Low-Hanging Fruit Keywords: How to Find and Leverage Them

Written by Ryan Jones. Updated on 22, May 2024

Low-hanging fruit keywords are queries with much less competition than 'head' keywords often targeted by SEO companies. But while they may be less competitive, they still offer much value and traffic opportunities. Low-hanging fruit keywords generally have a lower keyword difficulty but still have a good search volume to make the keyword valuable.

Here's an example.

Let's say I own an ecommerce company selling running shoes. I may want to target "running shoes" as a keyword, but as you can see from the screenshot below, this may be difficult:

Overview of running shoes keyword difficulty, search volume, traffic potential, and global search volume.

Looking at the information above, you can see that this keyword has a high keyword difficulty, meaning it will take a lot of high-quality and relevant backlinks to give us a good chance at ranking. If we take a look below, we can also see that our page needs to have a high authority level (based on the Ahrefs metrics, at least) to rank in the top ten links:

SERP overview for running shoes including search results, backlinks, traffic, and keywords.

However... Many keywords still offer a tonne of value to my business while being much easier for me to target with great content and some good relevant backlinks:

Image showing keyword data for marathon running shoes including search volume traffic potential and global search volume loading.

This keyword has a much lower keyword difficulty, meaning we have a good chance of ranking within the first ten links with a lower number of backlinks needed.

By simply targeting a keyword and making the query slightly more specific, I simplify my job and can still target many potential customers. This is a great example of a low-hanging fruit keyword like marathon running shoes.

You can learn more about keyword research on our blog.

What are the Benefits of Utilizing Low-Hanging Fruit as a Keyword Strategy?

You will quickly notice many benefits when rolling out low-hanging fruit keywords into your SEO strategy. In this section, we will talk through those benefits in detail.

Quick Wins

One of the first benefits of focusing on low-hanging fruit keywords for your business is the number of quick wins you will have available.

Let's continue with the example I used earlier. Suppose you were to target "running shoes" for your business, yes. In that case, you may rank within the first 10 links on the SERPs after a year of concentrated effort on this one particular keyword. Even then, it will take a higher budget, a lot of high-quality and relevant links built, and a lot of effort from your SEO team.

If you switch your focus, you can start ranking for keywords like:

  • Marathon Running Shoes
  • Half Marathon Running Shoes
  • 10km Running Shoes
  • 5km Running Shoes

You will find that these keywords are much easier to target, will require fewer links, and will take less time to start ranking high in the SERPs. Of course, these keywords will generate less traffic overall, but the traffic you get from these keywords will be more targeted and more ready to buy. At the very least, these types of users will be easier to drive through your particular buying funnel.

Cost Effective

Targeting low-hanging fruit keywords will also be more cost-effective for your business.

Buying links is a strict "no" within Google's guidelines. This is old news. However, even when building and acquiring links the right way, a large investment still needs to be made. You need to invest in:

  • High-quality content production.
  • External tools to help with research and outreach.
  • Team members who know how to build and acquire the right links.
  • Sometimes, businesses may invest in external companies to help with this.

And, of course, the more links you need to rank highly in the SERPs for a particular query, the more budget you need to put into it.

Low-hanging fruit keywords are, by definition, easier to rank well for, which means that the investment level needed will be much lower. That's why it's common to see smaller businesses invest in low-hanging fruit keywords. It's also a common practice for marketing agencies to start targeting low-hanging fruit keywords when they start working with a client to boost confidence levels and get the ball rolling quickly for that client.

Boost Confidence with Stakeholders

As discussed above, starting an SEO campaign by focusing on low-hanging fruit keywords is a great way to build momentum and the confidence you need with your stakeholders, whether management, investors, colleagues, or anyone else involved with your website's success.

Let's take our website as an example:

Graph showing organic traffic growth over time with significant increase since September 2023.

Looking at the graph above from Ahrefs, you can see that there was a time when our domain received no traffic. It started to improve at the beginning of 2021 (when we switched our business domain to seotesting.com), and then we started growing at the beginning of 2023.

** The graph above doesn't reflect our actual traffic; you should always take results from Ahrefs and similar tools with a pinch of salt. But we can say that the traffic growth curve is very similar to what is shown above.

The first growth we saw at the beginning of 2021 resulted from targeting relevant, low-hanging fruit keyword opportunities with blogs and other content. We expanded this following the expansion of our marketing team in 2023, which is when we started to see the traffic rolling in.

SEO is a numbers game, and good SEO should always increase business revenue. If you can show your stakeholders progress with low-hanging fruit keywords that also increase revenue, they will be happier to give you the time and budget to increase results even further.

