low competition keywords

How to Dominate With Low Competition Keywords (Quickly)

As an SEO specialist, one of the most important things I focus on is finding low-competition keywords.

These are the key phrases that have less competition in the search engines, and thus offer a greater chance for my clients to rank highly. The benefits of targeting these keywords are numerous; from increased traffic to higher rankings, there can be no doubt that focusing on low-competition keywords is essential for any business looking to succeed online.

What Are Low Competition Keywords?

Low competitive search terms are easier to get ranked for in search engine results.

This can be beneficial for businesses because it is easier to rank for these keywords and get more traffic to their website.

If you’ve worked in competitive industries, you know how hard it is to come up with topics that haven’t been written about before.

The “publish and pray” approach just does not work.

This is why targeting low-competition keyword phrases should be part of your long-term strategy for growing your traffic, especially as your keyword research becomes more advanced. By doing so, you can get your site to rank for terms alongside the biggest players in your niche.

Why Are Low Competition Keywords Important?

For SEOs, it can be difficult to get results when the client is:

  • A startup
  • Has just launched its website
  • Has little to no domain rating
  • In a super competitive industry

Beyond the usual website optimization, product page creation, and convincing clients that they need a larger budget, we need our SEO skills to keep our current clients and our boss happy.

While every company understands that it takes six to eight months to see results from an SEO campaign, most clients get skittish after three months with no results.

Why are low-competition keyword phrases so important? Because they can usually rank with very little effort, such as with very minimal backlinking.

This means that you can rank for these keywords without having to put in a lot of effort, which is great if you’re just starting out or if you don’t have a lot of time to invest in your SEO.

If you want to quickly rank for competitive terms, then focus your SEO efforts on writing longer, more in-depth posts. By targeting these types of keywords, you can rank well without having to put in a lot of extra effort.

Just be sure to write quality content that is relevant to your target keywords.

By targeting longer-tail keywords, we’re able to write more unique, high-quality content that targets more specific searches. This gives us more opportunity to go after more high-volume, competitive terms.

Low Competition Keywords vs. High Competition Keywords

We’ve all tried to reverse engineer our competitors’ sites in an attempt to figure out why they outranked ours, right?

Our blog is more detailed, has more relevant images, has more social media traction, and is up-to-date, so why isn’t it ranking higher?

Oftentimes, this is due to our competitor’s higher domain rating.

Sites like Forbes can out-rank you despite doing no link building or promotion at all. This is because domain authority is a measure of how authoritative a site is.

If your website has a high domain rating, you’re in luck. This usually means that your site is considered a trusted resource, which means you can publish content and rank for it relatively easily. For the rest of us, we’ll need to put in a lot more work to achieve the same results.

If you are trying to gain traffic from your blog, you will most likely be competing with media sites or well-established companies in your industry.

This is why you should focus your content on high-volume, low-competition, and long-tail keyword phrases. You’ll get more bang for your buck this way!

Sites with high domain authority can usually go after difficult keywords and will most likely be able to rank for them. Low DR sites, on the other hand, cannot compete for these same keywords.

So, what’s the definition of a high DR website?

High DR sites are generally measured on a scale from 0 to 100, but can also be measured on an industry-specific level. This means that a high DR site may be related to a particular industry.

Forbes covers a broad range of topics and has a DR of 93. However, it’s important to note that Forbes may or may not be going after the same keywords as you are. Therefore, you may not have to compete with them for ranking in search engines.

If you don’t have to compete with general high DR sites like Forbes, you’re lucky.

To compete successfully for competitive search terms, you’ll need to research your keyword phrases carefully and come up with topics that actually match what users are searching for.

Then again, some industries have massive DR, such as insurance, real estate, and automotive.

For instance, in the real estate niche, we frequently go up against sites like Realtor.com (90) and Zillow (91). We face the same challenges as general sites and industry-specific sites for the same topics.

Don’t worry, we can still compete with these sites!

Where to Find Low Competition Keywords

The definition of low-volume keywords can be subjective. Your research may uncover topics that have thousands of searches per month, or only hundreds.

Keep in mind that your research for target keywords and topics may result in a lot of long-tail searches. This is why it’s so important to use this information to flesh out your topics and plan your content. The power of low comp KWs is in the quantity available. It’ll likely take a year or more to rank for a highly competitive term that could bring in 1000’s of visits per day.

With the same time and effort, you could publish 100 articles that bring in many times more traffic (when combined). This strategy creates a healthier site that’s less vulnerable to algorithm updates.

Example: One site has 10 pages getting 100,000 views per month and another has 250, with the same traffic (100k).

