SEO Secret #4: Advanced Keyword Research Case Study

Last Updated: September, 2019 (Please don't share).

In this secret I’m going to share one of the best keyword research tactics I know of that you probably aren’t using.

For the longest time I didn’t use it either, until it literally made me fall in love with a brand I wasn’t previously aware of.

This strategy made me so thankful for a single business that I had to reach out to them to ask whether they were using it consciously or not.

They are. And it’s bringing them paying customers.

I’ll reveal exactly what they are doing and how in this update.

There’s also an advanced bonus that has to come with a legal disclaimer. Even if you aren’t interested in using it yourself, I think you’ll learn a lot just based on the theory behind it.

Falling in Love with a 7-Figure Business (Their Stats Revealed)

Over the last few months I’ve been very focused on speeding up my various websites.

Not only is page speed a partial Google ranking factor, it also makes for a better user experience. Nobody ever wished a website loaded slower.

There are various tools that help with testing how fast a website is but the one I use most often is by Pingdom.

You enter the URL of the site you wish to analyse and in return you get results which look a little like this.

Pingdom is fast, free, and lets you quickly see which parts of your website are causing it to slow down. You can also test the speed of your website from different locations.

My only grudge with them is that they’re really not clear about how to fix some of the errors they throw at you.

They tell you what the problem is, but not what to do about it.

Here’s an example:

I consider myself to be pretty tech savvy, and I understand the warning they are giving about my site, but I didn’t know how to fix it.

Their link to Google Developers wasn’t the most useful either.

Like us humans instinctively tend to do when we have a problem we want to solve, I headed to Google and searched for answers.

The first result I found was from a company called Kinsta – who I had never heard of before – who explained exactly what the issue was and various options on how to fix it.

Their guide was short and straight to the point. Exactly what I was looking for.

As I continued on my fix-my-site-speed-binge I ran more of my sites through Pingdom and found different corresponding errors each time.

And each time I would head to Google, search for the error and Kinsta would be there to save the day.

They were so useful and helpful that I started only looking for their name in search results, and later browsed around their website to see what this company who had helped me so much actually sell.

(It turns out they’re a 7-figure hosting company focused on making WordPress websites fast).

The only reason I didn’t sign-up for their services is because I have my own dedicated server which runs this website and I don’t only use WordPress.

That said, being the marketer that I am, I had to reach out to Kinsta to see how well this is working for them.

Was their “error message marketing” bringing more raving new fans to their business just like me?

Here’s what their CFO, Tom, had to exclusively share with you all:

So we pulled a bunch of our “error” blog posts and KBs and got the traffic for the last 12 months. While we can not share exact conversion metrics what I can say is that yes these posts convert visitors into customers, newsletter subscribers or push notification subscribers (however this number is pretty low).

That said, these posts drive constant traffic and they are great to increase brand awareness and to show visitors that you are an expert in your industry. The key is to go the extra mile and cover all aspects of these errors and provide a step by step solution for the users.

Tom was even kind enough to reveal exactly how many visitors they get each day thanks to pages on Pingdom error messages.

Here are the to a single article in 2018:

That’s over 50 visitors every single day who are solving the same problem each day thanks to a brand they probably haven’t heard of before.

Tom went as far as showing the search traffic to all of their ‘problem’ pages combined:

How do you think the perception of your brand would change if you were solving frustrating problems for 500 people a day, every day?

Something to keep in mind is that not only are they helping people, but they’re reaching the exact kind of people who are going to be interested in their product.

This is key, and what I really want to drive home in this update.

Who are the people who are heading to Google looking to improve their site speed?

People who want fast websites.

What do Kinsta offer?

The fastest WordPress hosting that exists.

They aren’t bringing in hundreds of thousands of visitors with this method, but they’re bringing in the right visitors that sign up to their product and join the newsletter.

You can do the exact same, and it might not even be a side angle for you…

Entire Businesses Are Built on Ranking for Error Messages

It’s not just Kinsta who have success with ranking for specific problem search queries of course.

