Keyword research is a crucial step in planning your website. If you want people to find you in searches, you need to know what keywords to use on your website. Some keywords have high competition. That is, there are a lot of websites that will be found with those keywords. Others have low competition – there are only a few, small websites to be found for those keywords. So competition is one dimension. The other is search volume – how much is a keyword searched for? Ideally, want to find keywords that are low competition and high search volume. Once you find those keywords are implement them intelligently on your site, you should expect an increase in the number of people finding and visiting your site.
How I Do Find High Search Volume, Low Competition Keywords?
Good question. You have to start somewhere, and that somewhere is your own mind. Brainstorm some keywords that are relevant to your site. Don’t try to guess keywords with low competition at this point – just come up with a list of keywords most relevant to your site. You only need a few, but try to come up with as many as possible on your own.
Once you have at least a few keywords, visit Google Keyword Planner. This tool will not only generate new keywords for you, it will also give you an idea of the search volume and competitiveness of the keywords. If you need help using the Google Keyword tool, check out this Google Keyword Tool Step-by-Step Guide or Google’s own guides.
Google Adwords: Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Tool is going to be very helpful in identifying low competition, high search volume keywords. However, you need to be smart about how you use it. Here are the big points to remember when using it:
Broad vs. Exact Match Types
Make sure to use an exact match type to get an accurate reflection of how many people are searching for the exact keywords you’re researching. Otherwise the search volume results also include related search terms, which is less helpful in pinpointing the exact keywords we want to incorporate in our website and blog posts. By default, the planner uses broad match. To make it an exact match, bracket your keyword in search (eg, [keyword]) or choose “Exact Match” from the “Match Types”.
What’s up with these Low Competition, High Search Volume Keywords?
Google is measuring pay-per-click competition, not overall competition. You may find some general keywords when using the tool and think, “Why do these high search volume keywords have such low competition?” It’s most likely because nobody is paying for those general keywords because they are too competitive generally! That is, when the general competitiveness of a keyword reaches a threshold where pay-per-click is ineffective, the pay-per-click competitiveness goes down.
Getting An Assessment of Overall Competitiveness
Paid Solutions: HitTail and Long Tail Pro
To get a more accurate idea of how competitive a keyword is, you can use a paid tool like HitTail or Long Tail Pro. These solutions run algorithms that give you lists of keywords that hit the sweet spot of low competition and high search volume for your website.
Free Solution: Organic Search + Free Tools
You can also use your own judgement. Search the keyword on Google and see what comes up. If the first page of Google is filled with sites you know you can’t compete with, then that search term is probably too competitive.
Don’t know if you can compete with the sites your search query returns? This is precisely when you can use free SEO tools to find out. I’d go with a tool like SEO For Firefox. Visit the site in question and look at the following information:
- PageRank of the site
- Site Age
- Number of Site Backlinks
- On-Page SEO
Then, look at your own site. See how the two stack up. If you don’t know what the parameters above mean, it’s worth a Google (I won’t go into those things here.) If you think you can match or exceed the competition for your keyword in the above parameters, and you know that keyword has a decent search volume (using Google Adword: Keyword Planner), you’ve probably found a good keyword.
If I Can Find My Keywords for Free, Why Use a Paid Solution?
The two big advantages of using a paid tool like HitTail or Long Tail Pro are:
- They come up with the optimal keywords for you. No guess and check involved.
- You don’t have to specialize in search engine optimization. Don’t know what pagerank, site age, and backlinks are? No problem.
Summary: Finding Low Competition, High Search Volume Keywords
In summary, here is a good way to proceed when finding what keywords you’d like to optimize your site for:
- Step away from the computer. Think about your website. Come up with a seed list of keywords relevant to your site.
- Now use Google Keyword Planner with your seed keywords to generate more keywords. Use exact matching. Find keywords with high search volume and low competitiveness. Keep in mind that this keyword planner is measuring pay-per-click competitiveness, which is not overall competitiveness.
- To get the overall competitiveness of a keyword (and decide if your website can in fact compete), use a paid tool (like HitTail or Long Tail Pro) or the free method outlined above.