Site one gets hit with an update on one page and has (at least) a 10% drop in traffic. Meanwhile, about 25 pages of site two would have to see the same hit to reach that level of damage. (Obviously, this is a loose example, so take it with a grain of salt and simply consider bulking out the pages that get traffic instead of relying on a few champion pages.)

How to Use Keyword Modifiers

Adding keywords modifiers can help make your searches more relevant and precise, changing the overall intent behind the search.

By adding these words and phrases, you can better target what you’re looking for – whether that’s more specific information or a different angle on the topic.

In the search term “memory techniques for actors”, the qualifier “for actors” make the query more specific and indicates that the person searching is more likely to be an entertainer or aspiring performer.

When creating content for an actor, including specific tips about memorizing lines or scripts is more likely to result in high rankings than a general article about acting.

A person searching for “mobile phone battery” is likely looking to purchase a new one, while someone who searches for “mobile phone battery recycling” probably has an old battery they want to dispose of. The keywords used are quite similar, but the intentions behind them are quite different.

The more specific the keywords, the fewer competitors you’ll have. NOTE: These KWs are often “informational,” meaning the user is looking for information, not directly to buy. The key here is to attach informational articles to the products/services you (or your clients) offer.

Using modifier terms in your long-tail search terms is a great way to find less competitive, more targeted phrases. Many related search suggestions for your queries are merely alternative forms of the search term.

Here are some keywords that you can use to narrow down your searches.

Question Modifiers

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • How

Intent Modifiers

  • Sale!
  • Discount
  • Under $1000
  • Cheap
  • Best

Audience Modifiers

  • Adult
  • Woman
  • Man
  • Child

Location and Date Modifiers

  • City
  • Country
  • Neighborhood
  • Year
  • Month

Content Modifiers

  • Examples
  • Tips
  • Checklist
  • Printable
  • Video
  • Case study
  • Template
  • Checker
  • List
  • Recipe

Other Keyword Modifiers

  • brand name
  • topic

Start with the main keywords you want, then go through the list of modifier words to see which one(s) would best fit.

For example, if your main keyword is “newsletter”, you could add keyword modifiers to find potential low competition high-traffic keywords such as:

  • Best newsletters
  • Best newsletters for yoga teachers
  • Best newsletter 2022
  • Newsletter designs
  • What is a newsletter
  • Newsletter template

If your “tofu press” is your main keyword, you could use:

  • What is a tofu press
  • Cheap tofu press
  • Tofu press under $20
  • Tofu press discount
  • Tofu press tips
  • Best tofu press brand

NOTE: This strategy is a great way to build a topical keyword cluster. Simply put in your main term with all of these modifiers to find a bulk list of content to create.

Spy on Your Competitors’ Keywords

Your competitor’s keyword lists are a treasure trove of low-competition, high-volume search terms.

Not sure how to find out who your top competitors are? Try one of the following:

  1. Launch Ahrefs and click on “competing domains”
  2. Open the Keysearch Explorer and look at “Top Competitors”

Keep in mind that you are more likely to find keywords you can rank for if the competitors you spy on have a similar or smaller size. This way, you’ll be able to better compete for those keywords.

If you are a brand new technology website, knowing which keyword terms are ranking for won’t help you much. Their high rankings mean they can compete for more competitive search terms than you.

You can still find some great ideas from your competitors, but don’t expect to find any low competition keywords.

Once you have a list of competitors, open either Ahrefs Keyword Explorer or Keysearch Explorer. By looking at their keywords, you can get an idea of what low-competition keywords to target.

Here are some examples of blogs that compete with garlicdelight.com:

  • thespruceeats.com (bigger)
  • thekitchn.com (bigger)
  • noreciperequired.com (same)
  • cleangreensimple.com (same)

Find Keywords You Already Rank For

One of the best ways to find low-competition keywords is by looking at the keywords you already rank for. This can help you uncover two types of keywords:

  • Keywords you accidentally rank for
  • Keywords you rank for but are not on Page One

When this occurs, you have two options:

  • Write an article on the topic
  • Rewrite an existing article so it ranks higher

For example, Garlic Delight’s article on green onion ranks #13 for “scallion green onion.” One way to move up the rankings is to rewrite the article and explain what is the difference between green onion and scallions.

The author can also add an FAQ section with questions such as “Are scallions and green onions the same” or “What part of the green onion is a scallion?”


By targeting low competition keywords, you can reap the benefits of increased traffic and higher rankings. This is why focusing on these keywords is essential for any business looking to succeed online. So if you want to dominate your competitors, make sure to target the right keywords – the ones with less competition.

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About the author

Josh Slone

Josh is Chief of Staff at Content at Scale, running the in-house portfolio of sites as well as customer success for clients using our Content Machine.

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