The Mystery Keyword and Brand Strategy: Coaching Call 4 for Niche Site Project 2!

By Spencer Haws |

Well, its been another week and Perrin and I had another coaching call!  Perrin has been working diligently now for a few weeks to try and narrow down his final keyword selection.  And I’m happy to say that the selection has been made!

On the video call, we discuss what his primary keyword choice is and the overall strategy for building the site that he is going to follow.  I have to warn you that we do not reveal the exact keyword (insert frowny face here if you want).  However, we DO reveal all the metrics of a couple of keywords that will be targeted, along with some discussion around the niche that may offer some clues.

Here’s our rational for keeping the keyword a “mystery”.  Basically, we want to give ourselves a couple of weeks before the copy cats start.  Most of you reading this are smart enough to know not to go into the same niche, but others of perhaps less intelligent will somehow think going into the same market as Perrin and I is a good idea.  Lets be clear, as soon as we will the keyword and niche, it will instantly become much more competitive.

This is exactly what happened with my survival knife site; as soon as I built my site, I immediately had several others building sites in the same niche.  I’m sure there are at least a dozen or more sites in the survival knife niche thanks to my first niche site project.

So, even though the keyword choice remains somewhat of a “mystery”, I really do think you will get some value out of this latest coaching call as we discuss the overall strategy and next steps moving forward.  And we WILL reveal it very soon.

Coaching Call 4 Video

Notes From the Call

Winning Keyword


  • More Brandable Domain
  • Homepage – Target a Bigger; more difficult keyword.
  • Secondary Page – Target the low competition “Mystery Keyword”
  • Other Secondary Pages – Target other low competition keywords.
  • Homepage Keyword – 14 or 15k per month

The Niche

Content Strategy

  • 1 Primary Article on Homepage – Big keyword
  • 1 Secondary Article – targeting low competition “mystery keyword”
  • Add 15 more secondary articles that target very low competition keywords. (Volume 200 to 1000 searches per month)

Brandable Domain

  • EMD is not required
  • Partial Match is not Required
  • .com is more memorable
  • .net or .org, will rank just as well as a .com


  • Find Brandable Domain Name
  • Set up Hosting
  • Set up WordPress
  • Start working on first 2 articles

Perrin’s Weekly Report

The following was written by Perrin…

Week 4 Write-Up

Four weeks down, 20 to go!  I feel like I’m on the top of the proverbial rollercoaster this week – standing still for just a couple seconds, full of kinetic energy, before I plunge into a wild ride. We’ve spent a month doing keyword research. That’s a long time! I’ve learned a ton, and it’s been incredibly fun so far. Hands down, one of the coolest parts is getting to know some of you, swapping stories and hearing about everyone’s projects; this is just a really great community. Plus, I feel like Spencer and I are becoming buds, which is awesome!

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And now we’re just about to start building! It’s pretty exciting.

This week’s assignment was pretty relaxed, and I’m not sure there will be too much to write about. To refresh your memory, the assignment was to pick a winning keyword and decide on a general content strategy.

·         Time: 3 hours

·         Difficulty: medium

So I did! I looked at all the keywords I’d come up with and found one I thought would work. Actually, it was one of the few good keywords in the first list I made (it’s not in there, but you can see some of the others I found). And I’m pretty excited about building a site around. However, I’d like to add a few caveats. This isn’t an ideal keyword. I think it will be easy to rank for, but it doesn’t bring in the searches I originally wanted (it only has 1,900, which falls short of my goal of 5,000).

So why’d I pick this one? Well, the biggest and most important reason is that the overall niche seems to have a lot of potential. I did a brief search for secondary keywords and was able to find 30-40 right off the bat that would work. Plus, since this is a product review site, I’ll of course be able to write reviews for a bunch of specific products. Even better, this is something I’ve always been interested in; it kind of taps into the luxury/high-end side of something I do every couple of days.

Additionally, there seem to be several niche sites ranking for a lot of the keywords. And if Google is ranking those guys, they’ll probably be more than happy to rank me, too!

Also, I want to mention that my primary keyword is not going to be the target keyword for the homepage. Instead, I’m going to go with a loftier, more competitive term on the homepage and combine that with my brand. This is part of my overall content strategy. The keyword I chose isn’t strong enough to build a whole site around. So, while I’m going to build links for it and try to rank it initially, it will eventually be one article on a site with potentially hundreds of articles. The only real difference will be that there will be more inbound links to this one. But we’ll talk about this more in the video.

