Today we’re going to talk about a tool that I’ve never had much love for, but that more recently I’m growing increasingly fond of, as a way to confirm in my mind that a niche or affiliate offer is really worth going after. I’m going to tell you the tool, then 3 things to watch out for when you search for your niche there.
The tool is called… (you’ve definitely heard of it before) Google Trends.
Particularly when I’m thinking of starting a site around a particular affiliate offer (like one whole site just for this offer) I want to know that it’s going to get traffic and make money not just in the short term, but the long term as well. Further, I want to know that the people who are searching this term are people I can actually sell to. Because as Google Trends shows us, search volume can often be very misleading.
Here are 3 things I look out for, with some screenshots to help illustrate.
1. Where Are Your Searchers?
I came across a product this week who’s search volume looked strong. Competition was low, payout was good, I was about to pull the trigger. Until I checked GTrends. Here’s the image of what I saw, below:
Note: The majority of the searchers aren’t from English speaking countries. In fact, there wasn’t an English speaking country in the whole top 10. What does that tell me?
Well in terms of data, not much. But I can make some guesses about what this says, that make me uneasy about entering the niche with a whole website.
Firstly, I don’t know what the complications are for people searching for this keyword from those countries, and finding my site. Will they even find an English language site – like will it appear in the index? Even if it will, how can I know my English pre-sell copy will appeal to them? What’s more, you’ve got a couple of poorer Eastern European countries in there that you can be sure don’t (as a whole population) have the same level of access to credit cards/disposable income (to spend on objects like this product anyway).
Of course, those aren’t things I know for a provable fact – maybe I will stumble across this pocket of wealthy, irrational Slovenians with perfect English who are begging for this product, though it seems less likely – but the inferences aren’t without merit. And when it comes to setting up a business in this niche (which is what you’re doing) the suspicion is warranted and basing a decision on it, legitimate.
I skipped that niche for these reasons.
2. Downtrending Volume
The next graph actually highlights my next two points: (This one was NOT a niche I considered entering, but illustrated this point well)
When a search volume chart had a high a few years back and is really trailing off now, it should be a sign to think twice. Of course a lot rides on how high the search volume was initially, and where it’s trailed off to. So if where the volume has trailed off to is still high relative to other markets, it might still be worth entering, but you should tread carefully, and think twice about a single product focused website.
And there are other volume trend patterns to look out for too…
Sometimes you’ll see big swings in the volume through a year. Like if you see a big high then a big low, then a big high etc you have to understand that entering this market will mean a volatile traffic pattern, and a volatile income pattern. Don’t expect steady monthly income from that niche. If the commissions are big and conversions high, it might still be worth it, but again, GTrends will tell you exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
Obviously the best sign is if the volume has stayed steady (like in point 1. above) and/or increased with time.
3. Searchers For The Wrong Reason
The final point is illustrated above too. Check out the news articles to the right of the graph. Most of them are negative.
If a product you want to promote gets a boost in volume because of a big whack of negative publicity, it’s of no value to you. You’re not going to sell those people who were researching Acai Berry to find out about all the online scams for it. We don’t know what percentage of the search volume were represented by each of those articles, but when we see a spike on the graph when a negative article occurs, it tells us something.
One negative article in the mix is nothing to freak out about, but when you see a volume graph that’s being carried by spikes of traffic associated to negative comments, it should be a reason to think twice. You have to confront the reality that even though a product gets 100k searches a month, if 80 000 of them are searching the term because they heard it was a popular scam, you won’t be making so much money.
But it’s not just negative comments either.
The news articles you see on the right of the graph will also tell you whether the RIGHT people are searching that term. Example…
A niche we entered last year looked to have big search volume for the main keyword, let’s say the keyword was SuperX (the brand of a pill for example). GTrends told me that SuperX was ALSO the name of this power company in India that got headlines because it was involved in this big buyout, and people had been talking about that forever. Result? A lot of the search volume I thought was there, wasn’t. Another thing GTrends will reveal to you.
So those are the big 3.
I hope I’ve made it clear why I think this is something you should do before entering any niche. The time and money it could save you will be well worth the 15 seconds a search will take.