You
  • Watch TV
  • Go Shopping
  • Use Google Trends
  • Use Affiliate Networks (Clickbank, CJ, Neverblue, etc)
  • Go to the Library
  • Use Google Instant
  • Try Wikipedia
  • Pick up a Newspaper or Magazine
  • Look at Online Ads
  • Notice other Niche Websites
  • Ask Someone

These are ideas that can help get you thinking about seed keywords, if you can’t come up with anything on your own.  I highly recommend searching around for these base keywords before you really dive into the nuts and bolts of keyword research.

Winning Keyword Criteria

Once you have some seed keywords, you input them into a keyword research tool to generate more.  On the webinar, I used Long Tail Pro to do this, but you can use other tools as well.  Specifically, I was trying to find a keyword that had:

  • 5,000 Exact Match Local (US) Searches per month
  • I did not look at CPC as much
  • If low CPC, I still wanted a niche with products being bought and sold
  • I did look at advertiser competition – higher is better (no specific minimum)

A minimum of 5k searches per month is more than my usual threshold.  Usually I’m happy to find keywords that get 2,500 or so, but for this project I’m hoping to build a site that makes more than $50 to $100 a month.  And I have indeed found a keyword, although its fallen just shy of the 5k threshold.  It actually gets about 4,500 searches per month…so its close!  However, there are a TON of related keywords, so the potential for lots of traffic from related long tail queries is very high.  I like that…

How to Analyze the Competition in Google

I’ve covered how to analyze the competition in Google many times.  You can read about my methods here and here and here.  However, let me give you some highlights.  First, the ONLY way to determine if you can rank in Google is to look at the top 10 sites already ranking in Google!  (This means things like “AllinTitle”, number of SEO competition, and other metrics are not effective ways to pick keywords).  So, look at the top 10 sites in Google.

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Here’s some of the things I look for to know if I can outrank those sites:

  • Keyword relevancy.  Do most of the sites use the exact keyword in the Title of their page?
  • Lots of root domains are bad.
  • I LOVE to see multiple “weak” types of sites ranking: forums, yahoo answers, and other article directories, squidoo pages, other niche sites, or other user generated content
  • Low PageRank (1 or 0 preferred) combined with low juice page links (30 or less preferred)
  • Multiple sites with Low Juice Page Links
  • Low Page Authority (an SEOmoz metric) is always great to see
  • If top 10 has lots of eCommerce stores listed (amazon,, bestbuy, etc), I usually skip – Google tends to rank eCommerce sites better for eCommerce related terms.
  • On the other hand, I like to see information type sites (ehow, squidoo, etc) for information based keywords.   Or lots of Adsense based sites also tells me I might have potential to rank (if other criteria above is met).
  • If using Long Tail Platinum, I like to see a Keyword Competitiveness score of 35 or less (ideally).  Keyword Competitiveness already takes into account many of the factors mentioned above.

Its a lot to think about, but I covered this in-depth with multiple examples in the webinar I just did last week if you want to see how I do it.

My Winning Keyword Is…

You thought this was an update on my Niche Site Project, right?  Well, it most certainly is.  The above steps for brainstorming, generating keywords, and analyzing those keywords is exactly what I have been doing for the past week.  This is a MAJOR step of the project.

I’ve found my keyword, but I’m actually not quite ready to reveal it.  I want to give myself about a week or so head start before I tell everyone what my keyword is.  I know that as soon as I tell everyone my keyword, I will immediately have a half dozen competitors trying to build a site on the exact same thing.  So, rather than shoot myself in the foot before I even start, I want just a little bit of breathing room.  Is that okay?  Pretty please??

However, let me tell you a little bit about the keyword.

  • First, it gets just under 5k searches per month.
  • Second, it has a CPC around $0.70
  • Third it has an Advertiser Competition of approximately 60 out of 100
  • Fourth, its a product review type keyword.  So, its not a product per se like “kettle bell weights” but an info keyword based on a product, like “kettle bell weights review”.  (My real keyword has nothing to with kettle bells)
  • Fifth, I see lots of info sites/ad based sites ranking.  A Squidoo page and a small niche site are ranking.
  • Sixth, its not a SUPER easy keyword to rank for, its going to take some time, but I think it has potential to be a great site.
  • Seventh, its a topic I’m interested in, but not an expert on yet.  I have a little bit of experience with the product, but will be learning a lot more very soon.  I will also enjoy trying out different versions of the product very soon.
  • Eighth, there are TONS of different brands, shapes, sizes, styles and related keyword phrases that could make the site quite large if I ever wanted to do that.
  • Ninth, I’m not revealing anything more about the keyword just yet.
  • Tenth, I can stop the list now because I reached the number 10.

So, how will I monetize this site?  Well, I haven’t decided quite yet.  But certainly using the Amazon Associates program would be one good way to go.  I could also potentially build an email list and monetize with multiple affiliate products; info products might work well in this niche.

