Frustrated With Market Research or Finding Niches?

When it comes to making money online, finding a niche is the step that frustrates people the most.

Everyone recommends different market research tools, all of the tools give different data, some people will tell you to look for certain numbers, there are lots of different numbers to analyze...

It's enough to make you pull your hair out!

Even more maddening is that this is the one little step standing between you - and your dream of running a successful online business...

It's time to get past this step so that you can move on to marketing and making money. These are my own personal secrets for finding & researching potential niches, which I almost always do in 20 minutes or less:

Use ONE Set of Tools

Decide what you are going to use, and stick with that set of tools. If you start looking at keyword numbers across a variety of keyword research tools you'll get a big variation in the numbers. That is confusing I know, especially when you are just getting started.

All of the tools get their data from different sources. None of the data is going to be 100% accurate, but WordTracker is the industry standard - and it is the closest to true numbers that I have found. Also, Overture is dead. Any tools that draw from Overture's database are giving you false numbers.

Stick with WordTracker, or at least use them to double-check numbers against other tools or programs. I often pull up their free keyword tool for super quick keyword checks:

Whatever you decide to use - Market Samurai, WordTracker, Google - use it and stick with it. That will keep you from going down a rabbit trail and getting confused.

There Are No Magic Numbers

We already know there are no accurate numbers. There are also no magic numbers. When someone asks the questions "How many searches is enough?" or "What number am I looking for?" - there is no cut and dried answer. The answer is that it's relative.

Maybe that just confuses you more, but let's look at it like this: You're not going to have just one web page. Or just one pay-per-click campaign. You are never going to be working with just one keyword phrase.

So it's less about how many searches each individual keyword phrase gets, and more about the niche as a whole and what you plan to do in it.

Just to throw out an example, I might put up a blog post around a keyword phrase that only gets 10 or 20 searches a day - if its a good keyword phrase. But I wouldnt set up an entire website around a keyword phrase that only gets 20 searches a day.

Also, it makes ZERO difference how many results there are when you search a possible keyword phrase. It doesnt matter if there are 3,000 or 3,000,000,000. Again, its relative to the project as a whole.

As a general rule, you are only competing with the top 10 results anyway. Everything past the first 5 or 10 pages is less an less relevant to the original search. You want to be in the top 10. Preferrably in the top 3 results. Those are your only true "competitors" - I dont even count the rest.

Micro Bigger is Better

If you are setting up a niche affiliate site, you're going to need more than just one page. So you're going to need more than just one keyword phrase. Every single page of your site will be optimized for its own keyword phrase, relevant to the content on that page.

You start with a more general theme, use more specific phrases for your categories, and use the longtail keyword phrases for your internal pages within each of those categories.

Mini sites never gain the authority that larger sites do, not in the search results and not in pay-per-click campaigns. It's true that search engines rank pages, not sites. But a larger site with a variety of inbound links to internal pages, along with solid internal link structure between relevant pages, carries more weight with Google.

You'll also expand your reach in your niche by having more pages to your site. The idea of micro niche marketing is to break it down on the page level. Not to create an entire website on "blue widgets with wheels made for Iowa only" - which would be all of about a 3 page site at the most.

Instead, create a website on "blue widgets" or "Iowa" and let your longtail keyword phrases be represented on individual pages of your site. You then use your content pages to promote your money pages. And your deep links coming to those pages from other sites will help your domain to rise in the engines as an authority. Make sense?

It's in the Intent of the Search

There are 205 searches a day for "presidential quotes". Of those 205 searches performed every day, how many of those people do you think will ultimately make a purchase based on their search? Isnt it more likely that they'll find the information, and go back to what they were doing with that info in hand? Yes.

There are 114 searches a day for "personalized baby blankets". These searchers are looking for a product to buy. They didnt search "how to personalize a baby blanket" or "history of personalized baby blankets".

