How to find niche keywords for SEO in 3 steps

Niche keywords represent clear, specific topics that appeal to relatively small, often specialized, parts of a given market.

In other words, these are the “sustainable” and “recycled” jackets in the general jacket market.

Examples of niche keywords with "jacket"

Niche keywords can be an opportunity to bring in highly targeted traffic in a short time as they typically relate to specific things that don’t have much competition.

In this guide, I’ll show you how to find niche keywords with Ahrefs in three steps.

Step 1. Create an initial keyword list

Open Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, type in general terms that target certain markets, products or interests (e.g. seed keywords) and hit enter.

Entering seed keywords

Then go to Matching terms and set the max volume and TP filters to something low for this sector, like 1000.

Filtering for low volume and low TP keywords

Why these two filters? Volume filtering will look for keywords with a small number of searches, while TP filtering will help ensure those keywords are specific topics and not just unpopular ways to search for popular things.

Side note.

Since there is no set value that defines a niche keyword, we can’t tell you the exact volume value here. It depends on the size of the market and how “niche” you want to go. For some markets, it may be 500. While for some very large markets, it may be 2000. So feel free to adjust the volume and TP filters. You can also set the minimum filter right away if you’re not interested in very low search volume keywords or zero volume keywords.

Step 2. Refine your list

After step no. 1, you already have a very raw list of niche keywords.

The number of keywords in the initial keyword list

But going through the entire list manually can be time consuming. So, in this step, we’re going to refine our list to make it more manageable. Here are some ideas you can use.

Low ranking difficulty with minimal search volume

This set of filters will allow you to find niche keywords with considerable demand and low competition.

  • Set KD to a maximum of 10
  • Set the volume to 100–1000
  • Set traffic potential to 100–1000
  • Click “Show results”
Search for keywords with low difficulty and minimal search volume

After that, browse the results. When you find a keyword that piques your interest, you can add it to a keyword list right within the tool.

Adding a keyword to a keyword list

Use cases, segments and features

This filter allows you to find keywords that focus on use cases, segments, and features within your seed keyword.

For this, add modifying words such as “for”, “alternative” or “substitute”. You can also use the Terms tab or just add your own modifiers if you know what you’re looking for.

Sourcing keyword modifier in the Terms tab
  • Set Include filter on “Any word”, type your modifier keywords and click “Apply”
  • Click “Show results”
Adding editing keywords

Next, browse through the results and add interesting keywords to your list.

Selecting keywords to add to the list


You might spot some additional modifier keyword ideas as you look at the results. You can use them in the Include filter to show only keywords that match those criteria.


This filter can be a good way to find opportunities for informational content with the ability to showcase your product.

  • Change the Matching terms refer to “Questions”
Navigated to the Questions tab in the Matched terms report

After that, browse the results.

Niche keyword asked as a question

Feel free to combine the filters shown above. For example, you may want to search for keywords with specific characteristics And Low Keyword Difficulty (KD).

Combination of several keyword filters

And here’s an example of a niche keyword that matches those filters.

Example of keywords from the mixed niche filter

Do you come across keywords outside your wheelhouse too often? Just use the To exclude filter.

By excluding unwanted keywords

Now, let’s move on to the final stage of the process.

Step 3. Analyze the SERPs

Before you start creating content for selected keywords, it is highly recommended that you understand what users are specifically looking for. To do this, analyze the top-ranked pages in three aspects:

  1. Is there a more popular search query that points to the same thing?
  2. What is the search intent?
  3. How difficult would it be to classify?

The first look it is specific to niche keywords. Remember that you are looking at rare search queries. Some of these queries may have more popular (yet still niche) counterparts and others may just be wrong (i.e. misspellings).

To illustrate, a better word to target than “DIY soap sheets” might be “how to make soap paper”, the latter has a higher search volume. Keywords Explorer reports this via the Parent Topic column to the right of a given keyword.

The Main Topic feature suggests a different keyword

And there is no point in targeting something like “nivia soap”. Obviously, that’s a spelling mistake.

Not a niche keyword, just a spelling mistake

The second aspect, the search intent, it’s about learning what Google recognizes as the dominant motive behind search. In simple terms, it is typically one of three:

  • Learn – If most of the pages focus on explaining things: guides, tutorials, reviews, comparisons, etc.
  • Buy – If most of the pages directly offer products: product pages, product category pages, landing pages, etc.
  • Visit a website or place – More often than not, the keywords will contain the name of the product, brand or place.

If you can match the search intent and it makes sense for your website, then your keyword is probably a good choice. But be sure to optimize your content for search intent as well.

If you can’t match the search intent or it doesn’t make sense for your website, then it’s probably best not to target your keyword just yet.

To illustrate, the keyword “cupcake soap” has clear transactional intent, with only product pages in the top 10. So your best bet to rank for this keyword is probably with a page that offers cupcake soaps.

SERP indicates search intent


Sometimes, identifying the dominant search intent isn’t that simple. Google can show mixed intent with different content types or no dominant content format. This video guide will help you make a more informed decision in such situations.

The third aspect, the estimation of keyword difficulty, derives from the fact that multiple factors can constitute ranking difficulties.

You can filter keywords where competitors have a strong backlink profile using the KD filter (as shown in step #2). For example, we estimate that to rank in the top 10 for “why antibacterial soap is banned”, you’ll need backlinks from ~123 websites. This is a difficult keyword to rank for, especially for new websites.

Keyword with low volume, high difficulty

Judging keyword difficulty via KD is sufficient in most cases. But if you want a deeper assessment, look for these things:

  • Popular brands on the SERP – Results from famous and trusted brands are something users expect in search results. Google is aware of this.
  • EDGE themes – Topics like health, finance and safety will be difficult, if not impossible, for a website lacking authority and content written by people with no real experience to categorize.
  • Content quality – If you can’t add anything useful and original to the information that Google already “recommends” on the SERPs, you may have a harder time ranking. Make sure you can create useful, trusted, and people-focused content.
  • See if the higher ranking pages are targeting the keyword – If no one deals directly with the topic, Google may show pages it deems relevant. Those pages may come from high authority websites and you could leverage them by directly covering the keyword.
Popular brands in the SERP Ranking for a low KD keyword
Although the keyword has 0 KD, it may be difficult to top Amazon and Etsy because they are popular (and therefore expected) brands.

Find out more: Keyword Difficulty: How to estimate your chances of ranking

Final thoughts

If you know of a website that caters to a specific niche, you can use that site for keyword research as well.

To do this, paste the website URL into Ahrefs Site Explorer and adjust the filters to find what you need.

For example, a website like can be a goldmine for keywords in the mechanical keyboard niche: nearly 5,000 keywords with volume of 100-1000 and KD as low as 10.

Search for niche keywords in Ahrefs Site Explorer

Would you like to know more? Check out our other resources:

Do you have questions? ping me on Twitter.

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