So that’s where we are! Are you guys ready? This is the starting line, and it’s about time to hit the gas!

For those of you following along:

How did you choose your winning keyword? How is your content strategy the same as or different than mine?

Your Thoughts

Overall, Perrin is well on his way now to creating some great initial content and will have something to show to the world very soon!  Hopefully you found the discussion on this video call useful, even though the primary keyword remains a mystery.  Everything will be revealed very shortly…

We would love to hear your thoughts, comments, or questions below…so please feel free to add to the discussion.

Stories & Projects | 65 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?

Yes! I Love to Learn

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Great post.we should follow this strategy that you have mentioned in the post.firstly we should target little search volume keyword{1900) and i think it should be work means we can achieve.


Guesses : )

Flying a Private Plane
Mountain Climbing
Art Collecting
Home Beer Brewing
Radio Controlled Cars
Comic Books
Toy Helicopters


Ha. Close!

Steve Wyman

Love what your doing with this study Spencer. qudos.

Steve Wyman

Spencer, 1 question i have for you.

One of the niches im working in has some huge keywords and comp. Long term project. In one other sub niche areas there are things objects which change for each month. by color and zodiac.

Would you do 12 x 360 word articles or one 4320 article?

Bear in mind the site will have at least 50 other articles in the 500 word region


Tim M

Hey Steve,

Just my two cents… What about doing a long article but making it Part 1 and Part 2? Then you could also distill it down to a few points and make it into a video/slideshow.


Steve Wyman

thanks See below for my respoinses


Just my two cents:

With many articles, you can target many keywords. With one article, you’ll generally only be targeting one keyword.

I think you have a much, much better chance at getting lots of traffic with many articles.

Good luck!

Spencer Haws

Its hard to see other ways the articles could be organized without knowing the exact niche; so this might not be the best answer. But I would say, go for the 12 articles.

Steve Wyman

Hi Guys

The subject is one where for each month of the year there is a different color of the main keyword associated with it.

Sadly I dont want to state the sub niche yet as its wide open. Copy cat alert.

So Jan = Blue version of thing, Feb = Green version of thing etc

I currently have 1 large article with a table of content at the top.

This raised a further question in my mind Spencer. If one article = one Keyword that cant be true fro the home page though?

Steve Wyman

thanks See below for my respoinses

Donald W

I’m excited to see what this strategy will bring. I have a niche site targeting this strategy as well and it will be interesting to see what I have done well and what I have not done so well. Thanks guys and good luck! Keep up the great work.


Same thoughts here, Been following Spencer for over a year now and hes managed to keep me inspired and going forward.
Once again he hits the nail right on its head for me with his strategy for this project. I’m currently following the same strategy for a nichesite that’s finally starting to make me some money. Expand is the magic word now…

GL Spencer and Perrin

Spencer Haws

Thanks Higgins!


Can’t wait to hear the CC number 4! I’ll listen to it asap!

Congrats Perrin on choosing your keyword, best of luck with the site! This will be huge!

And Spencer, you’re just the greatest guy under the IM sun, haha! Love it, keep it up!

I’m little behind with my first English site. I chose perfect niche with lots and lots of low competition keywords. However it’s seasonal so I have it as a backup.
For now I just need a keyword for this Holiday ($$$) but it shouldn’t be a problem! :))


This. 🙂

Spencer has been super, duper helpful on and off the coaching calls. Real stand-up guy, and I’m grateful to be his student!

Spencer Haws

Ah shucks…thanks!

Jye @ Full Volt

Congratulations on finding a keyword Perrin. Love those copy & paste skills by the way 😛

Those other niche sites ranking for the keyword definitely make it look like a good choice, not to mention the fact that there is 2 forums ranking in the top 10.

Looking forward to hearing the next call and good luck on getting started with the content.


Ha. Thanks man 🙂


Great post I like the idea of targeting a niche with in a niche. Good luck!! I am up to $8.75 in Adsense income this month and I am stoked to see the numbers go up every month. It might seem like a small amount but last month it was only $1.75 so the strategy is working. Thanks for the guidance. B


Dude, that’s awesome! Congrats!

You mean for October?


