You’ve probably heard it before. “SEO is all about link building!” “If you don’t build links, you’ll never rank in Google!”
In fact, a well-known SEO expert says the “publish and pray” method is one of the biggest myths out there. He says, it doesn’t work. I won’t name names, but I think someone with a name that rhymes with Ryan Bean is wrong on this one.
You CAN indeed rank in Google without link building. You CAN build a profitable business based on long tail keywords.
In fact, I’m going to show you that not only does my long tail strategy go well beyond theory, but it’s the exact strategy I used to sell my business for $425,000 just 2 months ago.
So, let’s dive into what really works to rank in Google without building links.
Take a Look at the Analytics
Before I dive into exactly how you can implement the long tail keyword strategy, I want to share some screenshots showing the kind of results you can achieve without building links.
Here’s the Google Analytics screenshot of the business I just sold for $425k. All of this growth occurred with just really solid keyword research, great content, and almost no effort put into link building.
As you can see, the traffic grew month over month (14 months or so shown here). When I created the site, I spent a TON of time doing keyword research to find the best possible keywords to rank for. And more importantly, I focused on LOW COMPETITION keywords that I knew I would have a shot at ranking for without any links.
Here’s the deal, there are tons of search queries out there where the top 10 results have no links or very little links to the actual articles ranking. So, you can often rank for these really low competition keywords by just having more in-depth content than the competitors have.
Perhaps you find that hard to believe, but that is exactly what I’ve done time and again with my niche sites…including the one I just sold for $425,000.
What kind of keywords is this site ranking for?
I decided to take a quick screenshot of Google search console to highlight the types of keywords this site is ranking for right now (in 2018). Yes, I redacted the niche specific words; however, this will give you an idea of the keyword “formulas” I’m targeting.
Take a look at this (click to enlarge):
And this is where you can pick up some great tips that you can start applying to your website right away. There are certain keyword formulas and modifiers that tend to be lower competition than others. If you follow some of these formulas, you are likely to start ranking in Google than if you targeted the wrong keywords.
For example, the above screenshot shows some of these keyword formulas that I’m using to rank:
- how to _ with _
- how to _
- _ vs _
- best _ for _
- best way to _ with _
- _ review
- how to _ after _
- _ for _
- best _
Maybe this website was just a fluke? Nope, not at all. I’ve been doing this for years and it continues to work in 2018.
Here’s a screenshot from a different site (that gets even more traffic than the one I sold):
This site was created about a year and a half ago. It now gets around 2,200 sessions a day. I have done NO promotion whatsoever (no link building).
How does it get traffic? I did lots of long tail keyword research, I hired someone to write articles that were more in-depth than most of the competition, and I hit publish.
Again, I know it’s hard to believe, but the long tail keyword strategy really works well.
Why Do Long Tail Keywords Work So Well?
The main reason long tail keywords work so well is due to competition levels. Think about it. If you try to rank for a keyword that tons of people are trying to rank for, you dramatically reduce your likelihood of success. If you go after these higher competition keywords, then “Ryan Bean” is right…you definitely need to do promotion and link building.
The reality is that links DO help you rank better in Google. But if you can target keywords where competitors don’t have many or any links and you feel like you can produce more in-depth content, then you stand a MUCH better chance of ranking without putting time into building links.
2 Factors That Make Long Tail Keywords Relevant Today
In addition, there are 2 factors that I believe will continue to make long tail keywords even more relevant now and in the future than the past.
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You might think to yourself, “well, eventually all these long tail keywords are going to be competitive!” I don’t believe that to be the case.
Search Queries Created All the Time
First, new search queries are “created” all the time. This means, people are searching for new things today, that they weren’t searching for yesterday. So, there will always be new opportunities for keywords that have little to no competition.
Take a look at this stat and think about it:
15% of daily search queries on Google are brand new, never searched before
15% of all search queries on Google are brand new and have never been searched for!
Am I the only one that gets excited by this? The long tail search volume is very real and will always have huge untapped potential for website builders like you and me.
For example, bitcoin and cryptocurrency are relatively new search queries. Even just 2 years ago, the search volume for these queries was basically non-existent. Now the term bitcoin alone gets searched for nearly 3 million times a month.
Think there is some untapped long tail keywords in this relatively new space? Absolutely.
Google Voice Search Queries
More and more people are using Google voice search (thanks mobile phones!), and I believe this will only lead to more success for those sites that can better target these types of queries.
If you are able to target longer phrases (which is typically what happens when someone does a voice search), then you are more likely to rank for those keywords. More exact targeting tends to equate to better search rank position.
You can better target these keywords by first of all doing the keyword research to know what types of queries these might be in your niche. And then second, you can sprinkle these phrases into your heading, subheadings, or even title tags if it makes sense.
If you just target one short tail phrase in your title and don’t think about the additional keywords you should target throughout your article, you might be leaving a ton of opportunity on the table.
Where is Your Priority?
Alright, I’ll be upfront with you. This IDEAL situation for your website is to do great keyword research, write great content, and to do a bunch of outreach and promotion to get links.
There, I said it. In an ideal world, we could all implement Ryan Bean’s tactics to get links. (I actually really like this guy and consider him a friend, so don’t mind the playful jabs).
However, what if you have limited time or budget? What if you like most people with a full-time job and building your website is a side hustle right now?
You have to decide what is a priority for you, and what process are you most comfortable with. Do you want to publish a few articles and then spend most of your time sending thousands of emails in hopes that someone links to your site?
Or do you want to spend your time doing great keyword research, producing excellent content that Google should be proud to rank?
I’ve personally always chosen the later. Yes, in an ideal world, I should be out promoting my content. But that’s just not me or where I prefer to spend my time.
So, I’ve found a way to make it work without all the link building and I know lots of other people have as well.
So, if you have to decide between spending more time producing great articles vs. spending time doing outreach. I say spend more time on your articles and ensure you are targeting the right long tail keywords.
Want More of My Long Tail Keyword Strategies?
What I’ve shared today really is just the tip of the iceberg. You can see my full Long Tail Pro Review here, where I share a few more strategies.
If you have any questions about what I’ve shared today, please leave a comment below.