Keyword research is at the heart of every successful SEO strategy. Finding low competition keywords with high monthly search volume allows you to generate tons of organic traffic to your site, provided you create high-quality content optimized for target keywords.
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However, finding these types of keywords is easier said than done. More often than not, your competitors are way ahead of you on the curb, as they’re already ranking for these terms. It will take more than well-written content to outrank them from the top spot.
In this case, you’re better off finding new keyword opportunities to rank for and generate organic traffic from. And since everybody’s using their keyword research tool of choice to find keywords, you need to think outside the box and find a different way to unearth keywords you can easily rank for on search results.
Enter Keyword Golden Ratio (KGR).
This blog discusses what KGR is about, how to compute for it, how you can find KGR-compliant keywords, and case studies that attest to the success of this method. At the end of this post, you should have all the information you need to decide whether to implement the KGR method in your keyword research strategy.
What is Keyword Golden Ratio?
Keyword Golden Ratio is the term coined by Doug Cunnington of Niche Site Project. It describes the process of finding target keywords that aren’t covered in-depth by any website online.
These come in the form of long-tail keywords that your competitors may have potentially overlooked in their keyword research.
As long-tail keywords in nature, they are lower search volume terms with only around a couple hundred (or less) searches a month. However, the goal here is to find as many KGR keywords as possible.
As a result, optimizing for these keywords allows you to rank at the top of Google results in a matter of weeks. If your site is well-established in the industry, you even can get your KGR-specific target pages ranked in days.
How to Compute Keyword Golden Ratio?
A fascinating aspect of KGR is that it’s an equation. To calculate the KGR of a keyword, you need to divide the number of allintitle results of a keyword with its search volume.
“Allintitle” is an advanced Google search operator to help find number of pages that contain the exact search phrase in their title.
For example, if your long-tail keyword is “keyword research for affiliate marketing,” here’s how you can search for the “allintitle” in the search bar:
allintitle:keyword research for affiliate marketing
The screenshot above shows that 1,370 pages have the keyword in their page title.
Next, you have to find the search volume of the keyword.
Doug recommends that you conduct KGR keyword research for search terms having 250 or lesser monthly searches. The reason is that it’s easier to rank for low search volume keywords than those with thousands of searches a month.
The 250 max search volume may seem like an arbitrary number. But it’s a good rule to follow, especially if you are launching a brand new site. Assuming you can optimize your site for multiple KGR keywords, you can rank your website on Google search and build topical authority in your niche.
Once you’ve developed enough traffic from your content, you can start going after KGR terms with higher monthly search volumes. By scaling your efforts, you can gradually work your way to thousands of organic visitors in no time!
To find the search volume of your target keywords, you need to use a keyword tool other than Google Keyword Planner since it shows you the range of a keyword’s monthly searches. You can start with Keywords Everywhere (a PAID Chrome extension but a paid one) or Surfer SEO’s free Keyword Surfer Chrome extension, which is a decent free alternative for Keywords Everywhere.
Using Keywords Everywhere, the search volume of “keyword research for affiliate marketing” is 140/month.
Using the data above, we can now compute the KGR of the search term as below:
1,370/140 = 9.785
The goal is to get a KGR score equal to or lower than 0.25. You can use a KGR score between 0.251 to 1.0, but you must prioritize keywords with the lowest KGR scores. The lower the scores, the higher the chances that your site will rank for the keyword sooner.
Since the above keyword’s KGR (9.785) is much higher than the ideal 0.25, you shouldn’t optimize for this keyword, at least not following the rules of KGR.
Different Ways to Find KGR Terms
Computing KGR score is fun and easy but finding the right KGR terms to target is the real challenge. Here are the different methods you can follow to discover KGR terms that are comparatively easy to rank:
#1 – Use Free Tools
If you don’t have a budget for paid tools, you can start by using free ones.
As mentioned, you can download and install Keyword Surfer Chrome extension. Similar to Keywords Everywhere, it shows you the number of searches your query and related keywords receive in a month.
