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Keyword Golden Ratio: Learn to Rank KGR Terms in Hours

keyword golden ratio
Updated: | SEO vincent d'eletto wordagents ceo Vincent D'Eletto

Are you struggling to find and rank in the top 100 for niche keywords that will help your business stand out from the pack?

Struggle no more!

I'm here to tell you about a proven strategy that will assist you in finding and using low competition keywords to boost your website visibility and help you rank higher than ever!

Sound too good to be true?

Here's the thing - it's not.

The proof is in the pudding - or in this case, the data - and all you need to do to get out of the "Google Sandbox" and increase your organic traffic is follow a simple, data-driven strategy for leveraging underserved long-tail keywords.

I'm talking about the Keyword Golden Ratio (i.e., the "KGR").

WTF is the KGR?

Created by SEO guru Doug Cunnington, the Keyword Golden Ratio is a simple way to find in-demand but undersupplied long-tail keywords (i.e., low hanging fruit). 

Designed with new websites in mind, this shortcut is great for affiliate marketing sites that need targeted traffic right now, but may not yet have the domain authority to be able to compete for high-volume and high-competition keywords.

The Keyword Golden Ratio is a great way to boost organic traffic to your site, increase affiliate site revenue and potentially help your site rank in the top 100, even top 50 Google search results in as little as a few days.

The formula looks like this:

KGR = # of "allintitle" sites/search volume (less than 250)

The KGR takes the number of Google results for sites with a specific keyword in the title and divides those returns by the monthly search volume of the keyword in question.

The result of this calculation will be three data ranges from which you can reach logical assumptions regarding the competitiveness of a specific long-tail keyword and the chances you have of ranking for that term.

The three data ranges are as follows:

  • Less than 0.25
  • Between 0.25 and 1
  • Greater than 1

If the KGR is less than 0.25, this is considered optimal, meaning that the search term is both underserved and has low competition. Proponents of KGR say that these keywords are likely to rank in the top 50 search results once your site page is indexed by Google.

When the KGR is between 0.25 and 1, this indicates that while a search term has light to moderate competition, it is still likely to rank in the top 250 search results in a short period of time.

A KGR greater than 1 means that the search term in question is competitive and that it will be difficult to rank your site for this keyword as it has more search results than it does monthly volume.

For example, let's say you find a long-tail keyword that has 30 "allintitle" sites with a search volume of 190. The KGR of this specific keyword would be 0.15 (i.e., less than 0.25).

According to Doug and other SEO experts, this term would be considered a great KGR term as the number of Google results shows that there are only about 30 sites on the internet targeting the keyword in their title page. With almost no competition and an accessible search volume, an article targeting this term is likely to rank well easily.

If you are a fan of doing things the data driven way, you will love the KGR.

While it is true that your ranking success with the KGR could vary depending on a number of additional factors (i.e., site authority, link building, topical relevance, etc.), the Keyword Golden Ratio is recognized as one of the most efficient strategies for quickly boosting traffic and ranking your niche site.

For now, it's important to remember one important caveat - you should only target keywords with a search volume of less than 250.

Why a Search Volume Less Than 250?

The most important rule of the KGR formula concerns the second figure of our formula, the monthly keyword search volume.

When Doug Cunnington developed the original formula, he capped the monthly search volume at less than 250.

He did this for two reasons.

First, he noted that, in his experience, lower search volume terms tend to rank faster. Second, he recognized that most people are likely to attempt to target keywords with a higher search volume as the profit potential of frequently searched terms is much greater.

A search volume of less than 250 works because if the KGR data range comes in at 0.25 or less, that means that you are, at maximum, competing with 62 other web pages - many of which are not even trying to rank for the long-tail keyword in question.

The bottom line - times have changed.

The golden age of SEO - when you could rank #1 in Google for a high search volume keyword phrase after only a few weeks - those days are over.

As Doug says, in today's highly competitive environment, it's better to zig when others zag. With more and more competitors looking for a piece of the pie, it's best to take the road less traveled and focus on low search volume keywords.

What Exactly is "Allintitle"?

Many readers might not be too familiar with our second figure in the formula, the "allintitle" search operator.

"Allintitle" is an advanced search operator that you can use in your Google search query to limit your search results to those web pages/sites that have a specific long-tail keyword phrase in the title of the content.

Let's say you are searching for "best smartphones under $500." If you only want to display sites with this specific question in the web page title, you would type the query into the search bar like so:

allintitle:best smartphones under $500

It's important to remember that you should avoid both putting a space after the colon and using quotes, as this will lower your number of "allintitle" sites and potentially lead to an inaccurate KGR ratio.

Once you have correctly entered your "allintitle" search command, Google will show you sites that only have "best smartphone under $500" in the web page title. You can then take the number of sites identified, plug it into your KGR formula, and use the data ranges described above to determine if the term is KGR compliant.

