My New Niche and Keyword Research Explained

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My everlasting quest to create some passive income online has now led me to my 4th attempt at a niche site. As promised, I will be revealing my niche, keyword(s) and domain as part of this Niche Site (the Dumb Way) Follow-Along. I have to admit right off the bat that I was a little apprehensive about sharing this particular niche. The reason being that it is the best of the ones available that I have already purchased domains for. I am a little bit worried that a more experienced and better niche site builder will read this post and “steal” my niche and build a better site that will easily outrank mine. But then again, I am not the only one who has had this idea, as I’ve found at least a few other niche sites built around the same keywords. I think I can build better sites and outrank them – but at the same time I worry that somebody else will build an even better site and outrank me. This is the risk I am taking though by making public and sharing exactly how and what I am doing to build a niche site in an attempt to create some online passive income.I could have simply chosen one of my other domains and niches to share. But none of them are nearly as good or as promising as this one. What kind of proof would that be to share a site that might make $10/month when I can share this site that I think has potential to earn $100/month or more!

Keyword Research and Google First Page Analysis

I don’t even remember exactly how I got to this particular set of keywords. I think I was scrolling down the list within the Google Adwords Keyword Tool while researching something else and came across a particular keyword that perked my interest. When I started doing further research on that keyword, I found this keyword deep in the results for that one. A possible “diamond in the rough!” I think so anyway. So, here is a screenshot for the two main keywords I found and some other results within the keyword tool.

How to get rid of fleas” or “getting rid of fleas.” Looking at both of them, they both have High competition ratings. This is good. They both have decent CPC’s. Also good. One has 27,000+ monthly searches while the other has 8,000+ monthly searches. My only concern with both of these keywords is shown on the bar graph on the far right. This displays local monthly search trends with the current month (in this case September) being on the far left. As you can see, both of these keywords seem to drop off quite a bit as far as number of searches in the winter time. In other words, both of these keywords are a little bit seasonal in nature. I decided to go for it anyway for two reasons. One – they both have good search volumes, so even during the down months a fair amount of traffic should come to the site if I get on the first page of Google. Two – if I don’t rank quickly for one or both of these keywords, I have several months until next summer to build backlinks and let the site age. By then I should be able to get to page one on Google and should have some incredible earnings next summer!

Exact match domains were not available for either keyword (.com, .net or .org). So, my next step was to do first page analysis for both keywords. Many of the same web pages showed up on Google when looking at the search results for both keywords. Here is a screenshot for the SERP for getting rid of fleas.

As you can see, an SEOquake toolbar shows up under each web page in my search results. This is one of the features within the (free) SEOquake add-on for Google Chrome (or Firefox). It is very helpful for doing web page and first page analysis. Many of the stats you need to see are right there in the toolbar. You then, of course, can click through on any of the stats for further and more detailed information.

Some of my observations for this particular page of search results:

  • Results #1 and #8 are both niche sites that I think I can beat. They each have the keyword in both the title and domain, but neither has the exact keyword within the description. Both have Page Ranks (PR) of zero (0).
  • Further research led me to clicking through to both of these sites. SEOquake gives even more information when you are on an actual web page.
  • Result #8 was just a horrible .wordpress (Web 2.0) website. It had several pages of content, but most of the pages contained less than 200 words. It almost looked like they quite accidently targeted this keyword – getting rid of fleas. It had only a handful of backlinks which surely weren’t built on purpose. This page didn’t appear to be monetized at all!
  • Result #1 only had one page of useful content! It had a few other pages, but each of these were only Amazon product descriptions with a link to buy flea products through Amazon. There was no Adsense on this site. showed only 2 backlinks to this site (screenshot below) of which only one of these links was a real backlink with linking anchor text.
  • Within the search results, there was one YouTube video and it wasn’t very good.
  • The rest of the search results were mostly one page articles on other popular sites such as,,
  • There was a cat site, a dog forum and two “get rid of” general websites that each had a page for getting rid of fleas or how to get rid of fleas.

So this is the keyword I chose. I went with “getting rid of fleas.” “How to get rid of fleas,” gets more searches and shares many of the exact same search results. I decided to go with the keyword that got less searches, with the idea and hope that it would be a little easier to rank for. Keeping in mind that I still want the exact keyword in the domain name, I added a suffix to this keyword and purchased the domain – from

Potential For This Niche Site

I really think I have a good shot at getting on the first page of Google for this keyword and with this website. I plan to build a far better site than the two niche sites that are currently on the first page. Some good on page SEO with quality targeted content should get me there fairly quickly. This one might even be possible without building any backlinks, although a few quality backlinks wouldn’t hurt.

As for the numbers and one of the reasons I was initially hesitant to share this niche. Many micro-niche site builders are happy to build sites that make $10-$20 per month, and consider sites that approach $100 per month to be really good ones. With monthly searches at 8,100 and a CPC of $3.81, my estimates tell me that this site could earn $115.73/month from Adsense if I get to the first page of Google and a potential to earn $578.64/month if I get to #1! These estimates are based on my keyword value estimation calculation that I explained in a previous post. I get similar results using the niche site profit calculator over at With some hard work and maybe a little bit of luck, I will get this site complete and perhaps will be well on my way to finally earning some good passive income.

