Several months back I read an article over at nichesiteazon.com that consisted of a strategy that was quite frankly, genius. The strategy uses forums and Semrush to find a large number of keywords that forums are ranking on page one for.
It's pretty well known in the affiliate site business that SERPS where forums rank on page 1 are generally easy to rank for. If something like Reddit is on page one, you've got a good chance of getting there too.
There's never a guarantee of course, but experience tells me that finding these types of keywords is definitely a good thing.
The problem is, how exactly are you going to find a keyword with a forum (or two) on page 1? It would normally take an insane amount of trial and error to do so, which is why the tactic Josh blogged about here is so genius.
I put the strategy to the test right away with one of my niche sites, and found as many as twenty new article ideas from it. Not bad for an hour's work.
I then published the articles over the course of the next 3 weeks (1 post per day), and did nothing with them for a few more weeks. I didn't build any internal links to them, I didn't build any backlinks, I didn't even share them on social media. I wanted to see how well the strategy worked at the very basic level.
I'll summarize the strategy below:
1.) You find forums in your niche.
2.) You put those forums into semrush.com.
3.) You find all the keywords that the forum ranks on page 1 for.
4.) You pick and choose the ones you also want to rank for.
Finding Forums In Your Niche
Depending on how well you know your niche, you may or may not already know what forums are active in the space. If you don't, the easiest thing to do is just search in Google for something like “Niche + Forum” or “Keyword + Forum”. Do a few variations and you should find a couple of forums.
Note: It's better if you can find a forum that is hosted on a Top-Level-Domain rather than a subdomain. Semrush works much better when NOT used on a subdomain.
For example, a perfect forum would be something like “petsforum.com” (I made this up, though it probably does exist). A not-so-good example would be “forum.welovepets.com”.
You CAN still make it work with a subdomain forum, but the data is harder to read on Semrush.
Putting Those Forums Into Semrush
The strategy would probably work with Ahrefs as well, since that has a similar competitor keyword data tool now too. However, I have a semrush subscription, and that's the tool I used.
If you don't want to pay for Semrush, you can still get a few ideas by using the free version, but the data you get from the paid version is well worth it. If you have the budget, it might even be worth signing up for one month, getting as much use out of it as you can, then unsubscribing.
How to use Semrush for this purpose:
1.) Enter the domain name in the top and hit search. Note, it's better to remove the http:// first.
2.) Scroll down to where it says “Organic keywords”, and hit “Full report”.
3.) Click the “Pos” button to sort keywords by position. This will show all the keywords that the forum ranks position 1 for at the top.
4.) Ideally, the forum ranks for a LOT of keywords. Find all the ones that it ranks position 1-5 for. You can look for 1-10 if you want, but I'd rather focus on the ones where the forums rank high. You can also export this data, sort it in Excel, and delete all keywords position 6 onwards.
5.) Analyze these keywords to see whether you would want to rank for them too.
Fun Fact: Hidden Keywords
A lot of the keywords that you find won't show up in normal keyword tools, so you get to find a LOT of hidden keywords. When I did it for my niche site, I found some keywords with a moderate buying intent that had thousands of searches per month.
Bonus: Look For Keywords With More Than One Forum
Some of the keywords you find will actually have two or three forums ranking in the top five. Not only are these keywords going to be insanely easy to rank for, but you'll also have found some more forums. Put them into Semrush too and repeat the process!
How Did My Experiment Go?
As I explained at the beginning of this post, before I blogged about the strategy myself, I wanted to try it out so I could share the results.
In total I published 20 articles based on this strategy, which were targeting about 25 keywords between them.
It's now been about 6 weeks since all posts went live and got indexed, so what positions have they ended up in?
I'm not going to share the exact keywords with you, but let's take a look at where they ended up:
The keywords all have anywhere from 50 to 2,500 searches per month. They are mostly “review” keywords (it makes sense that forums rank well for some reviews). I deliberately chose keywords that were worth ranking for. Namely, they have searches, and they have buying intent.
As you can see, the results are pretty good considering that:
- No linking has been done (internal or external)
- No on page SEO has been done for the articles
- Each post is only around 500 words long.
Aside from targeting the keyword in the title and hitting the publish button, I didn't do anything else to get these results. Getting as many as two keywords to page 1 is fantastic, and the fact that more than half are on page 2 is equally great.
I've never before published 20 articles and had so many of them make positive moves. Hats off again to Josh Shogren for sharing this tactic.
How To Take The Next Step
Moving forward, I can start optimizing some of these pages more (put 1,000 words on the posts, add a few more keywords and meta descriptions) and then throw a few links their way too.
This is definitely a positive result and something I will be utilizing a lot more with all my sites.