A few months back a friend of mine challenged me to an SEO duel; see who could rank the highest for the keyword “keyword tool.”
He owns a pretty slick SEO Software company and has quite a few sites in the free keyword tool space, but he hasn’t actually done SEO in a long time…
So I figured why the hell not.
This post is to essentially rub in his face how I plan to outrank him for that phrase; first with this very post, but then ultimately with a domain of my own.
I hope you enjoy the story (and the ride), I know I’m going to.
What is a Keyword Tool?
If you’re not part of the SEO industry, you may not know what a “keyword tool” even is. A big part of what SEO is about, is identifying the term that people are using to search for things online.
Generating Keyword Ideas
Finding these terms, their place within their individual markets vernacular, and understanding the intent behind them are all critical components of leveraging search engines to drive conversions.
Keyword tools help you do just this — they provide you with data to identify, refine and confirm which terms you should be targeting with your webpages.
They’re also a pretty decent sized business to be in, with many of the software providers in the space making tens of millions of dollars per year selling SEO software, where keyword research tools are a core component.
What Does the Competition Look Like?
In short, it’s significant.
Here’s a few SERP-level data screenshots rolling up the first results page for the keywords keyword tool, best keyword tool, and free keyword tool;
Free Keyword Tool
Best Keyword Tool
So as you can see.. I’ve got my work cut out for me…
Here’s how I’m going to crack these rankings:
1. Build a Free Keyword Tool
Using some code that was out there in the wild, we spun up a free version of a keyword tool (one specifically to generate ideas from scraping the web) and launched it at semantic.io/free-keyword-tool
2. Build Another, Better Free Keyword Tool
Awhile back on Twitter I saw a bunch of folks talking about scraping “people also ask” and “people also search for” results — what a great way to get semantically related keywords I thought.
So we built a really cool keyword tool to go do exactly that, but that also then goes out and gets the average monthly search volume, average cost per click, and paid search difficulty score for all those terms.
Why 2 Keyword Tools?
Not because more is better, but if I want to hope to rank a post about a topic that is so saturated with actual tools — I should probably link out to more than just one tool.
3. Write a Post on Medium (👋)
Sort of self explanatory, but you’re currently reading the post I wrote describing all this.
My plan with this post is to promote it like hell, and use this is as the ranking target for the term keyword tool.
I’ll be adding an updates section to the bottom of this to make regular updates and track it’s progress.
4. Find Opportunities for Quick Mention Edits
Mention edits, or finding existing places already discussing keyword tools where I can pitch an edit to be made to instead point to this post, consist of things like:
Sites and posts I own
I’m going to add a link to a few posts where I’ve discussed keyword tools in the past:
and I’m going to add a link to the following sites (or pages on these sites) that are aged, indexed, and at least in the wheelhouse in terms of relevancy:
5. Pitch New Mentions
For this piece I decided to scrape the top 100 results on Google for the terms “keyword tool,” and dumped them all into this Google Sheet.
*I may expand this list and send a few more hundred emails depending on the results of this first blast, so check back in the updates section at the bottom of this post to see what happens.
I removed any URLs that are actual tools, as these sites are extremely unlikely to link to a post that doesn’t mention them.
I hooked up to Hunter.io’s Google Sheets Add-on and had it pull in the best contact email address for all the remaining sites.
Then I wrote the following email and sent it using YAMM.
Subject: you don’t know me
You don’t know me, but I found you because a page you’re attached to (in some capacity or another) is ranking on Google for a keyword related to “keyword tool.”
So I’m writing to annoy you, and beg you for a link, here’s why…
I did a not so original thing and wrote a post about keyword tools, because I bet my friend that I could outrank him for the term — and well, I’m a better SEO than he is — so here I am to prove it.
Help me defeat him so he has to wear a terribly embarrassing T-shirt at an SEO event of my choosing (and more so, so I don’t have to).
Thank you already,
P.s. — I’ll happily share your page that will now be linking to my post, on Twitter (I have over 8k followers), LinkedIn (I have over 4k connections), and on Facebook (to my over 2k “friends”). Oh, and if this works, I’ll be sending an email to my subscriber list of more than 17k that want to get emails from me.. for some unknown reason.
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6. Promote the Post
I shared the post on Twitter:
I shared the post on Facebook:
I shared the post on LinkedIn:
Nick Eubanks on LinkedIn: "https://lnkd.in/duYazr2"
October 11, 2018: Nick Eubanks posted an article on LinkedIn
I responded to a few Quora questions.
7. Find Opportunities to Fold in Other Existing, Relevant Sites/Domains
I have a handful of domains that I’ve picked up over the years across almost all major commercial verticals.
A bunch of these are relevant enough to software, tools, and SEO, so I’ll be folding them in as needed, starting with one right now (10/12/18) that I’ll note in the updates section.
Interested in Following Along?
I’ll be keeping the updates coming regularly, but if you could also take a moment and click the “claps” button it will go a long way to helping this post get more visibility within the medium platform.
If you’re into SEO and want to follow along with my general ramblings (and occasional valuable tip) follow me on twitter.
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Monday, October 15, 2018
8:25am: Post hits 2,100 views
8:30am: Post holding on Google.com at position #15, and has picked up rankings for +4 keywords. Post also now ranks on 19 other Google properties.
10:36am: Redirected existing relevant site domain with 318 RD’s to this post with wildcard 301.
Monday, October 22, 2018
9:05am: 109 links picked up from 58 domains. Post now ranking for 63 keywords, including a number of “free” and “generator” keyword tool phrases, but dropped rankings for “keyword tool.”
11:10am: Post hit’s 3,100 views
Friday October 26, 2018
11:52am: Currently sitting at 70 keyword rankings, in position #79 for “keyword tool”
Tuesday October 30, 2018
7:48am: Currently ranking for 92 keywords, and in position #60 for “keyword tool”
7:55am: Unhooked redirected domain to test net impact — we’ll see what happens.
Wednesday November 7, 2018
11:05am: WonderSear.ch hits #1 on ProductHunt (and takes #4 top product of the week).
Tuesday November 13, 2018
9:45am: Currently ranking for 190 keywords, and in position #11 for “keyword tool.” Ahrefs still showing 497 links from 134 root domains.
- Note: The big 1–2 punch is yet to come, stay tuned.
Monday November 19, 2018
8:55am: Currently ranking for 286 keywords. Dropped to position #14 for “keyword tool.” Post is picking up almost 100 visits from organic search/week.
Monday November 26, 2018
9:55am: Ranking for 428 keywords, and showing 500 links from 136 root domains. Sitting in position #9 for “keyword tool” on mobile and desktop. Source.
Thursday November 29, 2018
11:25am: Ranking for 461 keywords, showing 501 indexed links from 137 root domains.
Ranking in position #8 for “keyword tool.” View screenshot
Monday December 3, 2018
8:55am: Ranking for 563 keywords, no change to links. Holding ranking position #8 for keyword tool.
Sunday January 6, 2019
9:37am: Ranking for 934 keywords. Holding position #10 for keyword tool.