4 weeks is indeed a long time for keyword research, but all the hardwork will pay off later along the adventure. Good luck with the real work, Perrin!

I can’t wait to see how this brandable approach is going to succeed. I will get my first brandable site up in a few days!

the rookie

Totally figured it out. I have ten pages up two youtube videos and started blog commenting and forum posting. Ill let you know where Im at soon lol

But seriously good luck. Hopefully people will at least wait until you guys are done.


Haha. Hey,… nothing wrong with a little friendly competition. 🙂

Spencer Haws

lol…nice 🙂

Garrick Dee

I love the strategy – build a brand-able site that targets a bunch a large volume med comp keyword and a bunch of low comp keywords. In the long run it’ll pay off and you’ll have a bunch of topics to write.


Why a change in emd ? is it because of google updates and new alogoritm ?


The general idea is that EMDs don’t matter AS much anymore (although Spencer mentioned he does think they do still carry a tiny bonus.

However, if you build a brand, you’re much more likely to attract repeat customers, build trust, etc. … all that stuff that’s associated with branding.

There are pros and cons to each, but for this project, we’re betting on branding. 🙂

Spencer Haws

Its not a change, I’ve been saying you don’t need an EMD for a couple years now. But going for a more brandable strategy makes more sense for larger sites…which we hope this one will be.


Yeah exactly.

EMDs can still work, but they just don’t give you the same kind of punch they used to.

So because of that, it isn’t necessary as you pointed out.

I have done mostly EMDs so far, with some luck. I will have to see what happens with more of a branded site.

Great job with the coaching Spencer.

Marc Possoff

Got a question for anyone. In the video 200-1000 searches was the range for keywords. However I think Spencer said later on in the video that he wasn’t concerned about search volume for review articles.

Can anyone elaborate?



I think you mean that Spencer was talking about writing lots of articles that target low volume keywords, rather than concentrating on one or two articles that target really high volume keywords.

So the search volume for these articles doesn’t matter because you will end up with so many articles that the search volume for each one will add up and you will still get lots of traffic.

That’s how I see it.


(Spencer, correct me if I’m wrong here…)

The 200-1000 range (or whatever it ends up being) is for the initial rounds of secondary keywords. Stuff like “Best [related thing here]” or “[X vs Y related to the niche]”. Just keywords you find that are super low competition, fit into the niche (and site) and have a bit of search volume. Some of these may be review keywords but others might not.

However, since it’s a product focused site, you do need to have reviews. Plus, most specific product review keywords usually do bring in some search volume and may even be low competition.

In Spencer’s case, he mentioned that he doesn’t specifically research the product review keywords, but he’s looked before, and he knows there’s some volume out there.

Does that answer the Q? I hope it helps!

Marc Possoff

Yes it makes sense. However should the initial 200+ articles be types of articles that will make sales?

For instance in my niche there are 200+ search keywords but most don’t seem like keywords that will produce sales. Versus product name keywords although get lower search volume will potentially make sales.

The 200+ search articles seem more info articles?


(Again, Spencer, correct me if I’m wrong!)

I’d say it depends on a couple of factors:

* How high the advertising competition is
* How you are monetizing
* Which keywords are available

That stuff definitely does matter, and it’s worth considering. For example, I found a keyword that looked good but was really just about ping-pong table dimensions. People searching for this keyword probably aren’t looking for things to buy and will be less likely to click on ads. On the other hand, the keyword I’m currently using is about a small-ish, easy-to-mail product that can’t be found in most stores, which (hopefully) means that people will be more likely to buy online.

If you’re going to be monetizing through Amazon or other affiliate sites, I think it makes sense to prioritize buying-type keywords IF AND ONLY IF:

* The competition isn’t filled with eCommerce sites, and
* They meet your other criteria

So the same rules apply: take a good look at the competition.

But informational keywords are fine if there are people spending money on ads in that niche. Some of the keywords/niches I’m keeping in my back pocket are informational (read: not product-oriented) and just have tons of money being spent in the niche.

Marc Possoff

Hi Perrin let’s use Dave’s Cheap Bikes as an example.

Main KW: cheap bikes
Secondary KW: best hybrid bikes

The goal is to build 15 pages/articles around best hybrid bikes correct?

So you’ll plug best hybrid bikes into Google Keyword Planner or LTP and find 15 KW under best hybrid bikes?

