The Niche That Wasn’t

By Spencer Haws |

Last week, I shared that I decided to give up on my original niche idea for Niche Site Project 4 and select a new one.

The truth is that I didn't really follow my own niche selection advice when I selected my first niche.  You see I was driving across the country on a road trip with my family when I initially came up my niche idea.  And I had basically “sold” myself on the idea before I did any serious research.

Lesson 1 – Do research before picking your niche!

However, then Google came out with the recent “Medic” update and several sites in the niche I had selected appeared to lose traffic due to the update.  Since I was already having second thoughts about the niche, this pushed me over the edge and I decided to find a new niche.

I'm now happy to report that I've found a new niche that I feel great about!  I've even bought a domain name and I have hosting and WordPress installed.  Oh, and I've found 50 or so great keywords that I plan to target.  (I'll provide an in-depth post about how to do keyword research in the near future).

Since I've decided to abandon my “old” niche, I'm going to reveal today the niche that wasn't.  You'll see the exact niche and some of the keywords I was initially thinking about.

I hope this will be a valuable exercise to discuss why I didn't go with this niche.

The Niche That Never Was

Without dragging things out any further, here's the niche I went with for Niche Site Project 4: the Senior living niche.

That's right!  I was going to build a site about products for seniors and senior living in general.  Why would I consider such a thing?

Well, I initially looked at the niche and saw the growth of the target market.  Baby Boomers is the largest segment of the population and there are a lot of interesting products and advancements in this space.

The niche has a ton of growth potential.  So, really before I did any keyword research, I sold myself on the idea.  

However, after digging into some of the keywords I started to get nervous.  Let's take a look at some of the keywords that I was considering.

The Keywords I Considered

Now that you know that I was considering the “Seniors” niche, I thought it might be interesting to reveal the keywords I was considering.

Please note that I put several hours of research into finding and verifying these keywords.  I'll share a few examples of both the good and bad keywords that I found.  If anyone is considering this niche, you are more than welcome to “steal” these keywords.  I no longer plan to compete in this space.

Please note: These are some of the final keywords that I was considering.  When it came time to actually ordering articles, I'm not 100% sure that all of these would have made it…but most of them likely would have.

Targeted Keyword Search Volume Keyword Competitiveness (Long Tail Pro)
shoes for elderly to prevent falls 170 20
best fitness tracker for elderly 30 21
senior friendly watches 70 21
narrow walkers for small spaces 320 21
cpap camping 880 21
anterior pelvic tilt brace 210 22
best walkers for seniors 880 22
best watches for seniors 40 23
pole walking for seniors 140 23
best walking cane for stability 170 23
best non slip shower mat 260 23
grocery shopping for elderly 320 23
best pillow for sleep apnea 590 23
best cpap machine 4400 23
best non slip bathtub mat 390 24
best purse for elderly 50 25
best wrist splint for carpal tunnel 210 25
best travel cpap machine 320 25
gardening tools for seniors 170 26
best seat cushion for sciatica 260 26
best cane for elderly 110 27
best freestanding tubs 590 27
gifts for widows 720 27
tall toilets for elderly 720 27
best rated hearing amplifiers 30 28
3 wheel bikes for seniors 1000 28
best walking cane 390 29
medical alert systems no monthly fee 720 30
best knee brace 5400 30
best cpap mask 2900 31
gifts for seniors 2400 32
best cane for balance 170 33

In order to get to this short list of keywords that you see above, I had to sift through MANY other keywords that I felt were not worth targeting.

Keywords I Didn't Target

Below is a short list of a few of the keywords that I decided NOT to target.  Please note that even though the KC score is low on some of these I decided for various reasons not to go after the keywords.  (It could have been search volume, or not many affiliate sites ranking, or other competitive factors that turned me away).

Keywords Targeted

Monthly Search Volume Keyword Competitiveness

best class c motorhome under 30 feet

390 24
hand held shower heads for the elderly 260 25
blogs for women over 60"}”>blogs for women over 60 110 25
leggings for older women 140 26
gift ideas for women over 60 170 26
best rollator 170 26
dating a 70 year old man 480 28
gift ideas for parents who have everything 1300 28
meaningful 60th birthday gifts 1000 28
gifts for older parents 880 28
gift ideas for older women 880 29
shoes for old ladies 320 29
best 60th birthday ideas 390 29

The Doppelgangers

One of the principles I often talk about when doing keyword research is Doppelgangers.  The basic idea is that if you can find other sites that are similar to what you are trying to create and they are ranking for the keywords you are looking at, then you likely will have a chance to rank as well.

