Whether you want to build an affiliate blog, an ecommerce store, or more a specific content strategies – your success depends on your research and the conclusions you draw from the data.
In this article, I’ll give you an overview of best niche research tools, as well as some practical ways to use them for doing niche research.
In this article, I’ll cover:
- Insights and methods for analyzing a niche
- How to search for and find profitable niches with low competition
- The best niche research tools for finding your niche
Note: If you have no experience with niche research, also have a look at this guide about how to find a profitable niche for your online business. It will help you choose the best niche research tool and method for your specific situation, as well as help you to hit the ground running.
Types of Niche Research
Niche research is an overall term, that consists of different types of research. Each type of research has it’s own specific goal.
Some well known forms of online research are:
- Niche Keyword Research – analysis of the overall topical landscape of a niche. Keyword research can give you a helicopter view of the market, including size, scalability, difficulty and much more.
- SERP analysis – Analysis of the results Google returns for a certain search. This gives a good indication of what type of content is expected, in the eyes of the searcher (and thus, also the search engines).
- Competitive Analysis – Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, so you can build a realistic plan.
- Niche potential assessment – and estimation of niche profitability, scalability and difficulty.
Effective niche research consists of using multiple methods, collecting data and assessing the data while keeping your goals in mind. The insights you gain, will lead to more effective strategies and tactics.
Why use Niche Research Tools?
Doing niche market research, collecting information, and analyzing the data, are at the base of every successful business idea, marketing campaign or website topic. It’s the only way to build strategies and find tactics that can compete.
Your online success, whatever you’re goals are, starts with doing research.
Every business is unique and so will the reason for doing research be. To get an idea of what questions can be answered by performing niche research, have a quick look at the list below.
Putting effort into performing niche market research can help you:
- Find the profitable niches and lucrative business ideas
- Uncover new trends
- Find niche markets that are easy to dominate
- Find profitable product ideas
- Understand your target market
- How large is your niche/market?
- How to attack (or enter) a specific niche market?
- Who your competitors are, and what their strengths and weaknesses are
- Better understand your target audience (buyer personas)
- What problems do they have (what solutions can you offer them?)
- How to engage with your audience, based on their buyer persona
- What communication style (voice) is appropriate to use in your content and ads
- Build new, or improve your current go to market strategies
- Map and optimize your sales funnel (or customer journey)
- Find niche keywords that rank and convert
- Build SEO, content marketing, and PPC campaigns based on research data
- Understand the competition (competitive Intelligence)
- Reverse engineer competitors’ strategies
- Understand the competition’s weaknesses and strengths
- Understand how to outrank the competition in search engines or outperform them in Google ads
Now that you have an idea of how market research can be of value, have a look at some of the best practices below, to get the most out of your niche research activities.
What to keep in mind while doing niche research:
- There are plenty of tools for finding niches on the market. Some are geared towards keyword research, finding niches with low competition or uncovering new trends. No tool does everything. The ‘best niche finder tool’, is the one that offers what you need.
- Niche research, keyword research, and competitive intelligence tools don’t provide 100% exact data. However, some are better than others. Always think in ‘averages’ when it comes to most metrics (especially monthly keyword search volumes)
- Your insights depend on the quality of your own interpretation. You can use research tools to get these insights. With time, you’ll learn how to do draw valuable conclusions quickly.
- Every scenario is unique. There’s no way of showing an exact process that fits every situation.
Below is a list of niche research tools, that you can use to find profitable niches with low competition. When applicable, I’ve included some explanation on how to use the tools and what they are best used for.
SEMrush – All-in-Online Marketing Platform
SEMrush is an all-in-one suite of tools for doing online market research, finding profitable niches, and doing SEO analysis. You can use this platform for everything from keyword research to performing competitive analysis and finding profitable niches. SEMrush is the most popular platform on the market.
SEMrush features provide all the tools and features you need in order to find profitable niches and compete online. This includes everything from a great keyword research tool (keyword magic tool), SERP tracking (position monitoring) to backlink analysis and website auditing. It’s an all-in-one / one-stop solution for doing online market research.
