Niche keywords are the highly specific long-tail keywords that pertain to a narrow industry vertical. It's important to optimize your site and your pay-per-click campaigns for niche keywords and not just broad, popular terms, which are often too difficult to rank for, especially as a new venture.
When you're just getting started with a search marketing initiative—whether you're a new affiliate marketer , new to an industry, or launching a new product—it can be very hard to predict the impact of a new search campaign, as well as to determine an attack plan for your industry niche.
We built a Free Keyword Tool  for this very purpose. This guide explains how to perform niche keyword research, using our Free Keyword Tool, in three easy steps. Read on to start finding industry-specific keyword opportunities  that deliver high ROI.
Step 1: Use a Keyword Research Tool to Find Niche Keywords
Before you can get started in earnest, of course, you need to choose your niche. Let's say you've decided to build an affiliate site offering organic baby product reviews . Regardless of how much you know about baby products, it's challenging, if not impossible, to know ahead of time what keywords are going to be profitable for you.
Keyword research  will help you identify a wide range of potential keyword opportunities including less obvious terms that could potentially drive traffic and sales. Since this site is a new endeavor, you don't yet have historical data to leverage as a predictor of future performance. So you need a good basket of potential keywords to drill down on.
The Free Keyword Tool  by WordStream is ideal for introductory niche keyword research:
Most keyword suggestion tools only generate a brief list of terms. But you're trying to generate a broad portfolio of keywords, including keyword variations you might not be able to come up with on your own.
As you can see, WordStream's niche keyword tool returns over 2,500 keyword ideas for the phrase "organic baby." This is a great start. But, unfortunately, it's very unlikely that all of these keyword suggestions will ultimately be valuable to you.
Step 2: Refine Your Niche Keyword List
A list of keywords has no inherent value—they are, in fact, just suggestions. It's what you do with your keywords that matters. So it's key to find an effective method of refining your list.
There are several ways to refine your keywords using WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool. One option is the related keywords feature:
When you add these suggested related terms, such as "delivery" and "pregnancy," the tool generates even more niche keyword ideas:
Another way to refine the list is by applying filters:
If you see a keyword in the results that doesn't apply to your site's offerings, you can quickly filter those terms from your list. Just hover over the term and click the red x. Remember, your keyword list should be as specific to you, your site, and your business as possible. Keywords are only as valuable as they are relevant to you.
Step 3: Determine How Competitive Your Niche Keyword Phrases Are
Finally, you'll need to analyze how competitive each keyword phrase is—in other words, evaluable the relative difficulty of ranking for each niche keyword. Read our guide on competitive query analysis  for help with this process.
So My Keyword Research for My Niche Site Is All Set Now?
Not quite. Don't let your niche keyword research efforts come to a dead stop at step three. Successful keyword targeting requires constant monitoring and tweaking. You've invested a lot of time and energy into identifying the best niche keyword opportunities—now you can collect on that investment by consistently tracking how those keywords perform on your site and in accordance with your specific business goals.
It's important to remember that just because a keyword tool returns a keyword doesn't mean you'll be able to rank for it, or that the traffic  it sends from search engines will end up converting. Make continual keyword management  a priority and be vigilant about analyzing and acting on keyword research to improve your results.
Learn More about Niche Keyword Management
Read our free white paper on the benefits of keyword management  for PPC and SEO.