From A To Z: How To Create The Perfect Niche Site

Geasy

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From LARPing to cosplay to Halloween to pure fandom, there are many reasons adults might want to indulge in playing dress up.

In this article, I’ll be looking at a subset of the larger “dressing up” niche – historical and fantasy weapons/accessories.

I’m focusing here because during my initial research, this looks like a niche with high search volume, low competition, and high purchase intent that isn’t completely dominated by big box retailers.

The reasons I thought this would be a viable niche to launch a money making site in include:

  • Emotional connection (fandoms have very invested members, with strong emotional ties).
  • Great aggregate search volume (3.5M+ monthly search volume).
  • Very low competition generally (0-20 keyword difficulty on all keywords profiled in this post).
  • The distribution of sites that rank for my target keywords is quite varied, with no big box retailers taking huge shares. Wikipedia and Amazon have the biggest piece of the pie at roughly 25% combined share of the ranking keywords. The rest is shared between dozens of mostly smaller sites.
  • Good for content marketing. The weapons and accessory keywords come from characters, historical cultures, fantasy narratives, etc. Each of these has its own fandom, where data-driven, emotionally compelling content can be created. Pirates, Vikings, wizards, weapons comparisons – there’s so much that can be explored.

The traffic opportunity​

There’s a surprisingly high volume of traffic for such a wide variety of historical and fantasy weapons. Even more surprising perhaps is how low the competition is for many of these keywords:

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My initial research reveals keywords fall into two overarching categories in this niche: weapons and costumes and accessories.

What’s particularly interesting is the huge range of long tail keywords with relatively high volume. Keywords like “tonfa” – a niche type of weapon – garner ~15k clicks per month in the US while having very low competition. Focusing on these high ROI weapons keywords seems prudent, especially in the early days of this site.

It can be difficult to fully understand intent in this space. Given that YouTube and Wikipedia dominate this space, along with a median organic clicks ratio around 30%, it’s clear that a significant portion is informational (what is this weapon?).

For those who already know what the weapon is, it seems weapon-specific keywords likely have much higher purchase intent. I would expect the ratio of informational to purchase intent searches to flip depending on the avg. common knowledge of a weapon type keyword.

Players in the space​

Looking at the competition that ranks for my keywords, we see:

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This is the kind of distribution I love to see – SO many smaller sites taking a piece of the pie.

As mentioned earlier, we see Wikipedia and YouTube near the top here, likely dominating informational searches. The rest of the niche seems to be smaller e-commerce and informational/educational sites. This huge longtail of ranking sites likely takes a big portion of the purchase intent searches (except where Amazon ranks, and likely has that product). We see Etsy near the top as well, which seems expected given there are many artisans that make replica weapons and cosplay gear.

Overall, given the spread of ranking sites, having Amazon and Etsy in there could actually be a good indicator that both of these sites have a critical mass of related products that could be utilized in the early days for an affiliate model.

Excluding Wikipedia, Amazon, and Etsy, we can look at the longtail, which seems to loosely grouped into types:

  • Small specialty e-commerce sites.
  • Fan sites or fan wikis.
  • Art/design sites.
We aren’t a big box, aren’t looking to develop a more general fan site or wiki (a much bigger task that also involves community building), and we don’t have any clear monetization paths for an art/design site. So I would, as with other niche sites, focus on creating a niche e-commerce/informational site.

The revenue opportunity​

I’ve used CPC to help prioritize my keyword/thematic focus. In this case, as you can see, CPC is almost universally low.

This is somewhat expected given the low levels of keyword difficulty and competition. Sorting by CPC in this case gave me a good heuristic for finding a handful of keywords that were too generic/broad or otherwise out of topic scope. I wouldn’t use CPC for much other than that, and instead focus on search volume to help me prioritize my focus.

The risk here is that my assumptions about informational vs. purchase intent ratios for these keywords are actually skewed much more toward informational.

A careful keyword-by-keyword analysis should be undertaken when prioritizing sub-topics and niche themes within the larger space, trying to parse out the highest volume keywords with the highest likely purchase intent.

