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How To Find Niche Keywords That Drive Traffic With Competitor Research [Ep. 54]

By Jessie Festa. This episode on how to find keywords you can rank for contains affiliate links to trusted partners I think you’ll love!

Looking to find niche keywords that actually help you grow your blog traffic, but aren’t quite sure how or where to search?

Well, you’re in luck, as in this episode of The Profitable Travel Blogger Podcast we’ll be going over exactly how to find niche keywords by doing competitor research.

By the end of this episode, you’ll understand:

  • how to find niche keywords you can rank in search results for
  • where to find competitors to research for keyword ideas
  • mistakes to avoid when doing keyword research
  • ways to optimize your website for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • how to do niche research
  • how to find low competition keywords with high traffic
  • and more!

Our special guest for this episode, travel blogger and SEO strategist Nina Clapperton of Nina Out & About and She Knows SEO, will be sharing all of the above and more.

On that note, let’s dive into the blog traffic secrets!

How To Find Niche Keywords Through Competitor Research [Podcast Episode Audio]

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Free Travel Blogger Resource Library

To help you really jumpstart your blogging success, I’ve added 55+ blogging resources like printables, video tutorials, and workbooks into a FREE resource library for travel bloggers.

These resources are meant to help you grow your traffic, community, and income faster and with less overwhelm!

Find Niche Keywords & Grow Your Traffic With These Helpful Tools

Looking for a keyword tool? Want resources that can help you rank your blog in Google search? Check out:

SEO Roadmap for Travel Bloggers. Nina created this in-depth online travel blogging course to help travel bloggers scale their blogs to 50,000 sessions with travel-specific SEO techniques, even if your DA is below 30!

Keysearch (snag 30% off with code “jessieonajourney30”). Whether you need to do keyword research, are looking for a niche research tool, or simply want enough information to rank your content in search results, Keysearch can help. It’s the tool I personally use for all of the above, and more!

Surfer SEO. This tool is like employing an SEO expert on your team (without the 4-figure monthly price tag). You’ll get specific recommendations tailored to your blog for how to optimize your blog posts for SEO and rank in organic search results. You can see my video tutorial here, too:

Google Keyword Planner. If you’re looking for a free niche finder tool / keyword research tool, this one is a good option — though note to really do in-depth research for your blog posts you’ll want to get a paid tool (like Keysearch).

MozBar. Curious how to find keywords for SEO on a page you’re browsing? Need help comparing link metrics across pages? This free SEO toolbar makes it easy to do research on the go!

find niche keywords

How To Find Low Competition Keywords With High Traffic [Episode Transcript]

*Note: This is the edited down and paraphrased version of the episode. For the full episode, listen to the audio version linked above.

As bloggers, we work really hard on creating great content that helps and engages our audience – which is why it’s so frustrating when our blog posts don’t get read.

While it can be tedious for some, taking the time to properly optimize your content for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is crucial to making sure your hard work gets seen.

And one strategy you can use for this is doing competitor research. Once you know how to do this, you’ll be able to optimize your content and write blog posts faster as you’ll know exactly what you publish to rank. You’ll never feel blogger’s block again!

Now if this idea if new to you, or if you’re not sure what steps to take to do this correctly, stay tuned, as our special guest – travel blogger and SEO strategist Nina Clapperton, who just also happens to be a member in my Travel Blog Prosperity membership community – is here to help.

Free Resources For Content Creators

But first, before we dive into this episode on finding niche keywords, I want to direct your attention to the show notes, where I’ve shared a link to my free Travel Blogger Resource Library.

Or, if you’re in the US or Canada, you can text the word “blogger” to 1-833-818-0342 to have it sent to you by text message. Again, you can text the word “blogger” to 1-833-818-0342.

Inside you’ll snag access to 45+ resources from cheat sheets to workbooks to workshops to video tutorials that can help truly turn your blog into a profitable business.

I’m all about implementation and I really want to make sure you don’t just listen to the episode and forget about it, but that you actually use what I share to make your blogging life easier.

Feel free to even pause this episode to go grab those resources. You back? Then let’s dive in!

1. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your tips! To start, can you tell us more about yourself and your business?

For sure! I run Nina Out and About, a solo female expat site that’s all about traveling the world and moving abroad before retirement.

I also run She Knows SEO, an SEO site for travel bloggers where I help travel bloggers gain more traffic on their site — so that all their hard work is actually paying off and people are seeing their content.

