Keyword Research is Broken.

How to outrank your better-funded competitors with bigger teams, bigger budgets, and more backlinks

In our previous post on how Google works, we told that out of the 65,000+ page 1 keywords our projects currently hold, we almost always have the lowest domain authority, least amount of backlinks, the smallest budget/teams, and the newest domains.

Across B2B and B2C.

SaaS, mobile apps, services, e-commerce and publishers.

Regardless of what type of business it is.

First, we’ll explain why. Then we’ll show you two dozen examples.

Why less authoritative sites with fewer backlinks outrank more authoritative sites with more backlinks

Google doesn’t publish schematics with how it works, but our experience indicates any of these three things will help you outrank stronger sites with more backlinks:

  1. User engagement metrics
  2. Referral traffic
  3. More internal links

Sometimes, you only need to nail one of these things to rank well, but the more competitive the target, the more important it is to nail as many of them as possible.

Better user engagement metrics

Google has 99.99% market penetration with Google Analytics, and they own 70% of the web browser market.

Google is at its heart, a big data company.

They would be absolutely foolish not to use data from Google Analytics, and even user data from Chrome to determine how users respond to one page vs another page.

If your page has a lower bounce rate, higher time on site, and more pages visited than your competition, that’s a pretty good indicator your page better services a user than pages with lower metrics.

And if you think about it, user engagement metrics much more closely measure user satisfaction and value than an easily gamed metric like backlinks.

Our goal with every page of content we publish is to provide more value than any other page Google could show.

By focusing on reader value, we should generate better UX metrics than a page that provides less reader value.

Referral traffic

Google has a kajillion pages in its index, and it’s discovering hundreds of millions of new pages every single day.

Most of these pages won’t ever be viewed by a real human.

So if Google notices (through Google Analytics) that your page is receiving a significant amount of referral traffic from other websites, social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, email, or really, any other source⁠—that’s a pretty good indicator the page being viewed has value.

Whenever we push referral traffic from one of the above sources to a new page, that page tends to rank quicker than pages we don’t drive referral traffic to.

More internal links

Internal links tell Google how important a page is to your brand. The more internal links point to a given page, the easier that page is to rank.

The inverse is also true, the fewer internal links point to a page, the harder that page is to rank.

BrandChamp.io is ranking #1 for the most valuable keyword in their industry.

Check out the BrandChamp B2B SEO case study

It also has 37 internal links pointing to it.

Outranking stronger domains with internal links

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Higher click-through rates (CTR) from search

Through trillions of searches, Google has a really good idea of what percentage of clicks each page will capture based on where it ranks.

If users are consistently skipping over higher results to click on your page, that’s a pretty good indication that your page is better fulfilling a user’s search than other pages Google is showing, and Google will reward you with a higher position.

Generally, when we write our meta titles and descriptions, we aim for one of two things:

  1. More social proof than any other page ranking
  2. More contrarian than any other page

More social proof than any other page

How can we create more social proof than any other page ranking?

This requires really understanding who your audience is. How can we build more trust than anyone else while being limited to 155 characters?

In the case of Archive360.com, we’re highlighting some of the most famous brands in the world that trust us. The brands we listed don’t work with just anyone, and the fact they chose Archive360 means you can trust us too—we’re pre-vetted.

clickbait CTAs to outrank brands with more backlinks

More contrarian than any other page

When everybody is going left, we go right. When everybody is going right, we go left.

Look at this example from Doggypedia.

ranking above more authoritative domains

Every first-page result is focused on how cute and cuddly Corgi Huskys are.

We went the other direction.

“Hey Reader, here are 3 reasons you SHOULDN’T get the breed of dog you’re interested in.”

Being more relevant

The more relevant you are to what a searcher is looking for, the easier it is to rank.

But, the real estate you have to drive relevance is precious and limited to:

  1. URL
  2. H1 / H2s / H3s, etc
  3. Meta title & meta description
  4. Anchor text on internal links
  5. Backlinks

You have complete control over 1-4, but #5 is trickier.

AnyLeads.com is outranking Hubspot for ‘Linkedin inmail templates’ because Hubspot isn’t as relevant as we are to the query.

They still rank well due to their incredible authority and well-written content, but in this case, being more relevant was enough to beat them.

outranking hubspot

More examples

As we said, 65,000 page-one keywords and our projects have less authority, fewer backlinks, smaller budgets, smaller teams, and newer domains than the pages we rank above.

This could be the longest blog post in the history of the internet.

So we’re going to limit it to a few dozen examples.

Outranking stronger B2B domains

BrandChamp.io

Need help with B2B SaaS SEO? Learn how we did it for BrandChamp.

Ambassador Program Marketing

How to create a brand ambassador program

Brand ambassador program examples

Brand ambassador program template

Successful brand ambassador programs

How to start a brand ambassador program

Learn how we helped BrandChamp outrank stronger, more powerful competitors and how we can help you with your B2B SaaS SEO campaign.

Archive360.com

Salesforce archive

Symantec enterprise vault

Mimecast alternatives

Ranking above B2C websites without backlinks

DoNotPay.com

Free trial credit card

How to sue uber

Ca DMV appointment

Uplay customer support

CampusReel.org

Need help with your B2C SaaS SEO? Learn how we helped CampusReel grow from 1,000 visitors/month to 166,000 visitors/month in 12 months.

UCLA dorms

Texas tech housing

VCU vs UCF

Compare colleges

College acceptance calculator

Need help with your B2C SaaS SEO? Learn how we helped CampusReel grow from 1,000 visitors/month to 166,000 visitors/month in 12 months.

Doggypedia.org

Corgi mix

Corgi memes

Husky Corgi mix

Husky mix

Husky poodle mix

Forecasting the ROI of your SEO campaign

If you think organic search is a viable acquisition channel, your next steps is to forecast potential impact on your organization.

Use our SEO ROI calculator to model varying levels of outcomes.

Our best content

Want to learn how we’ve grown 4 websites from approximately zero to 100,000 visitors per month?

do not pay 5.12.20

We share it all.

  1. Brand Jacking (ranking for your competitor’s brands)
  2. How to turn any writer into an SEO content writer
  3. How to find and hire the highest quality, most affordable writers on the internet
  4. SEO ROI Calculator
  5. How we crush B2C SaaS SEO
  6. How to rank without backlinks
  7. The #1 lever to get the fastest SEO results
  8. How we crush B2B SaaS SEO
  9. How Google actually works (based on 65,000 page 1 keywords)

Keyword Research is broken.

Keyword research is broken. We fixed it.

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