From Pizza Boy to Making $18,000 With One Niche Site Series (1/3): Intro & Keyword Research

The past year has really been a roller coaster ride for me in my efforts to make passive income online.  In May of 2015, as I was on summer break from college, I decided to get a job at a large pizza company as a delivery boy.  After working for about three months with low wages and poor management, I knew it was time to for a change.  Fast forward to December of 2015, and I have successfully made over $18,000 with one single niche site after I sold it.

Proof:

Because there are so many fake internet marketing guru’s out there, I have decided to upload some proof from this past niche site.  This specific niche site was a mix of Adsense and Amazon affiliate, although the majority was made through Adsense.

Adsense September

At the time of sale, it was making an average of $680 over the previous three months.  As you can see, most of it was coming from Adsense at the time with a September earning of $539!

Amazon Proof PN

Although Adsense brought in most of the revenue, Amazon still brought in $134 for the month of September!

Website Wire Transfer

I sold the website for $15,000 (minus their listing fee percentage) with the help of Justin and Joe at Empireflippers.com!

What You Are Going To Learn In This Series!

  • Why Niche Sites?
  • Adsense vs. Amazon Affiliate
  • Extensive Keyword Research and Competition Analysis
  • Picking a Domain Name
  • Picking a Hosting Company
  • Site Setup: Themes, Plugins, Posts vs. Pages, Siloing
  • How I Rank My Niche Sites

Because of the sheer amount of information I plan on sharing, this will be split into three separate posts.  This post will be an intro and keyword research, the second will be about how I built out my site, and the third one will be how I ranked my niche site.

Why I Chose Niche Sites:

Before we jump into the whole process of building out a niche site, we need to understand why niches sites work, and why they’ll continue to work.  In the past couple of months, the interest level of niche sites has dropped off a huge amount after the recent penalties on PBN links.  This has caused many people to rethink if niche sites are even worth it, including huge figure in internet marketing Spencer Haws.  This has made a lot of affiliates to start rethinking if it’s even worth it to take the risk to make these niche sites, and after a lot of thinking, I definitely think it is!

Because niche sites are based around very specific keywords and section of a market, if you can provide content that helps visitors, and set up a site that isn’t a piece of junk, I see no reason why niche sites aren’t a viable way to make passive income online.  That being said, any venture online is going to have some amount of risk, but I think this is definitely worth it.

Niche Sites Are Easy and Cheap:

When you are looking for a way of making passive income online, it can be hard to find a method without having to invest hundreds if not thousands of dollars just so you have a shot at succeeding.  But, that isn’t the case with niche sites.  If you have ever made a website with WordPress before, and even if you haven’t, you can set up a niche site in an afternoon.  And from there, you can continue to upgrade and make these sites better as you add more content.  You can literally make a niche site and only have to pay for a domain name, and hosting which will be about $20 dollars.  Now is this the way I recommend?

No.  Definitely not.

Although it might be nice to only spend $20 building a website, if you really want to be successful you will need to invest some money in programs like Longtail Pro for keyword research, purchase a premium theme for your site to make your site look professional, and you’ll definitely need to spend some money on your link building campaign to actually rank your site.  Even with these expenses, building out a quality niche site will have a total cost of only a few hundred dollars, but the monthly revenue potential will definitely out weigh these initial costs.

Niche Sites Provide Nearly Passive Income!

During 2015, as I mentioned earlier, I made a total of over $18,000 from one single niche site.  And for this website, during it’s highest point I was only spending around two hours a month maintaining this website!  Yes you heard me right, I was spending two hours to make nearly $700 a month!  Although during the initial month or two while I was getting all the content on the site, and link building I spent more time, once it was all set up, it was very passive!  I’m sure Matthew Allen from Dumb Passive Income would agree with me, that passive income is the best type of income!

Adsense Monetization vs Amazon Affiliate Monetization:

When debating niche site monetization, the two main methods are through Google Adsense and Amazon Affiliate!

In the past few years, it seems that most niche site builders have been focusing on Amazon Affiliate for there sites.  I definitely understand the reasoning behind it, but you definitely shouldn’t count Google Adsense out.

Why Amazon Is Good For Monetization:

  • Amazon is trusted by nearly everyone.
  • Because of the 24 hour cookie on sales that you receive through Amazon, you often get commissions for products you weren’t even promoting!
  • Amazon sells a huge amount of products so there is always something to promote.
  • The more you sell, the higher your commission rate!

Issues With Amazon For Monetization: 

  • Keywords can be more competitive with e-commerce websites sometimes ruling the serps.
  • You can only be an affiliate for physical products (No software affiliates)
  • You can receive a Google penalty for having too many affiliate links on one page.

Why Adsense Is Good For Monetization:

  • Keywords can be less competitive, since there are more keywords available.
  • Higher conversion rates because the visitors only have to make one click, as opposed to two with Amazon.

Issues With Adsense For Monetization:

  • For the most part you might need more traffic compared to Amazon to make the same amount of money.
  • The ads can make your website look spammy if done incorrectly.