When you're doing market research, consider who your market is and what they are searching for. Is it an information niche, or an ecommerce niche? Are they searching to read, or searching to buy? Make your work easy and go for buying markets!

Leave Room For Creative Thinking

Sure there's a little bit of science to keyword research and niche discovery. But you also need to use your head, and your gut instincts. Hot markets or trends, for example, are not going to show up in historical keyword data.

And of course, no amount of "perfect keyword research" is going to make someone spend $47 on an ebook at ClickBank for presidential quotes... when the other 9 results are giving them away for free.

The methods of Niche Discovery can sometimes be overcomplicated in my opinion. Any business boils down to this: find a market, and get in front of them with a product. Or find a cool product, and pitch it to the right market.

Next, See: How to Choose a Niche


About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...moreΒ»


  1. Hi Lynn,
    I can relate to this frustating experiences especially when just starting to try out.

    Guess like the guys at Stomper says (you mentioned here as well), not so much on how many competing pages but how competitive is the top 10 pages in term of SEO?

    One suggestion to roughly tell if keyword is worth it is to check the google adwords traffic for the keyword.


  2. Chuck Morgan says

    What would you consider a good number of pages for a site for good SEO?

  3. Michel Fortin says

    Hey Lynn,

    Not sure if you know, but my wife Sylvie has put together an excellent product on how to conduct market/keyword research properly, especially with WordTracker. Just FYI. (There's also a free video for those who are interested at

    Keep up the great work.

    Michel Fortin

  4. Wow Lynn,
    great article, clear and informative, thank you πŸ™‚

    I am wondering if you could just outline some examples, something like ^big market -> long tail to choose^

    - Nicola by

  5. Dennis Edell says

    Use One Set of Tools??

    Jeez Lynn, you just tore down millions of blog posts in one line.

    You know the ones, "Here's the best 47 tacking tools that I use on a daily basis...and you should too"

    I like your style, truly.

    My blog is for beginner marketers (a great portion are less then 1 year in business).....wanna guest post? πŸ™‚

  6. I use google tools to look for all my niches. We are all trying to get to the top of Google and they have all the tools that help us so why use out side tools when you have everything in one place.

    Its takes me about 30 minutes to find a niche and Know my keywords. You should target the longtail keywords first and once you rank for those move on to your main keyword.

    This is a good article thanks lynn!

  7. Hi Chantelle,

    I'm one of those weird people with "Google Paranoia" lol - so I rarely use the Google tools for anything. Another topic for another day, but...

    In the past, most of the tools they have provided have been inaccurate - the backlink checker, Toolbar PageRank, etc. This is intentional on their part, to keep "us" from "gaming the system" (ie doing SEO).

    I have a keyword phrase I found in WordTracker that is sending me traffic on a daily basis. That same keyword phrase comes up in Google tools as having zero searches. Very limited testing on my end, but having that experience 2-3 times and I quit wasting my time and went back to WordTracker.

    I'll confess - I'm no expert at Keyword Research. But I dont get hung up on it either. And I make money online in a wide variety of niches that I researched, set up sites for, and promoted.

    I know people who use Google "religiously" and they seem to do just fine. Given my experience I always advise people to double-check with WordTracker and test for yourself.

  8. You know the ones, Ò€œHere’s the best 47 tracking tools that I use on a daily basisÒ€¦and you should tooÒ€

    Wow -lol- If I were using that many programs, I'd never get anything else done! πŸ˜›

    I'd love to guest post for you Dennis. I have a full schedule this first quarter, but perhaps we could do a Cross Blog Conversation. What do you say?

    What would you consider a good number of pages for a site for good SEO?

    Hey Chuck,

    Good question! On a "mini site" I'd say at least 10 pages. Its not an exact science, but that would be a good minimum to go with.

    For anything other than a mini site, go with as many pages as you can create - capitalizing on every single longtail keyword phrase in your niche. Dominate!

    Guess like the guys at Stomper says (you mentioned here as well), not so much on how many competing pages but how competitive is the top 10 pages in term of SEO?