According to Keyword Surfer, “keyword research for affiliate marketing” has 30 monthly searches, which is much lower than what Keywords Everywhere returned (140).
Such is the pitfall of using free keyword research tools. It probably doesn’t have the same large keyword database that premium tools are using to gather search data for queries. So, while it won’t cost you everything to use Keyword Surfer, it might compromise your keyword research process.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t necessarily make Keyword Surfer any less useful since you can still unearth insights from it. In particular, the Keyword ideas widget on the right part of the screen shows you related terms that you can research instead if the initial term doesn’t produce the results you wanted.
Click on any of the related terms here to help you find keywords that meet the ideal KGR criteria.
To help you expand your search, you can choose keywords from Google autocomplete on the search bar and the related searches at the bottom of the search results pages. Run Keyword Surfer to find the search volume of each until you find a handful of keywords that suit your site.
This is another flaw in the manual KGR keyword research approach. You will only find out about the keyword’s search volume after running it using Keyword Surfer.
So, finding keywords that meet the 250 max search volume criteria is a trial and error process. It could take hours to gather the keywords before you can even proceed to find their KGR scores.
Once you have your list, you can use the “allintitle” advanced Google search operator on each of your keywords.
From here, you’ll have to compute the KGR score by using the formula shared above. But manually calculating the score of each can be time-consuming and adds up to an already complicated process.
To help you speed up the computation, make a copy of Doug Cunnington’s personal spreadsheet here. From here, enter the keywords and their search volumes from Keyword Surfer.
Next, click on the generated link under the Search String column of the sheet to find the keyword’s allintitle search results. After entering it under the All In Title column of the sheet, it will compute the KGR automatically so you don’t have to.
#2 – Use Paid Tools
While using free tools to find KGR keywords is possible, it’s highly inconvenient as you’ll spend more time finding the right keywords before you can calculate the scores of each.
In this case, consider using paid tools to simplify the process of finding KGR compliant terms.
There are many excellent keyword research tools you can use to accomplish the job. But for this example, we’ll use Ahrefs‘ Keyword Explorer as it has features that will help you get more things done in less time.
Log in to your account and enter your topic in the Keyword Explorer.
The next page will show you keyword data about your topic. Scroll down until you see the Keyword ideas section. Click “View all” under “Terms match”.
You will then see the complete list of related terms for the topic you entered.
The best thing with keyword tools like Ahrefs is you can filter the keyword list to only show you those keywords that meet a certain criteria.
In this case, we can set the filter to only show keywords with 250 keywords or less.
However, this feature still leaves us with 111,000+ keywords to parse through. Thankfully, there’s still a way to narrow down the keyword list to the very best ones.
On the page, there’s a KD column which means Keyword Difficulty. This tells you the organic search competition for a keyword. The higher the KD score (0-100, 100 being the highest), the more difficult ranking for that keyword will be.
In this case, we can filter the results to only show us keywords with low KD scores (20 and below).
You now have 1,700+ keywords to review using the KGR formula. Should you wish, you can even narrow down the results by filtering the keywords to a much lower maximum KD score (from 20 to 15). You could even apply the filter on number of words to weed out any keywords that have less than specified word count. This could help find out only long tail keywords which are usually the ones that meet KGR criteria.
But, as it stands, you want as many keywords as possible to increase your chances to find KGR compliant terms.
From here, you can export the data into a spreadsheet.
Open the spreadsheet and copy the keywords and search volumes onto Doug’s sheet that you duplicated earlier.
Then click on the Search string link for each keyword to find the allintitle search results.
Enter the value on Doug’s sheet to finally see its KGR score. Repeat the process on all keywords in the sheet.
While you still have to open the Search string link for all keywords, this process is leaps and bounds better than the manual approach. You have the keyword list filtered to meet the requirements of a KGR compliant term.
Currently, Ahrefs costs $99/month, which could be too expensive for some assuming that you will simply use it for keyword research.
However, it has a 7-day trial for $7, which is more than enough to help you with your KGR keyword research process.
If you want a cheaper option, you can use KWFinder ($49/month), which is just as good as far as researching for keywords is concerned.