Entire websites are built around solving error codes for software, consoles and anything technical.

One good example of this is Appuals, who are pulling in a few million visitors from Google each month.

Almost every top query they are ranking for is some kind of Windows error message that people are trying to understand and solve.

The primary reason I love this type of search traffic is because you can build quick trust and rapport with someone find your exact target customer in the type of problems people are searching for.

Because the terms are so specific you can find a ton of queries with little to no competition and start to steal marketshare from under the nose of your competitors.

I’ve started doing this on a very small scale but it’s already paying off for me so plan to ramp it up on various websites over the coming few months.

Let’s dive in to a few ways you can use this in your own business…

How to Benefit from Error Message Marketing: The Keyword Research Tactic You Should Be Using

I don’t expect the phrase “error message marketing” to catch on but I’ve been planning this article for months and it seems to be the most memorable way of putting it.

You might not instantly see how this can apply to your business or in your niche, so let’s get into some real world examples.

Angle #1: Solve Your Own Problems

I use Zapier to automate a number of things to do with my various email lists.

They help me make sure the right people get the right emails from me, and it’s probably partially responsible for you reading this article right now.

Now and then however Zapier likes to throw out errors they do a terrible job of explaining.

Here’s an example of one of those errors which happened a few days ago:

Their own explanation of this error is basically “Yep, we have this issue now and then. Sorry about that.” without really saying why it’s happening or if there’s anything I can do to prevent it.

I’ve headed to Google and searched for explanations to “Zapier 401 error” but nothing exists besides their own disappointing documentation.

If you’re looking to reach paid marketers and people with email lists, ranking for Zapier errors and helping people solve them could be one of the smartest things you ever do.

Similarly, when I was recording the video for Secret #3 where I was showing you around tools like ScreamingFrog, I kept getting an error message pop-up in Screenflow, the software I use to record my screen.

The solution is a little embarrassing, but surprisingly no guides actually recommended this: I just restarted my Mac, and all was well.

Speaking of ScreamingFrog, even though I’ve used the tool for years, I still find myself searching for the meaning of various status codes or ways to do things with their tool that other websites actually solve for me.

Their official documentation is great, but most answers are on the same page, so other companies tend to outrank them.

When I eventually figure these things out – often on guides that have nothing to do with ScreamingFrog – I know I can help someone else with the solution.

What are the software and tools you use in relation to your niche?

What (if ever) do you find yourself searching for to figure out?

Try to stop yourself in the act of ever doing so – even if you’re just looking up formulas for Excel – as with 7 billion people on the planet, you’re probably not the only one with the problem.

Could you write up the solution for other people to learn from and start ranking for the various queries you would have searched for?

You won’t get tons of traffic, sure, but it will be incredibly targeted.

Angle #2: Find the Problems Your Competitors Already Rank For

A large part of my days is spent reverse-engineering the results of others and there’s no reason you can’t do the same with this tactic.

Your competitors, especially those with a lot of content, probably already rank for the various error messages that tools and software in your space throw out.

Using Ahrefs in this example (you can do the same with SEMRush or Moz), we can see that Moz get traffic for people experiening issues with Google Webmaster Tools.

People who use Webmaster tools are likely the same people who would love what I’m writing about here at Detailed so it’s the kind of thing that I should be looking to rank for.

Another example comes from Coindesk.

The only people searching for things like ‘coinbase error’ are, you guessed it, people who have cryptocurrency and use Coinbase.

If you can solve peoples pain points right in the middle of their issue you can instantly build trust and direct someone athrough your own marketing or product funnels.

If you don’t have the budget for tools like Ahrefs or SEMRush, you could just go to Google and enter a search query like this:

And here’s an example of a great angle you could also model with your own content:

Some of the people who are looking to solve this particular issue will just want a quick fix, I admit. But some of them will definitely be open to getting financial advice going forward, which is exactly what NerdWallet offer.

