This is a simple, yet highly effective strategy that’s responsible for the majority of my earnings across all my sites.
A cool fact.. I made an SOP out of this strategy to my VA and the first day he did this, he found one keyword that started making 1K$/month about 6 weeks since publishing the article and with 0 backlinks.
So he added 30K$ to my site’s value. Unfortunately, not all keywords work out this well, but still, it’s an effective strategy to grow a site.
How Does it Work?
The core idea is that you create a list of your competitors, you then plug them info Ahrefs, check what are the articles that are bringing in the most traffic for them and create the same articles to your own site.
Why Is It Effective?
Because you get to see what is already working and do the same.
No need to throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks, you get to see what has stuck and do the same.
I only have two core keyword research strategies. One is KGR that I’ve modified and the other is competitor cannibalisation. KGR has a 20% success rate, while the cannibalisation strategy has a much higher success rate.
And yes, I do track this. I’ve tried creating 50 posts with one strategy and 50 posts with another and cannibalisation strategy won by a lot.
However, theres a but. It mainly works if you already have an established site with some authority. If you’re just starting out, use KGR instead or do cannibalisation to your competitors that have a very low DR.
How to Actually Do It
I’m going to explain my process with an example from the bicycle niche.
Step #1 – Create a list of competitors
Mark down a list of competitors that you already know from your head. Since I’m not in the bicycle niche, I don’t know any sites from the top of my head and I’ll use another method to come up with sites that are competing in the niche.
For that I’m just going to put a typical affiliate term into ahrefs keyword research tool. In the bicycle niche, that could be “best road bike under 500”.
From here I found 6 sites that I would be interested in doing the competition cannibalisation for. I disregarded the ones that have a higher than 40 DR, because those are harder to beat as they have significant authority.
You can still go after the higher DR ones as well, but you just have to build links to compete with those guys.
So as I said, I mark down the 6 sites I found from here and move forward.
STEP #2 – Put the domain into ahrefs Site Explorer and go to Top Pages
Now I start to check through each page and I open the Top keywords in a new window to see how hard it is to rank for that specific search term.
Also pay attention to how many links they have. So if your DR is higher than theirs, but they have 2 links pointing to the article, you’ll probably need a link or two yourself.
STEP #3 Analyse keyword ranking difficulty
I opened up a keyword that I got from the top pages report – “Schwinn Phocus 1600 review”.
If I think that a keyword is lucrative or I’m interested in it, I’ll mark it down to my google sheets file. I mark down how much traffic my competitors are getting and how many referring domains they have. I take the average of the top 3 guys.
Here the first two results are not relevant, cause one is high DR and the other is Amazon. I only take into account sites that I could possibly beat.
So the average traffic is 130 for the guys ranking #3 to #5 and only one has 1 referring domain. I would mark it down to a google sheets file.
If the top guys have more links, I also check through the links to see how many are do-follow and if they are actually decent links. I only count the decent ones.
Above you’ll see an example of my ROI sheet. I just write down all the keywords that seem interesting and sort them by ROI.
The cost calculation is 40$ for an article and 50$ per link. Income is calculated by multiplying average conversion with the amount of traffic the article is going to get with the avg. price of the product, which in this case is 799$ and amazon commission rate for bicycles, which is 3%.
This will then give me an estimated monthly earnings number, which I’ll then multiply by 30 to get a value for that article. You don’t need to do all this, I just like to create these charts 🙂
#4 Add New Competitors While Researching
When you’re going through keyword analyses, you’ll find more new competitors. Write those down as well. The more data you collect, the higher are your chances of finding gold mine keyword opportunities.
#5 Create the articles and links (if needed)
Now that you have a lengthy list of keywords to go after, sort them based on ROI or however you’d like and start creating the articles.
You’ll need to at least match the level of quality that your competitors have. I suggest to do a little better. Surfer is a good tool to use to beat them with on-page SEO.
Once you have the article ready, wait for 4-6 weeks (provided that your site is out of the sandbox). See where you’ll land and build links if needed. I also suggest you to build internal links before building external ones. Internal links can sometimes be all you need to rank in top positions and they’re way cheaper to create.
..And that’s it..
Yep, that’s it.
It’s a simple, yet very effective strategy.
- First, go after competitors with low DR.
- When creating your articles, use surfer to beat your competitors with better on-page SEO.
- Add internal links to increase the odds of ranking without external links.
- If needed, add external links to get the rankings.
- If the keyword is lucrative enough, add topically relevant articles to further increase your odds of ranking in top positions.
If you’ve chosen weaker competitors, you won’t usually need external links or too many tricks to rank.
Good luck and happy hunting!