Besides the features, the quality of data, I like SEMrush because it’s easy to use and it’s fast. Of course, you can do a lot with free research tools, however interpreting the data from a large number of sources and then consolidating it, can be a lot of work. SEMrush allows me to do niche research quickly and efficiently, without the hassle.
Why SEMrush is one of the Best tools for finding Niches?
SEMrush can be used for nearly any type of online research, ranging from simple to complex keyword research, backlink profile analysis to competitive analysis. Whether you’re trying to find profitable niches with low competition, uncover business ideas for a home based business, or new products to promote on your ecommerce store, SEMrush will give you several advantages:
- Workflow – SEMrush will save you time. It’s fast and responsive. You can do all your types of research from one dashboard, instead having to switch around between different tools (and screens)
- Quality data – All niche research tools offer approximated data for keyword search volume, backlink profiles. SEMrush uses multiple data sources, as well as Machine Learning, in order to provide quality data.
- Competitive Analysis – the tools allow for in-depth analysis of your competitors, making it easy to uncover or reverse engineer competitor strategies.
- Free resources – SEMrush Academy offers some great case studies, eBooks, and articles about how to use the platform for SEO, PPC and market research.
SEMrush Pricing and Alternatives
SEMrush pricing is based on a monthly subscription plan. You can cancel your account at any time. You can also take the platform for a spin by signing up for a SEMrush free account, or a free 7-day (full) trial (which is also free).
This might be a solution for some, but for others it won’t. If SEMrush pricing seems too steep for you, remember that it’s not the only all-in-one tool you can use to do niche research. You can always have a look at this list of SEO Tools.
Google Search – (Manual) SERP Analysis
Everybody knows Google Search, but you’d be surprised at how much it’s used by professional marketers in the strategy-building process. Though a simple tool, it can provide valuable information. By shifting your perspective and applying some easy techniques, it can become a powerful research tool.
To use Google search for niche research, understand that:
- Google provides personalized search results. Location, browser history, and previous searches all affect your search results. For unbiased results use an incognito, or private window while working.. You can open a new private window by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + N.
- Location affects the search results, even in a private window. To see results for specific locations, use Google’s ‘?gl=country code’ parameter. For example https://google.com/?gl=us. This will show the search results for the United States. Find your preferred country code here.
Find competing web pages
You can check the number of pages that are best optimized for your topic (or market) by using: allintitle:”your keywords”. This shows the number of pages that have keywords in the page title. Pages with keywords in the title as well as content are the pages best optimized for certain topics.
This is important to know because these are the pages you’d eventually want to outrank in the search engine. These are the pages you want to compete with because these are the ones that are most probably optimized in the best way.
Checking market profitability
You can roughly determine if your niche can be profitable by looking for paid advertisements in the search results. If Google Ads are present, it means that companies are paying money to show up at the top of the search results. This is a strong indication that the investment is worth the return. There’s most probably profit to be made.
How profitable the market is, can be gauged by investigating click prices of paid advertisements. Higher click prices usually indicate a more profitable niche. Advertisers who are willing to pay a high price per click, usually have a well-thought digital marketing strategy in place that yields positive returns on their advertising investments.
Build out your content strategy
When typing keywords into the search box, Google provides a drop-down list of related terms. These related keywords are closely tied to the primary (or seed) keyword. The same search terms are provided at the bottom of the search results.
Google is clearly telling you what people are searching for within your niche. You can use related search terms to build out your content strategy. Always use these related keywords in your content optimization efforts.
Google Trends – Find Trending Topics
A little less known by the general public, yet one of the most powerful free tools you can use to build and improve your digital marketing strategies.
Google trends can show you how your market develops over time. It shows you growth, decline, popularity, and relative search volumes of topics and keyword search terms. You can also compare different topics, which helps you understand the world’s reaction to global trends, as well as trends within your market.
Keep in mind that:
- Search terms give results about that particular word.
- Topics give results about that particular word, including related words (so, this is a grouping).
