How To Find Low Competition Keywords You Already Rank For (And Blow Them Up!)

by Jaco
Original article contributed by: Sean Malseed
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Mixing the keyword difficulty tool with the new 100-deep keyword positions

  • Search your domain in SEMrush’s new 100-deep keyword database.
  • Filter for keywords on page three and export
  • Open the keyword difficulty tool and paste the list.
  • Filter that list by lowest difficulty and export.
  • Export again, and combine the sheets!
  • Optimize your pages that rank for low difficulty, high volume keywords.
  • Profit.

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read on!

In case you didn’t see it, SEMrush announced that they’ve expanded their US database in a big way. Not only did they double the amount of keywords in their US database, but they now track 100 positions deep for all of them.


Sure, other tools track huge databases of keywords, and other tools have keyword ranking difficulty. But what sets SEMrush apart is having all of these things working together really, really well. Especially now that we can go 100 keywords deep. Let me show you what I’m doing with that:

Striking distance keywords

It’s a buzzword as old as time itself. If time began in like 2011. But let’s forget the cliche buzzwordiness of calling a keyword “striking distance” and think about what it actually means: keywords you sort of rank for. Page two or three. Google thinks you maybe sorta have some relevant info on the term, but ehhh not so much as these page one people.

Ok, that was cheesy. Whatever. I’m getting to the point.

SEMrush just gave us a Game Genie for content optimization using striking distance keywords: export your domain positions, copy/paste into their keyword difficulty tool, export keyword difficulty, match the two exports.

The Oft-forgotten SEMrush Bulk Keyword Difficulty Tool

You may have been using SEMrush for years and never heard of this incredible little tool that’s built right in to the main feature set. It’s a bit hidden, all the way down under the 10th menu on the left-hand side – under Tools. But seriously – go check this out right now.

Ok, It’s also up in the main menu under Tools. But I guess my point is that the Keyword Difficulty tool is a GOLD. If you’ve never used it before, I think you might start now. Because check this out:

Keyword difficulty shows you which keywords are easiest to break in to page one for, based on analyzing all domains currently ranking on page one for that term. In bulk, and exportable.

What we’re doing, step by step

Type your own domain into the SEMrush search bar

First thing you’re gonna do is look up your own domain in SEMrush. Now that it’s looking 100 positions deep for 80 million keywords, chances are you’re going to have a bunch of stuff in there, even if you didn’t before. Let’s take a look at what’s arguably the tankiest site on the internet, RankTank:

Look at your organic keyword rankings

That was easy enough. Now let’s take a look at the keywords we rank for by clicking on Positions in the left-hand menu.

Filter for just keywords on page three of Google

SEMrush lets you filter right in their own interface. I want to start with page three, because it’s given me the most gold. I definitely want to push my second page rankings, but they tend to be more competitive so I’ll do those later. I want the low-hanging fruit first.

Let’s use the following filters: Include Pos. Greater than 20 and Include Pos Less than 31. That’s page three. Then, we’ll hit Apply, and Export. Open that file up in Excel, Google Docs or whatevs.

Open the SEMrush Keyword Difficulty Tool, copy, and paste

Can you guess what we’re about to do? If you said “paste a bunch of keywords into the difficulty tool,” you’ve sure been following along. Take a look at that SEMrush export. Column A is keywords, and column F conveniently contains your ranked URL for that keyword. If you’ve got more than 100 keywords in your export, you might want to sort by column D (search volume) descending, and start with the first 100 there. Copy, and let’s paste ’em into the keyword difficulty tool!

Export keyword difficulty, combine the spreadsheets

Paste your list, then click “Show Difficulty.” Now, sort by Keyword Difficulty score. Look at all that gold! Click the handy export button, and match this sheet to your original export (hint: use VLOOKUP).

Woah. You now have have a list of keywords and URLs sortable by how easy it will be to rank the URL on page one for that keyword.

The keyword difficulty tool is a kind of simple genius: it takes each keyword in your list, looks at what sites currently rank on page one for that term, and score them relative to all 40.5 million other domains in their US database. The weaker the domains, the easier it will be to rank. Picture this: if the top 10 results for a given keyword are Walmart, Wikipedia, CNN, etc., it’s going to be tough to break into that crowd. Why not go after a keyword with similar search volume with weak top 10 results instead? It seriously takes like five seconds to find them now.

Ok, that’s all I got. Go try this and let me know how you make out!

Leave a Comment


Ahmed Tahir 13 July 2020 - 7:02 am

Such an amazing website

Nadeem Ifti 12 June 2020 - 10:39 pm

I think semrush is more good for competition analysis and mapping tool in google.

Uday Ghosh 11 January 2019 - 6:16 pm

hey this is search engine optimization?

Shubham 5 September 2018 - 4:34 am

Very useful article.

Chad Buie 12 November 2016 - 3:35 pm

Now only if SEOs alike new what putting effort in content is and value in tools to produce natural links. For so long there’s be headlines about, “Make great Content and You’ll Rank High”, but there’s never a solid example of such culture. It’s sorta like vague. Here is the example of genius and illustration which helps invest in the audience of SEOs around. Making this investment no only yeilds links and social mentions, but it also will attract loyal customers! Great Job!

Ram Shukla 7 May 2016 - 7:14 pm

Basic levels of free research can also be done by Adword keyword planner; I think semrush is more good for competition analysis and mapping

Karim 12 October 2015 - 10:22 am

Hi Sean,

Wow, just wow! I’ve been using SEMrush for some time now and never even came close to discovering this functionnality. Thanks for this insightful guide 🙂

Sean Malseed 13 October 2015 - 1:37 pm

Thanks Karim! Really glad you found the guide useful!

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