Niche Site Challenge #1 – The Saga Begins

by Jon Cooper

For those who don’t know, I decided to take on Pat Flynn’s niche site duel challenge – the only difference is this is a year after the fact. For most of you, I bet you’re wondering if these types of niche site techniques still work, so I decided to put them to the test. I’ll try to walk you through each step as best as I can, and don’t be afraid to ask questions on the way in the comment section below.


Alright, let’s get started. The first step in the whole process is choosing a niche. The four things that make a profitable & obtainable niche is low competition, high search volume, high Adwords CPC, and a passion for the topic. Each is essential to making this project be successful, and without just one of them, you could be killing your chances of making this work.

  • Low competition is key because if you can’t rank for it, there’s no point building a website around it. So many niche websites have failed because they went for a keyword that was in no way possible to rank for in the time frame you want it to.
  • High search volume is obvious, but don’t think they need to be off the chart numbers. I’ll give you specifics later on.
  • The third one you want is a high Adwords CPC because if no ones advertising for that keyword/phrase in Google, then no one will want to advertise on your site, which is one of the most popular ways to monotize your site.
  • Lastly, you need to be able to write about your topic with a passion. This is optional, but strongly suggested. If you want your niche site to be successful, you need lots of quality content. I stress quality because if your content looks like it was written by fourth grader, no ones going to stick around on your website and convert. Again, it’s optional because some of you might end up outsourcing your content writing.


Here’s some of the specifics you want to hit when researching your keywords. You want upwards from 50 Phrase searches a day. Exact searches are even better, but 50 phrase searches will do. I recommend going for a keyword around 100, but most guys say 50-60 will do the trick. For competition you want to find a niche in which there are no exact phrase domains linking in the top 3, because that means someone’s already beat you to the niche. You might have success if they’re on the bottom half of the first page, but first look into their site and see what they’re doing. If they’re getting solid links & creating great content, chances are it’s too competitive of a niche. If you find one static page with 5 links to it, then that’s great news: the only thing ranking them high is their domain name, so get one very similar and you shouldn’t have a problem ranking. You want usually all your results having little on site optimization for that specific keyword, and you want those pages to have a PR of 3 and lower. Try to stay away from a niche with the top 5 pages having PR4 and up. For Adwords CPC,  $1 and up will do. I usually look for $2-3, but between 2 and 1 will be OK as long as the advantages off set each other, like a higher search volume.

Another thing to note – the domain is the most important part of your project. If you can’t get an exact match domain of .com, .org, or .net, you better be very confident that you can rank for the keyword with a keywordhq.com or mykeyword.com domain. I’ve read a lot of research on exact phrase domains, and this could be the single most important reason why you’re ranking high.


So we know what we’re trying to do and how to do it, but how do we find niches to start researching in the first place? Pat tells his readers to pick 7 likes, 7 fears, and 7 problems you have. The only thing I’d tell you when doing this process is to make sure you think of things that are unique to you and aren’t loved by the world, like fantasy football. I’d put money that there are hundreds of fantasy football niche sites just because almost every man in America loves playing it. Write down the 3 7’s so we can start researching.


I’m usually skeptical of a lot of Internet marketing tools on the web, but one that I’ve seen promoted everywhere is Market Samurai. I decided to try this tool out on a 14 day free trial, and wow was that the best choice in keyword research I’ve ever made. This tool really lives up to the hype – You can find great keyword analysis combining Majestic SEO & Google Adwords data. I did all my keyword research using this tool. I’m debating whether or not to create a demo on using this tool, and in the mean time you can find a ton of great tutorials on it (Pat does one on this post).


After doing research on various niches, I ended up finding ‘BPO Industry’ to be my best bet. BPO stands for Business Process Outsourcing, which has to do with big businesses outsourcing specific business tasks either onshore, offshore, or nearshore. What made me choose this niche is because of an exact match .net domain, low competition for the exact term (few of the top ranking pages optimized on page for it), and the only page that would be problematic when ranking is the Wikipedia Business Process Outsourcing page. They rank #1 for it, and it looks like it’s the only thing that might come between my site and a first spot ranking.


Also, I will be cheating a little bit. I linked to my site from my blogroll so you can check it out easily, but this will skew the links towards the site a little. Ideally I would not link to the site at all, but in reality I want to make money off of this site just as much as you would, so give me a break here J.


What do you think of my keyword research technique? Yeah, a lot of people do the same thing & use the same tool, but I honestly think there’s nothing wrong with that. If you know of a better tool, comment below about it (please, don’t try and promote it. I want honest responses).