- Search terms and topics are basically representative of your market (or niche).
- Traffic volumes are relative and not exact. Search volumes are divided by all searches for all topics in that particular geography. The highest is represented by 100, while other topics will be relative to that highest number.
- ‘Breakout’ means: there is more than a 5000% increase in popularity of a search term or topic versus the period you’re looking at.
Google Trends can help you:
Understand the market in a broader sense
Analyzing trend graphs shows progressions, rises, and declines of your topics or search terms. You can get more insight into people’s (audience) intent, as this information generally shows you what potential and existing prospects are really looking for.
- Gauche general consumer interest in products, brands, people over time.
- Compare topics and search terms, in order to make better business decisions.
- Understand the popularity of your market in different geographies. This will help you decide which regions and locations to focus on.
Identify opportunities and threats
Trend graphs are ideal for identifying opportunities and threats in your market because they allow you to clearly compare different topics.
- Identify the effects of seasonal influences on your market, products, and services. For example, think about how holiday seasons bump specific topics or keywords to the top and strategize how you can surf that wave of traffic.
- Compare different topics in order to identify opportunities and threats. Think about the possible reasons behind sudden rises and declines. This allows you to react accordingly to current situations in the market.
Find ideas for creating and better content optimization
Insights from Google trends can help you build stronger content marketing strategies.
- Decide which topics or search terms to create content for. If these are trending upwards, it means that traffic could remain steady, or increase over the coming period. It might be worth creating content for that topic.
- What are the top related topics and search terms? These are also topics or search terms that your audience is interested in. Depending on your goals, creating content for these might be a good idea.
- What is the top rising and break out topics and search terms? These are popular right now and it can be worth the effort to investigate if you can follow up on these topics.
- Better optimize your content. By using the topic names and search terms in your page titles and content, Google will better understand your content. Targeted relevance is a major ranking factor and it’s the bare minimum you always are doing.
Exploding Topics – Find Trending Niches
One of the best ways of finding profitable low competition niches is by identifying trends before they become obvious. Explodingtopics.com is a tool that shows you fast growing topics, before they become mainstream trends.
You can select upcoming trends and hot topics in several categories, ranging from e-commerce and marketing, to technology (for example crypto) and new startups. The tool also allows you to view the growth or decline over time.
Note: Exploding topics offers very generous free access, however some valuable topics and trends are only viewable by paid members.
Uncover profitable low competition Niches
Exploding topics are upcoming (or not obvious for the masses). Getting in on these topics means there’s less competition in the niche and easier to rank web pages for. In case these topics grow into profitable markets over time, competition will become bigger and more fierce. This is why it’s extremely important to create solid foundation at the right moment.
Google Keyword Planner – Keyword Research
This is a go-to keyword research tool for many digital professionals, including myself. If you want to use Keyword Planner, you’ll have to sign up for a Google Ads account. The tool will show you keyword search volumes, related keywords as well as Google Ad click prices and competition metrics.
Things to understand about Google Keyword Planner:
- If you aren’t actively advertising with Google Ads, the keyword research tool won’t show accurate search volume data. Instead, it will show broad ranges.
- The competition indicator at the right of each keyword does not hint at how hard it is to rank for that particular keyword. Instead, it relates to the number of Google Advertisers that are buying clicks for that keyword.
If you’re not actively buying Google Ads, and thus don’t have access to more precise search volume data, you can still you keyword planner for:
Understanding Market buildup
Analyzing the primary and related keywords that users are typing into the search engine provides a picture of how a market is built up. The number of searches is an indication of market size, while the topical relationships between keywords give clues about the market buildup. Combining this information with Google Trends information helps you understand sentiment and audiences’ interest even more.
Understanding keyword difficulty
The competitive metric provided by GKP is relevant only to the Google Ads customers. However, combining keyword data with techniques described earlier (finding the number of competing pages with Google Search) can roughly show you how hard ranking for a keyword could actually be.
