If you have spent any amount of time in the world of keyword research, then you have come across the Keyword Golden Ratio, or KGR, first popularized by Doug Cunnington. This simple formula for identifying long-tail keyword opportunities is easy to understand and to integrate into a content strategy.
Keyword Golden Ratio and the Power of Supply and Demand
But the simplicity of the Keyword Golden Ratio belies its power and usefulness as a measurement and filtering tool. This is because it is, ultimately, based on a fundamental law that governs both markets and life: supply and demand.
Allintitle in Keyword Research
The formula for calculating the keyword golden ratio, discussed below in more detail, has two components: search volume and the number of allintitle results. Most folks will understand search volume, but it’s worth briefly discussing allintitle.
…there is no debate about the importance of title tags (the page title) as the first and best place to identify the primary target keyword.
The total # of allintitle results is usually found by using the Google search operator known as ALLINTITLE. This is a way to search Google only for pages with the search term words anywhere in the title. This is how to measure the ‘supply’ of competing pages targeting the keyword. But why use allintitle?
When optimizing a page to rank in search engines there are many places a keyword can (and should) be placed. But there is no debate about the importance of title tags (the page title) as the first and best place to identify the primary target keyword.
This means that the best way to determine which pages are targeting that keyword is by looking at the page title tag. For this reason, KGR uses the allintitle total results number as a measure of the supply of pages that are targeting a given keyword.
Much is written about the keyword golden ratio, so we will not rehash it all here. But a review of the basic KGR formula is helpful. It’s also worth revisiting how the results are meant to be interpreted, according to its originator.
For keywords with search volume of 250 or less, use the ALLINTITLE Google search operator to count the total number of allintitle results.
Then apply the formula:
# of All Intitle Results / Search Volume = KGR
Strict compliance with the KGR method means keywords with KGR of 0.25 or less are in the sweet spot, and represent the best keyword opportunities. However, a looser interpretation can be applied as follows:
<0.25 Easier 0.25-1.00 Harder >1.00 Near Impossible
If you strictly follow the model this means that the maximum keyword volume (for this strategy) is 250 monthly average searches. And the maximum allintitle results for that keyword would be ~62 (62 allintitle results / 250 monthly search volume = 0.248).
…most long-tail KGR opportunities have far fewer competing pages, which gets you that much closer to page one.
The implication is that there are no more than 62 pages directly targeting the keyword. This is still a lot of potential competition but it leaves plenty of room in the top 100 (and that gets you in the race).
The good news is that, even though the search volume might seem low, most long-tail KGR opportunities have far fewer competing pages, which gets you that much closer to page one.
Supply and Demand Makes the World Go Round
Those active users of KGR already know its strength. But if you have doubts then consider that the keyword golden ratio isn’t magic and there is no secret in how it works. The KGR simply measures supply/demand imbalance. And the laws of supply and demand are fundamental to how economies and the world function.
In fact, any multi-sided, complex system of exchange involves the forces of supply and demand.
The law of supply and demand refers to the interaction between buyers and sellers or, more broadly, consumers and suppliers. Its impact is felt everywhere, from our local stores to global markets.
In fact, any multi-sided, complex system of exchange involves the forces of supply and demand. This includes the users of search engines (demand) and the results that those search engines provide (supply).
Mechanics of Supply and Demand
The mechanics of supply and demand are typically described using price as a reference point. If there’s a sudden spike in the number of people drinking orange juice – increased demand – and the amount of orange juice stays the same, then the price of OJ typically goes up.
Of course, both a drop or increase in supply or demand can lead to supply/demand imbalances. But lack of ‘supply’ is what we are looking for.
On the other hand, if there was a big harvest this season, leading to increased supply of orange juice with no change in demand, then the price for that OJ may go down. Of course, both a drop or increase in supply or demand can lead to supply/demand imbalances. But lack of ‘supply’ is what we are looking for.
Supply and Demand in Digital Marketing
Now, in search engine marketing – whether organic or paid – pursuing a high-volume keyword (a search term with a lot of demand) will invariably mean there are many, highly motivated competitors going after those clicks.
In this way, high demand leads to high price/cost for advertisers and/or publishers. This price-based variable does behave in a similar way to other, typical supply and demand imbalances. But there is a better way to apply this supply/demand concept in search marketing.
…unlike the above high-volume keyword scenario, when there are few or no competitors there is little or no cost to compete.
The way we think of supply and demand in organic search is in reference to competitiveness instead of price or cost. Using the KGR, we can objectively measure how much supply (# of allintitle pages) there is relative to demand (monthly average search volume).
But, unlike the above high-volume keyword scenario, when there are few or no competitors there is little or no cost to compete. More importantly, if there are less than 10 search results targeting a keyword, you can often get on page one of Google just by showing up.
Does Keyword Golden Ratio Work?
Yes, the keyword golden ratio works at identifying low competition keyword opportunities. Anyone that uses the keyword golden ratio consistently and as designed will definitely discover these long-tail opportunities.
By identifying the supply of pages targeting a given keyword and applying a simple, objective formula to assess that supply in contrast to the demand (as measured by monthly search volume), the KGR is excellent at filtering for low volume keywords with even lower competition.
Perhaps they can’t believe a simple and free formula can provide so much insight and value.
Now, what is done with those opportunities is up to you. If you write a bad article that doesn’t address searcher intent or is just full of grammar and syntax errors then you won’t get on page one (even if it’s low competition). But that’s a problem with the writer, not the KGR.
The simplicity of the keyword golden ratio might be why the KGR seems to have as many skeptics as it does supporters. Perhaps they can’t believe a simple and free formula can provide so much insight and value.
Fortunately, common sense and an abundance of page one rankings is enough for the many people that know and love the keyword golden ratio.
I wonder if these naysayers would also question whether supply and demand “works”. In complex systems (whether it is the global economy or the ever-changing Google search engine) it is extremely hard to do true scientific testing and “prove” such things. That doesn’t mean they don’t work.
Fortunately, common sense and an abundance of page one rankings is enough for the many people that know and love the keyword golden ratio. They make this supply and demand formula a regular part of their digital marketing strategies.
SERP Sonar makes the KGR easy. Consider it your keyword golden ratio tool, providing an allintitle proxy to check for KGR opportunities at a glance, every time you check a keyword in Google!