How I Find Low Competition Longtail Keywords for Free

How I Find Low Competition Longtail Keywords (For Free)

Last year I published hundreds of articles with the deliberate intention of getting better at ranking for low competition keywords that would bring traffic into my sites.

After all, as a blogger/content publisher if you’re not constantly trying to improve and drive more organic traffic, why are you bothering, right?

By applying some common sense and actually testing things, I started to see some good success towards the end of the year.

Certainly more than I’d ever seen following the advice from popular internet marketers or relying on keyword difficulty scores from keyword tools.

I was publishing across a few different sites testing out different types of content, different niches, various on-page things, and between Jun-Dec I grew my overall organic traffic from around 50k/mo to 100k/mo.

Needless to say, I was happy with that as more traffic equals more income. Especially as I monetize primarily with ads.

On the first of this year, I started a brand new site to test this keyword strat on new domain. I’ve been documenting my progress here on this blog and on Reddit (You can see my latest update month 4 update here.)

Basically, I’ve grown the organic traffic from 0-50k/mo with zero backlinks or promotion. That’s 81k pageviews to-date.

81k pageviews in less than 5 months

Just by using super low-competition, laser-focused keyword research and writing loads of content.

In this post, I’m going to share exactly how I do keyword research. As well as why I don’t use some of the other KW research techniques internet marketers preach.

If you want more traffic, I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t do this too!

Is There a Best Way to Do Keyword Research?

I’ve tried just about every KW research method out there. If I thought there was a better way to do it for what I need, I’d be doing it. Trust me.

It’s important to remember, however, that there are different types of keywords that require different methods.

The method I use is designed to find low competition keywords that typically have low volume, and are almost always informational.


  • Because I know I can rank on page 1 for these keywords within hours of writing the article
  • I don’t need to build or buy backlinks to rank for the keywords, and
  • I don’t need to use any paid keyword tools

So, if you’re willing to publish a lot of content and want to rank for low comp keywords that do not require backlinks, read on:

How I Find Loads of Longtail Keywords (for Free)

OK, first of all, there are two Chrome extensions I use;

They both do similar things, but I have both installed to capture a larger number of keywords.

For the purpose of these examples, I’m going to pretend I have a site about rabbits. Which isn’t a bad idea as they’re a popular pet around the world, and there will be loads of good keywords I bet – so if you needed a niche idea, why not start a site about rabbits?!

Anyway, to start finding keywords I would start to type something into the Google search bar and see what comes up.

Thinking about rabbits and the needs of their owners, you could try anything like:

  • “Can rabbits eat”
  • “What do rabbits”
  • “Why do rabbits”

You’ll notice I don’t use “seed keywords”. Instead, I try to think of sentences that could have a number of different endings.

I like the “Can rabbits eat” one because they are going to be dozens of possible foods owners are interested in knowing if they can feed their fluffy friends.

When I typed that keyword in, WMS Everywhere added some 50ish keywords to the side of the Google results with their estimated monthly search volume.

Here’s a screenshot of what you should expect to see:

WMS Everywhere search results

Those top results are going to be super-competitive though. What we’re interested in are the lower search volume ones as they’re much more likely to be low competition.

WMS Everywhere low competition search results

In my experience, almost all of those will be easy to rank for. Ignore the 0 volume keywords for now, although sometimes they can bring in traffic as I’ll explain later.

Let’s start by opening up tabs for those 4 keywords with 10 searches per month.

Why It’s Worth Targeting Low Search Volume Keywords

I want to talk about low volume keywords for a minute.

Most people ignore keywords with low search volume because they don’t think it’s worth their time. You probably have before too, right?

Well, that’s good for people like me (and now you), and here are a few reasons why:

When you rank well for a keyword you’ll capture traffic from other keywords so your article’s estimated search volume will be a lot higher

Even a trickle of traffic will add up over time and turn profitable from ads

Ranking well for more posts increases your organic presence and increases your chance of attracting backlinks and other opportunities

Every post adds to the topical relevance of your site/content and strengthens your other posts

It’s just good to practice to rank well for stuff, I can’t think of any downsides. Especially if you’re writing the content yourself.

