Let’s say you are passionate about a subject that happens to be a very competitive market on the internet. Or, you’re not interested in creating a hundred niche websites about various topics that you could care less about. Perhaps you own a business and you want to market your website on the internet in a very competitive market. Whatever the case may be, there is hope for you and your website.
NICHE VS. NON-NICHE WEBSITE
A niche website is a website that focuses on a specialized market. An example of a niche market would be “internet marketing for accountants in New York.” That’s a very specialized, narrow market. On the other hand, “internet marketing” is a very broad subject that would be considered a non-niche market.
The difference between a niche site and a non-niche website is that one is very specialized and focuses on a narrow group, where the other is very broad and general. There are very competitive niche markets out there, but most people that succeed in niche marketing, find the niche markets where competition is relatively low, but the niche still has enough traffic to be profitable.
BUILDING A NON-NICHE WEBSITE
The first step to building a website in a competitive market is to understand your market. Whatever your market is, you need to know the keywords that people use, you need to look at your competition, and you need to understand your target market, so you can give them the solutions that they are looking for.
Before you even buy your domain name, you need to find the keywords that you’ll be targeting. If you are in a competitive market, you’ll need to find multiple keyword phrases that you can use to build the strength of your website. For example, if you are going into the internet marketing field, that’s a competitive market. It will take you a long time and lots of hard work to rank for the keyword phrase “internet marketing.” Find easier keyword phrases that you can rank for in the meantime, but are still related to internet marketing.
Easier keywords are usually longer, called long-tail keywords. For example, in the internet marketing field, you might find that “search engine internet marketing strategy” is an easy keyword phrase to rank for. Create an article, or post, with the keyword phrase in the title, create backlinks to that page, and you should start to see that article move up in the search engine results, as you create more backlinks. Remember, Google returns results for webpages, not websites.
As long as the keywords you target are related to internet marketing, you will be driving traffic to your website using long-tail keyword phrases and building authority for your website. As your website becomes stronger, in the eyes of Google, it will be easier to rank for more competitive keywords. When Google trusts your website, you will be able to rank higher, very quickly for keywords that you target.
One way to think about building your website while targeting a competitive market is to think of it like a pyramid. The most difficult keyword (e.g., internet marketing) is the very top of the pyramid. While placing a block at the very top of your pyramid is your ultimate goal, the only way you will get there is to build a strong foundation starting at the bottom. All of your long-tail keywords are the supporting blocks. As you build a strong foundation, you will be able to target more competitive keywords, until, finally, you will reach the top and begin ranking for your ultimate keyword phrase.
When you choose keywords, and markets to enter, you need to evaluate the level of competition to determine whether you can make money in the market and how long it might take you to make money. There are many ways to do this and different people have different preferences. I’ll give you some of the more common techniques and you can make your own judgment.
Number of Websites
Many people judge the level of competition by the number of webpages that contain the proposed keyword phrase. You can determine this by running a search on Google with quotations around your keyword phrase. It will give you an approximate number of webpages that contain that keyword phrase.
Some people take it a step further and use “allintitle:internetmarketing” – which will return results for those webpages that have the keyword phrase in the title of the website. The logic behind this is that if the exact phrase is not in the title of the webpage, it will be easier to beat anyone by using good SEO techniques.
Of course, once you run the search, you have to determine a cutoff limit. In other words some people say that a keyword phrase is good if it returns less than 100,000 webpages. Some say 50,000, and some say 5,000. It depends on your goals and your strategy.
PageRank is another good method to use to determine the strength of your competition. PageRank is a numerical rank from 0 to 10 given to webpages by Google. The stronger the website, in the eyes of Google, the higher the number. You can determine PageRank by using the Firefox browser and installing free plugins at SEOBook or using the Google toolbar.
You can use the PageRank by running a search in Google with the keyword phrase you’re evaluating. If you have SEO for Firefox installed, you can click on the dash next to PR for each webpage and quickly determine the PageRank for that webpage. You want to know what the top 5 search results rank because those are ultimately the websites that you will have to beat. If the PageRank is 3 or less for each of those 5 pages, you should be able to beat them with some effort. If you’re not real confident in your abilities yet, look for PR 2 and below. As you gain experience, you’ll understand better what you can and can’t compete with.
Advertisements are a good way to evaluate the competition level in a market because it’s a strong indication of whether people are making money or not. If you run a search in Google and there are no Google AdWords advertisements along the side, it’s probably because it’s not a profitable keyword. In the alternative, if you run a search and there are ads on page after page of search results, it’s probably a profitable market.
You can also use the Google keyword tool to determine what the Avg. cost per click (CPC) is for relevant keywords. The CPC is what advertisers are willing to pay each time someone clicks on their ad. The higher the number, the more competitive the market is. If you come across keywords that are .05 per click, then it’s probably not a profitable keyword. The key is to find something in between the two, depending on your strategy, of course.
Of course, an important part of being successful online is connecting with your target market. If you understand your market and the problems they’re facing, then you can provide them with the solutions they are looking for and making money will be much easier. Understanding your market is crucial when choosing keywords because you want to target the right people, at the right time.
You can get a good idea of your target market by checking out the websites that show up on the first page of Google for your keyword phrase. Look at the problems the address, look at the layout, and see how they monetize the website. Are they looking for clients, selling products, or offering a membership? The websites can give you a good idea of the issues involved in your market.
STRATEGIC INTERNET MARKETING
The bottom line is that you don’t have to be afraid of competitive markets. As long as you build your foundation using related keywords that are easier to rank for, you will create a website that will will be more profitable than you can imagine. And, you can earn money from the traffic generated by your long-tail keywords until you get authority for your ultimate keyword. It might take you longer than it would with a niche site but some things are worth the effort.