Build Authority

There's a common equivalence used within SEO circles: backlinks + traffic = authority. Of course, it is never as linear as this, but in general, the higher your website traffic and the more backlinks (especially relevant backlinks from highly authoritative websites), the more authoritative your website will be seen by Google and other search engines.

Given that low-hanging fruit keywords are easier to achieve traffic for and easier to build backlinks for, this is a great way to create the authority that your site needs to then target those higher-traffic head keywords.

This phenomenon is often seen in SEO circles. As a site slowly builds backlinks and traffic, ranking for queries becomes easier and easier. We've seen this here at SEOTesting. So, getting the ball rolling with low-hanging fruit keywords makes complete sense.

Traffic Growth

We've touched on this already, but focusing on low-hanging fruits that are easier to gain traffic for is a great way to show traffic growth, especially in the early stages of your business's online journey.

Let's go back to our ecommerce store example from earlier.

Say that our business has just released its website, and it has 0 backlinks and no traffic currently heading to the domain from organic search. Yes, we need to follow best practices and invest in paid advertising from the get-go, but what is the best way to start getting organic traffic quickly?

We'll give you a hint... It's not focusing on head keywords. Your site simply will not have the authority to rank for these keywords for a long time.

But we can group low-hanging fruit keywords, start producing content for these queries and clusters, and get traffic immediately! Have a look at these keywords, for instance:

  • Brooks Running Shoes
  • Hoka Running Shoes
  • On Running Shoes
  • On Cloud Running Shoes
  • Best Running Shoes
  • New Balance Running Shoes

These ideas have a keyword difficulty of less than 30 and estimated organic traffic (from Ahrefs) between 10,000 and 60,000 monthly searches. This gives us a great opportunity to create Product Listing Pages for these queries, start ranking for them, and get traffic very quickly.

Improved User Engagement

Low-hanging fruit keywords are often reflections of specific queries from users who are looking for a very particular product, service, or piece of information. When you create content and optimize for these terms, your content attracts a more targeted audience who are more likely to engage.

In the case of the ecommerce store we have been using throughout this article, targeting a keyword such as "best running shoes for flat feet" brings in users who are searching for exactly that kind of shoe. As a result, these visitors are more likely to engage with your content, click on product display pages, explore other product types, and, most importantly, make purchases.

This is in direct contrast to targeting a head keyword like "running shoes," which can potentially confuse a customer looking for a specific product type. If they find it hard to see what they are looking for, you risk them clicking off your site entirely and heading back to the SERP.

Lower Risk

Targeting low-hanging fruit keywords is a much lower-risk strategy than targeting head keywords, and it offers several advantages that can benefit any business trying to get seen online.

One of the main benefits is the lower investment required. Head keywords are highly competitive and demand substantial resources in terms of time, money, and effort to achieve high rankings. In contrast, low-hanging fruit keywords face much less competition, allowing you to gain visibility with a smaller budget and, generally, quicker results.

Another significant advantage is the higher chance of achieving tangible results. With head keywords, you face up against large websites with enormous budgets, and even with significant investment, ranking highly can be elusive and uncertain.

However, low-hanging fruit keywords present a much more attainable target. By focusing on these more specific and less competitive terms, you can improve your rankings in the SERPs more quickly and effectively. This targeted approach ensures that you attract relevant traffic, leading to higher engagement, conversion rates, and revenue.

How to Find Low-Hanging Fruit Keywords Using Google Search Console

To find low-hanging fruit opportunities within your Google Search Console account, start by heading to your account dashboard:

Google Search Console overview showing performance metrics for seotesting.com with 26,448 total web search clicks.

Your next step will be to click on the "Search results" link on the navigation bar on the left-hand side of your screen:

Google Search Console overview with arrow pointing to search results in the performance section.

This will bring up your search performance report. When on the report, ensure that "Average Position" is clicked so it shows up on the graph, as shown below:

Google Search Console performance on search results showing total clicks, impressions, CTR, and average position.

Scroll down on this report until you can see the list of queries you are ranking for:

Top queries with clicks, impressions, and positions from Google Search Console for seotesting.com.

Click on the filter icon so the dropdown appears:

Top queries with filter dropdown for clicks, impressions, and positions in Google Search Console.

You want to ensure that "Position" is clicked, which will allow you to filter your keywords by position.

Once you click "Position" in the dropdown menu, your dropdown will disappear, and you will be given a search bar to allow you to filter. Ensure the filter is set to "Greater than" and then type "10" into the search bar. This will filter out all of your keywords ranking within the first 10 blue links of a SERP, equivalent to the first page of Google before they switched to infinite scrolling on the SERPs.

