Want to work out whether that brainwave you had at 3.10am this morning about your new niche is worth consideration?
Here’s a step-by step journey to help you find and get some of the answers you need to make that decision!
We’re going to put an affiliate marketing niche through its paces using Google Insights for Search, as an example of how this tool can help you nail down a niche.
Let’s assume you’ve decided that it would pretty cool to promote a product that teaches a foreign language. And let’s say you’re thinking that learning French could be a worthwhile option.
First up – take a look at the Google Adwords Keyword Tool results for “Learn French”. Check out the volume of searches for this term each month around the world. When I looked, it was a humungous 368,000 searches!
Looking at the sponsored links (the results that advertisers pay to have ads appear on the right hand side of the page) you’ll also find over 100 competitors with ads. That tells us there’s some great demand with this topic, given that you’ve got strong competition who are willing to pay for advertising with it.
If you want to do a comparison, you’ll find if you enter the search term “learn Italian” into the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, there are about 135,000 searches globally a month. Still a good market size, but nowhere near as big as “Learn French”.
When you check out the “Learn Italian” competitors to the right hand side of Google Search as well, you can see that the competitors are only on this page – not a whole lot of others as well. So this tells us that there’s less competition for this category.
So we now know that while the “learn Italian” niche has fewer competitors than “learn French”, it’s also a lot smaller. This would also be a good thing to drill down for as a potential niche as well, but I digress!
How To Get The Low-Down On Your Niche
Let’s head over to Google Insights, and we’ll take this a step further.
Put the search term “learn French” into the search term box.
With this free tool, you can check two competing niches at the same time if you want to. For example, you can enter “learn Italian” and “learn French” together to give you a comparison.
If you do decide to research two competing niches together – don’t forget the comma between the search terms in the search box. Otherwise, you’ll get the results for only one term, rather than both. For now, just keep all the filters as they are – apart from the time frame.
For the sake of simplicity, we’ll just stick to our single “Learn French” example for now.
Use the dropdown menu to change the timeframe to 2008 since, first up, you really want to know where things are with the most up-to-date whole year available.
Looking at the “totals” graph, you can see “learn French” sits around at around 86. (You’ll need to be signed in to your Google Account in order to see any numbers on the graph. The numbers do change around a little bit, and are a rating out of 100.) These show you how many searches have been done for these terms, given the total number of searches done on Google over time. Bear in mind that they don’t represent exact search volume numbers. It’s only possible to see a proportion of all the global searches done with any tool that you use.
Now check out the “interest over time” graph.
In the 2008 results, you’ll see that a news article about Brad Pitt and his efforts to learn French appears to have created a small spike around the end of 2008 in terms of search volume. Might be just a coincidence and something else could have helped cause this, but I doubt it. That’s why they call it “star power”, I guess – endorsements from celebrities work.)
One of the drawbacks of this tool is that if you want to compare two different affiliate niches with this, you have to do separate searches for each comparison – one at a time – with both the “regional interest” and “search terms” sections of this tool. This not a major disadvantage, although it would be good to look at both results together in comparison.
There’s also one trap you need to be aware of when using this – or other niche research tools, for that matter. It’s important to use Google Insights as a starting point – not your finishing one. Don’t just grab the first results that come up, and race off to target what comes out of it. Why? Bottom line – you could end up shooting yourself in the foot big time! Make sure you do your homework on who’s buying.
You need to ask questions – especially if you get an answer that seems a bit odd.
A classic example of this is our “Learn French” example – the top rating country for regional interest is Ghana.Take a look at this:
Not probably what you’d expect – it certainly surprised me anyway!
Having a Google round the web soon digs up what’s actually going on here. With Ghana being surrounded by French-speaking countries, the authorities have decided to go all out to improve the learning of French in the country.
In fact, they’re looking to train specialists in French language for professional purposes, and create multimedia centers as a part of things. So there’s some serious investment going down with this. That’s the good news – at least it would be if you were the wholesale manufacturer of a language product. Kind of hard to sell to a foreign government as an affiliate though. The really bad news here is that about 30% of the consumer population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day, according to Wikipedia.