Gauging Market Profitability
Keyword Planner will show the prices that advertisers are paying when someone clicks on their Google Advertisements. These click prices can be indicative of the advertising spending by market players. Further research (for example, by reverse engineering competitor strategies) can give you a reasonable idea of how potential market profitability.
Note: reverse engineering a competitor’s strategy can, in some cases, be as simple as following their advertisements and reviewing what actions they take to land clients. On the other hand, some aspects can be harder to uncover, as that might involve having to sign up their email list and following their messaging for a period of time.
Keywords Everywhere – Search Data Anywhere
Shows monthly search volumes by taking data from Keyword Planner and opening it up to non-Google Ads customers. The data includes keywords, related keywords, click prices, and Google Ads competition metrics. Keywords Everywhere integrate the data with sites like Youtube, Google Analytics, and Bing, amongst others.
If you are not using Google Ads and thus, don’t have access to more accurate keyword data, Keywords Everywhere’s reasonable pricing is definitely worth it. Not only does it give you access to better data, but it also simplifies the research process offering data integration and some extra management options. This is an incredible time-saver.
Learn more about Keywords Everywhere
Ubersuggest – Keyword Research Tool
Ubersuggest can give you insight into the market, competitors, and quality of your website optimization efforts.
What you need to know about Ubersuggest:
- When you enter a search term(s) this will put you into the keyword research tool mode.
- When you enter a domain name, it will put you into competitor analysis mode.
- Ubersuggest gets its data from Google
- The tool is divided into Ubersuggest keyword research, a Traffic analyzer, and an SEO analyzer.
Understanding the market
Typing a keyword (search term) into Ubersuggest can help you understand your market in several ways.
- Search term suggestions and volumes – Search volume is a great indicator of market size.
- SEO difficulty – will give you an indication of how hard it will be to rank your content for these search terms.
- CPC (cost per click) – tells you what the click prices for Google ads are for the topic / or search term. The prices that advertisers are willing to pay in Google, combined with the size of the market (search volume) is a good indication as to how profitable a market is.
- Related search terms, questions, prepositions – can give you a better view of how your market is built up. These search terms are also great for finding ideas for new content.
Entering a domain name into the search box will give you useful information about your competitor’s website(s). You can of course use this on your own website in order to check how you’re doing.
- Domain overview – give you an idea of the strength of a website. This includes the number of keywords the website is ranking for, the estimated monthly traffic it receives, the number of links, and a proprietary domain score. Comparing this information with your own website gives you a quick indication of how direct of a competitor you’re dealing with.
- Top SEO pages (by country) – shows you which pages on the website are receiving the most traffic. This will tell you which topics are working best for this competitor. You can use this information in order to build better content on the same topic and try to (eventually) outrank them.
- SEO keywords – show you the search terms that are driving the most traffic to the pages on a specific website. This will give you an overview of the topical organization of the competitor’s website. If you are directly competing with this website it can also give you an indication of which keywords to put more optimization effort in.
Site Optimization (SEO Analyzer)
The SEO analyzer section, provides you with a quality overview of a website, in terms of optimization. This information is useful in many ways.
- Site audit – provides you with specific health scores for several things. This can show you where you need to improve your own or competitors’ strengths and weaknesses in terms of optimization. This section will also show you some important data that is relevant for better rankings, such as site speeds, site errors, and some recommendations to implement.
- Backlinks – will give you insight into the number of backlinks that a website has and where these come from. If you’re competing with a website, this information can reveal potential link exchange partners.
Note: Ubersuggest has now become a paid tool. I recommend using it only for its free features because there are paid services available, which I find to be much better for both SEO and market(ing) research.
Answer the publics – Question Research
One of the most important things to understand about building effective content marketing strategies is to cater to the needs of the audience. This includes solving their problems and answering their questions.
Answer the public is a keyword tool that can help you understand how to better serve your audience. It turns Google and Bing’s auto-suggest search terms, into relevant questions your audience could be asking. The data is shown in easy-to-view visual graphs and tables.
Understanding your Audience
- Identify who your audience really is. If you find questions that you are able to answer, they are most probably your target audience.
