How I Write Longtail Low Comp Blog Posts That Rank On Page 1

How I Write Longtail Low-Comp Blog Posts That Rank On Page 1

I started a new site on the 1st of this year and grew it to 50k pageviews/mo in just 5 months using a tactic I’ve also used on some other sites I have;

Targeting longtail informational keywords with short-form content and building no backlinks to the domain or individual pages.

You can read the latest update of that site here. It’s still only just over 6 months old at the time of writing this and has passed 130k pageviews in total.

Much like my other sites, most of the posts I wrote ranked on page one within 30 mins or so of inspecting them after hitting publish.

Now, these are low volume keywords (according to the free keyword tools I use), typically around 10-50 search per month.

Don’t expect to hit a huge home run with one post!

If you publish in volume you can drive some decent traffic to your site. Plus, the best part is that due to the nature of these types of keywords you don’t need to wait long and you don’t need any backlinks.

There are two parts behind how I construct my posts;

There is no reason why you can’t follow what I do and drive more traffic to your site too.

Regardless of domain authority, the age of your site, the niche you’re in – if you find the right keywords and write a good post, it’ll rank.

Google Search Console Data for May 2020

Disclaimer – The author of this post cannot guarantee similar results. (But it’s sure as heck likely).


How I Format My Posts and Do My On-Page SEO

Please keep in mind that you have to be flexible. No two posts/keywords are the same, some will require more/less content, images, headers, etc.

Here is a rough outline of what a typical post looks like:

  • URL/Heading
  • Intro – 50-100 words or so
  • Subheading 1
  • 200-300 words or so
  • Subheading 2
  • Image
  • 200-300 words or so
  • Subheading 3
  • 200-300 words or so
  • Related Questions (optional)
  • Image
  • 200-300 words
  • Summary
  • 100 words or so

That’s it, a pretty simple outline. This format will not come as a surprise to most of you read this with experience blogging.

Where my process does differ from what I see most people doing, however, is how I approach the specific on-page SEO of my posts.

Here is an explanation of how I approach each of the sections:

Headers and URL

I include the keyword in the URL and Header (H1). After hitting publish, I add some words to either the beginning or the end of the title to make it more “catchy”.

Note – Don’t try to force bad English into titles just to stick to the keyword. Seriously, I see it all the time. It looks bad and doesn’t help your SEO.

People are lazy when searching on Google and use bad English, use the correct phrasing yourself.

For example, if your keyword is “softest dog bed labrador”, use “softest beds for labrador dogs”.

It’s fine, Google is smart enough to know what your post is about. In fact, I think there is an SEO benefit to writing correctly.

If you’re in doubt, just look at what’s ranking. I bet it isn’t a post that has shoehorned an unnatural sounding phrase, right?

Using the above example, for a finished URL, I’d have


With a finished title of something like;

“8 of the Softest Beds for Labrador Beds (Doggie Approved!)”

Intro (Snippet Bait)

This is a very important part of your post, and something I do differently to what I see most people recommending.

I don’t;

  • Force the keyword into the first sentence
  • Tease people with the answer so they read on

I do;

  • Give the entire answer to the keyword/question I’m targeting right away
  • Carefully optimize my intro to maximize my chance at ranking for the snippet

For example, the keyword, “Does poison ivy cause swollen lymph nodes” (that’s the first thing that came to my head, weird, eh) is exactly the type of keyword I’d go for if I had a relevant site.

In the intro, I’d answer the question as naturally as possible.

Also, looking at what already has the snippet, they’re missing one of the keywords “lymph”. I’d work that in and increase my chance of getting that snippet.

snippet example

I’d write something like;

Despite the deadly-sounding name, poison ivy isn’t that dangerous. It can, however, cause swollen lymph nodes among some other unpleasant symptoms.

If you inhale burning poison ivy or come into contact with the plant you can expect mild, short-lived irritation to some serious swelling or blistering!

Disclaimer; I did look up some more information but the above is being used as an example and might not be medically correct. 🙂


For subheadings, I use a mix of keyword-focused headers and some I think are interesting and bring something to the article.

Typically, the first subheading will be designed to make the person read on. I’ve given away the answer in the intro to try and claim the snippet, so I need something to make people read on.

For the above example, I’d probably write something like, “Touched poison ivy? Here’s what might happen”. Then I’ll write a couple of hundred words relevant to the topic.

For the other headers I pick up ideas from the “People also ask” and the “Searches related to…” sections from the search results page for the keyword.

People also ask examples

Not the best and most relevant examples for this keyword.

I’d probably target the first, and maybe the third or forth questions. Using these and the suggestions at the bottom of the SERPs means you should never find it difficult to add subheading sections to your blog post.


