How to Choose Low Competition Keywords

The key to this strategy is choosing keywords with high search volume and low competition. This is often times called the “low hanging fruit”. These are keywords that will rank easily in Google because there are not a million other sites competing for them.

How do I find out how competitive my keyword is?

There are a million different ways to identify competition. Just about everyone has their own way of doing things.  You can spend tons and tons of time trying to identify how competitive a word is going to be, but you DON’T have to. I use a really down and dirty way to identify competition. Here’s how it works.

You grab a firefox add on ~ there are a few but I use SEO for Firefox. (yes the others work the same way and you can use any one you like)

Once you install it you will see a small icon in the bottom right hand corner of your screen.  You will need to click this icon to turn on the program

**BIG TIP:** do not run this program all the time. Only use it when you are doing keyord research ~ it gets google agitated if you run it all the time and they will think you are a robot and cut off your ability to search google (for a couple hours).

Once you have installed the add on you want to go to Google and put your keyword in the search box. (turn on SEO for firefox). Then when you click you will get a listing of information beneath each result on the page.

There will be a lot of information given, but you only need to look at the page rank ~ which is the first number after the PR.

What I’m looking for when I do this is a PR number below 30 for the first page. So I would go through all 10 listings and add up the page rank for each site listed. If the number is less than 30 I call it good.  For this keyword the PR of the first page is 10 ~ so yes, I thought this was a good keyword to create a lens on.

Questions that have come up

1. What if Amazon is the top listing?

I don’t worry about it. The page is getting to the top based on the authority of the entire site, not the page itself. It can be outranked with good backlinks.

2. Why don’t you do …. (fill in the blank) to see if it’s competitive.

Because I could spend all day checking different measures of competition, and in the end it gets me nowhere. I like to have a good idea (which this method gives me) and then put my lens up. There’s no need to waste a ton of time looking at a million different measures. If you’re digging into Amazon you’ll find many products are not very competitive at all.

3. My PR number is just a question mark!

Go into your SEO for firefox settings (which can be found under tools at the top of your browser page) and choose to have it show the pr number automatically.

That’s one of the methods I use for measuring competition. I also use Micro Niche Finder, it makes it really easy because all of these steps can be found on one screen.  If you have any more questions about they hows feel free to ask them in the comment section and I’ll be glad to answer.

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  1. I wrote an enormous post praising your help but it hasn’t appeared!

    Long story short was that the Micro Niche tool you’ve mentioned above is an absolute beauty and I wanted to thank you for sharing it with us.

    A. x

  2. Your views on total PR is very interesting. What about authority sites not optimised for a keyword – whether to consider or disregard them?

  3. This was a new way for me to look for low competition keywords. When I search for good keywords I usually use keyword tool for adwords and then do a search for a word or phrase on Google with quotes.

    Whay do you think about that ? Is it stupid/wrong ?

    • Jackie Lee says:

      There are a lot of ways to do keyword research. The biggest problem I have with looking in quotes is that you don’t really know how tough the competition is going to be. I personally like to see the actual sites I’m going to have to beat to rank #1.

  4. Hi Jackie,

    I’ve been following your blog for quite some time now – and I guess it’s way to take some action! Probably a bit late but, hey – better late than never. I must say you have great stuff here, and not so overwhelming like the rest of the other blogs out there. Probably because of the way you put those ideas/concepts into context.

    I have some questions:

    “1. What if Amazon is the top listing?
    I don’t worry about it. The page is getting to the top based on the authority of the entire site, not the page itself. It can be outranked with good backlinks.”

    What if that Amazon page has a PR 4 or 5, or in combination with other authority sites with the same PR – say Facebook, hubpages, yahoo answers and wikipedia. If the overall PR is below 30, should I still go for it? Does high PR ranking in the 1st SERP, like 4,5 or even 6, affect your decision in choosing keywords?

    2. Do you consider the total result count, like if there are 50-150 million results, does that raise a flag or something?

