SEO Avalanche Strategy

SEO Avalanche Strategy Basics and Details

Basically, the avalanche SEO strategy refers to ranking for long-tail, low competition keywords in order to build a foundation of traffic and authority.

The concept is that Google ranks websites based on a “natural traffic tier” determined by the amount of organic search traffic a site receives. The more traffic, the higher the tier, and the harder it is to rank for keywords in that tier without additional “power boosts” like backlinks.

Here is the fast basics of the avalanche system

How the Avalanche SEO Strategy Works

  1. Find your starting tier

Look at your site’s organic traffic in Google Analytics to find your starting tier. For example, if you get 20-100 visitors per day, you are in the 20-100 tier.

  • Research keywords in your tier

Use a keyword research tool to find low competition, long-tail keywords with monthly search volume that matches your daily traffic tier. For example, if you are in the 20-100 tier, target keywords with 20-100 searches per month.

  • Create optimized content

Create high-quality content optimized for each keyword, with the keyword in titles, H1, URLs, etc. Use a tool like Surfer SEO to optimize on-page factors.

  • Publish content regularly

Publish 1-2 pieces of optimized content per day to build rankings. Promote on social media to gain some initial visibility.

  • Track rankings

Use a rank tracking tool to monitor how your new content ranks for the targeted keywords. Expect top 10 rankings.

  • Interlink content

Link out from ranking content to new content to help boost its rankings. This “interlinking” helps lift pages within your site.

  • Move up tiers

As traffic increases from your rankings, target keywords in the next higher tier while still optimizing for your current tier. Continue moving up tiers over time.

  • Be patient and consistent

It takes time to build traffic through the avalanche strategy. But if you consistently publish optimized content over 6-12 months, you can build significant organic search traffic and authority.

The key is starting with keywords Google trusts your site enough to rank for, then leveraging those rankings to take on more competitive keywords over time. This creates an SEO “avalanche” that can drive major traffic growth long-term.

More Advanced Avalanche SEO Information

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover:

  • The origins and theory behind avalanche SEO
  • Determining your site’s natural traffic tier
  • Conducting keyword research within your tier
  • Optimizing content for ranking
  • Tracking and monitoring rankings
  • Leveraging interlinking to boost internal pages
  • Moving up through the traffic tiers
  • Being consistent and patient with efforts
  • Pros, cons, and results of the strategy

Let’s dive in and explore the exact steps for executing the avalanche SEO strategy to drive organic growth.

The Origins of Avalanche SEO

The avalanche SEO strategy can be traced back to SEO expert Chris Carter and his concept of “Google’s natural traffic tiers.”

Carter believes that Google ranks websites for keywords based on the amount of organic search traffic they already receive. Google assigns each site a ranking “tier” based on their organic traffic levels.

According to this theory, sites with very little organic traffic are in the lowest tiers. Google will only trust these sites to rank for low competition keywords with similarly low search volumes.

As site’s gain more organic traffic, Google promotes them to higher tiers. In the higher tiers, they gain trust to rank for higher traffic keywords.

So in essence, Google uses current organic traffic as a gauge for determining the level of difficulty keywords that a site should be able to rank for. More traffic = higher tiers = ability to rank for more difficult keywords.

Carter calls this a site’s “natural traffic tier” – it represents the level of keyword difficulty they can rank for based purely on their organic traffic levels, without any “power boosts” like backlinks.

The Avalanche SEO Process

Carter suggests an SEO strategy centered around the natural traffic tiers. He advises optimizing for keywords within your current tier, ranking for them, then leveraging those rankings to take on the next tier.

Rinse and repeat this process, tier after tier. As you build more rankings, traffic increases. With more traffic, you gain trust and access to higher tiers and more difficult keywords.

This creates an ongoing avalanche effect with traffic and rankings reinforcing one another and leading to exponential gains over time.

Now let’s walk through the steps for executing the avalanche SEO strategy yourself:

Step 1: Find Your Site’s Natural Organic Tier

Your first step is identifying which traffic tier your site currently sits in. The best way to do this is by looking at your organic traffic data in Google Analytics.

Navigate to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels to view your organic search traffic. Take note of:

  • Highest daily organic traffic in past 3 months
  • Lowest daily organic traffic in past 3 months
  • Average daily organic traffic in past 3 months

This gives you a range for your natural traffic tier.

