How to Find Low-Competition Keywords for SEO (2023)
Keyword research is an essential method for any digital marketing strategy. It will help you identify new opportunities to grow your website traffic and, ultimately, your customer base.
But ranking in the search engines can be difficult when you have a new website or are trying to launch a new service or product. That’s where low-competition keywords come in.
In this guide, we’ll cover:
- What is a low-competition keyword?
- Why are low-competition keywords important?
- How to find low-competition keywords
- How to make the most of low-competition keywords
- Should you avoid high-competition keywords?
What Is a Low-Competition Keyword?
A low-competition keyword is a keyword (or phrase) with fewer businesses or websites trying to rank in the search engines for it, aka less competition.
Criteria that make up low-competition keywords include:
- Long-tail phrases (three or more words)
- Very specific keywords
- Hyper-relevant to your business offerings
- Easy to rank for
- Lower search volume
Low-competition keywords offer great opportunities to drive website traffic. They have fewer high-authority, topical websites trying to rank for them. Most frequently, forums and directory sites appear at the top of the search results for low-competition phrases.
Take this low-competition phrase for example:
“deep sea fishing tour where you can swim with dolphins”
It’s a specific, longtail keyword, and top-ranking search results are from Tripadvisor (a travel forum and directory).
When users search for phrases like this, they show a higher level of interest in that topic and are more likely to engage with the content they find.
High-competition keywords are the more broad phrases that authoritative websites often rank well for in the SERPs. Think about the 1-2 keyword phrases that are important to you. Those are frequently more competitive to go after. Even certain long tail phrases can be pretty competitive.
For example, if you search “swimming with dolphins” the top ranking results are Dolphin Lagoon in Orlando and SeaWorld in San Diego. Those will be difficult to outrank.
The reason more authoritative websites “win” the top spots on Google is because they send more trust signals. Their website and content are often the most relevant to the search query. Plus, they have a wealth of growing content on their website, backlinks from other authoritative websites, high engagement rates with their content, and good organic traffic.
Why Are Low-Competition Keywords Important?
The short answer: they are easier to rank for!
When you go after a low-competition keyword, also known as low-hanging fruit in the SEO world, you can start ranking at the top of search results quicker.
These opportunities are critical for:
- Businesses with new websites
- Websites with a low domain authority
- Competitive industries
- Trying to rank for a new product or service
- Any combination of the above
In order to rank well for competitive phrases, you need to build your trust and authority with Google. That’s why low-competition keywords are so important.
If you can start ranking for the low-hanging fruit by providing high-quality content, you can grow your website traffic, acquire backlinks, and grow your domain authority, allowing you to compete for more difficult phrases.
How to Find Low-Competition Keywords
Many marketers don’t realize that there are tons of easy ways to find new keywords without using expensive keyword tools. We’ll talk about keyword research tools too, but we want to provide you with ideas to find keywords outside of the plethora of existing paid tools.
1. Use TikTok’s “Others Searched For”
When people can’t find what they’re searching for on Google, they often take their questions to social media, including TikTok.
If you start typing a question into TikTok’s search tool, you can see some of the questions users ask.
Search for your topics on TikTok to see what users are asking about. Take note of the questions and topics you find and take them to Google or a keyword research tool to see if they could be a viable low-competition keyword opportunity.
TikTok even has an “Others searched for” section where you can see what TikTok users are looking for on the platform.
You can take some of these phrases and type them into Google to discover even more keyword opportunities.
2. Look at Facebook Recommendation Requests & Questions
Facebook is another social media platform that people turn to when they can’t find the answer from Google.
To use this strategy, gto Facebook and search for your main topic + recommendations.
For example, you can search for “fishing tour recommendations.”
Click Posts to see the kinds of requests that people are asking.
In just a few seconds, you found these posts and came up with a couple of ideas that you can look further into:
- Best fishing tours for people who like whale watching
- Land based fishing tours
- Snorkeling and sightseeing tours
Take these ideas to Google to see if there are any good results for them. If not, then those are great low-competition phrases to create new content around.
3. Look for Keywords on Your Competitors’ Websites
If your competitors have done their due diligence to market their business online, they’ve likely produced some good content on their websites.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here.
Look through your competitors’ websites to see what kind of content they are producing and which keywords they are focusing on.
Now, don’t copy exactly what they’re doing (plagiarism won’t get you any points with Google), but use their site as a jumping-off point for generating new keyword ideas.
They may be going after some low-competition phrases, too.
Pay particular attention to the competitors that consistently outrank you for important phrases. Are any of them showing up time and time again in the SERPs as you do your keyword research?
Let’s say our business does deep-sea fishing tours in Orlando. Do a quick Google search and see which businesses are ranking at the top of the SERPs for that service.