Writing a brief summary at the end of a post is good for two reasons:

  • People are in a hurry for information and like to skim. They’ll often swipe down to the bottom of a post for a conclusion.
  • It’s a second chance to optimize for a snippet, and I get a lot of snippets using content from the summary section of my posts.

Just write a couple of short paragraphs as you did for the into. Optimize it for a snippet using all the relevant keywords that Google would bold.

That’s pretty much it for how I structure a post. As you can see, I basically optimize around one keyword and add several sections of relevant content targeting other keywords that are recommended by Google.

I don’t add fluff or try to pad out the word count. The average word count of my posts is around 800 words.

Related Questions and Other On-Page Stuff

Here are answers to some questions I’m often asked or are anticipating:

What About Internal and External Links?

I link to as many internal pages as I can that come up naturally while writing a post. Which can be as many as 15 at times as I publish to many posts.

I also always link out to high-authority sources that I used to provide my answer. I never link to sites that could be seen as competitors.

So, How Many Times Do You Use the Exact Keyword in a Post?

Most of the time I either don’t use the keyword in the post, or I’ll add it in once near the beginning just to see if it helps. But it really doesn’t matter that much.

More often than not, I tend to look at how many times the articles ranking in the top 3-5 used the exact keyword and follow suit. Which, in the case of longtail keywords is often zero times!

But, My Yoast SEO Score Will Not Be “Green” Following Your Advice

That’s right. I don’t use Yoast, but if I did most of my posts would be orange at best. A lot would probably be in the red.

Yet, most of my articles rank well. What does that tell us?

Will I Rank on Page One Using Your On-Page Strategy?

There are no guarantees, never believe an SEO that promises you amazing results with ease.

That said, if you nail the keyword research, have a site with enough content for Google to know what it’s about, and write a post even loosely following my outline, it’s very likely.

I don’t usually use screenshots from keyword tools as they are so inaccurate. However, to provide some insight you can see from the screenshot below that Ubersuggest thinks I have 1,785 keywords ranking on page one.

Ubersuggest keywords example

Taking into account Ubersuggest thinks I only get 15k traffic, and combined with what I can see in my Search Console, I probably have at least double that number of keywords ranking on page one.

All by literally writing articles exactly how I’ve outlined in this post within a few months on a new domain.

Now it’s over to you. Do you want to increase the traffic to your site without going out and begging for backlinks?

Of course you do, everyone does.

From talking with other bloggers, the biggest hurdle seems to be actually doing the work. I feel bad calling that out, but it’s true.

You have to start pushing out the content if you want more traffic.

Don’t rush or cut corners though. Write the best possible article you can citing sources and answering the question to the best of your ability. It’ll pay off in the long run (and hopefully in the short run).

Any comments, tips, or feedback always welcome!

86 thoughts on “How I Write Longtail Low-Comp Blog Posts That Rank On Page 1”

  1. Great content as always.

    Thank you for taking time to write this straight to the point and super helpful article.

    I have few questions if you don’t mind answering (would be grateful if you answer them)

    1 – My website does not have a specific niche, I picked a domain that can basically fit anything I write about and I hope that wasn’t a stupid mistake. Was it? Do extremely general websites face a hard time ranking well?

    2 – I have been posting almost everyday since 4 months and 9 days now. I believe that the articles that I have written on the website in the first 3 months were a total crap (I knew nothing about blogging). I started using your keyword method in my 4th month of blogging and I believe I am now already following all the tips you shared in this article. The problem is that I still can’t see any traffic (barely a 1 organic click a day and sometimes no clicks at all). I’ll keep doing the thing that I’m doing right now and see what happens, but my question is, do u think there is a way to know whether it’s you who is messing things up or it’s just google taking more time to get you out of what some bloggers usually call the ‘Sand box’

    I’m sorry for this lengthy comment, I just can’t stop asking things lol !!!

    1. Hey, it’s cool, I love talking about this stuff hah

      1 – I haven’t built out a general site myself, I think it’s fine but I believe Google favors sites based on how much content they have on a specific topic. If I were you I’d focus on a few categories and see which are working out best then double down on those. Unless it’s important to you to write about a wide range of things that is. See what competitors are doing something similar to you and how they’re handling it.

      2 – I’ll show you something – – that was a site I started a few years ago. More than 100 posts doing almost nothing, I left the site alone for years then added some content – about 20 posts – in March with my current style of keyword research and look what happened. 🙂

      You do have to nail the keywords and content, there’s no doubt. It does sound too early to tell with your site if you’re ignoring the first 3 months of content. Start focusing on a few narrow topics if possible though, as I said above. Treat categories like narrow niches and that will speed up how soon your content ranks.

