Last year I wrote an article about how four numbers could send you millions of visitors from Google in 2016.
Despite the ambitious headline, it wasn’t clickbait.
The tactic I shared genuinely sent me tens of thousands of extra search visitors, was used by some to build $10,000/m online businesses (from scratch) and was shared on social media more than 4,000 times.
While what I’m about to share is more of a marketing tactic than a specific niche, it will help you find thousands of potential industries you can make money in this year.
I’ll start by covering the main points of the original article (with updated content and images) and then cover actual successful stories that people have had with this, which I wasn’t able to share before.
It all started with a business book…
Or rather, the search for a business book.
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook then you’ll know that I frequently set new disciplines for myself which I hope to turn into habits.
One discipline was becoming an early-riser.
Another was quitting alcohol.
And another, the most recent, was dedicating more time to reading and trying to finish two books per week.
Since I was fresh out of books on my Kindle – I had just finished reading The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone for the second time – I decided to search for some recommendations.
I’m not a fan of fiction books, so I headed on over to Google and typed in “best business books”. The results, from the likes of Business Insider and an array of personal development blogs, sadly suggested books I had read a year or two prior.
I then naturally changed my search query to “best business books of 2016” to get some more recent suggestions.
I started looking through the new recommendations and then suddenly had to stop.
“How many people do what I just did?”, I thought.
How many times in the past year have I searched for something with the numbers 2016 on the end to make sure I get the latest results.
I know I’ve searched for,
“macbook pro alternative 2016” this year.
“Science behind meditation 2016”.
“top goal scorers 2016”.
And on the list goes.
As you probably see where I’m going with this, we’ve just entered 2017 and those hundreds of millions of search queries are going to change.
Could you capitalise on what is about to happen? Do you instantly see the potential here? Is there any potential? Let’s find out…
Interesting idea, but do the numbers back it up?
I know there are billions of search queries entered into Google every single day, but maybe I’m just one of those weird few – an oddball – that likes to prefix his search terms with 2016 to get the latest results.
To test my oddball hypothesis, we can head to Google Trends, which is described perfectly by its name.
Since my hunt for good business books was the inspiration for this idea, let’s first look at the Google Trends chart for “best business books 2016” and “business books 2016”.
Both terms have spikes at the start of the year, which only keep increasing as time goes on; reaching a peak at years end.
This makes a lot of sense since you can’t really judge the best books until the year is coming to a close. That being said, the spike at the start of the year still suggests a lot of potential.
What if I check “best movies 2016” and “best movie 2016” together?
Again their search volume grows steadily throughout the year with a huge spike in December.
Continuing to look at other angles, another query, “best album 2016”, has a very interesting spike at the start of February and never gets higher than that.
The reason I wanted to show this example is because you don’t have to wait until the end of 2017 to benefit from ranking for 2017-related search terms.
I’ll get to queries with a lot less competition in a moment, but – coinciding with the Grammys – even search terms like ‘best album 2016’ can hit their peak at the beginning of the year.
It’s interesting to note that the Google keyword planner doesn’t actually seem to match Google Trends at all, with a higher figure in November than February and a steady climb across the year.
I am honestly not entirely sure why this is – some forum threads suggest they use similar datasets – but Trends may be a ‘normalisation’ of the data whereas the Keyword Planner is focused on more accurate numbers.
Last but not least, let’s throw one more generic niche into the ring with “Video games 2016” and “best games 2016” side-by-side.
Video games 2016 doesn’t seem to get too much love but best games 2016 gets a huge spike early on with an almost vertical line, suggesting that this term is hot any time of the year.
No matter the industry, the results are clear: People love adding ‘2016’ to their search queries to make sure they’re getting the most up to date search results.
Moving from theory to results (the fun part)
When I wrote about this marketing opportunity last year, it was based on a strategy that had worked for me back in 2010.
The terms that sent one of my websites the most traffic back in 2010, alongside how many visitors they sent, were:
- Vancouver 2010: 41,270 visitors
- Super bowl 2010: 32,836 visitors
- Olympics 2010: 6,216 visitors
- Valentines day ideas: 5,688 visitors
I didn’t bold it, but hopefully you see that the year in those search queries played a big part in why I received so much traffic. The writers for the site were covering these topics frequently, putting 2010 in the headlines, and I received a lot of traffic in return.
But that was six years ago, and six years is a very long time on the internet.