Long-Tail vs. Short-Tail Keywords

In the quest for organic traffic, logic would tell you that your best bet for attracting web page visits would be to devise a content strategy focused on short-tail keywords.

After all, these are the terms that hold the most traffic, and traffic drives conversions - right?

Wrong!

Well, not entirely wrong.

Yes, it is true that short-tail keywords are more likely to produce high-volume search yields in Google. However, getting your niche website listed on the first search engine results page for a short-tail keyword will be almost impossible given the sheer number of competitors. This is especially true for new or young websites.

Allow me to further illustrate.

Let’s say you have an Amazon affiliate site focused on shoes.

Given the 1M+ in monthly search volume, as well as the millions of results for the term "shoes," you would be crazy to try and build a profitable SEO strategy based on targeting this short-tail keyword.

Rather than targeting a term that yields many millions of search results and monthly global searches, try for something more specific. The long-tail keyword "best shoes for construction workers," for example, has a very reasonable monthly search volume of 250 (according to SEMrush) and is far less competitive than its short-tail counterpart.

Remember, specificity drives conversions.

Implementing the Keyword Golden Ratio with long-tail keywords will position you to produce results that are more specific to your particular business and much more likely to lead to increased traffic/conversions.

Why Should You Use the Keyword Golden Ratio?

As a structured and rule-based strategy for keyword research, the KGR proves helpful in a number of respects.

The Keyword Golden Ratio Helps You Stay Motivated

We all know that successful SEO doesn't happen overnight. Ranking brand-new websites requires a long-term and concerted effort. The ratio assists in this effort by providing you with much-needed small wins via the targeting of low hanging fruit. Eventually, small wins become big wins, building your confidence with positive results.

The Keyword Golden Ratio Helps You Prioritize Your SEO Efforts

Rather than taking a "needle in the haystack" approach to SEO, the KGR lays the foundation for successful SEO via an organized and structured methodology. KGR not only helps you narrow the scope of your keyword research to lower search volume terms, but it allows you to easily determine which content to publish first via its ratio.

The Keyword Golden Ratio Increases Objectivity

While trusting a hunch may be a great strategy for certain situations in life (i.e., alone and lost in the woods), when it comes to SEO, fact-based reasoning is king. The KGR provides you with data-driven and realistic SEO expectations in your pursuit of ranking glory.

The Keyword Golden Ratio Helps You Outrank Competitors

While you might not believe it, it's highly unlikely that the majority of your competitors are taking a data-driven approach to their search terms. The KGR is a manual process that, with the simple addition of a step or two to your SEO research workflow, will provide you with actionable data that repays you handsomely for targeting low search volume terms.

How to Use AHREFS to Find KGR Keywords

Now that we have covered the basics of how the KGR works let's take a look at how to find KGR keywords using a keyword research tool.

While there are a number of SEO tools available on the market - both paid and free - when we here at WordAgents are developing value-driven SEO content, our go-to tool for KGR keyword research is Ahrefs.

Note that while our step-by-step process is outlined under the assumption that you will be searching for keywords for your affiliate site, this is a workflow that can be easily modified and implemented via your favorite online research tool to quickly find keywords for any type of content.

Step 1 - Find Relevant and Low Search Terms

Before we dive into Ahrefs, the first thing we need to do is turn to Google.

One of the best ways to find keywords relevant to your industry is to take advantage of Google's Autosuggest functionality and search for keywords via the format below:

best + [broadest term for the niche of focus]

As you start typing a phrase into Google, the search engine's Autosuggest functionality will automatically show you what people are searching for. In this example, we are targeting the survival niche (in the US and in English) via the term "best survival."

Once you have identified your terms of interest, it's time to look up the search volumes of each term in the SEO tool of your choice. However, doing all of this manually - while good to know - is a rather laborious process that is largely unnecessary given the advanced search features of most online keyword tools.

Let's take a look at how we would do this with Ahrefs.

From the "Keywords Explorer" section of the Ahrefs account portal, enter the term or phrase that is relevant to your affiliate niche.

Again, in this example, we are focusing on the survival niche via the keyword phrase "best survival."

If your affiliate website focuses on dog training, you will type "best dog training." If your affiliate website focuses on electric shavers, you will type "best electric shaver." And so on and so forth.

Once you have entered your terms, click the search bar.

Having run your search, Ahrefs will take you to a new page and present you with a report. From this page, you will want to click on the field titled "Having same terms" (located on the left hand sidebar).

When you click on the field titled "Having same terms," Ahrefs will bring you to an additional keyword report.

This report will show you all of the keywords that include your core term.

In our survival example, Ahrefs will show us all of the terms that include the keyword phrase "best survival," as well as their monthly search volume.