  2. Hi Phil, great article, thank you for that!

    I have just one question about the section “Related Questions” you mentioned as optional. Do I understand it correctly that you just write down other related questions from “People also ask” that are in Google SERP for the primary keyword and then you provide short answers to them? If that is the case, do you use FAQ schema for this section?

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Yes, that’s right, John. Just some questions from Google and answers, and I’ve seen my answer appear as the drop down to the answer in the SERPs at a later date, so it works.

      I have used some schema FAQ blocks before, yes. They appeared in the SERPs as blocks of answers and looked nice, but I’m not sure if I like them or not. I don’t do them very often because I think anything like that might change in the future. Imagine if everyone spammed those FAQ blocks, they take up too much space.

  3. I have made a site for the first time and the site age is more than one year and total 43 pages and getting traffic 5~10/day.

    I have read your full website and did keyword research and wrote 2 articles.
    What I saw, my article ranks at number 6 position after publishing 4 days. (This is great for me!)

    Unfortunately, two days later I could not find my article in googles top 100 results.(No Idea why).

    Another issue in my site, my indexed articles (ranked on 13 position) are de-indexing automatically.

    Checked with search operator site:mydomain and it returns 31 instead of 43 pages but my search console show my 43 pages are still indexed and green.

    Please suggest me weather should I continue or quit investing time on this site.

    Thanks for your inspiration

    1. Hi Rifat

      I’ve had some indexing issues lately, a lot of people have since the last update. Don’t give up due to something like that, you’ll always find a way to fix it – or it’ll resolve itself.

      If you content is ranking well, keep on going!

  4. Hi Phil,

    thanks for this article… super informative

    Using the example you provided above…about rabbits…can I have one category just for rabbits and write everything about rabbits…then much later create more categories and expand to other animals?

    1. Yeah, for sure. If your site is about rabbits, you should split out categories for different breeds, housing, food, etc. If you’re going more general, then use categories for other pets.

  5. Great article!

    I was wondering. Does it make sense to go after long-tail keywords with 0 volume searches?
    I see that you have done well with a couple of them, but is it a good strategy to target them in general?

    I ask because I find a lot of them that I can rank for easily on the first page while even the words with 10 searches per month are harder to find in my niche.

    I don’t want to waste a bunch of time writing articles for them if it doesn’t make sense.

    What do you think?


    1. Hi Beth, I’ve had good success with zero volume keywords, yes, so I do go for them sometimes. It’s basically a judgment call, the more possible variations there is for that keyword, the more likely it’ll rank for more keywords. Plus, sometimes, keyword tools are just totally wrong, but again, it’s a judgment call if you think it’ll get search.
      I always suggest people try some.

  6. Hi Phil great content and I appreciate it. I do understand the concept of low volume / low competition keywords and how to blue print posts from reading all your stuff.

    Now I know this isn’t going to happen overnight. Looks like content is the primary factor in this after you’ve done your keyword and competition research.

    I don’t consider myself a good writer maybe I am don’t know. I was looking into outsourcing content but that can add up at around $20-$30 per article.

    How much initial content is recommended to get started and how much content thereafter after the initial content?



    1. Hey Marc
      That’s such a tough question, because everyone really wants is a positive ROI on content, right?

      If I’d paid $25 per article for say 300 articles, that would be $7,500. Which, valuing my site at around $18,000 means it would have been worth it for sure. But it would take a long time to pay back in monthly revenue, more than a year probably.

      So, using these really approx numbers (anything can happen) I’d go with as much as you can afford, and keep in mind it could take 12 months + to return in value. But the sooner you get the content up, the sooner it can start paying you back.

  7. Hi Phil!

    I’ve been trying your method for a couple of weeks now on a new site with zero backlinks. I made a total of 20 posts with an average of 900 words. I was wondering why my post is getting a lot of impressions and clicks one day and then all of a sudden would be zero impressions. Is this normal? It’s kinda hard to stay motivated when I’m looking at search console and seeing that I’m not ranking on anything. I would love to hear your input on this!


    1. Hi Mj

      No, that’s not normal. Something has gone wrong there, and it’s likey to do with how your posts are indexing. You should be able to find out why in your search console, check if your posts are being excluded for any reason.

      1. Nothing seems to be wrong from the console. Although I recently removed AMP from my site because I’ve read that most sites don’t really need AMP. Is that why I’m not ranking anymore? Should I turn it on again?

        1. You’re right that AMP isn’t needed. Not sure if that’s the problem though. If your clicks and impressions are zero something is definitely wrong. Could be so many things, it won’t be related to your content though, especially if it was performing before.

  8. Hey Phil,
    Great content as always, you are few of the bloggers, whose strategy really work. I am using the same strategy for my entertainment niche site, where I write about upcoming movies and TV series. But recently, I’ve been thinking of starting a blog/website in a cryptocurrency niche. I want to ask is that cryptocurrency niche being so competitive, can I use the same strategy for this niche? Will it work for this niche?