    3. A friend’s advice is whenever I see a PR 3 or higher, I should drop that keyword, since it’ll take at least 2-3 years in order to outrank those.

    4. It’s a bit out of topic, but here goes: Is adding the brand name on your domain name like a good thing or bad?

    Thanks and more power to your blog!

    • You may never find a keyword without one high PR site on the front page. I use the 30 and under rule… if the PR of the sites on the first page add up to 30 or less I’ll take it on. I have found adding them together to give me a better indication of competition than just looking at any 1 given site.

      It’s a toss up adding a brand name to your domain name. It can help with ranking, but you could also get a cease and desist letter from the trademarked company then all your work will have been in vain… so it’s up to you to decide if you’re willing to take the risk.

  5. Hi Jackie, how are you?

    Thank you for this useful post! I read your Squidoo guide and are taking some actions based on it. I read about the ‘keyword researching’ section of your guide and, just to be honest, it amazed me. I mean I don’t know why you choose a keyword based on the total PR of less than 30 of all the pages on Google page 1? Is there anything relevant to the MNF ‘less than 20′ index?

    I know different people have different keyword research techniques. And in fact I’ve come across many ways but I stick to only a few. And I see yours is very quick. And it seems promising as well.

    So can you please explain that number to me? And if you have some time, can you take a look at my Squidoo lens and give it some critique? I made it recently and are doing backlinking stuff. Here it is

    Thank you very much Jackie!

    • Jackie Lee says:

      I chose less than 30 PR on the front page based on my experience, and what seemed to work. :) Simple as that. I have hundreds of lenses and when I wrote the guide and did the lenses the ones where the keywords fit that criteria were fairly easy to get ranked. Like I said ~ it’s a down and dirty technique ~ it’s not perfect, but it’s a great way to get a quick idea of how tough it’s going to be to rank a certain keyword.

      Same thing with MNF. Lenses are teeny tiny 1 page websites… you’ve got to have very little competition to be able to make it worth the time to get them ranked. I found if I kept the SOC under 20 it was fairly easy to do that.

      People ask me what I did ~ so I told you… please feel free to experiment with my process. It’s nothing written in stone ~ and most will find that they play with it to create a system that fits perfectly with them.

      I am happy to review lenses for KISS Club members, but I no longer just do reviews.

      • Wow Jackie, another amazement :D

        You’re right. Practice makes perfect. And the idea of testing things out is the exact thing I’m following.

        Btw, I have another question. I’m making lenses and I’m creating and promoting one lens every 2 days. You know, from doing keyword research, creating lens to building backlinks. All in 2 days. Day 1 will finish with keyword research, lens building, blog postings (including all free ad blogs), RSS submission, and some social bookmarking activities. Day 2 will finish off with my articles submitting on EZA and other article directories and a free blog network, and some more social bookmarking. Day 3 will repeat day 1.

        I don’t know if I’m rushing it or not (although it sounds like that), but can you please give me some advice from your experience? Should I keep that schedule or should I slow down? I’m thirsty for success…

        Anyway, thank you for your quick reply :)

        • Jackie Lee says:

          I don’t think one day of linking is going to be enough to get your lenses to rank… linking slowly, over time is probably a better bet. It just looks more natural in the eyes of Google. I think building a lot of lenses is good ~ and if you can keep on that track do it… but I’d say take an hour or two a day and build some links to multiple lenses regularly ~ it takes time for links to be found, and counted and one days linking just isn’t going to do the trick anymore.

          • Thank you Jackie for your opinion :) I appreciate that! Will adjust my plan accordingly. I hope it will reap some rewards soon so I will have something to share with ya :D

  6. hi Jackie, after the google panda update it has become hard to rank in SERP even for the low competition keywords. i am finding it hard to rank some good keywords. can u give some tips to counter the recent google update.

    • Jackie Lee says:

      Write excellent content. Build links consistently over time. :) Nothing’s really changed.
      It might help some to be using social media, as it seems they are starting to take social “shares” into consideration more as well… but you’re going to have to do it “for real” you’re not going to be able to phone it in or “game” the system.

