Dominating ALL Keywords in Your Niche: My Authority Site Keyword Strategy
Many of us are familiar with the niche site keyword research process, and if you’re not, I’ve written about it in some detail before.
You know the drill: Find a keyword, research its competition, find a related domain name (exactly matching the keyword if possible), and hope that your SEO efforts allow you to rank highly for that keyword. It’s not an exact science, but the process is fairly standard.
For authority sites, it can be a bit different. Although you might begin targeting one keyword, your ultimate goal is to dominate many keywords. This is complicated by the fact that SEO and keyword research may not be your primary focus as it would be for a micro-niche site.
Today I’m going to share with you my keyword research strategy, the exact keywords I’m targeting, and how my authority site currently ranks for those keywords.
Is it Important to Target Keywords for Authority Sites?
This is something I’ve read about on some of the other sites in the authority site duel. As someone who still often finds himself caught up in the niche site mindset, it’s hard to get away from the very SEO and keyword-centric approach that is so important to smaller niche sites.
I think when it comes to authority sites, it’s important to understand that target keywords are important, but they lead to a smaller piece of the “traffic pie.” Instead of organic traffic from Google representing nearly 100% of your traffic, as it might with a niche site, perhaps it’s only 30-50% for an authority site.
There are a lot of other traffic sources in play with an authority site, including (but not limited to): social media sites, referral traffic from other sites that link to you, and repeat visitors who visit regularly or subscribe to your site’s RSS feed.
The bottom line is, even if it’s only 30% of your traffic, organic traffic from various keywords is still extremely significant and should not be overlooked.
My Approach to Authority Site Keyword Research
It’s tempting to pick a juicy primary keyword and let everything else fall into place (and in some cases, this works), but I believe that for your authority site’s SEO strategy, you should be actively targeting many keywords.
This doesn’t mean your main page needs to rank for all the keywords. A true authority site is a resource with many valuable pages. I would say, you should almost think of each post or page as it’s own mini-niche site. In other words, you should be doing the following for most (maybe not all) posts and pages:
- Setting the <title> tag to correspond with a keyword or keywords you are targeting
- Creating a meta description (the little description that displays in search engine results) to go along with the SEO’d <title> tag
- Light to medium link building
There is more you can do, but these three steps will put you in a great position. And I’ll point out, once again, that it isn’t necessary to do this for all posts and pages, as you may have some where there is no value in getting the page ranked.
For the <title> tag and meta description, all you need is the WordPress SEO plugin from Yoast (it’s free and effective).
I will cover link building in more depth in a later post, but for your inner pages, the least you can do is build social media links (such as Pinterest pins or links on other more traditional social bookmarking sites). These are weak links, but they will still help the inner pages that target keywords with very weak competition. Again, I’ll share other (more effective) strategies in a later post.
My Plan: Dominate ALL Keywords in My Sub-Niche
In general, my slow carb diet blog is in the slow carb diet sub-niche (part of the larger “low carb” niche and even larger “diet” and “food” niches). My goal is to eventually rank on page 1 for virtually all keywords that relate to the slow carb diet. This is an ambitious goal, but I believe it’s doable.
As you might guess, my “primary” keyword is “slow carb diet”, but I expect to rank somewhat naturally for this keyword over time (given my site’s URL and other on-page SEO factors).
Here’s a snapshot from Google’s keyword research tool of some slow carb diet keywords I will be targeting eventually:
Keep in mind, these are just some of many keywords my site will rank for, as there will be literally hundreds or thousands of long tail keywords that have nothing to do with the words “slow carb”.
Current Ranking Progress
Given the fact that my site is still relatively new, I’m happy with how I currently rank for several target keywords. I currently use Market Samurai (affiliate, free trial link) to track my keywords, and I’m pretty happy with it.
As a side note about Market Samurai, they’ve changed the way they allow you to track keywords. Instead of having a slow-moving rank tracker that they used to have (which often stopped working after retrieving ranks for more than a few keywords), they have a more robust setup that automatically retrieves your ranks once per week.
Once the ranks have been updated, they send you an e-mail. They allow you to track 50 keywords for free (with the purchase of the software), and additional keywords for a fee.
Here are my current rankings for various keywords:
Every month or two (depending on progress), I will post my updated ranks for these and other keywords that I plan on tracking.
Although keywords aren’t everything for your authority site, they clearly shouldn’t be overlooked. Part of being an authority is about being able to be found. In my case, I want my site to pop up anytime someone looks for something related to the slow carb diet.
Do you think my plan is overly aggressive, or do you think there’s more I should be doing? I’d love to see your feedback in the comments (and feel free to share what’s currently working for you).