#3 – Use Tools with Integrated Keyword Golden Ratio Formula Feature
The process above is what most SEOs use for their keyword research. However, there are new tools in the market that include computing for the keyword’s KGR score as part of its features.
One of these tools is WriterZen. It is a content optimization tool in the vein of Surfer SEO, but it has a Keyword Explorer feature that lets you find relevant keyword ideas from your topic.
You can also enable its KGR option (termed as Golden Filter) that calculates for the KGR of the keyword suggestions.
To use this WriterZen feature, go to Keyword Explorer and enter your topic. But before clicking on the Search button, toggle the “Golden Feature” switch to enable it.
Give the tool time to find the KGR scores of your keywords depending on the number of keywords it finds. The more keywords it returns, the longer you have to wait.
Similar to Ahrefs, you will have a list of keywords that you can filter to narrow down the selection to fit the KGR requirements. In this case, we can filter the keywords to only show those with monthly search volume of 250 and below.
Unlike Doug’s spreadsheet, the Golden Score ranges from 1-100; 100, in this case, means that dividing the allintitle search results by the keyword’s search volume produces a score higher than 1.00. So, you want to find keywords with a Golden Score below 25.
While you can’t filter the keyword difficulty score in the list, you can determine the score of each one by clicking on the keyword.
Using WriterZen allows you to find KGR scores of keywords faster and easier. But it depends on what you’re looking for in a keyword research tool. While WriterZen has everything you will need for finding keyword ideas and calculating the KGR scores of each, some may prefer using bigger software names like Ahrefs.
Keyword Golden Ratio Success Stories
Doug Cunnington first introduced the concept of KGR back in 2015. He implemented it on his Amazon affiliate site and was able to increase his commissions from $450 a month to a whopping $20,000 a month in 12 months.
Part of the site’s success was growing its organic traffic from 4,000 a month from December 2015 to almost 35,000 a month by the end of 2016.
Interestingly enough, Doug was able to achieve these results not just by publishing 200 posts a month using KGR keywords. He also spent time on guest post link building. This goes to show that filling out your SEO strategy with the best on-page and off-page tactics will fast-track your way to success.
Because of what Doug achieved with KGR, others followed suit and tested out the tactics themselves. Evan S. Porter built a website from scratch in 2018 using the KGR approach as his core strategy.
After a year, his affiliate site earned $3,802 in a month from affiliate commissions, ads, and selling high-ticket items. His site also reached almost 20,000 visitors by that time.
Another case study in 2018 by Jaron, who Doug interviewed on his blog. Jaron was a newbie who didn’t know anything about SEO and online marketing prior to starting this site. After four months, his site started making $100/month until it became $100 a day! You can read the full transcript of the interview here.
Pros and Cons of KGR
Using the Keyword Golden Ratio in your keyword research and content creation strategy could pay huge dividends over time.
However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all tactic that you can implement on your site and immediately expect results from it.
Aside from its benefits discussed above, KGR has shortcomings of its own that could be detrimental to your online business.
So, before you use Keyword Golden Ratio, you must know its pros and cons first to help you decide if this tactic is truly right for you.
- Brings in fast results – KGR is designed to help site owners generate organic traffic as quickly as possible. Targeting low competition keywords on Google allows you to fill the content gaps on search results and increase your search visibility.
- Refines your keyword research process – Keyword Golden Ratio adds another layer to researching for keywords. Instead of using the default features of your keyword research tool, KGR allows you to further narrow down your list of keywords. This way, you are sure to find at least a few keywords that will effectively rank your website on search engines.
- Perfect for newbie site owners – There are various aspects to building niche websites that attract traffic, which can be overwhelming for newbies. But instead of tackling them all at once, they can just focus on creating great content with KGR at the core of it. Once traffic and revenue are coming in, they can branch out to other facets and go for more competitive terms.
- Requires you to create lots of content – Since KGR keywords have low search volume by nature, you must write and publish as many articles as you can that are optimized for these keywords. That means outsourcing content to writers and ensuring that all articles are well-written. Setting these up for your business may prove difficult if you don’t have the budget.