As you can see, both methods have their advantages and disadvantages.  To pick which one is best for your site, you really need to look at your websites keywords.  Picking which monetization method you will be using is really a pivotal part of your keyword research.

Now that we have gotten into the what and the why of niche websites, it’s time to jump into it.

My Keyword Research and Competition Analysis Guide:

If you learn anything from Passiveniches.com about niche sites, learn this:

Keyword Research Is The Single Most Important Step To Building a Successful Niche Website.

If you don’t do proper keyword research, you will never be able to rank on the first page for your keyword, and you will never make a significant amount of revenue from your website.  When I began making niche websites back in 2012, I probably registered five domains from Bluehost before I made any money.  And that was all because of my poor keyword research.  But thankfully you guys will be able to get some guidance on this process.

Picking a Niche:

Picking a niche for a website can be one of the hardest steps.  Not because it’s difficult, but more because you can have option paralyze and not know where to begin.  The general idea is to take a large category, and keep finding smaller subcategories until you find a category that has enough searches per month, and without too strong of competition. Because of this, I am going to give you my personal method on how I found golden keywords for both Amazon Affiliate and for Google Adsense!

Items To Find a Successful Keyword:

  • Long Tail Pro: It is simply the best program for finding keywords, and helping to judge competition.  (One Time Subscription Fee, but it’s definitely worth it!)468x60LTP
  • A Majestic Subscription: This can be very useful in helping to look at backlinks, and judge how powerful a competitors off page SEO is.  (As a free user you get a limited amount o searches per day, with paid you get unlimited among other features)
  • Semrush Account: This tool gives you all the keywords another site is currently ranking and getting traffic from.  You can put your competitors in this tool, and find keywords for your own website to start focusing on.  (This is a paid tool, but a free user gets a few searches per day with limited results.)
  • Google Keyword Planner: Tells you an estimate on how many searches per month a specific keyword might get.  (Free Tool)

Checklist For a Good Keyword:

  • Monthly Searches = 1,000+ (Ideally anything above 2,500 is better).
  • Long Tail Platinum Keyword Competitiveness Below 30 (Below 25 is even better).
  • Low Average Domain Authority (At least three sites with below 40)
  • Low Average Page Authority (I like to look for 30 and below)
  • Fellow niche sites in the SERPs is not a bad thing.  If they can rank, I can rank.
  • Less than three E-commerce websites in the top ten (Amazon, Target, Lowes, ect.)
  • Less than 50 backlinks to the sites in the top 3 positions.
  • Product Price Above $50 (Only If Doing Amazon Affiliate)
  • Cost Per Click (CPC) Above $0.75 (Only If Doing Google Adsense)

Finding Golden Niche Keywords For Amazon Affiliate:

Because Amazon has been all the rave with niche builders, I am going to start with how to find good keywords for Amazon affiliate.

I am currently offering a done for you Amazon Keyword Service!

Amazon Homepage

I start looking for keywords on Amazon.com.  Once there I go to the top left corner and select “Shop by Department”.  This will bring you to a page of categories, and links to subcategories in those links.  As you can see there are quite a few very large categories like “Sports and Outdoors”, and then their subcategories like “Camping & Hiking”.  Because these main categories and even these subcategories are so big, we will need to narrow it down even more.  To do this, you will click on one of the subcategories.

Amazon Sub-sub keywords

As you can see I clicked on “Camping & Hiking” on the last screen, and I’m now presented with this new screen.  From here Amazon has provided you with even a more specific list of categories.  As I was looking through this list, my eye spotted the “Knives & Tools” link.  Based off of this, I will think of some keywords that are similar to this, for example “Hunting Knife” and “Folding Knife”.  But also take caution because as you are thinking of these seed words for Long Tail Pro, you do want to think of products that one people will buy off of Amazon, and products that are over the $50 price range so that you get a decent commission from each sale.

From there I will take these few keywords and plop them in LTP.

LPT Filtered Keywords

Once Long Tail Pro has done it’s thing and all the keywords have loaded.  You will filter the keywords by typing in “Best” in the filter option in the top left corner, and then filter the local searches and have them descend from most searches to least.  The reason I use the query “Best” to filter the results is because this filters the keywords to only buyer keywords.  If you are an Amazon Affiliate you want to focus on keywords which will get buyers to your site.

As you can see we are then provided with a list of keywords that are based off our original search.  And because they are ordered by searches, it makes it really easy to find keywords that are suitable.  An example of a good keyword is “Best Hunting Knife”.

Best Hunting Knife Competition

If you are beginner, I suggest purchasing at least one month of Long Tail Platinum.  This will help you quite a bit during the competition analysis of a keyword by doing all the hard work and actually assigning a Keyword Competitiveness score to each keyword.  If you have Long Tail Platinum then any keyword that has a Keyword Competitiveness Score (KC) below 25-30 is definitely a keyword to consider.

 

Finding Golden Keywords For Google Adsense Niche Sites:

Keywords for Google Adsense are pretty similar to keywords for Amazon affiliate in the terms of checking competition, and how many searches per month.  But with Google Adsense, you don’t necessarily need to focus on buyer keywords.  Because you can focus on more informational keywords, you can definitely find some lower competition keywords easier.

