Not happy with your blog's organic traffic?
Don't fret. In this tutorial, I will show you exactly how you can attract massive organic traffic from Google using a competitor research tool like Ahrefs.
Here's what we are going to do:
- Identify your competitors.
- Identity top ranking pages on your competitor's site using Ahrefs.
- Use Ahref's built-in filters to identify lucrative article ideas and keywords.
- Get backlink data and use it to device a backlink strategy for your blog.
- Write comprehensive articles and build backlinks based on the data collected.
So let's get started,
Step 1: Identify Your Competitors
The first step is to identify your competitors. In other words, websites/blogs that are related in content to yours.
You can easily do this by performing a few organic searches using your core keywords.
For example, let's say your blog is about 'building muscle naturally'. To identify your competitors, do a search in Google using this core keyword and make a list of about 10 to 15 sites.
For the sake of this tutorial, a few good sites I identified are as follows:
You can also use Google's 'related' site command or use Ahref's 'Competing Domains' to identify more competitors. But I prefer doing this using the simpler method as discussed above.
Tip #1: Use High Authority Sites and Forums: Note that out of the sites I have listed, Bodybuilding.com is a high authority site. This site also contains a forum. You can mine a whole lot of long tail keyword ideas from forums that have a lower keyword difficulty and hence are easy to rank for. So if your niche has an authority forum/community, make sure to use that for competitor analysis.
Tip #2: Use information portals and Q & A sites: You can also use information portals like Wikihow.com and Q&A sites like Quora.com to mine for keyword/article ideas.
Step 2: Identify Pages With Maximum Organic Traffic
The next step is to identity pages (on your competitor's site) that are getting the maximum organic traffic (from Google).
To do this, login to Ahrefs.com and enter your competitor's domain name in the search bar and click the search icon.
Note: For this tutorial, I am going to use 'Bodybuilding.com'.
Next click on the 'Top Pages' link in the left sidebar. This should give you the list of all top ranking pages. (refer image below)
As you can see, the Top pages query lists all pages on Bodybuilding.com that get the maximum organic traffic from Google. Since Bodybuilding.com has thousands of pages, it is not possible to scan through all these results individually. Instead, we will apply 'filters' to find lucrative article ideas.
Let's see how to apply filters:
Step 3: Use Filters to Identify Lucrative Keywords and Article Ideas
As discussed above, you can simply scan through the results if the site in question has very few pages, but for a site like Bodybuilding.com, you need to apply filters to uncover those amazing keywords.
Here are three important filters that can help you find the best keyword and article ideas:
Filter #1: Identify long tail keywords:
If your blog is fairly new, you might want to focus on long tail keywords. To check for long tail keywords, simply filter your search results using the 'words' filter.
For example, to filter results to display only keywords that have 4 words and above, Enter 4 in the From field and click Apply.
This can be especially useful if the site you are researching is a high authority site like Bodybuilding.com that attracts massive organic traffic.
As you can see from the above image, we can identify some really good keyword (and thereby article ideas) using this technique.
Filter #2: Identify keywords with lower difficulty:
Ahrefs allows you to filter results by Keyword Difficulty (KD). This can help you find keywords that are comparatively easy to rank for.
To do this, try filtering the results with a max keyword difficulty of 30 or 40 as shown in the image below:
Here are some keywords I found on Bodybuilding.com that have a lower Keyword Difficulty (below 40) and a monthly search volume above 1000:
- plant based protein powder
- chocolate protein shake recipes
- best chest exercises for mass
- lean muscle meal plan
- best protein powder for women
- German volume training
- pre workout with beta alanine
As you can see, these are some great ideas. Most importantly, most of these keywords are from forum topics on Bodybuilding.com. You have a higher change of outranking forum pages than regular article pages on an authority site like Bodybuilding.com.
Filter #3: Identify topics revolving around a keyword:
You can use the search filter to identify pages on your competitor site that rank for a specific keyword.
For example, let's find out all article pages on Bodybuilding.com that deal with the keyword 'Creatine'. This will give you the list of pages along with the keyword as shown in the image below:
Below are a few good keywords I found using this technique:
- is creatine good for you
- best pre workout without creatine
- how much creatine should i take
- pros and cons of creatine
- how much water to drink with creatine
You can either write articles covering each of these topics or create one single comprehensive article answering all these questions.
Step 4: Identify Related keywords
As you would have noticed, Ahrefs displays only the top keyword that each page ranks for. This is the keyword that brings in the most organic traffic for the said page.
But in most cases a page would rank for a lot more keywords in addition to the Top Keyword. You can get a list of these keywords by clicking on the carat icon under the 'keywords' column as shown in the image below.
As shown in the image, the top keyword for the page is 'garcinia cambogia extract', but upon checking for addition keywords, we come across many other keyword ideas like 'how does garcinia cambogia work?' and 'is garcinia cambogia effective?'