If you have an issue with an IRA form and a site quickly helps you with that, you’ll have a great deal of appreciation for that brand.

The other beauty of this being that the competition for ranking about excess IRA contributions is going to be far less than any obvious search terms in the financial space.

Angle #3: Download Every Popular Tool In Your Industry and Get Frustrated

Maybe you don’t currently use any software or tools in your space so if that’s the case, see this as an opportunity to start thinking outside of the box.

If you’re targeting webmasters, what kind of tools and software are they likely to regularly encounter?

Email autoresponders. cPanel. Google Analytics. Facebook Ads.

If you’re marketing to realtors, what kind of tools will they use?

CRMs. Virtual tour software. Real estate website builders. Specific image enhancement software for their property images (these are actually pretty popular).

If you take some time with this, you can probably find software or tools that link to any target audience.

Women planning a wedding use event planning software.

Accountants use Quickbooks.

People invested in cryptocurrency use data mining and data backup software.

If you need some more inspiration, Capterra has a list of software reviews in over 600 categories to help get your brain juices flowing.

If you need some inspiration on how this can apply to your niche, Capterra will likely help

I will admit that in some industries, you might have to stretch things a little bit.

For example, I was trying to think of a site that helps people going through a breakup. What kind of tool or software would people in that situation use?

At a stretch, I could see people using Myers-Briggs personality tests or motivation apps (maybe they’re doubting their own worth) and then looking for help interpreting the results they get.

Could you rank for the answers some of the most popular tools give back and then help people understand the results?

Not everyone who lands on your site will be going through a breakup of course, but even a small percentage can be worth it. Especially with how easy it will be to rank.

Again, that’s a bit of a stretch. In 99% of niches I can think of, there are obvious examples of popular software people use and will need help with.

Finally, depending on your situation, you might be thinking…

“But I run a big brand. It doesn’t make sense to blog about these kind of things…”.

You don’t have to blog about them. You can just have pages somewhere on your website that cover them.

Add them to your sitemap and bury them deep for normal users if you like.

I ‘bury’ pages all the time as these kind of pages aren’t a priority for people to land on. I primarily want search engines to find (and rank) them.

Search volume will likely be low, I’ll admit, but it will also be very easy to rank, and the traffic you’ll get will be incredibly targeted.

If I rank for terms which help people understand error messages in ScreamingFrog for example, I am literally reaching the exact perfect audience I would want to join the Detailed newsletter.

As I aim to always over-deliver, we’re not done just yet.

Let’s take things up a notch…

Bonus: Extremely High-Level, But Extremely Insightful Tactic

What I’m about to share is simple in theory, but fairly advanced to implement.

I did not personally have the skills to do this alone, so if you are not a programmer, you likely don’t either.

(For free, I have included a script you can use to achieve what I’m about to tell you. It’s exclusive to Detailed newsletter subscribers as a thank you for following me).

If you’re new to SEO, don’t worry if this goes over your head or you don’t quite get what I’m about to say. You can always ask in our Facebook group, or just learn the ‘theory’ side of things rather than how to actually implement it.

When I started putting together this newsletter, I wanted to cover things that no other SEO blog will cover, and this tactic is one of those things.

The idea behind what I’m about to share is based on a simple theory: If lots of pages ranking for a particular keyphrase were published or updated recently then you likely have a much better chance of ranking than you would for more ‘static’ search results.

Here’s an example of a search results page I like to see:

Due to the date assigned to some of the top ranking queries, I’m more optimistic that I could rank as well

If Google are constantly rewarding and promoting fresh content, then you probably stand a better chance of ranking with fresh content as well and likely don’t need many other signals (such as links) to rank.

The problem is finding such queries.

I am not going to cover basic keyword research in this update but if you want to benefit from this idea you’ll need a list of dozens or hundreds of keywords related to your niche.

Ignore their keyword difficulty rating on whatever tool you use, but do make sure they’re relevant.