    1. Hi Karan, yeah I’m sure it would work. In fact, I don’t know Crypto well, but I’m sure there are a lot of specific questions that need answering, right? Even better, I’m sure there are new questions all the time as it’s a progressive niche?

  9. Hi, what is the source of your content? Say you have found those long tail keywords from google related questions abd forums like quora but the answers put out there are short.. do you try your best to paraphrase all the relevant info and put them together in your words? Suppose that we arent experts to all the topics we write abt

    1. Hi Carol, I do everything I can to provide a more detailed and helpful answer. Sometimes I email companies for more information on their products, I talk to business owners locally related to my niche, dig through studies online, and so on.
      You don’t need a detailed knowledge of your niche. The goal is often to provide a better optimized answer for a query. You do have to make sure you’re giving the right answer though, of course, and I always link back to sources of information.

  10. Hey Phil,

    Recently, found out about your Adsense experiment via Google and the whole “Longtail low comp” keyword thing. Read it at around 3AM then quickly wrote a post covering a 10-Volume keyword and published it around 4:30AM.
    It got indexed after one day and is already sitting at position 6. The only results above me are some pages from the official website (completely unrelated to the keyword though), and one Reddit discussion about the keyword.

    Do you think it’s possible to outrank Reddit or do I have to accept that won’t happen at all?

    1. Hey Dilawar, love to hear you took action so quickly like that and saw some good results.
      I don’t see Reddit as a big competitor, unless they also have the exact match, I tend to think I’ll outrank them – although it might take time.
      Reddit posts just aren’t usually as in-depth. Even if it does outrank you for that one keyword, it won’t have all the other keywords you included I bet.

      1. That’s true. I think If I can show up on page 1 in a day then in a week or month I’ll definitely snatch the top position because no one on the page has anything regarding the keyword.

        Thanks for the idea! Looks like I’ll focus on some low-comp keywords along with some high/med-comp for building better authority in the eyes of Google.

  11. Hello PHIL, am glad I came across your content. Well information shared here and I have learnt much from this to spice up my keyword research methods.

    More wins to come and I believe in that.

  12. Hello there again, Phil.

    Can you please share your wisdom behind doing this? You publish the post and then make it catchy AFTER publishing it. Any reason why don’t you do that while you write?

    I include the keyword in the URL and Header (H1). After hitting publish, I add some words to either the beginning or the end of the title to make it more “catchy”.

    1. Yeah, there is probably an easier way to do it. I just want to make sure my URL is the exact keyword, like “Ways to slice a mango”, then after I publish I would change the H1 to “4 Ways to slice a mango (with and without a knife)”

      If I type that first and hit publish it would all the in the URL, you know?

      1. But phil you can do this from permalink section in editor. Just put your keyword in permalink section and it’ll be your url

        1. Yes, that’s true, it has overwritten the URL in the past though. Maybe it was because I changed the H1, I’m not sure.

  13. Also, in this you said that there’s an seo benefit in writing correctly, can you please tell me what benefit that would be? Thanks!

    “It’s fine, Google is smart enough to know what your post is about. In fact, I think there is an SEO benefit to writing correctly.”

    1. Yeah, I’m saying Google understands correct English, if not now, then certainly in the future. Plus, people are more likely to click well-written titles.

      In fact, Google announced this week their next update is going to be better at spotting misspellings. I don’t believe in forcing unnatural KWs.

  14. Hey, Phil.

    You said you do not Force the keyword into the first sentence, but you do Carefully optimize your intro to maximize your chance at ranking for the snippet.

    How do you do that? Optimizing the intro for maximizing the chance of ranking for the snippet. Because for that you need to place keywords in the intro, don’t you?

    1. You do need your keywords in the intro for a snippet, yes. But not necessarily in the exact order or stuffed. I write naturally and get a lot of snippets.

  15. What do you do when you have many articles that covered the same topic?

    For example, you have 2 separate articles:

    “How to repair bamboo furniture” and “how to paint bamboo furniture”

    and then you have a section in both articles about “how to maintain bamboo furniture” or “Ways to maintain bamboo furniture” or “Tips to maintain bamboo furniture”
    which is essentially the same thing.

    I’m trying to avoid it but it just makes sense to add “maintenance” to each article.

    Do you avoid repeating a topic that you already covered in another article?

    1. Hi RC Canlas, I know what you mean. This does come up from time to time. If I’m ranking on page one for an article because of a subheading, I will not target that same KW separately.

      I just try not to overlap any KWs, but it does happen on occasion.

