Forget expensive tools, I just use my brain OK. Lets say you have a competitor in a niche that's ranking real high in Google, and you want to figure out how the heck they do that Easy. Here's a way to do it, and in the process, learn about new great places to obtain back links from. By the way, this method also exposes their best keywords, as an additional bonus, those keywords for which they *WANT* to rank well. OK so here we go: Step 1. Check the main keyword on which you and your competitor are competing. For example, lets say I'm in the 'MBT shoes' niche, so that would be a keyword on which I am competing. OK, so I identify that my main competition (besides the company that makes them, of course) is http://mbtshoesdirect.com. That domain name right there is telling you that they're interested in ranking well for 'MBT shoes' and in fact they do rank very well, #3. Step 2. Check their back links in http://backlinkwatch.com/. Plugging in the URL http://www.mbtshoesdirect.com reveals that they have 139 backlinks, from quite a few domains. Step 3. Examine the 'Anchor Text' column -- you'll see that they're attempting to rank well for the terms 'MBT shoes', 'walking shoes', 'MBT sandals', 'Masai Barefoot Technology', 'MBT footwear'. Step 4. Check the 'Backlink URL' column. You'll see quite a few interesting domains that are worth checking out: hotwords.com, kaboodle.com, ... These links will give you *LOTS* of ideas for parasite hosts and places to insert your links. If you have SEO for FF or another tool, you can easily figure out which places allow you to put ******** links and build up your PR. The best places from amongst those that mbtshoesdirect.com used, IMHO, are: hotwords.com, kaboodle.com, syncone.com, thisnext.com, amazines.com, spotback.com, wirefan.com, cre8buzz.com, contentpop.com, and articledashboard.com I bet there's at least 5-6 in that list that you didnt even know about. That was certainly true for me Step 5: Check the competition in Google with the search 'intitle:"MBT shoes"' and see there's 12900 pages with that term in the title. It's gonna be tough to rank high for this search keyword... You can do it by building >200 backlinks with that term and also have the URL contain "MBT shoes" in it somewhere, preferrably in the domain or sub-domain. Similarly, for 'intitle:"MBT sandals"' you only have 384 competing pages, so that one is a much much easier one. Step 6: Check whether people are ready to spend money when they search for these terms. Head over to http://adlab.microsoft.com/Online-Commercial-Intention/ and enter your search keywords. You'll see that "MBT shoes" has a score of 0.99 (out of 1) so it's absolutely golden, and "MBT sandals" has a score of 0.89, also excellent. Step 7: Check how many searches there are for these terms, and find any related search terms. Head over to http://www.spacky.com/ which gets search estimates from Google, Yahoo, and MSN all at the same time, and see that "MBT shoes" is searched for 110K times a month on G, definitely worth a LOT of effort to rank well for, given the high commercial intent. Incidentally, did you notice it found a completely new niche for you that we hadn't even considered entering? Did you notice that ecco shoes are searched for 156K times a month?... Conclusion: Just a short trip through how I do niche research My notebook keeps growing as I discover new ways to uncover hot niches quick... Comments? Questions? Shoot them over.