In particular if you can find newer or weaker affiliate websites ranking for certain keywords, that's a good sign for you.  I will then take those “Doppelgangers” and plug them into SEMrush and see what keywords that are ranking for to see if there's some ideas I can “steal”.

I like to find sites that have a Moz Domain Authority of 30 or less.

Here's a list of a few Doppelgangers I found in the Senior living space:

Domain Domain Authority 30 30 11  19 18 27 21 16 21 5 8 23

As I looked at these Doppelgangers, I started to see a disturbing trend.  Many of them were clearly hit by the Google “Medic” update and this made me nervous enough to find a new niche.

Here's what I saw in SEMrush: – A small hit – A pretty big hit – A Massive Hit

Other Sites I Looked At

I also like to keep a list of other sites that appear to be doing really well in my niche.  Even if they are not low authority sites, it's a good idea to see what the “big” sites in any given niche are doing well.

So, here's a few sites that I found doing well in the Senior living space.  

Domain Authority 48 48 39 36 63 50

Overall, I hope being able to see these keywords and Doppelgangers is helpful as you decide what niche you should go into.

The Domains That Shall Not Be Mentioned

I initially ignored some of the above red flags that I saw and went as far as buying a domain name.  Not only did I select the wrong niche, but I misspelled my first attempt at buying a domain name. 

I won't blame you if you stop reading along and go follow another blogger that never makes mistakes.

So, here's the MISSPELLED domain that I purchased:  Turns out I should have spelled it:  But of course that domain isn't available. Whoops!

I went back to the drawing board and bought a different domain, this was going to be the domain I used to build Niche Site Project 4 On:

Then of course, I changed my mind and picked a different niche.  So, if anyone wants either of those domains, let me know…maybe we can make a deal :).  

Oh, and I had compiled a whole list of potential domain names, that I guess it doesn't hurt now to reveal.  I didn't buy any of these, but they were in the running for the Senior space and were available.

I have to give a hat tip to Jake and Jason for some of these domain names, we each contributed a few and had a good time coming up with these.

Possible Domains


Overall, I nearly went into the old people niche…but changed my mind last minute.  I hope that revealing the niche, the keywords, the doppelgangers, and even the domain names is helpful as you pick your own niche.

I put several hours into researching keywords and more, so it hurts that I just have to dump all of this work.  However, I'm super excited about the new niche I've found and I think it was a wise choice for me to change directions.

If you are in a niche where you are seeing lots of other sites get penalized by the most recent Google update, it might be worth considering other niche ideas.

What are your thoughts?  Now that you've seen the niche I decided NOT to target, are you still satisfied with your niche selection?

A lesson for me is to actually follow my own process.  I got so excited about just thinking about a niche in my mind, that I selected it before ever actually sitting down and doing the research.  That's a bad idea that cost me several hours of time.

But I'm back on track now and ready to get my new site up and rolling!  I hope you enjoyed seeing the Niche that wasn't.

Success Stories | 50 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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This was a very helpful article, thanks for posting it.

Spencer Haws

You are welcome, Stephen!

Matthew Allen

This is awesome. Lol! I still think senior living would be a great niche, if approached properly. In fact, you’ve just given me several article ideas that I can totally make relevant to my authority site that I’ve been working on for a year! Thanks!

Spencer Haws

Glad you found this helpful!

Dave Starr

Go for it, Matt. There’s a lot of us out there, and 100k more every month. I’m 72 and I’ve hardly even gotten started yet 😉


You Go Dave!!

Shafi Khan

This article makes so much sense. Competition analysis and doing proper research before starting is actually a must.

We often get pumped by thinking of a good idea and buy a domain name right away (I own 5-6 such names that I never did anything *sad*)

Thanks for sharing this article Spencer. Luckily my niche looks good and safe from medic update and no competitor was affected.

Let’s see how it turns out 🙂

– Shafi

Alamin Hossyin

Love You!!


Don’t know the graphs didn’t look too bad in reference to being hit by the Medic update. Looked like a promising niche.


I took one keyword best cpap mask and did my self competition analysis and noticed that first 5 websites that rank for that key are really organizations or medical related, ecomm of medicals items.

May I know why you considered this a good keyword?


Spencer Haws

Because there was still several other affiliate sites rankings. Means there still room. But I’ll admit that even that wasn’t the best keyword in the world.


