If you’re reading this article right now, you’ve likely watched and read SEO experts ramble on endlessly about creating awesome content and getting lots of back-links to it. This is all well and good, but creating the right content is the key. To do this, you need to target the best keywords when planning and creating your content. Ideally, you want to choose easy to rank keywords in order to get the best chance at ranking quickly on search engines, especially Google.
You may already know what keywords you want your content to be found for in the search engines. But, when you’re looking to boost your traffic to said content quickly, you have to first find low competition keywords with high search volume and plan your content creation around them. Let’s learn how to find easy to rank keywords.
Optimizing your content for long tail keywords with low competition can help you rank quickly in search engines.
Oftentimes, the best keywords to base your content around are keyword phrases that are three words or longer. These are often known as “long tail keywords.” If you can find the ones that other websites aren’t targeting, you can quickly find exactly what content to write with a built-in audience that’s already looking for content related to these keywords.
How do you find these magical, quick-to-rank, “low hanging fruit” keywords? First, use a tool like Keywordtool.io or Ubersuggest to find long-tail keywords people are searching. Ubersuggest was long my tool of choice since it gives you traffic and competition details for free, but the daily usage is now extremely limited without a subscription, so plan your usage accordingly. The Google AdSense Keyword Planner is completely free, although the search volume numbers are not incredibly accurate and instead are grouped into “buckets” with huge ranges.
The best long-tail keywords to build content around are those with about 500 to 1,000 average searches a month with low organic competition, also known as SEO competition. But, what’s important is that keyword phrases with more than 10 monthly searches on Google are worth considering for individual pieces of content. You want to vary your keyword phrases to give more opportunities for searchers to potentially find your content.
Can you rank in the top five positions in Google Search results for your long-tail keywords?
Once you find some good long-tail keywords, you’ll want to research them a bit further. A great advantage of using a tool like Ubersuggest is that it gives you the SERP (search engine results pages) for Google for each keyword phrase that you put into it. Of course, Google’s own Keyword Planner does this, as well. When you’re looking to rank for keywords, you’re aiming to get into the top five results on the search results, especially on Google.
As many keyword research tools illustrate, the top five positions in search engine results pages are the ones that get the most traffic. These tools often break down the traffic that each result gets for each keyword. Of course, these are merely estimates based on average search engine user activity; but, as you’ll see, for super low traffic keywords, you won’t get much traffic even after the first two or three spots. That’s why you want keyword phrases that are not all that competitive, but also have a fair amount of monthly traffic.
So, your aim should be to find the keyword phrases that have a relatively weak top five results. Just look at the top five results for your given keyword phrase and see if those pages are deliberately ranking for that keyword. You’ll know this just by the page title and whatever snippet that the search engine is pulling. If one or more of the top five is clearly ranking “by accident” for your keyword phrase, this is a good quick-to-rank keyword for you to target.
On the other hand, if the top five or more results has the keyword phrase directly in their page title, meta description, and/or results snippet, it’s going to be a much tougher fight to those top positions. It’s still possible to rank for them, but it will be more difficult, especially if they have a higher domain authority (sometimes called a DA or domain score) than your own site. This score is found on many keyword research tools, including Ubersuggest. If your site has a higher or similar DA or domain score, you still have a chance, especially if you can get solid back-links for the content you are creating. DA is not a be-all end-all measure of success, but it’s a helpful measuring stick when figuring out what keywords are worth targeting.
How do you find long tail keywords without the “root” keyword for better placement in search results?
What is a root keyword? A root keyword is a highly competitive keyword, something like “diet,” that is going to be nearly impossible for an average content creator to rank for highly in search. Even long-tail keywords containing a highly popular root keyword can be a lot more competitive than those without one. That means phrases like “low carb diet” or “vegan diet” are going to be pretty competitive, too. Sometimes, they are even more so.
Here are some examples. Note that all of the numbers mentioned below are from November of 2018, used here merely for educational purposes.
- “Diet” has a monthly search volume of 49,500, a high SEO difficulty of 56, and a paid difficulty of 34
- “Low Carb Diet” has a monthly search volume of 135,000, a high SEO difficulty of 54, and a paid difficulty of 38.
- “Vegan Diet” has a monthly search volume of 60,500, a high SEO difficulty of 46, and a paid difficulty of 31
To have any hope of ranking for any of these exact keywords, you’d have to do some serious pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to get your content seen for any of them. Of course, we’re trying to rank for “free,” so these keywords are not the way to go. So, let’s find alternatives.
Try to use action-oriented keywords to find more targeted, less competitive long tail keywords.
One trick that SEO experts use to rank content is to find action-oriented keywords rather than specific product- or service-oriented keywords. For example, most people will search for diets. But, people who are looking for a solution will search using a more action-oriented keyword phrase, often using action verbs in their search query. For example, people who want to go on a “diet” are looking to “eat more healthy,” right?
Well, “eat more healthy” only has a search volume of about 70. But, it has an extremely low SEO difficulty of 14 and a paid difficulty of only 2! You could run penny PPC ads AND have content focused around the phrase “eat more healthy.” But, that’s not a lot of potential traffic. So, let’s try something like “eat healthy” instead.
Unsurprisingly, “Eat Healthy” has a much higher search volume, 6,600 monthly searches on Google alone! But, it still has a fairly easy SEO difficulty of 25 and a fairly low paid difficulty of 17, although it has an average CPC of $2. Even though most long-tail keywords you’ll want to target are three words or more, it’s important to know about two-word phrases that could help you find related phrases for your content.
If you want to get traffic targeted towards “low carb diet” you could instead choose “low carb eating” as your focus keyword. The latter phrase offers a monthly search volume of 1,000, but an SEO difficulty of merely 20 and a paid difficulty about the same with a very low CPC of about $0.39. Likewise, “eating vegan” has a high volume of 2,900, and an SEO difficulty of only 24 and paid difficulty of 17. It also has some good long-tail keywords to target like “eating vegan at panera” that you can build content around that are even less competitive.
Should you use low competition, long tail keywords with low monthly search traffic?
While long-tail keywords with traffic less than 1,000 a month may not bring you a lot of views, they are still useful for building content around, especially when it comes to blog posts or articles, and perhaps even as video or podcast topics. You’ll want to optimize for your best keyword phrases, but also sprinkle in these more niche keywords throughout your content plan. That way, you can grab more niche traffic. If you happen to be extremely relevant and offer something for these low-traffic but highly-targeted keywords, it will greatly help build the audience you want for your content.
By using all of these long-tail keyword research techniques, you’ll build a solid SEO strategy that includes quick-to-rank keywords. The best of these keywords will allow your content to show up in results for those keywords in as little as two to six weeks. But, keep in mind SEO is not just about creating content to specifically rank for those keywords. Good SEO is all about integrating all of these various keywords into relevant and useful content for your visitors.
Whether your content is brand new or established, anyone can use a boost from quick-to-rank keywords. You can use these keywords to boost existing content, use them for a brand new content campaign, or some of both. With boosted search rankings, you can get traffic (and potential profits if your content is monetized) within days or weeks rather than months or years. While there’s no guarantee quick way to rank for any particular keywords, having a good plan planning to try ranking for low competition keywords is a sound strategy towards search engine ranking success.