Top queries with position greater than 10 in Google Search Console for seotesting.com.

How to Find Low-Hanging Fruit Keywords Using SEOTesting

Finding low-hanging fruit keyword opportunities for your website using SEOTesting is easy!

To start, head to your SEOTesting account dashboard:

SEOtesting.com dashboard showing clicks per day with various algorithm updates and annotations.

On the navigation bar on the left-hand side of your screen, click the "Reports" link:

SEOtesting.com dashboard showing clicks per day with an arrow pointing to the reports section in the sidebar.

When on the reports page, scroll down and click on the "Striking Distance Keywords" report listed within the "Content Reports" section:

Content reports showing striking distance keywords highlighted in SEOtesting.com.

This report from SEOTesting will automatically find all of the keywords where you are currently ranking just outside of the first "ten blue links" on Google:

Striking distance keywords report data showing queries, URLs, clicks, impressions, CTR, and average position.

You can also utilize the "Long Tail Keywords" report, which will list out all of your long tail keywords, ordered by lowest ranking to highest ranking, so you can find opportunities to find low-hanging fruit keywords and start work on getting these to rank better:

Long tail keywords report showing queries, clicks, impressions, CTR, and average position in SEOtesting.com.

The report lists the query, number of clicks, impressions, CTR, and the average position for that query so you can highlight any great opportunities for your site.

It's also worth noting that low hanging fruit keywords often contain 4 or more words within the query. Luckily, you can use RegEx to filter your keywords and show only those that contain 4 or more words.

Head to the 'All Queries' report within your SEOTesting account:

SEOtesting.com interface highlighting all queries report section with an arrow.

Once within the report, filter your queries for the time period that you wish to use. In this case, we're going to ask the report to show us all of our queries for the past 12 months to give us a lot of great data:

All queries report showing total clicks, impressions, CTR, and average position.

Next, look at the filter bar at the top of your report, and click on the dropdown to select the option of "Including RegEx."

All queries report in SEOtesting.com with filter menu options displayed.

Now you have this option selected, enter the following RegEx sequence into your filter:


This will filter your Queries Report to simply show you all of the queries for your site that contain 4 or more individual words.

All queries report in SEOtesting.com using regex filter showing clicks, impressions, CTR, and average position.

How to Find Low-Hanging Fruit Keywords Using Ahrefs

Finding low-hanging fruit keyword opportunities is still relatively easy, but remember to take these opportunities with a pinch of salt, as Ahrefs does not use first-party data from Google like GSC and SEOTesting.

You can also use another tool, such as Semrush or SE Ranking, but the steps will differ slightly.

To start, head to the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and type in a head keyword that you wish to do some research on:

Ahrefs Keywords Explorer interface with running shoes keyword entered for search.

Click on the "Search" button. This will bring up the keyword report for this head keyword that you have typed in:

Ahrefs overview of running shoes keyword difficulty, search volume, traffic potential, and global search volume.

Within this keyword report, scroll down until you can see the "Keyword Ideas" section:

Ahrefs keyword ideas for running shoes including terms match, questions, also rank for, and also talk about.

Within this section, you can see multiple ways to find low-hanging fruit. You have the "Terms match" section, which will show you long tail keywords that include the head keyword you typed. You also have the "Questions" report, which will show you questions, including the head keyword you typed in.

You can click the "view all" links to see those reports in more detail:

Ahrefs keyword ideas details for running shoes with options to view all terms match and questions.

From there, you can head into these reports and highlight low-hanging fruit opportunities for your website.

Wrapping Up

Leveraging low-hanging fruit keywords presents a strategic advantage for businesses seeking to optimize their SEO efforts effectively. By targeting these less competitive yet valuable keywords, you can achieve quick wins, lower costs, and boost stakeholder confidence. This approach allows you to build authority and grow traffic organically, even with a limited budget.

Focusing on low-hanging fruit keywords enhances user engagement and reduces risk, making it a practical and sustainable strategy for new and established websites. Tools like Google Search Console, SEOTesting, and Ahrefs can help identify these opportunities, enabling you to craft content that attracts targeted traffic and drives conversions.

Embracing low-hanging fruit keywords is not just about quick wins; it's about laying a strong foundation for long-term SEO success. By starting with these attainable targets, you pave the way for more significant achievements, gradually building the authority and traffic needed to compete for more competitive head keywords in the future.

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With SEOTesting, you can easily find low-hanging fruit keywords using our comprehensive Striking Distance Keywords and Long Tail Keywords reports. Take advantage of these powerful tools to drive targeted traffic, increase engagement, and improve your rankings.

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