Overall, that’s where I am with the Niche Site Project!  I’ve found my keyword, and I’m excited to get started.  I’ve given you lots of information about the keyword, and hope to reveal the actual keyword at the end of next week.  I will also post an in depth video when I do reveal my keyword of how I viewed the competition and exactly why I chose it.

I would love to hear your thoughts or questions that you have below.  Are you starting a niche site as well?  How is your own project coming along?

Blogging & Niche Websites | 116 comments

By Spencer Haws

Spencer Haws is the founder of After getting a degree in Business Finance from BYU (2002) and an MBA from ASU (2007) he worked for 8 years in Business Banking and Finance at both Merril Lynch and Wells Fargo Bank.

While consulting with other small business owners as a business banker, Spencer finally had the desire to start his own business. He successfully built a portfolio of niche sites using SEO and online marketing that allowed him to quit his job in 2011. Since then he's been involved in dozens of online business ventures including: creating and exiting Long Tail Pro, running an Amazon FBA business for over 3 years and selling that business, founding, and co-founding You can learn more about Spencer here.

Want to learn step-by-step how I built my Niche Site Empire up to a full-time income?

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Excited to see the keyword!!! This will be a fun journey to follow you on.

Spencer Haws

Thanks Jon for following along…should be fun for everyone for sure!


Hi Spencer,

This is a question that is a bit ahead of your project so you’ll probably get to this eventually. I also found a great keyword that happens to be a review type of keyword.

My questions is about the content of the website. If you have review type of website, how do you create an interesting content without repeating everything on your website? You can’t just write review after review about the product, so how would you difersify your content and make it interesting?

I hope you understand my question. Thanks.


Great to see the update. Even though you aren’t going to reveal the keyword for a weak or so. Are you still going to update us on the steps you are taking between now and then or are you simply going to provide a summary of what you did when you do the keyword reveal?

The reason why I ask is that I have my keyword and I am ready to play along at home! 🙂


Spencer Haws

Yes, I will be providing all the steps up to this point and beyond. So, even though you won’t see the keyword until next week, I’ll provide all the details on how I came up with it.

Zac Johnson

I can’t say enough good things about Long Tail Pro! I’m using it on a daily basis now.

There is just so many niche keywords out there that have the potential to really be built out into high quality authority sites.

Don’t waste time on the “fly by night” niche sites, focus on creating ones that will stand the test of time.

Spencer Haws

Wow, thanks Zac! May have to add this to the testimonial page :). Also excellent advice on avoiding “fly by night” niches…


Can’t wait to see your keyword. I’ve noticed that many of your smaller niche websites (worm farms, for example) have either expired or don’t have any content on them anymore.

Did the EMD update wipe those sites out, or are the earnings too small to warrant upkeep of them?

Jon Haver

People are strange….”don’t ever talk to me again”….after providing him/her free information!

Amazon Associates has had mixed results for me, the sites where there is a lot of buyers intent it does well but general information sites on a topic it doesn’t do well for me. Looking forward to seeing your niche.

I have no issues with you waiting awhile to reveal the keyword.

Spencer Haws

I know people are funny sometimes. I can help but laugh. We’ll see how Amazon does; still not 100% that’s the way I’ll go, but could be.


Let me guess… It is a sports equipment product!

Great insight on your KW selection criteria…Looking forward for the next update.


Spencer – The suspense is killing me! Great webinar and write up today. Thank you for sharing and looking forward to the keyword unveiling.

COnfused guy

Are you really sure that you would have competition? I am saying this because Pat security guard site is still number 1 and making money. No one has outranked his site, only 1 guy that did, and I don’t know what happened to his site. Pat site can be outrank because the site is just PR 2. I know that PR means nothing but beating PR 5 and above focused sites would be hard.

Spencer Haws

I’m not sure I understand your point. But “security guard training” has several PR 4 sites that use “Security Guard Training” in their title and are still ranked below Pat. (They could be PR 5+ and would still be ranked below him). Why? Take a look at my points above for what to look at when trying to outrank sites. (Hint – Juice page links has something to do with it).


Hi Spencer,
I guess the meaning of COnfused guy was to not worry about the competition from your readers!
For example, Pat Flinns has thousend of readers and nobody outranked him!

Thank you for the great webinar. We are impatient to see the progress of your project.

Derek Smith

I am excited for this project Spencer. An Amazon site is something that I would really like to see you do with this. Thanks for the quick update !


Looking forward to when you reveal the site. I had a question about Amazon but found a post you wrote earleir about it. Good thing I checked before asking.




I was watching your first video of your NSP project and was wondering why you don’t have Keyword Competitiveness filter to show only results with score of 35 or less?


Have you decided what theme you are going to use?

Spencer Haws

Probably the Niche Website Theme, at least to start We’ll see how it goes from there.


