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This data, however, is often misinterpreted by newbies. They'll take the info and build sites to target the high-value keywords. Even if they manage to get their new MFA site built and high SERPs, however, the site could, as many MFA sites do, get smart priced.
Then, instead of getting $25/click, they get $0.01/click.
This is something sites selling high-value keywords for Adsense forget to tell you. You will need the high-value keywords, high SERPs, high-value website, and high conversion rate, to get the top Adsense dollars.
If you can line up all those ducks, go for it.
OTOH it doesn't hurt to look to see what the popular niche keywords are and check out how many ads are there on the topic.
I still put pages in that may not do well money wise but give the site more strength. But I also look to see what people are interested and branch out in my niche area in those directions.
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Another reason I don't believe much time should be spent researching high paying niches is that just because some people get $5 per click for a certain keyword, it certainly doesn't mean that you will too.
Another reason is that a high paying niche is likely to have more competition. It may take you 3 times as much work to get good positions for a niche that pays $1 per click as it would to get good positions for a niche that pays 33 cents per click.
I have created a few sites thinking they would be good money makers and they often are, but the sites that make me the most money are not the ones I would have expected.
That's my 2 cents.
The problem with what some do, is they end up spending a lot of time building a site (being that if it's competitive, it's going to require a lot of content), however because it's so competitive, the payoff is not as good and it becomes a you put in X amount of time for Y amount of profit when you could have put in X/2 amount of time and made Yx2 amount of profit" on a much less competitive niche.
I have lists of things I find interesting/fascinating. Every now and then I'll go out and do a "survey" if you will, of said topics. If it seems that interest is picking up for some reason or there is some big development on the horizon, and nobody is the "go-to" site, or if there are "go-to" sites, if there is room for another, I'll go for it.
I look at the sites I've done because they are sites that I thought should have existed and didn't (i.e. sites I'd visit) and I look at the sites I've done simply because they'd be a cheap buck, and the difference is huge. The ones where I'm really interested tend to do much better over time.