The local map-pack results will tell you which businesses are highly reviewed by customers. Some of these may even have good content ideas on their websites.
But if you scroll down past these to the organic results, you can see which businesses have put more effort into their website and online content. Those are the ones that will have the best low-competition keyword ideas.
When we click on the top organic result for our query and go to the “info” dropdown on their website, we can already see that they’ve spent significant time building content to attract traffic from long tail phrases.
Peruse your competitors’ blogs and resource pages and take note of the longtail phrases they are going after. Then, cross-reference those keywords against other keyword-finding methods on this list to determine if that phrase is a good low-competition keyword to go after.
If it looks like a good opportunity, take that idea and produce something even better than your competitor did.
4. Use Google Autocomplete
You don’t need a high-powered keyword research tool to find low-competition keywords.
You can find tons of great keyword and content opportunities directly from Google. The best way to start is by typing a question into Google and seeing what queries auto-complete provides.
Let’s stick with our fishing tours example.
First, think of questions that people might ask about your product or service. Start typing the question into Google, but don’t finish it.
We’ll start with “Are fishing charters” to see what comes up.
“Why are fishing charters so expensive” seems interesting, and it’s a question that people are asking Google, so we’ll click on it.
The first couple of results are from a local news outlet and Quora. That’s what you want!
When local news outlets or forums take one of the first positions on Google, there isn’t much competition for the top-ranking positions for that phrase.
One more thing–when you type a question into Google, pay attention to the pages that appear in the search results. Do they seem relevant to your query? Do they answer the question?
Sometimes, Google doesn’t have a page that answers a user’s question perfectly, so it brings up results that are as relevant as possible. If the results for your search don’t seem hyper-relevant to your question or topic, then that question is another great low-competition keyword that you can add to your arsenal.
5. Look for Forum Results on Google
If you search on Google for any of your keywords and find forum search results from sites like Reddit, Quora, or Tripadvisor, that’s a good indicator that you have a low-competition keyword.
Forums are not actively trying to rank and provide relevant information to answer questions on Google. They just provide the platform for users to ask their questions, and Google finds these conversations and feeds them into their search results when relevant.
But you can take those questions (low-competition keywords) and use them as an opportunity to provide a more in-depth and helpful guide that answers the question.
6. Check Out Google’s “People Also Ask” for More Ideas
Google’s “People also ask” section shows us other questions users have asked that relate to our original search query.
As you can see in the photo above, there are several questions in this section under our fishing tours query. Click through these to see if any of the answers also come from forum websites. If so, add those questions to your keyword list (so long as it’s relevant to your business).
When you click the last question on the list, Google will generate more questions for you to look through. Keep clicking through these questions until they are no longer relevant. You’re sure to find tons of ideas here.
7. Look at “Related Searches” on Google
Check out the related searches for any Google queries you perform, and click on those that are relevant. These are often other related questions that users are asking. Combine this with other research methods for Google keywords and see if any new opportunities crop up.
8. Check out Forums and Online Communities
Forums like Quora and Reddit hold a plethora of low-competition keyword opportunities. People go to these forums to ask questions they can’t find the answers to on Google, meaning there’s less competition for them.
Start by typing one of your seed phrases in the search bar on the forum website.
Like Google, these platforms provide suggestions around topics people are already asking. You can find some questions in this dropdown, but we like to hit enter here and see what other questions come up.
Each question on this page is a low-competition keyword that can increase your website's traffic.
- How much does a Dubai fishing tour cost?
- What are some good suggestions for sea fishing tours in Bangkok?
- How do I take part in an off-shore fishing tour?
- Where can I book a fishing tour to hunt big sharks?
Now, all you have to do is provide high-quality content that users will find value in.
Plus, you can sort these questions by different time frames to see which questions have been asked more recently.
The best opportunities will be the questions that don’t have many (or any) answers and have several followers.
9. Try “allintitle” or “allinurl” Searches on Google
Google has some specific text options you can add to search queries. Allintitle” and “allinurl” are some of these.
To utilize these parameters, all you need to do is type the parameter text with a colon and the keyword you want to go after.
So your search might look something like this:
allinurl:best fishing tours in san diego
What does each of these mean?
- “allinurl” allows you to search for results in which your keyword appears in the URL
- “allintitle” allows you to search for results in which your keyword appears in the SEO title
URLs and SEO titles are both important places to optimize for keywords, so the sites that are going after your phrases will show up in these results. This will help you determine how competitive a keyword is.
Let’s test this out with our fishing tours example.
If we type “allintitle:fishing tours” into Google, we get over 62,000 results. That’s a pretty competitive phrase that many websites are optimizing for.