As of the day I am writing this post, I already have the site started with two pages of content somewhat complete. I have plans for several pages of content which will all target both my primary keyword, as well as the other major keyword in this niche (how to get rid of fleas). Much of my secondary content will target some long-tail keywords as well. There is potential here for tons of quality content, which I am taking the time to write all myself.

My next post in this Niche Site (the Dumb Way) Follow-Along will show exactly how I set up WordPress for this niche site and others. If that post doesn’t go too long I will also share my content strategy.

Until then, remember that there are several dumb ways to create passive income online, but only one site that is blogging about it! Dumb Passive Income… dot com.


13 thoughts on “My New Niche and Keyword Research Explained”

  1. Matt, great piece. I ran those keywords through Market Samurai and the one thing that I see that causes me to pause is that the PBR (phrase-to-broad) value is only 16%, barely above their minimum recommended threshold of 15%. Every other metric that they recommend shows these keywords to be a potential winner for you.

    From their glossary: “PBR – Phrase-to-Broad Ratio – The percentage of phrase-match searches out of broad-match searches for this keyword. Low values indicate there may be other word orderings which are being searched for more.”

    Looking at the SEO competition page, I think you definitely could take the 5th spot. 1-4 will be very tough. Then again, you get an entirely different Google first page with your search than what Market Samurai generates. I wonder if this has something to do with anonymous vs. non-anonymous Google searches.

    • Now this is truly keyword research the DUMB way! I am too cheap to pay for any tools, so I have readers/online friends doing keyword research for me with tools that they’ve purchased! Haha. Thanks Mike! I’m glad to see that my research the dumb way isn’t too far off from doing it the smart way.

      I didn’t even know about the PBR metric (which is funny because I drank 2 Pabst Blue Ribbon beers after work last night!). Now that I do know about this, I can easily find this same result within the free Google Adwords Keyword Tool. By checking the boxes for Phrase and Broad, I simply divide the Phrase results by the Broad results and come up with the same 16%. Thanks for pointing that out Mike and for teaching me that I should aim for 15%+… I will be running these numbers for my other sites now out of curiosity.

      And I think you’re right about anonymous vs. non-anonymous searches. My solution to this would be signing out of Google every time I want to do research – but that could get annoying. Actually, Google Chrome has a new feature (multiple sign-ins open in separate windows) that will make this quite simple.

      Thanks for adding value to my post Mike!

  2. This is awesome, but im just curious. why did you chose to use open site explorer over Market Samurai. and is there a free version of the open site explorer? i dont wish to pay 100$ a month when i am not making that.

    • Good question Bryan – Thanks! I am doing this entire Niche Site (the Dumb Way) Follow-Along experiment using NO paid tools. The Open Site Explorer screenshot you see is indeed from the free version. They allow you to do 3 inquiries per day on the free version. I will not be using any paid tools until I have income generated online to pay for them. At that point in time, I will be sharing which tools I use and why. For now though, I’m sticking with doing everything the dumb way! This includes writing all of the content myself. I can’t wait until the day I have the money to outsource some of my content – as this is by far the most time consuming.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Bryan. Glad to have you along for the passive income journey!

  3. That’s a pretty creative one Matt, and a good find from what it appears on the screen! You’ll have every dog owner with a flea issue hitting your site in search of answers. If I was some type of pet store or pet organization, I’d see that niche site as an attractive purchase.

    I’m glad you’re making use of SEO Quake – it gave my Google Chrome too many problems, so I had to discontinue using it. Too bad – it looks pretty useful.

    I’ve got a follow-up question that you could probably cover in a future post: How and where do you plan to eventually sell your niche sites? Will it be just as simple as using Flippa? Or are planning to do some kind of direct marketing to would-be companies?

    • Good follow-up question MMD. I actually don’t have any specific plans to sell any of my sites at this point – but definitely not ruling it out. I don’t have the time to create sites in mass just for the purpose of re-selling them like some others do. Passive income is the goal, so my hope is to create evergreen-type sites that I can let just sit and make me money.

      I may venture into the Flippa scene one of these days. Buying sites is actually something I’ve thought about if I don’t ever figure out how to build them correctly in the first place. Side note: An Adsense Flippers podcast I listened to awhile back suggested creating an account at Flippa NOW even if you may or may not use them in the future – reason being that when you do decide to buy or sell your account has a little bit of age and you’re not viewed as a newbie.

      To answer your question directly – NO, I don’t have a game plan for selling sites. Obviously I would entertain any offers that just happened to come my way, but likely won’t be actively trying to sell.

  4. Here comes the doom monger..

    Did you do the google search your showing below whilst logged into ANY google apps? Did you ensure you were logged out?

    Did you then use a plugin like google global in fire fox to further isolate yourself from personalized search results?

    By using ltrpor and whooshtraffic and serpIQ I suspect you didnot.

