How Can You Improve Your Keyword Search Results?

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Lashay Lewis has been using the Keyword Golden Ratio for a while with great results — selling seven niche sites over the past two years and starting an agency, Authority Plug. I coaching Lashay back in 2017. I asked Lashay to write about improving your ranking in Google for a given keyword.

So, you’ve been trying to rank on Google for a while now, but you can’t seem to understand how you can rank in the algorithm as well as your competitors?

Since SEO has so many moving parts, it can be a pain to try and figure them all out.

How do I conduct an audit on my site? How do I make sure my Onpage-SEO is on point? How many backlinks do I need to build to rank for my target keyword?

There is a mean learning curve when it comes to SEO and it’s the reason that 90.63% of all pages on Google get no traffic.

This means 847,833,932 pages are getting no traffic. Are your pages included in that?

This leads to a lot of aspiring site owners giving up before they’ve even had a real chance to succeed.

There are two ways you can improve your search rankings:

  • Better keyword research
  • Backlinks

Doug has an awesome guide on 8 unusual backlinking strategies, which is a great way to start securing some high-quality backlinks. In this guide I’m going to dive into how you can improve your keyword search results just by finding the right long-tail keywords.

If you’re ready to dive in, let’s do this.

Why Focusing On Long-Tail Keywords Should Be A Priority If You Have New Site

If you’ve been building sites for any amount of time, you know that Google shows no love to new sites. The best way to describe how Google looks at a new site is by looking at the graphic here.

It’s a catch twenty-two. In order to get traffic, you need authority, but in order to be looked at as an authority, you need to have traffic.

This is the cycle that you’re stuck in for the first 6-9 months when you start a website, which we all know as the Google sandbox.

What if there is a way to potentially “skip” this period of time and have your site bringing in traffic by week 12?

This is where the beauty of long-tail keywords really comes in.

Finding long-tail keywords, the keyword golden ratio has specifically helped me, and a number of my clients not only bring in traffic 2x as fast as our competitors but rank above some pretty high authority websites.

It makes the above graphic look more like this…

KGR’s sort of spark a pattern interrupt and helps to be able to obtain quick rankings, which then leads to traffic, ultimately leading to authority.

I want to break down step-by-step how I conduct my keyword research to improve my search results.

How I Find Low Competition Keywords

While there are plenty of low-cost options out there to use for your keyword research tool, my favorite by far is Ahrefs, so that’ll be what I demonstrate with.

Before you begin, I would say try to eliminate the preconceived notion that you have to go for the keywords with the most volume. This is not at all true.

In fact, longer tail keywords usually convert much higher than bigger general terms. I mean you tell me, which audience is going to buy from you?

The one that searches “basketball shoes”? Or the audience that searches “basketball shoes for wide feet”?

Using a Seed Keyword

When I do keyword research, I start with a seed keyword.

If you have a niche site, I’d recommend starting in one category and building that out first.

For this example, let’s say I have an outdoor niche site.

I would choose a category on my niche site, like “tents.”

Then search that keyword in Ahrefs with the modifier “best” in front of it.

I would then choose “Phrase match.”

Here is where it gets a fun because you can start playing with filters. I usually find KGR’s by just adjusting the “word count” filter.

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With location-based terms, it’s as simple as using the “exclude” filter to remove those.

Also, don’t be afraid to play with filters. Try a minimum word count of five or six and see what you can come up with.

Another way to do this is to look under the “Having same terms” section.

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In this section, you’ll also have a lot of great potential low competition terms to target as well.

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Move around with the “volume” filter as well. You can start out targeting keywords that fit the KGR exactly, meaning a 250 and under search volume.

I’ve found plenty of keywords within that search volume as well as over it.

Take this strategy and perform it with every category/product you’re reviewing on your site to come up with a ton of keywords you can start creating content around.

Using Competitors

This is one of my favorite strategies because you can really get those hard-to-find keywords that can slip through the cracks just by seeing what your competition is ranking for.

With this strategy, the bigger the competition, the more chances you have to find keywords.

I usually start this off by searching for a high competition keyword.

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I’m going to grab outdoorgearlab.com because I know this is a high authority site with plenty of content.

Next, place the URL into the Ahrefs “site explorer” and then go to the “organic keywords” section.

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Now, this is where we can use the filters again as we did with the first strategy.

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Now you have pages and pages of potential keywords you can target.

You may be thinking, “How can I outrank a big authority site like this?”

Well, just because a site is ranking for a term, does not mean that it was intentionally trying to.

This means that if you create a piece of content around this topic specifically, you can most definitely outrank a higher authority website.

