- author: Robbie Richards
The Five-Step Process for Qualifying Keyword Opportunities
As digital marketers, it’s essential to identify the right keywords to target for our businesses. But with so many keyword opportunities available, how do we ensure we're focusing on the most viable options? In this article, we will discuss the five-step process to quickly and accurately qualify keyword opportunities.
Step 1: Traffic Potential
The first factor to consider is traffic potential. You want to identify keywords that are likely to drive traffic to your website. Traffic thresholds will vary depending on your business type and the intent of the keyword. Higher intent keywords will often have lower traffic thresholds, while lower intent keywords may require higher traffic thresholds.
Step 2: Content Type and Format
The most critical factor in identifying the right keyword is content type and format. No matter how great your content is, if you're targeting a keyword with the wrong content type and format, you're unlikely to rank. Listicles and blog posts are generally excellent content types to target.
Step 3: Domain and Page Rating Metrics
When assessing domain and page rating metrics, you want to see domains within a five-point domain rating range of your domain ranking in the top five positions, and page ratings of URLs in the top five positions that are in single digits or low teens.
Step 4: Referring Domain Counts
Additionally, you need to look at referring domain counts. Once you identify keywords that have domains similar to yours ranking in the top five to ten positions, you also want to make sure they have single-digit or low teen referring domain counts to rank.
Step 5: Parent Keyword
Finally, you need to examine the parent keyword. Several keyword research tools will give you the parent keyword, which you need to align with the targeted keyword. It's extra validation that you'll need a dedicated article to rank for that keyword.
Now that we know the five-step process, let's see how it works in practice. We will use Ahrefs for the working examples.
Example 1: Beard Brand
Let's assume we're working for Beard Brand, a company that sells different beard products, including beard oils. To target a keyword like "best smelling beard oils," we enter the keyword into the Ahrefs keyword explorer and scroll down to the SERP overview report.
- Traffic Potential: We check if the URLs ranking for the keyword are bringing in traffic. If they are, we can bring targeted traffic to our website.
- Content Type and Format: We find that listicles and blog posts work best for this keyword.
- Domain and Page Rating Metrics: We see that several results ranking on page one have much lower domain rating scores than Beard Brand, indicating an opportunity to rank for the keyword.
- Referring Domain Counts: We note that the URLs ranking for the keyword have zero or low referral domain counts.
- Parent Keyword: We validate that the primary keyword is "best smelling beard oils," which is the same as our keyword target.
Given these criteria, we can realistically rank for this keyword within the next 60 to 90 days.
Example 2: Vireo
Suppose we work for Vireo, an SEO agency that offers SEO services to B2B SaaS companies, and we want to rank for the keyword "SAS SEO agency."
- Traffic Potential: As this is a more targeted and high-intent keyword, we can have a slightly lower traffic threshold.
- Content Type and Format: Service pages are ranking well, so that would be the best content type to target.
- Domain and Page Rating Metrics: We see that several results have DR scores that are within plus or minus five of Vireo's DR, indicating an opportunity to rank for the keyword.
- Referring Domain Counts: All URLs ranking for the keyword have relatively low referring domain counts, which is an excellent sign for Vireo.
- Parent Keyword: We validate that the primary keyword is "SAS SEO agency," which is the same as our keyword target.
With a long-form service page and quality referring domains, Vireo has a strong chance of ranking for this keyword within the next few months.
Example 3: Personal Blog
Finally, let's assume we want to rank for the highly competitive keyword "SEO tools" on our personal blog.
- Traffic Potential: URLs ranking for the keyword have substantial traffic, but the competition is fierce.
- Content Type and Format: A listicle format for a blog post would work well for this keyword.
- Domain and Page Rating Metrics: We see that all sites ranking for the keyword are authoritative domains with domain ratings in the 90s.
- Referring Domain Counts: All URLs have a large number of referring domains.
- Parent Keyword: The primary keyword is "SEO tools."
Given the high domain authority and massive backlink requirements, this is a challenging keyword to rank. It might be best to target lower hanging fruit opportunities instead.
Qualifying keyword opportunities is essential to ensure you're targeting the right keywords for your business. Using the five-step process outlined in this article, you'll be able to identify the most realistic and viable keyword targets.