  16. Phil. How were you able to write so many posts per month? I see that you published sometimes even 80 posts a month? I can’t even think of reaching this level. Does this mean that I’ll not the same amount of money that you’re making?

    Please also make a post about how do you write so many posts, what is your secret. 😅

    1. Umar, I do have a couple of “secret weapons”;

      I enjoy writing, so it’s fun for me (makes me sound a bit crazy, right)
      I’m very motivated because it means everything to me that I am able to support my family and life this lifestyle (that’s a powerful motivation, trust me)

      You may not be able to start enjoying it, but you need to find your motivation.

      When you do, staying up a couple of hours longer is easy. Skipping going out with friends now and then, not watching Netflix, all those distractions are less of a problem.

      I’m not saying you’re not motivated – I don’t know how you are doing – but that’s how it is for me. Sometimes I get a day to myself, I will just write for 10 hours and write 8 or so posts.

  17. Hey, Phil.

    I’ve partnered up with a writer on a 50/50 contract! That we’ll split the earning by 50% each, per month as well as when the website is sold.

    Anyways, here’s the first article he’s written following this strategy that you’ve laid out. Please have a look and let me know if it lacks in any way…

    Thanks! 😊

    1. Hi Umar

      I wasn’t sure if you wanted me to share the post – but if you do, I can add the URL back in and suggest a couple of things I would do differently if you’d like, then others can see the process?

      It’s a really good post though, and I like the niche/ look of your site.

      1. Sure, that is what I need. Your suggestions on how it can be improved.

        Feel free to do whatever you want with the URL, I just wanted your opinion and tips on improving it and things you’d do differently.

        1. Ok, like I said, it’s a great article.

          A couple of optimisation things I would do;

          For the snippet, something that works for me, is looking at the words Google has put in bold in the snippet that is there (this may vary depending on where you’re searching from) and improving on it. I see the following words in bold:

          poison ivy

          So, it makes sense to think Google knows the answer to this question! I also like to use “yes” or “no” as sometimes this appears, and certainly more so in Bing.

          To optimise for the snippet, I would start the first paragraph of the article answering the question using those words, so I would write maybe:

          “Goats can and will eat poison ivy, yes. It’s perfectly safe for them (despite “poison” being in the name), although they typically don’t eat the roots, so the plant may grow back if you’re trying to eliminate it.”

          After that intro, I would go into a header about the plant, then subsequent headers very similar to what you’ve used.

          I like the direction you went in. You picked up on the search intent, included lots of relevant KWs, I this is almost exactly how I’d write it!

          1. Thanks, Phil. I’ll send these instructions to my writer as well as keep them in mind for my next posts, before I hit the publish button.

            I was thinking if removing or trying not to use words that make the sentence longer without adding any value would be any beneficial?

            For example, in the summary section the writer wrote something like this:

            “No doubt, the name “Poison Ivy” can raise suspicions, but yes, goats can eat Poison Ivy, and it won’t harm them. Not only that, but the milk of goats also remains unaffected by toxins Poison Ivy contains.

            Thus, you can consume milk from goats who eat Poison Ivy without getting worried. Goats’ immune system enables them to eat plants containing toxins, including Poison Ivy, without any harmful consequences.”

            While I was thinking to change it into something like this:

            “No doubt, the name “Poison Ivy” can raise suspicions, but yes, goats can eat Poison Ivy, and it won’t harm them. Not only that, but the milk of goats also remains unaffected by toxins Poison Ivy contains. So drink away, as much as you like!”

            I just replaced the whole second paragraph with “So drink away, as much as you like!”, which I thought excluded many words that were unnecessary.

            But I am not sure if doing this would hurt the on-page SEO? Because we also need to take care of the word-count…

          2. Yes, I try to never double up or write redundant content, which is why my posts rarely make it past 800 or so words.

            You can always add another keyword as a header to make up the word count. Such as “will goats get rid of poison ivy?” – that one comes up as a People also ask for me.

            You might think that’s duplicate, but this is where SEO comes over common sense, as you want to rank for that KW in the People also ask section, so you also have to immediately answer it under the heading.

          3. Awesome, thanks Phil!

            I couldn’t think of increasing the sub-heading to make up for the word-count.

            I’ll let the writer know not to use such words that make the sentence longer without adding any value.

            Thanks again. I check your blog regularly and visit these two posts about Keyword Research and Content Writing mainly to refine my technique.

          4. Hi Phill,
            Following your case study.
            Would you plz elaborate about picking up on search intent, include relevent keywords?

          5. Hi Saifullah

            To me, the intent is picking up signals from Google, not what other articles are saying. So, picking up suggested answers from Google, look at words Google has put in bold in the snippet and meta descriptions, using some common sense and figuring out what would also be helpful to the reader, etc.

