Good SEO never comes easy, but some niches require more work than others. That’s painfully obvious if you do business in banking, insurance, healthcare or other fields where each lead is extremely valuable.
These highly competitive niches are known in SEO circles as “hard niches,” and marketers who wade into these waters with the same-old tricks will struggle to stay afloat.
But difficult doesn’t mean impossible. Even the hardest of niches can be mined for visitors and conversions that add value to your business and your website. Here we’ll review the top five ways to get SEO traffic in a hard niche environment. And if you don’t do business in a hard niche, then keep reading anyway — these tips could make life even easier.
1. Focus on Long-Tail Keywords in Hard Niches
Forget about getting loads of traffic from the most obvious keywords if you’re marketing in a hard niche. Sure, given enough time you might overtake some competitors, but that’s a long-term project compared to your shorter-term need to bring visitors to your website. How can your site show up on Google when other highly skilled marketers are already fighting for Page 1 rankings for the most common searches?
Long-tail keywords are your answer. A long-tail keyword is a longer and more specific phrase that will often point to a specific product, service or question. Imagine you owned a furniture store and were having trouble getting traffic from keyword searches such as “furniture store,” “buy furniture” or “new couches.” You might get significantly more traction by focusing your website’s content on long-tail keywords such as “art-deco sofa and chair sets,” “mid-century modern living room furniture” or “how to repair 1960s vintage furniture.”
The downside to long-tail keywords is they have significantly lower search volume. However, building content around these keywords will also reward you with traffic from similar long-tail keywords. Remember that Google’s search engine algorithm has evolved to be more human — it’s designed to evaluate websites and return relevant results based not only on keywords, but on content. All that traffic can pile up if you do a good enough job mining long-tail keywords.
Finding long-trail keywords is easy. Find online forums, guides and comments sections within your area of expertise and record the possible keyword terms that stand out. Another tactic is to search common keyword terms on sites such as Reddit, then scour the search results for ideas.
2. Get Creative About Building Links
Getting links to your website from blogs, social media and other sources is a core component of good SEO. Building a network of quality links establishes your website as trustworthy and authoritative in the eyes of Google’s search algorithm.
But unlike the keyword issue where competition might be too fierce, sometimes there just aren’t enough places to get external links. Say you work as a framer, a plumber or a roof cleaner; the Internet isn’t necessarily teeming with blogs with people clamoring to read about these topics.
The work-around is to think about related fields and over-arching topics where you might find link-worthy blogs and websites. If you’re a roof cleaner, you might seek out home repair websites where roof cleaning would be relevant; you can also contact real estate blogs and suggest a link in exchange for a guest blog post about how cleaning your roof can boost a home’s curb value. The possibilities are endless, but they’re outside the box.
3. Craft Compelling Content
We touched on this above, but your long-term game plan must include creating compelling content for your website. Unique and relevant content is more likely to rank high in Google, and you’ll have an easier time building links and repeat visitors if people genuinely find your content interesting.
Unfortunately, some niches are tough to crack because they’re just not much fun to talk about. Some niches have it easy — content about new cars, how to save money and new tricks to lose weight basically writes itself. During pockets of free time, how often do you honestly surf the Web and read articles about plumbing, TV repair and window installation?