When I begin to think of keywords for Adsense, I like to start by thinking of ideas that I know will have a high CPC and there are lots of questions pertaining to this idea.  For example, I know the medical field has a lot of questions surrounding it.  As I was writing this I was thinking of different things in the medical field and I immediately thought of “Braces”.

Now that I have this seed idea of “Braces”, it’s time to narrow it down into something that I can actually rank for in Google.

Head over to Ubersuggest.org.  Ubersuggest is a free tool that all you have to do is a small seed keyword, and it will shoot out hundreds of suggestions of keywords that are similar to seed keyword.

Now, my plan of action is to focus on answering a specific question regarding Braces, so do find my keyword I am going to enter typical question phrases before my seed word of “Braces”.

Ubersuggest BracesAs you can see, in Ubersuggest I entered my seed keyword “Braces”, and then I put the word “how” in front of it.  Other words I could have entered to help find question keywords could be the following:

  • How
  • Who
  • Where
  • Why or Why do

This helps to narrow down this huge niche into something that we will actually have a chance of being successful in.

Ubersuggest results

Now, after I clicked suggest, I was presented with 799 suggestions for keywords that start with “How Braces…”.  From here we are going to copy and paste some of these keywords into Google Keyword Planner.

Keyword planner

 

From here we are going to copy and paste some of these keywords into Google Keyword Planner.

Google planner top kws

Make sure you click the tab that says “Keyword Ideas” instead of “Ad Group Ideas”

Now we are presented with all of the search volumes for the keywords we entered.  What I typical do is sort the keywords by “Avg. Monthly Searches” and from there I will take the top few and plug them into Long Tail Pro as seed words.

Seed words into LPT

If you want to filter results you can put the minimum “Local Search Volume” up to around 500, but I’ll be sorting the results by descending search volume so I don’t bother.

LPT results

As you can see now we have hundreds of quality keywords that we can sort from, and find a good keyword.  This process is definitely sped up if you sign up for Long Tail Platinum as it will load a Keyword Competitiveness right next to all the keywords.  But for the sake of this guide I will be doing this manually.

Great Keyword

As I was scrolling through all these keywords, the keyword “Rubber Bands for Braces” popped out at me.  This keyword has 1900 searches per month, and a CPC of $1.38 so it passes those checklists.  Along with that, the PA and DA are very weak.  Overall this looks like a great keyword!

 Judging Keyword Competition:

So after you found a keyword that passes the basic keyword checklist I had at the beginning, it’s time to dive a little deeper, and make sure this is definitely worth you time!

As I was mentioning earlier, judging the competitiveness of a keyword can be extremely difficult when you are just beginning, and it’s definitely made easier with tools like Long Tail Platinum as this tool will give a number scale for each keyword on how competitive it is, with 1 being the lowest possible, and anything above 50 you just shouldn’t even attempt.  I generally suggest focusing on keywords that have a 30 keyword competitiveness score or lower, as these you should be able to outrank with an educated backlink plan!

If you don’t have this tool it is still possible to judge competition.  Use the following tips along with the keyword checklist to help:

  • Ecommerce websites are bad, and you shouldn’t attempt a keyword if the top ten is littered with them.  Google often gives e-commerce websites a little bit of a boost over regular sites for certain keywords.  So stay clear if you see this.
  • Other niche sites aren’t a bad thing.  If you see one or two niche sites ranking in the top ten that means it’s obtainable for you as well! Aslong as they don’t have a huge amount of high quality backlinks which you can check by using Majestic.  Look at the trust flow and citation flow of their backlinks, if they have a lot of high metric and non spammy backlinks, then it might be too much work, and not actually worth entering this niche.
  • If there are other niche sites in the top ten, consider using Semrush to find all the keywords they are ranking for, so that you can target those as well!  I have literally found quite a few keywords for my past websites that I had no idea existed but I found them on Semrush and I was able to put up a new page focusing on them, and bring in some extra traffic!

I am also offering a done for you niche site keyword service here.

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Comments

  1. really helpful and detailed , looking forward to the next post

  2. Thanks for visiting! The second post will be post within the next few days. Thanks Mehdi!

  3. Awesome Article! I just came to your site on a friend’s recommendation. But kind the height of knowledge you shared on your site, I really appreciate your hard work. This will definitely help a newbie to start his own business. The point where a newbie stuck is how the hell to get start, i mean those initial steps. You explained those very well. I am very very excited. I hope you will publish the last article in this series on “How to get Ranked?”. Hoping for your best, Brett! 😀

  4. Great motivational story… :)

  5. Zebon Hasan says:

    Hello Friend
    You are on the super right track and love to read more blog article from your side and bookmarked it, I want to follow you’re every post and tips. Can I get your twitter/facebook account? thanks

  6. Hi, Brett! I think you are the first person I have found who has actually written exactly what to look for in a keyword. Thank you!

    Hannah

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