Keyword Research: Use the #1 Result to Uncover More Opportunities
Find other keywords in your product category the top result has overlooked with these 7 steps.
There’s one perfect search term that all of your customers are searching for.
Except you’re a small fish. And the big players in your space are gobbling up all those juicy keyword terms.
So, your company blog is nowhere to be found on the first page.
Or the 2nd.
Or the 3rd.
Yikes. Now you’re the one about to be eaten.
What can you do to break into the top of the SERPs?
Is there any blue ocean left out there for the smaller fish to eat?
Yes, there is. It (of course!) depends on your industry.
But as a smaller fish, you have to do a bit more work to chomp off a bit of that keyword search term. The good thing is, you have access to tools to help you.
Below is the strategy to do it.
Here’s how it works.
Your Example Keyword: “task management software”
As an example, let’s say you are run a productivity software company and to-do list app. One of your target words is “task management software.”
1. Review your keyword again and generate variations.
Go back to your keyword. Stare at it hard.
Write down all the variations you can think of for that word or phrase. And the words that people may use to buy. Try 10 examples.
For task management software, my list may look like this:
- great task management
- how to get tasks done in a system
- to do list and tasks app
- tasks app
- to do list for tasks
- task to do list
- good task management software
- best task management software for marketers
- easy task management
There are a lot of ways to go, and some of those words overlap with one another.
The secret is to find out what other search terms you can rank for that are similar to your main keyword.
Save your list for later.
2. Search for your focus keyword in Google
Scroll past all the ads…and you’ll find that the article called “The 5 Best Task Management Software” from thedigitalprojectmanager.com is the top result.
3. Take the top link from the search results and plug it into Ahrefs/SEMRush
Now, take that top link and plug it into Ahrefs or SEMRush. These are two backlink checkers and keyword research tools. They are kind of pricey, but are worth the business expense.
I use Ahrefs, and you’ll notice that I can get a lot of great information from this dashboard view about Digital Project Manager.
- It has a high Domain Authority ranking (72) for this category, meaning that a lot of sites are linking back to it and that Google sees that site as an expert in its niche. The higher the number, the more authoritative the site. For instance, CNN.com has a 93 domain ranking with millions in search traffic.
- This page on task management software is estimated to get more than 2500 pageviews a month. Pretty good, especially if that traffic converts.
- Notice the number of organic keywords that this page ranks for. This page has 810 keywords.
- Click on that number. This is your opportunity.
4. See all of the keywords ranking for that page
Now, you will see all of the keywords that the page ranks for. The primary one being “task management software,” but also variations like “best task management software” or “team task management software.”
But you need to do more filtering to find the gems that you can use.
5. Sort for the other keywords where that link is ranking well, but not ranking at the top
How do you do that?
Click on the Position column (2nd from left in the example above) and the arrow should point up.
In the bar under “Organic Keywords,” filter the remaining words for a volume that will bring you meaningful traffic. I chose 500 as a monthly search volume, but you could leave it blank to see every word. You may start getting weird misspellings and variations, but you can comb through it until you find something you can use.
With the filter settings shown above, you’ll get a list of related keywords to “task management software” that you may be able to rank for instead.
Notice, however, that two of those keywords (“to do list online” and its variant, “todo lists online) are very difficult keywords. Ahrefs estimates that they are 90 or higher, which means you may need a site like CNN to rank for them, and they are even more difficult than “task management software.”
In that case, we need to add another filter, this time only limiting the keywords to something more manageable. I chose a difficulty of 30 or below. You filter it next to the Volume parameter.
We’re getting somewhere.
6. Create content that better meets the search intent for those keywords
In this case, you could try for “task system”, “free task management software”, and “best free task management software.” You would have a much better chance at ranking for that instead of “task management software.”
There’s a much lower difficulty, but decent volume for the keyword “task system.”
That keyword has 600 searches per month (estimated) and a 0 difficulty score. Almost any site with any presence about productivity or task management could rank for that word.
Here’s your chance.
Also notice that “free task management software” and “best free task management software” have decent search volumes, but with difficulty that is still manageable. Because the terms are very similar, one piece of great geared specifically at those two words would probably rank better than the Digital Project Manager post, even though it is creeping up.
7. Repeat this process for other keywords
Remember that list I had you make at the beginning? Time to take it back out. Because you can now repeat this process for different search terms and phrases.
Granted, for SEO, you do want one page to rank for multiple keywords. Plus, keyword research has a lot variation within it, so you could create a great blog post from a word that does not necessarily get a lot of searches — according to the tools — but make it rain for you.
That’s why it’s important to know your product and your customers well so you can understand their pain points, what they are looking for, and how you can help solve it.
Hey! Want to go from struggling to stable with your content strategy?
Organize your keyword research. Clarify your ideas. Try this helpful keyword template and idea doc. It’s what I’ve used with B2B startups to maximize their content marketing.