This post made me laugh several times! So now let’s all start guessing your niche: Toupees for worm farms? 1080p reading glasses? Refrigerated long (tail) underwear?



I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the knowledge you’re sharing with us. I really enjoyed the webinar, and this follow up post! Very inspiring.

I am working on my first niche site now – and I’m very excited about it. I’m starting out small to get my feet wet with a product review site, and have plans to move on to authority sites after I get some experience and learn the do’s and don’ts of internet marketing.

One quick question for you, when looking for a specific number of exact match seaches per month – do you ever consider broad match or phrase match counts?

I’m looking forward to learning what your winning keyword is!

Thanks again!


Spencer! Good Evening!

I think now is as good a time as any to make my first post on your website – Hello and nice to meet you! (and everyone else here)

Call it fate, luck, chance…destiny!?… I found your website earlier this week and have been doing my best to catch up from the “early beginnings” of day one to where you are today – wow!

What a journey!

I have been hovering around many forums trying to get a grasp on Internet Marketing, or IM (now that I know this isn´t just a synomyn for Instant Messenger!) for some time now and looking for the inspiration and motivation to make it happen for myself – FINALLY… I found

I shoud probably state at this point that even with your years of experience, knowledge, tried and tested methods and success, you do make one big mistake… Niche doesn´t have a T in it haha! My european background has taught me to say “neeesh” – I´ll let it slide though ;o)

I am extremely excited to have found your website during what I consider as such an exciting and crucial turning point of IM. I am willing to accept I may have missed out on a fantastic opportunity to earn a lot of money with micro niche sites in the same way you grew your empire… I loved reading your story and tip my hat to your internet savvy and extremely hard work that got you where you are today.

It seems that the result of the changes made by the owners of Google turning it into a zoo with all these pandas, penguins, and probably crocodiles in the future has impacted a sound business model. It left you needing to rethink the strategy. I am a firm believer though that change doesn´t always have to be bad and that our biggest opportunity is yet to come. I can tell from your posts and the positive energy created on your site that I am not alone with this feeling.

I am here to learn, I don´t for one second doubt my ability to be successful either. I hope to learn from the wealth of information here andwill use it to avoid certain mistakes. My guess is that it will no doubt plunge me into creating my own, more complex and probably during some moments even more obvious mistakes – none the less I want to be part of the journey!

I have been playing around with Long Tail Pro during the last 24 hours and will now dedicate my weekend to finding some keywords I believe can be used to create successful and dominating websites.

By no means am I challenging you, but instead am looking forward to working at a similar pace and using your guidance, knowledge and expertise to make my first project a successful one.

Congratulations on what truly is a fantastic site!

(From the UK, living in Barcelona)

Spencer Haws

Wow, Carl – thanks for your FIRST comment…it was epic!
Maybe you should start then! You folks on the other side of the pond always say stuff odd anyway 🙂 (kidding of course).

I really appreciate your point of view as it helps me know what those just starting out are thinking and looking forward to.

I’ll have more in-depth videos and training next week that should be very helpful.

Thanks again, and welcome to Nitch pursuits!


panda proof? penguin proof? big time corporate brands
on page one of google if trying to sell such as amazon items. if not a physical product, then an info item? pretty much saturated by the deep pocket pros. looking forward to seeing the project unfold. ive been beat up for the last 2 years and spent a good amount of $ and always a loss at the end of the month.



I have been a follower of yours and a user of long tail pro for a while now, and I highly recommend it to others. I have learned a lot and am excited to follow this most recent project. Thank you for your willingness to share and help.
Going forward on your project though, I am anxiously waiting for your post on how you produce keyword targeting content (the 15-20 pages you talked about in the webinar). This seems to be my biggest struggle. I know the information will be epic, so no pressure right…?

Thanks in advance,


Spencer Haws

Right 🙂

Amandeep Singh

Really looking forward to the remaining instalments in this series and excited much to know the keyword for NSP 1 😉


Great stuff.
I too am another new user of LT Pro, which is actually my first ever KW tool beyone google’s adwords KW tool. Finding it very intuitive and a lot of fun! Also a bit dangerous – it’s too easy to lose track of time! 🙂


hey spencer,

paul from new zealand here im sure you know me by now lolol…….nice webinar the other was good to hear some additional info that i didnt know. Also looking forward to hearing how you add info to your site using keywords and how its structured as i think that’s my biggest problem with my own authority sites. i have at least 10 pages on most of them but didn’t use LTP to find or analyze keywords so ive been fixing them up for the last 6 months . dont mind waiting on your KW we all know this is going to be a momentous time coming and as for the guy who never wants to hear from you again then obviously he doesn’t see the opportunities that are presented to him so i guess in a years time he will still be saying the same thing…kudos to ya and looking fwd to a weeks time when you reveal yor KW


I am very excited to see that you have found the keyword. I am hoping that you reveal it very soon. I am chomping at the bit to see first hand what you do, because I seem to be doing something very wrong.



