Keyword Research For SEO (And Ranking New Websites Without Backlinks)

Is it actually possible to get traffic to a brand new website by simply choosing your keywords the right way?

In this article, I’m going to show you how I get anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 pageviews a day from free organic Google SEO traffic to a new website that has no authority or links pointing to it.

This is from a website I started in July 2019, and I’ve been able to grow this website over the past 12 months to get thousands of page views per day.

We’re currently getting anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 pageviews every single day.

Overall we’ve had over 350,000 page views to this blog, all these from organic rankings in Google.

I have not paid for any of this traffic and it’s only going to continue growing.

I have not built any backlinks to this blog. This is all by being very specific about how I carry out keyword research for my SEO tactics.

So in this article, I’m going to show you this exact strategy and how you can do the same thing for your website.

Okay, so a couple of basic concepts that I would like to get out of the way, in case you’re new to the online marketing world or to the SEO world.

Domain Authority

The first concept we need to understand is that of domain strength or authority.

Each website when it starts out on the internet has got a certain strength, associated with it. Generally, websites that have been around for a long time have stronger domain authority. And new sites are generally considered to be “weak”.

The way that this is calculated, is largely influenced by how many other websites are linking to these particular domains, so each link counts like a vote.

If you think of a website like Wikipedia, it has millions of links from over the internet pointing to it. And that’s why, in Google’s eyes Wikipedia is a very strong domain.

As an example, here are the stats for seomarketing.co.nz, which is this website.

And as you can see I’ve got 71 backlinks from 17 different websites that are linking to this domain. The site has been around for a few years now. The Domain Rating (DR) as measured by Ahrefs is only 4.5, which is very low. I have not focused on this website at all during the last few years because I have prioritised other projects.

Let’s compare it to the link profile of nzherald.co.nz. Their DR is 88 and they have 16.3M (yes, Millions) backlinks coming from 96.3K websites.

This means that NZHerald has a lot of authority according to Google. Therefore, it will have a much easier time ranking than this website.

Okay so, these are two extreme examples.

However, as you will see here, having a weaker website does not mean that you can’t get traffic.

You can actually get really good traffic even if your website is brand new, and I’m going to show you how in this article.

The next thing next basic idea that we need to get out of the way is content depth.

Content Depth

It’s important to understand that content depth is almost as important as domain strength.

Google actually loves long-form content. So long content on a weak site can outrank a short article on a strong website.

I’m going to show you an example in just a second. But basically, if you have a new website you must write long authoritative content.

You can often outrank Wikipedia, Pinterest, Quora, YouTube, and many other very strong websites if your content is better.

In the example below, we can see a brand new site with zero backlinks pointing to it, that is starting to generate 20 clicks a day:

brand new site

One of the top rankings that we achieved with this site is based on a product review keyword.

Review keywords bring very targeted prospects who are evaluating whether or not to buy a specific product.

These are the best keywords to rank for to generate online sales.

rank top 10 for a product review

A carefully selected keyword, and carefully crafted content. That’s all it took.

How To Find Keywords

So let’s get into the details of exactly how to do this.

When it comes to selecting keywords, most people type in the main keyword in their niche, and expect to come up with a good keyword. This approach is never going to work.

You need to dance around a little before you find something unique, non-competitive, commercial, and high traffic.

I will show you two different approaches to do this.

1 – Spy On Your Competition

Find a website in your niche.

Pick a website that looks like it has been built by one single blogger or a small team.

Don’t pick a massive authority site because the whole point of this exercise is to find low competition opportunities.

For example, if we were trying to expand our traffic in the mindfulness/meditation niche, we would study this competitor (amongst others) and discover keywords that are sending them traffic, and that are low competition.

If you see the image below, you can see some very easy opportunities for traffic:

competition keywords

*Volume stands for monthly search volume and KD strands for “Keyword Difficulty”. Generally, we feel confident targeting keywords with a KD of 7 or lower in brand new websites with no authority.

The full process is as follows:

  1. Search for the main keywords in your niche.
  2. Note down the websites that show up consistently.
  3. Eliminate massive authority websites from your list. Keep the ones that are built by a single webmaster or a small team.
  4. Run the website through Site Explorer in Ahrefs.
  5. Find the keywords that are driving traffic and identify opportunities (we’ll look at how to identify opportunities later on this article.)

2 – Look For Lists

The next tactic is to look for lists in your niche.

Depending on your industry or maket, you are going to have to use some creativity to make this work. I am going to use the mindfulness/meditation niche as an example here.

Here are some ideas of lists I could be searching for:

  • list of mindfulness apps
  • list of mindfulness coaches
  • list of mindfulness techniques
  • list of mindfulness of retreats
  • list of mindfulness certifications

By searching for a “list of mindfulness retreats” I came up with the following:

  • ananda himalayas
  • rolling meadows meditation
  • shambhala mountain center
  • spirit rock meditation center

Next, I am going to enter this on Ahrefs and discover keywords related to these terms:

keywords from lists

Already, I can spot some very nice opportunities of keywords with high traffic and low competition.

Don’t just do this with a small list. I am using one small list as an example here. For a real project we would build dozens of long lists. The more data you analyse, the more chances you have of finding great keywords to write content for.

So let’s talk now about how to analyse this data and find golden opportunities.

How To Select Keywords

Generally speaking, what we are trying to do here is to find keywords that are going to bring in relevant traffic, and that is going to be easy to rank.

Specifically, this is the criteria that I use to select keywords that my team is going to create content for:

  • At least 300 monthly searches (unless it’s a highly commercial keyword in which case we’ll also be happy with very low search volume)
  • Low Keyword Difficulty (we like everything under a 7)
  • When analysing the search results, we want to see at least 2 websites ranking with poor content.
  • When analysing the search results, we want to see at least 2 websites ranking with low Domain Rating (under 25.) There is an exception to this rule, I’ll explain below.

So let’s see if any of these keywords we found in the example above fit these criteria.

Looking at the data, I can see two very good opportunities:

shambhala mountain center has a search volume of 5.5K and a Keyword Difficulty of 4.

This is pretty good.

All the websites ranking for this keyword are from highly authoritative sources, BUT… their content is pretty poor. I know that I can publish much better content than the ranking websites.

spirit rock meditation center is a similar scenario. It has 3.5K search volume and a Keyword Difficulty of 6. The websites ranking are also super authoritative BUT… they only rank out of their authority and their content is pretty thin and superficial.

So I feel quite confident that I can show up somehwere in the top 10 for both of these keywords if I publish two great pieces of content.

How To Get Traffic On New Websites Without Building Backlinks

This is the process we follow to build up new websites and get them to a point where they are receiving between 2,000 and 4,000 pageviews a day.

The nature of your market is going to heavily influence how you gather data and the type of keywords and content that you will produce.

If you are into eCommerce, try building lists of brands and manufacturers.

If you are in travel, build lists of places and destinations.

If you are a consultant, build lists of tools and tactics that people need in your industry.

Whatever your market is, there is a whole world of topics that you could be publishing content about. Don’t just think that you have to rank for the main keyword in your niche.

In fact, you will find the great majority of your users seldom search for that. Most prospects will be engaged in different specific searches at different times and the more points of contact you have with them, the more visibility you are going to have with your audience.