These days unless you have really deep pockets, your only chance to rank well and be successful at having people find your content is with long tail keyword research. More specifically, finding high traffic, low competition keywords.

Translation for newbies – how do I get noticed and not go broke?

It’s also the best way to rank organically – meaning FREE…we like free the best!

When I first started my adventure into the world of internet marketing and blogging, I didn’t have a clue about any of this, and honestly, I threw away a lot of money with no results.

I just wrote what I wanted and how I wanted it and thought it would all work out.

What a surprise!  I didn’t have any traffic or readers who found my content.

It was like standing at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and only whispering….hoping someone would hear my faint voice in the vast space.

It was pretty frustrating and I almost gave up.

But, as soon as I started learning the tricks of the trade, my misadventures started turning into profitable adventures and things got much more fun. Kind of like a game…follow the rules, learn the tactics and suddenly, you start winning. Fancy that!

I hope to share some of my hard earned wisdom with you, so you can shorten the frustration curve you may be experiencing and get in the game.

Content (which is a fancy word for your blog or other writings), can rank relatively easily if you consider the five key factors.

  • Difficulty of your keywords
  • Your content type
  • On-page SEO
  • Content promotion

By properly implementing the 5 key factors, you not only improve your amount of organic or free search traffic, you will improve your chances of attracting some websites with authority who may backlink to you. That is always a good feeling.

Keep in mind that none of this happens overnight. If you are used to running ads and seeing instant results, this may be a bit frustrating to you. Just be patient and know that you are building a strong foundation for your internet marketing to stand on.

All right – all ready, let’s get down to business.

Effective Long Tail Keyword Research

As I said earlier, getting your content noticed by Google for highly competitive keywords is probably not going to happen. You don’t have the money or domain authority (I’ll explain what that is at the end of the blog) to achieve that quite yet.

You are in an arena where the big boys play, and they don’t play nice.

But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t play and win, you just need to be a bit more crafty. You are going to compete along the edges of the arena, not in the center of the field.

With the proper tools and some persistence, you can always find a way to succeed.

First You Need To  Find Low Competition Keywords.

Great…sounds easy, but first we need to define what are low competition keywords?

The answer is, it depends. It depends on what your industry is and how much search volume it gets as a whole. In general, they are keywords that are relative to what you are trying to sell or write about, that has a pretty good search volume, but haven’t been bid up in cost by the Pay Per Click (PPC)  auction system.

Step 1: How To Do proper Long Tail Keyword Research

This is your first and most important step, so take some time thinking about this. There are several tools, both free and paid, to get you started on the right path.

Let’s take a look at a few and see what they have to offer.


Go to the Google homepage and type your main keyword into the search area.

I typed in “best flea shampoo for dogs”

If the search results return less than or near 500,000 pages, then there is a good chance you can rank on the first page of Google.

The next step is to perform the following search also on Google.

‘Allinurl: best flea shampoo for dogs’. Note the number of results that contain your keyword in the URL. If the results are less than 1,000 or pretty close, then you are still looking pretty good for ranking on page one, if you have high-quality content.

The next test to run is

‘Allintitle: best flea shampoo for dogs’. Again, note the results returned. If under 1,000 or close to it, you are still on the right path.

Now try ‘allintext: best flea shampoo for dogs’. If you again get results of 1000 or thereabouts, your heart could be pounding with anticipation.

If you don’t get the desired results for all 3 of these tests, you need to keep looking. If you had good results for 1 or 2 of them, you are pretty close and just trying different word combinations may be the answer.

For instance, when I first tried the exercise for this article, I typed “what is the best flea shampoo for dogs” and saw over 92 million results returned.

So, I played around a bit and came up with the “best flea shampoo for dogs” phrase and it looks pretty promising.


First, let’s define what a long tail keyword is. It was explained to me once to imagine a dinosaur (the kind with long tails of course)

The nose of the dinosaur is the base keyword. The farther down the dinosaur back you go, the less often a word gets searched because it is getting more specific.

Let me explain with examples:

Nike = 233 million searches per month

Nike running shoes = 7.7 million searches per month

Nike running shoes for women = 6.6 million searches per month

Nike running shoes for women with wide feet = 520,000 searches per month

Nike running shoes for women with wide feet and bunions = 393,000 searches

Nike running shoes for women with wide feet and bunions, color red = 91,500 searches

And so on, and so on.