  18. I saw that a lot of pet blogs got a significant decline in their traffic after the may 4th update, what are your thoughts for your site in the long-term, are you think about selling it at the end of the year? Why I am asking, isn’t asking “if an animal should eat” something considered health as well as happiness for the owner, so isn’t it a ymyl topic? Also, I’m thinking about the home & home improvement niche, but I’m not sure how I can write short blog posts, I mean take “how to take grout out of tile” as an example, isn’t it more a video answer than written? What do you do to get around this, If you could provide an example of a search query that would be great?

    1. Hi Jeff

      I don’t think pets are seen as YMYL, at least not right now. It’s hard to know what Google will do in the future, but I don’t have any plans to exit the site for these reasons.

      I write a diverse in any case, I think that’s just a smart thing to do.

      Some topics are better for video yes. What I do, is write up a blog post, and embed a video from YouTube.

      Ultimately, we have a lot of choice over the keywords we target, there is no shortage – right? Pick the ones you feel most comfortable with and feel you can best answer. That’s my advice.

  19. I want to do something regarding gardening but can’t find any underserved topics, can you help me out by giving me some search query examples? Literally whatever I type in there is a major site or medium.

    1. Hi Sammy, there might be large sites, but if they’re not targeting the keyword directly, you can still outrank them.

      I had a quick look, and I would say these KWs are low competition for gardening and have some volume as examples:

      do you cut back daffodils after they bloom?
      when do daffodil leaves turn yellow?
      when does french lavender bloom?
      Why is My Hebe Not Flowering?

      I only had a quick look, but I saw a lot of the top 10 not answering these questions in an SEO-focused way, I saw weak forums, new sites, etc.

      1. Hey, phil

        Thanks for replying, i had a question about your search queries, i searched them but google gave an answer taken from the entire article and not for the specific keyword. For example: the 2 daffodils search queries can be put together to create one article about daffodil planting guide which would increase topical relevance no? Instead of one 900 word article about when do daffodils turn yellow and when you cut them after they bloom. Because those search queries are optimized for voice search so wouldn’t it make sense to incorporate them into one topical article which covers all the stuff related to the queries in this case garden daffodils? With the new google core update coming, it seems google will send the reader to the part of the article that matches to the searches query. Just wondering if its worth writing these one answer article if another website writes a topically relevant article and gets the snippet? Also, it seems that this strategy is overly extended on google which is a weakness, as a single update could tank a website, so wouldn’t make sense to combine topics and write a well informed article. Like the example you gave before, can rabbits eat carrots, strawberries, cherries…., you could just put them together into one article about what can rabbits eat? You can rank quickly but i feel like its always a ticking bomb until another site combines 3-4 of those queries into a single article

        1. You could try and combine both in one article, there is no hard right or wrong answer. When I Google those two KWs I see different posts ranking though, which to me, means Google is looking for different answers for each KW.

          I don’t think a website would tank from the update, it’s hard to tell though. All we can do is answer the questions the best we can, right? I think H1s have more weight than H2s for questions. That’s why I write so many separate articles and they rank well.

          The sites that combine multiple questions into one article typically need links to rank that post for all those queries, or a high domain authority. Which, if they have either, they will likely out rank you.

  20. Hey Phil,

    Since you’re not only writing for this case study site but others as well as freelance clients, you’re daily word count must be huge. What is your daily word count?

    Also, how do you write those inevitable posts that have low competition, but are boring as hell to write or require some step by step instructions in a part of the niche where you have no first hand knowledge? With 500 posts, surely you’ve had come across some of those and have had to bite the bullet.


    1. Hey Dave,

      I probably write about 100k words a month taking into account all of my sites and the client work I do. That’s a little more than 3k words a day, which sounds a lot, and is a lot, but it’s nothing epic really.

      Yaeh, some topics just suck. I have dozens of keywords on my list to do, and some just keep getting pushed back and avoided.

      You just gotta dig deep mate. You have to do the things other people are not willing to do if you want to get ahead, right? That’s my hard nosed attitude to it.

  21. Hi there, Phil.

    I was wondering, if you find a topic that does not show a lot of relevant questions in the “people also ask” section, how do we go about increasing its word-count? Because for that you need subheadings, how do we increase subheadings for those kinds of topics.


    1. Hi Umar, yeah I just go with the topic in the best way I can. I don’t like looking at what other articles are doing, but sometimes I get ideas from other articles. WMS usually populates some decent related keywords, too.

      Sometimes, the “people also ask” stuff just isn’t any use, either. It helps if you know the topic well and can add some personal touches to an article. Like, if you’re writing about a pet you have you just recite a story that happened in real life. Whenever I do that I tend to get comments and feedback, so it definitely resonates with people when you tell stories.

