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 strategythe 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 (affiliatefree 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.

That’s All!

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).

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32 Responses to “Dominating ALL Keywords in Your Niche: My Authority Site Keyword Strategy”

  1. Hi! I have a question: if your niche implies a higher competition, is it safe to aim for all keywords domination, or just concentrate on the most important keywords?
    Cristian Stan recently posted… Best Leaf Blower

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Good question – although my broad niche has very high competition, the sub-niche (slow carb diet) and related keywords are not as competitive.

    I will focus on certain keywords more than others (such as my primary keyword “slow carb diet”), however it’s important to note that a lot of my links are being built naturally (by others linking to me), so the best thing I can do (at a minimum) is set up the on-page SEO for each page to optimize for the keyword related to that page.

    [Reply]

    Cristian Stan Reply:

    Hi, Eric. Thanks for taking time to respond. This also means you had built your network carefully, if others link to you naturally :)
    Cristian Stan recently posted… Bread Machine Reviews

    [Reply]

  2. Your plan is cool. Its great to hope for the best and expect the worse.

    You’re on the right track. I like your authority site. Nice thesis theme, great background and overall beautiful site.

    Sheyi
    Sheyi | ivblogger.com recently posted… How Alexis Grant Became Successful Online: The Interview

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks a lot Sheyi, I appreciate it!

    [Reply]

    Sheyi | ivblogger.com Reply:

    Wish I could lay my hands on the design you used on your blog. Trying to get some guys on fiverr for it but they cant.

    Still trying to put my authority site in shape before I write about it.

    Hope you have an exit strategy in mind for the sitE?

    Sheyi
    Sheyi | ivblogger.com recently posted… How Alexis Grant Became Successful Online: The Interview

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    The design I used is a Thesis skin purchased from Kolakube.com. I was going to have one custom made, but it’s far more cost-effective to buy a skin and make minor customizations myself.

    No exit strategy in mind yet – just going to keep building content, increasing traffic, and eventually create my own product.

  3. Hey Eric,

    I too have thought a lot about this but I’m curious as to your strategy for the types of articles you would write.

    Looking at the keywords in your two screenshots, some of them are quite similar (as they are for my main keyword), so how would you go about writing content for each of the keywords that is diverse enough from the other content, even when the keywords are so similar?

    This is what’s stopping me targeting the other high end keywords in my niche because a lot of them are effectively the same thing said differently.
    Dan recently posted… It’s the little things

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Good question, Dan, I see what you’re saying. In situations where there are two extremely similar keywords, I may pick the one that has the best traffic given the competition, but it really depends. Also, there’s no reason you can target two very similar keywords with one article.

    The screenshot I posted may be a bad example, because as you said, there really aren’t a ton of articles I could write based on those. Ideally, my main page (at http://www.slowcarbdietexperiments.com) will eventually rank for most of these, based on the anchor text from various backlinks.

    I’m taking backlink building VERY slowly for now, relying mostly on natural links. It’s going to be a slow and gradual process, but I think it’s better than trying to rush it and risk having your site penalized.

    [Reply]

  4. I don¡t think your plan is overly aggressive at all, I think it’s a great idea that you’re taking time to see what works etc, you’ve thought of a good strategy and are finding ways that work for you and bring in more traffic…..signs of a dedicated blogger to me!!

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Segundo!

    [Reply]

  5. Don’t forget you can use tags on the blog posts if you happen to run a blog as a part of an authority site. I’ve heard that can help with SEO of a site. But way to go on the key words that you have going for you!

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the tip Mike!

    [Reply]

  6. I like your approach here – while you shouldn’t be link building and going all out over one keyword, you should target a bunch of long tail keywords and have the links roll in naturally.

    Thomas
    Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon recently posted… How To Discover The Most Profitable Price For Your App

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    My thoughts exactly – thanks Thomas!

    [Reply]

  7. I think your plan would definitely work, just keep doing what you do. I think interlinking your other post with your new post will help boost your rankings.
    Arwin Adriano recently posted… 7 Event Planning Mistakes to Avoid

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Good point, Arwin. Interlinking between posts is definitely a key part of on-site SEO, something I’m also going to be doing.