I owned a really good CPAP domain name a few years ago that I was going to build out. One of the issues, and why I ultimately decided not to pursue it, was because it’s a medical device and finding affiliate products to monetize with became difficult.

Spencer Haws

Yep, makes sense.

Mr Alexander

Thanks for the insights Spencer. I also think that you made a good decision to drop this niche.

It would be great if you can please share your process of finding a niche, I think it is the foundation and likely one of the most important aspects.


Spencer, thanks for this post it is great to get an insight into how it should be done.
Just one question relating to the content in one of your examples: bestposturebrace(dot)com.
From the landing page through most of the pages there is a LOT of info, the landing page has over 10,000 words.
This might possibly (?) be good for SEO but will anyone visiting the site wade through so much grey matter on the page or will they get bored and look elsewhere for what they want.
I remember your pennyshaved site never had so much copy, is this a trend to have posts with a load of copy rather than the traditional +/- 500 words.
I look forward to your view on this, thanks.

Spencer Haws

That home page may have multiple articles (I’d have to double check). The length of the article needed depends on the length of other articles currently ranking in Google. (Try to make yours one of the longest if possible). Sometimes this is only 1,000 words. Other times it’s over 5,000 words. It just depends.


Thanks for sharing Spencer. It was a surprise to hear about this kind of niche but I remember from the past one guy was making good money in this industry.

Could you please tell how savvy it is to take keywords with volume of 110-170, should it be no less than 500?

Spencer Haws

Lower volume keywords can still do very well. Variations, other keywords in the same article, and more make it possible for one of these “small” keywords to get a decent amount of traffic.

Jack Little

Very interesting. I operate within two verticals that you mentioned and can confirm that they took a HUGE hit after the latest update.

One of my sites, which was pulling about 3,000 visitors per day, was reduced to 30 visitors per day. My income on this site dropped to virtually zero.

After the medic update, I wouldn’t touch any of these niches with a 10ft pole. At this point, any niche is better than a medical niche.

Spencer Haws

Ouch! From 3,000 to 30 is insane…sorry to hear that. Thanks for confirming my analysis though, glad I didn’t select this niche.


Hi Jack, wow that is a nasty hit. I hope you can recover from it some how. It is a good lesson, but a hard one. All the best and keep going!


The update definitely hurt those websites significantly. But after looking at those specific sites I am not surprised. doesn’t even have an about page, and several of the articles appear to be in chinese. And it has zero social profiles, no contact page, or affiliate disclosure page. It is an overall poor site. There is zero evidence of E-A-T on this site.

The least they could have done is make a persona of a person that runs the site.

I haven’t looked at its backlink profile, but I’m sure it is horrid as well (trustworthy links are probably the biggest factor for these health sites).

It may not be a good idea to go into this niche like you said, because I have seen where and other legit sites took a big hit in traffic. But there is probably still money to be made here if done correctly.

Spencer Haws

I agree, they could improve the site A LOT and that would help some. I agree with your analysis.


Yeah same with me I was looking at the sleep niche before the latest Google update had a potential domain and a lot of good keywords but I am going to have to look at another niche.

Spencer Haws

Good to roll with the punches.


Your mistakes and change(s) of mind are a BOON for followers of this project! It (perhaps somewhat ironically) adds a ton of value to this series. Thanks so much for deciding to share, instead of moving on and keeping this to yourself!

Spencer Haws

Thanks Steve! It’s hard to share, but I’m glad you and others are finding it helpful.

Dave Starr

Well, you surprised me, Spencer. Twice, actually.

First by your initial choise of subject. So many “young guns” in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s just consider seniors as broke, techically deficient old, penniless folk who have nothing to contribute.

But the reired spectrum of America alone is growing at more htan 100,000 per month and other develoed countries have similar growth rates. It’s a gigantic market that is only going to increase year over year.

The other surprise is that you gave up so fast. In one respect I feel silly in questionib your judgement, given the vast difference in our expereince level and online success records, but I think you gave up way too quickly.

There’s a ton that can be done n this space without “trespassing” on any of Google’s current medical advice paranoia sore points.

But hey, thanks for sharing. You’ve got me our of my rocking chair and convinced m to renew an ancient, retiree-oriented site of mine and put my efforst where my mouth is.