But, if we use one of the previous long-tail phrases that we found and type in “allintitle:why are fishing charters so expensive,” only one result shows up with that exact SEO title.
Not only does this help you find low-competition phrases, but it also gives you a starting point to optimize your content for that keyword.
10. Take Advantage of Keyword Research Tools
Many keyword research tools provide valuable metrics to determine the best low-competition opportunities. Most of these tools tell you the search volume and competition level of each keyword you find.
You may need to subscribe to a premium account for extensive research and to take full advantage of these tools' features.
Exploding Topics is a great place to begin your keyword research. You can see which topics are trending in your industry and then use that to hone in on the best seed phrases to go after. From there, you can utilize the other tips we’ve shared to grow your list of low-competition keywords.
AnswerThePublic provides several lists of long-tail keywords, including questions, comparisons, and preposition phrases. Because low-competition keywords tend to have lower search volume, you can use AnswerThePublic’s search volume data to find relevant keywords with lower search volume and grow your list of low-competition phrases.
Want more tools like this? Try these five AnswerThePublic alternatives.
11. Utilize Keywords Everywhere Competition Data
Sometimes it’s nice to have a good keyword tool to streamline the keyword research process.
Keywords Everywhere is a Google Chrome and Firefox extension that you can use as you perform keyword research on Google. When you turn the extension on, it will provide you with data for each Google search you do.
This data includes related longtail phrases (for even more keyword ideas) and difficulty scores that can tell you how competitive that phrase is.
You can see the domain authority, open page rank, and difficulty scores of each URL that ranks for a specific keyword.
Check out the domain authority (DA) of the websites ranking for your desired keyword. Are there any in the top five with a lower DA than yours? If so, that can be a good indicator of low competition for that keyword–or it at least shows you that you have a good chance of ranking for that phrase, too.
12. Look at Google Ads Keyword Planner
Even though Keyword Planner is intended for Google Ads, it can still provide valuable insights for SEO keyword research. All you need is a Google Account to use it–you don’t even have to set up Google Ads.
To do this:
- Just go to ads.google.com and log in with your Google account.
- Create an ads account without setting up a new campaign.
- Go to “Tools and settings” and click “Keyword Planner.”
You can use Keyword Planner to help with your low-competition keyword research in a couple of ways: Discover new keywords and Get search volume and forecasts.
With Discover new keywords, you can enter your seed phrases–and even some other longtail phrases you’ve found–to get additional keyword suggestions.
With Get search volume and forecasts, you can enter your list of longtail phrases that you’ve found to get estimated search volume and competition metrics for those keywords.
When you perform your search–for either option–look at the Avg. monthly searches and Competition columns.
The phrases with lower search volume and low competition will be the best low-competition phrases to go after.
Important note: The competition column in Keyword Planner indicates the competition level for Google Ads in the search results and doesn’t necessarily reflect how competitive the organic results are. However, pairing this with lower search volume phrases can help you identify low-competition keywords for SEO.
Looking for more keyword research tools? Check out our guide: Top 9 Long Tail Keyword Generator Tools for 2023.
How to Make the Most of Low-Competition Keywords
Just having a list of low-competition keywords won’t get you very far. Once you have your list, you need to take action.
So, how can you make the most of this newfound keyword list?
- Understand the search intent: Pay attention to the results that Google provides. Take note of the kind of content that shows up for each of your keywords and how other websites answer the question.
- Loop similar keywords together: Not every keyword needs its own piece of content. You may have keywords that are similar enough in nature that you can loop them together in the same piece of content.
- Produce high-quality content: Once you’ve identified your keywords and you understand the search intent, you can create high-quality content on your website to start ranking for those phrases.
Should You Avoid High-Competition Keywords?
You should not avoid high-competition keywords just because they are more difficult.
It’s just important to remember that they are more difficult, and it will take more time and effort to compete in the search engines for high-competition phrases.
That’s why low-competition keywords are so valuable. They offer a shortcut, so to speak, to start ranking in the search engines quicker than some of the big, money-making keywords.
You can and should produce content and focus efforts around high-competition keywords, even as you begin your SEO journey. Because those will be the phrases that convert more customers in the long run.
In the beginning, however, low-competition phrases will help you break into the uphill battle of ranking online to help you grow your domain authority and website traffic.
Low-competition keywords will be your best friend as you undertake new SEO endeavors.
Don’t be intimidated by the neverending keyword research tools out there. Keep it simple and start with Google. Utilize keyword research tools to supplement your strategy, as you have the budget for them.
You can find great opportunities from low-competition keywords that many other businesses in your industry aren’t taking advantage of.
Now go out there and get searching!