Hi Spencer, just want to chime in and say thank you for making this information publicly. I’m seeing this as a great opportunity to not only fine-tune how I use long Tail Pro, but also my internet business ideas. Giving value is where it’s at! Looking forward to the rest. Cheers Michael.


Interesting parameters to go for, Spencer.

I like the 5000 exact match (US) plus low CPC being acceptable…..

This sort of figure should also make obtaining an (appropriate)EM domain name much easier to do…

Going for way higher monthly EM traffic numbers and even those that come with a high( healthy CPC) is possible…

Though, this makes getting the top spot of page one in the search results a little bit on the hard side….and even much harder to maintain that spot over a prolonged period…

Usually resulting in a possible mid to bottom of page one result

Though, we are talking about Niche sites, and I guess it’s best to stick to lower EM traffic, with greater “first spot on page one” potential……


Hi there Spencer,

I totally agree with what Steve said about losing yourself in Long Tail Pro. It’s almost addictive to those of us that love analyzing and I was up almost all night using the Platinum upgrade the other day. Thank you for creating it!

I am a newbie to this and I am very grateful that you are able to help us out on this by letting us follow along. I really love your story too….it would be a dream to be able to pursue this and quit the day job like you did


Great post, thanks for sharing.

Why, exactly, are you revealing your keyword at all? It seems like you could still provide us with all the info we need without revealing your site/kw/niche and screwing yourself over.

I’d hate to see you stop providing info on your niche site experiment because it ceased being a good niche after being revealed with 50+ fanbois copying your every tactic.

Thanks again Spencer. I’ve found your blog helpful, especially your info on winning keyword criteria & anchor text. LTP is also one of my favorite kw research tools.


Reveal it at the one year anniversary, when you’re no 1 and revealing it won’t impact you (too much of a head start to worry about…).
You could even share (if you wanted) what broad world it’s in:

dating/love etc…

Something that broad doesn’t reveal a thing, but gives the reader a nice way to picture something of what it’s about.

I agree with Matt…it doesn’t really seem like there’s anything you couldn’t talk about whilst not revealing it.
But certainly feel free to!

Spencer Haws

Well, I explained in a previous post why I made the decision to go public. But essentially its because its more interesting for readers and is what I would want if I was reading another blog.

Matthew Allen

I might do a miniature version of the NSP over on my site. I tried something like this in the past, but then the EMD update burst my bubble and I moved on to something else. I still have a few domains that I originally purchased to build small niche sites on, but haven’t done anything with them yet.

I’m following your NSP anyway, I might as well build out one of those sites in a similar fashion. This will be fun!

Good luck on “getting ahead” with your site.


Ahhh…a cliffhanger!

I like how you said:

“However, there are a TON of related keywords, so the potential for lots of traffic from related long tail queries is very high.”

That’s so insanely important.

Many people still have the idea that niche site=keyword site.

A niche site takes a small niche and hits every single angle it can (similar to Pat’s Security Guard Training site). A keyword site pits all of its hopes, dreams and efforts on a single keyword.

When I do keyword research I always make sure the niche has breadth. That way, when I do rank for my main keyword I can still rank for dozens more.

For my best-performing niche site right now I’m ranking for hundreds of keywords…some have even more volume than my main keyword!

Can’t wait to see what keyword you picked, Spencer!


Great work Spencer,

I’m on this journey with you in building my own niche site.

So excited.

Nice one!



Spencer I have selected a niche, bought the domain, and created some content using text broker. I am excited to build the site out and I am looking forward to your next post..

Can you provide homework at the end of each post so that we can keep up with you while building out our own niche sites?

Thanks again for sharing and I am looking forward to your up coming launch of Niche Website Theme.

Spencer Haws

Great idea on the homework! I just might implement that…


Yes! I also love the idea of homework. It really helps me focus and take action.


I’m really pleased to see the development of an Amazon site. I’m really starting to see success with my sites and Amazon and I know I’m going to learn some things here to apply to them (and my others in development)! I’m hooked!


Hello Spencer, why do you tend to skip keywords for which eCommerce stores are ranked ? Usually these are with 0 juice page links so it must not be that hard.

Following you, can’t wait to see the site.

Spencer Haws

Because with Google and ecommerce, they look at more than just links. I believe google ranks sites that actually sell the product (ecommerce sites) better than they would if its an ecommerce search term. I’ve learned this through experience. Results that don’t have many links seem like they should be easy to outrank, however, this is not the case for ecommerce terms because of the way google handles these. That’s why I avoid.


Thanks a lot for the explanation. One more thing. What about categories, not a specific product ? People usually search for some background info so what about category for which sites like amazon are ranked. Example “pewter shoes”


Very interesting stuff here. I hope you do go with Amazon because I have a few ideas myself and would like to see how you do things.

