Keyword Research is a vital part of any SEO strategy where the aim is to target relevant keywords to rank on SERP. The idea is to discover untapped keywords (low competition) in order to quickly gain visibility on SERP and drive traffic to the website. In this blog, we will discuss how to perform a keyword research so effective, that, you can rank on page 1 within a month!
Let’s go step-by-step and uncover the journey that an SEO takes from being a beginner in keyword research to being a master in keyword research.
Beginner Keyword Research
As a beginner in SEO, the keyword research conducted is quite basic and in most cases the tool used to conduct the keyword research is Google Keyword Planner. Although, it is NOT wrong to use Google Keyword Planner for keyword research, the data received from that tool is vague.
You don’t get close estimation on the number of searches but a wide range which doesn’t give you an accurate idea of the traffic potential of that keyword. For example, if a keyword’s monthly search volume is 1K – 10K (as per Google Keyword Planner) you don’t really know if the keyword’s true potential is either close to 1K or close to 10K or perhaps somewhere in between?
You could just take an average and assume that the keyword should have at least 5K monthly searches (average) and move forward with your keyword research, however, this is flawed and often results in disappointment.
As your journey progresses in SEO you realize there is another metric that you should be paying attention to which is keyword difficulty, which unfortunately, isn’t available on Google Keyword Planner as that tool is NOT for SEO but for PPC Campaigns.
Intermediate Keyword Research
At an intermediate level, the SEO knows about different keyword research tools which can help better strategize in keyword planning. Ahrefs, Semrush, Spyfu, SERanking, etc., there are several tools which can help with the keyword difficulty metric (each unique from the other)
At this point the SEO is mature enough to understand:
- Long tail Keywords are easier to rank.
- Keyword Difficulty metric is REAL
- Previously unknown concept of keyword clusters
At this stage, we see improvement in the quality of keyword research conducted. There is a clear action plan and strategy in place to achieve success.
However, there are 2 key metric that has been overlooked which hampers the desired progress – Domain Authority and backlinks!
Discovering low competition – mid/high volume keywords isn’t difficult, it’s quite easy and you can find tons of such keywords within 2-3 hours, enough to fuel your content creation for months. However, they still might not rank on Page #1 as you may have expected.
Here are the 2 reasons why:
- The websites already ranking for these keyword have high Domain Authority, OR
- The URLs ranking on Page #1 have a certain number of backlinks which you don’t!
Lets face some brutal facts – the high domain authority website (in most cases) hasn’t really optimized for that keyword but is ranking on page 1 and you cannot beat the number of backlinks that URL has in a short amount of time.
Expert Keyword Research
This is where the experience of someone who has been doing keyword research for years comes into play. These are the people who can literally quote in numbers to the client in regards to the expected traffic increase. We brush them off as frauds but in reality they are very smart people and can put their money where their mouth is.
This is going to be a long section of this blog post as I break down exactly what they do and how they are able to not just achieve but over achieve their targets/commitments.
If you are an intermediate keyword researcher at this point in time, then, by the time you finish reading this post you will be transformed into an expert!
Before we dive deep into this you need to understand that this method is highly effective however, the time invested into keyword research will increase by minimum 10X. The game changes from quantity to quality! Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1 – How to shortlist keywords that can rank quick
Search for low competition keywords with mid-high volume traffic as you already do. This time take note of the domains ranking on Page 1 and Page 2. This is important as you need to understand if there is someone with a close by domain authority as yours who has made it into the Top 20 (preferrable look only at Top 10).
For example, if 9 out of 10 on Page one have an average DA of 80 plus and one underdog has a DA of just 25 who has made it to top 10, then you have a potential keyword to work on and gain quick visibility.
Next, look at the backlink profile to determine if it will be easy to beat the underdog. Take a look at this:
The screenshot is from SERanking Tool which I am using to conduct a keyword research. Can you take a close look at the data and see something unexpected?
The website that is ranking #1 for a short tail keyword “dog habits” defies your understanding of ranking on SERP, doesn’t it?
Domain Authority Break Down on Page 1
- DA 80-90 – 7
- DA 60-80 – 2
- DA 30-40 – 1
The DA 36 website out performed 2 in the 60 to 80 range and 7 in the 80-90 range! And…. it only has 6 backlinks from 4 referring domains.
Aren’t you curious how they did it? Well I am too, so let’s try to dig deep to understand how they did it.