For example, if your site has:

  • High of 100 visits per day
  • Low of 50 visits per day
  • Average of 75 visits per day

Then it sits in the 50 – 100 visits per day tier.

Based on the theory, Google is comfortable sending an average of 50 – 100 organic visitors to your site daily. So these are the keyword difficulties it will trust you to rank for without additional power boosts.

Step 2: Conduct Keyword Research Within Your Tier

Now that you know your site’s current natural tier, it’s time to dig into keyword research.

You want to look for relevant, low competition keywords that have search volumes matching your daily traffic range. This ensures you’re targeting keywords within your tier that Google sees you as having enough authority and trust to rank for.

Some key things to look for:

  • Long tail keywords – Specific 3-5+ word keywords relevant to your content focus and audience interests. These inherently have lower competition.
  • Low search volumes – Monthly searches that are roughly equal to your daily traffic range. 50-100 visits per day = look for 50-100 searches per month.
  • Low difficulty – Keywords with low domain authority requirements and not many existing backlinks. Signs that competition is lower.
  • High relevance – Terms that closely relate to your site’s main topics and categories. Stay tightly aligned with your core focus.
  • High intent – Keywords that indicate a user is likely ready to take action or convert. Helps drive qualified traffic.

Keyword research tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Google Keyword Planner can surface these types of keywords. Look for long tail variations of your core topics.

Analyze keyword difficulty data and look for “easy win” options in your tier. Mine the keyword report suggestions in Google Search Console to uncover more options.

Spend time digging for the very best tier-aligned keywords to go after – this fuels the avalanche process.

Step 3: Optimize Content for Your Target Keywords

With your keywords identified, it’s time to create optimized content targeting them.

The goal is to publish pages that perfectly satisfy searcher intent for your focused keywords, making it easy for Google to rank you well.

Follow standard on-page SEO best practices including:

  • Primary keyword in title tag
  • Keyword focused H1 and H2 tags
  • 2-4% keyword density in body content
  • Keyword naturally included in URL
  • Related keywords mentioned throughout
  • Internal links to other relevant pages
  • Proper heading structure (H2, H3 tags)
  • Optimized images with alt text
  • Outbound links to quality resources

Also invest extra time in creating stellar content. Research the topic in-depth, provide truly useful information, and structure content for maximum scannability.

The higher quality your pages, the more signals of expertise and trust you send to Google. This increases the likelihood of outranking competitors.

Finally, optimize technical factors like site speed, mobile responsiveness, schema markup, etc. The more SEO boxes you check, the better.

Step 4: Publish Content Frequently and Promote

With your pages optimized for specific tier-aligned keywords, it’s time to get them live.

Ideally, you should aim to publish 1-2 new pieces of content per day. This ensures you’re constantly putting out optimized pages and gives Google fresh inventory to crawl, index, and potentially rank.

Promote each new piece of content across social media, email lists, paid ads, and any other channels available to generate engagement and early visibility.

The quicker you can drive initial visitors and social shares, the faster Google sees signs of quality and starts positioning the page for keywords.

Step 5: Track Keyword Rankings in SERPs

As you publish more optimized content, you need to closely track its ranking performance.

Use a tool like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Serpstat to monitor your page’s rankings for the keywords you targeted.

Expect top 10 rankings for at least some of your keywords within the first 1-3 months. If you optimized effectively and tapped into low competition keywords in your tier, Google should pick up and rank many of these pages.

Identify any keywords where you fail to reach the first few SERP pages even after 3-6 months. Re-optimize these pages to improve ranking potential.

Step 6: Leverage Interlinking to Boost Internal Pages

Interlinking or internal linking is a pivotal strategy in the avalanche SEO approach.

As some of your pages start ranking and bringing in traffic, you want to link out to newer content to “pass on” authority and rankings power.

Find pages attracting organic visits that also rank well for your target keywords. Link out to newer pages targeting keywords in the same tier using relevant anchor text.

For example:

An older page ranks #2 for “customer churn rate strategies.” It could link out using:

“Understanding churn rate metrics is key. For help calculating churn, see our guide to churn rate formulas.”

