What is Keyword Search Volume and Why Does it Matter?
Your keyword search volume has much to do with the amount of visitor traffic your website sees. If your website is a source of income for you or your business, this is a measurement you should be paying attention to. It can affect your website-based income streams in either a positive or a negative way.
A keyword’s search volume can be viewed as a measure of its profit potential and an estimation of the profitability of your use of it. It can help you gauge your return on investment if a particular keyword is part of a pay-per-click marketing strategy. The threat to your success posed by your competitors can also be measured by their keywords’ search volume.
What is Organic Keyword Search Volume?
A keyword’s search volume is a measure of how many times it’s searched for during a given period of time. In many cases, this could be a seasonal issue. Keywords such as “Christmas tree ornaments” and “humorous Christmas cards” will generate a greater number of searches during November and December. Keywords that instead maintain relatively steady search volumes throughout the year, such as “best birthday gift ideas” or “quick lunch ideas,” are referred to as evergreen keywords.
Knowing your keywords’ search volume helps you come up with a reasonable estimate of how many potential customers are searching for what you have to offer. It also shows how often those potential customers are seeing search engine results that connect to your competitors’ websites. This is where a long-tail keyword can play a role in your keyword strategy by helping to funnel potential searches into your specialty area.
If you’re in the auto parts field and find there’s a high search volume for the short-tail keyword “carburetors,” you know there’s a large number of potential buyers searching for that item. If you specialize in parts for Chevy trucks, you can create a more target-worthy long-tail keyword by using “carburetors for Chevy trucks,” or you can narrow things down even further with “high-performance carburetors for Chevy trucks.”
How to Determine Keyword Search Volume
If you’re launching a PPC advertising campaign through Google Ads, you can access its free planning tools to choose the most valuable keywords and determine what sort of search volume those keywords will produce. You’re allowed to use an unlimited number of keywords and phrases for PPC, but if they don’t generate visits and conversions, you won’t be getting your money’s worth.
You’ll need to set up a Google Ads account in order to use Google’s keyword planning tools, but there’s no outlay of cash required to create one. You can set up your entire campaign and keep it on pause or in its planning stages. You won’t need to fund your account until you either launch your campaign or take it off pause.
In addition to letting you see your chosen keywords’ search volume, Google Ads’ planner will also show you what kind of search volume your competitors are getting from those same keywords. Depending on what you learn about your competitors’ strategies, you may consider changing your own keyword approach.
You can choose any combination of words that you like in Google Ads, but the best ones will reflect the products and services your potential customers are searching for. PPC ads allow you to be creative in your marketing copy, but you’ll still want to see if the keywords you choose are drawing in clicks.
What’s the Difference Between a PPC and an Organic Keyword Strategy?
There is a different approach to pay-per-click keyword usage than what is termed “organic” keyword search volume. Organic search volume can work hand-in-hand with a PPC campaign, but you should be aware of the different dynamics involved. PPC can increase the volume of traffic going to your website based on the amount you’re willing to pay for each click. Organic keyword search volume doesn’t require you to pay for the clicks your keywords generate.
When you’re running a campaign through Google Ads, your keywords and phrases don’t need to match the exact text that’s on your website. Google Ads will display your ad copy based on what keywords you’ve assigned to your campaign, even if those keywords do not appear on your page. In an organic search-marketing strategy, your keywords must appear on your page and be relevant to your website’s content in order to appear in the organic search results.
Although many online marketing strategies combine both PPC and organic-search strategies, you’re not limited to the search volume tools provided by Google Ads. If you prefer, you can stick to organic search strategies. There are many other keyword search-volume tools that are available to let you know what kind of volume your chosen keywords have been generating. Searching online for “keyword tools” or “keyword search volume” will turn up ample listings of sites offering both free and paid-for keyword tools. It may be difficult, however, to find a free keyword tool that can provide the depth of information you can get from the Google Ads analytics.
Regardless of how they get there, via PPC or organic searches, the more site visits you get, the greater the potential there is for more visitor-to-customer conversions. Your online marketing will be best served by using as many of the most productive keywords or phrases you can. They should, however, flow naturally within the text of your online ad copy or website’s pages.
Overloading keywords into your text with a primary intent of raising your search engine ranking is typically referred to as “keyword stuffing.” It can be considered bad form and the search engines may also perceive your content as being somewhat less than worthy of attention. You should use as many high volume and profitable keywords as you can, but they should be there to contribute to what your readers can gain from your page content.
