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How To Uncover Low Competition Keywords (With & Without Tools)

Did you know that a staggering 63% of Google users never view the second page of their search results?

So, uncovering low-competition keywords is crucial if you want to improve your ranking and drive more authentic traffic to your fledgling site - even if you are facing stiff competition.

To uncover low-competition keywords with and without tools:

  • Brainstorm topics
  • Use SEO tools with keyword difficulty filters
  • Use words or long-tail keywords with numerical values from 0-10
  • And either informational, commercial, transactional, or navigational keyword-modifying filters

Uncovering low-competition keywords might sound relatively straightforward if you use cutting-edge SEO tools.

But that is sadly not the case, and simply bombarding your site with random keywords is a potentially risky move.

So, if you want to avoid all those nasty pitfalls – read on!

Why Are Low-Competition Keywords So Valuable?

Even though ranking high for competitive keywords is ideal, it's incredibly difficult in the short term, especially if you have a brand new, unknown website.

Carefully selected quality low-competition keywords are highly effective. They increase organic traffic and improve your website's rankings without needing a high Domain Authority or having to build additional links.

And long-tail keywords (3-5 words), with high search volumes, and low competition scores, are often overlooked in favor of head keywords or short phrases with high-keyword difficulty scores, even though they can significantly boost your ability to rank higher on Google.

How To Find Low-Competition Keywords

Finding effective low-competition keywords with and without SEO tools can be broken down into the following 3 steps.

While it is a simplified version of a potentially time-consuming process, especially if you are a novice, it will give you an improved understanding of what the process entails. And we can take a deeper dive once you understand these fundamental steps.

Step 1: Brainstorm Creative New Topics

One of the most crucial aspects of finding suitable keywords is to consider what your target audience is interested in and what they might be searching for.

While you could look for ideas on your own, collaborating with others and brainstorming phrases or broad themes that relate to your niche is incredibly helpful, as we all have blind spots.

In addition, review your website's main topics and associated keywords. Then create a spreadsheet with a list of 5-10 topic ideas relating to your business that you can use as "seed keywords "and expand on.

Step 2: SEO Keyword Research Tool

Even though free and paid keyword search tools differ, most work on the same premise.

You only need a few keywords or phrases to generate a report with thousands of keyword ideas and content briefs & outlines.

Depending on the type of SEO tool you opt for, you can find useful information like search volumes and other essential SEO metrics.

Step 3: Apply Filters To Find Specific Keywords

Most reputable keyword search tools provide filters to source keyword difficulty scores with a simple numerical value from 0-10.

Keyword difficulty scores indicate how challenging it would be to rank on Google searches in the top ten. However, it's important to point out that SEO tools measure and interpret Google's undisclosed ranking factors differently. Therefore, the keyword difficulty score will vary.

All keyword search tools use custom formulas and methods to compute keyword difficulty scores, like deciphering the average amount of referring website domains linked to Google's top ten pages.

Some high keyword difficulty scores are linked to top-ranking pages with several backlinks. In contrast, low keyword difficulty scores on top-ranking pages contain fewer backlinks.

Thus, if your keyword search tools factor in backlinks to determine keyword difficulty scores, words with low keyword difficulty scores are considered low-competition keywords that don't require additional links.

So, if you are shopping around for a keyword search tool, ask the company's support team how they compute their keyword difficulty data. You can then use the tool more effectively.

How To Select The Best Low-Competition Keywords

Keyword difficulty competition scores may not be accurate because there are many factors to consider.

Therefore, you can only partially rely on SEO tools to find excellent low-competition keywords. However, it's a great place to start your search.

Consequently, it's essential to go online and review all the top-ranked pages to ensure that the search tool has identified authentic low-competition keywords.

Additionally, consider the following when you curate your final keyword list:

  • Find a median or a sweet spot between keywords with high search volumes and little competition or difficulty scores.
  • Search for keywords with high search volumes linked with top competitors, few backlinks, and lower domain authority (DA) rankings.

And, if your website is already positioned on the first search results page, albeit not in a top 5 position. Select keywords with a high search volume result to improve your ranking.

Other Key Considerations To Find Low Competition Keywords

There are three additional and essential matters to consider before you target specific keywords.

So, here's a quick breakdown of the other key considerations.

Search/Customer Intent

You will not be able to improve your rankings with low-competition keywords if you don't create the type of content that potential customers are looking for or use black-hat SEO methods like stuffing too many keywords on a single page.

When doing keyword research, it's worth looking for keywords that are aligned with your specific business or service that can be used to create quality website content.

Keywords are grouped into the following four categories:

  1. Informational: searchers who are looking for info regarding specific topics
  2. Commercial: people who are shopping around for bargains on products, or services
  3. Transactional: customers who want to buy a specific branded item
  4. Navigational: people who are searching for a particular website

The easiest way to identify a keyword category is to look for keyword converters when you search for any low-competition keywords.

Therefore, if the resulting keywords include the words "buy," "affordable," or cheap it is probably related to a transactional keyword search.