    [Reply]

  8. Hey Eric, great update!

    I’m not too experienced in the area (I’ve never started a successful website yet) but I think you’re on the right track.

    I did a little experiment with Squidoo, using a long-tail crafted page title and affiliate product, just to see if it could work. I now get about 1,000 uniques/month to that one page, and am making decent per month money from it. No link-building with anchor text got me there, it’s just all natural from the carefully crafted title and getting linked to naturally.

    From that, it seems like treating certain pages like their own little sites can really pan out. I’m going to put a post up about it soon.

    Keep up the great work!
    Andy recently posted… Using a Rafflecopter Giveaway to Jumpstart a New Website

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Andy, that’s awesome to see one Squidoo page doing so well. I look forward to reading more about it (if you decide to share more about your strategy).

    [Reply]

  9. I am trying to build an authority site too, but I am not bothering with keyword research at all. I am just planning to have a very large amount of articles and then just get keyword search traffic from the long tail keywords and phrases. Although I might change my tactics slightly after reading this article.
    Andy@get money recently posted… Is Affiliate Marketing Just Like Playing Poker?

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Sounds like a plan, Andy. While you can get by without doing keyword research to name your authority site and domain, I still think keyword research is a very valuable part of crafting content in such a way that it’s positioned to get the most search engine exposure.

    [Reply]

  10. Long tail keywords give a much higher conversion rate than generics. I believe that generic keywords and long tails are just as important as each other as the long tails have less searches but higher conversions whilst the generics have higher search volumes with a lower conversion rate, however, it’s all business.
    Becca@Carpet Cleaning in Perth recently posted… Carpet Steam Cleaning Woodvale

    [Reply]

  11. If I understand this right, is it safe to say building a successful authority site is much more challenging than building a successful niche site? Sorry if you’ve covered this before.

    [Reply]

  12. Eric – A great strategy for sure and one I am doing as well for my authority site.

    I did this before and made a big mistake! I became to focused on all the phrase match keywords so my articles looked like this…

    best keyword
    top keyword
    keyword review
    keyword exercises
    keyword recovery time
    keyword workout

    And then I ended up taking a hit from Google for over optimization for the keyword.

    Great strategy but be cautious of over optimization.

    Great update!

    Jon
    Jon @ Authority Website Income recently posted… Month 1 Update – Cost To Start an Authority Website

    [Reply]

  13. I am still gaining expertise in this area so this was a good post for me to read. Most of my keywords were purely by accident and luckily they have worked for me. Eric, I admire how well you plan out your strategy. I’ll be checking back on your progress! Suzanne
    Suzanne recently posted… A Financial Advisor Business Plan Template You’ll Want to Use

    [Reply]

  14. Nice writeup. Plus as a consumer of a slow-carb diet and cauliflower rice, I say huzzah!
    Mike recently posted… The LTNE Report — September 2012

    [Reply]

  15. Hey Eric,
    I can’t believe that you’re ranking at #2 for one of your 4 word phrases! You’re already killing it!

    That’s awesome news!

    I haven’t started tracking my rankings for my authority site but I’ve been seeing an increase in traffic, so I must be doing something right!

    Looking forward to dueling with you!
    Mike
    Mike@EarningForever recently posted… How I Plan To Monetize My Authority Site

    [Reply]

  16. Hi Eric,
    Great post!
    Just wanted to let you know the images on your slow carb diet blog don’t seem to display properly on safari browser.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the heads up, Josh – I’ll look into it.

    [Reply]

  17. Sup Eric,

    informative post….am currently building an authority site while trying as much to learn about seo and how to get the best out of my keywords

    thanks a mil

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    No problem, thanks for the comment Joel!

    [Reply]

  18. I just started an authority site myself 5 days ago (in a foreign language) and woke up to a ranking of #13 in Google for my main keyword. I can’t wait to start going after some secondary keywords.

    [Reply]

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