- Uncover problems your audience might have and create specific content that solves those problems. This can increase engagement.
- Get a feel for how your audience might be discussing the topics that are relevant to your business. This can help you understand consumer intent.
Building out your content strategy
- Better optimize your content by crafting more relevant and attractive page titles for your content. The more specific and relevant you target your audience, the better you should be able to rank
Note: If you’re looking for an alternative to Answerthepublic, you can also have a look at: Answersocrates.
Similarweb – Analyze any Website
Competitive intelligence is a huge part of building a strong digital marketing strategy. Understanding your own strengths and weaknesses and of your competitors can make or break your strategy.
Similarweb allows you to uncover competitor strategies, discover new opportunities and understand your customer’s intent. You can instantly get insights about your competitors by entering the domain name in the search box.
- Traffic overview, including metrics such as total visits, visit duration and pages per visit, traffic by country, and traffic sources (where the traffic is from). When comparing different competitors this way, it’s possible to determine their relative market share.
- Referral traffic will tell you which websites are sending traffic to your competitor’s website and where your competitors are sending traffic to. This can reveal valuable information about your competitors, such as their business and marketing strategies, as well as partnership opportunities for getting similar traffic to your own site.
- Search terms that visitors are using in order to find your competitor’s website. Uncovering their top search terms for bringing in traffic, gives you the opportunity to.
- Amount of traffic received from social media. This shows which social media channel they’re putting the most effort into. It’s also an indication that their audience, which might be your audience, spends time on that particular channel. Lastly, it can also indicate which types of content work best for your audience (if Youtube drives the most traffic, then the audience clearly engages with video content).
- Similar websites show you, possible other competitors. Comparing different competitors’ sites with each other can reveal differences in their approaches. This can show you how to approach your market from different perspectives.
Q & A Sites
Question and answer sites such as quora and Reddit are a gold mine for finding out what questions, issues, or problems your audience has. You can do this by simply going to these sites, searching for specific topics, and reading all the questions and answers. This can help you build more effective digital marketing strategies – since it’s all about catering to the needs of your audience.
Some popular Q & A sites to check out are:
Understanding the market and audience
- What problems does the audience have?
- What type of content is best to create?
- Use the information to better serve the search engines and your audience.
- Build better optimized content marketing campaigns/strategies.
Feedly RSS subscriptions
Blog posts, comments, and forum discussions can reveal things about your audience and what’s happening within your market. Think about issues your target audience is facing, trending topics, and so on. Keeping up to date with a large number of informational sources is made easy by using a service like Feedly.
- Sign up for Feedly
- Install the Feedly Chrome Extension
- Surf all the forums, blogs, and sites that are relevant for your market.
- Subscribe to their RSS (if they have one)
- Check your updates periodically in order to find out what content is being created
Understanding your audience
Following what’s happening in your niche will allow you to:
- Understand what content is being created by your competitors. They’ve usually done their research too and they’re not creating content blindly. You can use the most popular content in your niche as an indicator of what’s working and what’s not.
- Using a tool such as SEMrush or SEO Powersuite, you can dissect your competitor’s strategies quickly and easily. Then you can devise a digital marketing strategy that suits your audience’s needs.
Analyzing Trend sites
Though technically these are not niche finder tools, you can still use trend-related sites and information sources for doing research. Besides Google Trends (described earlier), you can check trending topics and stories on several trend sites. This allows you to get a feel for what’s hot, what’s not, and what’s going to be. They’re also a good way to look for new business ideas and opportunities.
Popular sites to watch for trends are:
Note: you can generally use Feedly (see above) to subscribe to these sites.
Better understand your niche
Tracking trends and hot topics can be very valuable because it helps you:
- Find new opportunities
- Start optimizing parts of your digital marketing strategy, such as SEO and content before your competitors do.
This list is not exhaustive. There are many tools and services that are geared towards finding and researching the most profitable niches. Because of this, I will be adding new tools to this list in the future, as well as more tactics and tips to get the most out of them.