Disclosure: Please note that links to merchants mentioned within this post might be using an affiliate link which means that - at zero cost to you - I might earn a commission if you buy something through that affiliate link. That said, I never recommend anything I don’t personally use and find to be a valuable asset to my business.

How to Conduct Niche Research for an Affiliate Site


  1. Great stuff Rae. The “Show me the traffic” and “Show me the competition” parts were always the ones I slacked on. Usually I would just get an idea and start going to town on it without doing enough research into what other sites were ranking, what the trends were, etc.

    If I were to take the time to do the research ahead of time I could have saved myself hundreds of dollars and many, many hours of time with projects that never took off. I would do some keyword research and have a good angle and do my research on those ends but too often I just discounted the competition or was arrogant enough to think I could beat them. That worked 10 years ago but not so much now.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Thanks Joe. Yeah, those were the days eh?! I think if you asked every affiliate that’s been an affiliate for more than eight or so years what their one regret was, it would be not building more sites back in the day (personally, I’d have gotten by on two hours of sleep a night in retrospect haha). ;-)

      With the level of commitment required to make a site rank now, it’s really important to do as much research as possible to ensure it’s not a whole lot of energy wasted. :)

  2. Eric Covino says:

    Another tool that might be helpful on the keyword side is TermExplorer (.com). I use to help get volume for a group of keywords at a time (up to 1k at a time) and also to do some really deep keyword yanking from multiple sources.

    I have nada to do with that tool but have recommended it inside of SeoBook b/c I never had access to an AdWords API and post-keyword brainstorming it was always laborious to manually check volume and CPC. SemRush does a marvelous job of this but in those instances where you have a brainstormed list, TE can be helpful.

    It also checks for the availability of an exact match domain, I believe just .net/com though.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Thanks for the tip Eric. I’ve never tried TermExplorer but just added it to my list of tools to check out for upcoming potential review posts. In my opinion, you can’t have too many keyword research tool options. ;-)

  3. I’m a bit confused by the potential section – finding out how much your competitor(s) are willing to spend on your money keywords per month. That tells you how much a competitor is willing to spend on traffic each month for those keywords, correct? So they must be making more than that amount. Well we assume so. But that depends on what they’re selling, correct?

    Just trying to wrap my head around how I am to interpret this data.


    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Hey Kim – correct on estimating how much folks advertising on those keywords are willing to spend to be seen on those keywords. Also correct, that in theory, they would be making more than that amount on whatever it is they’re selling. But keep in mind they’re usually the merchants, so they have higher margins on the keyword value than most affiliates would.

      The potential section is merely to give you an indication of the value of a niche. :) Hope this helps!

  4. Logan Thompson says:

    To me one of the biggest issues I’ve kicked myself in the butt with in the past is spending enough time researching monetization. I’ve found niches with little competition in the SERPs, plenty of people bidding in PPC, and decent traffic. Then I build sites around them and started seeing success with traffic. The problem comes when the only affiliate program out there shuts down and AdSense is about the only way to monetize that traffic. I will rarely touch a niche now that I don’t see multiple merchants with affiliate programs and multiple products to fit the niche.

    Excellent post Rae. Going to link to this post for sure. Thanks.

  5. These days I also check out the interest volume for various countries in Facebook ads platform to see how viable the niche will be in social media. This gives you a good idea of the number of people interested in a particular topic or product.

  6. Dan Craddock says:

    Hi Rae, wow – what a great article. :-) I’m a newbie at all this… so really appreciate the insight into ‘how to find a great niche’. My concern is that I’m a little late to the party? I know that there are obviously some unmined territories and sub sub niches out there but do you think it’s the experienced affiliate guys who will find those niches?

    Also, I’ve signed up to Wealthy Affiliate as a basic starting point and wondered what you thought about them whether it’s best to start out this way?

    Many thanks

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Hey Dan – I don’t believe that folks can’t still enter a niche today and find success within it. I might not advise a newbie enter the credit card niche where the competition is ridiculous, but 80% of the niches are still highly achievable for someone who puts in the time, sweat and effort. :)

      Sorry, no experience with the program you asked about.

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