It’s so easy to find new keywords for large businesses. There is a vast ocean of broad search terms with high search volume just waiting to be targeted by your SEO and content marketing teams.
If you're in a niche business vertical, however, or you target a smaller audience, this situation is quite the opposite. Discovering what keywords to target can be like finding a needle in a haystack — nearly impossible!
In this guide, we’ll help you overcome this problem once and for all with a complete workflow for conducting niche keyword research where you will discover:
- How to find top seed keywords in your industry, regardless of how small it might be
- Ideas for the best long-tail keywords to target
- How to build a list of keywords that will help position your brand along your buyers' journey
First, we need to start with some basics about these super specific keywords you wish to target.
What Are Niche Keywords?
When SEOs talk about niche keywords, they are typically referring to highly-specific phrases relating to a narrow industry.
One of the common characteristics of such keywords is low search volume. That’s the factor that deters many brands from considering those terms as target terms.
Because of their high relevance to a very specific buyer however, niche keywords offer a great opportunity to align a brand along their customer’s journey and connect with highly-targeted buyers.
A fashion brand selling untucked shirts is a good example. It’s niche-specific, and its laser focus on a single product category affects the company’s potential to target broad phrases.
Now, they might still target those keywords, but I’m sure you’ll agree that doing so wouldn’t deliver any significant results for the brand.
Targeting niche keywords, or phrases relating to their specific industry, product and target audience, on the other hand, would.
Let’s use the company as an example to illustrate the process of finding the right target keyword to reach your audience — the niche keyword research.
A quick note before we begin. I’ve used our SEO platform, seoClarity in the walk-through. There are, however, plenty of free keyword research tools available to conduct similar research. A couple of my favorites are:
- Google Keyword Planner is a free Google Ads tool (which requires a Google Ads account) but it’s a great tool for keyword research, whether you’re new to SEO or a veteran.
- KeywordTool.io offers a free version of their tool that shares 750+ long-tail keyword suggestions for each search term you enter.
- Google. That's right, a simple Google search could help uncover a bunch of unmet opportunities for content on your site. All you have to do is search your head term and do some manual poking around to understand how this topic is covered in your space. While this is not as scalable as the other options listed above, it's totally free!
Recommended Reading: What Are the Best Keyword Research Tools?
seoClarity is the only SEO platform to move away from simple keyword string match to discover related keywords by leveraging machine learning to identify semantically related terms to obtain complete authority. If you're interested in learning more about other keyword tools, refer to the recommended reading link above.
Wondering how it works? Book a free demo and we'll show you the platform in action.
Our Niche Keyword Research Walk-Through
Step 1. Review Industry Keywords to Determine the Right Head Terms
You know your industry. You know what products you’re going to sell, too. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that you can find head terms easily.
Your product might be too niche for traditional keyword research to uncover any relevant phrases. Or you might struggle to identify terms that relate to your industry only and not the ones used in other verticals.
seoClarity’s Topic Explorer offers the option to research the industry, going beyond actual keywords.
Instead of trying to come up with specific phrases to target, you can start the keyword research process by evaluating all phrases related to your industry.
In Topic Explorer, choose Industry instead of Keywords, and select your target industry.
The tool reports 1.9 million phrases relating to the industry (i.e. /Apparel/Clothing) with a staggering total search volume.
Note: Search volume numbers are from Google's Keyword Planner. Google's numbers are a monthly search volume, usually updated between the 15th and 20th of the month with the previous month's data.
I can filter this report in many ways. For this process, I used the Landscape option that shows a visual breakdown of top topics within the industry.
I will need this information to complete the next step.
Recommended Reading: How to Use Topic Explorer More Effectively: A Topic Cluster Tool
Step 2. Explore Relevant Topics
The platform reported 1.9 million keywords in the Clothing industry. Not all of them relate to my product, of course. The visual keyword landscape, however, indicates that “shirts” is one of the top five industry topics.
So, as the next step, I need to review topics that relate to this particular aspect of the industry.
Clicking on the shirts icon filters keyword results by that topic only — but it doesn’t stop there.
Topic Explorer not only displays keywords relating to that particular topic, it breaks it into subtopics too. This makes it easy for me to identify the most relevant phrases.
And, sure enough, my exact product category — untucked shirts — is there too.
From here on, I can review the top industry keywords and analyze the user intent behind them.
With the latter, I can tell whether searchers use the keyword to find information or products to buy.
The report above tells me that all keywords in my industry have commercial intent. However, some exhibit informational intent, too.
Based on this insight I know that my pages must feature the product and give users the ability to buy it, but I will have to expand some of them with additional information to deliver what users are searching for too, or create a blog post to offer information.
From the report, I can even see who my top competitors are in the industry and evaluate with which domains I will be fighting with over the rankings.
I can see the competitive keywords in the industry, too. Such insight can help prioritize phrases to target first (or which ones to use for further research).
Companies with niche sites or products struggle with keyword research, as they're unable to identify target phrases among high-search volume keywords.
Niche keyword research helps such companies discover phrases to target in their SEO strategy, from head terms to long-tail keywords.
The process itself requires having the ability to review all industry-related keywords, select categories or topics that pertain to the company’s specific product or niche, and use those terms as the basis for their search engine optimization strategy. With niche keyword research, and using keywords appropriately, you'll find your site in the search results.