    Hi Matthew - actually I only look at the top 10 results - not pages. The top 10 pages would contain 100 results. But most people only get 10 results on the page when they do a search... and that's where I want my page to be πŸ˜‰

  9. I am wondering if you could just outline some examples, something like ^big market -> long tail to choose^

    Sure! Read this: PDF Download. Just right-click on the link and choose "save target as" to save it to your hard drive, or right-click and "open link in new window". It is a report I wrote that will walk you through that exact process - from idea to domain name!

    Enjoy πŸ˜€

    • Eric Phillips says

      Good post and the information in the PDF was valuable as well. I am curious how you start with broad keyword phrases using a blog format though? The home page content is constantly changing.

  10. @ Lynn

    This is why I love internet marketing...
    There is so many ways to get to the same point. I have much respect for you because I have read some of your articles and the information you share is real things that I already do or want to try out soon. IM blogs mostly write "Fluff" articles with not much real info.

    I am one of those people that use Google religiously and it has worked for me so far. Since I have never used any other tools I can not comment on them, but most of the tools I use to make money online are all owned by Google.

    If it works for you then more power to you.

  11. Ian Dunford says

    Ah Lynn

    So your not one of those Screaming Google Mania fans screaming Google! Google! Google! trying to get an Autograph or rip a piece off a Google Tee Shirt as the Google Limo drives by.

    You Know you will never be a Google Girl Now!

    I Like your Style Lynn, I really enjoyed this article I think you just Blew up most peoples theology on research though LOL.

    If anybody reads this comment make sure you have read the PDF included in this post by Lynn Very good Stuff.

    Going to include this in my Elite Diary.

    Have an Awesome Day Everyday

    Ian UK

  12. Lynn,

    Somehow I stumbled here while I was looking for somebody else, so I thought I'd have a squizz. Quite a nice blog you have. Nice and friendly and I liked that 11 second video of you laughing at your camera falling over - LOL!

    Anyway... the thing that so many people completely disregard in their quest for the almighty dollar is PASSION. If you have NO passion for a niche then, for HEAVEN'S SAKE, don't even get into it! I see so many people getting into things that they have zero interest in just to make money. How damn false is that? And it shows!

    My passion is motivation and self esteem and I would do what I do even if there was NO money. And that is the KEY. Do what you love and then find a way to make money in it. Then you will never "work" another day in your life.

    Keep up the good work here!

    Gary Simpson

  13. Glenys Power says

    Lynn, I was just going to say that if I had of read this post January last year that it would have cut 6 months off my learning curve....

    BUT I remember what I was like as a complete newbie then and in the thrill of learning about the possibilities of making a living in "Internet Marketing" I'm not sure I wouldn't have read it and said uhha and moved on to the next thing anyway..

    So for anyone totally new....

    1. use 1 tool!! Use wordtracker if you don't know of another one. Stop there! do not read another post about another tool untill you make money with this one.

    2. Don't get caught up in the numbers.. Think is this person sitting next to their credit card waiting to buy.. or are they surfing for free info.

    After a full year of learning and bouncing from one thing, launch, tool or otherwise to another. This information is gold, but you may just need some time to work that out for yourself.


  14. Alex Newell says

    Keyword word research has certainly had me in a spin for ages...

    In fact I just read a post on the same topic by Jennifer "PotPieGirl" and of course she give different advice.


    Lynn are you simply saying "find a tool you like and get on with it?"


  15. That's a good way to put it, Alex πŸ˜‰ The key is in not getting hung-up on any of the steps - just do it, and move forward.

    And that being my philosophy, yes there are plenty of times I've had to backtrack and fix things later - but the "getting it done now, fix it later" method has at least put me in business, and made me financially successful. Even if not perfect, which I finally gave up on (I'm a recovering perfectionist -heh).

    Too many people spend entirely too much time trying to use every tool, every method, figure out every detail - and they arent making money. I'm just saying... Use something that works, even if not perfect, and get going with your idea already.

