"Best Practice" Isn't Always The Best Path

Last Update: May 11, 2020

I was checking my Google analytics from last week, and noticed an odd thing. One of my top 10 trafficked post from the past week was one I had forgotten about. I outsourced it at the end of Jan 2020, and now it's getting some great traffic!

It's now getting 100-200 page views per day! The interesting thing about this post is that it's a "buy" keyword.

For years, I stayed away from "buy" keywords. You know, stuff like "buy plants online" or "buy a new fridge".

Most SEO gurus will tell you that these spots are dominated by ecommerce websites, and affiliate websites won't rank for them. Avoid! Don't waste your time!

To be honest, I gave this advice as well. It makes sense, right?

Well, I was proven wrong by this keyword!

The keyword was a long tail keyword, with 5 words total in the phrase. Buy ___ ____ ____ Online. It wasn't competitive, and didn't show much traffic potential.

In fact, Jaaxy said there was <10 traffic and search volume! More proof that sometimes the best keywords cannot be found in keyword tool.

So although all metrics and best practice advice was telling me to not go after this keyword, I saw some potential for it. I was familiar with the topic, and didn't see anyone else writing about it, so why not. It'll cost me $40 for the article, so we'll see what happens.

How Was The Post Structured?

So you can replicate these results, the post was structured like a top 10 list.

Title: X Places You Can Buy [TYPE OF PRODUCT] Online

It was a unique product, so it wasn't like "X places you can buy a big screen TV Online". It was more like "X places you can buy vintage movie projectors online"

The format was:

  1. H1 Title
  2. Title Image (Pinterest)
  3. Introduction (General Information)
    1. Product Images (Stock Photos) x 3
  4. Related Video Embed (YouTube)
  5. H2 Title With Keyword
  6. H3 Item #1
  7. Item #1 Content (150 Words)
    1. Include Item #1 External Link (dofollow)
  8. Item #2+ Etc

Bummer. No Affiliate Commissions!

Unforntately, not a single company related to this word has an affiliate program. So far, the post hasn't earned any affilaite sales. Just a couple dollars from display ads. If the traffic continue, I may contact these companies individually to see if I can get hooked up with some kind of referral code.

What Does This All Mean? Should You Stop Using A Keyword Tool?

All of this isn't to say that you shouldn't use keyword tools. In fact, I FOUND this keyword using a keyword tool! I'm just saying that keyword tool metrics aren't always 100% accurate. Use your human brain to interpret that data, and make good decisions!

I saw this keyword, recognized the potential, and figured the risk was worth it. I was risking dollars to outsource. You may be risking time to write the article. Either way, that's the nature of business. You take some risks. Some work out, some don't. If you risk your time and money enough times, you "collect" wins until it looks like you know what you're doing. LOL

What Type of "BUY" Keywords I Recommend Going For

Avoiding "buy" keywords is still advice I'm going to give out. In my mind, the logic holds up. If someone types in "buy acoustic guitar online", they don't want to read a bunch of acoustic guitar reviews. They want to look at Guitar Center and shop for guitars online.

However, there are some situations where someone is looking for a list of websites where they can buy something. How I see it, is if an item is hard to find, or you can't find it on typical stores, then you can make a list of places to buy it. Many ecommerce websites are not good at SEO, so won't even rank on Page 1 for their main item they are selling.

You can provide VALUE to those companies, and to users, by aggregating a list of places to buy stuff.

For example, nobody cares about where to buy toilet paper online. However, hemp toilet paper is going to be harder to find, so you could create a post titled "10 Places You Can Buy Hemp Toilet Paper Online"

Final Thoughts

You can measure, analyze, and agonize over stats all day long, but at the end of the day, there are often just as many exceptions to the rule, as there are data points to prove the rule. Have fun. Mix it up. Try new things. Go for hard keywords. Write for 0 traffic keywords. See what happens!

PS. Last Day To Get The $299/Year deal at Wealthy Affiliate!

Join the Discussion
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Recent messages
jlclayton1 Premium
I got a referral link from a specialty retailer where I buy some hard to find items and wanted to find a way to promote them on one of my sites where it was relevant. But I couldn't find a keyword that seemed to have any potential when I ran it through Jaaxy.

You've just given me my path forward--thank you!

WelcomeMM Premium
This is great advice I would really consider and follow. You are quite right that when searching to buy, one is looking for a place to buy and will do a review if they are a first-time buyer or maybe had an unpleasant experience with their purchase. Thank you for sharing your thought on the use of "Buy Keywords", the article is fantastic and providing so much insight.

Kind Regards,
Welcome Moeng
Wilde Premium Plus
That's interesting and cool to hear. It gives a few things to think about. I had a post that I changed the heading a bit ago due to the same issues with ecom stores. But maybe I'll have to give it a try. I especially like the TP pic you put at the end!
nathaniell Premium Plus
Hehe. Toilet paper seems to be a hot topic lately!
Wilde Premium Plus
Ha, right! I saw one that said, "Duck Tape Cannot Be Used For Everything!" I almost fell I laughed so hard.
EddySalomon Premium
Great stuff rick. It also re-affirms that sometimes you just need to test things on your own to see what happens. Sometimes people are giving best practice advice based on their own experience. But it doesn't mean that it will always be your experience. And you're a perfect example of that.

And I agree with you regarding some of the the keyword data. It really should be used as guidance. But its definitely not 100% accurate especially when you consider a lot of keyword tools are based on data from a prior year.

A quick way for me to confirm if a keyword is actually more popular than what keyword tools are saying is to actually start typing the keyword in Google. If Google auto suggests the keyword I want to target then I'm going with it regardless of whatever the keyword tools say. So your article is a good lesson for everyone!
nathaniell Premium Plus
I definitely missed some juicy keywords back in the day because I was limiting myself to keyword tool data. I spent a lot of time wasting money/time writing articles for similar keywords as well, instead of capturing the "core concept" and writing a single article.

Google autosuggest is definitely underutilized!
EddySalomon Premium
It really is. I know I was guilty of viewing these keyword tools as the be and end all. But it's just a starting point. Like you said sometimes you have to rely on your own experience, instincts, and what Google is flat out auto suggesting.
CordeliaN Premium
Thank you for the insight, it just goes to show that despite the statistics from previous, the rationale from experts, the knowledge from others and hard won by your own work, viewers/traffic to your post is nothing like a mathematical equation and shouldn’t be treated as such....

I love how you bucked the trend

Thank you for sharing 👍