Thanks for reading – stay tuned for my next post on setting up your website. Please share this post! It makes a huge difference – I don’t make a single cent off this blog (call me crazy), so I only care about readership. Please subscribe to my RSS!

Niche Site Challenge #1 – The Saga Begins

Niche Site Challenge #2 – Creating Your Niche Site

Niche Site Challenge #3 – Content Creation & Organization

Niche Site Challenge #4 – Rankings Update

Niche Site Challenge #5 – My Highly Effective Link Building Strategy

This post was written by...

Jon Cooper – who has written 129 posts on Point Blank SEO.

Jon Cooper is a link builder based out of Gainesville, FL. For more information on him and Point Blank SEO, visit the about page. Follow him on Twitter @PointBlankSEO.

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  1. Jon Turner says:

    This looks good so far Jon. I pretty much do the niche/keyword research the same way.
    At the moment I’m focusing on the Health & Fitness market as I have years of experience and quite an interest. This gives me plenty of knowledge to draw upon and the enjoyment of the subject to keep me focused.
    I’ve chosen to mainly concentrate on promoting products from Amazon. I’ve usually gone for the ‘sniper’ style of site which focuses on promoting 1 or 2 products only, where I go for the product name or model buyer keywords. However, I will soon start work on an authority style site as I feel Google prefers these type of sites, and it gives me a chance to add a wider range of content.

    Looking forward to see how you go about setting up your website. I may have some questions for you then as I seem to struggle a bit with getting my sites to look the way I want them too! (even though I do love WordPress!)

    all the best


    • Jon Cooper says:

      First of all – great name :). You already said it but I forgot to mention it in the last comment.

      On the subject of authority sites – I’m trying to do that with this particular niche site because of the reasons you stated. I have a wide range of content to publish (in this case, I can create a ton of content about individual BPO companies). This also opens me up to a larger body of traffic. Unfortunately there aren’t a ton of products to promote in this niche, just a few books from Amazon, so I’m going to have to get creative. I’m probably just going to stick with some advertisement.

      I should publish my next post in the 5 days or so, I’ve had so much on my plate lately. Just got back from the Hubspot HUGS 2011 Inbound Marketing conference, so I might throw in a post about the event before I jump into my second niche site post.

      Thanks so much for your feedback! Feels good to know someone’s on the same path as me 🙂

    • Chris says:

      I’ve also wanted to try creating niche sites for products, but I don’t know how to do that without being guilty of copyright infringement. Do you have any ideas? Thank you!

      • Jon Cooper says:

        It’s ok to give a product review and then shoot an affiliate link to the actual product – this is how many niche sites make most of their revenue! The only thing on copyright infringement is to not have the domain name exactly the name of their product & make sure you give all credit to the company who produced the product. Also, write for your own content.

        Hope this helps!

  2. Jon Turner says:

    Yeah, it would be interesting to hear about the Hubspot HUGS 2011 Inbound Marketing conference and any tips & ideas you picked up. I haven’t come across it before, so I will have a look into it when I get time.
    I’ve decided on the topic for my niche site & have two domains in mind but I’m unsure of which one to go for. Say my keyword is ‘light blue widgets’ would you go for a domain of ‘light-bluewidgets.org’ or a domain of ‘lightbluewidgetshq.com’ ?
    The competition for this keyword isn’t exactly low but if I begin by trying to rank for my inner pages (which ARE low competition) and gradually gain authority & trust in Google, my domain will move up the rankings.

    Looking forward to your next post.


    • Jon Cooper says:

      That’s a little tricky, but I’d go with lightbluewidgetshq.com. I’ve gotten feedback saying that dashes in a domain name are more likely to be spam sites, so if there’s a Google update in the future with this, you don’t have to worry. Also, in my next post I talk about a way to get a .com domain name for 99 cents for the first year, which would save you ten bucks (not that that should be the deciding factor in choosing your domain name).

      On the subject of competition – this should be you’re #1 priority, because it can’t be successful in less there’s less competition. It looks like there’s no exact match domains ranking, so I think you’re good to go.

      I’m putting up my next post momentarily, so check it out once it’s up! Thanks again Jon!

  3. SeoDuck says:

    I’m in russian segment of SEO and I’m still hesitating if to try the Niche site challenge started by Pat.

  4. […] took down those links recently, but that’s not the point). I noticed this, so I did the challenge myself (it’s lame, I know; it was in my early days!).I then got in touch with Pat, told him I did his […]

Niche Site Challenge #1 – The Saga Begins - Point Blank SEO