    They have the .net emd at position 5 not 1

    Spyfu shows that this is a very fluid nature to the advertisers. For may june july little advertising was done so the revenue would have been very low. The search trend also shows this dead in may and june.. (Do fleas go on holiday :-)? )

    Logged out and using google global plus the inline tool you have I can see that there are no sites in the top ten with PR of 0 AND no backlinks. I;d want at least two sites with PR 0 and 0 backlinks. (ok i might got to 10 backlinks if every other test was passed but they are not for this keyword)

    “getting rid of fleas” looks like a low commercial intent. People are probably looking for info on “how to get rid of fleas” which the KW research proves. And getting rid of fleas looks informational based rather that a call to action.

    Comparing the phrase to broad (easy to do in google tools you should do this) is 12,100/74,000 = 16% As another commentator said. Its ok, BUT its low and confirms my thoughts its not a real phrase that people looking to “get rid of fleas” would use (Get rid of flies numbers, 2,900 with cpc of $5.33, phrase to broad 74,000/110000 = 67%) and the numbers show a much better intent and that people actually use this phrase on its own.

    One of the hundreds of problems with google is that data is multi dimensional you do need to look at the data set and not just trust CPC and search volume.

    A few comments I feel strongly about

    1) if you have not go the funds to buy LTpro (or something else) you are massively disadvantaged to those of use that do. Its a life changer.
    2) The process your using is less advanced than that outlined in the adsenseflippers free guide. the vast majority of which can be done for free if not all steps.
    3) Building one site at a time will probably lead to a very slow growth in your business. if any. For most new builders 80% or higher failure is quite usual. And as many have said this is a volume game.

    being Dumb is fine indeed its a great way to learn and teach others along your journey, but why not leverage the free info out there of proven models.

    I would not buy this keyword even if the was available. I really hope you proven me wrong.

    By the way I reject 95% of all keywords that match the criteria you applied.

    • Hey Steve, thank you for easing my worries about a more experienced niche siter stealing my keyword. You’re obviously way more experienced than me and you say you wouldn’t touch this keyword. Good for me? Haha

      It’s not that I don’t have funds to purchase tools – I am just stubbornly doing this the “dumb” way partly to prove to others that it can be done. I think many people are turned off by bloggers who do nothing but push products, so in that sense I am going against the grain.

      I admit, my keyword research process is far from advanced and I know I need to get better at it. When I bought this domain, it was part of that group of 6 that I bought awhile back – before I knew as much as I know now about keyword research. The other 4 domains I haven’t touched yet are even worse! But I am still going to build the sites and see what happens.

      I simply don’t have the time to build more than one site at a time (and run this blog) – although as my sites start to pile up I will be going back to put more work into some of the older ones depending how they are doing. In that sense, I am not really building just one at a time.

      Thanks again for your constructive criticism’s Steve. I actually really appreciate your lengthy comments and am learning a great deal from you.

      • Hi

        Thats all good. I have no issues with you testing your own ideas In fact i encourage it. We can only find new break throughs by testing not reading.

        Im trying to simply aiming to share and shorten your time to get to profit.

        I agree about people pushing products. Not my intention as you can see I have not include links in my comments 🙂 I may well do so on my site later this year (if i ever get round to developing it !!)

        As to the Niche, No thats not my point I DO have a lot of sites in the Pest control niche. And a real world business run by a JV partner.

        Its simply that the keyword phrase is not a buying phrase plus low adwords comp etc. Given this is a niche where people want solutions, if the number of people prepared to run adds in july 2012 is 3

        I think that tells me all i need to know about the keyword :-0

        Now a keyword like

        christening dresses

        has solid spyfu results

        But fails 3-4 of my other tests including phrase to broad.

        I really hope the keyword works out for you Im not inthe negative attitude game and Ive seen some work that just should not 🙂

        The objective of a sophisticated keyword research process is to eliminate as many high risk elements as possible and minimse wasted effort and cost. Then push into the rest of the nice creation factory and hopefully made money!

  5. Hi Matt
    Thanks for the post showing how you do your keyword research. “getting rid of fleas” is definitely not a super easy keyword to go after. Ranking for anything is possible but if it were me I would try and think about the searchers intent…you will have some people coming to your site to get rid of fleas from their house and some from their dog, cat etc…

    If you can isolate one of those above groups you can deliver more value and typically get a higher value from each visitor.

    I can give you a thumbs up for a good niche though. I have one fairly targeted site in this niche that does well as an Amazon affiliate selling flea protection for dogs($100/month – seasonal). AdSense in the same placements does like $5/month. So if you go after the niche its something to think about!

    Good luck and really enjoying the thorough posts you have!


    • Thanks for the pointer Jon. I actually did plan to monetize with Amazon product sales as well as with Adsense. Interesting to hear that I might do better with Amazon – but not surprising. This actually makes sense combining your reasoning with Steve’s (from comment below).

      As far as targeting specific niches within this niche, that has been my plan all along. My primary keyword is “getting rid of fleas,” with “how to get rid of fleas,” in a close second. I plan to target several longtails as well within the content. If I notice a certain longtail doing better over time, I can easily write more content for it and better monetize it with specific Amazon products. All of this assuming I can get ranked of course! I’m just going to get a bunch of content up targeting a bunch of different keywords and see what happens.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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