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How to Find Niche Keywords for SEO in 3 Steps

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How to Find Niche Keywords for SEO in 3 Steps

Niche keywords represent clear and specific topics that appeal to relatively small, often specialized parts of a given market.

In other words, these are the “sustainable” and “recycled” jackets in the overall jacket market. 

Niche keyword examples with "jacket"

Niche keywords can be an opportunity to attract highly targeted traffic in a short time since they typically refer to specific things that don’t have a lot of competition. 

In this guide, I’ll show you how to find niche keywords with Ahrefs in three steps.

Step 1. Create an initial keyword list

Open Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, type in broad terms that point to certain markets, products, or interests (i.e., seed keywords), and hit enter. 

Inserting seed keywords

Then go to Matching terms and set the maximum volume and TP filters to something low for this industry, like 1000. 

Filtering for low-volume and low-TP keywords

Why these two filters? The volume filter will look for keywords with a limited number of searches, while the TP filter will help make sure those keywords are specific topics and not just unpopular ways of looking for popular things.

Sidenote.

Since there is no set value that defines a niche keyword, we can’t tell you the exact volume value here. It depends on the size of the market and how “niche” you want to go. For some markets, it can be 500. While for some very big markets, it may be 2000. So feel free to adjust the volume and TP filters. You can also set the minimum filter right away if you’re not interested in keywords with very low search volume or zero-volume keywords.

Step 2. Refine your list 

After step #1, you already have a very raw list of niche keywords. 

The number of keywords in the initial keyword list

But looking through the entire list manually can take a lot of time. So in this step, we’ll refine our list to make it more manageable. Here are some ideas you can use. 

Low ranking difficulty with a minimum search volume

This set of filters will allow you to find niche keywords with considerable demand and low competition. 

  • Set KD to max 10 
  • Set volume to 100–1000 
  • Set Traffic Potential to 100–1000
  • Click “Show results”
Finding keywords with low difficulty and minimum search volume

Next, browse through the results. When you find a keyword that piques your interest, you can add it to a keyword list right inside the tool. 

Adding a keyword to a keyword list

Use cases, segments, and features 

This filter allows you to find keywords that focus on use cases, segments, and features within your seed keyword. 

For this, add modifying words such as “for,” “alternative,” or “substitute.” You can also use the Terms tab or just add your own modifiers if you know what you’re looking for. 

Sourcing modifier keywords in Terms tab
  • Set the Include filter to “Any word,” type your modifier keywords, and click “Apply”
  • Click “Show results” 
Adding modifier keywords

Next, browse through the results and add interesting keywords to your list. 

Selecting keywords to add to list

PRO TIP

You may spot some additional ideas for modifier keywords as you look through the results. You can use them in the Include filter to show only keywords matching that criteria.

Questions 

This filter can be a good way to find opportunities for informational content with the possibility of featuring your product. 

  • Switch the Matching terms report to “Questions”
Switching to Questions tab in Matching terms report

Next, browse through the results. 

Niche keyword posed as question

Feel free to combine the filters shown above. For example, you may want to look for keywords with specific features and low Keyword Difficulty (KD). 

Combining different keyword filters

And here’s one example of a niche keyword matching those filters. 

Keyword example from mixed niche filtering

Stumbling across keywords out of your wheelhouse too much? Just use the Exclude filter. 

Excluding unwanted keywords

Now, let’s go to the final step of the process. 

Step 3. Analyze the SERPs

Before you start creating content for selected keywords, it’s highly recommended to understand what searchers are specifically looking for. To do this, analyze the top-ranking pages in three aspects: 

  1. Is there a more popular search query that points to the same thing? 
  2. What is the search intent? 
  3. How hard would it be to rank? 

The first aspect is specific to niche keywords. Remember, you’re looking through rare search queries. Some of those queries can have more popular counterparts (yet still niche), and others can be just wrong (i.e., misspellings). 

To illustrate, a better word to target than “diy soap sheets” may be “how to make soap paper”—the latter has more search volume. Keywords Explorer signalizes that through the Parent Topic column found on the right of any given keyword. 

Parent Topic feature suggests a different keyword

And it won’t make sense to target something like “nivia soap.” Obviously, it’s a misspelling. 

Not a niche keyword, just a misspelling

The second aspect, search intent, is about learning what Google recognizes as the dominating reason behind the search. In simple terms, it’s typically one of the three:

  • Learn – If most pages focus on explaining things: guides, tutorials, reviews, comparisons, etc.
  • Buy – If most pages directly offer products: product pages, product category pages, landing pages, etc. 
  • Go to a website or place – More often than not, keywords will contain the name of the product, brand, or place.

If you can match search intent and it makes sense for your website, then the keyword is probably a good choice. But make sure to also optimize your content for search intent.

