The results of your early SEO efforts live and die on the competitiveness of the keywords you choose to target.
Even if you’re willing to invest a ton of money, effort, and time on amazing content and link building, you still won’t come close to ranking for many high competition terms (think “auto insurance”, “buy books”, etc.).
This isn’t a new problem. SEO gets tougher every year because competition consistently rises. There’s always going to be new people wanting to rank for the same keywords that you do.
The solution? Find keywords that still have significant search volumes, but everyone else isn’t targeting.
The reason they don’t target them, is because they can’t find them.
One thing that you need to stop doing immediately is finding keywords through popular tools like the Google Keyword Planner. This is exactly what everybody else does, and you just end up competing for the same phrases.
One of the biggest limitations of the Keyword Planner is that it hides keywords. Not maliciously, but it won’t show their search volumes unless you type in the keyword exactly.
Therefore, you need to find the keywords somewhere else, and then you can check their search volumes to determine if they’re worth targeting.
I’m going to show you exactly how to find low competition keywords in this post.
Meet the front page of the Internet: Reddit
You’ve likely heard of Reddit before. In case you haven’t, all you need to know is that it is a massive community, essentially built of millions of small forums about all topics.
Spend a few minutes browsing it if you haven’t before.
It’s the 9th biggest website in the United States, and the 25th biggest globally according to Alexa.
There are many places to find keywords to target, but Reddit is an amazing place to start, and what we’re looking at in this post for 2 reasons:
- There are communities about almost every topic, with tons of content
- Content is all user-generated. You get keywords that your audience actually uses in real life
So how do you find these keywords on Reddit?
No, I didn’t come up with the idea of doing keyword research on Reddit.
Personally, I came across the idea in a post on Backlinko.
Here’s the basic idea:
- Identify a subreddit where your target audience hangs out
- Browse through threads and comments, and extract anything that looks like a keyword
- Check the search volume of those keywords
Step #1 – Identify a good subreddit
A subreddit is like a forum for a specific topic. The name of the subreddit always follows “/r/” in the URL.
For example, the “seo” subreddit can be found at: www.reddit.com/r/seo
To find a subreddit (or multiple), put a relevant keyword into the built-in subreddit search function. Here’s what it looks like if you type in “cooking”:
Make sure that it’s not only relevant, but active. As long as a subreddit has at least a few thousand subscribers, you should have a large list of threads to extract keywords from.
Step #2 – Browsing and extracting keywords
To start with, note that you can sort posts by “hot”, “new”, or “top” using the buttons at the top. I recommend starting with the “top” posts of all time, since they usually have the most comments, and are about the most popular subjects.
The next part takes some skill. You now need to read through these threads looking for anything resembling a keyword. For example, I spotted “seasonal food lists” in one comment:
It takes some time, so be patient. Keep a list of all the keywords you find.
Step #3 – Keyword validation
Finally, go back to the Google Keyword Planner and input each keyword.
I recommend doing this one at a time. Why? Because sometimes the original keyword you wrote down won’t be good, but the highly related ones will be good.
For example, plugging in “seasonal food lists” shows that 0 people actually search for that exact phrase. However, looking at the related keywords below, there are some great ideas:
These are keywords that would be very hard to find if you use the keyword planner from the start like everyone else does.
A new way to find hundreds of keywords on Reddit in minutes
Once you do this process manually, you’ll find that there’s one big problem…
While you can find some great keywords, it takes a long time to do so.
It wasn’t efficient enough for me, so I set off finding a way to automate it.
What I ended up with was Keyworddit, the first Reddit keyword research tool.
Let’s repeat the example from above using the tool. I typed in the “cooking” subreddit, and made sure the settings were for the top posts of all time:
After waiting about a minute, I had a list of 1120 keywords.
It’s a fairly tough thing to automate, since a lot of personal judgement is involved. That’s why there’s a decent amount of “junk” keywords.
However, when I copied the list to a spreadsheet and removed the junk keywords, I was still left with over 300 relevant keywords. Total time spent was under 25 minutes.
If I were to manually find 300 keywords, it would take a minimum of 5 hours, if not much longer.
Remember that you can still just use these keywords as seed keywords, and plug them back into a keyword tool. The reason that this is still effective is because very few competitors will be plugging in these phrases (or similar ones).
By picking the right keywords to target, you will have exponentially more success obtaining organic search traffic.
Reddit is not the only source of untapped keywords, but it’s one of the best, and one of my favorites.
I strongly encourage you to follow the steps in this post, first manually, to find some untapped keywords of your own. Then, once you fully understand the process, feel free to use Keyworddit to speed things up.
Once you have some keywords that look good, check their level of competition and target them as you normally would. You’ll find them much easier to rank for than keywords you’ve gone for in the past.
Questions? Thoughts? Leave them below in a comment!
Dale Cudmore is a content marketer and developer all rolled into one, which is what Tool Scientists is all about.