To give you an example of just how much traffic low volume keywords can bring in, below is a screenshot from my Search Console for the last 28 days.

These are for the posts, not the individual keywords. But I’ve added the estimated search volume for the keyword I targeted, just looking at how much more traffic is coming in over the estimated amount:

Why I target low volume keywords

As you can see, anything from zero to 260/mo can bring in thousands of impressions and clicks!

If you like the look of a keyword and know you can write up a good article for it, just do it.

How I Determine If They Are Low Competition

There are two parts to this; finding keywords, and identifying if they are what I call “low competition”.

Let’s go back to the 4 keywords I told you to open up in new tabs earlier from our list;

  • “Can rabbits eat mangetout”
  • “Can rabbits eat swede”
  • “Can rabbits eat rocket”
  • “Can rabbits eat courgette”

Open up the first one – Can rabbits eat mangetout – in an incognito browser tab so it’s not geo-tracking you;

This is what I see:

Finding low competition keywords

Basically, I’m looking for two main things when evaluating the difficulty of a keyword:

  • “Low quality” results, such as forums, Quora, and other user-generated content
  • A lack of SEO-optimized posts with the keyword as the URL and title

Looking at the first page of the SERPs for this keyword it meets both criteria. I see an archived forum post ranking well, and no posts targeting this exact keyword.

This is exactly the type of keyword I would write up if I had a site about rabbits. And, I’m 99% sure I’d rank on the first page, I’m almost certain you’d capture the snippet too as the current snippet isn’t optimized.

Why am I so confident?

I’ve seen and done this hundreds of times. This is literally a zero competition keyword with some real search volume.

Let’s look at the next one; Can rabbits eat swede?

Another low competition keyword

This is another good example because it actually has some competition, but is still weak.

There are 4 posts that are targeting the keyword, although one of those posts is a forum.

I took a look at the sites targeting the keyword, I won’t go into the details here as I don’t want to call anyone out – but they all had bad on-page SEO and lacked overall relevance.

I’d write this one up and outrank them for sure. The snippet is up for grabs too as it doesn’t feature all the keywords.

This is all I did to grow my case study site to 50k pageviews a month in 5 months. I just went up lists of keywords like these knocking out articles, that’s all there is to it.

Why I Don’t Use the KGR Keyword Method

The Keyword Golden Ratio method is one I see a lot of people using. I’ve published hundreds of articles using KGR, and didn’t see the kind of results I did using my method.


Well, first of all, if you’re new to keyword research you might not know this, but the KGR method uses the “allintitle:” advanced Google search command.

The guy who invented KGR saw that using allintitle was trending at the time for keyword research. So, he basically added a redundant calculation to it so he could market it as his own strategy and sell his course or whatever else he was promoting.

The problem is that the calculation makes no sense at all. Either a keyword is low competition or it’s not. You don’t need to divide it by the search volume, I proved above that volume doesn’t matter.

Additionally, allintitle is a fine metric. But it still doens’t tell you the whole story, you need to look at the results.

Why I Don’t Use the Income School Keyword Method

To my understanding Income School preach using Google autosuggest to find keyword ideas and writing those up.

That’s fine, it’s not too different from what I do. But why not use a Chrome extension to generate a long list and filter out the zero volume keywords first so you can go after the higher volume ones?

That makes more sense to me.

Wrapping Up

This does only kind of scratch the surface of how I do all of my keyword research. It is the core fundamentals of what I do though.

Just by following these few steps I’ve outlined you can find dozens of easy to rank for keywords in just 30 minutes or so, I do.

Browsing blogging forums and Reddit I see endless people posting about not getting any traffic after months of blogging and it always makes me sad.

You can get traffic using this method in any niche, on any age site, any domain authority, because there are always keywords no one else has targeted.

Let me know how you get on if you decide to follow this strat. Good luck, and happy keyword hunting!

77 thoughts on “How I Find Low Competition Longtail Keywords (For Free)”

  1. Friend from reddit

    Hey phil. Just saw this.
    This is a great resource. Thanks for writing it. You don’t know how many people you’re helping. All the best for your future.