  22. Hi Phil,

    Have just started researching and writing using your longtail research and writing methods.
    I’ve been reading a lot on the forums/blogs in the past few weeks on how to approach kw research and writing content, and your posts definitely stand out to me in the sense that they are clear and to the point. I nearly invested in a keyword research tool, but have tried out your free method and for a beginner like myself, this is all I need.

    One question I have about writing content. When you take keywords from the “people ask section” to use in your content, do you also check if those keywords are low-volume?

    1. Hi Robin, good to hear you’ve got started.

      I don’t check those KWs in the People Also Ask, no. I just use them because they are super-relevant to the topic of the post.

  23. Hi Phil,
    I read all of your posts on Reddit and here and I have really enjoyed them 🙂

    I am soon starting my site and I would really appreciate it if you could answer these questions.

    How do you choose a niche for your sites? I am always scared that I could select a too general, or too small niche. I don’t think that I should go too general because bigger Authority Sites will overtake me with ranking, but I am also scared that if I go to a very specific niche, I will run out of keywords to target. I know that every niche can be targeted with the technique that you are using and writing about, but I would really appreciate it if you could give me examples of some niches you would go for right now, and if you could tell me how you found those niches. I would really appreciate it 🙂

    My second question is about location. My country is mostly called second World Country. I have access to the Internet and the Government is not censoring anything or something like that, but we just aren’t economically the best country in the world. My question is will that affect my positioning on Google. Will I be able to rank in the US (I will be writing in English of course), or will Google not show my posts in the US because I am not from the US. If it is needed I can buy VPN, but I am just not sure if Google will behave differently to my site because of the location I am writing it from?

    I would be really grateful if you could answer these questions:)

    Thank you in advance,
    Have a nice day.

    1. Hi Nikola

      Thanks for dropping by, to answer;

      I stress over picking a niche less than anyone else I know. I believe you can enter just about any niche and find low comp keywords to rank for, even medical, finance, etc – there are always keywords that have not been answered.

      Some niches are more difficult than others, of course. Some will pay higher RPMs with ads, some will have better affiliate potential. I’m not ignoring all of that, what I’m saying is, it’s important you’re able to understand SEO and how to rank content – then you can start to do that in just about any niche.

      Pick something you know well, if possible, it will make it much less painful – and quicker – producing content.

      I’m not in the US, all I do is register a .com domain and target US keywords and most of my traffic comes from the US. I’ve never had an issue. If you’re in a country with a lower cost of living, you have an advantage for sure as you have the same opportunities as anyone else to build a site and rank content.

      Good luck!

  24. Hi Phil,

    I’ve really enjoyed the information off of here and over at reddit, I found out about you on the Just Start thread. Here’s my question, I just want to make sure I’m understanding what you wrote regarding changing your H1 after publishing.

    So, your URL title would be: “Best beds for labradors” and I assume similar for your H1 at publish? However, after you hit publish, you go back and then change the H1 to “The 8 best beds for labradors (doggie approved).

    What’s the idea behind this method here? I’m just not picking up what the idea is here for doing this. Looking forward to some clarification, thanks!


    1. Hi Adrian,

      Sure, this is just what I do as it works for me; I do this to keep the URL strictly as the keyword I’m targeting, then I create a post title that’s more user-friendly and a little more clickbait worthy.

      I see most sites just allow WordPress to take the KW and use it for the post when it doesn’t even read well. I think it helps with SEO and click through rates to improve that title a little.

      1. Hi Phil,

        Thanks for the response! I think I understand the idea a little better now and by random happenstance, I actually stumbled onto a website that was similarily an affiliate type of site doing the same exact thing as you described!

        The URL was the target keyword/phrase and then the post title was “jazzed” up a bit. So, there’s some method to the madness here! Thanks again!


  25. Hey Phil,

    I’ve recently signed up to Ezoic through your link as a thank you for this case study. And it certainly seems to work. Ten posts and letting the site sit for a few months got me to 4K sessions. Time to get back to writing.

    Anyway, one quick question if you’d be so kind. How do you determine if a keyword is worthy of it’s own post?

    As in, I find three keywords that could certainly fit together under a more broad topic. Would you write one piece of content containing all three, with each as a heading? Or does each get it’s own post?

    I know that if a topic can only warrant a couple hundred words, it’s best used as a subtopic in another post. But what if each of the three keywords could be 600 words on their own?

    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Alex

      I really appreciate you using my link to sign up for Ezoic, that’s very kind of you.

      To answer your question, if the search results are different for each keyword and it’s clear Google is treating them differently, I’d write all three of them. That way I give myself the best chance to rank high for all three, and I’d interlink them and maybe add a short blurb about the other questions if they’re super relevant.