This helps pass authority to newer pages and lifts their rankings higher faster.

Aim for 3-5+ internal links from authority pages to boost new content. Track which pages get traffic versus which rank – only link from “power” pages.

Step 7: Move Up to Higher Tiers Over Time

As you build more tier-aligned content and rankings, organic traffic to your site will steadily grow.

For example, after 6 months you may move from 100 visitors per day to 400 visitors per day.

According to the theory, this means Google trusts you in a higher tier now. It’s time to start going after keywords in the next higher tier.

But…don’t abandon your efforts for your current tier yet. Continue publishing content for long tail, low competition keywords in your current AND previous tiers.

This creates overlapping layers of rankings “insurance” across tiers. If an update tanked your rankings for competitive keywords, you’d still have other keywords driving traffic.

Moving up tiers takes time. But as you build a solid foundation in the lower tiers, you can gradually take on more difficult keywords while retaining your previous ground.

Rinse and repeat this process – tier by tier – to achieve exponential traffic growth.

Step 8: Stay Patient and Consistent

The avalanche SEO strategy takes consistency and patience to pay dividends.

It can take 6-12+ months to build significant search traffic, even when executing everything correctly. But if you stick with it, gains compound over time.

Don’t get discouraged by the long runway. Remain diligent in publishing optimized content across tiers, tracking rankings, refining on-page SEO, and leveraging interlinking.

Stay the course and keep building your foundation of keywords across tiers. If you remain consistent, traffic will come.

Pros and Cons of Avalanche SEO

The avalanche SEO approach offers some unique benefits:


  • Low barrier to entry – Can be used by any site regardless of authority
  • Low risk – Targeting low competition keywords carries little downside risk
  • Scales upward forever – Continue moving to higher tiers over time
  • Creates “insurance” against updates – Wide base protects against fluxuations
  • Gains compound forever – Traffic begets more traffic, continuing gains


  • Slow initial growth – Can take 6-12+ months to build momentum
  • Labor intensive – Requires extensive ongoing content creation
  • Limiting initially – Can only target low competition keywords at first
  • Easy to stray off course – Requires sticking to tiers rigorously

While not the fastest approach, avalanche SEO provides a framework for going from 0 to ranking for competitive keywords within a year for almost any site.

The key is having realistic expectations around the timeline, putting in consistent work, and leveraging interlinking and tier progression to accelerate gains.

Expected Results From the Avalanche SEO Strategy

Exact growth will vary based on how well you execute avalanche SEO and the competitiveness of your niche. But in general, here are typical results:

Month 1

  • Publish 30+ pieces of optimized content
  • Achieve some top 10 rankings for targeted keywords
  • See initial small boost in organic traffic

Month 3

  • 100+ optimized pages published
  • Top 10 rankings for 20%+ of keywords
  • Organic traffic clawing up slowly

Month 6

  • 200+ optimized pages published
  • Top 3 rankings for 5-10% of keywords
  • Organic traffic noticeably increasing

Month 9

  • 500+ optimized pages published
  • Multiple #1 rankings achieved
  • Organic traffic hitting next tier threshold

Month 12

  • 800+ pages published across tiers
  • Ranking on page 1 for 10-20% of targeted keywords
  • Gained 2-3X more organic traffic

Month 18

  • 1200+ optimized pages published
  • Several #1 rankings for mid-tier keywords
  • 5-10X more organic traffic gained

As you can see, avalanche SEO takes significant time and effort to build steam. But around the 6-12 month mark, results hit inflection points as compounding gains kick in.

If you remain diligent and keep executing across all tiers, the trajectory of traffic and rankings growth trends upward forever.

Keys to Success With Avalanche SEO

Not all sites employing the avalanche SEO strategy will achieve exponential growth. It takes proper execution across areas like:

  • Starting at the absolute bottom tier – Don’t try shortcuts. Begin at the lowest possible tier based on real organic traffic data.
  • Keyword targeting precision – Be meticulous in aligning keywords to each tier based on search volume.
  • Content optimization rigor – Make on-page optimization and overall content quality your obsession.
  • Rank tracking granularity – Monitor all keyword rankings extensively to constantly refine efforts.
  • Interlinking consistency – Aggressively interlink new and old content across tiers to accelerate gains.
  • Tier progression patience – Move up tiers slowly. Wait for clear signals of traffic growth before expanding focus.
  • Ongoing content creation – Publishing new content regularly is mandatory to see compounding effects.