  2. Hi Phil. Thanks for sharing this helpful method! Basically I am doing the same process: target low volume, long-tail keywords and manually check the SERPS to see if I can beat them. However, I do use Google Keyword Planner to generate keywords idea and volumes instead of Chrome extensions. How do you feel about GKP ?

    1. Hey, I used to use it a long time ago I think it basically does the same thing. Wouldn’t surprise me if these tools pull from their data. However you can get the keywords, it’s all good.

  3. This is super helpful for someone like me who is about to launch my blog. I see too much content regarding using ahrefs and semrush (way out of my budget) or simply just using Google autocorrect which is never clear enough.
    Thank you for the tips!

    1. Yeah, those keyword tools pay good affiliate commissions, people will push you to use them at every chance.

  4. Ivan Dražić

    I have been having trouble with my site getting traffic from google. However, not knowingly I bought hosting without SSL, how much do you think that may affect? I will try your method if it works for me I will forever thankful.

    1. Hard to say how much no SSL will affect your SEO – but my advice is to get your site onto HTTPS asap. Don’t leave it up to chance, it’s needed.

  5. Hi Phil

    Great work with your site and this article! Super informative.

    I have one question, though, concerning the KGR and how it’s different from your strategy.

    Both of you are focused on low competition keywords. The allintitle is an advanced and fast way to filter out other results that aren’t focusing on the exact keyword you searched for. Right?

    So, if you minus the KGR calculation part ( I think the calculations are pointless) what else do you have against the KGR strategy?

    Kind regards and stay safe.

    1. Hi Christine

      I don’t have anything against allintitle, I use that metric myself sometimes. It’s just not as accurate or as reliable as looking at the results, so if you’re going to look at the SERPs anyway you don’t always need to use it.

      For example, if you look at all the keywords a very new site ranks for, like mine say, lots of the keywords that site ranks well for will not have a low allintitle. It’s just one of the many ways to slice it really.

    1. Yes, this is what I did to grow a new site to 50k/mo pageviews with no backlinks at all. I do not intend to ever build links to that site.

  6. Hi,
    Nice, informative article! Newbie question here… What do you mean by “A lack of SEO-optimized posts with the keyword as the URL and title”?

    1. Hey,

      Well, the better optimized a post is for SEO the better it will (should) rank. So, look for posts that are ranking but don’t have the exact keyword in the title, aren’t in-depth, don’t answer the query well, bad images, not broken up in headers – all the things you’re going to do right – so you know you should outrank them.
      If you’re experienced ranking content you tend to just get a feel for how good and well-optimized an article is, you know? Believe it or not, a lot of sites publish content without understanding SEO, but they still rank for some stuff.

  7. I know it’s out of the topic but Would you mind telling me that how you got that Contents tab on your blog? Which plugin did you use?

  8. Nice write up,
    This is really helpful for me.

    I just want to know how did you structure your posts.
    Did you create 2 posts separately for “Can rabbits eat mangetout” and “Can rabbits eat swede”?
    or only one post for both of these keywords?

    low competition longtail keywords are quite similar, Is it better to make a long content rather than making too many short content for each keyword?

    1. I prefer making more short posts. If you have two similar keywords, look at the results. It Google sees them as the same thing and ranks all the same posts for each result, then you only need on post. If the search intent is different for each, write both.

  9. Hey Phil! Unknowingly I was using method same as your but whenever I try ranking for 0 volume or 10 volume, I usually still rank low. Can I ask why this is happening? It would be great if you will help me.

    1. Hey Karan, if you’re nailing the keywords but not ranking it’s going to be down to your onpage SEO. This might mean the individual page, but it might also mean you need to build up topical authority across your site too. I intend to publish a post this month explaining how I write my content.

  10. Hello Phil,
    thanks for these great tips and explaining the simple.
    I am currently in the process of creating new websites and can use a lot of this information!

    But I have one more question: if you decide on a keyword and write the post (to stay with the example “can rabbits eat hay”), how do you manage to include the keyword naturally in the text and mention it often enough?
    This is not that easy with some keywords.