    • Jackie Lee says:

      Is the site in your comment the one you’re trying to rank? I can tell you a 3 post site just isn’t going to cut it anymore. You’re going to have to build out a site, with more content, and not just “content” but GREAT content. You might also want to make it look a little better. Maybe add some videos to the posts. Add an image to the post. 3 plain old 200 word posts just isn’t going to get you ranked in this day and age.

  7. Alec Hemen says:

    hi jackie, i have installed SEO for firefox but it is not working. does the add on work only for specific version of firefox. i am using firefox 3.6.17

    • Jackie Lee says:

      what do you mean “it’s not working?”… you probably need to go into the settings and set it up to show the information you want to see immediately.

  8. hi jackie, i am a newbie in the world of blogging. i will try ur tips that u have given here. i have a question to ask. does google sandbox a website if we get back links from free directories? i am asking this because i can’t find one of my blogs in google. it was in page no. 9 of google before i started submitting in free directories.

    • Jackie Lee says:

      I don’t normally publish comments with only keywords in the title… this blog runs keyword and commentluv plugins so you can get a keyword anchor text link AND leave a real name so I can address you by something other than “how to work out lower abs”. :) However… you asked a real question and used my name so I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt. :) It’s probably not the fact you submitted to directories… it may be how though. Did you have someone do it for you and mass submit or are you just doing a few a day? If you start mass linking (especially to a new blog) it can get you in the sandbox. Have you tried just typing in the entire url of your blog? If it shows up it’s still indexed… continue to build links slowly ~ but keep an eye out for it to come back. Part of getting google traffic is bouncing all around the listings. It’s to be expected you’re #9 one day and #305 the next… just part of the process.

      • Alec Hemen says:

        thanks jackie for ur advice.
        i will try not to give my name as a keyword :-)

        • Jackie Lee says:

          Hey Alec, with keywordluv installed you can use Alec @your keywords… and just your keywords will be linked up. :)

  9. Hello Jackie,
    Thank u very much for the info. did not know there is a SEO add on for Firefox.

  10. Not sure if you’re still taking questions here, but I found a great keyword for a product I’d like to use for a lens or a blog post, and it fits the criteria for less than 30 for SEO for Firefox. But– the sheer number of backlinks for 2 of the top spots are in the hundreds. Would you still go for something like this?

    • Jackie Lee says:

      Hundreds isn’t really all that many… and quality can often overcome quantity. So if it fits the other requirements I’d go for it. It may end up taking some time to get it to number one but it’s possible.

  11. Hi Jackie,

    Great tips.

    Is Y page links also important in checking competition? Also what SOC do you attempt on MNF. I try to stick with 30 or lower if possible.

    • Jackie Lee says:

      Not sure what you’re referring to “Y page links”. It depends what I’m researching for, if I’m doing lenses then I like to keep the soc below 30. If I’m doing a bigger site I’ll go higher.

    • Those are good questions. I’ve heard about a recent Google update: they’re counting social searches and recommendations in their general listings, so if you browse and do keyword research while you’re logged into your gmail or twitter, you’ll see highly “personalized” search results

      what do you guys think about this issue, is this something you’d feel comfortable with,is this good, bad, ugly? :)

  12. This is a fine post. Yes, there are several ways of finding information on one’s keywords. But the key is getting the low hanging fruit, otherwise, there’d never be new entrants to the markets – the big boys would have all the fun, and where would our economy be – uncompetitive and atrophying. Thanks for the post.

  13. Hey there Jackie!

    Hope you’re enjoying the summer-time weather like me and my family (getting ready to take the kids swimming!)

    Quick question… How important is it to ‘not’ have any, or much competition with regards to other IM’ers and their Squidoo lenses who are marketing the same product? I’ve run across several Amazon products with great reviews, high keyword (product name) search volumes, LOW pageranks, but there were some other Squidoo lenses already created. Now, there weren’t a ton of lenses(a couple pages), and when I checked Google’s top 10, those lenses didn’t rank. Thanks in advance!