Jameel Ahmed

Hello Spencer
Is it me or all of you seeing the broken link ?

there is a broken link your post i.e. why building niche sites works.

fix it.

BTW nice post will following along with you for this project 🙂

thanks for sharing.

Spencer Haws

Fixed. Thanks!


Hey Spencer:

Not sure if you are still using the All-In-One-SEO Pack that you have referenced in a previous blog post, but I have read that meta keywords are useless in general. Do you still populate the meta keyword section of your SEO Pack plugin?


Hello again!

So, I am with Jeff, Brian and yourself on this project – I have spent time researching (too much time according to google as my keywords tool is currently blocked due to the “high usuage” – I think I may have got carried away with Long Tail Pro… any ideas on how long before I will have access again?

I have my keyword, domain and my niche along with pages of notes on how to turn my site into a money making machine.

I´m a wordpress virgin so the learning curve is steep but with all the information here on nichepursuits I am sure I can figure it out!

Looking forward to seeing your next update and progressing with my own project. As a first attempt, I would be over the moon to get $1 a day from it, anything else would be a bonus!

One question, will my domain be indexed automatically if I have the SEO plugins suggested in your posts or do I need to start the ball rolling myself?


Carl –

I see money in neesh, kapeesh? 🙂


Hi Carl,

I once got blocked from the keyword search tool. Not sure how long it lasted, I just set up a new gmail account and used that log in for a while.
I’m not sure which seo pugin you using but I followed the setup that Pat Flynn mentions at

And I know I got indexed by google quickly.


Hi Rob, Thanks for the tip – I have a new account now and am back in business (with restraint this time!)




Hi Spencer,

Thanks for all the information you share with us. I also watched all of your videos you posted on longtailclassroom and I learned a lot :). Thanks again.

I just have one question about BL. I would like to know if you ping them or if you let google discover them naturally?



Hey Spencer,

I’m still a liitle confused here, I’ve been dabling trying to get something going here for a while I’ve had a couple sites that got ranked a little but I’m at the point that I need something to work.

I’m using Market Samurai and doing some research. I’ve found a keyword I would like to go after. It has high search volume over 10,000, a cpc of $0.75. The page ranks for competing sites are mostly 0’s and 1’s, 3 are ranked as 4. The top one is youtube, the next is yahoo answers then a 6th is wiki how and most are not optimized for header, url, tittle, description etc.. By all rights a great one to go after I would think.

But someone does have the exact match domain, as a dot com. The header, title, url, desc, are all optimized. Thier content mentions the keyword a dozen or so times, they have 12 or so backlinks… The domain has been around for a few years, and is being updated. Yet they do not rank anywhere near the top of google search for their keyword.

Why not… And how can I avoid making the same mistake.



Marcus Welby

Hi Spencer.

I am a Long Tail Pro customer but can’t afford Platinum, two kids living on one salary.

I noticed you reference Advertiser Competition of approximately 60 out of 100 and a Keyword Competitiveness score of 35 or less (ideally) which must be in Platinum only.

Both Advertiser Competition and Keyword Competitiveness metrics are not available in Long Tail Pro. Can you provide alternatives for those of us who don’t have the Platinum version?

But want to follow you along with this public niche site project.

Many thanks in advance.

Here are the metrics I am working with Page Authority, Page Links, Juice Page Links, Domain Authority, mozRank, Page Rank, Page Age.

Thank you.

Spencer Haws

Advertiser competition is indeed in the Pro version (that you have). Its a metric pulled for every keyword, check the keyword results tab, its there.

I’ve also reviewed in depth what to look at in the top 10 sites in google without using KC many times. Here’s a couple of recent posts: (I linked to 3 others posts in there as well specifically for how to analyze the competition) and the recent webinar here:

Marcus Welby

many thx


Hi Spencer,
Nice Birthday pic!
I just found your site and am looking forward to following your progress.
I’ll keep visiting!

Spencer Haws

Thanks Brad!

micah kingerie

thanks for information Spencer until now i still learning from your information


Hi Spencer, thanks for the detailed webinars and LTP is an excellent tool for KR by the way 🙂

What are your thoughts on targeting product/info based keywords that have a vendor name included, for example if one was planning to write unique how to guides on products such as google apps, ms azure

Assuming the vendors themselves havent already secured the top spots, I wonder if this has any implications for copyright (as in one is trying to rank for a KW including a vendor name) and also if this maybe a shortlived strategy as vendors will always have the resources to outrank?

Thanks for reading


I’m using LTP (not platinum) and I was wondering what Google Title Comp (from LTP) you would consider the maximum for the main keyword for this kind of site?



Abdul Cholik

My weaknesses now is to search relevant keywords especially to analyze one.
You may have a simple formula how to search and select good keywords.
This tip is very useful for me.
Thank you


Hey Spencer!
Thanks for this article. All of your posts are an inspiration and motiviation for all of us!