Alternatively, if the keyword includes "what, where, or how," it is most likely an informational inquiry suited to websites containing blogs and helpful resources.

Most reputable SEO tools have the functionality to include keyword converters or modifiers that specifically target keyword categories in combination with low keyword difficulty or competition filters.

However, it's important to point out that while using keyword converter filters can deliver excellent results, they are sometimes hit and miss.

For example, should the keyword be "best buy toasters," or is it not suited to transactional keywords? Instead, it is a navigational inquiry as the searcher was looking for an electronics store called Best Buy.

Thus, even though best buy has an extremely low keyword difficulty score, you will never be able to outrank the Best Buy store.

Domain Authority Ratings

Domain Authority (DA) ratings measure a website's credibility or authority with a numerical value ranging from 0-100 based on its number of quality backlinks.

Even though most SEO experts wholeheartedly believe that Google employs a specific algorithm metric to determine domain authority score, Google execs debunked that theory on many occasions.

However, you will probably notice that certain low-competition or difficulty keywords emanate from websites with high domain authority (DA) scores.

So, that begs the question, does a website's DA score affect its ability to rank on Google? The answer is no, but that is not always the case.

Brand equity trumps a website's domain authority in many instances. Well-known brands tend to dominate as they are in such high demand.

So, suppose your website or brand is obscure. In that case, you will potentially struggle to rank higher with specific keywords if you are competing with popular, well-established brands.

For example, if you represent Walmart, "black purses" is considered a low-competition keyword as you have a high domain ranking and brand equity.

Although, if you have a small accessories store, "black purses" will be classified as high-competition or difficulty keywords as you are competing with the "big boys."

However, it does not mean that a "mom and pop" store cannot outrank corporate giants. It simply means that it is much harder to compete, even with carefully selected low-competition keywords.

So, please keep that in mind.

High-Quality Backlinks

While it is true that most keyword difficulty scores are actually based on the number of backlinks associated with the top-ranked pages, it does not consider their quality. Therefore, you will have to review the link's quality by answering the following questions:

  • Is the linking page or website relevant?
  • What is the linking site's domain authority (DA)?
  • Where is the link placed on the top-rated page?
  • Does the link have a "Follow" or a "No-Follow" status, including anchor text?

Because most SEO tools are incapable of conducting all the previously mentioned backlink quality checks, it's essential to check them manually,as quantity and quality are not always synonymous.

The Best SEO Software To Uncover Low Competition Keywords

Now that we have covered all the basics of uncovering low-competition keywords, let's have a look at the top SEO tools to get you started.

While most of the recommended SEO tools include free plans, it's important to note that they offer limited functionality.

So, if you want all the "bells and whistles," consider paying a little bit more for ease of use and for the improvement of your ability to rank.

Google Keyword Planner

This nifty SEO tool has two primary features, namely a keyword discovery and a research tool, including a more comprehensive functionality with in-depth SEO metrics.

Google's "Keyword ideas" functionality generates additional keywords with valuable data like monthly search volumes, competition, adjustments over time, and bid ranges, including impression shares.

Other benefits include keyword filters and information concerning keyword website resources. And should you already use Google Ads, its "Forecast" functionality is beneficial as it allows you to budget and plan for paid Google ads.

Keysearch

This dynamic free SEO tool allows you to drive more traffic to your site organically with bespoke Pinterest and YouTube keyword research tools, including valuable backlink opportunities.

Other helpful features include keyword difficulty reviews, backlinks, domain authority data, and competitive analysis, including a website analyzer that can audit specific sites.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is yet another phenomenal SEO tool for low-keyword research, sourcing link-building prospects, and backlink verifications.

Although what truly sets them apart from their competitors is the time it takes to generate comprehensive keyword ranking reports that include a lot of helpful SEO metrics other tools lack.

Moz Keyword Explorer

This SEO platform offers numerous helpful keyword research tools with all the metrics you need, albeit without the complex data points most advanced SEO tools provide.

Moz Keyword Explorer is far easier to use if you have limited experience and is manageable compared with other sophisticated SEO platforms used by seasoned professionals.

GetKeywords

GetKeywords is one of the most impressive free SEO tools, especially if you consider that it caters to business owners who want to focus on enhancing their local SEO rankings with bespoke features that you would typically have to pay for.

This SEO platform allows you to use filters with keyword modifiers based on your customer's search intent. In addition, you can drill down with filters for specific countries, cities, provinces, and other bespoke metrics.

Semrush

Semrush is ideal if you are looking for a more sophisticated SEO tool with advanced functionality that helps you drill down and find keyword data on a granular, in-depth level with added features like SERP data.

This cutting-edge SEO tool also offers a wide range of helpful keyword research tools, like competitive keyword gap analysis reports with search volumes, including content-focused keywords.

Keyword Surfer And Surfer SEO

Keyword Surfer is the free and accessible version of Surfer SEO. However, it is merely a Google browse extension with fewer features compared to the paid version. Therefore, it's ideal for less in-depth keyword searchers.