Now, here is the golden key.

The longer the keyword a person types in, the better your chances of converting that person into a buyer or a reader. This is because they know exactly what they want. They are not entering general search terms, they are very specific.

If you have it, you have a happy customer! And, you didn’t pay much if anything to acquire them.

There are various tools you can use to do your long tail keyword research, so you aren’t sitting around playing the guessing game on your computer.


You have probably noticed when you go into Google and type something into the search bar, Google is trying to anticipate what you will be writing. They can do this because they have noted the most popular searches of all the people before you, and they are trying to return to you the results in highest demand at the moment.

This is a great place to start, but we will need to do some refining. Remember high demand, means high cost, because people running ads are bidding those costs higher in the PPC auction.


When you do a search, scroll down to the bottom of the page. You will see many more suggested terms that people have searched for. This is another great place to start.

These are all golden keywords that will help you rank your content on Google.

KEYWORDTOOL.IO is both a free and paid tool. With the free tool you can generate up to 750 long tail keywords suggestions for every search term.

However, you won’t be able to see any of the search quantity data unless you do the paid version. But it is a good way to continue getting long tail keyword ideas.

SEMRUSH – To analyze the keywords I suggest SEMrush. This is a paid tool that seems a bit expensive at first, but it is worth its weight in gold…and will save you a lot of gold when you use it consistently.

It is the preferred tool for digital marketers and bloggers. It does have a small learning curve, mostly because it offers so many features. But, you will always be finding new and creative uses for it.

SEMrush has been the difference between me being a lone voice in the wilderness,  giving all my money to Google each month and actually making money.

For your long tail keyword research in this exercise, you can get a 7-day FREE TRIAL right here. (you can cancel after if you like)

Just go to the main page of SEMrush and enter in your keyword, then click search.

This screen will appear with an overview of your keyword phrase.

You will see the Phrase Match Keywords and Related Keywords around your targeted keyword.

To see more results, just click on the View Full Report button

After expanding the list, you will see the entire list of keywords around your targeted keyword as shown below.

Now, you can take this list and start refining it. I suggest using the following metrics.

  • Keyword difficulty less than 60 (this is how competitive the word is)
  • Number of words more than 3 (the number of words defines how long the tail is..the more the better)
  • Volume more than 50 (you want to make sure people are actually searching)

You can also select some related keywords by expanding the Related Keyword List.

The words are semantically related to the main keyword you are working with.

I have found that if I keep around 20 keywords that I think are relevant, less competitive and have the highest search volume, I can get rid of the rest of the list.


You thought you were done? Well, not quite, but you are indeed getting close.

Just because you have done long tail keyword research, and optimized the content doesn’t mean you will automatically get ranking from our friend Google.

The next step is to analyze your competitor’s strengths. This means you need to find out what their Domain Authority is.

Domain authority is based on a bunch of stuff that only Google really knows, but we can make a pretty good guess at.

Metrics, such as the age of the website, how many backlinks they have, how high of quality those backlinks are (sites with equal or higher authority) how many keywords they rank for, the number of social shares, etc.

To find this out you can use either MozBar or SEOQuake – both are Chrome extensions.

Of course, you must use the Google Chrome browser for them to work. I happen to prefer MozBar.

To get the ranking you are doing all this work for, it is necessary to see what strategy your competitors are using and then you can use the same strategy.

Keep in mind, you are not going to be copying anything here – you are going to see what they are doing, and then you are going to do it better.


To analyze your competitors and find the low competition keywords, head back over to the SEMrush dashboard.

  1. From the left-hand menu, select SEO toolkit from the All Tools drop-down box in the very upper left corner.

Click the drop-down. Choose SEO Toolkit / Domain Overview / Enter Your Website / Monitor your website performance.

What you are going to be doing, is entering your domain to find out who your competitors are.

If your domain is brand new and not really on the Google radar yet, don’t worry. You can “fake it until you make it”

Here is what you do if you have a new site. With Moz or SEOquake installed, head over to the Google search.