Please keep up your work!

I have a few small niche sites running and some of them making money. Yet I think my niches are not as perfectly chosen as they could have been.

Whenever I start looking up for new keywords, I end up in the same old competitve areas. I feel like I have a blind spot for good niches.

A few days I ago my girlfriend was playing around with the keyword tool I use and she came up with a quite fantastic niche in 15 minutes!

That made me think if web developers are the right folks to look for niches. They think differently and search differently on the web.

I posted my thoughts on my blog

What do you think? Should people do keyword searches themselves to prevent the blind spot?

Adam Finan

Hey Spencer,
I have been following your guidelines for finding a niche KW phrase and have come up with a keyword that has

5,082 exact searches per month
3 PR 0 sites in the top 10
5 x 0 back link pages
4 pages which are Squidoo, Hubpages and Yahoo answers…
The CPC is $18.13

Does the high CPC = really tough competition?

I have followed the guidelines as per your instructions, checked out the competition, who has the exact phrase KW, but the site is very bad.. The niche is computer related..

Your opinion would be much appreciated 🙂



If I purchase Long Tail Pro will I be able to use the software on my computer at work and at home, or will I be limited to one computer?

Spencer Haws

You can use it on up to 3 computers. So, yes – home and work is fine.


Kia Ora Spencer!

Thanks for making this project public, it has been great to follow your process, albeit a few months behind.
I’m actually being really disciplined and not reading ahead – I want to try and experience the development as it happened. As such I’m also trying to find my keyword before moving ahead.

Spend about 6 hours on this so far and not found anything I believe I should base a site on. Thinking back to when you were a little less experienced – how long on average did it take you to find a good keyword?

All the best from NZ

Spencer Haws

Sometimes it could take 10 hours, but usually I would get into a “vein” of good keywords and sometimes find a few each hour. (Normal is probably a couple of hours).


Spencer, would you say it’s difficult to outrank retail results like sites that only sell products?

If all 10 results on Google page 1 are retailers, bad? My take on it (as a complete newbie) is that if you’ve got all 10 results as product selling websites, I’d think a review site would fit quite nicely amidst those, no?

Spencer Haws

Yes. We discussed this via email. But I’ve always said that if all results are ecommerce sites, then likely its an ecommerce keyword – and therefore Google will USUALLY only rank sites actually selling the product. I avoid these keywords.


Holy smokes! I totally forgot!(sorry) wow. The reality is that I’m pretty invested in this site so far(textbroker articles and such). If it were you, would you suggest leaving it sit and see where it ends up ranking-wise as-is and in the meantime, begin research for what would have been my next site anyhow (just being more intelligent this time)?

Spencer Haws

Its so hard to say (because I don’t actually see the site, etc). However, give it some time, you may be able to rank…who knows. And I always suggest starting new sites 🙂


Hi Spencer,

First of all thank you very much for sharing this information. I live in argentina and i want to do a niche site in spanish, the problem is that my target keyword is on wikipedia and i am not sure if i can rank better than wikipedia even having the site named as the keyword and making a lot of good content. What do you think??


Hi Spencer,

Do you have any plans to add some kind of captcha solving integration to LTP?

I’ve just stuck a load of keywords in there and was going to leave it over night to run as it takes some time but there have been many captcha windows popping up.

It would be great if there was a way around this in LTP.



Spencer Haws

Joe, as the user manual and videos explain: its recommended that you only put in a max of 5 seed keywords at once and no more than 15 in an hour. If you follow these guidelines, there are no captchas. Right now, we don’t have plans to add a captcha solving service.

David Glotch

Spencer, is there any reason why one wouldn’t go for a keyword with 12100 local monthly searches instead of one with 4000 or 5000 searches? i have found a 2 word keyword that has 12100 monthly searches and also meets 90% of the criteria you mentioned. Should i go for it?

Spencer Haws

Yes! I like higher search volume, as long as it meets the low competition criteria.


Hey Spencer I am a teen trying to make my first authority site and I want to put a lot of work into it but still want it to rank. I have found some keywords but some have Youtube videos ranking and another has a wikipedia ranking number one but it isnt got the exact keyword should I look for something else or work at trying to rank? (assuming all the other pages are generally weak)


Hi Spencer,

I am having some issues finding good keywords with higher search volume. Im thinking that this is because “local” to me is in Canada and it seems like the search volume is much lower than in the states.

Do you think that I have to chose canada as my “local” if I am using .com, .org, or .net domains? Its much easier to find keywords that fit minimum criterial if I choose the US as my “local”.



Spencer Haws

You can build sites targeted for the US no matter where you are located. I would put your location as US to find better keywords. (But Canada and other markets would be easier to rank for).