2. Let’s start with the basics. Why do bloggers need to find competitors?

There are two main reasons:

The first one is to ensure that there is a market for what you’re writing about. This is really important if you’re serious about becoming a full-time blogger.

While niching down is generally a good thing, if you’re too niched down — for instance, if you only write about icy mountain trails in this one city in Canada — then there won’t be enough topics to cover or keywords people are searching to optimize your content for.

On the other hand, if you go too broad, it’ll be hard to stand out and you’ll likely be competing with bloggers with huge Domain Authorities (DA) who have already monopolized the market.

The second reason to do competitor research is you can actually use your competitors to find things to write about. This can feel a little bit like stealing, but it’s not — because as long as you’re not taking their actual content then you’re simply getting inspired by an idea.

Nobody owns talking about, say, hiking in Upstate New York and there are different ways this can be covered.

These are just a few of the reasons competitor research should be part of your content and digital marketing strategy.

3. Thinking about travel bloggers specifically, why are travel blog competitors different than general competitors?

Every blogger has competitors, because with every topic and keyword you’re kind of fighting against people to rank for it. But with travel bloggers, part of the issue is our competitors aren’t always writing about the same area as us.

So if you’re mining a blog in your niche for keyword ideas, but they write mainly about India and you want to write about the USA, the keywords you’ll find will be a little bit meaningless to you. I mean, you’ll probably find a few general niche keywords that can work for you, but for travel bloggers, we have a bit of a harder job doing competitor research.

For us, we can’t just type in “best mommy blog” and then have everything we need to find the best keywords for us to use.

Instead, we have to think a little bit harder and break the process up into two steps where we are not only mining competitor data for our niche, but also the destination we want to cover.

So even if you don’t only write about one destination, you likely have certain times where you are covering a destination through a series of content; for instance, maybe before a trip to a specific place you want to do keyword research to pre-plan your travel blog post ideas.

When this is the case, you’re going to want to sit down and find people who actually write about that destination and research their sites to find niche keywords you can cover.

4. Where do you go to find competitors?

There are a few ways.

The first thing I do is I open an incognito window in a browser and search something like “best [niche] blogs” — for example, “best Canada travel blogs” or “best solo travel blogs” — to bring up a listicle of recommended blogs.

From there, start making a list of the domains. Then you’re going to go into a normal Chrome window, making sure to have the MozBar Chrome extension installed and turned on to quickly and easily check the Domain Authority of each blog on your list. Basically, you want to make sure that you’re not doing competitor research on blogs with DAs that are too high to compete with.

The next step is to start pulling out blogs with DAs in your range and that cover the same topics as you. You want to do this for your niche and as well as the destination you’re covering.

You can also do this research with Keysearch, a robust keyword research tool.

By the way, you can click here and use code JESSIEONAJOURNEY for 20% off Keysearch.

Within Keysearch, you can easily do competitor research on your list of domains.

Additionally, if you go to the main dashboard in Keysearch and enter in a topic or keyword idea, it’ll give you the top 10 search results for it — as well as subsidiary keywords that are suggested on the right side.

You can click on these keywords and get a whole new range of 10 people who write about that topic. It tends to be that the more niche the keyword suggestion is — for example, instead of solo travel, it might be “fear of eating alone” or “should I wear a wedding ring in Turkey to be safe” — the easier it’ll be to undercover some hidden gem competitors who also might have a bit of a lower DA.

This means it’ll be easier to mine their sites and find niche keywords you can truly rank for. Plus, if you’re wondering how to find micro niche keywords and long tail keywords, this strategy can help.

New to Keysearch? Here is a quick tutorial on how to use the tool from Jessie:

5. Is it wrong to be “stealing” keywords from other bloggers when doing competitor research?

I don’t think it’s wrong.

Sure, some people may get upset; but if you think about it, George Clooney and Brad Pitt do basically the same thing and often play the same roles, and neither gets mad that the other exists.

Of course, this is as long as you’re not stealing content. Obviously, if you’re stealing content or photos or anything someone has created themselves, they have every right to be angry. That is stealing and that is wrong.

But when doing competitor research, you’re simply taking keyword ideas. Nobody owns keywords, which are really just search terms and questions.

So, if someone searches “Is solo female travel in Iran safe?“, you can create your own unique content around that. Nobody owns that question. It’s just a question.