      If you look at the related questions for each keyword you should be able to build out each post with a few hundred more words by picking up other questions that do not warrant their own posts.


  26. Hello sir, you said that “most of the posts I wrote ranked on page one within 30 mins or so of inspecting them after hitting publish.” do you index them using google search console?

    1. Hey RJ, yes I do, I’ve always indexed every post after publishing it for years now, it’s an old habit – but I think it helps.

  27. Hi Phil,

    Firstly, thank you so much for your case study and this information. It has provided not only motivation but after targeting these longtail low-comp keywords, I’ve started getting more impressions – hopefully I’ll start see clicks soon.

    Secondly, I have a question.
    I am finding myself able to cover the keyword and it’s subheadings in 400-500words, ideally I’d like to hit the 700 to 800 mark.
    Would you advise of either
    a) choosing another subheading (even when I struggle to find something that relates)
    b) Learn how to add more words without it being fluff – if that is even possible?
    c) ignore the word count and post it anyway

    Currently I am doing a mixture of all 3, although I’m probably going to start just posting low word counts.

    1. Hi Tom

      Appreciate the kind words, you will see clicks for sure once you start nailing the low comp keywords, I’m sure of it.

      Yes, the wordcount for people like us who do not want to add fluff is hard. I often struggle past the 500-600 mark, but I’ve had Mediavine on my case telling me content needs to be longer for their ads to show properly, so I do try and hit 900 words always now.

      I usually end up adding another header when I’m short. Something relevant, at least that way if people are skimming and they’re not interested they can skip that section. I wouldn’t ever add fluff to a post, that’s just going to be annoying for people to read I think.

      I did post a bunch of articles recently around 400 words long. They all ranked just fine, but as I said, it’s not great for ads, and if you’re not already with Mediavine I think you risk harming your application by doing posts that short.

  28. Great content Phill,
    How do you do research for an article. Plz describe the complete procedure.
    If you write a post about it then it would b good .


  29. Hi Phil!

    Do you care about stopwords while writing the permalink of a blogpost? Why or why not?

    Also, do you think we should care about it while writing the permalink of a blogpost?

    1. Hi Allen

      I’ve never paid any attention to stop words, I just write my title and let WP pick up the permalink- so I really doubt it makes any difference.

  30. Hi Phil, thanks a lot for this blog it is amazing.

    What software do you use to write your blogposts? any online or offline service? or do you just type in your posts directly in WordPress before publishing?

    Thanks again

    1. Hi Sam

      I just write up my posts in Google Docs. I use header tags and do all the formatting in the Doc, then copy and paste into WordPress. I never liked writing directly into WordPress, and this way I have an offline copy saved if anything goes wrong.

  31. Hi Phil,
    Such great advice. This is pure gold. Question…will you go after a keyword that has a lot (3+) YouTube videos ranking high on the first page? Or do you stay away from those?

    1. Hi Matt

      Sometimes I will if I really like the keyword, yes. I think people who click videos and those who click written content are two different types of people (I might be wrong), if I think I can rank well for a keyword, I find it hard to resist!

  32. Hi Phil,
    I read several times that the paragraph “featured snippet” is usually 40 to 50 words long. Would it make sense to bold that specific group of words that is answering (within the intro & in a very short way) what has been requested? It may help to get that paragraph noticed by google’s algo and get it selected. Or not? What’s your thoughts?
    Thank you,

      1. Ok. Thanks for your answer.
        I won 3 featured snippets out of 121 articles written in 6 months. I see that, for many articles, I did not optimize for a possible featured snippet. I am currently revising that.
        Thanks for all the good tips you share here.

  33. Hi Phil!

    Do you ever go back and change the titles in your posts? Do you think it’s a good idea as long as I don’t change the URL and permalink structure, just the title to make it more attractive for driving up click throughs?


    1. Hi Derek

      I don’t go back and do that, no. It is a good idea though, I know people who have success changing their H1 (not the URL, as you said), I just work better going forward and writing new posts, personally.

  34. Chiquita Williams

    Simple and to the point. I enjoy your content. 🙂

    On a serius note, I feel like someone needs to really tell these “internet marketing gurus” (and SEO plug-in devs if they’re also DMs) that these plug-ins can be very misleading and discouraging.

    1. Hi Chiquita

      Thanks, and I agree. It takes a while to figure it out, but almost every tool, course, and tip on the market is just someone trying to make money, but honestly, I don’t see many tools or services that deliver much value.

      Nothing compares to digging in and doing the hard work yourself and figuring out what works!

      1. Just want to tell you im just now getting back into this after starting and giving up 10yrs ago due to lack of focus, patience, and finances lol. This site is gold man thanks for sharing. Im going to comb through this site and follow as much as i can for my site.

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