Explode your Keyword List for Linkbuilding Magic

You know what’s better than ranking for your head terms? Ranking for your head terms plus the longtail variations of those terms that can also drive great traffic. Once you get outside of the head term fixation, you realize that incredible value exists in the longtail of keywords. In fact, over 80% of queries are considered “longtail”, according to this graph:

What I am going to do today is show you how to blow out your keyword list using tools like UberSuggest and Soovle so that you can identify the terms around your head terms so that you can create content and build links to your site using all of the related terms, still rank for your head terms, AND capture the longtail traffic!

This post may seem basic to some of you, and for that I apologize. But I want to help out the beginners out there who are just starting to get a grasp on SEO.

Step 1: Define your main search query

This step should be pretty obvious, and if you’re reading this post you should already know a bit about keyword research. If you don’t, and you need a little bit of help, go check out my Minimum Viable Keyword Research post.

Let’s say I want to rank for the term “content management” on my site about content management systems (this is all theoretical. I’m not cool or nerdy enough to have a site about CMSs). To rank for this term, I of course first need to create a page for this term. In my case, on this site, I would create a category page optimized around the term, off of which would be links to articles about content management.

Step 2: Find the Suggested Searches for your term in your tool of choice

Next step is to scrape the Google Suggest terms around your head term, in order to find terms that you can create content around in order to target. When I search for “content management” on Ubersuggest, I receive 337 keyword suggestions:

Now, not all of these are useful, but we can find at least 30 or 40 terms that will be useful to run through the Adwords tool.

Step 3: Download the Suggestions

The next step, of course, is to download the terms so that you are then able to gather and run them cleanly through Google Adwords.

This is quite easy to do within Ubersuggest, where you simply click the green + button beside each term to add it, then click copy. You see this screen, from which do a CTRL+A (select all), CTRL+C (copy), and then CTRL+V (paste) into Excel:

I then like to alphabetize them within Excel to keep them in order.

Step 4: Run those terms through the Adwords Keyword Tool (Exact match)

Next, run these keywords through the Adwords Keyword Tool (on Exact Match, of course). I’m not going to go into depth on this part, as it’s very basic SEO 101, but if you don’t know how to use the tool, just let me point you to this post on SEO.com.

Step 5: Create Awesome Content for These Terms

Now, we create content around these terms. The goal is to provide value to the online conversation and the vertical conversation in order to earn links and shares to these posts. Often, the terms that are being targeted will only take one or two links in order to rank for that term, which in aggregate will increase traffic to your site.

Also, these articles and their links should all link back to your category page that is targeting the head term for which you are trying to rank. It can be diagrammed thus:

Step 6: Build Links

Now we get into the linkbuilding and word-spreading part of the content creation and strategy process. The two types of linking as I hope you know, are internal and external.

When you are building your site, you should be taking into account the internal linking on your site, so that when you hit Publish on your post, you are also building internal links into the page naturally. The best way to do this, in my opinion, is to:

  1. Organize your site into sections, so that you are automatically linking to the page from within 2 steps from the homepage;
  2. Use custom sidebars to link carefully within those sections from the other posts within the same section (you can do this using Conditional Tags on WordPress, which I wrote about here on Triberr).
  3. Use a Related Posts plugin like nRelate to flow link equity to other pages/posts on your website.
Also take into account external linkbuilding. Unless you want to grind it out and go beg people for links to your page, or buy listings within directories, I recommend doing the following on blogs:
  1. Use Zemanta to surface your content to other bloggers. I talked about it in the Passive Linkbuilding section of my Linklove presentation;
  2. Push it out on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and/or Google+, wherever your target audience hangs out online.
  3. Have your site listed on the appropriate Alltop topics page.
  4. Find related content on the Internet, learn who is linking to them, and build a relationship with those people so that you can surface your content to them over time.

Step 7: Traffic++

If you’ve done your work by targeting terms that have search volume, and also let your social circles know, as well as the people who may be interested in your content, now you sit back and watch your organic traffic increase. Don’t look for a huge jump in traffic usually (unless it is a hugely trafficked term), but compare month-over-month, or six-month-over-six-month periods of time and see how your traffic grows.

Have any thoughts? Feedback? Reasons for disagreement? Let me know about them!