On the same website of mine where I wrote about this tactic initially – ViperChill – I also wrote an article at the start of 2016 with 2016 in the headline, specifically trying to get traffic because of its inclusion.
I received tens of thousands of visitors from Google to that article alone.
And I hadn’t tried to pick an easy niche, either. I was specifically looking to rank for “make money online 2016” where there are a lot of competitors with authority like Inc.com, Forbes.com and Entrepreneur.com.
Below you can see some of the specific queries which sent traffic to the page.
I had to put the “1-5% of actual traffic” text on the graphic for those just skimming the article and thinking “those numbers are low”. There are three reasons they are lower than what I’m claiming them to be.
1) I only put Google Analytics on my site on the 25th of September – I was using Clicky analytics before that – which excludes 75% of traffic for the year.
2) My rankings were higher when the article was published but slowly dropped as more people wrote about the topic, making traffic from Google later in the year lower than average.
3) Most importantly, Google Analytics shows “Not provided” for 90-95% of search traffic, so you can’t see most of the terms driving people to your website.
We can get a better idea of the figures by looking at search traffic to the page in general, but again keep in mind that this is only data from a quarter of the year.
In other words, 61% of the 13,500 people who visited the article in the last quarter of 2016 arrived via Google.
If I am very pessimistic and say that the traffic was no higher at the start of the year than at the end (I ranked #1 for a long time but dropped off slowly) then that’s 33,160 people who landed on a single article of mine, primarily because it had 2016 in the headline.
This is just for one article. What if you did this for an entire website?
Eight “2016” Articles. Brand new website. $4,687 in month four
In April of 2016, Luqman Khan launched the website 10beasts.com.
His goal was simply create a ‘list website’ featuring the best products to purchase in 2016 in different categories.
Just four months later, his site was already number 1 in Google for some of the hottest product-related terms of the year, as shown below.
In the first three months of the site, Luqman made $223.30 as an Amazon affiliate which was generated from just 905 people finding his website via Google.
Here are the exact numbers:
- April: $16.5 from 29 unique Visitors
- May: $34 from 197 unique Visitors
- June: $170 from 679 unique Visitors
To put it another way, he made $0.56 per visitor in April, $0.17 per visitor in May and $0.25 per visitor in June.
In July, things really started to take off.
Here is his search traffic via Google Analytics.
Here’s the traffic he sent to Amazon and his earnings for the same period.
That’s $100,000 in sales he sent Amazon, for $4,687 in commissions.
It’s interesting to see how his traffic stats almost perfectly align to his Amazon affiliate account, showing how ‘buyer-intent’ the traffic is that he’s receiving.
Since all of his sales were thanks to Google traffic and specifically people searching for something with ‘2016’ in their query, Luqman had to put the work in to get Google to notice his site.
I wasn’t just praying for higher rankings, I was working my butt off. I was doing email outreach and was trying to build quality backlinks as much as possible in those 3 months.
I love these type of success stories as they show you really don’t need a huge marketing budget or a team of developers to make money online. With a bit of grit and perseverance, there’s a lot of money to be made.
Most people would be more than happy making $4,500 just four months into a new online venture, but that was only the beginning.
5 months later, the site generated $80,000 profit in December alone
In November of 2016, Luqman’s 10 beasts website generated more than $40,000.
In December, where people are more likely to be shopping for products, Luqman told me via email that the site generated more than $80,000 in commissions.
The bulk of his traffic from search was sent to three main pages which covered the best wireless routers, the best 3d pens and the best electric shavers to buy in 2016.
It’s interesting to see that his title tags (part of the title you see in Google search results) had been changed to also include months, rather than just the year. So each month he was changing these to (Nov), (Dec), etc.
Although he did start experimenting with other revenue sources, Amazon still provided the bulk of his earnings.
In November alone he earned $35,631 from Amazon and $3,520 from a program called LixPen. I hadn’t heard of LixPen before, but it turns out they sell 3D pens so Luqman had started going direct to product creators and becoming an affiliate for them.
His site is now entirely focused towards ranking for 2017-related terms and as he told me, he’s now trying to turn the website into a real brand.
Congratulations for taking an idea and putting it into practice, Luqman!
We’re not done just yet.
There’s a bigger fish in the 2017 pond.
The Link Network That Will Dominate Google in 2017
To regular readers, it’s no secret that I’m disappointed as to how well BestProducts.com are ranking in Google.