- Not ideal for sites with obscure topics – KGR is dependent on data from Google and keyword tools to make it work. If your niche doesn’t have keywords that meet the KGR criteria due to how obscure it is, you won’t be able to implement KGR in your strategy.
Tips for Ranking KGR Compliant Keywords
Building a niche website that generates lots of organic traffic takes time and effort on your part. At the same time, you need to do things the right way to see positive results in your campaign.
So, when targeting KGR keywords on your website, you must do the following:
Dedicate Lots of Pieces Optimized for KGR Keywords
Some people say that KGR doesn’t work just because they tried writing a few pieces optimized for KGR keywords and didn’t rank.
To be clear, you can’t just run a sample batch on your website and expect to see life-changing results. The same thing goes for any SEO tactic. For instance, you can’t expect a high-quality backlink or two that will single-handedly change the course of your site’s fortunes.
With regard to KGR, you need to plan out a content strategy for all the KGR keywords you found through your keyword research. Find the best writers who will create the content for each (or write them yourself if you are an expert about the topic) and publish them as fast as possible.
More importantly, do this over the stretch of a quarter or longer. The goal is to create content targeting your KGR keywords consistently in the long run. You don’t have to publish 200 posts like Doug did on his affiliate site—consider publishing 10-20 articles a month to help you get started, then scale up as necessary.
Once your site gets in the rhythm of publishing content, Google will acknowledge the fresh and unique content coming out from your site. The KGR content will also help build your topic relevance, which is a big plus for ranking in Google.
Determine Keyword Intent
When optimizing for KGR keywords (or any keyword for that matter), make sure to consider what the search intent of the keyword is. You must understand why the user is searching for this query to provide them with content that answers any questions they may have about it.
A quick search on Google will help you identify the keyword intent based on the pages ranking for it. Check the content of each and see the topics they cover.
The fact that these pages are ranking for your target KGR keyword means that they’re doing something right, which gives you all the reason to emulate them in your content.
Since most KGR keywords are long-tail keywords, expect to create content with informational intent for each. And because users want to learn more about a topic from this keyword intent type, you can’t expect to monetize the content you create for it.
Instead, use these pieces to help complement your pages with transactional intent by building internal links to them.
Build Backlinks to Your Pages
Ultimately, KGR is just a piece of the SEO puzzle. It can help determine the success of your website, but it alone may not be enough to help you achieve success unless it is complemented by other efforts.
Going back to Doug’s case study, he was able to grow his website’s traffic and earnings through content and backlinks. And as simple as it sounds, these are all you need to get your site ranking on search engines for your target keywords.
Building backlinks is arguably the most difficult aspect of SEO. It depends on the kind of links you can acquire using different means. For instance, a link from an authoritative website via guest blogging is much more valuable compared to thousands of links from substandard sites.
To be fair, it is possible to generate hundreds of thousands of visitors and revenue just from creating content.
Jon Dykstra makes as much as $40,000/month from display ads just by publishing informational content. He even explicitly said in the interview that he doesn’t build links to his niche websites, which makes it even more incredible.
There are probably others like Jon who’s making bank just by focusing on content creation optimized for KGR keywords.
But it all depends on different factors at play here. If you’re in a competitive niche, content alone won’t cut it. You will need to build some high-quality backlinks in order to improve your rankings on SERPs.
Keyword Golden Ratio won’t magically make your site rank on top of search results. Nonetheless, if you’re looking to generate organic traffic to your website at the soonest, KGR can help you achieve it.
By following the process shown above, you should be able to find a few KGR keywords to target for your website regardless of your niche.
At the same time, you must take a closer look at your business and see how KGR fits in your goals and strategy. There’s a slim chance that the Keyword Golden Ratio is not what your business needs, which is fine. You must decide as soon as possible so you don’t waste time dabbling in a tactic that doesn’t fit in your current approach.
Ultimately, KGR is one of the many tactics you must consider as part of your SEO strategy. Complementing it with other techniques should expedite your website growth and help your site attract more visitors and sales in a short amount of time.