Last year I published hundreds of articles with the deliberate intention of getting better at ranking for low competition keywords that would bring traffic into my sites.
After all, as a blogger/content publisher if you’re not constantly trying to improve and drive more organic traffic, why are you bothering, right?
By applying some common sense and actually testing things, I started to see some good success towards the end of the year.
Certainly more than I’d ever seen following the advice from popular internet marketers or relying on keyword difficulty scores from keyword tools.
I was publishing across a few different sites testing out different types of content, different niches, various on-page things, and between Jun-Dec I grew my overall organic traffic from around 50k/mo to 100k/mo.
Needless to say, I was happy with that as more traffic equals more income. Especially as I monetize primarily with ads.
On the first of this year, I started a brand new site to test this keyword strat on new domain. I’ve been documenting my progress here on this blog and on Reddit (You can see my latest update month 4 update here.)
Basically, I’ve grown the organic traffic from 0-50k/mo with zero backlinks or promotion. That’s 81k pageviews to-date.
Just by using super low-competition, laser-focused keyword research and writing loads of content.
In this post, I’m going to share exactly how I do keyword research. As well as why I don’t use some of the other KW research techniques internet marketers preach.
If you want more traffic, I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t do this too!
Is There a Best Way to Do Keyword Research?
I’ve tried just about every KW research method out there. If I thought there was a better way to do it for what I need, I’d be doing it. Trust me.
It’s important to remember, however, that there are different types of keywords that require different methods.
The method I use is designed to find low competition keywords that typically have low volume, and are almost always informational.
- Because I know I can rank on page 1 for these keywords within hours of writing the article
- I don’t need to build or buy backlinks to rank for the keywords, and
- I don’t need to use any paid keyword tools
So, if you’re willing to publish a lot of content and want to rank for low comp keywords that do not require backlinks, read on:
How I Find Loads of Longtail Keywords (for Free)
OK, first of all, there are two Chrome extensions I use;
They both do similar things, but I have both installed to capture a larger number of keywords.
For the purpose of these examples, I’m going to pretend I have a site about rabbits. Which isn’t a bad idea as they’re a popular pet around the world, and there will be loads of good keywords I bet – so if you needed a niche idea, why not start a site about rabbits?!
Anyway, to start finding keywords I would start to type something into the Google search bar and see what comes up.
Thinking about rabbits and the needs of their owners, you could try anything like:
- “Can rabbits eat”
- “What do rabbits”
- “Why do rabbits”
You’ll notice I don’t use “seed keywords”. Instead, I try to think of sentences that could have a number of different endings.
I like the “Can rabbits eat” one because they are going to be dozens of possible foods owners are interested in knowing if they can feed their fluffy friends.
When I typed that keyword in, WMS Everywhere added some 50ish keywords to the side of the Google results with their estimated monthly search volume.
Here’s a screenshot of what you should expect to see:
Those top results are going to be super-competitive though. What we’re interested in are the lower search volume ones as they’re much more likely to be low competition.
In my experience, almost all of those will be easy to rank for. Ignore the 0 volume keywords for now, although sometimes they can bring in traffic as I’ll explain later.
Let’s start by opening up tabs for those 4 keywords with 10 searches per month.
Why It’s Worth Targeting Low Search Volume Keywords
I want to talk about low volume keywords for a minute.
Most people ignore keywords with low search volume because they don’t think it’s worth their time. You probably have before too, right?
Well, that’s good for people like me (and now you), and here are a few reasons why:
When you rank well for a keyword you’ll capture traffic from other keywords so your article’s estimated search volume will be a lot higher
Even a trickle of traffic will add up over time and turn profitable from ads
Ranking well for more posts increases your organic presence and increases your chance of attracting backlinks and other opportunities
Every post adds to the topical relevance of your site/content and strengthens your other posts
It’s just good to practice to rank well for stuff, I can’t think of any downsides. Especially if you’re writing the content yourself.
To give you an example of just how much traffic low volume keywords can bring in, below is a screenshot from my Search Console for the last 28 days.
These are for the posts, not the individual keywords. But I’ve added the estimated search volume for the keyword I targeted, just looking at how much more traffic is coming in over the estimated amount:
As you can see, anything from zero to 260/mo can bring in thousands of impressions and clicks!
If you like the look of a keyword and know you can write up a good article for it, just do it.
How I Determine If They Are Low Competition
There are two parts to this; finding keywords, and identifying if they are what I call “low competition”.
Let’s go back to the 4 keywords I told you to open up in new tabs earlier from our list;
- “Can rabbits eat mangetout”
- “Can rabbits eat swede”
- “Can rabbits eat rocket”
- “Can rabbits eat courgette”
Open up the first one – Can rabbits eat mangetout – in an incognito browser tab so it’s not geo-tracking you;
This is what I see:
Basically, I’m looking for two main things when evaluating the difficulty of a keyword:
- “Low quality” results, such as forums, Quora, and other user-generated content
- A lack of SEO-optimized posts with the keyword as the URL and title
Looking at the first page of the SERPs for this keyword it meets both criteria. I see an archived forum post ranking well, and no posts targeting this exact keyword.
This is exactly the type of keyword I would write up if I had a site about rabbits. And, I’m 99% sure I’d rank on the first page, I’m almost certain you’d capture the snippet too as the current snippet isn’t optimized.
Why am I so confident?
I’ve seen and done this hundreds of times. This is literally a zero competition keyword with some real search volume.
Let’s look at the next one; Can rabbits eat swede?
This is another good example because it actually has some competition, but is still weak.
There are 4 posts that are targeting the keyword, although one of those posts is a forum.
I took a look at the sites targeting the keyword, I won’t go into the details here as I don’t want to call anyone out – but they all had bad on-page SEO and lacked overall relevance.
I’d write this one up and outrank them for sure. The snippet is up for grabs too as it doesn’t feature all the keywords.
This is all I did to grow my case study site to 50k pageviews a month in 5 months. I just went up lists of keywords like these knocking out articles, that’s all there is to it.
Why I Don’t Use the KGR Keyword Method
The Keyword Golden Ratio method is one I see a lot of people using. I’ve published hundreds of articles using KGR, and didn’t see the kind of results I did using my method.
Well, first of all, if you’re new to keyword research you might not know this, but the KGR method uses the “allintitle:” advanced Google search command.
The guy who invented KGR saw that using allintitle was trending at the time for keyword research. So, he basically added a redundant calculation to it so he could market it as his own strategy and sell his course or whatever else he was promoting.
The problem is that the calculation makes no sense at all. Either a keyword is low competition or it’s not. You don’t need to divide it by the search volume, I proved above that volume doesn’t matter.
Additionally, allintitle is a fine metric. But it still doens’t tell you the whole story, you need to look at the results.
Why I Don’t Use the Income School Keyword Method
To my understanding Income School preach using Google autosuggest to find keyword ideas and writing those up.
That’s fine, it’s not too different from what I do. But why not use a Chrome extension to generate a long list and filter out the zero volume keywords first so you can go after the higher volume ones?
That makes more sense to me.
This does only kind of scratch the surface of how I do all of my keyword research. It is the core fundamentals of what I do though.
Just by following these few steps I’ve outlined you can find dozens of easy to rank for keywords in just 30 minutes or so, I do.
Browsing blogging forums and Reddit I see endless people posting about not getting any traffic after months of blogging and it always makes me sad.
You can get traffic using this method in any niche, on any age site, any domain authority, because there are always keywords no one else has targeted.
Let me know how you get on if you decide to follow this strat. Good luck, and happy keyword hunting!