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How to Find Low-Competition Keywords with SEMrush

Elena Dryamina
How to Find Low-Competition Keywords with SEMrush

When entering a new market with a new website, you are chasing the best keywords for every single search.

While building your list of the most relevant search terms, keep in mind: At this very moment, your competitors are doing the same! Moreover, your strongest online rivals have already ranked not only on the first page of a search engine results page, but in its top positions.

Do you have any chance of overrunning your competition? Definitely, yes!

Learning how to do keyword research is essential for businesses. Just be careful when choosing them. Before you begin placing search terms you believe your potential customers would use to find your services or products on your site, make sure you have chosen enough low-competition keywords.

Low-competition keywords are indispensable for boosting your website’s rank. How can you find them? Follow the instructions below.

1) Build Your Initial Keyword List

The ultimate goal of any keyword research is to find the most relevant search terms that will drive to your website, as much traffic consisting of your target audience as possible.

The easiest way to spot the best keywords in your industry is to check your competitors’ websites.


  • Use filters (2) to find keywords that are most relevant to your business.


  • Generate an Organic Search Positions report for multiple domains, and export the results into an XLS or a CSV file. For your convenience, you can consolidate all exported files into a single one in order to have all relevant keywords in one place.



For example, we took the following five domains:,,, and

In few clicks, we built a list of 50,000 keywordsfor the baby care industry.

2) Expand Your Keyword List

The goal of keyword expansion is to augment your initial keyword research with search terms and phrases you might have overlooked.

  • To find phrase match keywords, go to SEMrush → Keyword Research → Full Search, enter a term from your initial list of search terms and click Search. You will get a list of keyword phrases (5) that include an indicated term.


  • To find related keywords, use the Related Keywords report. This will list phrases that are semantically related to a particular queried search term.

You can also export your results and insert them into a consolidated file with all the other keywords you’d like to target.

3) Discover High-Volume Keywords with Less Competition

You definitely need to know your keywords’ search volume. Average monthly searches for each keyword show you how much potential traffic you can receive. The higher your rankings for high-volume search terms are, the more traffic will be driven to your website. Obviously, competition for these keywords is very high.

There's no sense in trying to rank for keywords you have no chance of ranking for; that’s why you need to find the right balance between a keyword’s search volume and its competition level.

Estimate Competition Level

By using the SEMrush Organic Positions report, you can view both metrics for each keyword:

  • Volume (6) – the average number of search queries for a keyword in the last 12 months.
  • Competition (7) – the density of advertisers using a particular search phrase for their ads. Although this metric refers to competition in paid search, it can be representative of organic search competition as well.

keywords-less-competition-volume-competition You can also export your results directly into an XLS or a CSV file.

Estimate Keyword Difficulty

To estimate the competitiveness for a particular keyword in purely organic searches, use the SEMrush Keyword Difficulty tool.

You can view the keyword difficulty of up to 100 keywords at once. Enter one search term per line, and click the Show Difficulty button.

The keyword difficulty (from 1-100%) shows you an estimate of how difficult it would be to seize your competitors’ positions in the Google or Bing top 20 with a particular keyword (8). The higher the percentage, the more effort you’ll need to outrank your competition for targeted keywords:

  • Above 80%: The most difficult keywords. You’ll have to invest a lot of SEO and link-building efforts, as well as time before you’ll be able to enter the Google top 20. If you have a new site, you shouldn’t focus on highly competitive keywords.
  • From 60-80%: Keywords with average difficulty. Entering the Google top 20 with these keywords won't be easy neither. However, with high-quality content and relevant backlinks, you'll be able to seize your competitors’ positions in time.
  • Below 60%: Keywords that are the easiest to rank for, but the most difficult to find. Discovering low-competition, high-volume keywords will require hard work and patience. But if you are lucky enough to find a strong list of these search terms and implement them throughout your site, you’ll have a very good chance of ranking high for these high-volume search terms.

Extend Your Research

But what if you are working in a highly competitive industry, such as insurance or travel, and all of the keywords you are targeting have a difficulty of more than 80 or even 90%? No worries! Ranking high is still doable. For every keyword, you can see your top 20 strongest competitors. Analyze every domain’s keywords with the Organic Positions report in order to find your competitors’ weaknesses.


Moreover, you can extend your research by generating the Organic Competitors report for each of the top 20 domains with the highest domain strength, and discover more websites in your industry and get more keywords with less competition.


Ranking highly for search terms with high search volumes is entirely possible! Believe in your SEO success, and follow these steps:

  • Analyze competitors and build an initial keyword list
  • Enrich it with related keywords and phrase match keywords
  • Estimate your competition and your competitors’ keyword difficulty
  • Implement keywords through your website
  • Conduct research of low-competition keyword regularly
  • Track your rankings to see if they’re growing!

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Elena Dryamina is a technical writer at SEMrush. Her last article was, “How to Find Low-Competition Keywords with SEMrush."
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But why is it that both Kwfinder and semrush show different keyword difficulty
Yes, Its difficult to find keyword with high search volume and low competiton. Why Ahref and Semrush shows different difficulty level.
jim morison
All the tools are sucking it.Each one fucks by its on way.No one is 100% right.
Anastasiia Nesterova
Hello guys! Keyword Difficulty is not a precise metric, especially as long as different tools use different algorithms to calculate it.

As far as I know about the Ahrefs tool, they analyze the search results for a given keyword and look at the number of referring domains the Top10 ranking pages have. The more domains, the higher the keyword difficulty.

At SEMrush Keyword Difficulty Tool we take into consideration the _authority_ of the domains that are showing up on the results page for a keyword. The more traffic they have, the higher the KD :)

You can learn more here by the way:
Clinton Aribogha
Nice one baba, nice one. Elena try
Hey Informative article though, I was looking for factors Semrush take into account in determining the KD for a particular Keyword. Like from 1 to 100 scale, what it actually takes(Out of 200 ranking factor) to rank for a keyword with a KD say 25 on top 20 results in SERP?
Thanks for this article - really useful - many of the links seem to be broken.
i am using this semrush since one year and its gives me great result [link removed by moderator]
Uhh thanks for this educative article. I am just a writer and never had time to build back links so I have been searching all this while how to find keywords with high volume search and low competitors to rank my health niche blog [link removed by moderator]. I have read many forums and other online articles non seen to help. But here you ve made it clear for me to understand it thanks.
Your last point is:
Track you rankings.
How do I do that?
Great post! I am actually getting ready to across this information, is very helpful my friend. Also great blog here with all of the valuable information you have Keep up the good work you are doing here.Well, got a good knowledge.
[link removed by moderator]
Anvesh Goud
Thanks for the information, it helped me.
Can you confirm us if keyword difficulty is a logarithmic scale? Thanks!
very energetic article
Evans K. Ngeno
Darren DeMatas
I love this article. I am a sucker for low competition keywords ;)
Kathleen Garvin
Darren DeMatas
Glad you found it useful, Darren!

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