You Can Outrank Big Websites By Digging Content Trenches

Nick Nolan
4 min readSep 30, 2022
Photo by Jane Slack-Smith on Unsplash

If you’ve read some of my SEO, keyword research, and niche website building articles, you’ve probably read about targeting low-competition keywords.

This strategy usually involves writing content about smaller topics that the big websites don’t write about.

For example, if you have a new website in the finance niche, you’d write about the topics that big sites like NerdWallet aren’t writing about. Low-competition keywords typically have fewer searches. The big, authoritative websites don’t write these articles because it’s not worth their time and effort.

They’re focusing on the terms that are being searched 1,000s of times every month and ignoring terms that are searched 20 or 80 times per month.

This article is going to talk about the flip side of the coin.

Many new website owners avoid some of the best keywords in their niche because the keyword difficulty is high.

When you’re doing keyword research, Ahrefs or Semrush gives you a difficulty score. A high score scares away the crowds. It might look like your newer website might never rank.

Just like the big, strong websites avoid low search volume keywords, newer websites avoid high-competition keywords.

What does the high competition rating really mean?

When you search “how to write a blog post” in Ahrefs keyword research tools, it has a difficulty rating of 67/100.

What exactly does that number mean?

A 0/100 means the competition is nonexistent and 100/100 is the most competitive. So a 67/100 is fairly competitive, but not extreme.

So, where does that number come from?

There are a few factors, but the primary factor is the number of backlinks the top-ranking websites have. If the top 10 results have more backlinks, the difficulty rating is higher. I think another factor may be the number of backlinks pointing to the specific article URL.

The difficulty rating misses a lot of important ranking factors.

This is good news, because it means you have a chance at ranking without getting a ton of…

Nick Nolan

Freelance marketing consultant | Writing about Copywriting, SEO, and Social Media

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