Omar Lodhi

I am newbie in this field and just had the chance to use Long Tail Platinum.
I have selected a key word “xx” and a secondary word “what is xx”

KeyWord Local Monthly Searches KC in Longtail
“xx” 6,600 53
“what is xx” 390 40

What keyword should I base my website on?
For keyword “xx”. in the top 10 results only 2 websites have low juice and 0 PR. and one is a ecommerce site.
For keyword “what is xx”. I can find 4 websites with low juice and 1 PR.

1. Can I compete with “xx” as the KC in longtail is 53?
2. If I use keyword “what is xx” as it has 40 KC only, would I automatically rank for “xx” ?
3. Will using keyword “what is xx” any benefit as the local monthly searches is only 390?

Omar Lodhi

Some formatting error above.

keyword: “xx” loc monthly searches 6,600 kc 53
keyword: “what is xx” loc monthly searches 390 kc 40

Spencer Haws

Neither. Both those keywords are too difficult to rank for. Sorry. Over 35 is hard. Over 40 is really hard. Yours is 53…pick something else.


Love this series Spencer! What do you think about trying to beat out sites like consumer reports, amazon and walmart that appear in the top 10 for a keyword? Assume there is one or two “affiliate” sites mixed in with very little authority. Is this a good sign or a bad sign?

Noel Ward

Hi Spencer,

Great post and webinar as always, I learn so much from your posts and to be honest I’m new but you explain so well.

I have a query though, I don’t understand the “local montly search” thing. I come from Ireland so if I target only the local searches most result numbers are low, as you would expect from a small country. If I build a niche site won’t it be available to the whole world so why only look at local search volume. Does this only apply if you target a local niche. Would love to hear your input.


Keep up the Good Work.


Spencer Haws

Local searches shows the volume coming from that country. Just because you live in Ireland doesn’t mean you can’t target the US. Why not just select US as your country and get a better idea of search volume. A site that ranks in the US may not rank in Ireland or UK or Australia, so its not accurate to target “the whole world”.

Noel Ward

Thanks Spencer, got it now. Got confused, then got wrapped up trying to figure it out.


I followed your advice for keyword research and found a main keyword that I’m using for my niche site case study. It has a KC of 35 with 2000 exact search volume (local)

Pretty excited about it and thanks for this great post on keyword research 🙂


Hi Spencer,

Firstly I must congratulate you for your this site which is an excellent resource/guide for readers like me to follow..I think every bit of stuff that you put here is highly invaluable ..and if someone follows it judiciously..I see no reason why people can’t succeed.

Even recently I followed your strategy and have been able to build and rank one of my site..Making $300-400 per month ..

Now I plan to build a high authority site in a beauty niche with primary keyword having exact searches in range 5000-6000 and also have plenty of related keywords ..and that makes the total searches in excess of 20k..

Looking at the competition there are 2-3 niche sites, few eCommerce sites and information sites like ehow, webmd.
for the primary keyword ..and LTP keyword competitiveness is 40 ..I guess it’s gonna be tougher to rank for this keyword.

But there are plenty of low competition keyword in this niche ..Mostly information keyword but some low competition buying keyword ..mostly below 35 keyword competitiveness and I think with some efforts rankings can be achieved..

Do you think I should consider such niche?

Your inputs will be highly helpful…


Spencer Haws

A KC of 40 is high, and its not likely that you will get there anytime soon. However, if you really want to be in the niche, you can likely get traffic from lots of other long tail keywords along the way if you are producing lots of content. If you want to wait 6 months or a year before you see much money, then yes, go for it.


I have an interesting problem,
Monthly searches – 33000
the top 10 analysis shows a KC of 23 but includes 2 domains with PR 5, site # 2 is only 4 months old.
Please see stats and give me some ideas.
(cannot insert images)

Stats from position 1-10

KC – 16 / 13 / 32 / 42 / 31 / 30 / 22 / 15 / 8 / 22
Page authority – 36 / 32 / 56 / 73 / 1 / 31 / 40 / 31 / 24 / 1
Juice Page Links – 5460 / 31 / 13800 / 1194 / 0 / 139 / 51 / 6 / 0 / 0
MOZ Rank – 4.5 / 3.3 / 5.4 / 5.9 / 0 / 4.2 / 3.7 / 0.7 / 4.0 / 0
Page Rank – 0 / 0 / 5 / 5 / 2 / 2 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0
Site Age – 1.8 / 0.4 / 10.7 / 19 / 8 / 18 / 13 / 7 / 1.9 / 8.4

Spencer Haws

Its hard to analyze a keyword without knowing the keyword. However, based on the stats, it looks very doable. But because I don’t know what keyword you are targeting or what is currently ranking; along with page title’s, etc, I can’t give a yeah or nah.


Thanks Spencer,
I am unable to make the KW public, but will do a case study and see how I manage to rank
watch this space…………


Hey Spencer,

Great case study! Seeing the success you are having as made me decide to get back in the niche game.

I found a keyword that gets 5400 local searches, but is a brand. With content I could easily get to #2 and keyword + review would be my plan. I think I could get good traffic.