  16. I found the post you were referring to Alex:

    Its a great read - and while I dont use Squidoo, I agree with what she said. Anyone reading the article, pay attention to how she analyzes her competition in the SERPs (Search Engine Results pages). Great post!

  17. Quite a nice blog you have. Nice and friendly and I liked that 11 second video of you laughing at your camera falling over - LOL!

    AnywayÒ€¦ the thing that so many people completely disregard in their quest for the almighty dollar is PASSION. If you have NO passion for a niche then, for HEAVEN’S SAKE, don’t even get into it!

    Thank you Gary and Welcome πŸ˜€

    I do agree with you on the point of getting into a niche you are passionate about. That is certainly ideal. Of course, not all the niches I work in are personal passions of mine. And so for anyone who is passionate about "making money", you'll want to see this post:

    Though Gary is right - its much more fun when you love the niche, love what you're doing and love working with the people you're doing business with!

  18. You Know you will never be a Google Girl Now!

    LOL Ian! Just to be clear, I do love Google traffic. And I've been known to wear my Google Tee's now and then (I have a few of them). I'm just stating the facts about their tools being less than reliable (on the webmaster end) πŸ˜‰

  19. Laurie Neumann says


    Very good post. I especially appreciated the explanation of differentiating between markets who are looking for information and those looking for a product to buy.

    Thank you!

  20. Lynn,
    Have you looked at Keyword Spy? I wondered how it stacked up to WordTracker.

    Good article!

  21. I havent, Chris - I stick to what works to keep it simple. I've tried a few in the past, but always end up back at WordTracker.

    One that I *am* reviewing this year is Market Samurai. I'll keep you posted of course πŸ˜‰

  22. thanks for letting me know about Wordtracker.I find it expensive their membership so I bought Market Samurai.what do you think is it a good investment?thanks

  23. I will be doing a review on Market Samurai in a few weeks, so I'll let you know once I dig in. But the link I gave for WordTracker in the post above is a free tool - and one I use daily myself πŸ˜‰

  24. Franck Silvestre says

    Awesome post Lyn,

    Right now, I am doing a step by step niche research blueprint on my blog, and people are already confused.

    The problem is that many people like to make things complicated.

    I noticed that they often mistake niche research and keyword research.


  25. Great post! I agree with Franck - people tend to over complicate things (I know I have before)!

    The bottom line is to get the information (your post says enough), don't over analyze, and get out there and do something with the research! πŸ™‚


  26. Actually i have not use this research. if you look for my blog, it is still young.

    I just write and writing

  27. Georjina says

    I noticed you mentioned using WordPress for your affiliate sites and that's my problem. Normally I handcode my minisites, which makes them all unique but as you probably can guess takes a lot of time.

    Is there an easier way to do this other than WordPress? Nothing against WordPress, it's simply a matter of preference.

    Great tips, glad I found you.

    • I use WordPress for some, but I also handcode a lot of my affiliate sites as well. Actually now I am using Dreamweaver and use SSI for any static areas of the site (navigation, header, footer, ad space, etc). XSitePro might be another option you want to look into - it might fit your style better.

  28. Hi, you mention that you only need to compete with the top 10 sites. How do I know if I will be able to compete? How do I analyse my competitors. With thanks for your kind help, Ken.

  29. Hi Lynn,
    I have used Market Samurai for over a year and still use Wordtracker for more accuracy. MS pulls from Google, and doesn't always match Google's own Adwords keyword tool.

    It does a better job of finding relevant content and affiliate programs on the big 3 (Amazon, CJ, and Clickbank) but I'm glad to see you're going to test it.

    Can't wait to see how your experience comes out.

  30. Jeffery Wood says

    Now that your post is almost a year old, I'll comment on it (it's not entirely my fault, I only found out about you this year).