It's also a convenient SEO tool, as you never have to leave the Chrome search results page. In addition, it can be used in conjunction with other free SEO browser extensions that include additional features.

The paid version, Surfer SEO subscription, offers a full suite of useful features like competitor keyword gap analysis reports, search intent filters, and an AI Content Editor that provides SEO content quality scores. Google Docs, WordPress extensions, and so much more.

QuestionDB

Even though QuestionDB does not offer a complete SEO suite of features, you can never have enough tools in your arsenal to find valuable keywords.

Mainly because this free app does more than just scrape keyword questions from Google and Bing like most SEO platforms.

You will be able to find a proverbial "gold mine" in untapped keywords sourced from Stack Exchange, Reddit, and Quora, to name a few.

WordStream

If you are searching for a keyword research tool that sources keywords for nearly 60 verticals and provides strategic SEO advice for free – look no further!

WordStream is easy to use as you only need to enter a seed word or URL. In addition, it includes industry-specific filters (with 24 verticals) and location filters for over 23 countries.

The keyword suggestions report will include numerous keyword suggestions with long-tail options, search volumes, CPC, and competitive gap analysis.

The only potential downside of using this free keyword research tool is that it only instantly generates 25 keyword suggestions, and you need to enter your email address to receive additional keyword suggestions. Although considering it is free – it could be worth it.

Serpstat

This list of the best SEO keyword research tools would be incomplete without mentioning Serpstat, primarily because it is currently being used by 250 000 people across the globe.

It offers a full suite of user-friendly SEO tools. Finding low-competition keywords is a breeze, as you can set filters and generate a comprehensive report in a matter of minutes.

How To Use Low Competition Keywords: SEO Best Practices

While low-competition keywords can make a significant difference in your ability to rank higher, they will not generate the desired results if you're on-page search engine optimization fundamentals are not in place.

With that in consideration, here are the best practices that you can use as an essential SEO checklist for your own site that can make a massive difference in your ability to rank higher.

Create Compelling SEO-Friendly Content

Content is king! So, make sure that you only have quality, helpful content on your site that your target audience is searching for with title tags and meta descriptions containing low-competition keywords.

Descriptive and concise title tags are essential as they are clickable SERP content headings that can direct organic traffic to your site if they contain valuable keywords.

Although, don't be tempted to use too many keywords in your title tag descriptions, as Google might penalize you and ensure that there are no duplicates.

Meta descriptions are mostly displayed under your site's title and URL on the search engine results page. It's like an elevator sales pitch that can drive more traffic to your site.

However, a poorly phrased meta description can also be your downfall. So, ensure that it contains a well-crafted call to action with keywords that appeal to your target audience.

Most importantly, ensure that all the meta descriptions for your site's various pages (they all need one) are between 155-160 characters in total.

Technical SEO

Ensure that all your images are optimized with HTML code alt text descriptions to make it easier for Google crawlers to navigate to your site and ensure that all your internal links are operational.

Other SEO checks include ensuring that your site's page loading speed is optimal. Especially on mobiles, as it's an essential Google ranking factor. And there are multiple things you can do to improve your page loading speeds.

Importantly, use Google Search Console to continuously monitor your site's efficiencies and to spot potential red flags before they create havoc.


Should High Competition Keywords Be Avoided?

At this stage, you might wonder whether high-competition keywords should always be avoided.

The answer to that (difficult) question is that it depends on your goals and your level of SEO expertise.

While low-competition keywords are a short-term, efficient way to rank higher on Google's search results pages, mainly if you are an unknown brand, they won't significantly improve your click-through rate in the long run.

Even though most people "play it safe" and continue using low-competition keywords, upping your game long-term with high-competition keywords is worth considering. Why, might you ask?

Most reputable SEO tools devise keyword difficulty scores based on top-ranked websites with several quality backlinks.

High-difficulty or competition keywords are used to create bespoke content suited to attracting additional links. In other words – high competition keywords are valuable link-bait topics.

To find high-competition keywords on an SEO platform, simply filter for high-difficulty keywords with scores of more than 50 with numerous backlinks (check the keyword SERP report overview).

Another prudent strategy is to reach out to other successful web hosts and give them compelling reasons to create links with your website.

Specifically, if it contains helpful information that will benefit their target audience.

Most importantly, if you manage to obtain a lot of quality backlinks to your site, you will start ranking far higher, even if you don't have any brand equity or a high domain authority score.

The other significant benefit of using high-competition keywords, with a ton of backlinks as a long-term SEO strategy, is that you can vastly improve your site's authority and brand awareness.

Backlinks enable you to link with quality sites with high domain authority scores and utilize high domain authority internal links as link bait to amplify pages with low-competition keywords.

Conclusion

While there are several effective ways to uncover outstanding low-competition keywords, with and without tools, it does require some critical thinking skills.

Regrettably, you can only entirely rely on SEO keyword difficulty or competition scores by manually checking the top-ranking sites.

And considering other essential factors like user search intent categories, domain authority scores, and quality backlinks.

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