It is from this report that we are going to try and find a KGR compliant search phrase.

Step 2 - Eliminate Keywords With Search Volumes Above 250

Now that we have selected the "Having same terms" report, we need to filter our 26,700 keywords and identify those keywords that have monthly search volumes of 250 or less.

To do this, you will need to click on the filter titled "Volume" and manually limit the max monthly search volume to 250. Click "Apply."

Again, limiting search volumes to 250 is a sure fire way to find accessible search terms.

Step 3 - Filter Results Based On Difficulty And Length

With our results now limited to those keywords with a max search volume of 250, it's time to further narrow the scope of our search by filtering our results based on keyword difficulty.

In Ahrefs, keyword difficulty is an estimate of how hard it is to rank in the top 10 organic search results on a 100-point scale. The higher the ranking, the more competition there is to rank for that specific term.

First, we are going to need to select the keyword difficulty filter titled "KD" and set the filter to a minimum of 0 and a maximum of 5.

This is important.

The only variable that the difficulty score takes into account is backlinks. As such, setting the filter minimum to 0 and the maximum to 5 ensures that our results will show us keywords that have some degree of backlink profile strength, but not keywords that are too difficult to be considered KGR compliant.

Now that we have set the difficulty filter to a minimum of 0 and a maximum of 5, we need to filter our report based on keyword length. As longer keywords are likely to have lower monthly search volume, a good rule of thumb is the longer the search term, the better. In this example, we will place our minimum word count at 5 via the field titled "Word count filter."

Something to keep in mind - the ideal number of words for a keyword phrase is likely to vary based on industry and content topic.

We recommend you spend some time experimenting.

With all of our filters now in place, it's time to sort the keywords based on their keyword difficulty, from lowest to highest. The keywords with the lowest score will be our focus as they are more likely to be KGR compliant keywords.You can sort the keywords via difficulty score by clicking on the report column titled "KD."

Now that you have your search phrase list appropriately filtered by difficulty and length, it's time to use your knowledge of the topic at hand and select a keyword with KGR potential. In this "survival" example, we will select the keyword "best silver coins to buy for survival."

This keyword has a search volume of 80 and a difficulty score of 3 - a very good thing to see.

Step 5 - Identify the Number of Sites With Exact Title Matches

With our keyword in hand, it's time to return to Google and determine the number of "allintitle" results.

We will place our keyword in the Google search bar and run our search.

We can see in the image that Google returned 10 "allintitle" results for our long-tail keyword "best silver coins to buy for survival."

Step 6 - Determine If Your Keywords Are KGR Compliant

The last thing we will need to do is determine if our keyword ratio is KGR compliant.

Remember:

KGR = # of "allintitle" results/search volume (less than 250)

In this example, our KGR will be equal to our "allintitle" search results of 10 divided by our monthly search volume of 80.

10/80 = .12

For the keyword "best silver coins to buy for survival," the KGR is less than 0.25. This means we have successfully identified our first KGR compliant term.

Now it's just a matter of repeating this keyword research process with your favorite keyword research tool until it becomes second nature. In no time, you will be developing robust lists of KGR compliant terms to help you take your niche site to the next level.

Keywords That Are Not KGR Compliant

As you begin to explore the Keyword Golden Ratio and further engage in your own in-depth research, it is important to remember a mantra of sorts:

While most KGR keywords are great keywords, not all great keywords are KGR compliant.

Confused?

Let's clarify with an example provided by the KGR man himself, Doug Cunnington.

In the article we linked above, Doug takes a look at the keyword phrase "best vlogging camera under 300." With a keyword difficulty score of 13 on one of Doug's preferred keyword tools, KWFinder, the term appears to have KGR keyword potential. Looking at the number of "allintitle" results in Google, Doug found 37 web pages with the phrase "best vlogging camera under 300" in the title of the content.

Plugging it into our KGR formula (i.e., 37/460), we end up with 0.08, a ratio that is under our threshold of 0.25.

So, do we have a KGR compliant keyword?

No, we do not.

While yes, the KGR ratio is in fact under our threshold of 0.25, the search volume way above our 250 threshold. By definition, this can't be a KGR keyword.

Now, that's not to say that it's still not a great keyword. With a relatively low keyword difficulty score and very few "allintitle" search results, "best vlogging camera under 300" is still a great phrase to target when the searcher is looking to problem-solve.

The bottom line is that you should evaluate your keywords on a case by case basis.

So long as the search results and the competition look promising, there's no harm in including non-compliant KGR keywords in your content strategy.

KGR Pitfalls to Avoid

The Keyword Golden Ratio is an incredibly useful tool for driving traffic to your site (particularly a new niche site). However, it's not without its fair share of pitfalls. In our line of work, SEO faux pas are always just around the next corner, and the KGR formula is no exception.

