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Keyword Golden Ratio: Does It Still Work for Ranking in 2021?

You want to rank at the top of Google, and you want to do it fast. Sound familiar?

Well, you’re not alone! Lots of niche site owners want a “secret shortcut” to #1 rankings and a flood of organic search traffic from Google.

But is there any shortcut to building a successful website? 

Well, as you probably know, nothing is ever 100% certain in SEO, but you can get pretty close with a concept called the keyword golden ratio (KGR). 

In this post, you’ll find out all about the KGR and how you can use it to rank fast for long-tail search terms in Google!

What Is the Keyword Golden Ratio (KGR)?

There are two main reasons why organic traffic is so valuable for affiliate site owners: 

1) A website with SEO visibility and reliable traffic can generate a higher income each and every month!

2) A website with quality keyword positions and backlinks will be worth a LOT more when you choose to sell!

To get these results, you need a way to actually find the best keywords, quickly and reliably. Enter the KGR.

The Keyword Golden Ratio is a data-driven approach first developed by the popular niche site project creator Doug Connington. It’s essentially a shortcut for uncovering long-tail keywords that are underserved (i.e. there’s greater demand from search volume than there is supply of content to address the query online). 

In other words, the KGR is a way to find hidden gems that a lot of people are searching for, but where there isn’t a ton of competition yet (less than 63 other titles with your target phrase, to be exact). 

In these rare cases, you may see your new article rank in days or even hours, rather than languishing for weeks or even months in the dreaded “Google Sandbox” – and you may even land in the top 15!

Keyword Golden Ratio Definition

Let’s break it down in more detail, starting with a quick definition of the Keyword Golden Ratio:

The number of results in Google with a title that includes your target keyword phrase, divided by the monthly search volume.

To see if a given keyword is within the keyword golden ratio, take the number of ‘allintitle’ search results divided by the monthly search volume (where MSV is lower than 250).

It sounds a little complicated, but let’s walk through it real quick:

Step 1: Pick a relevant potential keyword phrase with a search volume of less than 250.

Step 2: Go to Google and type: allintitle: [your target keyword]

Step 3: Note how many results appear at the top of the SERP.

Step 4: Divide the number of results by the monthly search volume.

The resulting number represents the ratio between results and search volume. Here’s how it breaks down:  

  • With a KGR of less than 0.25, you should rank quickly in the top 15 after Google indexes your page.
  • With a KGR result between 0.25 and 1, you should rank pretty quickly in the top 100, but it may take some time to rank within the top 2 pages.
  • With a KGR higher than 1, the search term is probably too competitive, even with a modest search volume.

Ideally, your result should be a ratio of less than 0.25, but anything up to 1 may be worth a look.

Also remember that this only works on keywords with an upper limit of 250 monthly searches. As a general rule, higher volume keyword phrases are a magnet for higher domain authority sites to rank, so unless your site has a strong domain authority right now, it’s unlikely to be able to compete.

How to Find KGR Keywords

So, you know how to calculate the keyword golden ratio – but how do you find those keywords in the first place? Here’s a more in-depth look at the process we recommend here at Motion Invest.

Step 1: Use a Search Tool

A niche site owner is only as effective as the tools they use. 

There are a LOT of great search tools out there. If you want the cream of the crop, get SEMrush or Ahrefs – but you can also use less pricey choices, from Longtail Pro to Mangools to Ubersuggest. 

Before you use any of these, however, just remember that you can always start with Google itself using the autocomplete feature!

Another great place to look is the “People Also Ask” feature box, usually found around position 2 or 3 in the organic search results.

And the “Related Searches” at the bottom of the results page will also offer plenty of potential ideas. 

Once you have some head terms, you can use your search tool of choice to spit out a huge number of variations or related terms. Put together a list based on monthly search volume (MSV), remembering to shoot for keywords under 250 MSV (unless your site is big enough to target a more competitive term).

Step 2: Find and Test Keyword Variations

Now, it’s a simple matter of going into Google and doing an “allintitle” search for the terms you like to see how much direct competition they have.

Yes, you could just use your search tool to check out the competition, but nothing is going to be as precise as Google itself when you’re looking up this kind of data.

As an example, say you own a niche site for athletes and you want to create a piece of content around the best shoes for badminton. A quick search of “best badminton shoes” in Ahrefs reveals an MSV of 100, but in Google, we see a whopping 4,160 results for the same search term.

Remember, you want a ratio of 0.25 or better. In this case, 4,160 divided by 100 = 41.6! That’s about 40 times higher than what you want to see in order to rank quickly (or at all!). 

But after looking at Search Suggestions in Ahrefs for the head term “best badminton shoes,” I came across a long-tail term I liked: “best badminton shoes for beginners.” 