Looking at these keywords can help you come up with some great article ideas. It can also help you plan your article out by helping you figure out what data to cover in the article.
Step 5: Check backlink data for all identified pages
Once you have identified the right keywords, it makes sense to check the backlinks of the related pages (on the competitor site) to see what kind of links these pages are attracting. You can use this data to reverse engineer links for your own article(s).
To do this, click the 'carot icon' next to the 'Page URL' and then click on 'Backlinks' to get a list of all backlinks that point to this particular page. (refer image below).
You can right click and open this in a new window so your current page is not altered.
Step 6: Filter backlinks by 'Dofollow' links
To de-clutter the backlink profile, you can filter the backlinks to show only 'dofollow' links.
Click on 'One link per domain' and the link type as 'Dofollow'. This will de-clutter the results and show you only the links that matter. You can also consider selecting 'English' under the 'Languages' tab.
You can also consider ordering the links based on the 'Domain Rating (DR)' and look for links having a domain rating between 50 and 30. Domains below a DR of 30 are of very poor quality and are generally spam sites. Whereas domains above 50 are high authority making it a little difficult to secure links from these sites.
Step 7: Analyze the backlinks thoroughly
It is important that you analyze all backlinks to figure out if you can get a similar link for your blog article.
Here's what you can do:
1.) Check out the exact link
Visit the referring URL (referring page) and find out where exactly the backlink is located.
You can easily do this by searching the referring page with the anchor text of the link. Click 'CTRL+F' to bring up your browser's 'search box' and search the page using the anchor text as the keyword.
For example, in the image above, the 1st referring page is astheticrevolution.org and the anchor text is 'diet high in protein'. So open astheticrevolution.org in your browser, click CTRL+F to bring up the search box and and search for the keyword 'diet high in protein'. You can easily locate the link this way. If the anchor text is generic like in the 2nd referring page, you might want to include the surrounding text in your search. So instead of searching for 'meat' (which is the anchor text), search for 'if you eat meat'.
Another way to locate the link is to visit the 'HTML source' of the referring page and search for the link there. So visit astheticrevolution.org and click CTRL+U to open the HTML source, now click CTRL+F to bring up the search box and and search for 'Bodybuilding.com'. Once you have located the link in the HTML source, copy the surrounding text and search on the page to find that text. This way you can easily locate the link.
2.) Ask yourself these questions
Once you have found the link, ask yourself the following questions:
a.) What kind of a link is this?
Find out if the link is a comment link, forum link, guest post link, resource page link or a directory link. Is this a homepage link or an internal page link? Is this link running site-wide or is it a single page link? Is this link editorial or could this be a paid link? Is this a text link or an image link?
b.) Why are they linking to this page?
If it is an editorial/natural link, ask yourself what promoted the author to link to this page?
Could it be because the article is comprehensive? Could it be because of the infographic? Could it be because the page offers a useful tool? Figure out what it is and try to include the same in your article.
c.) Is it possible for me to get a link from this page?
Figure out if you can get a similar link from this site.
For instance, if the given link looks like a paid link, you can check if the site offers advertising and then approach them for their rates.
If it is a guest post, you can consider writing a guest post and linking to your article from within the guest post. You can also consider contacting the author of the article and asking him/her to write an article promoting your link.
If it's a link from a forum/community page, you can consider joining this community and offering your expertise to the discussions.
If it is a resource page link, you can write a comprehensive article and then approach the site owner requesting them to add your page to the resource page.
If it's a comment link, you can leave a high quality comment to get yourself a link.
3.) Note down potential link sources
Finally, note down potential link sources so you can contact them later.
Step 8: Write your content
For all the article ideas that you have identified, note down the following information onto a word document.
- Article idea: Write down your article headline along with a rough synopsis of what to cover. Refer step 3.
- Top keyword and additional keywords: Note down the top keyword and additional keywords that you found in Steps 4.
- Related backlink data: This is the date you found in Step 6 and 7.
Now that you have identified your article ideas, it's time to write the content.
Study your competitor's article and a few other related articles to see what kind of information has been presented there.
Make sure that your information is comprehensive and answers all possible questions that a viewer might have about that particular topic.
Present your information well. Use simple words and short easy to read paragraphs. Divide the information into sub-headings and use bullet points where-ever necessary. Remember, how you present your information is as important as the information itself.
Make use of graphics to illustrate your points. If you decide to use graphics, make sure to optimize your images so they load faster.
Write your content and then approach all your link prospects asking them for a backlink.
Repeat these steps for all your competitor domains to make a massive list of article ideas. Add these ideas to your editorial calendar and start churning out articles for your blog. You are bound to increase your organic traffic many fold using this technique within a few months.
If you found this technique useful and have tips to improve it further, please do let me know in the comments.