Business expansion always involves taking uncharted courses, entering unexplored territories and finding entering a new niche. But every businessman following this path must realize that he is not the only one thinking in this manner. At any point in time, there are hundreds of online marketers looking at new avenues for expansion and exploring the same options. The most usual path of research is to look at sites like Amazon.com, eBay and other big brand sites and come up with ideas based on findings from these sites. But there is a good chance that others are using the same tactics to find a niche, and this could mean a parallel launch of a new product or service by more than one individual. If this is the case you can be assured that you will face tough competition from day one.
New online businesses are often keyword focused and provide clues about a new niche segment that has not yet been covered. There are multiple ways of finding out competition levels in these segments and low levels of competition give an impetus to new entrants. However, there could be others planning to make an entry at precisely the same time in the same niche, and this could prove to be slow down growth and prospects.
A few tips to find out whether others are also entering the same niche segment:
- Find matching domain names- The first and simplest way of finding other potential entrants is to conduct an online search of the main keyword being used. This will show if that keyword has already been registered as a domain. It will involve checking all possible domains like .com, .org, .net and .info. Finding the keyword in even one of these would imply that there is a tough uphill task ahead. The ranking of these sites also gives clues about their success levels and popularity. A second or third page ranking will imply lower competition and not much of a threat to a new business venture, while a first page ranking may need a rethink of the strategy to be adopted. Any indication of stiff competition may mean not entering that niche segment at all. It is equally likely that these domains have not yet been taken. In such a scenario the best course of action to adopt is to register the keyword domain with all possible variations as well. This may prove to give a head start to the business in the new niche.
- Additional words with domain- The domain footprint also gives clues about the existing competition in a domain. When a keyword has been registered as a domain, the next step is to use additional words with the main keyword, to yield results that are closest to the keyword. Any search on the main keyword will bring results that provide an almost exact match. The commonly used words include 101, HQ, blog etc added to the keyword. All these variations reveal that there are numerous people entering the same niche with the same intention of gaining success and making money, and gearing for more competition will mean investing more time and effort to beat the others in the race for the same clientele.
- The age of the domain- The age of the domain also provides insights into the kind of competition one expects to face in the market for the same niche. A close analysis of the top 10 SERPs for a specific keyword may reveal many old sites, even up to five years old. However there may be an odd one that is only a year old but has inched its way into the top ten league with additional effort for a better ranking.
Time and energy spent in closely studying the domain in a specific niche will bring a number of strategies adopted by competitors to stay ahead and some moves may even be predictable. This will prepare you for better attempts at countering their moves and achieving higher degrees of success.
A guest post by Neil Jones from eMobileScan, a leading specialist in barcode scanners .