When deciding which keywords to target, it’s tempting to start by targeting the biggest, most competitive keywords in your industry. But targeting only highly competitive keywords can take a lot of time, and ranking for them is not always realistically possible.
Low competition keywords are much easier to rank for and you can start getting search traffic in a quicker time frame.
In our latest video, I take you through exactly how to find the best low competition keywords to target.
What Is A Low Competition Keyword?
A low-volume keyword is simply a very specific, niche-oriented, and has little competition, this makes it easy to rank for.
These particularly keywords tend to be:
- Long-tail, which means they have 3 or more terms in the search phrase
- Very specific
- Very relevant to what your website or business can offer users
- Have a low search volume
- Easy to rank for with a limited number of backlinks
We often find that the fact that low competition keywords often have a ‘low search volume’ is a deterrent for many SEOs. But you can still generate great levels of traffic by targeting lots of smaller search volume keywords.
The traffic driven from 5 of these niche keywords may equate to the same volume of traffic you’d receive from ranking at the top of the search results for 1 generic high search volume keyword.
The best thing is, by ranking for the low competition keywords and if done in the right way, you’ll be indirectly boosting your ranking for the high competition keywords over time. This is because generally if the search is more detailed, it’s more likely that the customer is much closer to converting.
If you can match that search term with your offering, you’ll see your conversion rate soar!
So how do you find these gems? Check out our 6-step process.
How To Find Low Competition Keywords
1) Brainstorm Keywords
First you’ll need to Brainstorm Keywords
The first thing you need to do is generate some general keyword ideas and topics that are related to your niche. These top-level keywords are also known as seed keywords.
You’ll want to create a list of seed keywords that you’ll use as a basis to find your low competition keywords.
To create your list, start by looking at the industry you’re in.
So if the niche is Search Engine Optimization, you would start with seed keywords such as:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Link Building
Also look at your target website and pick out the words that you use consistently across the pages.
You’ll see on our website we speak a lot about SEO, link building and content so these work well as seed keywords for us.
2) Expand Your Keywords
Now you need to expand your keywords. Here you’ll create extended lists of keywords that sit below the seed keywords.
You can use Google Keyword Planner for free which provides additional ideas related to your initial term.
So, let’s take our seed keywords and enter these into the Keyword Planner Tool.
Google will offer you a range of clickable searches you can make related to the original keyword.
You can also refine based on the general search intent which has been in beta for some time now. But I’ll go more into search intent shortly.
We can also use Ahrefs, which is our tool of choice due to its detail.
Pop your seed keywords into the keyword explorer tool.
Head to the Matching Terms report.
You’ll need to narrow this down even further because you’ll see the tool lists a lot of keywords. In this case, nearly 1.7 million keywords.
3) Check Keyword Difficulty
The next step is to Check the Keyword Difficulty.
Keyword difficulty is a measure that shows you how hard it’ll be to rank on the first page of Google for that particular search term. It’s measured using the weighted average of the number of backlinks to the top 10 search results.
In theory, the lower the keyword difficulty, the easier it is to rank for that keyword. This is because the top 10 ranking URLs won’t have many linking domains.
The reason we recommend using Ahrefs to check this is because it’s easy to filter a massive list of keywords by their Keyword Difficulty scores.
Let’s filter our matching terms. We’ll set 0 as the minimum keyword difficulty value and 30 as the highest value.
The number of potential low competition keywords has reduced to just over 28,000.
But you can’t go off the keyword difficulty metric alone. Although backlinks are a big ranking factor, they’re not the only one. So you’ll need to analyse these keywords based on a few other factors.
4) Check Search Intent
Search intent is the reason behind a searcher’s query on search engines.
For example, someone might be using search engines because they want to buy something, learn about something or find something.
You want to choose those keywords where the search intent makes sense against your business or brand.
If you can’t match the search intent with the content you create, you won’t rank, regardless of whether the keyword difficulty score is low.
Let’s take a look at the top ranking pages for the search term ‘best SEO services for small business’. We’re looking to see if the existing top ranking URLs are informational blog posts, transactional product pages or something else.
As we scroll past the ads, we can see from titles such as ‘Top small business SEO companies & services’ and ‘How to find the right SEO service for your small business’ that these results are mostly blogs.
Now let’s look at the content format. We can see that most are a full blog post format in a listicle style. If we want to rank for this search term, we’d need to ensure that we can match this content type and angle.
On the other end of the scale, if we take a look at ‘SEO content writing services’, the top ranking pages are businesses that actually offer these services.
So if you don’t offer these, you wouldn’t want to rank for this keyword. This is because the users searching with these keywords, aren’t those that match your target audience. You won’t drive traffic or generate conversions from targeting these keywords.
5) Assess how difficult the keyword actually is
Just because you think that you can match the search intent and get more backlinks than those currently ranking in the search results, doesn’t mean that it’s a good search term for your website to target.
You need to check the authority or brand equity of the ranking sites and compare this to your own.
Let’s head back to take a look at the ‘best seo services for small business’, you can see that the DR ratings for these websites are pretty high with sites like Clutch, WordStream and OuterBox design which has a DR of 77.
DR is the Domain Rating which is Ahrefs authority metric and gives you an understanding of how trustworthy search engines perceive that domain to be.
The higher the rating, the more trustworthy the domain and the more likely it is to rank well.
You’ll see that the number of backlinks here is relatively low so let’s take a closer look at one of these.
We can see that the DR of the linking sites is actually really high so they have a good number of high quality backlinks, meaning that this search term is actually going to be pretty difficult to rank for.
But if we take a look at ‘how to do on-page seo with wordpress’, we can see that the referring domains to the second search result have low DRs which would suggest this is a good keyword to target.
6) Analyze The Traffic Potential
Finally, Step 6 is to Analyze The Traffic Potential
The low competition keywords with good traffic potential are what we’re after but they’re often hard to find.
I’m going to show you a few really simple ways to find them.
Let’s head back to our example search term ‘Best SEO services for small business’.
We can see on Ahrefs that the estimated monthly organic traffic each search result gets so you’ll have an understanding of the traffic you can expect if you reach that particular position.
Ahrefs Content Explorer is another way around finding low competition keywords. This approaches the content topic first.
We’ll enter one of our original seed keywords: SEO, Link Building or Content. I’m going to use Search Engine Optimization.
Now we’ll set some filters.
I’ll set the referring domains lower than 10 because we want these to be as low as possible to give us the best chance of ranking and I’ll filter page traffic to those over 500 organic searches.
Scroll through the titles and topics, click to expand the page traffic and look at the organic keywords list.
This’ll give you an understanding of content topics that target and rank for a range of related low competition keywords.
Bear in mind that while targeting low competition keywords is a great tactic to embed into your strategy, there’s a reason that the high difficulty keywords are so difficult to rank for.
Every website wants to rank for them because they have much higher search volumes and open more opportunities to generate many more leads and ultimately, conversions.
So you want to use your goal of ranking for low competition keywords to build authority, brand awareness and generate more high quality backlinks in a way that enables you to be in the running to rank for all those shiny high volume, highly competitive keywords.
To find low competition keywords for your website or clients, simply apply this 6-step process whenever you conduct keyword research.
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