Targeting Low Competition Keywords – Make Ranking Easier
The Death of Keywords
I really wish we didn’t have to worry about keywords.
I would also bet that Google wishes they didn’t have to worry about keywords.
I look forward to the day when the Google Search algorithm is smart enough to point searchers to the most relevant content even if it doesn’t even contain any of the words used in the search.
I would be great to go to Google, type “I want to learn how to grow tomatoes”, and be taken to the most relevant content even if it doesn’t contain any of the exact phrases in the search.
Sadly, that day is still a way off.
I do think Google is working toward it though. Each new search engine release seem to be getting closer.
Maybe we are at the midpoint.
We are way past the days when just stuffing as many high search volume phrases into a page would get you high ranking but still far short of being able to say keywords don’t matter.
For now, I recommend writing your content for the people you have identified as your target audience and not worry about keywords as you write.
Then, when you have a quality article or post, you can go back and work in a few good keywords – but only if they flow naturally in your existing writing.
Whatever you do, don’t try to write to please the search engine robots.
Robots don’t buy the products you are selling – people do.
When you do start adding those keywords, I suggest you concentrate on targeting low competition ones.
A low competition keyword is one that has some search volume but very few web pages including it.
Ideally we want to find keywords that a lot of people are typing into search engines but very few or no other sites are trying to rank for.
Searches vs Competition
There is a tradeoff between high search volume and competition.
A phrase that is getting a lot of searches will quickly attract a lot of competition.
How will you rank if there are thousands of websites targeting that keyword?
Now very well, especially if you have a new site.
Age of the post and website authority also factor into searches. That will make it harder for your new post to compete.
A look at the “How to grow tomatoes” example:
So, what does this search tell us?
The Avg column is the average number of search this keyword get each month.
In this case it is 10358 and that is a very high volume. If you managed to rank on the first page of Google for this search, the traffic column tells us you could expect 1761 page visits a month – just from this keyword.
But, the QSR (Quoted Search Results) column indicates 253 other sites are also targeting “how to grow tomatoes.”
That amount of competition is actually not horrible but you are probably not going to rank on the first page – maybe you have a chance at the third.
Looking down the list, “how to grow tomatoes in a pot” gets 199 searches each moth but there are only 18 other pages targeting it!
You have a much better chance of getting ranked if you target this keyword.
I would rather to get a big piece of a small pie than get just a crumb from a large one.
Besides “How to Grow Tomatoes in a Pot” is a better sounding post title.
By the way, make sure the keyword makes sense otherwise you wont be able to make it sound natural in you content.
For example “best way grow tomatoes” has a high search volume at 626 and low competition at 13.
But, if your correct the grammar to “best way to grow tomatoes” the search volume stays at 626 but the QSR jumps up to 147.
And here is another thing to keep in mind. When you target “how to grow tomatoes in a pot” you also do target the keyword “how to grow tomatoes” so you could get some hits for that too!
If you write naturally about your topic. You will include many other keywords in your text.
Even if most of them only attract 10 or fewer visits a month, the total traffic when you have many hundreds or thousands of keywords spread over many articles will mean substantial and constantly growing traffic.
I used Jaaxy for the above keyword search.
I like it because it it gives me all I want to know on a single page.
But, the free version has limitations and the Pro version costs money.
Still, you should give it a test drive.
You will get 30 free searches with the free version so you can put the program through it’s paces.
If you find it fits with your way of working, you can upgrade to Pro or Enterprise.
Jaaxy also includes other tools for finding domain names related to keywords, finding affiliate programs, finding your site ranking for a given keyword and more that I don’t have space for here.
For a free keyword tool, you can go straight to the source and use the Google Keyword Planner.
It is harder to use but it will get you the info you need.
Another very handy website for coming up with keywords is UberSuggest.
This free online tool produces a lot of keyword suggestions that you can research using Jaaxy or Google.
Here is a small sample of what it found for “how to grow tomatoes”:
Google Search is another easy way to get keyword ideas.
In particular you can use Google Instant to generate ideas. Here is a short video that will explain this” Alphabet Soup” technique.
Finding the competition of each keyword
Finding the competition for a keyword can be harder than finding the keyword itself.
You can do it in Google Search but it obvious how.
Just doing a Google search shows 3,550,000 results.
Obviously there are not three and a half million competing pages out there on the Internet.
To get the true competition number you must go to the last page of results. In this case page 33.
Here you can see that the real number of competing pages is 326.
Jaaxy and some other paid tool give the competition result as part of the search.
How long is your tail?
Adding words before or after a basic keyword to make it a lower competition phrase make it a long tail keyword.
If “grow tomatoes” is the basic search word, then “how to grow tomatoes” is a long tail key word and “how to grow tomatoes in a pot” is an even longer tail keyword.
In general, the longer the tail the easier it will be to rank and the lower the search volume will be.
There are exceptions though.
If you find a longer tail keyword with more searches than shorter tail ones you should probably jump on it.
Quality of competition
Once you find a few keywords you think you can use, you should evaluate the quality of the competition for each.
I put the quality into 4 levels.
The highest is paid ads.
If someones pays Google to promote a keyword, they will go to the top of the list.
You can identify these because they have the word Ad in a yellow box in front of the listing.
Unless you want to pay more for each impression of the keyword, you are not going to outrank those sites.
Pay per click or pay per impression are a whole different ball game than what this post is about.
Until you are generating enough revenue to be able to support a paid campaign, I would not even consider trying it.
It can get very expensive and requires some special knowledge to participate.
Save it for down the road.
eCommerce sites are the second level.
They will almost always outrank affiliate sites.
For example, a search for “tomato cages” shows sites like Home Depot, Lowes and Amazon at the top.
Not much you can do about this one either.
Just be aware that if there ate a lot of eCommerce websites on the first page of results it will be harder for you to crack it.
Then there are other affiliate sites.
How you compete against these depends a lot on the quality of your content.
Click on a few of the other affiliate pages and see how you compare.
If they are just stuffing keywords into low quality content, you have a good chance to outrank them.
Go ahead and post your page then monitor your ranking.
If you are not moving up you should tweak your post to make it more competitive.
Just don’t sacrifice quality.
Finally there are forum posts, question and answer sites and other casual mention of the keyword.
You high quality work should easily outrank there pages.
This post is getting very long so I am going to hold off on talking about ways to work low competition keywords into your title and content until the next post.
In the mean time, questions and comments are very welcome.