    1. Sometimes you don’t need to include the keyword, at least not that often. Just look at how many times the post ranking #1 used it, probably zero times. You can still weave it via a H2 or an intro like, “So, you’ve got some hay and you’re wondering – can rabbits eat hay? Well, the answer is yes they can as I’ll explain in more detail.”

  11. I just have to say….wow!

    I just used your method in a very competitive nitch (personal finance) where the big sites are ranking for even the 0 traffic words.

    I picked a long-tail keyword using your stated methods and wrote an article – 976 words and then went to my Google Search Index and submitted the URL.

    Five minutes later – and I mean five minutes – it was ranked on the first page in the 3rd position!

    I’ve never had an article on the first page before.

    This is so exciting.

    I just have to say THANK YOU!

    1. That’s awesome, Beth. I love hearing that, it’s why I write up this stuff!

      Thanks for taking the time to share that.

  12. I just started on a dog niche and im trying to use your methode… im currently blogging about specific dog breed ! Do you think it can work for me ? And what do u suggest ?

    1. Hey, yes absolutely. The dog niche is a very good one. Find some competitor sites in your niche, which shouldn’t be too hard, and just add more content focusing on more longtail keywords and it really can’t fail. Good luck!

  13. This is hands down the best keyword research method ever. And the best part is it seems so doable.

    One question though, Phil.
    Let’s say I were to write an article around the topic – ‘Can Rabbits eat Lettuce’

    Aren’t these kinds of questions pretty straight forward. I mean the possible answers can either be: “yes, they can eat lettuce” or “No, they can’t.” Ofcourse adding a little bit of context.

    But still it’s hard to imagine writing a 1000 word article around such a simple question.

    What do u do in these situations.

    I’d really appreciate your insight.

    1. Hi Gautam

      It can be difficult sometimes, yes. Which is why I often make it to 800 words, and leave it there without adding any fluff.
      As an example, I looked up the keyword you mention, Can Rabbits eat Lettuce?

      For this I would build the post as:
      Intro/snippet – 100 words
      Then some headers made up mostly related KWs taken from Google:
      Why is lettuce good for rabbits? – 200 words
      What lettuce is bad for rabbits? – 200 words
      What other vegetables can rabbits eat – 200 words
      What should rabbits not eat? – 200 words
      Conclusion – 100 words

      That’s what I would do, you’d easily hit 800 words, probably 1k. It’s all highly relevant content too and will help your SEO and to rank for those other questions.

  14. Hi Phil.

    Got her via Shaun Mars youtube channel. Is there any particular reason you use wms Everywhere over keywords everywhere?

    From my limted research i have done so far, I find that wms everywhere will say some keywords have 10 voume monthly searches where as Keywords everywhere will say 0.

    Kind regards.

    1. Hi Ali, I used Keywords Everywhere a long time ago, it’s fine to use. I use these tools for the keywords more than the volume, I’ve checked some keywords across various KW tools and seen them all give a different search volume estimate and they all tend to be very inaccurate.
      I started using WMS because it was listing more keywords than Keywords Everywhere, I think that was the reason.

      1. Many thanks for your reply. Do you look at the DA you are competing against?

        For example if you find a keyword you like, do you check the DA and PA of the pages that are in the SERP?

        Many thanks in advance for your time.

        Kind regards

        1. Hi Ali
          I don’t check DA no, mainly because my MOZ plugin hasn’t been working! It’s only really a valid metric for sites that are targeting the same keyword as you want to – but if you’re finding those low-comp keywords there aren’t many sites targeting them anyway.

          1. Hi Phil.

            Thank you for your reply. My thinking is the reason why high DA website come up is because no one is really targeting that particular keyword.

            How many words do you shoot on avarge per article ?

            Many thanks for your time dude. You are real help.

  15. Here is a big question that bugs my mind. How are you able to write that many articles?
    Are you an expert in that niche so you know everything from your head what you are about to write or?
    In my head.. even If I am semi-introduced with the topic I need to spend some time on research and then I need a fair amount of time to write down 1000 words or so.

    Please, give me some example or anything so I can wrap my head around 😀

    1. I’m not an expert in the niche, but there are two reasons why I’m able to write these articles fast:
      1 – They aren’t the most technical keywords I’m targeting, so there is a lot of room for writing my own thoughts and opinions.
      2 – After writing thousands of articles over the last 6 or so years, I’ve probably become pretty quick.