Cyndi Dahmer

Great article! The devil is in the details, as they say.
What about looking into things that old people might be interested in, even if it isn’t a “practical” sort of product, like for example, vintage Coca Cola merchandise, or Civil War art? You had written an article once about public domain (which was how I found you) and some of the things baby boomers would enjoy also happen to fit that category, (and incidentally, some young people are starting to get into vintage as well. Just look at the resurgence of LPs.) Although you probably made a good choice, I still wouldn’t throw the baby away with the bathwater. If the Baby Boomers are such a big market, it’s probably worth finding other ways to exploit it.

Spencer Haws

You indeed could be right. I think there are definitely potential angles that someone could take and still do well targeting the audience.

sujon gupta

Brilliant article SPENCER HAWS.

bestposturebrace – domain url have 12000 word article !!! its not a pretty big !! Whats the standard length from your view ?
Static / Dynamic is good for niche site ?

I did not found any specific reason for google hit !!! Google have 200+ rules, it is not possible to maintain all rules building a niche site. We all are focusing only great article and backlinks.

What’s the meaning of great content if we calculate – thankyourskin & 10beasts ?? these 2 website !! Thank you again.

John Morgan

Hi Spencer

Hats off to you for your openess and transparency….def not the norm in some IM quarters 🙂

I was leaning very strongly toward the baby boomer market and had a domain lined up when i started to read some of the post-update implications of being in the YMYL niches. Back to the drawing board.

Being a baby boomer myself, could we add ‘er’ to the old (people) references :-))

Spencer Haws

Haha, yes…age is all relative, that’s for sure.


Is it a good idea to start a Java blog now?


looking forward to read future updates on this project of yours, I just recently started a new site too, and want to see how I can implement in my site the things you will do


A very interesting read Spencer and thoroughly enjoyable to learn more about creating website niches.

I feel we place so much emphasis on google that we can lose sight of our own objectives at times and think about what will be good for Google instead of thinking about the end user (our customers)

Spencer Haws

Good thoughts.

Simon Rohde Nielsen

I’m glad to see you actually are sharing anything, and not just your succes stories!

Md Billal Hossain Sarker

Hey Spence, really cool!

Getting inspiration day by day. Hope you will write another story about your new niche. And if possible share some untouch niche which are not saturated yet.

And another query: did you purchase your wrong spelling domain from auction? Or that was a new domain? I’ve checked which and see, that domain registered two years ago. Whois info:

So if you did the purchase from auction, I request you to share your experience and about auction domain selection procedure too.

Thanks one more, dear Spence, sir!

Spencer Haws

I just bought it as a new domain.

Brett @ NicheLaboratory

I pulled out of the health niche in 2013 – I could see the writing on the wall. I just felt uncomfortable writing in that niche without any formal medical training.

It’s still uncomfortable to see, ahem, chiropractors become leading health advisors.

My current niche is free from such constraints – it is and always will be a hobbyist niche.


It takes some courage to publicly speak about mistakes.

For us, your posts are always helpful and insightful (even when you make a mistake, we too learn something from it).

Tobias Kemp

Hi Spencer, i joined your webinar last night and had one question from it. I’m from the UK and currently finding a niche to choose to follow along this journey with, however should i be looking to target the UK amazon, or target predominantly for USA customers? I think Amazon redirects users now to localised Amazon sites anyway but i guess i need to pick which products to review as some products wont be on the UK amazon but are on

I’m just worried if i limit myself to UK products and a UK domain, i wont earn as much or rank within the SERPs?

Thanks Spencer,

Abhishek Sood

Thanks for this awesome post. It will help me choosing my niche.

Ian Rance

Hey Spencer

That is just the weirdest thing. I was researching that exact niche this morning as I read your earlier Niche 4.0 articles and went off to buy a domain name that would relate to it excellently.

I just paid and the very next article is this one. What a giggle!

Well the domain name is not so specific and actually would suit quite a number of different themes outside medical. That said my plan was not to target specifically medical equipment that a doctor might use but more general life assist stuff of a broader nature like easy bottle openers, and life hack stuff that older people might NEED more than others might simply think useful.

So my $10 may not be a total waste after all! Ha ha.



This is so helpful! Thanks for sharing your thought process and research.



So, “meaningful 60th birthday gifts” and “best 60th birthday ideas” hit me pretty hard, having turned 60 this past July. WARNING: Get busy because it will slip up on you before you know it!!

But there is hope: My Dad was building apartments and running a small grain farm into his Mid 80’s!


Hi Spencer,

when you mention the monthly search volume in the table, do you mean it in the US or all of the world?

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