I usually like to share tips and ideas that I use in this space, but today I want to share with you a strategy to avoid.
If you do some research about how to choose keywords and perform keyword research, you may have some across this concept known as the Keyword Golden Ratio, or KGR for short. It has been around since at least 2007 that I am aware of. I first noticed it gain prominence with the launch of a tool called Market Samurai.
(If you never had the opportunity to use Market Samurai, imagine doing keyword research where gathering the data to analyze each single keyword took about 15-20 minutes, and that was if your PC was fairly decent and you had a fast internet connection. We have come a long way since then.)
The idea behind KGR is that it is supposed to help you identify search terms that will be easy to rank for.
Does it work? No. It’s complete and utter nonsense, and I will show you a few reasons why.
What is the Keyword Golden Ratio?
KGR is defined with the equation below.
You perform a Google search using the allintitle search operator to identify search results that have your keyword in the title. You then divide that by the total search volume, and the search volume must be under 250.
If the result is under 0.25, you are in the green zone and should rank in the top 50 as soon as your page is indexed. Between 0.25-1.00 and it might work. Anything over 1.00 is a no go.
There are so many flaws with this concept, that it is hard to decide where to begin, but we have to start somewhere so…
Search volume has nothing to do with how competitive a search query is. I could find thousands of examples, but here are a few:
cheap term life insurance for seniors
- Semrush shows its monthly search volume at 170 searches.
- The KD score is 76.
Just look at page one of that search result. US News, Gerber Life, Value Penguin, Investopedia, Fidelity, NerdWallet. Hardly an easy looking SERP.
best shared to do list app
- Semrush shows its monthly search volume at 110 searches per month.
- KD score of 77.
And again, look at the SERP. Zapier, PCMag, CNet, ZDnet, Taskade, LifeHack, the Google Play Store…
Does that look easy to you?
Oh, I forgot. We are supposed to look at allintitle results.
The first search term gives me 26 results and the to do list one shows 4.
Now go look at those SERPs. Did you notice something?
The pages that are ranking for the search terms on the first page of the SERPs don’t show up in the allintitle results. None of them match.
That means you are using a calculation that isn’t even factoring in the top ranking pages at all. Take a moment to think about just how stupid that sounds.
You are trying to determine keyword difficulty while completely ignoring the best performing pages.
According to the KGR, the first term comes in at 0.15 and the second at 0.036.
Both of these are extremely low ratios, but unlike what the Keyword Golden Ratio would have you believe, they are far from easy to rank for.
Forget about all of that though. My biggest gripe with KGR has always been that it tells you absolutely nothing about what the top of the SERP looks like. That is your real competition.
Keyword volume. Title tags. None of that matters. What matters is the pages ranking in the top 3, or for really high volume keywords the top 5 or top 8 spots. Those are who you are competing against.
Nearly all of the traffic is going to go to those pages.
Or with all of the changes with traditional Google Ads, shopping ads, featured snippets, People Also Ask Questions, and Google Maps showing at the top of the SERPs, maybe I should just say that very little traffic is going to escape past those top pages.
If you can beat the 3rd ranking page in the SERP, then #4-1000 really doesn’t matter.
Think of it like entering a marathon and you are fast enough to finish 3rd in the race.
It doesn’t matter how many other runners there are. You could be running in a local race with 1000 competitors or you could be running the Marine Corps Marathon with over 40,000 runners. You are still finishing 3rd.
TL;DR – KGR is a complete waste of time that will chase you away from viable keywords and have you going after keywords that are actually much more difficult than it would have you believe.