Am I on the right track?

Spencer Haws

No, not necessarily. If the home page is “cheap bikes”, you want to find any type of LOW competition keyword that would fit under that umbrella (niche). So, it might be “best hybrid bike”, then “cheap electric bikes”, “check tandem bikes”, etc. So, you would be looking for keywords in the “cheap bikes” niche. This could be thousands of keywords easy as you go into makes and models of bikes, years, price ranges, etc.

Marc Possoff

Hi Spencer. Perrin has a large KW and a secondary KW. So are you saying Perrin is going to find more secondary KW? What is the assignment to write 2 articles then? What are the articles based on?

Spencer Haws

Perrin – has a large KW and a secondary KW. His assignment is to write 1 article on those 2 keywords. Not sure if that clears it up for you.

After he has those 2 articles, he will write more articles that fit in the overall niche (most relevant to the “large KW” on the homepage).

Marc Possoff

Hi Spencer does search volume and competitive-ness matter for the large KW?

Spencer Haws

Yep, this sounds good Perrin.


I’m going to assume that if you hare having trouble finding secondary keywords with a KC score under 25 it is not a good sign?

That is pretty much where I am at. 3 hours in and I have found 5 or so that are 26 or under. I am tempted to started with those 5 but am worried that I will not find much else or they are to competitive at 24 being the lowest KC score.

My best guess would be to start with the 5 that I have found. Get those articles up and once that is done start looking for the next set?

Once I get past the first 15-20 post it will be easy as I also have a niche where I will be reviewing things as well.

Am I on the right track thoughts?

Spencer Haws

Sounds like you’ve found a good set to start with. You also have to understand, that you can still write articles on keywords that have over a 30. You will still get traffic from long tail keywords mentioned in the article as well.

Start with your core 5 and do your best to find lower comp secondary keywords, but don’t fret if you can’t. You can still do great!


Good to know I was starting to second guess myself. The last thing I want to do is end up in a niche that is to competitive like I did with my last niche site.

It makes sense knock out the 5. Looking for more that are low KC and if not find the best reverent content for anyone that would visit the website.

Perrin I am using a search filter of 200-1000 with 3 words. I may lower it down to 100-500 and keep looking.

Thank you!


To add onto Spencer: what is your volume filter? I found a LOT more low-comp keywords when I started looking at lower volume thresholds.

Hope that helps!

Marc Possoff

I did a test on researching product name model# and find low search volumes but low competition. My thinking is even though a product name/model# might get lets say 50 searches a month, if you keep adding that adds up.


Hi Spencer,

I started following your site around 4 months ago, I should first of all thanks for all your effort and the knowledge that your are sharing for your audience…

I am closely following NSD2..Going to be your virtual student and follow what perring is asked to do..

got couple of questions :

1) Regrading the keyword research you mentioned to avoid if ecommerce sites are ranking ..what if amazon is ranking without any link/ juice link do we needs ignore the keyword in this case.

2) Also NSD1 and NSD2 seems to picking the keyword related to a product..But could we apply the same method for non product just informative keywords as well aiming for non us site with adsense monitization ..

Glenys @ Website Tips 4U

You are providing such valuable “tuition” with these weekly recordings.

This week’s session answers lots of questions with respect to how to handle a primary keyword if it doesn’t have as many searches as you would like. Plus I like the idea of concentrating on one keyword at first until it is ranking.

Thanks for another great post in this series Spencer & Perrin


I can´t decide what I am enjoying more right now, NSP2 or the developing bromance between Spencer & Perrin haha 🙂

Really pleased you have your main KW and a strategy, it´s certainly attracting some attention and good discussion.

Great logic (and a new tip learned) of ranking the secondary pages that will in turn help to rank the more difficult KW on the main page – love the long game tactics!

Also have to say that I am starting to favour brandable domains over EMD – I think it gives you the chance to be very creative and achieve something memorable instead of choosing a EMD or Partial EMD.

In some cases I think you run the risk having a site that can even appear “spammy” when settling for a substandard domain name just for the sake of having your KW in the web address.

Great work Perrin!! **fist pumps**

Spencer Haws

Great thoughts Carl! …Bromance is in the air??… 🙂




This has definitely been the most helpful call yet! It’s crazy how many niche sites I’ve seen during my research that are following your “table product” guideline.


