In the realm of digital marketing, understanding keyword search volume is paramount for various tasks, including building a new website, crafting a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, conducting keyword research for organic traffic, and practically any endeavor involving keywords and web traffic. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deep into the concept of keyword search volume and how to leverage it effectively to enhance your SEO and PPC efforts, step by step.
What Exactly Is Keyword Search Volume?
Keyword search volume is a crucial metric that SEO and PPC tools calculate to provide marketers with insights into how frequently users search for a particular keyword within a specific timeframe, usually a month. This metric plays a pivotal role in helping marketers assess the popularity and competitiveness of a keyword, guiding them in targeting keywords that are more likely to generate interest and drive traffic to their websites.
You can conveniently access a keyword's monthly search volume through the Keyword Overview feature in various SEO tools. Simply input your chosen keyword into the search bar, and the report will promptly display the keyword's search volume, accompanied by an array of other pertinent metrics that can greatly inform your keyword research efforts.
It is important to note that global search volume represents the cumulative monthly search volumes for a keyword across all regional databases.
How Do Keywords Operate in the Digital Landscape?
Keywords are integral in assisting search engines in understanding the content of web pages. This understanding enables search engines to serve relevant content when users submit search queries. In essence, when a user conducts a search using a related keyword, the search engine endeavors to include webpages that match that keyword's intent in the search engine results page (SERP).
This underscores the significance of incorporating pertinent keywords into your web content as a critical element of on-page SEO. However, it's essential to recognize that merely adding keywords to a page is insufficient for achieving high rankings. To rank effectively, you must offer high-quality, valuable, and pertinent content that seamlessly integrates your selected keywords.
What Constitutes a Good Keyword Search Volume?
Determining what qualifies as a good keyword search volume can be somewhat subjective and context-dependent. The suitability of a search volume depends on factors like your business, digital marketing requirements and objectives, and other related variables. It's important to consider the following tips when evaluating the adequacy of a keyword's search volume for your purposes:
1. Industry and Subject Matter Variability: Keyword search volume can fluctuate significantly depending on the industry and subject matter. Ideally, you should aim to identify keywords with reasonably high search volume and manageable keyword difficulty.
2. Avoid Keywords with Negligible Search Volume: Targeting keywords with little to no search volume can be counterproductive, as it means people are unlikely to discover your content through search engines.
3. Beware of Extremely High-Volume Keywords: Conversely, focusing solely on keywords with exceedingly high search volumes may result in intense competition, especially if your website does not generate substantial traffic (tens of thousands or millions of visitors per month).
In most cases, it is advisable to strike a balance between low- and medium-volume keywords. However, the specific mix will depend on your business, niche, and unique needs.
Seasonal vs. Evergreen Keywords
Keyword search volume can exhibit two primary patterns: steady and seasonal. Evergreen keywords maintain consistent search volumes throughout the year, regardless of the season. For instance, queries like "How do I change my oil" or "How much does a haircut cost" tend to generate steady search volumes year-round.
On the other hand, seasonal keywords are time-sensitive, with search volumes surging during specific periods. For example, the search term "holiday gift ideas" sees increased activity leading up to the holiday season but dwindles afterward. It's crucial to consider these potential seasonal fluctuations as you assess search volume for different keywords.
How to Uncover Keyword Search Volume
To ascertain the search volume for any keyword, you can employ a variety of tools, with one of the most popular being the Keyword Overview feature. Simply input your keyword into this tool, and it will provide a quick snapshot of the keyword's regional and global search volumes, alongside a wealth of other valuable information.
In addition to the Keyword Overview, many other Semrush tools also display search volume data. For instance, the Keyword Magic Tool offers insights into search volume, search intent, and more during keyword research. Similarly, when analyzing your competitors using Organic Research, you can glean valuable information about the keywords driving the most traffic to their sites, complete with monthly search volumes.
It is essential to note that search volumes are updated monthly to account for the latest Google search volume data and shifts in SERP rankings. Semrush also utilizes historical volume data, enabling you to research average search volumes dating back to January 2012.
Methods for Discovering Keywords
Identifying and selecting the right keywords isn't a guessing game. Instead, it's a data-driven process facilitated by various keyword research tools. Here are some of the best keyword research tools, along with brief explanations of how to utilize them:
1. Semrush Keyword Magic Tool: This tool boasts the most accurate search volume metrics among all keyword research tools available. To harness its power, start by entering a "seed" keyword—a broad term related to your niche. The tool will then scour a database containing over 24 billion keywords and present the most relevant ones, complete with details like keyword difficulty, competitive density, search volume, and search intent.
2. Google Trends: Google Trends is a free tool that reveals a keyword's popularity over time. By entering a keyword, you can access a line chart depicting its interest trends. Additionally, the tool provides geographical data, allowing you to see where the keyword is most frequently searched. You can customize the location and period to gain deeper insights. Furthermore, Google Trends offers related topics and queries to inspire new keyword ideas.
3. Google Keyword Planner: Google Keyword Planner, another free tool, helps you discover keywords and assess their search volumes. After accessing the device, you can explore new keywords by entering specific terms or your website's URL. Each keyword suggestion includes information on average monthly searches and competition levels. It's important to note that the competition here refers to advertisers bidding on keywords for paid campaigns, not organic competition in SERPs.
