How can YOU get the most out of the Niche Laboratory?
In this article I'll run through interpreting the report for the African Safari Holidays sample project.
I chose African safari holidays as the type of keyword that would be great for designing a niche site about. People going on vacation want ideas, and safari holidays are exactly the sort of niche to base a travel-themed niche site around. Remember that most people haven't been to Africa before, so they'll be absolutely full of questions about where to go, what to see and how to stay safe.
OK, let's go and brainstorm our niche...
First up, check out the Keywords section of the report.
There are plenty of keywords that I'd want to use if I was building a niche site about African safaris. First up, I noticed a whole list of country names: Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Zanzibar, Uganda and Rwanda all appeared in the keywords list. So people wanting to go on safari will definitely need to know about these destinations.
Remember that Niche Laboratory lists keywords in order of importance. So it's safe to say that most people will be interested in safaris to Kenya.
There's loads of other useful keywords I spotted:
One tip I also have is to look for keywords that aren't there. For example, in the safari report there's actually very little mention of the animals you'll see. In fact I could only find a mention of gorillas. There are two explanations:
Next up, Keyword Phrases. The Niche Laboratory will pick out selected phrases that can help you find the key points relating to any particular niche.
So which phrases did I spot in the African safari holidays report? Here's some highlights:
So many niche ideas there. And I'll remind you that I got ALL these ideas from the Niche Laboratory. I've never been on safari, I've never been to Africa, yet with one report I already know what people want when they're looking to book a safari vacation!
Next up is the websites report. Here's the websites report for the African safari niche.
In this report you'll see the top X number of websites that are already ranking on Bing for the keyword African safari holidays. The value of X can be changed in the Niche Laboratory Settings window. 10 to 15 is usually best. Any less and you'll see less keywords in the reports. Any more and you start to see less relevant keywords.
Incidentally, you'll see similar URLs ranking for the same search on Google.
It's worth visiting the websites listed in the report to see what sort of competition you're up against. Also scroll down to see the website page title and meta tags reports. Generally speaking, the more URLs and page titles that already contain your keyword, the more competitive that keyword is going to be when it comes to search results rankings. In this example, I see that someone's already set up africansafariholidays.net and africa-safari-holidays.com, and they're both ranking well, despite not being particularly attractive looking sites.
My tips with the meta tags report is to look for niches where most of the sites don't have good descriptions and they don't have many keywords listed. This indicates that the niche may not be very competitive, and site owners haven't even bothered to SEO their site much. Which means you could have a good opportunity to rank well.
Onto the niche images report. Here's the images report for our safari niche.
They say a picture paints a thousand words. So use this report to get loads more ideas about a niche.
One thing I spotted in one of the photographs for this niche was a hot air balloon. So I wonder if balloon safaris are popular?
Another photo shows a couple dining by sunset, with a giraffe in the background. So that got me thinking about evening/nighttime safari expeditions.
Of course in a niche like safaris, you'll also see lots of photos of animals, in this case giraffes, elephants and zebras.
If you're starting a safari niche site, then these are exactly the sorts of photos that you need to put on your site. One tip I have is to put a relevant photo in the top left hand corner of your site. That will then act as a powerful visual clue that you've come to the right place. If possible, incorporate the image into your logo. Here's a particularly brilliant example from webuyanycar.com:
The very first thing you see on this site is a logo with cars on it. So as soon as you click through to this site, your brain confirms that, yes, this is a site where you can buy or sell your car!
A simple trick, but when I was compiling the data for FindAForum, I found that over 60% of forum owners had no visual clues as to what their forum topic was actually about.
Incidentally, the images in these reports may be copyrighted. So take what you can from them, but when it comes to building a site of your own, find royalty free images, get permission to use images, or take your own photos!
In the forums report you'll see details of the discussion forums that may be closely related to your keyword.
In the safari example, there are a few travel related forums, and one about fish.
These forums could be good places to market our new site about safari holidays. Forums can also be very cheap places to advertise on, especially smaller forums run by somebody for fun rather than pure profit. Generally speaking you'll also find that traffic from forums converts like crazy.
For example, on a forum about Porsche cars, you'll expect that over half the members probably have Porsche cars themselves, so it will be very easy to sell them car parts, specialist car insurance and other items.
Niche Laboratory doesn't always find many forums relating to a particular niche. If it doesn't find many forums in your niche, then maybe you can start your own forum!
All this stuff is all well and good, but how easy is it to actually rank a site and therefore get traffic in your chosen niche?
This is where the Niche Laboratory's Competition Matrix report comes in useful. It's a quick way of assessing how much SEO has been going on in any particular niche, and therefore how hard it is likely to be to get traffic in that niche.
It's a kind of Market Samurai Lite, in that it analyses your potential competitors in order to spot opportunities in search results.
Here's the Competition Matrix for the safari holidays example key phrase.
This phrase has an Estimated SEO Difficulty Score of 46%. So there's a fair bit of competition in this niche. But with a good site and some fresh ideas, you could easily muscle your way into this kind of niche.
Finally at the bottom of the Niche Laboratory report is the Raw Data report.
This report contains the keyword and phrases data in a format that's easier to copy and paste into other applications and keyword research tools.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions?
If you have any comments or suggestions, then please get in touch. I'd love to know how you're using Niche Laboratory, and how I can enhance it to make it even more awesome. My contact details are here.
Stuck for niche ideas? Try writing down everything you've done in the last year, then narrowing down that list to 2-3 things you'd enjoy blogging about. You don't even need to be an expert in these things, but it is useful if you have a desire to learn more about them.
These are the current most popular broad niches being researched by users of the Niche Laboratory.
Key: = riser, = faller, = non-mover, = new
View more data on the Insights page.