What is your thought on making a review site like you are doing for this keyword? Or should I stay a way from a “brand” site?

Thanks Josh

Spencer Haws

I always stay from branded domains. Its not worth the risk of getting a cease and desist letter from the other company. You can still target the keyword if you want, but just make the domain something non-branded.


Thanks for the quick reply. I have found another keyword that gets almost 3 time the searches and one I am familiar with. Hopefully I can duplicate what you have going.

Thanks for the inspiration and knowledge!


Does Long Tail Pro work with Google Keyword Planner ? I see that for “best survival knife” :
Keyword Tool (old) shows 4500 Avg. monthly searches (exact mach)
Keyword Planner (new tool) shows 9900 Avg. monthly searches (exact mach)
Is the Long Tail Pro updated and accurate ?

Thank you

Spencer Haws

Yes, Long Tail Pro is already updated to work with the Google keyword planner and is accurate.


Thanks for your quick reply. What is your minimum threshold now that the estimates given by the new planner are now based on all devices? It’s 2500 searches per month or higher ?


With my keyword first page of google Is showing
Review websites like cnet, gadget reviews etc, my keyword
Competition in ltp is 38. Is it easy to get best rank in google with this keyword?

Spencer Haws

Nope, that sounds really tough. I like under 30 kc is possible. And usually won’t got if its over 35.


thanks spencer, is it easy to rank over the reviews sites and online stores like cnet, gadgetreviews, amazon, best buy etc., . when LTP Kc is less than 30

Spencer Haws

All depends on the keyword, but its possible.


I’ve been doing keyword research on Long Tail Pro with Spanish keywords (I’m Spanish) and found a keyword I think I could rank for. The thing is, they all have a low page authority (21, 35, 22, 27, 27, 10, 1, 20, 19, 16) and hardly any juice page links (0, 0, 4, 0, 2, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0) they also haven’t got a big domain authority, the highest being 79 and the rest being between 18 and 57 and the highest Moz rank being 4.63 and the rest being between 0 and 3.87. Finally the page links go like this: 41, 7, 4, 14, 2504, 1, 0, 202, 110, and 196. The problem is the top 10 in Google are all e-commerce type of sites, some of them aren’t only an e-commerce platform, they are big shops that have the option to sell online, but they focus primarily in physical shops (sorry if my explanation isn’t to good :S) something like maybe Wal-Mart or Best Buy in the United States.
Also the exact domain name is taken for the Spanish domain (it’s for sale, but to expensive), but the dot com is available. Would this affect the ranking?
Thank you very much for taking your time in reading the comment and hope all the best to everyone¡ 🙂


I’m interested in Spencer’s opinion on this as well Dani. Many of the (US based) keywords I’ve found look amazing from the stats. However, nearly all of these keywords include “big brands” in the SERPs… sites like bestbuy, walmart, target, homedepot, amazon, etc.

Is it really possible to compete against these guys even if they aren’t optimized for that keyword?



Turns out Spencer has already thoroughly addressed this in another post. This was the missing link for me in understanding these anomalies.



Hi Spencer Sir,

I researched yesterday for some long tail keywords on Long Tail Platinum and got a keyword with 26 as the keyword competitiveness. As you mentioned above that Keyword Competitiveness takes care of most of the factors, so do you think I should proceed with the keyword or do some more research about it?

Thanks a lot….

Spencer Haws

You still should analyze the top 10.

Jools Stone

Hi there, I’m new to using LTP. Finding it useful, but still trying to make sense of all the data TBH.

Can you tell me please, what exactly does the Google Title Comp field mean, and also are the local and global search figures it gives by default monthly or annual?

Thanks, Jools

Spencer Haws

If you watch the videos here: all those questions should be answered. (Too much to answer here).


Hi Spencer,
Great article as always. But the eMarketer link you shared about US Online Ad Spending by Industry, 2009 – 2015 seems to be not working.

I have a question:
Would you go for a niche that gets 1300 exact every month? .net domain is available and .com domain is for sale for $99. .org domain is in use since September currently and made a good visibility in 5 months. The niche keyword is 23 letters long with 5 words. But the first two words has also 3600 exact every month. The 5 word keyword’s SERP result returns that 9 out of 10 links in the first page does not have the exact keyword. The first two words of the keyword’s SERP result returns 2 out of 10 links in the first page does not have the exact keyword.
The niche has a lot of potential. Along with the variables of the keyword, approximately 1 million broad and 150.000 exact every month. The product prices vary between 100-600 usd.
Can you tell me what you think? You think it is worth giving a shot?


by the way, the cpc for the 5 word keyword is $1, and there are google ads on the first page.

Spencer Haws

I don’t use exact match domains any more, so the domain doesn’t matter. See this post: You need to look at the top 10 sites and see how strong they are, page authority, page links, etc.

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