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Defining Niche Keywords & Keyword Difficulty - Development of a New Essential and Unique
It is common knowledge amongst search engine optimizers that finding "niche
keywords" is fundamental in our quest to attract visitors to a website. There are many keyword
suggestion tools that claim to find niche keywords but in practice they generate lists of
keywords without any practical means or guidance for separating out the niche keywords for us.
In this article "keywords" includes keyword phrases.
How do we define a niche
Surprisingly, there does not appear to have been even one serious attempt at a
definition of a "niche keyword".
The following definition is recommended: A niche keyword
is defined as having an above threshold search volume for the targeted locality of a website
with potential for top ten positioning on the search engine results page (SERP) for that
Although websites remain reachable from any location, the
vast majority of websites are targeted at visitors within a country, state/county/province, or
city/town. Only a minority of websites aim to provide information universally or seek sales
internationally. Locality orientated searches form the fastest growing sector on the internet -
currently estimated at 12%. A search that includes a locality has a better chance of converting
on e-commerce and e-marketing websites.
When we seek niche keywords for locality based
websites, we need data on the number of searches conducted for that locality and an assessment
of the competition for the country specific search engines. The most popular search engine is
Google. Examples of Google country specific search engines are Google.co.uk, Google.ca
(Canada), Google.fr (France) and Google.jp (Japan). In addition to having the largest search
database, and being free of charge, the Google keyword research tool has the advantage of
providing both global and country specific monthly search volumes.
The threshold search volume that is acceptable for a website is dependent on its
A global information website might choose a threshold search volume of a thousand
searches per month before it would consider creating a web page focused on a keyword.
website seeking clients within a locality might consider the return on investment acceptable
for developing a web page on a keyword with potential to attract even one additional client a
Top 10 Positioning on Search Engine Results Pages
Few searchers click on web
pages positioned below the top ten on SERPs. Whereas 42% of searchers click on the number one
positioned web page for a search, only 0.7% of searchers will click on the 11th positioned web
page and 0.07% for the forty first positioned web page. Put another way, if the number one web
page for a keyword receives 600 visitors, the 11th web page will receive 10 visitors and there
will be just one click on the 41st. From an SEO point of view, a web page that cannot be
positioned within the top ten positions for a keyword on the SERP will fail to bring much
Keyword difficulty is an assessment of the chance of
positioning a web page within the top ten positions on a SERP for a
Traditionally competition has been evaluated mainly by the number
of 'results' which is the number of competing web pages. The Keyword Effectiveness Index - KEI
- is the most popular formula for identifying "effective" keywords. It incorporates keyword
popularity data (P = number of searches) and the competition (C). The formula is
Invariably a search will show at least hundreds of competing web pages (results) and
often millions. Whilst the number of results will provide some indication of keyword
difficulty, it is the strength of the top ten web pages compared to the potential strength of
the page we can build on our website that will determine if our page can reach the top ten. The
competitive strength of the top ten competing web pages for a keyword is not a direct function
of the total number of competing web pages. The strength of the competition of the top 10
competing web pages for a keyword with only 10 thousand competitors will be far greater than
1,000th of the strength of the competition for a keyword with 10 million competitors.
a search engine optimization perspective every web page should be optimized around one
From a web design point of view, we need to consider three types of web
1. Pages that are required to cover the theme of the website but are based on
keywords that are so competitive that they are unlikely to achieve top page positioning and
therefore will not bring visitors to the website. For example, a holiday accommodation
advertising website may produce an excellent page on "Italy". If it provides useful
information, it will be appreciated by visitors who arrive on the website. High positioning on
the SERPs for "Italy" is unlikely, however much effort you put into it, and this page will not
bring visitors from the search engines.
2. Pages that are required to cover the theme of
the website and are based on niche keywords and may bring visitors to the website - in practice
there are unlikely to be many of these.
3. Pages that are not obviously required to cover
the theme of the website but are developed around relevant niche keywords from a list of
keywords initially generated by a keyword suggestion tool. The difficulty here is separating
out the niche keywords from the full list. We need to focus our precious time and SEO efforts
on the niche keywords where we can successfully compete.
How do we find the niche keywords
from a list of keywords initially generated by a keyword suggestion tool?
In 2004, it was
estimated that Google included 200 factors in its positioning algorithm. In 2009, many search
optimization optimizers believe Google now uses more than 300 factors. It is unlikely that each
of these factors carry equal weighting.
Using retro-analysis of top ten positioned web
pages for numerous keyword searches, the author identified the most important, but
underestimated, factor in the Google algorithm that determines positioning on SERPs (HomePage
PageRank or G-Factor-I). It then became apparent that a second factor (G-Factor-II - a hidden
boost to the effective PageRank of HomePages competing for a keyword) significantly influenced
Once aware of G-Factor-I, identification of niche keywords by manual analysis
of a list of keywords generated by my favourite keyword suggestion tool proved to be
prohibitively time consuming. For a list of 50 keywords, the G-Factor-I must be determined for
each of the top 10 web pages - 500 calculations. A unique, purpose built program - Keyword SEO
Pro - has been commissioned. No analysis is required for G-Factor-II.
The Most Important
Question In Search Engine Optimization
The most frequently asked question that I am asked
by web site owners is "How can I get my web pages to the top on the SERPs for my keywords?" My
advice may surprise you: Take out the "How"!
You will then have the most important question
web site owners and search engine optimizers should be asking:-
"Can I get my web pages to
the top on the SERPs for my keywords?"
Using the combination of KeywordSEOPro to analyze
for G-Factor-I for a list of keywords and by comparison with G-Factors-I and II for your own
web pages, you will be able to identify your niche keywords and focus your SEO efforts
appropriately. A more detailed explanation is provided on the website.