Hardly a market likely to have lots of money to spend on a language product – even if they want to.
If you had just torn off and started marketing with the first results you’d got from this, you’d now be kicking yourself. So does that mean this niche is now dead in the water?
As we’ve seen with Ghana and “learn French”- just because a country is at the top of your results list doesn’t mean that’s the one you’d automatically go for. I have a not-so sneaking suspicion that at least Kenya and Nigeria would fall in a similar category to Ghana in the case of this example – yet they are ranked as 2nd and 3rd for this search term.
A country like Canada – a country with a good percentage of French-speaking population – and good disposable income comes in way down at number 10 on this list.You’d have to wonder what would be under Canada on this list if you could actually see it.
Where do all the other areas such as the United Kingdom sit with this, for example? Not exactly a non-existent market in either of these regions. In fact, I suspect they would generate some majorly big dollars for this sort of product’s sales. (We’ll soon see if I’m on the money here!)
As you can see, the problem with the Google Insights tool is that you’re not able to drill down any further than the first 10 results for regions.
Because of this, you have no idea why these regions are interested in your search term. It’s up to you to drill down and do your research on the little ins and outs on a market you’re interested in. That’s the only way you can work out whether something’s a go or not.
So – that said – let’s drill down a little further with this and see if we can shed some light on things. Click on “City” to the right hand side of the regional interest section, and there’s a surprise waiting for you. (The graph heading remains as “regional interest” when you do this.)
Not a city from Ghana, Kenya, or Nigeria in sight!
Despite these being the top three regions – with the cities – you’re now talking a whole different ball game. This time, Delhi in India leads the charge – with the major other contenders from Canada, Australia, England, and the United States.
The Ghana-Learn French example shows the value of drilling down further with this particular tool – as well as some of its limitations. Not to mention the need to cross reference with different tools to find out different stuff!
The other thing to consider here is how countries which are now online, such as China, India, and others that have not had access to the internet until relatively recently, may be affecting some the results you get.
Take a nosey now at the Search Terms section of Google Insights. Here you’ll find both the top search terms related to the search you originally entered, plus the “rising” searches.
(Don’t forget that these top search terms are linked directly back to the location and timeframe that you originally entered.
Double-check that you’ve got exactly the same search as before, because it’s an easy thing to forget, and will skew your results. Take it from one who’s done just that! In fact, if you change any one of those, you can get slightly to very different results in each section.)
You can see that you’ve discovered a number of search terms similar to your original one – the number one being “to learn French”.
Check out the “Rising Searches” section beside it, which shows you those search terms worldwide that have experienced significant growth when compared with the last time frame figures were recorded.
You’ll find that “rocket French” currently has the number five spot. This has fluctuated over the last few days between the top spots, as search volume for this term does the same. Digging further, you’ll find that this is in fact an affiliate program for learning French. So that definitely means you’re going to have to take a closer look!
Given this search term’s so popular, as well as increasing in popularity – if this was your actual potential niche – you’d now want to check this out as a potential affiliate program and see how it shaped up. And that’s a whole other ballgame!
One last thing before you tear off to do this and leave Google Insights.
Once you’ve plugged in all the results of the last year to give you the most up-to-date results with this tool, get the same info looking at around an 18 month timeframe. That way you can check out whether there’s any real or differing seasonability to the niche. A really important factor in assessing its profitability as an affiliate niche! And not so easy to see if you just grab a single year’s worth of data.
Hopefully from what we’ve gone over here, you can see how you can get a feel for your potential competition and market with Google Adwords Keyword Tool. You can also see how Google Insights can be used as a great resource in helping nail a niche – one way, or the other!
We’ve taken a good look at how to use this tool and drill down step-by-step for the info you need to make the right decision.
You now know how to get the most out of it as a tool, while still being aware of its limitations.
So there you have it – the good, the bad, and the not-so ugly on Google Insights as a niche research tool!
Let me know how it works for you.