Not optimizing enough for a given keyword, getting impatient with tier progression, or taking shortcuts with on-page work will all limit results.

But sites who execute avalanche SEO with precision across all areas will reap the benefits over the long haul.

Sample Avalanche SEO Roadmap

Let’s walk through an example avalanche SEO implementation for a hypothetical site – PetCareCo.

Current State

  • Focused on pet care advice content
  • 6 months old
  • Currently gets ~50 organic visitors per day
  • Primarily ranks for a few mid-tail informational keywords

Month 1

  • Identify tier: 50 organic visits per day = 50 visits per month tier
  • Research keywords with ~50 searches per month
  • Publish 30 articles optimized for long tail 50 search volume keywords
  • Achieve a few top 10 rankings, begin small traffic boost

Month 3

  • Continue publishing 2 articles per day optimized around the 50 visit tier
  • Expand keyword research to also target 10-20 searches tier
  • Have 100+ articles ranking across both tiers
  • See 25% traffic increase from initial rankings

Month 6

  • Have 200+ optimized articles ranking across the 10-20 search and 50 search tiers
  • A handful of articles reached top 3 for main keywords
  • Traffic now up 50% and approaching next tier threshold

Month 9

  • Expand keyword research into 100-200 searches tier
  • Shift publishing mix to 50/50 between new tier and older tiers
  • Cross-link related articles across tiers
  • Break into top 3 results for multiple 100-200 search keywords

Month 12

  • Actively optimizing across the 10-20, 50, and 100-200 search tiers
  • Traffic has 2X since starting and enters 200 visits per day tier
  • Have 800+ articles ranking across all 3 tiers
  • Ranking page 1 for several mid-tail keywords

Month 18

  • Enter 5th tier (500 visits per day) through ongoing compounding gains
  • Still expanding foundation across previous tiers
  • Now ranking page 1 for dozens of competitive mid-tail terms
  • Organic traffic has grown 10X overall since starting

This shows the ongoing effort involved with avalanche SEO, but also the compounding effects on traffic and authority over time.

Rinse and repeat this process indefinitely across all tiers, continuing to build on previous progress while expanding upward.

FAQs About Avalanche SEO

Let’s wrap up with some frequently asked questions about the avalanche SEO strategy:

Does avalanche SEO really work?

Yes, avalanche SEO has been proven successful for many sites when executed correctly. But given the long runway, some question its viability. Stay consistent, keep expanding the keyword foundation upward across tiers, and compounding gains manifest.

How long does it take avalanche SEO to work?

Expect a 6-12 month timeframe before major results. It takes time to build authority, even when targeting low competition keywords. But month over month gains typically hit an inflection point leading to hockey stick growth.

Can I skip tiers with avalanche SEO?

It’s best not to skip tiers or take shortcuts. The point is to build a solid foundation before moving up. If you jump tiers too quickly, future volatility may collapse your progress. Take it slow and steady.

How often should I publish new content?

Aim for publishing 1-2 new optimized articles per day continuously. This gives Google fresh pages to potentially rank. Less than 1 article per day limits growth; more than 3 per day spreads efforts too thin.

What if I’m not ranking initially?

If after 2-3 months your content fails to rank page 1, even for tier-aligned keywords, revisit on-page optimization. Often, not fully dialing in SEO is the culprit. Refine your efforts until you achieve some top rankings.

Can I use PPC ads with avalanche SEO?

Yes, running PPC ads to your new content can help accelerate early visibility and traffic. Just don’t direct PPC traffic only to your top pages – incorporate new articles as well.

Is avalanche or aggressive SEO better?

Avalanche SEO is safer and more stable long-term. Aggressive SEO pursuing only high competition keywords can drive faster initial results but higher long-term risk. The hybrid approach is ideal – build a base through avalanche SEO then aggress

In summary, the avalanche SEO strategy requires diligence and patience to yield results. But sites that stick with it reap the benefits of continually compounding search traffic and authority gains over the long term.

It provides a lower risk, higher reward pathway to search dominance – one tier at a time.

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