How to Get a Competitor and Historical Search Volume in Google’s Keyword Planner
You can get some very specific and exacting stats regarding your chosen search words by using the Google Ads keyword planning tool. After logging in to your Google Ads account, click on the “TOOLS” menu in the upper right-hand corner of the page (look for the wrench icon). When the menu drops down, select “PLANNING” and then “Keyword Planner” in the sub menu. Choose the “Get search volume and forecasts” box and type in your keywords separated by commas. When the next page comes up, click on “HISTORICAL METRICS.”
You’ll see all your keywords along with their average monthly searches, competition strength (high, low and medium) and both high and low top-of-page bid ranges. The historical data defaults to the 12 months of the previous year, but you can select a custom date range. Click on the downward pointer to the right of the currently-displayed dates and plug in whatever range you’re interested in seeing. This can be particularly helpful in developing a successful strategy if your product or service sales are seasonally affected.
If your business is based on localized or regional sales, click on the “Locations” selector in the left-hand vertical navigation bar. You’ll be able to select your exact customer target locations by city, county, state or region. You can learn what to expect from your keywords at various locations with this function in Keyword Planner. This can be very helpful in developing a complimentary or stand-alone organic search strategy.
If your Google Ads campaign has already been launched, you’ll see additional information that shows how your individual campaign’s keywords ranked along with your competitors’ efforts. The “organic impression share,” “organic average position” and “ad impression share” categories will provide an overall picture of how your keywords are generating ad displays in comparison to other businesses that are also using them.
How to Find YouTube Keyword Search Volume and Traffic
Although YouTube discontinued its keyword search volume feature in 2014, you can still conduct an evaluation through other available resources. There are plenty of free tools online from third parties that can show you how often your chosen keywords bring up YouTube videos in the search results. You can also get a good idea of YouTube keyword search volume through Google’s search engine.
Start by typing a keyword into Google’s Advanced Search feature. Place your keyword in Google’s Advanced Search top-level requester (“Find pages with…all these words”). Next, scroll down to the “site or domain” requester and type in YouTube.com. Then scroll down and click on the blue “Advanced Search” button at the bottom.
The results of your search will be ranked by the greatest number of video views. Now go back to Google’s Advanced Search page and repeat the process, but this time leave the “site or domain” requester blank. The results that appear from this second search include both text-based web pages and YouTube videos. Compare the two sets of results, and if you see your first-time YouTube video results appearing near the top on both tries, it’s a reasonably safe bet that your keyword choice is grabbing a heavy share of YouTube results.
Google’s Advanced Search function can also show you what YouTube video keywords are currently trending or have more seasonal results. Above the “site or domain” requester is a “last update” requester. This one comes with a drop-down selector that lets you filter the search results by various lengths of elapsed time. You can choose from 24 hours, one week, one month, a full year or the open-ended “anytime” choice. Choosing either the one week or one month filter can give you a good idea of what keywords are currently trending and garnering the most search volume.
What to Do with Low Search Volume Keywords
Low search volume keywords can be an asset rather than a liability. Under certain circumstances and approached in the right way, they can provide a competitive advantage. Low-volume keywords can both establish and refine your online presence. When reviewing your website analytics, low-volume and highly-selective keyword searches can show you which of your products or services are being looked for. Your majority-share ranking of those highly specific keywords will also be noticed by the search engine bots. When people begin to relate your website to those particular keywords, the search engine algorithms can pick up on it. Your website will get indexed as being relevant to certain keywords and phrases that people are searching for and place your site at a higher rank on the search results page.
If you’re just starting out, the low-volume searches give you an idea of what works best with your website. Think of it as a trial period where you can do an A/B comparison in which you determine which PPC keywords are just drawing in traffic volume versus generating actual clicks.
Another benefit to low search volume keywords is having less competition. After gaining a good understanding of how your potential customers use keywords to find you in their organic search results, you’re ready to create a cost-effective pay-per-click campaign. The less popular the keywords and phrases are, the lower the cost per click. When done correctly, you could draw traffic into your website by targeting only those potential clients that you know will be buying your products and services.
What’s the Next Step?
Now that you’ve gotten a good idea of what your target market is looking for online by learning what related keywords rack up the most search volume, you’re ready for the next step in your PPC or organic marketing strategy. Start using the most searched-for and profitable keywords in your website’s text to create site content to both inform and engage your visitors.
Don’t neglect considering additional factors such as bounce rates, referrals and pages viewed per session. Review your analytics and don’t be shy about making changes if you’re not getting the results you’re looking for. The best approach to your website marketing campaign is one that’s dynamic. Don’t put your site out there, let it sit and hope for the best. Stay on top of what’s going on by reviewing your site analytics and make changes when needed. If you’re new to this, you may also wish to forego the DIY approach and work with one of the many experienced keyword and SEO consulting groups that can guide your online strategy or develop one for you.