If you can’t match the search intent or it doesn’t make sense for your website, it’s probably best not to target the keyword for now. 

To illustrate, the keyword “cupcake soap” has a clear transactional intent, with only product pages in the top 10. So your best bet to rank for this keyword is likely with a page that offers soap bars in the shape of a cupcake. 

SERP indicates the search intent

PRO TIP

Sometimes, identifying dominating search intent is not that simple. Google may show mixed intent with different types of content or no dominant content format. This video guide will help you make a more informed decision in such situations.

The third aspect, estimating keyword difficulty, comes from the fact that multiple factors can constitute ranking difficulty. 

You can filter out keywords where competitors have a strong backlink profile using the KD filter (as shown in step #2). For example, we estimate that in order to rank in the top 10 for “why is antibacterial soap banned,” you’ll need backlinks from ~123 websites. That’s a hard keyword to rank for, especially for new websites. 

Keyword with low volume, high difficulty

Judging keyword difficulty through KD is enough in most cases. But if you want a more thorough assessment, look for these things: 

  • Popular brands on the SERP – Results from popular, trusted brands are something that users expect in search results. Google is aware of that. 
  • YMYL topics – Topics like health, finance, and safety will be tough, if not impossible, to rank for a website with no topical authority and content written by people with no real expertise
  • Quality of content – If you can’t add anything useful and original to the information that Google already “recommends” on the SERPs, you may have a harder time ranking. Make sure you can create helpful, reliable, and people-first content
  • See if top-ranking pages target the keyword – If no one is covering the topic directly, Google may show pages that it thinks are relevant. Those pages can come from high-authority websites, and you may have leverage against them by covering the keyword directly. 
Popular brands on SERP ranking for a keyword with low KD
Although the keyword has 0 KD, it may be hard to outrank Amazon and Etsy because they are popular (and therefore expected) brands.

Learn more: Keyword Difficulty: How to Estimate Your Chances to Rank 

Final thoughts 

If you know a website that targets a specific niche, you can use that site for keyword research too. 

To do this, paste the website’s URL in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and adjust the filters to find what you need. 

For instance, a website like mechanicalkeyboards.com can be a gold mine for keywords in the mechanical keyboard niche—almost 5,000 keywords with a volume of 100–1000 and KD up to 10. 

Niche keyword research in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Want to learn more? Check out our other resources:

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter



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Screaming Frog SEO Spider Version 20.0: AI-Powered Features

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What’s New with Screaming Frog SEO Spider 20.0?

For SEO experts, our toolkit is crucial. It’s how we make sure we can quickly and effectively assess how well our websites are performing. Using the best tools can put you way ahead of other SEOs. One example (and one tool I’ve personally been using for years) is Screaming FrogIt’s a powerful, straightforward, and insightful website crawler tool that’s indispensable for finding technical issues on your website.

And the good news is that it keeps getting better. Screaming Frog just released its 20th major version of the software, which includes new features based on feedback from SEO professionals.

Here are the main updates:

  1. Custom JavaScript Snippets
  2. Mobile Usability
  3. N-Grams Analysis
  4. Aggregated Anchor Text
  5. Carbon Footprint & Rating

Custom JavaScript Snippets

One of the standout features in this release is the ability to execute custom JavaScript snippets during a crawl. This functionality expands the horizons for data manipulation and API communication, offering unprecedented flexibility.

Use Cases:

  • Data Extraction and Manipulation: Gather specific data points or modify the DOM to suit your needs.
  • API Communication: Integrate with APIs like OpenAI’s ChatGPT from within the SEO Spider.

Setting Up Custom JS Snippets:

  • Navigate to `Config > Custom > Custom JavaScript`.
  • Click ‘Add’ to create a new snippet or ‘Add from Library’ to select from preset snippets.

setting up custom JS snippets screamingfrog 20setting up custom JS snippets screamingfrog 20

  • Ensure JavaScript rendering mode is set via `Config > Spider > Rendering`.

Crawl with ChatGPT:

  • Leverage the `(ChatGPT) Template` snippet, add your OpenAI API key and tailor the prompt to your needs.
  • Follow our tutorial on ‘How To Crawl With ChatGPT’ for more detailed guidance.

Sharing Your Snippets:

  • Export/import snippet libraries as JSON files to share with colleagues.
  • Remember to remove sensitive data such as API keys before sharing.

Introducing Custom JavaScript Snippets to Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 20.0 significantly enhances the tool’s flexibility and power. Whether you’re generating dynamic content, interacting with external APIs, or conducting complex page manipulations, these snippets open a world of possibilities. 

Mobile Usability

In today’s mobile-first world, ensuring a seamless mobile user experience is imperative. Version 20.0 introduces extensive mobile usability audits through Lighthouse integration. 

