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Niche Research Checklist – Backlink Analysis and More

| Posted in category Internet Marketing Link Building

There are popular niches on the web that many people feel like entering because they view them as having big potential for making money online.

The first thing to do before plugging into a promising niche is the competition research. Here is a checklist of practical steps to take when figuring out what plays well for competitors on a particular niche market.

Step 1. Make up a list of your competitors.

These include 3-5 websites that rank high for niche keywords. Include websites you view as competitors as well but that don't rank high for niche keywords (if any).

If you want a list of competitors beyond SERPs, use Twitter search or Followerwonk.Com to find twitter accounts in your niche – in most cases they would support powerful websites that are also your rivals.

Step 2. Evaluate your competitors' traffic with the help of Compete.Com or Double Click Ad Planner by Google

Thus you'll get an idea about which amount of visitors to expect and the first traffic benchmark to target.

Step 3. Do backlink research

Run a backlink checker to see which backlinks in particular bring your competitors most SEO value. There is a variety of metrics SEO SpyGlass provides for every backlink. If you want quick results from backlink analysis, pay attention to web pages with high link value and focus on outreaching the same websites for backlinks.

Here's what you need to do with your SEO SpyGlass project - sort your competitors’ backlinks according to link value results, and focus on the results with highest link value (marked green, yellow and orange):

Sort Backlinks by Their Link Value

Getting a list of best links to hunt for is the most basic (yet efficient) approach to analyzing competitors’ backlink reports.

Beyond that, a backlink report is a clue to understanding the best niche link-building practices. Using SEO SpyGlass, you can figure out if (1) blogs and forums and (2) link directories are worth targeting in link-building.

Here is how you can check out if commenting on blogs and forums is a good path to take in your niche:

1.       Choose to show backlinks from blogs and forums only.

Choose backlinks from blogs and forums

2.       Evaluate if there're enough forums and blogs in your niche. If your competitors have backlinks from just a couple of forums and blogs, it is possible there just aren't many forums in your niche and there won't be a chance to get many backlinks through forum posting. On the contrary, if a competitor has hundreds of backlinks from forums and blogs – go ahead, give them a try too.

Similarly, take measure of backlink opportunities from link directories:

1.       Choose to show backlinks from link directories only.

Choose backlinks from link directories

2.       See if your competitors have backlinks from link directories, paying special attention to authoritative ones – Yahoo! Directory and DMOZ. If they do, make sure you don't miss this link-building opportunity as well.

3.       If you encounter any niche-specific directories, remember to include them on your link-building list.

Step 3. Do on page analysis

Look through your competitors' websites and think what on page factors make each of them stand out. Make sure you won't be lagging behind, i.e. your website will be optimized on page. One of the options to check it out is to run your site through WebSite Auditor.


Step 4. Do beyond-SEO analysis:

1.       Analyze your competitors' online marketing activities: run competitors' websites through WebSite Auditor. You'll get a complete list of competitors' urls, including the pages created for special marketing activities. Usually not easily found when browsing a website, these are landing pages written for contests, giveaways, discounts, etc. Thus you'll get to know popular niche marketing trends, and think of your own way to be successful.

Use WebSite Auditor to find web pages created for special marketing activities

2.       Check out your competitors' Facebook and Twitter accounts to see how active they are online and what they do in particular.

3.       Set up Google Alerts for your competitors' brand names and niche keywords to get an even deeper understanding of what people do to promote their websites. Google Alerts is a service that lets you get email notification on the latest Google results that match your search terms – very useful to keep current on your competitors' activities.

As you can see, there are multiple ways to do niche research – either follow the checklist above step-by-step or pick up what you need. Competition analysis is obviously vital when you want to succeed in a particular niche, still it is important not to overdo it. Keep an eye on your competitors, but make sure your main focus is to provide value of your own.

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