6. How can you make your content E.A.T. the competition?

E.A.T. stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, and is a concept that comes from Google’s Search Quality Rater guidelines.

As a blogger, you want to make sure you’re being very clear, that your content is easy to access, and that you’re showing factual and up-to-date information.

Personally, when I’m trying to come up with blog post ideas that outrank other articles in Google search results, I start with competitor research. This allows me to gather niche keyword ideas, and you can use these ideas to create an annual blog content plan quickly.

When I do this competitor ressearch, I look at a specific keyword that I may want to write about and research the articles ranking on the first page of Google, which allows me to create an SEO-optimized outline that answers every question that a user has related to the keyword I’m researching.

The goal is that you provide all of the necessary information so that the searcher doesn’t need to look elsewhere for information. You’ve given them everything they need.

Now, because it’s important for content to also be up-to-date, part of this strategy is also updating old content. You can schedule regular content audits into your blogging workflow to do this.

Building on this, another way to E.A.T. the competition is to structure your posts correctly and include schema markup. The way to do this is different for every post, but doing it can help you rank in the featured snippets of Google search — which can help your content be more visible and increase blog traffic.

Here is a guide to schema markup.

Finally, you want to make your content scannable with short paragraphs, H2 headings, and a table of contents.

7. What are common mistakes you see bloggers make with competitor analysis?

There are many blogging mistakes people make, and I’ve honestly made them too.

Probably the competitor research mistake I’ve seen most is not checking the Domain Authorities (DA) of the competitors they’re researching.

Sure, when you’re just starting out and don’t have a DA you’ll need to write that in-depth foundational content (that will hopefully rank in the future); however, as you grow you’ll want to make sure you’re competiting with blogs that have a similar DA to you, preferably lower.

Another mistake is going after keywords that have a high search volume, but aren’t really in your niche. Or are in your niche, but don’t fit your blog brand.

For intance, if you cover solo female travel, writing a guide for men traveling alone is somewhat in your niche, but not really. You want to stick with niche keywords that you can rank for and that fit within your brand and content pillars.

And then the other competitor keyword research mistake I see is thinking you’re going to rank right away because you put in the work.

The truth is, SEO takes time. In fact, especially if you have a lower DA, it can take even a year to rank. The good thing is that as your DA grows, you can rank much faster; but, realize this whole process takes time and you need to first prove yourself to Google by optimizing your blog and site for good SEO.

Again, this means having content that is clear, helpful, and SEO optimized, and having a site that is speedy and secure, among other things.

8. How many competitors should bloggers aim to find?

It really depends. Sometimes you can mine five competitors for keyword data and come out with enough keywords that you can actually rank for to create content for the next year or more.

As a general rule, I’d say start with five, including three in your niche and two in the destination you’re covering. Or, if you’re a destination-focused travel blogger, research five competitors in your destination.

The goal:

To end up with at least 100 keywords you can rank for and that also fit into your content strategy. Because remember, the more you cover a topic, the easier it will be to rank for that topic in search results.

9. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom! Before we sign off, can you let everyone know where they can find you?

Alright, now I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you feel inspired and empowered to do competitor research when optimizing your blog posts for SEO.

Don’t forget to grab access to the free travel blogging resource library.

Or, if you’re in the US or Canada, you can text the word “blogger” to 1-833-818-0342 to have it sent to you by text message.

There are a ton of resources in there on growing your community and increasing your blogging profits.

And of course, make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss future episodes sharing these bite-sized strategies for bloggers who want to turn their blogs into profitable full-time businesses.

Happy blogging!

Grow Your Traffic With These Helpful Past Episodes:

Your Ultimate Guide To Affiliate Marketing For Travel Bloggers

Grow Your Blog Fast: 12 Quick Wins For More Traffic & Income

9 Clever Ways To Increase Blog Traffic (Beyond SEO)

How To Create A Pinterest Strategy For Bloggers That Grows Your Traffic

How To Start A Blog & Make Money Step-By-Step

How To Get Blog Followers, Build An Audience & Grow Your Blogging Business

How To Monetize Your Blog From Day One

120+ Travel Blog Post Ideas For Creating Engaging Content

How Niching Down Can Help You Grow & Monetize Your Blog

How To Come Up With Blog Post Ideas People Actually Read

12-Step Content Creation Checklist For Bloggers

7-Step Blog Post Promotion Checklist (Trello Board Included!)

Use This Blog Content Planner To Make A Blogging Calendar


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