With an ever-increasing number of users accessing websites via mobile devices, ensuring a seamless mobile experience is crucial. Google’s mobile-first indexing highlights the importance of mobile usability, which directly impacts your site’s rankings and user experience.

 Mobile Usability Features:

  • New Mobile Tab: This tab includes filters for regular mobile usability issues such as viewport settings, tap target sizes, content sizing, and more.
  • Granular Issue Details: Detailed data on mobile usability issues can be explored in the ‘Lighthouse Details’ tab.
  • Bulk Export Capability: Export comprehensive mobile usability reports via `Reports > Mobile`.

Setup:

  • Connect to the PSI API through `Config > API Access > PSI` or run Lighthouse locally.

Example Use Cases:

  • Identify pages where content does not fit within the viewport.
  • Flag and correct small tap targets and illegible font sizes.

mobile usability analysis on screamingfrog 20mobile usability analysis on screamingfrog 20

With these new features, Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 20.0 streamlines the process of auditing mobile usability, making it more efficient and comprehensive. By integrating with Google Lighthouse, both via the PSI API and local runs, the tool provides extensive insights into the mobile performance of your website. Addressing these issues not only enhances user experience but also improves your site’s SEO performance.

N-grams Analysis

N-grams analysis is a powerful new feature that allows users to analyze phrase frequency across web pages. This can greatly enhance on-page SEO efforts and internal linking strategies.

Setting Up N-grams:

  • Activate HTML storage by enabling ‘Store HTML’ or ‘Store Rendered HTML’ under `Config > Spider > Extraction`.
  • View the N-grams in the lower N-grams tab.

n-grams analysis on screamingfrog 20n-grams analysis on screamingfrog 20

Example Use Cases:

  • Improving Keyword Usage: Adjust content based on the frequency of targeted N-grams.
  • Optimizing Internal Links: Use N-grams to identify unlinked keywords and create new internal links.

Internal Linking Opportunities:

The N-grams feature provides a nuanced method for discovering internal linking opportunities, which can significantly enhance your SEO strategy and site navigation.

The introduction of N-grams analysis in Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 20 provides a tool for deep content analysis and optimization. By understanding the frequency and distribution of phrases within your content, you can significantly improve your on-page SEO and internal linking strategies.

Aggregated Anchor Text

Effective anchor text management is essential for internal linking and overall SEO performance. The aggregated anchor text feature in version 20.0 provides clear insights into how anchor texts are used across your site.

Using Aggregated Anchor Text:

  • Navigate to the ‘Inlinks’ or ‘Outlinks’ tab.
  • Utilize the new ‘Anchors’ filters to see aggregated views of anchor text usage.

aggregated anchor text report on screamingfrog 20aggregated anchor text report on screamingfrog 20

Practical Benefits:

  • Anchor Text Diversity: Ensure a natural distribution of anchor texts to avoid over-optimization.
  • Descriptive Linking: Replace generic texts like “click here” with keyword-rich alternatives.

The aggregated anchor text feature provides powerful insights into your internal link structure and optimization opportunities. This feature is essential if you are looking to enhance your site’s internal linking strategy for better keyword relevance, user experience, and search engine performance.

Aligning with digital sustainability trends, Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 20.0 includes features to measure and optimize your website’s carbon footprint.

Key Features:

  • Automatic CO2 Calculation: The SEO Spider now calculates carbon emissions for each page using the CO2.js library.
  • Carbon Rating: Each URL receives a rating based on its emissions, derived from the Sustainable Web Design Model.
  • High Carbon Rating Identification: Pages with high emissions are flagged in the ‘Validation’ tab.

Practical Applications:

  • Resource Optimization: Identify and optimize high-emission resources.
  • Sustainable Practices: Implement changes such as compressing images, reducing script sizes, and using green hosting solutions.

The integration of carbon footprint calculations in Screaming Frog SEO Spider signifies a growing recognition of digital sustainability. As more businesses adopt these practices, we can collectively reduce the environmental impact of the web while driving performance and user satisfaction.

Other Updates

In addition to major features, version 20.0 includes numerous smaller updates and bug fixes that enhance functionality and user experience.

Rich Result Validation Enhancements:

  • Split Google Rich Result validation errors from Schema.org.
  • New filters and columns provide detailed insights into rich result triggers and errors.

Enhanced File Types and Filters:

  • Internal and external filters include new file types such as Media, Fonts, and XML.

Website Archiving:

  • A new option to archive entire websites during a crawl is available under `Config > Spider > Rendering > JS`.

Viewport and Screenshot Configuration:

  • Customize viewport and screenshot sizes to fit different audit needs.

