Large Market Keyword Research
The site in this case study is not a small niche site, micro niche or even a niche blog. It is a very large niche that has thousands of keywords related to it. It encompasses several small niches and several hundred micro niches. For this reason I did not spend much time on keyword research. The several hours or days that can sometimes be eaten up, trying to drill down to that perfect longtail keyword that will "hopefully" be easy to rank for was not at all a part of my plan ----Not yet anyways, that will come later----.
Market analysis more than niche keyword research
That being said, I did do market analysis, and some quick keyword research. I wasn't necessarily looking to see how easy it would be to rank for a specific keyword, I was looking to see if the overall market had a demand. This is very important. You do not want to put together a large site with tons of content only to find out nobody online really cares about that topic. --unless its just a hobby :)--
Most of the time you will know if there is demand online before doing any research but it still needs to be done. Every once in a while there will be a subject that just doesn't get the searches that you might think. In the instance that a broad niche doesn't get much search volume it might work out better as a smaller niche site, but were thinking bigger on this case study.
Come up with an idea
As talked about before, I have a partner on this project. So what I wanted to do was pick a topic that she was passionate about. Something that she could get involved in. I wasn't worried about keywords. I was worried about trying to make something that she -and possibly myself too- could get into enough to keep up with it. Like myself, she is very busy and a project that she didn't really care for would just go bad from the beginning.
We sat down and talked about ideas a few different times. During that time I found out what she was interested in. I did this by just asking questions. She was into health and fitness, diet, exercise, cooking for health and other similar things --travel was another one but I felt neither of us traveled enough to generate the content needed--. Then we talked about what she had been personally searching for mostly online about those subjects. After that it was pretty easy to pick the topic -I was sure it would have demand- but I still had to check.
So What did I looking for with this larger Niche
Now that we had the idea, I had to check it out. See if it truly had volume. To do this you need to "reverse longtail related keywords" until you come up with a main source keyword. In simple terms its your seed keyword that you would start with on a normal niche keyword drill down. Plug this into your favorite keyword research tool and get ready --wait-- I typically do keyword research a little differently than others you might have learned from.
A little different spin on keyword research than your used to
Unlike most advice you get on the net about keyword research I do "not" start my research by unchecking the broad search type and go directly to exact search. --if you are not familiar with keyword research I will have a post about it in a couple of the guides but this is just a case study--
I start with broad search on all my niche keyword research, even on micro niche sites. You should at least consider it for seeing the overall big picture of your particular seed keyword. --Ill narrow down to exact eventually-- The broad search gives you a very good idea of the capacity or size of a single niche or keyword phrase. Type in your keyword generate a keyword list and then analyze that list.
Most keyword tools give you the searches per month or day, exact phrase and broad. Using broad gives you the big picture. The broad search for the keyword we are targeting is in the millions which is a good start. I then clicked over to the analyze keywords tab and switched to exact match for the main keyword. It was over around 60,000 or so which is similar to another niche I targeted years ago. I have a large list of keywords that have a ton of searches per month. With a quick scan through I found some that looked fairly easy to target in specific posts, Im not really worried about that though, its just habit.
Ranking is secondary to social promotion
So even with exact match type on, there is more than enough search volume for me to say go for it. With this type of site Im looking for a need or a demand. They tend to have large groups and forums, lots of bloggers so getting traffic is not just about google competition is tougher for keywords. But its about networking not keywords. That's the route to take on sites like this. Its nice to attempt to get some easy free traffic from seo --and with some of the longer tail keywords we will-- but the product is more important.
Getting people to come back over and over. Focus will be on content types, not just blog posts but other content types as well, such that provide information differently than blogs. Blog posts will also be key. The look and feel of the site is more important than a small niche site. People have to actually like the site to become a part of the community in a sense.
Where we are at currently!
The site has been live for a while now around 5 months. We started adding content very slowly as the look of the site is where my focus was. She has been slowly building her blog section and I have a few blog posts myself, actually I'm now intrigued with the niche.
There are some other sections that we are adding content to as well which Ill probably reveal more on after we start promoting. Speaking of that, the only offsite seo that I have done is rss submission to around ten of the more popular sites. I do not want to bring a bunch of traffic yet, not until the content is fairly heavy. The submissions are standard for me. Helps syndication a little.
It has been a while. We both had taken some time off early so actual work on the site is really only about 3 months but total time is important just for notes. Full time, all this stuff could have been done in a month. That being said we do have a very small but steady traffic amount. Im talking only 10 to 20 uniques a day with some periodic comments. I really didn't expect more than 5 since I haven't even done any link building or social. Some spammers as well but that's expected. Analytics is showing most of the traffic from keyword searches --I can't go into those-- that go to certain blog posts. --Posts are completely natural at this point, no keyword rich posts yet so I found that interesting--
The next steps
Coming up, I Just setup a facebook page and twitter account and will go into some other social platforms that we will be using, along with how we will approach building traffic. Things should start to pick up a little, as soon as we get enough content on the site.