You may have heard of unicorn keywords: low competition, high volume keywords.
Some say they are extinct. Others say they are so plentiful in some niches that any blog can easily rank without backlinks.
As often, the truth lies somewhere in between.
One thing is for certain though, finding them isn’t always easy.
Let’s discover how to find these mythical creatures no matter what niche you are in!
Note: The techniques in this article will help you find potential low competition keywords but not all of the keywords you will find will be low competition. Read my article about keyword difficulty to learn how to find out how competitive a keyword is.
The easiest way to find low competition keywords is to head over to Google, type in a keyword, and look at related searches suggestions at the bottom of the page.
For example, if you search “memorization techniques”, you will see suggestions such as:
- memory techniques for studying
- memorization techniques psychology
- memorization techniques pdf
- memorization techniques for speeches
- memorization techniques for actors
- fast memorization techniques
- memorization strategies
- mnemonic techniques
Similarly, if you open Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, you will see keyword suggestions like:
- what are memorization techniques
- how to improve memory
- how to memorize a speech
- tricks for learning multiplication tables
- memorization techniques
If you use Keysearch (my top recommendation for beginners), you will see helpful suggestions such as:
- memory palace technique
- memory improvement techniques
- memorisation techniques
Not all of these suggestions will be helpful but some may be keywords with low competition and high search volume.
In some niches looking at keyword suggestions may be enough to find low competition keywords. In others, you may need to use keyword modifiers.
Use keyword modifiers
Keywords modifiers are words and phrases you can add to keywords to make them more relevant or precise or to change the intent behind the search.
In the keyword “memorization techniques for actors”, the modifier” “for actors.” makes the term more precise and changes the search intent by indicating that the searcher is likely to be an actor or an aspiring actor. In such a case, content specifically written for actors is much more likely to rank than a generic ‘memorization techniques” article.
A person searching “mobile phone battery” probably wants to buy a battery while a person searching “mobile phone battery recycling” is looking to get rid of a battery. The keywords are similar but the goal (search intent) is different.
Generally, the more precise the keyword, the less competitive it is.
That’s why adding keyword modifiers is often an excellent way of finding low competition alternatives to competitive keywords. In fact, most of the keyword suggestions you see in “related searches” are keyword modifiers.
Here is a list of keyword modifiers you can use:
- on sale
- Under $1000
- for (group/problem)
Location and date modifiers
Content type modifiers
- case study
Content type modifiers
Other keyword modifiers
- brand name (Nokia smartphone)
- topic (travel blog names)
To use these keyword modifiers, start by writing down your main keyword. Then, go through the list and see which modifiers would be suitable fits.
For example, if your keyword is “newsletter”, you could add keywords modifiers to find potential low competition high traffic keywords such as:
- Best newsletters
- Best newsletters for yoga instructors
- Best newsletter 2020
- newsletter tools
- What is a newsletter
- newsletter template
If your keyword is “tofu press”, you could use:
- best tofu press
- cheap tofu press
- tofu press under 10 USD
- tofu press discount
- tofu press tips
- best tofu press brand
Spy on your competitors’ keywords
Your competitors’ keywords are a goldmine of potential low competition high volume keywords.
Not sure who your competitors are? Choose one of these methods to find out:
- Use Ahrefs Site Explorer and click on “competing domains”
- Use the Keysearch Explorer and look at the “Top Competitors” report
Keep in mind that you are more likely to find keywords you can rank for if the competitors you spy on aren’t much bigger than you.
If you are a new tech blog, knowing what keywords The Verge ranks for won’t be helpful because their high domain authority means they can rank for much more competitive keywords than you. You could still find great article ideas but you are unlikely to find low competition keywords.
Once you have a list of competitors of similar size, open Ahrefs Keyword Explorer or Keysearch Explorer and look at their keywords.
For example, here are some of the competitors of my friend Anna’s blog Garlic Delight:
- thespruceeats.com (much bigger)
- thekitchn.com (much bigger)
- noreciperequired.com (similar size)
- cleangreensimple.com (similar size)
A quick look at the keywords the last 2 blogs rank for shows me several keywords with a decent volume for which these 2 competitors rank in the top 3:
- filet mignon well done
- filet mignon medium well
- best filet mignon sauce
- how to chop lemongrass
- how to clean brussel sprouts (volume 1,300)
- julienne zucchini
Since these competitors are similar to Garlic Delight in term of backlinks and size, it’s likely that Garlic Delight could rank well for these keywords as well.
Look at keywords you already rank for
It may sound silly but one of the best ways to find low competition keywords is to look at the keywords you already rank for.
Doing this will help you uncover 2 types of keywords:
- Keywords you accidentally rank for because you mentioned them or a synonym in an article.
- Keywords you rank for but for which you are not on the first page of Google.
When this happens, you can either:
- Write an article on the topic (if you don’t already have one)
- Improve an existing article so it ranks higher for the keyword.
For example, Garlic Delight’s article about green onions ranks 13 for “scallion green onion”
This article could rank much higher for “scallion green onion” if it explained the difference between scallions and green onion in more detail. Anna could also add a FAQ answering the main questions found in the search results such as:
Are scallions and green onions the same thing?
What part of the green onion is a scallion?
How to choose the best low competition keywords to target
These techniques will help you find low competition high traffic keywords but your success rate will depend on the niche you are in. The more competitive the niche, the fewer low competition keywords you will find. If you can’t find any low competition high volume keyword, don’t despair! You can always follow the Slow but Steady method.
Once you have identified a few potential keywords, you may wonder which ones to target.
Here are some rules I like to follow:
- Never write an article about a topic you are not excited about. If you are not excited about a topic, your readers will feel it and get bored.
- Take the time to picture the kind of person searching the keyword. There is no point in ranking for a keyword if the people you will attract aren’t the people you want to attract.
- Ask yourself what you can add to the topic. Do you have an original idea? Is your recipe different or better-executed? Do you disagree with the advice people give? Don’t add to the noise!
More importantly. Don’t spend more than 15 minutes choosing the next low competition keyword you want to target. There is no such thing as a perfect keyword and the more important is to keep creating useful content.