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Is this a good niche website topic?

Learning to use AdWords keyword tool....



4:12 am on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi everyone,

I have been using the AdWords keyword took in combination with Google searches for a couple of hours trying to find a niche that has high search demand but a low number of sites that might service that demand.

I think I found something but am wondering if you all can give me input on my methodology and my conclusions.

For purposes of this thread let's say that I found a phrase like so..."california cars and airplanes". That's not the actual phrase I used.

But let's pretend it is.

Now for this phrase I find that the Average Search Volume through the AdWords keyword tool is 33,100. If I enter the phrase into Google and put quotation marks around it I find that there are 3,970 pages that contain that phrase in it.

On the furface it appears that there is high search demand and a relatively low number of pages that service this phrase (i.e. low supply).

But if I take the quotation marks away within Google I end up with 253,000 pages that service the phrase, california cars and airplanes. Presumably because Google now includes any sites that have one or more of the keywords in my phrase but not neccessarily all of them.

Is this methodology to determine which phrases have high search demand and low site supply to service that demand a valid one?

Are my tentative conclusions faulty in some way?

Any input would be most appreciated.



PS. Again the phrase "california cars and airplanes" is a made up one with horrible search phrase demand and utterly worthless for my pursposes but I used it as merely an example. The numbers I quoted however are accurate for the actual phrase that shall remain unmentioned :).


4:32 am on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Only a small percentage of searchers will use quotes for their searches, so it's probably wiser to judge the competitive conditions based on what turns up when you search without quotes.


5:26 am on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Is this for Adwords, or are you trying to figure out how competitive a niche is primarily for organic search?


5:37 am on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I am using the AdWords keyword tool not to use AdWords per se but rather to determine a good niche market to build a web site around.

But I asked here on the AdWords forum because I didn't want to reach wrong conclusions about a particular niche based on the keyword tool numbers compared to the Google site count number returned in the search result.

As for the quotation marks....absolutely, searchers don't normally use quotes. But it seems to me and please let me know if this is not a valid observation, that searching with quotes returns to me a more meaningful count of web sites that are associated with exactly my phrase. Than if a leave the quotes out.

So for example if someone searches for -> california cars and airplanes...without quotes, the sites that turn up might be for cars, airplanes, or even california without the association being preserved between the three keywords.

But if I search for -> "california cars and airplanes" only those sites which have to do with what I am looking for show up in the number of sites available.

Giving me a much better indicator of how many sites actually service the particular phrase that searchers might enter and which seems to be a good phrase to focus on building a site around.

Does that make sense?

What criteria would you all use to determine which phrase is highly searched for and what the supply of sites servicing that demand is?

I think we can agree that a search phrase that is highly searched for combined with one that is serviced by few sites is a winner but how to determine that is the question :).



5:47 am on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

When you use AdWords Keyword Tool, you always have to think about broad, phrase, and exact match.

Just enter any single keyword or phrase (two or more words), and after you get results (for a broad match by default) sort them by search volume so the highest is first, and then switch from broad to phrase, and then from phrase to exact (drop down window).

You'll see that the tool keeps same search volume for broad and phrase, while it reduces it for exact. In a real world this is wrong as the phrase is VERY different than BROAD, especially expanded BROAD or however that is called. Why they're the same volume within the tool, I don't know.

Now, go backwards and think about why Google gives different search results for your phrase with vs. without quotes.

I believe that you should be looking into "exact" match in Keyword Tool when it's about search volumes. That way the only surprise could be a pleasant one - only.

Another thing you could try to combine with your existing practice is Google Trends.
I personally found that tool giving some weird results, but it's still worth of trying it out.
I say "weird" as I found some American brands and services being searched the most in Philippines and similar. This would include Google language settings that I've never heard of.


6:20 am on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks smallcompany. The only one I have been using in the AdWords keyword tool has been EXACT keyword searches combined with the phrase in quotation marks in the keyword entry box.

The numbers I listed above were for an EXACT match to the whole phrase.

The numbers do seem to look good. Do you concur?



7:54 am on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

What does it mean when the AdWords keyword tool says "Not enough data" in the Approximate Search Volume (for the month) column and a definite amount like 5,000 in the Approximate Average Search Volume column (over the last twelve months)?

How can there be such a big average amount of searches and no data for the last month?


