Over the last decade, online shopping has exploded—for most businesses, e-commerce has become the frontline in retail. With the advent of lockdowns in 2020, necessity has forced many to make sweeping changes to identify new marketing opportunities to retain or regain their market position.

While some businesses shut shop for good, global turmoil signalled the need for retailers to finally take their e-commerce business seriously. But, with newfound interest comes competition, and jostling for brand recognition has become significantly more challenging.

Amid tough competition, many business owners, existing and new, are unsure of how to influence customer purchasing decisions amongst such stiff opposition.

How you can better identify and target marketing opportunities in your niche.

Profoundly, one of the most acknowledged cause for failure—is the failure to plan, an ill-fated pattern repeated by so many businesses for generations.

The cold hard truth is the majority of businesses put less consideration into marketing and maintaining their online presence than they do launching their business—seemingly unwilling to drink from the chalice positioned in front of them and partake of the abundance of marketing opportunities available.

Success online requires a very different approach.

Online marketing requires understanding your customers’ psyche, their needs, and how to connect with them where they hang out online.

With so much competition, established businesses who actively pursue a long-term content strategy retain what may well appear as an unfair advantage in the search results.

There are no short-cuts; competing for high-volume, high-competition phrases requires long-term commitment.

Fortunately, there is a way to identify opportunities and profitable income streams in your niche, and we will show you how.

Website audits and domain strength.

Website audits are an essential part of getting to know the strengths and weaknesses of your website’s performance. Aside from revealing technical issues that hamper website performance, SEO audits provide a snapshot of your website strength. Knowing how well your website is positioned amongst your competitors will help identify areas where your business can reap quick results.

Website strength goes beyond domain authority or rank scores; it realistically appraises your website’s overall domain health by analysing the quality of its backlinks, website content and brand recognition.

Reach audiences your competition is missing.

Understanding is real empowerment. So understanding your website’s strengths and weaknesses and that of your competitors provides you with an opportunity to target your market niche objectively.

Targeting keywords with high keyword difficulty scores with a new or low authority website is foolhardy—liken to punching above your weight class.  Setting unrealistic expectations will only result in your objectives eluding you, weakening your resolve and your content strategy running awry.

Just as website strength is heavily representative by the number of high-authority inbound links, so too is a healthy flow of organic traffic. High-authority websites craft content that resonates with their audience and subsequently attract backlinks to their content naturally as it’s considered engaging and overwhelmingly useful.

Although inbound links occur in blog posts, directories, social media and video posts, to name a few, not all links impact your website authority.

Every business owner should understand what makes a website credible and what actions you should avoid.

Getting the most from keyword and competitor research.

Growing your organic traffic and utilising pay-per-click advertising are undisputedly acknowledged as the most effective ways to deliver paying customers to your website.  The key to any successful marketing strategy is keyword research.  Keyword research is the crucial step in identifying your target customer, revealing marketing opportunities and ultimately driving outcomes in your niche.

Keyword research dramatically increases your chance of ranking in the search engine results pages and, ultimately, the success of your e-commerce strategy.

Depending on your understanding of your target market, the best place to start is to research seed keywords known to you and branch out from there. Once you have exhausted your research, look further afield for keywords competitors use to attract their audience.

Whether you have chosen to do the keyword research yourself by using popular keyword research tools like Ahrefs, Serpstat or Ubersuggest or engaged an SEO professional, it’s how you interpret and action the data that matters.

As keyword research is a topic discussed previously, we won’t delve into the process, but encourage you to do so by clicking here.

Knowledge—the seed of understanding.

Imagine being able to pinpoint opportunities in your marketplace and follow through with a content plan knowing your efforts will be rewarded.

It’s not only possible, but some of your competitors are likely doing this already—so it’s time to start extrapolating the data gathered. What’s appealing about mastering this strategy is how it empowers you to discover new opportunities quickly and easily, regardless of industry.

How to determine website credibility.

As any seasoned gambler will concede, there is no such thing as a sure thing. To appraise website credibility, do not rely solely on algorithmic domain scores or ‘best guess’ metrics.

Seasoned SEOs can determine tactics used by some web professionals to inflate domain scores using unnatural backlink practices. Such tactics often lead to website penalties and ultimately deflate traffic numbers.

Nonetheless, DR and DA scores can be rather handy when analysing a competitor’s backlink profile and weighing your chance of ranking for particular keywords.

Ahrefs, Moz and Serpstat provide domain scores and other domain and keyword data metrics. These websites use proprietary algorithms to appraise domain strength and score accordingly to aid SEOs gauge website credibility.

Not surprisingly, though, one of the biggest giveaways to website credibility is organic traffic and lots of it. An established website with substantial traffic has undoubtedly earned its place by crafting content that resonates with its audience, attracting backlinks and Google’s trust.

The most effective way to determine website credibility is by considering the following factors;

  1. Domain score
  2. Inbound links (quality vs quantity)
  3. Organic traffic
  4. Landing page word count
  5. Content quality

As you delve deeper into website metrics, you will notice one thing all credible websites share—the number of backlinks pointing to their internal pages.

So, if you are a new or unseasoned player on the block and your competitors have established high authority websites, it is unlikely you will be able to compete at their level for some time.

Metrics that matter.

Possibly, one of the most satisfying parts of what can sometimes be a tedious process is discovering unrealised marketing opportunities within your business niche.

