Niche Site Case Study 003: Screeech! I Chose a Bad Keyword

by Benji Walklet on May 28, 2013 · 9 comments

Niche Site Case Study 003: I Chose a Bad Keyword!

Just when I was starting to get excited about my new niche website I was hit with a major curveball. It dawned on me that I had chosen a bad keyword.

How did I make this conclusion?

Well, if it weren’t for Spencer Haws’ recent post here, I may have dug myself a much deeper hole.

I ignored a crucial element of the top 10 Google results

You see, I realized that my keyword, commercial coffee makers (yes, I’m revealing it now because I’m no longer going after it), is a clear e-commerce keyword in the eyes of Google. Take a look at the top 10 results:

Screen Shot 2013-05-28 at 2.53.46 PM

Screen Shot 2013-05-28 at 2.57.11 PM


Notice a pattern? Yep, pretty much every one of the top 10 results is an e-commerce site. Argh!

So now what?

Well, although I will no longer be creating a niche site for commercial coffee makers, I will be adding a section to my existing coffee maker review site specifically for commercial coffee makers. Once this has been developed a bit (i.e. there are at least a couple reviews), I will use the domain I bought,, to redirect traffic to this subsection of my site.

So the $8.99 I spent won’t be completely lost.

Secondly, I will need to find a new niche…which I think I already have done.

Don’t make hasty decisions with the niche you choose

Choosing the right niche is the most important step in this whole process. Do not make any hasty decisions about the keyword you decide to go after until you make sure that it has met most of the criteria that has been extensively outlined by Spencer and Pat here and here.

I know, I know, perhaps I’m being a little bit hypocritical…as I’ve already chosen a new niche the day after getting the bad news. I’ve already purchased a domain and setup WordPress. So a few hours of my time and $20 bucks of my money have already been invested.

It would suck to be wrong again, but I figured that since my new keyword meets all of the same criteria I was looking for the first time around, and it’s not an e-commerce keyword with e-commerce sites in the top 10 results, it’s a safe bet.

If I’m wrong again then I will probably slow my research down a bit and make sure I don’t make the same mistakes the next time around.

About the new niche/keyword

I’m really excited about this new niche because it relates to one of my favorite hobbies. The site I will build for this niche will be a review site, but there is a ton of potential for all kinds of content here. Here is a little information on the specific keyword I chose

-5,400 global exact searches, 3,600 local exact searches (according to Long Tail Pro), and <10 local exact searches (according to Google keyword tool). This discrepancy worries me a bit, particularly that last number. So I will have to keep an eye on this.

-$0.82 avg. CPC

-7 out of 10 top results have a Page Authority = 1

-9 out of 10 top results have 0 Juice Page Links

-9 out of 10 top results have < 10 page links

Again, I won’t be revealing the keyword until I’m at least a few weeks into the development of the site.

What are some mistakes you’ve made?

I would love to hear about some others’ keyword research mistakes so we can all learn from each other. You know, I’ve actually bought domains for 3 other keywords that all turned out to be duds? Yep, that’s at least $50 worth of mistakes right there and hours of time.

What are some of yours? Please share in the comments below!


About Benji Walklet
Benji Walklet is the owner, founder, and main writer of Search and Perch, a holistic internet marketing blog for entrepreneurs. When he's not on his computer he's either playing some hoops (basketball, duh), reading a book, or hanging out with friends and family.

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  • Neale

    Hi Benji
    I found you over on Spencer’s site yesterday, nice site and case studies. My “mistake” not sure if it was a mistake yet was to target a KW with low search volume. “family size tents” thinking like I have always done that I could rank for family tents, then softening to best family tents. Any ways I’m running a through experiment on this one adding stuff slowly so I can measure metrics. I have now also bought a domain with “best family tents” in it to redirect to if the original domain just will not rank. For the record just a few links and a couple of pages of content was needed to rank #1 for “family size tents” and a few other related KWS

    KC was a 30 before I started. after adding a few other pages I’m just starting to rank for “family tents” 6th page. keep in touch Neale

    • Benji Walklet

      Hey Neale,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Great info…it’s always good to have a backup plan with whatever keyword you choose. The cool thing is that with the EMD update, even if you choose a bad keyword and go out to buy the domain, there are many variations of whatever keyword you choose and it’s still very possible to rank.

      That would be awesome to rank for “family tents”..will give you nice traffic. Just watch out for those e-commerce KWs!

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  • Jeremy Looi

    Hi Benji,

    It was consider lucky you didn’t order bulk articles from writers before you discovered something wrong in your keyword research. I would consider that’s smart move.. Cut loss earlier 😉 Losing $50 and learned something rather than not knowing what happen but keyword coudln’t rank at all.

    • Benji Walklet

      Hi Jeremy,

      Absolutely. Better to make mistakes sooner than later I’d say. At least I only lost the cost of the domain registration (and my time).

  • Adrian Barat

    Hey Benji,

    I noticed you said the kw you choose are ecommerce kw. It’s that such a bad news? I am asking because I also find some kw for a niche site I’m trying to build, and I also noticed that some of the ranking sites are ecommerce sites. But they don’t describe the product, they just sell it. If I create a website and i write some articles about it, I can not rank? Or what is exactly the problem? I really appreciate if you give me a piece of advice as I am new to all this.

    Thanks a lot and by the way, great case study. Looking forward for more.

    • Benji Walklet

      Hi Adrian,

      Keywords that are merely a product or service tend to be harder niches to rank for, especially if the top 10 results are mostly just selling the product or service (like e-commerce sites). It doesn’t mean you can’t rank for them, it’s just much more difficult because Google favors e-commerce sites for product-specific searches.

      I don’t know if you checked out Spencer Haws’ article that I linked above, but it goes into good detail about the problem with these type of keywords:

      My recommendation is to go for a keyword that is modified with some kind of descriptor: reviews, top, best, great, how to, etc. When the niche keyword is modified somewhat with words like these, you have a much better idea of what the searcher is looking for, and can thus provide the informational content they need to make a buying decision.

      Hope this helps!

      • Adrian Barat

        Thank you Benji. I understand now. I also check Spencer’s article. If the kw is the product itself, it’s more difficult, but when a kw is a long tail kw, like best of… or top ….. or “kw” review, it’s much more better.
        I hope I understand it correctly :)
        Thanks a lot for fast reply. Cheers.

  • L.J

    Hey Benji,

    Just found you through Spencer’s site and I’m really enjoying going through your posts! As far as my keyword research mistakes go, I made a total rookie $40 mistake recently by forgetting to pay attention to “exact” search volume as opposed to “broad” ! I got sooo excited at the prospect of finding winner keywords, I didn’t pay attention to the most basic of all. Oh well, we live and we learn. Cheers, LJ.

    • Benji Walklet

      Hey LJ,

      Pretty sure we’ve all made that mistake before 😉

      At least you know you’ll never make the same again…

      Thanks for reading!

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