API Auto Connect:

  • Automatically connect APIs on start, making the setup process more seamless.

Resource Over 15MB Filter:

  • A new validation filter flags resources over 15MB, which is crucial for performance optimization.

Page Text Export:

  • Export all visible page text through the new `Bulk Export > Web > All Page Text` option.

Lighthouse Details Tab:

  • The ‘PageSpeed Details’ tab has been renamed ‘Lighthouse Details’ to reflect its expanded role.

HTML Content Type Configuration:

  • An ‘Assume Pages are HTML’ option helps accurately classify pages without explicit content types.

Bug Fixes and Performance Improvements:

  • Numerous small updates and fixes enhance stability and reliability. 

Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 20.0 is a comprehensive update packed with innovative features and enhancements that cater to the evolving needs of SEO professionals like us. From advanced data extraction capabilities with Custom JavaScript Snippets to environmental sustainability with Carbon Footprint and Rating, this release sets a new benchmark in SEO auditing tools.

Key Takeaway

Add this to your toolbox, or update to version 20 to explore the rich array of new features from Screaming Frog to optimize your website’s SEO, usability, and sustainability. It’s a no-fuss tool with tons of features that will help you stay ahead of your competitors, and ensure your websites perform optimally in terms of user experience and search engine visibility.

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Google Simplifies Adding Shipping & Return Policies For Online Stores

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woman online shopper affixes a barcode sticker to a cardboard box, marking it for return and refund

Google introduces Search Console feature for online stores to easily manage shipping and return policies.

  • Google now allows online stores to manage shipping and return policies via Search Console.
  • This simplifies providing vital information to customers.
  • The feature can potentially boost sales for retailers.

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Google’s Now Translating SERPs Into More Languages

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Google's Now Translating SERPs Into More Languages

Google updated their documentation to reflect that it added eight new languages to its translated results feature, broadening the reach of publishers to an increasingly global scale, with automatic  translations to a site visitor’s native language.

Google Translated Results

Translated Results is a Google Search feature that will automatically translate the title link and meta description into the local language of a user, making a website published in one language available to a searcher in another language. If the searcher clicks on the link of a translated result the web page itself will also be automatically translated.

According to Google’s documentation for this feature:

“Google doesn’t host any translated pages. Opening a page through a translated result is no different than opening the original search result through Google Translate or using Chrome in-browser translation. This means that JavaScript on the page is usually supported, as well as embedded images and other page features.”

This feature benefits publishers because it makes their website available to a larger audience.

Search Feature Available In More Languages

Google’s documentation for this feature was updated to reflect that it is now available in eight more languages.

Users who speak the following languages will now have automatic access to a broader range of websites.

List Of Added Languages

  • Arabic
  • Gujarati
  • Korean
  • Persian
  • Thai
  • Turkish
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese

Why Did It Take So Long?

It seems odd that Google didn’t already translate results into so many major languages like Turkish, Arabic or Korean. So I asked international SEO expert Christopher Shin (LinkedIn profile) about why it might have taken so long for Google to do this in the Korean language.

Christopher shared:

Google was always facing difficulties in the South Korean market as a search engine, and that has to do mainly with Naver and Kakao, formerly known as Daum.

But the whole paradigm shift to Google began when more and more students that went abroad to where Google is the dominant search engine came back to South Korea. When more and more students, travelers abroad etc., returned to Korea, they started to realize the strengths and weaknesses of the local search portals and the information capabilities these local portals provided. Laterally, more and more businesses in South Korea like Samsung, Hyundai etc., started to also shift marketing and sales to global markets, so the importance of Google as a tool for companies was also becoming more important with the domestic population.

Naver is still the dominant search portal, but not to retrieve answers to specific queries, rather for the purpose of shopping, reviews etc.

So I believe that market prioritization may be a big part as to the delayed introduction of Translated Google Search Results. And in terms of numbers, Korea is smaller with only roughly 52M nationwide and continues to decline due to poor birth rates.

Another big factor as I see it, has to do with the complexity of the Korean language which would make it more challenging to build out a translation tool that only replicates a simple English version. We use the modern Korean Hangeul but also the country uses Hanja, which are words from the Chinese origin. I used to have my team use Google Translate until all of them complained that Naver’s Papago does a better job, but with the introduction of ChatGPT, the competitiveness offered by Google was slim.”

Takeaway

It’s not an understatement to say that 2024 has not been a good year for publishers, from the introduction of AI Overviews to the 2024 Core Algorithm Update, and missing image thumbnails on recipe blogger sites, there hasn’t been much good news coming out of Google. But this news is different because it creates the opportunity for publisher content to be shown in even more languages than ever.

Read the updated documentation here:

Translated results in Google Search

Featured Image by Shutterstock/baranq

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