With industry markets becoming increasingly competitive, it's worth finishing our deep dive on the Keyword Golden Ratio by reviewing some of Doug Cunnington's "no-nos" with respect to the use of KGR keywords.

While the list below may appear rather obvious to the seasoned marketer, it's important to recall that keyword research best practices are constantly in flux.

In this way, it never hurts to have a quick refresh.

Pitfall 1 - KGR Keyword Stuffing

In the digital age, keyword ranking is all about search intent.

Google's aim is to provide its users with the content most relevant to their search query (i.e., informational, navigational, transactional, and commercial investigation). Google wants to see that you are creating content tailored to the intent of searchers and will reward you for doing so.

The quickest way to doom your KGR keywords is to engage in "keyword stuffing."

This refers to the practice of loading your content with keywords with the hope of improving your site's ranking. Google does not look kindly upon keyword stuffing. Not only does it create a negative user experience via out of context and useless prose, but it's a direct attempt to manipulate their ranking algorithm.

In the case of KGR keywords, they are typically longer - usually in the range of five or more words. It would be rather odd to read "best silver coins to buy for survival" more than a few times in a piece of content.

As such, Doug recommends using a KGR phrase in the title and once more in the main content. This will help your content flow and provide value to the reader.

Pitfall 2 - KGR Keyword Scarcity

A prominent criticism of the KGR formula is that it is often difficult to find keywords that are KGR compliant.

And yet, it's important to recall that, like any ranking strategy, the Keyword Golden Ratio is a skill that must be learned and mastered.

At the end of the day, there is no "hack" when it comes to finding KGR compliant search terms. In our opinion, that's what makes the Keyword Golden Ratio so appealing - it's an acquired skill that must be developed over time and via a dedicated effort.

While nothing beats consistent repetition, research tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush can definitely help streamline the process. We recommended taking your favorite online keyword research tool and practicing the steps we outlined above. With a little bit of patience, you will find yourself developing robust lists of KGR compliant terms in no time at all.

Pitfall 3 - Failure to Rank

Another criticism of the KGR formula is that, oftentimes, KGR compliant search terms will fail to rank even though their KGR score is between 0.25 and 1 (i.e., well-positioned), or less than 0.25 (i.e., ideal).

Again, Google is focused on search intent.

It's possible that even though you are incorporating KGR compliant keywords into your ranking strategy, there exist a number of additional factors that could negatively impact your ranking.

First, the market may be saturated with internet sites that are similar to yours. Second, there could easily exist a number of "untouchable" authority sites already on the internet for your industry (i.e., the medical device market). Third, you should always consider that searchers prefer a digital medium other than website content (i.e., Youtube).

If Google is not ranking sites similar to yours for a specific KGR term, that's a tell-tale sign that you should consider dropping the term even though it is KGR compliant.

Pitfall 4 - Failure to Produce KGR Content at Scale

KGR is a strategy developed with scaling in mind.

In fact, it works most effectively when incorporated into a high-volume content strategy.

According to Doug Cunnington and his case study research, about 5% of KGR terms perform better than he expected, 15% of KGR terms worse than he expected, and 80% of KGR terms rank somewhere in the top 30-50 after only a short period of time.

Again, while there are a number of other factors that need to be considered when it comes to keyword research and ranking (i.e., quality of content, domain authority, competition, etc.), a single KGR post is not a good sample size from which to assess the KGR formula.

Doug suggests trying at least 20 KGR terms on your affiliate sites before evaluating the success of your KGR strategy.

KGR - A Blueprint For SEO Success

In a world saturated with SEO quick fixes, the Keyword Golden Ratio is your best friend.

While time, effort, and patience are all required, the Keyword Golden Ratio strategy is a data-driven way to boost your website visibility, help you rank in the top 250 for your industry/market, and move your site out of the "Google Sandbox" faster than ever.

Have you tried incorporating the Golden Keyword Ratio into your keyword research? Do you have any KGR success stories?

We would love to hear your thoughts!

Comment below or reach out directly and let us know if you have any tips, tricks, or best practices that we can add to our article!

vincent d'eletto wordagents ceo Vincent D'Eletto

Hey, I'm Vin. Founder and CEO of WordAgents.com. I create content that ranks really well on search engines for our clients. I'm also deeply involved with the SEO community; maintaining a portfolio of successful, profitable affiliate websites. You can find me playing guitar, drinking scotch, and hanging out with my German Shorthaired Pointer when I'm not working!


One comment

  • Tao

    Yes, I have used this on quite a few of my sites over the years, once I found Doug's method.
    One mental note I always needed to make though: despite them being KGR keywords and low search volume, don't skimp on the content quality. The articles end up ranking for many more keywords anyway and the better the content, the better the results.

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