36 thoughts on “Explode your Keyword List for Linkbuilding Magic

  1. Great clear, concise, and easily digestable explanation…definitely something worth sharing with clients to support that longtail keyword strategy we all know will pay dividends in the end!

  2. Great resources – thanks, John. I really like your last point, reminding readers to build solidly and ongoing. Also the point about maintaining ongoing connections is so very useful for future projects and outreach. Just as online optimization deserves attention so does relation optimization.

  3. Hi John

    Really interesting post. Just a question I have. How do you go about doing the above without affecting Google getting confused which page is most related to a specific keyword, for instance say on my homepage I’m pushing a big keyword like SEO, but im also wanting to push seo company, seo packages, etc etc.

    If I build an inner page of content for say SEO Company and start building links with a mix of anchor text to this page. Could Google then push this page to be the most relevant page for the main keyword SEO?

    hope that makes sense

  4. Great article – thanks for the input. One question though. You say “Now, we create content around these terms” – do you mean content specific for each individual phrase or content containing all of the main phrases. Are we talking about multiple pages specific to the individual keyphrases

    1. Hi Les –
      Good question. I’m not necessarily talking about creating content for each individual term, but if the search volume merits it and you can create quality content, then yes. So I’d optimize my category page for, say, “search engine optimization”, but then write articles around that topic that go in that category. I’d also put breadcrumbs linking it back to the category, so Google knows the priority there.

      I hope this helps clear things up!

  5. Thanks john most the content is familiar, but what I really love is that every time one reads a new SEO related article you can usually learn a trick or two to save time or just do things better.

    The keyword suggestion tool ‘ubersuggest.org’ is a great starting point for Keyword Research – THANKS!

  6. Thanks John. I’d never heard of ubersuggest before. Freakin awesome. I’m going to use it more for varying anchor text, but great idea about using it for content creation. Useful for when you get stuck.

  7. Thanks for this article, I am going to work on the long tail.

    So its better to focus on the long tail than to stare blind at a big keyword like “guitars”?

  8. Really helpful, John. We are using the exact same strategy for a client now. I was curious about how you are distributing your external links for each section. Are you targeting, say, 80% of your links to the main ‘category’ page in Step 5 and the rest of them sprinkled throughout the longer tail pages within that main category section or are you using some other distribution strategy?

    My bad if you mentioned this in a previous post. Admittedly, I’ve been out of the loop for a while.

  9. Thanks John! Just used it for a project I’m working on right now and some results gave a few ideas for posts deeper in the site. I’ve looked at search suggest before, but getting more than 5 terms is awesome.

  10. Pingback: Long Tail Keywords « Website Help Blog

  11. Great post John! I love Übersuggest. This was a great refresher as we are currently working on developing the content strategy for a new vertical we’re launching. Look forward to hearing more from you!

  12. If I hadn’t seen you speaking at linklove last week, I would have called you out for writing up something so obvious. 🙂

    Suffice to say, I’ve been doing this for a long time…but you’ve done a good job of explaining it, so I guess that’s something.

  13. Hi John thank you for this post. You gave great insight into how to build your SEO profile for a site as well link building. I am new to this and trying to learns. Do you have a post that shows how to find out who is
    linking to your competitors?

  14. Hi John! Thank you so much for this step by step instruction. I believe it would help me plan for my niche site and also get long tail keywords for my posts on my professional blog.


  15. Thank you John! A very good and helpful instruction set for longtail link building – which becomes more and more important.

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  17. I am sure you know this, but doing the long tail keyword research in Ubersuggest you can also click the terms that come up to further dive into the rabbit hole known as ‘longtail’ they will expand again to the right and you can get some pretty crazy terms.


    + metal roofing (click the word)
    + metal roofing prices (click the word)
    + metal roofing prices Ontario (click the word)
    + best metal roofing prices in Ontario (turns grey when no more results to show)

    Love the Tools and the post! Just wanted to let others know that this option was available.


  18. ~ GREAT TIPS John! I love how you broke it all down in steps about how one can utilize their keyword list into fabulous link building opportunities!


  19. Many thanks to the precise and intelligent written article. The selection of keywords is the base of a successful SEO campaign. Many people began to build links to their sites without even assessing whether the complexity of the target niche. Therefore it is very good for people who are just now aware of this matter be referred to a specialist SEO optimizer.

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