Recursive Keyword Research

Keyword Research, SEO Tutorial
henry dalziel | SEO Hong kong pro

I’ve written this post mostly as a reminder to myself of this interesting process that helps to find interesting keywords.

Credit is due to Matt Diggity and Jay Yap, and I’ve included their video at the bottom of the page.

The technique works by grabbing your competitor’s keywords and creating keyword lists from them.

Here’s how the technique works:

Firstly, you need an Ahrefs license, then using Ahrefs, enter the biggest authority domain within your niche.

For example, if you are in the health niche then you’d enter WedMD or Healthline into the Site Explorer tab and let the data come pouring in.

For this example, I used and imagined that I was in the healthcare niche.

Use Authority Sites

For this step, simply enter your donor domain, i.e. the high authority domain, and see how many referring domains link to it.

Step 1: Enter an authority domain in your niche

In this example above you can see that has 609,200 referring domains! Yes, that’s a lot, and of course, this has all contributed to making a huge authority in healthcare, proven by its’ DR (Domain Reputation) being set at 92.

Filter By Domain Rating

This next step is where we start to discover some excellent data.

Hit the “Referring Domains” tab in AHrefs, then click on DR and set it between:

  • 5 (for very low), to
  • 20 (for a decent reputation)

This range will give us 2,600 domains.

This means, that out of the 610K domains that link to, 2,600 are within a range that we know we can compete against if we have, or are planning to launch a new site.

Step 2: Filter the domains by AHrefs DR (Domain Ratings)

Filter By Traffic

This next step then further refines our data by making sure that the sites we chose above (i.e. between 5 – 20 DR) have decent and respectable monthly traffic visits. I set this to 10K per month which is a decent level of traffic and will allow us to discover potential keywords that we might further investigate.

Step 3: Filter by traffic estimations (monthly visits)

Taking my example above, I choose as a site that we can reverse engineer its’ most powerful keywords.

Reverse Engineer Keywords

Now, this is the step where we get interesting keyword data!

Step 4: Find keywords!

The trick now is to find keywords that have a low KD (Keyword Difficulty) and high volume.

I found these two gems in literally 2 minutes of work when putting together this SEO tutorial.

KeywordVolume / MonthKeyword Difficulty
Itchy Throat58,000 24
How To Get Rid Of Tonsil Stones38,00028
Table Showing Two Possible Competitive Keywords

These keywords could be gems.

If it were me, the next step would be to see how much keyword volatility exists and then I’d investigate what content already exists and whether it could be beaten.

The Facebook Approach

Another fascinating take on this “keyword hack” is to use as your authority site in Step 1.

You can then enter “Keto” as a keyword used within the actual domain itself and this will pull up hundreds of domains that clearly will have some interesting keywords that you can further investigate.

Wrapping Up

I wrote this SEO tutorial as a reminder to myself to use this process!

AHrefs is a powerhouse of data and you can really use it to your advantage when you are planning what keywords to target in your ranking strategy.

The video that I learned this technique is embedded below; you should watch it from the 15-minute mark.

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