When it comes to SEO, there’s nothing more difficult than tackling a competitive market. The more people fighting over position 1, the harder you will have to work in order to not only reach that position but maintain it for the long term. While these high-competition, high-volume search terms can be pure gold dust if captured, the true holy grail for SEOs in the digital marketing world is low-competition, high volume key terms perfect for the website in question.
Targeting keywords and topics that a brand has a higher chance of ranking for is an almost foolproof way to capture market share – providing the search terms have a substantial search volume. Finding the perfect balance between low competition and high search volume can be difficult, but we’ve spoken to our experts to get the lowdown on just how businesses can go about finding and targeting exactly that.
Table of Contents
01. What Do We Mean By Low-Competition Keywords?
While SEO can take anything between 6 and 8 months to start producing results, it’s understandable that businesses can start feeling antsy when things don’t start happening sooner. Low-competition keywords give businesses the opportunity to start seeing results faster, while still targeting higher competition keywords alongside, where possible.
On a basic level, low competition keywords are terms that can be ranked for easily, usually with little to no link building or domain authority. While authority building should never be ignored when it comes to today’s SEO strategies, targeting low-competition keywords can give a business a stronger standing in the SERPs while a link building or off-site SEO strategy is in place to build authority long-term. This low-competition targeting can also put a website in a better position to target more competitive topics by building up an existing reputation, earning more traffic and offering regular, fresh content.
02. How Do I Find Low Competition Keywords?
To target low-competition keywords, you first need to know what these keywords are. Every business in every market will be different depending on your niche or audience desires. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools available to aid you in your keyword research,
- Determine Your Initial Keywords
Before you can delve deeper into the difficulty of your ideal key terms, you first need to put together a list of as many keywords your business could target as you can. This is best done using your competitor’s data either using a Keyword Gap report or through the Organic Search Positions report.
The Keyword Gap tool makes it easy to evaluate which terms you and your competitors are ranking for, where you each position for specific terms, and which gaps can be captured above these key competitors. All you have to do is enter the domains of your site and up to four of your competitors. You can choose whether to compare organic, paid or PLA keywords and set intersection parameters of either ‘Unique To The First Domain’s Keywords’, ‘Common Keywords’, ‘Unique Keywords’ or ‘All Keywords’. Which intersection you should choose ultimately depends on your preference, however ‘all keywords’ will give you a wider variety of terms to choose from.
The Organic Search Positions report let’s you investigate your competitors individually and in more depth. You simply enter a domain name, hit search, and are given a list of keywords that that website is ranking for on Google or Bing within the top 20 results. You can go on to filter the results to find the terms most relevant to your business. Either of the two reports will give you an initial list to work from.
- Expand The List
This stage is designed to help you find other terms that might not have been found using either of the reports mentioned in step 1. You can use the Keyword Research tool in order to find an expanded list of search terms that include a specific term that you indicate. For example, if a business’s core search term was ‘Payday Loans’, the Keyword Research tool would offer longer tail search terms that feature this phrase.
The ‘Related Keywords’ report will also offer a similar result, but includes terms that are related, and do not have to include the initial term entered. These results can be added to your initial keyword list.
- Estimate Competition Level Using Organic Positions
When estimating the level of competition you’ll be facing, the Organic Positions report should be your go-to. This particular report can give you the Volume and Competition of a list of key terms which, when considered together, can give you a better estimation of how difficult it might be to target a term.
- Estimate The Keyword Difficulty
SEMrush also has a Keyword Difficulty tool that gives you a score between 0-100% to see how difficult it might be to rank for a specific keyword. The higher the percentage, the more effort will be needed in order to outrank the competition and secure a high position in the SERPs. SEMrush themselves suggest that any score above 80% are the most difficult of keywords that require a lot of investment in SEO, from 60-80% are more accessible but will still require intense authority building, and anything below 60% are the easiest to rank for, but generally some of the more difficult to find.
- Take A Look At The Top Competitors For A Key Term
To expand on the results you get from the Keyword Difficulty report, you can find out which domains are ranking and the domain strength of each one. 20 competitors will be listed, and you can take all of these to analyse in Organic Positions to work out where their weaknesses lie and which gaps in their markets you can capture.
Google Keyword Planner
Google’s Keyword Planner is an invaluable tool for any businesses taking on Google’s SERPs. After all, where better to get accurate insights than from the search engine itself? This planner offers a relatively effective starting point for businesses with a specific niche, offering real-time search terms that your audience are searching for at that time. While this is a great starting point, utilising other tools like SEMrush can give you the upper hand over your competitors, who may also receive similar results from Google’s Keyword Planner.
If there was ever a place to find out just what your clients want at any one time, social media platforms are it. We’re all guilty of taking to our social media account of choice to complain, celebrate or give our opinion about a specific topic and for businesses, this can be an invaluable opportunity. By paying attention to what your target audience is talking about and tackling that topic quickly, you can capture the market while it’s ‘hot’, effectively appealing to the market and helping to showcase your brand as being up to date and relevant to the niche you’re operating within.
Google’s ‘Related Searches’ Feature
The Related Searches feature is often overlooked by digital marketers, and it’s certainly a shame. A simple search of your key term and a scroll to the bottom of page one will give you a list of questions or terms similar to that of which you’ve searched. This can give you a few unique ideas from your core term which may have lower competition, but a significant search volume. These terms don’t always show up in Keyword Planner either, so can be an effective manual way of producing a list of low-competition terms to target.
03. Finding Out The Search Volume
While the likes of SEMrush and Google’s Keyword Planner will offer you search volume data, terms that are harvested organically will require a little more work. In order to find out whether these terms really are low-competition and high volume, you’ll need to invest time in finding out their search volume. Some of the most popular tools for this include:
SEMrush is, once again, one of the best tools when it comes to determining search volume. Their Keyword Overview toolkit gives you data about the organic search volume, the cost per click (CPC) within paid search and both phrase match and related keywords, all of which also show the search volume and CPC. The data is all compiled into a dashboard initially, giving you the figures you need without having to delve too deeply into reports.
- Moz Keyword Explorer
Moz are widely known for their in-depth blogs and guides, but their Keyword Explorer tool is certainly worth raving about too. It provides you with an initial dashboard that gives you not only the search volume but the difficulty, opportunity and potential, with similar keyword suggestions and a SERP analysis of the first three results. There can be a relatively wide breadth when it comes to the search volume, but it can give you a general idea of how likely to capture the terms you are.
- Google Trends
Google Trends is a very simple tool and while it doesn’t a huge variety of features or a vast amount of data, it will give you the information you need to examine and evaluate the search volume information. It can show you additional data including the volume growth or decline, geographic popularity and related topics, which can help you determine the interest over time and how beneficial it might be to try and tackle a particular topic.
- Google Keyword Planner
While Google Keyword Planner will give you the keywords initially, it can be used to determine the search volume of additional search terms. You can enter the keyword into the ‘your product or service’ field, after which a bar chart will be generated offering average monthly search data. This can not only provide you with the current search volume but will show you how this has changed in the past 12 months. It also provides you with related terms and ad group suggestions.
04. How Do I Target Low Competition Words Keywords?
After determining your keywords and their search volume, you can better decide which could provide your business with the best opportunities online. Low-competition keywords that have a relatively high search volume may be difficult to find, but once found and targeted, offer a unique position to any website that does it effectively. With the easy win of a low-competition keyword and the traffic-related benefits of high search volume, brands can carve out a more secure position in their industry.
Connor is one of our SEO Account Managers who, having grown from an apprentice at the agency to becoming one of the key members of the SEO team, has a read more.