It has a MSV of around 10, and just 5 results in Google.

If you do some quick math, you’ll see that 5 results divided by a search volume of 10 equals a ratio of 0.5. This isn’t quite as low as the ideal ratio, but it’s within the range we wanted to see to actually rank for a relevant search term.

NOTE: I’ll point out that a search volume of 10 is low, but if you can target other related long-tail keywords within the same post, there’s a good chance you can rank for enough terms to make it worth your while.

Step 3: Create Optimized Content and Track Results

Once you’ve chosen a search term within the golden ratio, all you have to do is create a piece of content that’s better than anyone else’s for that term.

If you do a good job here, it stands to reason that your content will rank relatively quickly – after all, there’s not a lot of content on this exact topic yet, and your piece is going to be more thorough and helpful than anything that’s currently in the search results!

Once you’ve published your article, you can use the Rank Tracker in your search tool or just open an incognito window and Google the term you wanted to rank for to see where your page is ranking so far. Another great way to track is with Google Search Console, which tells you your page’s average position and which keywords you’re ranking for. 

Does the Keyword Golden Ratio Actually Work?

Yes, it actually does – usually!

You can find countless examples of prominent niche site owners and SEO experts who have used it to great effect. Many of our own clients here at Motion Invest rely on the KGR as a keyword research technique for their own sites.

But it’s not a foolproof method. Below are some of the biggest pros and cons of using the keyword golden ratio for your site’s SEO.

Pros and Cons of the Keyword Golden Ratio

KGR Pros

  • Fast results. You can expect quicker wins with this proven data-driven approach (specifically, content that ranks in just days instead of months).
  • Consistent process. You have an objective way to evaluate keyword opportunities instead of just relying on guesses or your gut instinct.
  • Gets the ball rolling. No website owner focuses exclusively on KGR keywords forever – but when you’re just starting out and have almost no traffic or domain authority, the KGR is instrumental in helping you build a foundation that allows you to target better keywords later (through targeted content and link building).

KGR Cons

  • Low traffic potential. You’ll generally use the KGR to find lower-volume keywords, which can limit the potential of any individual piece of content to bring in a lot of traffic. Similarly, if you lean on KGR too much, you may miss out on some great opportunities that don’t quite fit the recommended ratio.
  • Dependent on good data. If you don’t have reliable search tools and end up with misleading numbers like search volume, you can waste time writing content you had no real chance to rank for. You also run the risk of focusing too much on keywords that fit the KGR, but aren’t actually that worthwhile to your business.
  • Higher competition. It might sound paradoxical, but a LOT of people are aware of the KGR and use it as an approach for their own site, which could mean you’re competing with more people than you think on these long-tail keywords.

Alternatives to KGR for Keyword Research

Ultimately, the Keyword Golden Ratio is just one option for how to evaluate potential keywords. More than anything, it’s simply a good place to start if you haven’t developed a sense of what works yet.

For example, when I do keyword research, I like to scope out the top terms my competitors are ranking for first with a tool like Ahrefs – this is a great way to get some solid ideas for head terms to target.

Then, I’ll evaluate the top 10 competitors for a desirable keyword, looking for things like their Domain Rating, how many backlinks they have, and whether the search term has enough clicks per search (CPS) to justify targeting the keyword in the first place! If these numbers look favorable, only then will I add the keyword to my list.

Another way that I typically evaluate a potential keyword is by hopping into an on-page optimization tool like Surfer SEO. From there, I’ll check on things like competitors’ content ratings and domain ratings, as well as typical word count, to gauge how difficult it will be to beat the existing results – these steps are all important when your site has a strong domain rating.

This way of evaluating keywords isn’t mutually exclusive with using keyword golden ratio – but you may find yourself preferring one method over another as you practice.


So, what’s the verdict? Is this whole “golden ratio” idea legit, or are there better ways to do keyword research for your niche site?

Ultimately, my recommendation is that you add it to your toolkit as one useful tool for evaluating potential keywords. The Keyword Golden Ratio is NOT the only way to do it – but it’s definitely proven to be useful! 

There’s one more important point to remember: techniques like the Keyword Golden Ratio give you a distinct advantage when you’re looking to buy a new website. It allows you to quickly gauge the success of a site and any potential opportunities for growing it – and it can ensure you get a fair price!

Rejected content:

The keyword golden ratio (KGR) is a long-standing concept in SEO that’s particularly appealing for new websites that don’t have a lot of domain authority yet. 

Basically, if you can find KGR keywords, this should allow you to rank your website for less competitive terms. But is this whole “golden ratio” idea legit, or are there better ways to do keyword research for your niche site? 

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