    The biggest issue I've run into both for myself and with others is, "how big is too big" vs "how small is too small"

    Your example about the blue widgets: how does one know that widgets is too big, blue widgets is just right, and blue widgets with wheels is too small?

    Actually that sounds a lot like the three bears and porridge.

    - Jeffery

    • I've been toying with the idea of removing the date stamp from posts, and only dating posts where the content truly is time sensitive πŸ˜‰

      What you're looking for is market depth. If there are only 8 keyword phrases around "blue widgets with wheels" then you are really limited with your reach and your maximum profit potential.

      You could still do a mini-site and a promotional campaign, but that would depend on the search volume of those few keyword phrases and the commission rate of the product. And of course you'd want to factor in the competition - if it's not very competitive and I could easily make a few hundred a month (pretty much passively) I might take the time to set it up.

      It really depends on what your objectives are. Some people have multiple smaller, less profitable campaigns or sites (making money online). Some prefer to choose one niche and work it exclusively (start an online business). In the case of the business model, you need that market depth.

      This may help explain it better:

      • Dennis Edell says

        "I’ve been toying with the idea of removing the date stamp from posts, and only dating posts where the content truly is time sensitive"

        I've read more then once that this is a great idea. It makes you look a lot more impressive to new searchers, especially if you tend to go sometime between posts.

        • That, plus much of my archives are evergreen. Unfortunately some think that a post written 90 days ago must be irrelevant by now (lol). I actually blog frequently enough that the dates don't bother me in that regard.

          It's a misguided perception really. But a common one.

          I ended up removing them on the post and page levels only - not on the archives, in the search results, or on the main page.

          • Dennis Edell says

            I'm not sure what evergreen means, but "archives" by nature imply old, so you were right in not bothering with those.

            The main page shouldn't be needed unless you really do post one per month. lol

            Perhaps a tutorial on how to do it? πŸ˜‰

          • That's the whole issue, Dennis - my "archives" are not "old" just based on date of post. Most of my content is relevant even if I wrote it a year ago, 6 months ago, etc. But people assume that it's outdated, even though it is still as relevant as the day I wrote it.

            I removed the code for the date on the posts and pages - all of them. Just not on the main page, or on the pages that list archives, if that makes sense. Travel through the site a bit and you'll see.

            People who enter the site through a longtail keyword phrase, and visit for the first time, won't see a dated post. Which is good. People who visit regularly and come in through the main page *will* see dates - also good.

            All I did was edit the page and post files in the editor and remove that one line for the date.

  31. Dennis Edell says

    Is that one line easy to spot? πŸ™‚

    • I didn't have any trouble finding it...

      • Dennis Edell says

        Just to clarify since I reread my last comment. I was actually agreeing with you, archives considered old is merely a preconceived perception...and an annoying one at that. We can only hope that our readers new and old, read enough to see the timelessness in our articles. πŸ™‚

        As for finding a line of code at the bottom of the sea, think of me as an avid tech for dummies reader. LOL

        I'll get it eventually. πŸ˜‰

        • I'm not all that WP savvy myself, but I managed to find it pretty easily. I first took note of where the date was on the posts and pages, then looked for the code in relation to the elements around it. It was a simple one-liner to remove.

  32. Clay Franklin says

    For your hand coded sites you mentioned SSI, What is the easiest way to learn how to use it? This is so you do not need to code the exact same thing on each page right?

  33. If you're having trouble finding a niche, Google Directory Helps me every time! Try it out sometime.

  34. Roey at Free marketing Guides says

    Along the lines of keeping it simple, if we just remember two words, it will keep us on track. Those two words are:

    Commercial Inten

  35. Roey at Free marketing Guides says

    Along the lines of keeping it simple, if we just remember two words, it will keep us on track. Those two words are:

    Commercial Intent

  36. I guess Commercial intent is expressed when you find buying keywords.

    Such as...

    cheap blue widget

    blue widget sale

    blue widget coupon code

    BTW I heard that blue widgets are no longer being produced so buy your blue widgets now while you can!



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