An easy yet effective trick to deal with high-difficulty keywords
As an SEO girl, I have always wanted to conquer high-volume keywords so to attract huge traffic to my website, yet as you imagine, in the English world where Google is invented, every corner has been taken: high volumes mean high difficulty.
Of course, if you are working with other languages, then you are truly lucky as most of the top-notch SEO techniques have not been employed yet and you will find it extremely easy to stand out from the competition. Talk to me if you are interested in this topic though, I do have successful hands-on experiences with this.
Back to our initial topic, what will be our strategy if we want to target a high-volume keyword using a low-domain rating website? This is a nightmare for most digital marketers and SEO professionals I think, unfortunately, all of us must go through it so as to become kind of a big deal, inspired by Neil Patel.
First of all, find a potential keyword
This article will not go into detail on such a topic but there exist several basic methods:
- Think about your own company, products/ services, vision, values, functions, etc
- Use tools to expand your horizon of understanding, like Google keyword planner, Ahrefs (my favorite), Moz, etc
- Find out the ranking keywords of your competitors using Ahrefs and create better content to replace theirs, i.e. the Middle man strategy by Brian Dean
- Search for popular content that is related to your domain and then dig out their ranking keywords, using again, Ahrefs or Moz, as you wish
After you figure out a keyword, or at least a vague idea, to begin with, we need to run due diligence to see if it would work out in the end, i.e. to make sure it has huge volumes of traffic.
So I use Ahrefs, as I have already paid but you do as you want. Since my company sells 3d configurators to enable online customization, I have had an eye on the keyword for “mass customization” for a long time.
As we can see above, clicks in the US alone account for 1000: average volumes, looking good for a small website.
Pay attention to keyword difficulty here, it is very misleading sometimes as it only takes into consideration the number of backlinks yet ignores another very important element for ranking: Domain Rating in Ahrefs or Domain Authority called by Moz.
Roll down we will see the bad news.
This graph shows the top 10 search results for the keyword “mass customization” and we can see that all the ranking websites are of extremely high Domain Rating, 70+. This means such a keyword will be almost impossible to rank if your website is below 70, as is my case.
Yes miracles do take place but it never happens to me. It is better to prepare for the worst and hope for the best, not the opposite.
Yet since this fancy keyword is very much related to our business and vision and I will probably publish content on it anyway, I decide to stick to it and then move on to the next step.
Secondly use your target keyword in the slug, the title, the beginning, the body, and the end of the article
In here we will use Moz instead as its on-page grader is the best tool I have found for on-page SEO. Basically, the software teaches me where to put my keyword to help Google identify the content while voiding spam.
Recommended places are the URL slug, the SEO title, and description, the body of your content, according to Moz, as well as the first 100 words and the end of your article, according to Brian Dean. I read so much.
Take a look at this example.
At the beginning of the article too.
Thirdly search for a backup doable keyword
We have already seen that it is nearly impossible to compete with 70+ DR websites for such a keyword. Ignore me if your own web is one of those, of course. Therefore we need a technique to deal with this monster, a doable backup keyword.
I prefer to use Ahrefs for this due to its better UI.
Click “All keyword ideas” for “mass customization”.
Filter KD/ keyword difficulty to max 30 and volume to min 400:
Voila, see anything interesting? Those will be the keywords related to your original one with good search volumes yet still affordable for you considering the competition.
If you want a quick win, you can start with a really easy one, like down at the bottom, I see “what is the goal for mass customization?” with 500 search volumes/ clicks but 0 difficulties. Zero, baby!
So this is the one, my backup prince charming.
Fourthly forge a specific paragraph for your doable guest
The task in this phase is to let Google know that you are truly committed to this new keyword, by inserting it into the body of your article, in at least an H2 title, and then better yet a dedicated paragraph.
Of course, always check out the competition first before burying your head. Simply type “what is the goal for mass customization?” in Google and see what kind of content is currently ranking high and create a better version.
For example, here I see when users type in “what is the goal for mass customization?”, they are looking for a definition of “what it is” instead of “how to”. Therefore I made my own definition：
An advanced tip for experts: Aim for the featured snippet.
Oh, this is exciting! Since we already know that it is an easy-ranking keyword, why don’t we go straight to Position 0 instead of the first page?
It is much easier than you would imagine. According to my own experience, simply writing 40-55 words using obvious indicators is enough to get the message passed with the Google bot.
For definitions, be sure to use indicators like “is” “mean” or “refer to”, keeping in mind that you are talking to a robot. The clearer, the better. Here I used “is”.
Fifthly build anchor texts in the right proportion: both your target keyword and the doable keyword
Don’t hope for organic backlinks and accordingly organic keywords unless you are Forbes or Les Echos. No one cares if we are nobody.
Reaching out and building backlinks on our own is the only way to improve our ranking as well as our website. And some of the methods allow us to control the anchor texts, which play a very important role in ranking keywords.
- High-end backlinks, high domain rating yet no control over anchor texts, free:
- Helpareportout: Write a short paragraph for journalists as a part of their articles with a backlink
- High-end backlinks, high domain rating, and sometimes have control over anchor texts, expensive and time-consuming:
- Guest posting: create content to post on others’ websites at your own cost, content, and publication
- Low-end backlinks, domain rating depends, have control over anchor texts, free
- Forum profile and posts: Yes it still works
- Website and blog comments: yes yes it works! Even no-follow ones work too! Check out this experiment on the impacts of blog comments on SEO rankings conducted by Neil Patel.
So back to the anchor texts, make sure that you mix the keywords. Other than the target keyword “mass customization” and the easy one “what is the goal for mass customization?”, come up with 3 more so to make each of their accounts for under 20% of presence. Otherwise, it gets too unnatural.
Lastly, wait for at least a month while continuously building backlinks
It is a hard process. Yet what’s even worse, we need to wait patiently for a few months before Google reveals to us if our strategy works out or not.
It takes time for Google to index and rank and for us to build links and improve the authority of our content. There is no other way.
Lucky for me, I got a positive result for our easy-ranking keyword: the featured snippet!
You see, it really works when done properly and communicated clearly, with the Google bot.
Up till today, this article of mine has a traffic volume of 255 due to this easy keyword “what is the goal for mass customization?” alone!
Better yet we have something much bigger in the plan remember?
Since we are already ranking in Position 0, this allows us to:
- Get organic backlinks and mentions now that searchers can really see our content
- Have higher authority in the eye of Google bot and therefore get indexed more frequently and obtain more organic keywords, which in the end would go Bingo
- Rank more easily with our desired keyword, i.e. “mass customization”
See the picture below, this article is already ranking in the top 20 for other keywords that we have not worked for, and the improvement in ranking is, how to say, dramatic! Ranking for our initial keyword “mass customization” is only a matter of time, as we have already planted the seeds everywhere, again, in the slug, the tags, the title, the beginning, the body, and the end of our article. This is really shouting out at the Google bot saying:” hey, this article is about ‘mass customization! Other than ‘what is the goal for mass customization?’. So rank us!”
This method helps us to establish authority and generate high-quality and organic backlinks quickly and efficiently while paving our way to the high volume/ high difficulty keywords. And it proved successful.