When I started growing my largest site years ago I didn’t do keyword research. I did what the big sites were doing naively believing I’d outrank them.
I had no game.
I had read about how great Ahrefs was, but come on, how could any software be worth $99 per month?
Short of push-button mega-profits which I knew Ahrefs didn’t deliver, that seemed like highway robbery.
I still had no game.
Finally, I signed up for the Ahrefs free trial. $99 was a lot to pay. It was 20x my hosting cost.
Assuming the data was reasonably accurate, I was dumbfounded. I was like a kid in the candy store. I spent hours digging around keyword and competitor research.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that Ahrefs offered better than push button profits… okay, not quite but darn near close.
I found so many topics to cover so quickly, I couldn’t type articles fast enough.
I discovered I wasn’t making all that much progress because I was going after very difficult keywords.
I knew right away what I needed to do and that is to do the opposite of what I was doing.
Some traffic was better than none.
I started digging into Analytics as well.
This my “data epiphany”.
I noticed that I only got traffic to articles going after keywords I accidentally targeted.
In Ahrefs those keywords reported really low search volume… sometimes 0 to 10 per month.
Mmmmmmhhhhhhh, that’s interesting.
How could I get 300+ visitors/mo. to articles targeting keywords where Ahrefs reported 0 to 10 monthly search visitors?
I checked in Ahrefs and it turns out I was getting traffic for all kinds of related obscure keywords.
No article targets just one keyword. It targets many. While all targeted KWs get very, very low search volume, when added up, it was good traffic.
Bingo, I knew exactly what I needed to do.
I immediately zeroed in on the keyword difficulty filter and restricted my keyword selection to under 3 difficulty… sometimes I lived dangerously bumping it up to 5.
For the next few years I obsessed about finding every easy-to-rank keyword in my niche.
I sought out keywords that weren’t well covered on the Web and if they were, either content wasn’t great or the sites were not the biggies in the niche.
I didn’t care how low the search volume was reported in Ahrefs… as long as it registered as a keyword, I wrote about it.
I knew that a good article would rank for many keywords adding up to worthwhile traffic.
I had learned going after highly competitive keywords for a newish site without any link building didn’t work.
So I did the opposite.
Traffic started growing.
It still works.
I was in the game.
Now my hosting cost is 10x Ahrefs thanks to Ahrefs and many weeks combing through millions of keywords.
More expensive hosting = more traffic. It’s a good thing (usually).
I also became adept at finding low-competition keywords. That was my strategy.
It’s still my number one strategy.
It’s the strategy I deploy on newer sites.
It’s the strategy many in the Fat Stacks forum use with success.
It works. It makes sense.
Google is a vacuum. It will always list something even if there aren’t good options.
My goal was to find those instances where Google needed something better to include in the search results.
I fed the vacuum.
I got game.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.