8:26 am on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

"Not enough data"

It'll come back. It happens every some time.


2:35 pm on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

i wouldn't recommend this method of finding niches.

the aggregate sum of competitors is irrelevant, only a small percentage get exposure. many factors can increase the apparent population count that appears for given searches, most having nothing at all to do with business opportunities. There are syntactic / linguistic factors, contrarians ones and all sorts of things unrelated to what you think you're seeing in these ratios.

KEI is a decent tool, but not for making such an important business decision as what niches to try to occupy.


6:04 pm on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks RhinoFish.

I understand about the aggregrate sum of competitors as shows up in a SERP being irrelevant based on what you mention. That is why when I search for a keyword in a search engine to determine competitiveness I always place the phrase in quotations. Resulting in a reasonably accurate count of competing sites for that phrase in a search for that phrase.

I know about Wordtracker. I do not have the money to get it. I can't afford it. So I must make do with what I have access to over the Internet that does not cost anything. I am not being cheap. I just don't have the money to spend on otherwise excellent tools.

You left your post with a statement that invites a question. I don't know if you did that on purpose but if you don't recommend KEI for making such an important decision as which keyword phrase to focus on...what do you recommend? Other than a high priced SEO specialist...which as I said I can't afford.

By the way I know of persons who are making BIG money selecting keywords based on nothing more complicated than using the AdWords keyword tool and a simple Google search to determine both keyword demaned and supply respectively. And their claim to making money is not just fluff.



6:10 pm on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

As a side note....WebMasterWorld is really slow these days. I sit here twiddling my thumbs or visiting other sites while waiting for it to come up :).


3:44 pm on Feb 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

By the way I know of persons who are making BIG money selecting keywords based on nothing more complicated than using the AdWords keyword tool and a simple Google search to determine both keyword demaned and supply respectively. And their claim to making money is not just fluff.

If you know for sure that something works, do it. No argument there.

My experience has taught me that today it's simply not as easy as harvesting keyword search data. That said, it's a very complex landscape out there, so I'm not saying their claims are false, I'm only saying it doesn't work for me.


4:01 pm on Feb 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

You left your post with a statement that invites a question. I don't know if you did that on purpose but if you don't recommend KEI for making such an important decision as which keyword phrase to focus on...what do you recommend?

Again, this isn't a simple answer or technique. I have learned to look for many different things, some measureable and some more of a feel. I actually do have a checklist, but the things on it are a mix of perspectives, more a reminder list for me to view opportunities through lenses developed by things that I've experienced before. My list is prioritized and the things at the top include having a site idea that provides buying utility to the user, more than one available trusted / clean monetization partners and methods, need vs want product classifications, competitors who are classicly not pure onliners and on and on. So my list isn't a method to find ideas or niches, it's a list to screen ideas. When you do this full time, ideas roll in like the twice daily tides, you've got to find ways to cull the good from the bad or you'll drown.

Ultimately, your site's relative value in helping a user buy something is what matters most, not the niche you're in. Natural backlinking, ppc landing page scoring, conversion rate that yields the ability to bid higher for any keyword based paid ads, and on and on... all rely heavily on this.

Data analysis can reveal which type of baseball bat performs best, but owning one doesn't make you a big leaguer. It's just not that simple. Demand is only one aspect of the money machine you seek to build, and while it's certainly an important one, it's not at the top of the most important things to consider.


4:58 pm on Feb 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks for the additional input RhinoFish (and everyone else). Much appreciated.

I don't know if I should say this here, given that there are probably so many SEO professionals here, but it seems to me that success on the Internet has been overly complicated by an emphasis on SEO and other "techniques" that are seen as absolutely vital.

All it boils down, in my opinion, is to find a demand that is not being serviced by a supply of existing web sites such that one can build a web site to satisfy that demand.

Just as the law of supply and demand applies in the real world.

If there is any "key" to internet success it comes down to learning how to determine where there is overabundance of demand for something that is not being met.

Everything else (i.e. SEO techniques, how to build a web site, and everything else) is secondary.

An important secondary just as it is an important secondary in the real world with respect to establishing a real world business but...still of secondary importance.

If there is a great need for tacos in a given locality...one can build a nice restaurant and bring to bear one's accounting, legal, and other knowledge to make that restaurant the best it can be.