  16. Thank you so much for this killer blog!
    I started bloging two months ago and I will be using your methods to find keywords, but the problem is : when I add WMS everywhere to my chrome browser the suggestions are not relevant and most of the time one or two keywords, at first I thought my niche just doesn’t have that much keywords which doesn’t make sense, so I typed your example “can rabbits eat” and I didn’t get the same suggestions, just a few random queries, does this have to do with locations? If yes can a vpn solve this ? Any alternative to wms in this case?
    Sorry for taking your time but this is frustrating me and i feel stuck.

    1. Cool, I’m happy to hear you’re building a site – I hope it goes well.
      That’s an interesting question, maybe it is to do with your location, that makes a bit of sense.
      I’ve never had an issue with WMS though, so hard to say. You could try the SurferSEO Chrome extension before a VPS, see if that one returns some good results. I use it too sometimes.

      1. I solved this right after I posted my comment here haha…
        so for everyone reading this and having trouble with WMS everywhere, just log out with your Gmail account, then restart the chrome browser, go to settings at the bottom left of the home page, and change the location of the search results to the US, things will work just fine with wms extension after this.
        thanks again Phil for this case study, I’ll be waiting for your updates

  17. Hey Phil,
    How can you figure out that the page targeting the keyword has bad on page SEO? I generally look at whether the keyword is in the URL, meta, H1, and in the first 100-200 words in the post. Is there anything else to look out for?
    Bumped on to your site from reddit 🙂

    1. I kind of just look at the overall page and ask myself if this is targeting that specific keyword and answering all the associated suggestions Google is suggesting. It’s not an exact science, but it works well.

      You’re right that those things help SEO. But for me, SEO is also about delivering a super relevant piece of content centered around the keyword. I think that’s why my shorter pages often rank better than articles twice the length – I incorporate more relevant topics and keywords.

  18. Hi Phil,

    a question on your strategy. Do you see your new posts ranking higher after couple of days/weeks? Or is it more like you write it and right after the first crawl the article is directly in the top 10?


    1. Hi Jan

      I haven’t done a really close study into this, but what I’m pretty sure is happening is that my posts index immediately in the top 10 and typically stay there or crawl a little higher. It’s the other keywords within the posts that take long to climb, so suddenly I notice a post is bringing in a lot more traffic, but the main KW hasn’t moved, if that makes sense.

    1. No plans to do so, I can’t keep up with all the stuff I’m doing right now without learning about video editing and such like. 🙂

  19. It would probably sound strange to you, but I just found out about you from the collaboration you did with Shaun Marrs on YouTube. I came to your blog and looked up your keyword research method, and was surprised to find that you’re doing the same thing that I thought only I came up with 😅

    I now know that this method works! Thanks for sharing this post, Phil.

    Please keep on sharing more techniques in the future as well in case you develop a more advanced and solid method that works better.

    1. I think I saw Carl Broadbent using this method as well. Maybe he learned it from this post of yours and I learned from him.

      This is probably how it went, you’re the original owner of this idea. Thanks for sharing, Phil, I love it!

      1. Hey Umar, Yeah I’m sure plenty of people are doing something similar, because it works. I just really wanted to try and share it so more people can get a slice of traffic and hopefully make some $$ cause I didn’t see too many people talking about this kind of low comp stuff.

  20. I had a question. Do you think if I make a general pet site and use this technique to write about all the pets I want in different categories, would this site rank just like any other niche site?

    Or will it require more time, because I’m targeting multiple animals?

    This is the format of my site URL:

    1. It will work yes, I see these sites all the time when looking in the search results. I do think it will take longer to rank for specific stuff than a site built around one specific breed of dog or cat, for example. But it works for sure. If you do go broad, I would concentrate on one animal at a time for at least 50 posts before moving on to the next category.

      1. Yes, I was thinking of doing the same. Write about 50 posts or more or less on one animal type and then move on to the next.

        Thanks again, please keep on sharing these nuggets!