Avoid any one or two word queries. The phrases should include at least three words so their intent is clear.

For this you can use the Google Keyword Planner, Chrome extensions like Keywords Everywhere or paid solutions from the likes of Ahrefs or SEMRush.

What you can then do is manually check every single keyword to see if a lot of results are from a recent timeframe. If they are, that’s typically a great signal to me that a search term is worth going for.

There are of course other things you might need to consider (are only huge brands ranking? Do the top pages have a ton of links?) but to keep things simple, freshness is pretty important to me.

Doing things manually of course is slow and time consuming.

However, you can automate the process, as shown below:

At a quick glance I can easily see whether the search results for certain search queries are ‘fresh’ or not.

With the script I am going to provide for you, you can literally do this for hundreds of keywords at once.

First, the fun stuff…

Legal Disclaimer

Though Google are undoubtedly the biggest scraper on the entire internet – you have to opt-out of them crawling your site, rather than opt-in, after all – it does go against their Terms of Service to to crawl their search results.

What I’m about to give you is extremely small scale in the sense that even if you use it for thousands of terms, you will be operating on 0.000001% of the level of any rank tracking providers who do the same thing.

Companies literally sell and profit from the data they scrape from Google. You will not be doing anything remotely similar, so while you should be perfectly safe, I do need to include a disclaimer.

I Glen Allsopp, and my company, Marketing Inc, can not be responsible for how you use this tool.

We have made every effort to allow you to use it as safely and ethically as possible, but as certain settings are easy to change, I can’t control how you’ll use it.

By default the tool will check one search result every one to two minutes. That’s far less than even a human user in many circumstances.

By downloading this ZIP file you agree you are using this script at your own risk.

It is designed to be uploaded to any Linux server (the standard for any shared web host like Hostgator, Namecheap, Bluehost, etc) and ran by going to the specific folder URL in your browser.

Please ensure you look at the README file for instructions on modifying the script to your own needs.

As I said, your usage will likely be tiny in comparison to people who scrape search results all day every day and profit from their data – of which there are literally hundreds of companies – but I do need to include this warning.

The End Result

The end result of using this tool (ZIP file link above if you missed it) is that you can quickly check dozens or even hundreds of terms to find search results which tend to show fresh results.

The idea being that these queries are likely to be easier to rank for. At least that’s certainly my own experience, and why Detailed is picking up so much search traffic despite having less than 20 pages of content available to the public.

This GIF gives a nicer review of the end result, which you can have in just a few minutes:

You could do the same thing manually, so hopefully the theory is still useful for those who don’t wish to use the tool, but you typically want to check a lot of search results to find the terms really worth targeting.

Finally, my programmer Roberto kindly dedicated his time to help with this script. If you need any assistance when it comes to creating any kind of online tool, he is incredible at what he does and very reasonably priced.

Roberto literally single handedly created our link index, so he has the skills to do pretty much anything you like.

His email address is: roberto_ramosmx@hotmail.com (Note: I will be removing this if he receives too many requests as I do need him as well, haha).

I do not get any kind of kickback for anyone deciding to use his services. I am simply focused on the re-opening of my agency training program (personal Facebook update here) so do not have any free time to map out new tools at the moment.

I really hope you enjoyed this update, and I just wanted to thank you again for following me here with SEO Secrets.

Update: Someone had an issue using the script on their server, so there are two things I wanted to point out.

First of all, you need to go to the direct URL of the folder. As the folder is named ‘GoogleDatesClean’ you must use the same capitalisation when you go to that URL in your browser.

Similarly, some hosts may change permissions when uploading the file. Make sure file permissions are set to be 0755.

If you really want to try this out without uploading anything to a server, hit reply on the email that brought you here (so I know you’re actually a newsletter subscriber) and I can send you my own version.

Update #2: We’ve actually had someone make quite a bit of money from this now.

I’m really proud of that!

P.S. Did you know about my program, SEOBlueprint.com? I’m pretty proud of that as well 😉

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