Or one can go buy some tacos at the local grocery store, some salsa, and go stand on a street corner somewhere and offer tacos and salsa for sale.

Both will succeed. Though of course the restaurant will succeed to a greater degree in the long run.

It seems to me that it's no different on the Internet. I don't have money to afford fancy this or that. I am just that guy standing on the street corner wanting to sell tacos.

But if the need is there...I should be able to tap into it and make some money. Maybe not a lot. But some. And eventually I might be able to afford that nice restaurant :).

Thank God the government has not yet been able to over-regulate and control business activities over the Internet! And that any taco wanna-be still has the chance to go buy some tacos and salsa and stand on any street corner they care to stand on without a licence :).

So many internet marketing sites hold themselves out as having the key. Or some secret technique. There is no such thing. It's simply the old law of supply and demand that determines ultimate success or not. On the internet as in real life.

One must uncover where there is an unnevenness between demand and supply using various market research techniques that are uniquely applicable to the the Internet but, it's just the law of supply and demand at the core.

Nothing fancy. Nothing secret about it. No need to pay lots and lots of money to get some edge over the competition.

Just find a need that is not being adequately filled and go fill it (through a web site of course).

Regarding the duplication of what someone is already doing to make money...for sure I can do that and that is my aim. But it takes quite a bit of digging around to figure out the particular techniques that a person used to uncover market need and how they used existing technology to meet that need. They usually don't give out that kind of information for free so in a sense, I have to reverse engineer what they did. Or come on forums like this one and ask questions :).

Sorry for the long post but I wanted to share something of what I have come to realize in my search to make money online for what it's worth.



2:00 am on Feb 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I really enjoyed your post. I'm in somewhat of the same position, trying to study and learn, without paying to subscribe to the dozens of "magic bullet" programs that offer quick riches. There is no such a thing. I'm not looking for a home run, just to get on base once in a while. Willing to study learn work hard.
Right now I'm just looking for one solution. I want to be able to go to a business and offer to search for keywords that are in their site and give them a report on how well that are doing in Google. Any advise on how to do this, other than copy and paste. Maybe Google Notebook?


2:27 am on Feb 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi Webstercat!

Glad you enjoyed my post. I was just shooting from the hip to speak but I think what I said is true with respect to all this just being a new twist on the ol' law of supply and demand.

I don't know anything about Google Notebook. I don't even know what it is.

I hate to bust your bubble as the saying goes but I don't know if offering businesses a report on how well they are doing in Google based on their keywords is going to be a winner. I don't know Webstercat. That sounds too generic. Too broad. As something that someone could get some idea of just by typing in a keyword that they know they are targetting and seeing if they appear on the first page of Google.

I could be wrong but that's how it seems to me off the top.

I am thinking that I will just take some of the ten niches I uncovered in several hours of using free tools and just build a web site around one as a real world test...to see how it goes.

It's only $10 a year or so to register a domain. And only a few hours to do some research and put up a few content pages at the site. If it looks like a winner based on traffic stats in a week or two...then it might be worth sinking a whole lot more time in doing more research and putting up some pages and brainstorming how to monetize it (more than I would do beforehand).

Maybe that's the best market research there is. Start a store. An internet store. To house a bit of information on it. See if it ranks highly based on the low competition count of the niche and if it does see how much real traffic comes to it. Instead of just relying on the Google AdWords keyword tool or other such thing.

I want to take notes for my own personal use anyway in one niche area I uncovered so even the several hours I put in to writing a few pages won't be a waste.

One could go back and forth forever trying to pin down the perfect niche based on keyword this or keyword that...and never do anything.

Now if I can just figure out a way to make the $10 bucks I will be all set LOL.



3:25 pm on Feb 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

You need to take your supply and demand anaology about the taco restaurant and morph it to fit what is actually happening on the Internet.

Online, things don't automatically get exposure and drive by traffic like they do in the offline world. Many people build sites that nobody ever visits or buys from. Online it is as if the size of things offline varied -- like a magical effect that could make some businesses super huge buildings (a taco joint the size of walmart) while making other ones extremely small (a taco joint the size of a hair on an insect).

So supply and demand online is VERY different than offline.

Good news though, there are limitless ideas you can try (with a very low cost of failure) online that you could never afford offline. Advantage there goes to the little guy! I'm thankful for that every day!


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