Type in your keywords. When the search results come up, look for those with a domain authority of say, 25 and under. You may need to go a couple of pages deep in the search to find them. Then write down a couple site names. With this information, go back to SEMRush and enter per the instructions above.

  1. On the page that comes up, you will have lots of different categories of information. The more domain authority the sites have, the more information SEMRush will be able to cull for you to review.

You will be able to see the analysis of the organic competitors and competitive positioning and their strength and weakness in SERP ranking.

  1. Click on a competitors website to find their traffic reports. Again, if you are brand new don’t go after the Walmarts of the world. Pick on somebody your own size or a little bigger.


With SEMrush you can check the competitor’s keywords, their site search traffic, backlinks, and top anchor texts.

When you monitor your competitor’s strategy, you can easily find the profitable keywords and backlinks to generate more traffic from the search engines with the goal of stealing away their traffic.

I would suggest finding a few websites and keep them on your radar.

Know your competitors and keep an eye on them. When you are first entering your market, this may take a bit of stumbling around, but you will quickly find your peers and it will pay big dividends down the road. Again, don’t copy – just figure out how to do it better.

  1. Write killer copy that your readers and search engines will love.

Okay, you have done the research, you have collected a list of long tail keywords and topics that are low competition and good traffic, now the fun starts. Writing great copy that will get you found by Google and admired by your readers for answering their specific query.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind when writing:

  1. Google loves articles around 2100 characters, this takes approximately 7 minutes to read. This is about the maximum time the average reader can or will spend on your blog. Certainly, you can write shorter blogs, but make sure you produce at least about a 1:3 ratio of long to short. You will do much better in rankings long term.
  2. Be sure to use graphics and other visuals in your blog. Though we toil over our words, choosing just the right phrases, people are typically skimming your article looking for the specific information that they searched for. With visual aids, they will understand quicker and be happier with your content, thus, more likely to come back.
  3. Break your content up into relevant headings and subheadings to keep the reader’s attention and make it easier to read. Plus, it just looks better.
  4. Write your own stuff! You are obviously doing research to see what people are looking for, and how your competitors are answering those questions. However,  make your stuff better and add your own twist and personality to it. To check your content, search “free plagiarism checker tools”.
  5. Practice what you learned in all those years of grade school English classes. Make sure your grammar is correct. Your readers will judge you if you don’t.


Even with all this great research and preparation, you have been doing, if you mess up this last step, you aren’t going to get noticed in the rankings.

If you are using WordPress for your blog, you absolutely must use the plugin called Yost. The free version is just fine. When you post your blog into the backend of your site, it will analyze it for readability and SEO optimization. It is a great tool.

The general idea is to include your targeted keywords in the title tag, meta description, header 2 tag, in your image alt tag and distributed through your content (but don’t overdo it, or Google will slap your hand)

SEMrush has another great tool that I am just discovering. SEO Content Template tool.

All you do is enter a few keywords that you are interested in into the search bar. You can use either the main keyword or experiment using long tail keywords.

SEMrush will return to you, the top 10 ranking pages for those keywords and then give you recommendations on how to create your own SEO friendly content.

It provides semantically related keywords that you can use in your titles, headers and meta-description, readability, average text length and suggestions on what you will need to do to get noticed.

Then it gives you the 10 pages and highlights where the words were used. You can save this to a DOC  file and add to your research files.

It is a great way to see what the top hits are and to start crafting a way for you to get in there also.

It has given me a bunch of great ideas, and I am just learning to see its full potential.


My intent in writing this post was to show you how to find low competition keywords with high traffic, through proper long tail keyword research. Though there are many ways to discover them and every experienced keyword searcher has their own techniques and tricks that they are comfortable with, I hope I gave you more than a couple of ideas.

I wanted to show you how you can start getting your content noticed, even if you don’t have the deep pockets or a staff of writers like the big boys do. The internet is a big place, and there is always room for more.

You just need to know how the game is played, so you can find your own seat at the table.

Hopefully, I have given you some insight on how to find and research your own keywords.

My tool of choice for keywords and SEO research is SEMrush. I am an affiliate, but I don’t push tools I don’t use and love. This is a link for a free 7-day trial of SEMrush. Honestly, you can do enough research in 7 days to get more than enough ammo for a year’s worth of  content. That is what I did when I first started my journey.