  21. Hey Phil,
    What do you think of 0 search volume keywords? You had briefly mentioned it, but didn’t really go into too much detail. When do you think they are worth going for?

    All the best!

    Looking forward to your next post!

    1. Hi Dave

      I’ve had success with them. I haven’t really put together a good summary showing how much traffic I’ve gotten from them, I should do that really. You do have to be careful to pick a good topical KW, but those zero volume keywords can hold some serious traffic for sure.

  22. Hey Phil,
    Do you often find that there are no snippets for your chosen keyword phrase? I’m coming across this more and more with low competition keywords. What do you think, prime targets for content?


  23. Hey man. Thank you so much for sharing this. It definitely will help a lot of us rank higher. I just want to ask you about what other keywords searching methods that you use ? I remember you said that this is just a small percent of your process. Thanks again. You have provided us with a great service.

    1. Hi Omar, this is pretty much the core of what I do. When I say there is more to it, I just really mean that it takes time and practice to get better at finding keywords that are going to bring in traffic.

      When I talk about this with friends I find I can talk about it for an hour easily, just going over the small nuances involved with deciding which keyword I think will do well. Best advice is to keep writing up articles, and you’ll see what I mean.

  24. Hi Phil,

    How long does it take for you to rank for a zero competition keyword you have found that way and when do you usually reach the first page/top 3?
    I just recently started implementing this strategy and I was wondering how long I should wait until I know if I did it right.

    Thanks for the nice article and best of luck to you

    1. Hi, in the first few months of a site it takes a while, weeks sometimes. Once your site is established, almost all the articles I write rank on page one as soon as I post and inspect them.

      Google switched off inspecting the other day. It took two days for the last article I wrote to take the snippet. There are some weird indexing issues at the moment with Google for sure though. Some posts aren’t ranking as well as I’d expect.

      1. Thank you for the response!

        I actually was beginning to worry as I didnt succeed in even getting to page one, but my own site is only one month old so I guess I should wait a little bit and be patient

  25. Hey Phil,

    Just a little advice if you don’t mind. I got slammed by the May Update and never recovered. My traffic was climbing to over 1200 per day, no I get maybe 250-300
    per day.

    However, I had decided to double down and have been putting up content religiously, even have decided to go after low comp, low volume keywords, which brought me to your Case Study.

    Nothing seems to be moving the needle, even updating keywords improving the content that I used to rank for from GSC. I’m a bit frustrated, I have over 200 posts and around 600k words published. It’s been the focus of my life for the last year, year and a half.

    Question, should I continue, start another site or both?
    Btw, heard you on Shaun Marrs YouTube interview. Good job!


    Best regards!

    1. Hey, thanks Dave.

      It’s hard to say. I had a site that took a small hit from the May update, and I recovered the traffic by adding some new posts. It shouldn’t be a site-wide algo hit, so you should always be able to rank more content if you’re picking the right KWs.

      I’d always try and recover. It might mean you have to change direction with your content a little, but that doesn’t matter. But, if nothing is ranking at all for months now, I’d be a bit concerned of course.

      Look at what topics are ranking well, pick some super low comp keywords within that topic and see if those rank, that’s my advice.

  26. Do you have a method to find low competition commercial keywords as well? Or do you only focus on informational keywords.

    1. I do some commercial KWs yes, I’m trying to do more of them as well now. Not always for affiliate commissions, but because they pay higher ad EPMVs too.

      I still take an informative approach though. I don’t write “Best weed killer for thistles”, I would write “What kills thistles”, or “how to kill thistles”, then add the product in. Easier to rank for. I make maybe $400 a month via Amazon across my sites using this approach.

      1. Yes, that’s how I’d approach this as well from now on. Because ranking for commercial keywords is very hard, especially when you’re not focusing on building backlinks.

        And finding low competition commercial keywords is also very hard 😅 Because I couldn’t find even 5 keywords of this sort in my previous blog.

        Then I thought I’d just focus on informative keywords and monetize through ads, and place affiliate links here and there where it makes sense.

        1. Yes, I agree.

          That said, I’m testing some higher RPM KWs over the next couple of weeks. Will post a write up with the results if it works out. 🙂

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