Keyword research is critical, and people say it all the time.
I learned a valuable lesson about taking keyword research seriously.
I messed up. I was lazy, and it has been costing me money in the form of low earnings…
It has been a very long time since I posted a case study update. There are a few reasons for this:
- I have been spreading myself thin on various projects while continuing to work a full time job. That amounted to not really doing anything related to the case study, and therefore there really wasn’t any movement in the rankings or earnings.
- I omitted a couple key steps to optimize a niche site, especially when it is still a young site.
- Keyword research related to long tails, and secondary KWs.
- These kind of keywords are ultra-important these days since it can take months to rank for more competitive keywords with a high search volume.
- A lack of focus on where to spend time. When I would finally sat down to work on the niche site for this case study, I wasn’t working on the most important tasks. I would busy myself cleaning up content but not spend any time promoting it or build links – which are key things to create a profitable niche site.
I was talking to a couple experts on KW research – Quinton, from Cubicle Houdini, and Lewis, from Cloud Income, and Rob, from all the coaching sessions – and I realized I need to review the KWs. (Thanks guys, for kicking me back into gear!)
The Long Tail
We will be looking at the long tail keyword analysis in this post.
Here is the overview:
- Check on some long tail KWs that we are ranking in the top 200. Use SEMRush for this.
- Look for search volumes of 300 or less. Don’t be afraid to look at KWs that are listed as 0 volume. Use the Keyword Planner or Long Tail Pro.
- Check on what page is ranking on your site. You can look this up manually by Googling the search term.
- If you are not targeting that keyword term for the page that is ranking, then create a page/post to target that term.
What happened? My actual clunky process
I have been tracking about 50 keywords for my current niche site. I use SerpBook right now since it is economical and works well.
After I got a round of backlinks from the HOTH (the Platinum Package), my rankings moved up. It takes a few weeks for the links to be built, and then a couple more weeks for the rankings to move up. You can check out this post to see how I order the HOTH.
Basically, the KWs moved from beyond 200th+ position to 175 to the 90th with the HOTH.
There are a couple of terms that are ranking in the top 10 and a few more in the top 20 due to manual blog comments and general domain authority.
This level of ranking means there was a trickle of traffic, a couple sales a month, but nothing impressive!
Actually, it is embarrassing now that I am looking at this particular case study site.
The Target Keyword – One Long Tail
One of the 50 KWs that I was tracking gets about 250 exact match monthly searches. That’s not a HUGE volume. In fact, that amounts to just a handful of searches per day.
It is a buyer’s term though. That is to say, this term is one that a potential buyer will use just before buying this product.
It is something like this:
- best [product]
- [product] reviews
- [product] ratings
I was ranking about 185 at first and that was about 6 weeks ago. The term moved around in the rankings quite a bit, ranging from about 160 down to about 85. See the image below. The movement is attributed to the HOTH package, a portion of the links were targeting this term.
I fired up Long Tail Pro version 3 (Get LTP here for $20 OFF, affiliate link) and checked out the keyword. I confirmed the search volume that I saw in SerpBook. Then, I looked at the competition.
There were some very good signs, like forum posts, several results that did not have an optimized title, and some general results that were sort of related to the search term but not targeting the term. In general, the top 10 results (and even the top 20) didn’t do a good job helping out the visitor.
Here is the kicker…
I checked to see which one of my pages was ranking at 85, as you can see in the chart above.
It was a general review page on my niche site. The page that was ranking was NOT at all optimize for the search term.
Targeting the Long Tail Search Term
So, I decided to write a new post that was targeting the search term in the title, meta description, and all throughout the post. In the end, the post was about 2,000 words and hugely valuable to the would-be searcher.
I published the article and added a link to the original page that was ranking.
Then, I edited the original page that was ranking and added a backlink to the new post that was targeting the term.
Amazingly, the new page was ranking in the 40s just a few hours later. I was shocked to see that the new post was already indexed and showing up in the SERPs.
The post is continuing to move up. And, I am getting a handful of free do-follow banklinks to push this post higher this week. (If you are interested in this, let me know in the comments and I can write about it soon.)
Review of the Process
Here is what to do:
- Figure out what you are ranking for already. Go to SEMRush and see the terms in a list. Or, if you have a long list of keywords from your KW research, then you can put that list within your KW tracker (like SerpBook). SEMRush is the preferred way.
- Find some terms that have a search volume of fewer than 300, and ensure that your site is ranking in the top 200 or so. Fewer people are trying to target lower search volume which is a big advantage for you.
- Check to see what page or post is ranking for your domain for the long tail keyword.
- If you aren’t targeting the term, then write a new article. Optimize the article title, meta description, headings, images, and basically everything in the post.
- Make the content LONG. Lewis was telling me that he goes big and writes about 2,000 words of great content. (He has a case study going here…so be sure to check it out.)
- Add a link from the page or post that was ranking. My thought here is that Google will associate that new page with the term that we are targeting – use some very related anchor text. I don’t have a lot of data points but my page was indexed in hours.
- Build links to the page…More on this later.
That pretty much covers it. It is simple. And, I will be doing this for several other keywords, too.
The whole process is about solid keyword research, the ability to audit your own website and rankings, and due diligence.
Let me know if you have any questions about the process.