    • Jackie Lee says:

      Hey Darryl, thinking about filling the pool ourselves today. :)

      If the lenses aren’t ranking in the top couple pages of google I’d go ahead. You just have to make sure you build your links so you can get your lens ranked!

      Have fun swimming.

    • Jackie,
      I wanted to download the seo firefox to follow your squidoo christmas for cash. The link you gave won’t let me download it. So I wound up at another site and downloaded firefox. Now I need the seo addon for firefox. Is there another site where I can download the seo addon it from?

      I liked the way seo firefox gave the page rank when looking for competition.


      • Jackie Lee says:

        well if you don’t have firefox installed it won’t let you download seo for firefox ~ you have to have firefox first. Go back to the original page and see if it will do it now that you have firefox installed. You could also use seoquake ~ does the same thing.

        • I do have firefox installed, but am having the same problem. I e-mailed them, hopefully I’ll hear back from them. I did try seoquake, but it said windows explorer couldn’t open it. I’ll try again. This type of stuff makes me crazy!!

        • Had some troubles with quake, but got them resolved. Seems like google likes to ban you if you do too many searches. Anyway, Jackie, do you recommend PR<30 and less than 30,000 competing pages for your keywords? Seems like I read that somewhere.

          • Jackie Lee says:

            I personally don’t take much stock in the competing pages. I haven’t found them to be a very solid identifier of competition. I use SOC from Micro niche finder or just under 30 front page PR when I use free methods.

  14. Jackie Lee says:

    Make sure you use your keywords as the anchor text of your links whenever possible.

  15. I’d be glad to work with you on this:

  16. Raed Mosa says:

    Thanks, I followed your words, please correct me if I am wrong,

    “If the sum of 10 PR for frist page is less 30, then my kewword good to be used as my Domain ? Correct ?

    I am trying to promote a product from this website, can you help me please to find a low comptition with high traffic keyword to be my domain in order to make Domain forwarding lator ?

    I send you also on TWITTER the same letter but short one.

    Best Regards


  17. RaedMosa ~ you have to download the seo for firefox plugin to be able to see the numbers. If you don’t see the numbers and you’ve downloaded the plugin you’ll have to go into settings and have those numbers show up.

    If you can’t get it to show up you can click through to each of the 10 sites on the front page and look at the page rank in the google toolbar and add them up that way.

    All you are doing is finding out the page rank for each of the ten pages listed on page one. Then you add them up. If they add up to less than 30 you’re good.

    Test it out, play around, taking some action to figure it out is the only way you’re going to learn it for yourself.

  18. Hi Jackie,
    Many thanks for how you explained all the issues for Internet marketing Beginners, but please can you re-explain with more clear example how to choose keywords with high search volume and low competition keeping in mind that I follow your steps regarding PR and I test the same key word you used (Iron Man ) but i couldn’t understand and there were no numbers after the PR……Kindly give me another example with clear and simple steps………

    Best Regards

    Thanks again

  19. I count those as 0.
    .-= Jackie´s last blog ..To Do: Get Finances In Order =-.

  20. Usually the dash means the site doesn’t have a pr yet.

    • Thanks, Jackie – that’s interesting. Not having a PR yet, is that a good or bad thing? Or is the page just so new still? what should I do in this situation? I was going to promote this product thru Clickbank and do an article on it.


  21. Hi, Jackie – I’ve downloaded SEO for Firefox to check out the page ranks. This is a great tool! At first the PRs were question marks, and I went into Tools and chose “automatic” instead of On Demand for the PR. However, now I’m getting a dash after the PR instead of a question mark. no numbers have shown up yet.
    Also, sometimes the PR and all the other info doesn’t even show up. Yes, I do have the toggle to “on.” :)

    Any thoughts?


  22. Jackie,

    You’re right on! Firefox Seo is Excellent!! I was using it when I found your website!!!
    .-= Gordon@shoeshelves´s last blog ..Shoe Shelf =-.

