This page is part of NoodSEO’s Free SEO Course.

The Learning Outcomes for this unit are:

Research is the foundation of every good search marketing plan.

It is also the most important – without preliminary research into your market, competitors and the keywords that you want to target, you can waste a lot of time doing unnecessary tasks that are not aligned with your goals.

The lifecycle of a website

The goal of a website is to become an income-producing asset. It will typically evolve through the following stages, for which I have used the analogy of a human:

  1. Birth – the website is created but has little value (requires a lot of work for no reward)
  2. Childhood – the website begins to get traffic (requires a fair bit of work for no reward)
  3. Adulthood – the website starts to earn money (requires a fair bit of work for a fair reward)
  4. Maturity – the website earns a lot of money (requires some some work for decent reward)
  5. Old age – the website becomes an authority in its niche (requires minimal work for good reward)

As the website matures, less time and effort is required to maintain it and the rewards are great. However, this does mean that you have to go through the pain period of working your butt off for nothing at the beginning. This is the reason why so many people quit. You need to dedicate at least 6 months to the process and perhaps even a year before you start to reap your rewards.

At any point in its lifecycle, the website can die (have zero traffic and generate no revenue), although it may be revived. Similarly, the website can be sold at any time, with higher profits being generated the later it is in its lifecycle (websites typically sell for 25x-45x monthly profit).

Niche discovery

Niche discovery is the process of identifying a market for your website that is potentially lucrative and that you have a realistic chance of competing in.

Check out the guide to niche discovery here

Keyword research

Keyword research is the process of identifying how your website should be structured, the topics that will be covered and the words that will be used.

Check out the guide to keyword research here.

Research Tools

There are many tools that can help you with keyword, competitor and market research. I’ve listed some of my favourites below.

Best Budget SEO Research Tool

Without a doubt this is SERanking. I use it myself. Check out my review here.

Best for Keyword Research

If you are looking to find keywords to target, SEMRUSH has the biggest and most accurate database (although accuracy is relative and no tool will give you 100% accurate data).

Best for Backlink Research

AHREFS has the biggest and best database of backlinks.