Top Ahrefs Tips For Niche, Content & Keyword Research to help you rank better
Published 6 months ago | Last update 6 months ago 📌
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- Niche Research
- A small rant
- Finding niche sites that are doing great
- Find the Top Pages of competitor sites
- Find other niche-related keywords with “Also Rank For”
- Find longtail or related keywords with “Having same terms” and “Search Suggestions”
- Find content that your competitors have but you don’t with “Content Gap”
If you do SEO and don’t use Ahrefs at least a couple times per month, I wouldn’t really trust you to do my SEO. It’s a great tool and it’s actually the second best web crawler after Google (as claimed by Ahrefs). So, are you making the most out of it? I can almost guarantee that you probably aren’t. It has plenty of options and you can probably use it for things it was never meant to be used for.
A small rant
If you don’t have a handful of niches you can make a quick buck with at any point in time, shame on you. But also, worry not! Finding a niche is easy. In fact, I constantly get clients who are worried that someone might “steal their niche”, as if it was some sort of secret thing that no one else can discover by themselves. Unless your niche audience consists of one person (you), your niche can and will be found by others, and that’s fine. It’s all part of the game. That doesn’t mean that you should go boasting around how exactly you do things and what brings the most revenue, but stop being so secretive about it too. Doing good SEO means doing most things right consistently over longer periods of time, not getting lucky with a secret magical niche or keyword.
Anyway, let’s get to the actual content. There are a few ways you can use Ahrefs to find a niche you can build a site for, especially if you do affiliate marketing or something else that doesn’t require you to build much of a product/brand.
Finding niche sites that are doing great
This is a great way to find sites that are doing well, and perhaps even newer sites that are doing well and absolutely steal their niche and ranks. For example, if we go to the Ahrefs Site Explorer, type in Amazon.com and click on Referring Domains, we will find almost three million sites.
That by itself doesn’t help us much, as that’s probably more data than anyone needs. However, if you go on page 100+, and then look through the pages’ Domain Rank (telling you how powerful the backlink profile of the domain is) VS their Organic Traffic (how much traffic it’s getting), you’re very likely to find a bunch of week sites doing way better than you’d expect.
What does this mean? It means that you can now steal their keywords and do just as well. If you get yourself a stronger domain than theirs and put better content on it, you’ll probably do much better than them, unless they’re getting links from PBNs with blocked crawlers or doing something else that Ahrefs can’t pick up.
However, doing things this way is pretty inefficient, and Ahrefs doesn’t let you export more than 30,000 lines in order to filter things out yourself. Also, they don’t have a filter option on the Referring Domains page, make things even more difficult. To get around this, I strongly recommend that you don’t just blindly browse through this. Just pick a niche, any niche, and search for it using the search bar. This will allow you to narrow down a list of websites, and exporting 30,000 results in any niche will definitely help you find some decent keywords you can target
So, let’s say you suddenly want to build a beekeeping website. Let’s see what comes up if you type in “bee” in the search bar, sort by Organic Traffic, and then go on say, page 4 of the results:
Other than the expected “beer” results, we can see some bee/beekeeping related sites with lower DR (Domain Rank) come up. What’s even better, is that we now only have 4543 results. 4543 is less than 30,000 so we can export all of these and play with them in Excel without having to pay Ahrefs hundreds of dollars for the option.
In Excel, I’m going to filter for DR between 1 and 30 because I only want to be going through weaker sites that are not a 0 since the 0s will just be a lot of crap and mess our formulas up. If you don’t know how to use Excel filters, why don’t you? Seriously, there’s no excuse for that. Whatever. Just click Data and then Filter. Click on the Domain Rating cell and the dropdown arrow, then Number Filters > Between, and type in 1 and then 30. Also, delete columns D through K because you only want the Domain Rating and Organic Traffic, the other stuff isn’t relevant to what we’re doing.
In the Referring Domain cell, I want to go to Text Filters > Does not contain, and type in “beer” since I want to get rid of all of those domains and just keep the “bee” ones. There will still be irrelevant ones, but it will make things a little better.
Then title column E “Ratio” and in the first cell underneath write the following formula: =C12/D12 where “12” is the number of the cell that comes first under the 1st row (it’s not 2 because we have filters set). I know this may look like a lot of hard math, but all we’re doing is dividing the Domain Rating by the Organic Traffic in order to get a Domain Rating to Organic Traffic ratio.