Create a list of five to ten authority websites and run them through this process. You’ll find a bunch of keywords for your website.

These are the two main strategies I use to find not just commercial content for niche sites but informational content for e-commerce blogs as well.

Google Auto Suggest

I’m sure we can all agree that Ahrefs is super expensive, especially when you’re first starting out.

The Google Auto Suggest strategy is a killer strategy that a lot of people overlook because they think the keywords don’t have searches, which is completely not true.

I use this strategy the same way I would the first strategy we talked about but just let Google Auto Suggest do the work.

Start by taking your seed keyword with a modifier and placing it into google. Start typing in one letter at a time.

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You can be more specific by adding in other words that make sense. For this example, I added the word “small.”

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Try using different modifiers, in the case of this example, I would use ones like “big,” “small,” “pop-up,” “large,” etc. See where I’m going with this?

Pro Tip: Use a cheap keyword tool like Keywords Everywhere so you can see the volume while you’re doing this strategy.

I just recently used this strategy to find over 200 keywords in two days for a niche site that I was about to start in the health space, but wound up selling the keywords before I could even begin building the site.

What About Informational Content?

As affiliates, we love to focus on the commercial content because that’s what directly makes us the money, but informational content is just as important.

The way I find informational content works almost the same, let me show you two ways I do this.

So, in Ahrefs I’ll take my main seed keyword and do a search. Again, this would be “best tent”.

Then, I will go straight to the “Questions” section.

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When it comes to informational content, I don’t care too much about super quick rankings, mainly because I know this content won’t make me money on the front-end (unless you’re a part of an ad network), but it definitely can on the back-end.

If you wanted to find some informational KGR’s, once in the “Questions” section, just start scrolling through and see what you can find.

I find that using the filters isn’t as necessary in the “Questions” section because a lot of these keywords are naturally longer tail, being that they are specific questions.

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If you’d like to be certain you picked up on every informational keyword you could find, just go back to the “Keyword Explorer” and go to the “Phrase match” section and type a modifier in the “Include” filter.

Some modifiers for informational content that I like to use are:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • How
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You may see a lot of the same keywords you see in “Questions,” but you may find a few in there that you may have missed as well.

Another way to find informational keywords is by revisiting the second strategy we talked about in this guide but using it for informational content instead of commercial.

I would take outdoorgearlab.com and place it into the site explorer and head to “Organic keywords.”

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Make sure to do this with every modifier listed above so you can have a nice long list of search terms to target.

You see my complete process of how I find KGR keywords, both commercial and informational, I want to tackle some common hiccups when starting or expanding your site.

What To Do If It’s Difficult To Find Products To Write Commercial Content Around

One way to improve your keyword search results is to make sure your site is correctly categorized for topical relevance.

I can’t tell you how many times I come across a niche site owner that was confused about what exactly they should be reviewing on their blog and how to categorize it.

If you’re stuck at this point, here is a great tip that has helped me since beginning my journey in niche site creation about four years ago.

Visit a big e-commerce store in your niche and you will find some of the most neatly detailed categories that you’ll come across. Since we’re using the outdoors niche as an example, let’s take a look at REI.com

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Not only can you get amazing high-level categories from e-commerce stores, but you can also get killer sub-categories for your own e-commerce or niche site.

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Here is a ton of products you can create both commercial and informational content around. Amazon is not the only way to find great products for your site.

What To Do If It’s Hard To Find Authority Sites In Your Niche To Develop a Keyword Strategy From

This can be an issue as well, especially if your topic is very niche, but here is something you can do to find more popular websites in your space outside the earlier strategy I showed you.

So, you remember before when I told you to go to Google and type in a high competition term to find authority sites right?

Well, here’s something else you can do to find more authority sites using Ahrefs.

Once you have found at least one high authority site, go to “Site explorer” and search “Competing domains”.

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Then you’ll have a complete list of other domains that are similar in terms of topic and authority for you to use during your research.

Stop Reading, Start Researching

That’s it.

These are the exact strategies that I have used over the past four years to not only start and sell seven niche sites over the past two years but to start my own agency Authority Plug, which helps e-commerce businesses implement the same strategies I showed you above.

Having that first coaching call with Doug at the beginning of 2017 and learning from him ever since has blossomed into an entire business and a new way of thinking about content marketing.

But I didn’t just learn and sit. I learned, took action, made mistakes, and grew.

Will you keep reading, or will you start researching some keywords for your niche or e-commerce site and become the next success story?

 

About the author: Doug Cunnington is the founder of Niche Site Project. He shows people how to create Affiliate Sites using project management and a proven, repeatable framework. Doug loves creating systems, using templates, and brewing beer (but usually not at the same time).