  23. The same thing happened to me. I actually started to cry! I told my husband about it thinking he would be really angry that I banned us from Google, but he just laughed. He said he did the same thing too. He said not to worry and next day it was alright! I have to admit that I didn’t sleep too well that night.
    .-= June@windowtreatments´s last blog ..10 Tips on How To Choose Window Blinds =-.

  24. ha ha I had the very same fear! Wondering how I was going to live without access to Google. Fortunately they let you back in relatively soon!

  25. Jackie,

    Thanks for article. SEO for Firefox is really a neat little utility. At first I forgot to turn it off after doing initial keyword research and when Google “banned” me…I paniced! I thought I was now banned for Life! Luckily, I wasn’t :)

  26. Hi Jackie

    Just wanted to say thank you for the informative internet marketing articles, I`ve some experience of keyword research but theres always room to learn more and I`m adding this one to my marketing toolkit. Thanks again.

  27. The google keyword tool defaults to broad search, which means it looks for the query in any order all around the page. So for ex. you may search big red shoe ~ for a broad search you may end up with a page that is talking about a big dog, a red house and a great looking shoe ~ but since all the keywords are on the page it counts. Exact would bring up just the pages that have big red shoe.

    MNF uses the google keyword tool ~ it just uses the exact search ~ and a bunch of other tools/pages get pulled in to find the rest of the information. If you’re going to use MNF there’s really no reason to use the google tool.

  28. One last follow up then. If the exact search isn’t showing any results, but Google keyword tool does, how would you interpret that?

    I know keyword research isn’t an exact science, but learning more about these variations should be beneficial to my marketing expertise. If I have MNF, would it be best to just target keyword with that software and forego the Google Keyword tool? If they go hand in hand, how does that work? Right now this thought applies specifically to the Christmas Blueprint.

    Sorry, this question may need it’s own blog post. Thanks.

  29. Hey Jolene!

    The default setting on Micro Niche Finder is exact. You can see it in the top right hand corner. Just above where the keywords are listed.

    RE incorrect spelling I think it’s fine to do them, just don’t go overboard with the incorrect spelling. Use the correct spelling most of the time in your content or Google will know what you’re doing and will hit you for it.

  30. Jackie,

    Just purchased Micro Niche Finder. I’m so excited to really get into it. I think this tool is going to be a huge time saver. Couple questions. I’m trying to do a search on an exact phrase but it isn’t coming up in the listings. It’s listed in the Google Adwords Keyword tool with searches so I think I missed a step. I just typed in the phrase and clicked search. Any suggestions.

    Also, I was checking on a product and found that while the correct spelling of the product title had too much competition, the incorrect spelling had several searches and good SOC. What do you think about promoting a product using the incorrect spelling?

    Thanks Jackie…You Rock!!!!

  31. Does she have the google toolbar installed? You can go to each of the sites on the front page and check the PR using the google toolbar.

    If she doesn’t have the google toolbar you can go to google and put your keyword in the search box in quotes ~ ****this is NOT a very accurate way to gauge competition*** but if it’s all you’ve got ~ it’s all you’ve got. Look for keywords with less than 30K competing pages ~ the lower the better ~ 10K is best. Find the # of competing pages by looking at how many other sites there are ~ it will say 10 out of ______ that’s the number you’re looking for. Just make sure you put your keywords in quotes when you do this.

    Good luck and if you can finagle the other it’s a better gauge of competition.

  32. Opps, that’s worKing on someone else’s computer. LOL Sorry! Chris

  33. Hey, Jackie, very interesting process. My problem is, I’m currently woring on someone else’s computer and cannot download something that is “obvious” or she’ll have a cat! My mother is very techno-untrained, but screw with her computer (even if I change the resolution and forget to put it back…) and she’s going to know the reason why! So, suggestions for until I can get a new computer of my own and online with it?

    Thanks, Christi


  1. [...] 2. minimal competition ~ I’ve already covered how to find low competition keywords here. [...]

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