Press Enter, and then click on the bottom right corner of that cell and drag it all the way down to end last row with data in order to apply the formula to every cell under Ratio.
I forgot to filter for Organic Traffic to be above a certain number so there will be some errors under the ratio column but that’s fine.
We now click Filter twice, once to disable it and the second time to set a new filter. Click on the arrow under Ratio again, and just choose “Sort Smallest to Largest”. This will arrange the domains starting from the best Domain Rating to Organic Traffic ratio, to the worst.
And, as you can see, we now have domains like beekeepclub.com that even at first look see very relevant, have a very low Domain Rating and seem to be getting decent amount of traffic. Optimally, you want to go to through all of these and export the Organic Keywords they’re ranking for with Ahrefs. This should give you some awesome low competition keywords you can start targeting right away.
If we visit beekeepclub.com, you can tell right away that it’s an affiliate site
Let’s see what they’re ranking for
Those do look like some great keywords to target. Again, you want to go through a bunch of sites and combine as many as possible. If we look at the stats for “honey extractor”, we can see that it’s actually a neat keyword to target. This makes me not want to publish the article and just go build a beekeeping site. Oh well.
Find the Top Pages of competitor sites
Did you know that Ahrefs has a Top Pages option, and are you using it? This will go great with the method described above – pick a site and see what its best organic pages are. Since we already decided that our niche is beekeeping, here’s what the best performing pages of the site we dug out are:
This option is actually surprisingly accurate! Once upon a time, I convinced someone selling an Amazon affiliate site to add me as a user to their Google Analytics account, and what Ahrefs showed for the Top Pages of the site was like an 80% match with Google Analytics, which was great. Same is true for my own sites that I have Analytics set up on.
Find other niche-related keywords with “Also Rank For”
This one is pretty obvious, and it’s more of a time saving option. If we had a target keyword and wanted to get other organic keywords of the top ranking sites, we would need to go through them one by one, and either combine the exported files later or just go through them one at a time also.
The “Also Rank For” option lets you get all those at once. If our keyword was “honey extractor”, for example, Ahrefs would get the top 10 results for the keyword, then find the organic keywords those pages are ranking for, and show all of these at once. This can be incredibly useful when siloing your website or even putting basic articles together and looking for more keywords to target. Here’s what we get for “honey extractor” – I like to filter for keywords that contain over two words and Ahrefs KD (Keyword Difficulty) under 5:
Some of those will obviously be horrible since Google is getting anything and everything the top results are ranking for, but some will be very relevant keywords that you should absolutely be targeting along with your main one. They also provide the opportunity to have separate articles on them altogether.
Find longtail or related keywords with “Having same terms” and “Search Suggestions”
This one should be pretty obvious, but just putting it out there. Check this out and you’ll find some great additional keywords you can target
Find content that your competitors have but you don’t with “Content Gap”
This option is also relatively new. You put in a few competing sites and find content opportunities based on what they’re ranking for and you aren’t.
Let’s say our site is beekeepingworks.com and we want to find the keywords that beekeepclub.com is ranking for but we aren’t.
You may be missing out on some great keywords that you could be targeting in your niche, and this should help take care of that, as we can see in this case:
Hope that helps you use Ahrefs better and more keywords you can be targeting :)
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Great post. I've done the free trial of Ahrefs and liked the service. Do you think it's worth the full price of $180/month (I think)?
Ahrefs is definitely one of the more expensive SEO tools/subscriptions, but also one of the better ones. Their rates are reasonable for the breadth of tools that they offer; there are also cheaper setups. For example, you can gathering a bunch of keywords/data from Ahrefs and store it in a spreadsheet over the 7 day trial / one month of the subscription and you'll basically have enough data to for tens/hundreds/thousands of posts/articles, after which you can cancel the subscription for a while and come back in a few months if/when you want more data. There's also a setup discussed in the keyword research video guide that uses Keyword Shitter + SearchVolume.io that is completely free and another one for competitor/backlink analysis in the guest post video.
It mostly depends on how much money you're wanting to throw around. Can be easy to get sucked into having like five hundred subscriptions to various tools that you aren't necessarily using daily.
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