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Taking your first steps​

Given the indications that this niche has potential, I’d like to take the next step and really refine my keyword research, looking to find which keywords reflect product segments that would make good targets. I’m looking to find keywords that have that hard to find combination of:

Decent click volume + high intent + product- or service-focused + low competition + decent organic/CPC ratio.

Using a filtered list, I did my best to get rid of low volume and unrelated keywords by hand, ending up with this list of keywords.

I took this data and built a Tableau view to help me quickly find the most promising opportunities:

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I then created a scatter plot to give me an intuitive view of keywords by difficulty and click volume, coloring each keyword by percentage organic clicks vs paid clicks:

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I’ve selected a handful of keywords that have low difficulty and high (relative) volume. These are the niche’s low-hanging fruit, and good first targets for SEO:

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This leaves us with lots of strange weapons I’ve never heard of, all with decent monthly click volumes and very low competition. This is what I was hoping for!

I would further segment these weapons into categories. Though outside the scope of this investigation, there is likely a natural taxonomy for these weapons – probably with this structure:

Fantasy weapons: Fandom overview hub → Weapon category hub→ Specific weapon page
-or-

Historical Weapons: Historical context hub → Weapon category hub → Specific weapon page.

For simplicity’s sake, if I were executing this plan, I might consider sharpening my focus to just historical weapons or just fantasy weapons to begin, and addressing accessories or other body adornments later.

The content plan​

I’d split my content plan into two parts:

  1. Onsite content (through a hub and spoke structure meant to provide high-value resources applicable to each relevant keyword group).
  2. Link building content (data-driven content meant to earn links and/or press).

Onsite content​

With the organizational structure mentioned above, the goal of onsite content would be to contextualize and embed the weapons within a hierarchy of educational content that gives credence to the history, lore, and importance of any individual weapon. I’d put a strong focus on the weapon itself, the historical or fantasy narrative implications for the weapon, its usage and techniques, and evaluations of weapon/product quality.

My goal would be to have thorough, detailed, and useful content on every single page. I would make each product page better than any other resource I could find on that product.

I doubt there would be much room for aggregate reviews or product comparisons in this niche. That said, there’s plenty that could be added to product hub pages that could assist potential buyers in understanding what makes a good or bad version of a replica weapon.

The use/evaluation of weapons could also provide interesting opportunities for broader keywords generally not encompassed in the keywords I’ve included here. Things like “how to use X weapon,” which also could be a great way to capture social and video traffic through YouTube and TikTok, where short form demonstrations of X weapon could potentially become viral content in and of itself.

A few ideas for onsite link magnets that probably aren’t newsworthy to pitch, but could provide evergreen, highly relevant links, are:

Rare weapons emojis

Hire emoji designers to create emojis for a ton of weird/unusual weapons. Things like a “war scythe” or a “rapier sword” or “kubotan.” While this is niche, being the only supplier of these fun/interesting emojis could be a great way to consistently build evergreen links.

Weapons identification quiz

Enthusiasts often pride themselves on their collection and accumulated knowledge of weapons and fantasy items. This would be a quiz where participants are shown 50 or so images of weapons and asked to name them (or pick from a list). Scores would be given at the end.

Newsworthy content for link building​

As with past niches I’ve covered, because I’ve looked for a niche that has organic search opportunity, link building content and onsite content will be the primary focus – especially initially.

Simply put, I would acquire the highest authority, most relevant links possible. This means trying to create content that is actually newsworthy and can be pitched to publishers successfully.

These campaign ideas should be related to the niche, but also broadly interesting. They should be data-driven, either by creating a dataset (survey or data scrape) or by using an existing dataset.

The idea should also reflect the SUCCESs principles (Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotion, Story).

Bonus points if the idea is evergreen, has regional angles, or utilizes user-generated content loops (user interacts with content in a way that they create additional content that draws in users to the original content).

In this case, I would focus on personal safety/protection as a key emotion, as well as trying to tap into the fandoms associated with specific weapons or categories of weapons for most of my ideas.

Some ideas include:

The most dangerous and most effective historical weapons

This would be a survey of experts such as museum curators, academic historians, and authors.