There are three crucial opportunity indicators you should look for when examining keyword data;

  1. low competition
  2. medium to high traffic volume
  3. obvious buyer intent

Let’s get started.

One of the easiest ways to view your keyword research is through Airtable. If you haven’t heard of Airtable, we recommend you take a look—best described as spreadsheets on steroids, but way cooler, more productive and easier to use. Airtable is available in both free and premium versions.

To get started in Airtable, simply create a database, add a table, duplicate the fields from your spreadsheet data, and import your keyword research into one table.

Now that you have your data in Airtable, you will find it easier to filter and sort your data.

The discovery process.

For those with low authority websites, I’d recommend targeting solely keywords defined as ‘easy’ to rank, which means sticking within the KD range of 0-19, and for those with more established websites, increase the KD accordingly; the keyword difficulty ranges are as follows;

  • 0-19 (Easy)
  • 20-29 (Medium)
  • 30-69 (Hard)
  • 70-99 (Super Hard)

Regardless of website strength, opportunities considered easy with reasonable traffic volumes could return considerable traffic growth.

The purpose of this article however we are focusing on keywords within the ‘easy’ range where new e-commerce and service industry businesses can benefit the most.  For your best chance of ranking we strongly recommend focusing your initial interest within the keyword difficulty ranges between 0-9.

Try filtering and sorting your table in the following manner;

  1. Click on the Filter > Add Condition and select KD > 0
  2. Click on Add Condition and select KD < 19
  3. Click on Add Condition and select Volume > 50
  4. Click on Sort > Pick a field to sort by and select KD from 1-9
  5. Click on > Pick another field to sort by and select Volume from 9-1.

You now have the best opportunities with the lowest possible keyword difficulty from your research sorted with the highest volumes in descending order.

Applying the above filters and sorting your data makes it easier to spot and action credible marketing opportunities. Let’s delve deeper and look at buyer intent.

Buyer intent highlights keyword value.

Most often, the best indicator of buyer intent is CPC. The higher the amount businesses pay for a keyword is indicative of its value. So using CPC is a great way to filter critical phrases that are less likely to deliver results.

A word of caution, though, some opportunities may be missed using this final step, so it might be beneficial to skip this until you’ve thoroughly evaluated all keyword opportunities.

When you are ready to apply a CPC filter;

  1. Click on Filter > Add Condition and select CPC > 0.10. By entering a low minimum bid amount, you filter out blank CPC records.
  2. The final step is to evaluate your list, removing unnecessary, unrelated keywords thoroughly to end up with a clean, highly productive list of keywords.

Depending on your industry and the number of opportunities available, you may want to filter records differently and tweak the filters based on your needs and website strength.

It’s now time to use the opportunities you have garnered.

Using keyword opportunities to guide your purchase decisions.

Your newfound understanding enables existing businesses to explore new marketing opportunities within your marketplace—allowing you to narrow your search and target your market more effectively.

For cash-strapped e-commerce startups, this methodology will enable you to broaden your reach as much as possible (albeit perhaps thinly) and grow your traffic affordably.

As Ahrefs provides data on keyword trends it will help you in your decision process in deciding on the products to market based on whether demand is steady or up-trending. Being in touch with consumer trends will help you avoid purchase decisions that result in dead stock and limiting your cash flow.

Planning your content strategy using keyword opportunities.

For those that have not grasped the whole picture just yet, the objective is to target low competition and medium to high traffic keyword phrases to launch your business from obscurity to popularity in the shortest time possible.

Newly launched e-commerce or service websites struggle to compete against established vendors in the marketplace due to the number of backlinks, limited content and poorly targeted industry keyword terms.

That’s why content planning is so important—it’s physically taking action on your newfound knowledge and crafting content that resonates with your audience whilst targeting the terms that provide your business with the easiest path to success.

Follow these simple steps when crafting your content;

  1. Build services pages that connect with your audience, showing them you understand their problem and are there to help them and how you will do it.
  2. Craft blog articles that align with your audience’s needs, targeting questions and using keywords from your research that enable you to score quick wins in the search results pages.
  3. Ensure your e-commerce product pages are optimised with low competition and high-value keywords. Take time to craft your Meta Titles and Meta descriptions and delve deep when describing the value your product provides. Be sure to include and bullet-point your product’s key benefits—remember that top-ranking pages are typically the best crafted that unequivocally answer their audience’s needs.
  4. Interlink your product and services pages; if you have a Woocommerce or Shopify store, Yoast has developed an SEO plugin that makes this process easy and optimises many other facets of your store or WordPress website.

Frase.io is an excellent way for startup and seasoned businesses to analyse their competitors by each targeted phrase, breaking down in simple terms what makes their page successful and guiding you on how to better craft ranking content.

Thinking ahead.

Thinking ahead 12-24 months can be challenging for any business, let alone small business startups. We recommend reading our next article that delves deeper into setting up your e-commerce business and development tips that get your business started on the right foot.


When done right, starting a business can be a rewarding life experience.  Although competition online is fierce, fortunately, even after almost three decades, hidden opportunities still exist, and new ones sprout up every day.

As a business owner, targeting the right marketing opportunities using thorough pre-emptive keyword analysis, will not only nurture business growth but also assist you in making the right purchasing and marketing decisions.

Knowing your competitors’ needs and following through with a definitive content marketing plan will turn your website into a traffic generating magnet—delivering you the competitive advantage any business would envy. Your business will become more resilient to market fluctuations and economic downturns and your customers will thank you.