Step 2 – Dig deep
First, let’s look at the backlinks and referring domains to understand if these links are from either high or low DA websites with nofollow or dofollow. This is important as it will determine if you want to proceed with this keyword for SERP.
2 “dofollow” backlinks from Domain 13 and 1 “dofollow” backlink from Domain 49
2 “nofollow” backlinks from Domain 49 and 34 with 1 “nofollow” backlink from Domain 3
The 4 referring domains have the authority of 49, 34, 13 and 3
Hence, the key takeaway here is that, not only we can try and rank for the short tail keyword “dog habits” which has a search volume of 1K (in the USA) but also, we can easily rank on page 1 if we can generate a few more backlinks than the one ranking on number 1 or generate the same number of links BUT from higher DA websites.
So far, it seems doable and quite possible. Let’s see what we need to do in order to achieve our goal.
Step 3 – Reverse Engineer
This step technically doesn’t fall under keyword research however, gaining some insights into the existing content can help the copywriters to produce something even better! Let’s break down the URL…
The tool I use for this is SEO Minion. It is a free to use powerful chrome extension that you can download right now. The link also explains how to use the tool in depth, however, in this scenario I will only use it for the purpose of reverse engineering the rank 1 URL.
The screenshot doesn’t capture all the data the tool has displayed so don’t get confused when I talk about things that aren’t visible in the image above.
- Title Length – 52 characters and contains the keyword “dog” and “habit” separately.
- Word Count – 1106 words with 8017 characters
- Description – 92 words with the keyword “dog” and “habit” appearing separately.
- Headings – Total 8 headings with 2 – H1, 2 – H2, 3 – H3 and 1 – H4
- Images – Total 3 images used none have an ALT Text
Now I will run this URL through the Rich Results Test by Google to uncover the schema mark up.
There is an article schema present on the URL. The goal is to ensure we too integrate the schema mark up in our post and try to replicate the mark up contents with our own content.
Next and final step is to uncover the keyword density and to my surprise, it seems that the content isn’t even optimized for “dog habits” keyword and is yet ranking on page 1. The tool I used to check the keyword density is wordcounter.net.
Step 4 – Capitalizing on Opportunities
It’s time to capitalize on your observations and to create a piece of content which can drive that sweet 1K traffic to your website.
- URL – Include the keyword in the URL
- Title – Place an exact match of the keyword in the title and try to utilize 70 character limit.
- Description – Use exact keywords as well as variations but most importantly utilize 155 character limit.
- Headings – Structure with proper hierarchy tags and use only one H1 Tag.
- Images – Use at least 3 images and also add an alt text using the primary keyword as well as image file name.
- Word count – Create a high quality article which is at least 1,000 words in length.
- Schema Markup – Ensure we have an “Article Schema Markup” placed on our URL.
- Backlinks – Acquire minimum 6-10 backlinks (50% nofollow and 50% dofollow) from High DA websites.
This much should be enough to get the ball rolling.
Step 5 – Additional/Optional
I’m divulging into SEO here but a good strategy would be to link this article with a few money pages. A money page is any page on the website which can result in revenue generation. If optimizing for the keyword “dog habits” places me on page 1, then, I should figure out a way to generate revenue as well.
I could connect this article (internal linking) with other pages on my website which are harder to rank. That way I may be able to drive a few purchases (if you are into affiliate marketing or drop shipping). Hence, I will create another article which may not even require a keyword research and connect it to the one which is keyword targeted.
Or, I can perform a keyword research and optimize a high volume traffic keyword. Although it won’t rank on SERP as #1, I can still drive people to that content and hope for social media shares or maybe even receive organic backlinks on it.
It isn’t very easy to come across such keywords however they do exist. Looking into some additional data (expert keyword research) can give you powerful insights into the possibility of ranking quickly for a keyword on SERP. Although, you will spend 10X the time in finding such keywords, it will be 10X faster to gain traffic to your website.
If you are someone who wants to get quick results and are in complete control of the content that goes up on your website, then, you have just learned how to execute the method. Acquiring nofollow backlinks is really easy and quite frankly, you can achieve that within the same day you create and upload your content.
Acquiring the remaining dofollow links will take time however, you only require 4-6 of those which is quite easy to acquire in a month. You don’t have to make a list of 100 keywords, you just need to figure out 5-6 of such keywords in a month and you will have min 1-2K monthly traffic in the very next month.
This traffic will only keep growing!