Primarily because the main reason they do so is thanks to sitewide footer links on Esquire, Cosmopolitan and Elle.com which are all owned by their parent company, Hearst Media. In other words, they use their current “authority” with Google to help their little, newer brands rank well too.
Linking to their own sites is fine, but they do it in a really sneaky way.
It’s ironic that Google will go through black hat forums looking for sites and networks to penalise but totally ignore the big fish right under their nose.
I guess Hearst spend enough money on Google AdWords.
My mini-rant out of the way, there is something to learn from BestProducts.com: They absolutely dominated Google for 2016-related keyphrases, and they’ll do the same again in 2017.
Let’s look at the meteoric growth, first of all.
They’ve tripled their traffic from 2.5 million visitors to 7.5 million visitors in just five months.
When you consider that BestProducts wasn’t even online at the start of 2016 that chart becomes a little more mind-blowing.
With 90% (!) of their traffic coming from search, just take a look at the huge search volumes of these keyphrases and how well they’re ranking for them.
These terms in this screenshot alone, where I am excluding hundreds of keyphrases with 2016 in them, could potentially send 429,400 visitors to the site in a single month.
When you consider Luqman was making an average of $0.30 per visitor, that’s an estimated income of $143,000 for just the terms above, and just for one month.
Keeping in mind that they won’t have 100% of people searching for something landing on their site – even if they’re ranked first – it’s still clear to see why Hearst Media are willing to use risky tactics to get to the top of Google.
There’s an incredible amount of money to be made.
Finding the Keywords That Will Make You $
If you see the huge potential available to you in 2017 and want to profit from 2017-related terms, let’s take this further.
The examples above were simply that. Examples.
I don’t expect to rank for ‘best album 2016’, even if I have an exact-match domain name. I expect Billboard.com and MTV and whoever else will dominate those search rankings as soon as they write a single article on the topic, regardless of how many backlinks they receive.
I also don’t expect to rank for ‘top goalscorer of 2016’ since FIFA, the BBC and the EPL website will probably be up there. Alongside everyone else who is featured in Google News or creating content for properties like YouTube.
That being said, I wouldn’t actually want to rank for those terms.
There’s no point in potentially getting millions of visitors to your site (capitalising on a lot of angles), if you aren’t going to make any money.
Am I really going to sell match tickets or club merchandise to someone checking whether Lionel Messi has scored more than Cristiano Ronaldo this season? It’s possible, but unlikely.
We’re getting to the point now where you need to take action.
If you want to make money with this method, you have to take the time to do proper keyword research. You can’t write a single blog post with “2017” in the headline and expect to suddenly get thousands of visitors to your site.
The more obvious a keyphrase is, the more likely other people are going to be targeting it.
The whole premise behind Gaps is that I want to help create more online success stories, so please be willing to put in some time here. Deal?
Let’s go and find those keywords with both traffic and income potential.
Source #1: Google & Google Trends Suggestion Boxes
When I type 2016 into Google Trends, Google are kind enough to suggest some terms that I may be looking for. They do the same for regular Google queries as well, as shown below.
Just finding inspiration from “2016 top” will get you the same results as everyone else reading this article – at least for English speaking audiences – so try adding some other words into the mix to get some other angles to target. Some potential queries that come to mind include:
- most expensive
There are a lot more I can add to this list but you get the idea. When I did this same exercise last year I quickly found four industries to potentially capitalise on.
While there are dozens of ways to make money with this type of traffic, a simple rule of thumb is to find keyphrases related to things that you can buy on Amazon.com. If it’s available on Amazon, you can link to it as an affiliate, and make money if someone makes a purchase.
Keep this in mind for the following keyword sources.
Source #2: Google Trends Related Queries
Not only will Google Trends give you an idea of how popular search terms are over a certain time period, it’ll also give you related search terms you can use to narrow down your targeting.
For instance, if I type in “best games 2016” I see the following related queries:
I now have a few new industries and angles to think of such as “best android games 2017”, “best PC games 2017” and so on.
For another example, let’s say I type in “best album 2016”, I see the related queries are:
- best songs 2016
- album releases 2016
- 2016 grammy winners
You can guarantee these are all going to be searched for in 2017 as well.
Take your list of terms from step one and run them all through Google Trends to see if there are more varied terms that pop-out which aren’t so obvious (and others wouldn’t find so easily).
Source #3: The Google Keyword Planner
Although the Google Keyword Planner is undoubtedly the most accurate keyword tool on the planet (since the data comes from the source), the reason I’ve put it third in my list is because it’s a little…obvious. Anyone who knows anything about SEO is going to head here first and put 2017 in the search box.