4. Google Search Console: This free tool is ideal for tracking your website's organic Google traffic and uncovering new keywords to target. After entering your domain and completing the verification process, you can access the "Performance" report and examine the list of "Queries." Sorting these queries by impressions can reveal keywords with high impressions but low click-through rates, which may indicate opportunities to optimize content or create new pages.
5. Keyword Sheeter: Keyword Sheeter is a unique free tool that generates keyword ideas based on thousands of Google autocomplete suggestions. Simply enter your desired keywords and click "Sheet keywords" to receive a list of ideas. You can save this data or copy-paste it into your preferred keyword research tool. Paid reports with more comprehensive information are also available.
6. Semrush Topic Research Tool: The Topic Research Tool assists in generating keyword ideas based on high-performing content. You can explore existing domains for content ideas, view trending headlines and questions related to your query, and organize results in various formats, including mind maps. Additionally, you can export your research findings or order content through the Marketplace feature.
Finding Local Search Volume
In addition to general search volume, understanding local search volume is crucial for businesses targeting specific geographic areas. You can uncover local search volumes using tools like Semrush's Position Tracking PPC Keyword tools, or Google Ads Keyword Planner.
Position Tracking: If you are setting up a campaign with Position Tracking, you have the option to specify a ZIP code or specific location for tracking, whether it's on a national, regional, or local level. By entering your target city and selecting "local" from the dropdown menu, you can input a list of keywords and observe their local search volumes.
PPC Keyword Tool: This tool provides multiple ways to input keywords, including manual entry, direct import from Semrush, or importing from a CSV, XLSX, or TXT file. After selecting your preferred method, you can narrow it down to a specific city for local search volume metrics once you have added your keywords.
Google Ads Keyword Planner: Google Ads Keyword Planner is another valuable resource for discovering local search volume. After logging into your Google Ads account, navigate to "Tools and Settings" and select "Keyword Planner." Enter your desired keywords, choose the location (city) you want to target and obtain average monthly local search volume data compared to other sites.
Monitoring Page Performance
Monitoring the performance of your web pages is an essential aspect of any successful digital marketing strategy. While keyword search volume can provide valuable insights into user interest, it does not guarantee clicks or traffic to your website. To ensure that your online presence is effectively reaching your target audience, it's crucial to employ reliable tools like Semrush's Position Tracking.
Semrush's Position Tracking tool is a powerful resource that offers a comprehensive view of your website's performance. It goes beyond merely identifying your rankings; it provides a wealth of data that can help you make informed decisions to improve your online visibility and drive more organic traffic.
One of the primary features of the Position Tracking tool is the ability to monitor your rankings for specific keywords. By tracking your keyword positions over time, you can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. This information allows you to identify which keywords are performing well and which ones may require optimization.
Another crucial aspect of webpage performance monitoring is estimating the traffic generated by each page. Semrush's Position Tracking tool provides estimated traffic data for individual pages, helping you prioritize and allocate resources to pages that have the potential to bring in more visitors. This feature is particularly valuable for content optimization and improving your site's overall user experience.
Competitive analysis is also a key component of webpage performance monitoring. Semrush's tool enables you to compare your rankings and traffic with those of your competitors. By identifying areas where your competitors are outperforming you, you can develop strategies to regain your competitive edge.
Furthermore, the tool allows you to analyze rankings based on devices and locations. This insight is crucial in today's mobile-centric world, where user behavior can vary significantly depending on the device they are using or their geographic location. Tailoring your SEO strategies to specific devices and regions can lead to better results.
Additionally, the Position Tracking tool provides information on your appearances in SERP (Search Engine Results Page) features such as featured snippets, knowledge graphs, and more. These features can significantly impact click-through rates and visibility, making it essential to track your presence in them.
In closing, let us emphasize that:
In the realm of digital marketing, understanding the role of keyword search volume is paramount. As marketing expert Rand Fishkin aptly puts it, "Keyword research is the core of any SEO, PPC, or content marketing campaign." Indeed, it forms the foundation upon which successful SEO and PPC endeavors are built.
However, it is crucial to recognize that keyword search volume, while incredibly informative, is not an absolute crystal ball for predicting search traffic. As Google's algorithms evolve, and user behavior shifts, the relationship between search volume and actual clicks can be dynamic and nuanced. As SEO specialist Brian Dean wisely advises, "The real key to SEO success is figuring out which keywords are driving actual organic search traffic."
In a nutshell, a keyword search volume is a powerful tool in the arsenal of digital marketers, offering invaluable insights for informed decision-making in both SEO and PPC strategies. Yet, it should not be viewed in isolation. The digital landscape is ever-changing, and keyword strategies must adapt accordingly. To thrive in this dynamic environment, marketers should continually explore, experiment, and reevaluate their keyword choices, ensuring they align with evolving search engine algorithms and the shifting sands of the SEO landscape. In doing so, they can maintain a competitive edge, boost their online presence, and drive meaningful results in the world of digital marketing.