The goal would be to interview five or so of these experts, and ask them to rank historical weapons according to a variety of criteria. I’d ask questions like “most dangerous overall”, “most difficult to master,” “most game-changing” and then create a league table.

Historical torture – Most scary?

Torture museums are perhaps surprisingly popular, and almost as abundant as the variety of torture devices invented by humans over the years.

This would be a general survey asking experts which torture devices are the scariest, potentially the most painful, the most insane, and the most creative. Also, how do these things compare with modern punishment devices? Things like solitary confinement – where might that rank?

The first six months​

Building out the onsite content and link building content during this period should realize quick gains. This niche is not very competitive, and 25-50 unique linking domains of decent authority (news publishers and their syndications) should be enough to rank competitively against the competition.

I think two or three of the above link building ideas and a few dozen onsite pages dedicated to the specific product categories would be enough to get a steady stream of sales coming through.

I would probably begin monetizing immediately with affiliate links to products, starting with Amazon and Etsy’s affiliate programs. I’d also investigate if any of the niche e-commerce sites currently ranking well have their own affiliate programs (not very likely).

To fully capitalize on the products in this niche, I’d eventually look to develop a dropship relationship with a single or multiple distributors and suppliers. However, this might not be worth the additional work, given that most of the high volume products probably exist on Amazon, Etsy, and eBay.

Beyond six months​

The great thing about this niche is that it doesn’t seem likely to attract a huge amount of competition. Plus, the appetite for fantasy books, movies, shows, video games seems to be on the rise. Escapism and role playing are important hobbies, and dressing up as beloved characters is a growing hobby. Just take a look at the growth of Dungeons and Dragons:

Who knows if the trend toward fantasy escapism will continue, but it seems likely as more content modalities extend and improve the ways people can embody their characters.

As I began to capture an increasing share of keywords, I would consider expanding my focus to broader areas of cosplay and LARPing products, eventually encompassing the broader product niche entirely if possible.

Expanding from here to community building could be worthwhile at a later stage as well.

You can also view the whole stats via this pdf link - https://docdro.id/uVHvyAb
 
now that's a proper guide if I ever saw one.... Anyone following this and still not making money should quit SEO altogether...

Also, watch this niche become extremely saturated by December now that it's been exposed :)

I have no particular interest in pursuing this niche, but thanks for the effort regardless. This is what great content is all about... Cheers, mate!
 
Hi, nice thread ! Which tool did you used to make de "Players in the space" schema?
 
Great guide. Thank you for the time you put in this, so we can all learn something new and how the expert like you are doing the research
 
I have a question. Can a page reviewing Amazon products and using affiliate links (Amazon) outrank Amazon.com?
 
What tools did you use to do this research? thanks for the guide
 
It was a good read. This niche has great potential for dropshipping too. Can anyone tell how to identify such low-competition niche topics?
 
Thank you for this amazing guide. Can you please tell us if you cloack your affiliate links in your articles? Like blocking google crawlers etc, I am still wondering if that is the thing that prevents me from ranking since I read that Google does not really like affiliate links. Thanks in advance!
 
now that's a proper guide if I ever saw one.... Anyone following this and still not making money should quit SEO altogether...

Also, watch this niche become extremely saturated by December now that it's been exposed :)

I have no particular interest in pursuing this niche, but thanks for the effort regardless. This is what great content is all about... Cheers, mate!
Sounds right. But almost 90% of the people here are interested in reading. Few may try to compete with OP though
 
Great read and plan. However, if you don't explain how your performing your research, readers can't acquire any skills and make a similar plan for their websites. For example, sure the keyword research is SemRush, but how did you start from one keyword and get all the related keywords... Stuff like that. The other tools are not mentioned either, nor how you arrived to the results shown in the attachments. Being called "From A To Z", it's lacking a lot of letters in the middle ;) don't mean to criticize, just my 2 cents...
 
Nice guide! Top quality! Clustering and grouping keywords is key!
 
Wow - that's some excellent research there! Would this work for any domain/niche?
 
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