Just because it’s popular though, that doesn’t make it bad. Many thousands of people will read this article, see the potential with this idea, and then do absolutely nothing with the information here.
Once you open the tool, remember not to search for 2017. The planner is delayed by a few months so there aren’t going to be many results for 2017-related terms.
Start with 2016, and then “be creative”.
By default, you’re just going to see generic results like “movies in 2016” and “star trek 3 2016” which get searched a lot, but aren’t likely to make you any money (unless you happen to sell Star Trek memorabilia).
Start typing in terms that may have came to mind from previous research or what you can see other websites (like BestProducts) already ranking well for.
One term that sent them a lot of traffic was ‘best router 2016’.
If I type 2016 router into the Keyword Planner I get back results like:
- best wifi router
- wireless router reviews
- best wireless router
They don’t have 2016 in the query, but now you know people are going to be adding 2017 to those search terms, so if it’s a niche you’re interested in, add them to your list.
Source #4: Reverse-engineer popular websites
We’ve established that a good way to consider if a niche is valuable is to find keyphrases related to products that would be sold on Amazon.
To take that a step further, you can start looking at the search traffic of sites that talk about things that are for sale on Amazon.
Since Best Products and 10 Beasts both cover tech products, let’s use Engadget – a large tech blog – for this example.
If I put Engadget into SimilarWeb, I can see that the top five search terms estimated to be sending them traffic are:
- Google home
- watch dogs 2
The Chinese (Japanese?) characters were not a typo. I guess the second one is related to Pokémon Go. You can uncover 8,198 more terms via SimilarWeb but that does require a premium account.
We did get one interesting product we could promote though: Google Home.
Similar to Amazon Echo, it’s going to be a hot product in 2017 and people will definitely be searching “Google home 2017” and “Google home review 2017”.
Another free keyword tool we can use is Amazon’s own Alexa.com. Putting in Engadget again, we get the following terms:
- google docs
- google pixel
You aren’t going to get the best results from free tools, but once again we find a product that people will be searching for in 2017: Google Pixel.
Just like with Google Home, they’ll be searching for things like “Google pixel review 2017” which you could rank for and then promote as an affiliate.
Again, these free options aren’t the best, but they can give you some insights if you use them on enough sites (you don’t just have to check Engadget).
If you do have a bit of a budget and you’re looking to do more reverse engineering, I can’t recommend Ahrefs highly enough. In the past I would have recommended SEMRush, but since Ahrefs have really upped their game on keyword research (they provided the data on BestProducts above) there’s no other tool you need.
For Engadget, we can then see what they were really ranking for in 2016, with data on more than 12,000 keyphrases in the US alone.
I’ve highlighted a few that stood out to me from the first page of results but there really are thousands of terms to go through for just this one website alone.
Source #5: Your Own Experiences & Imagination
The best source for niches to target is without a doubt…you!
If there is some angle or industry that instantly came to mind when you thought about search terms for 2017 then start looking into it more with the keyword sources mentioned above.
Also head over to Google and check the 2016 search results to see if anyone else capitalised on them.
One tip, to see how popular certain topics were in 2016, is to find blog posts trying to rank for 2016 related keywords and seeing if they have a lot of shares and comments.
Using your own imagination can be both the easiest and the most difficult source to work with.
On one hand you will likely have hobbies and interests I didn’t mention here which will give you ideas other people reading this won’t have, but on the other – because I didn’t talk about them here – you may doubt the potential that particular industry has.
There’s no fool proof formula to guarantee your success with this.
My best advice is to target a lot of terms and most importantly, dive right in with both feet. With a domain name at $9 and hosting at a couple dollars per month, there really isn’t much to lose besides time, but it’s a learning experience anyway.
If you’re looking to dive in and take action with this, I do have four strategies to help.
New to Gaps? This is half the story…
For every success story we feature, we highlight gaps in the market which reveal additional opportunities to be successful. Many are possible by simply changing the industry (or location) to focus on while others look at how to profit from other traffic sources or monetisation options.
If you want to know exactly what types of sites I would build to dominate this ‘2017 angle’ and how to analyse the people who are already ranking in Google, I’ve put together a 100% free strategy guide covering exactly that.
You can also ask any questions you have and get feedback from me personally in the comments section. If that’s something you would be interested in, click here for the free report.
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