Hi Spencer,

Great job so far, I love following this project along!

Question: For the articles Perrin is writing for next week, is there a target lenght? ie. How many words per article

Also, how often within the article are the keywords to be used?

Keep up the good work!

Spencer Haws

Yes, longer articles. We are looking 1500+ words. Less than 1% keyword usage.

Marc Possoff

I know quality content is important. If you look at Dave’s Cheap Bikes I would say he has decent quality but his content is short and to the point.

Christopher Quinn

Hello Spencer

I think I have learned more about building and ranking websites from your many blog posts over the past two years than anywhere else!!

Your last case study was excellent in how you presented it and the results you achieved.

Keep ’em coming! All of us are learning a great deal from you.

Spencer, thanks!!!




I’ve got a couple of questions.

1. hypothetically, aside from the 1900 monthly search secondary keyword, you guys bump into a couple more secondary keywords that fall under 1900 and slightly higher monthly searches later on.

Does this mean that when it’s time to get links you’ll be targeting all the 3 secondary keywords over time to get the most out of the site/niche? (also, will this make backlinking a longer, tougher effort)

2. just out of curiosity, is there a reason why you chose 15 articles to begin with in your content strategy?

Taiwo The Knife holder

I choose a very good key word it is related to that of Spencer but I am still waiting to buy the domain as my master card is yet to arrive so i built a blogger so i can get busy i am happy with result already i am around 400 ranking with little backling and just two articles. For those who are reading i encourage you to start something. I learnt something from the last video so i will build an authority site thst has potential of two hundred secondary keyword and work with that i know it will be work but i have a target of one year to write the site to no 1. I know my blogger will do well it will also help in my linking to the site yet to be built. I just want to start taking action instead of waiting till i have every thing. Spencer/Perrin good luck


Hi, I have been following your two examples, and forgive me if I’ve missed the answer to this, but how do you feel about personas and pen names for your niche site’s? Can you give some advice on that subject?

thanks, and absolutely great blog by the way:)


How do you how the site is ranking?


This question is likely misplaced but I’m along for the ride with you guys so I figured I’d drop it in the place that makes sense for now. I’m a bit ahead of you and Perrin on building the niche website from ground up. I’ve got a long 2000 word main page, 4 secondary articles, and no backlinks yet. However, I’m finding my page is showing 500+ in the LTP rank checker. I’m a bit frustrated to be a blip on google’s radar at this point after seeing Spencer’s first niche site and Tung’s site saying they were at least in the hundreds just by standing up a site with minimal content. Is there somewhere I can go to see what it is about my website that google is punishing me so hard for? I’m number 1 on yahoo and bing.


Jawbone Up

Can I ask with your potential keyword, how much are you looking at in 6 months time? $500?


I’ll answer, yes it’s $500 exactly set as the goal 🙂


Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog stand out.
Please let me know where you got your design.

Daniel Daines-Hutt

Hey Guys,

Bit behind on the blog but im devouring it at a heated pace!

I have a quick question I would love to run by the group if thats ok with everyone?

Inspired by this article, I am attempting to set up my own niche site.

I’m finding good niche SEO keywords, but nothing that instantly makes me want to write 100 articles about!

I have found a niche that i’m really keen to investigate, and im passionate about, but I wanted to ask you your advice, with regards to your work with You guys realised that your primary keyword was competitive, and so targeted an easier secondary, correct? This way you would start to rank for both using long tail techniques.

I have found a secondary with very low competition authority of around <30 and some with <20 juice links. The only issue is that local and global searches is <1100 in some areas, but for the main keyword is 55,000+

CPC for the secondary is $1.01 and advertising interest is HIGH I feel this may be due to how little has been produced to represent this niche-I can only find 1 other blog that is remotely similar and they release content every 4 months or so, and seems more of a hobbiest past-time. I believe that I could draw a heap of traffic to this niche with relevant content, it also has room to move into other areas and an average minimum product spend is between $300-$700. (The majority of the niche followers are also of High Income generally speaking). I already have a list of 20+ content articles I could write just off the top of my head, and this niche has another 4-5 possible areas of products and areas it could represent….

Do you think this would be feasible from the information I have given ?

Or is this the whims of a newbie SEO Nichefinder?

Sorry to ramble on, and thank you so much for your time, Regards,

Daniel Daines-Hutt

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