When you are doing keyword research, it’s easy to get wrapped up in keyword search volume.
On the surface it makes sense.
If a keyword is only getting searched 10 times per month, is it really worth the effort?
Today I’m going to make the argument that in some cases, it absolutely is.
Let’s talk about when throwing the search volume out the window is a great idea.
The Big Dilemma
When I wrote a recent post about choosing a niche, I went through the process and showed some keywords that I’d focus on if I were to create a site in the “tiny house” niche. Some of those keywords had only 10, 20, or 40 searches per month:
In the comments and via email I had a couple people ask the obvious question – why would you target a keyword that has a search volume that low?
It’s a very fair question and I think there are at least 2 good times to not worry about low search volume.
1. When it’s an excellent buyer keyword
This is when a keyword is right down your alley, and your product or service is the answer to their question.
For instance, if you sell an acne cream and someone searches “what are the best acne creams?” wouldn’t you love to own that top spot in Google? If you’re using a keyword research tool like LTP, this kind of keyword might pop up in LTP as a 10 monthly search KW (or you might find it with an outside tool like Ubersuggest) – and even though it’s only got 10 monthly searches, it’s probably a KW that converts extremely well for someone who’s selling acne cream. This is especially true if you’ve come up with a great idea for a profitable website already and you expect that each visitor to your site will be worth a lot to you.
Of course you would. That’s because that person is very likely looking to buy acne cream.
Therefore, it doesn’t really matter if that keyword only gets searched a few times per month. If you can rank well for that keyword, you will be very likely to get sales directly from that traffic, so it makes sense to target that keyword with your content.
Here’s another example that comes straight from our world:
The last blog post we published on the Long Tail Pro blog was about 3 simple marketing ideas for personal trainers.
As you can see above, the keyword we’re targeting – “marketing ideas for personal trainers” is only searched about 10 times per month in the U.S.
After all, we believe that one thing personal trainers (and many other business owners) should be doing is using their website content to pull in free, organic traffic from the search engines. One of the most affordable and quickest ways to do that is to target the right keywords with your content – something Long Tail Pro is designed to help with.
So in this case, we really don’t care that not many people are searching this term. Besides, there are always very close variations of keywords like “marketing ideas for trainers” or “personal trainer marketing ideas” that mean the same thing – and usually if you can rank for one, you can rank for all of them.
We feel like if we can rank near the top for it, we’ll have an opportunity to introduce our solution to a bunch of personal trainers who have probably never heard of Long Tail Pro.
The same goes for you – when you find your best “buyer keywords,” don’t worry about a low search volume.
2. When The Topic Just Makes Sense
The second situation where low search volume doesn’t matter is when the topic just makes sense for you to write about.
It doesn’t even have to be a “buyer keyword” – it may just be some information that your audience will get value from.
Perhaps it’s something obscure to 99.9% of the world, but it’s a topic that your readers/customers really care about.
In that case, you should absolutely create the content – regardless of search volume, keyword competitiveness, or any other metric.
A Personal Example
On one of my niche websites, I’ve found that sometimes following this approach works out better than you could ever imagine anyway.
If you read our blog, you may already know that my first attempt at a niche website was Ballparksavvy.com back in 2008. I basically created the site to help people going to Major League Baseball games and show them ways to save money and cut corners at all the different ballparks.
When I started the site in 2008, I was newly married and childless. This meant that I went to a lot of Cincinnati Reds’ games.
As time went by, we started having kids left and right…
Now I’ve got 3 little boys that call me dad, and I do things like you see on the left instead of going to so many Reds games.
When I did go to baseball games, I quickly learned that going to games with babies and small children is a much different process than going by yourself or with other adults.
So the thought occurred to me, “I should write about taking kids to a baseball game!”
After all, certainly other people have questions about the rules at various stadiums and would be looking for advice on things like:
- Does my kid need a ticket?
- Can I take a stroller?
- Can I bring in my own snacks for kids?
And on and on…
There was only one problem:
I couldn’t find a good keyword that indicated people were actually searching for this information.
In fact, most of the keywords related to this topic looked something like this with ZERO or maybe 10 searches per month:
Despite the unimpressive search volume, I went ahead and wrote the ultimate guide to taking kids to a baseball game.
I figured that even if not many people saw it, the readers of my site who did would really appreciate everything they need to know being put into one place – rather than going to a bunch of places to get the information.
What happened after I published this page was what really surprised me…
Much To My Surprise…
I’ll be honest and say that I don’t spend as much time as I should on my site, so I’ve not put much effort into building an email list or doing email outreach to promote my blog. It basically runs on autopilot and is a pretty consistent performer during the baseball season as far as traffic and revenue.
I say that because after I published my guide to taking kids to a baseball game, I didn’t email a bunch of people or do any special promotion for it.
I did what Brian Dean calls the “Publish and Pray” approach and just made the page live on my site.
From there, I moved into the number 1 spot for what I considered my target keyword (as you can see in the screenshot above.)
But given the negligible amount of search volume for that phrase, I was really surprised at the amount of organic traffic I was receiving to my guide.
To make a long story short, I’ve had just over 60,000 page views on this guide so far in 2015 – which is more than double any other page on my site and accounts for almost 15% of my total traffic.
As with most of my content, about 51,000 of those views came from organic search traffic… from a primary keyword that shows a search volume of “0.”
How is that possible?
Why It Works
I’d be completely lying if I said that this page becoming a big source of traffic and revenue for my site was my plan all along.
I just wrote it because as a baseball fan with kids, I knew it would be helpful to me to have a resource like this and I couldn’t find one elsewhere – so I wrote it.
I’ll also be honest to say that I can’t give a complete, A-Z explanation of why the pages gets as much traffic as it does, but I can share some of the important factors:
1. It’s Super Thorough
The page ended up with over 8,000 words on it, which is probably the longest piece of content I’ve ever written.
I went to every team’s website and searched their FAQ for any information that pertained to kids, and then I summarized it or quoted it in my guide, with a link back to that page on the team’s website. It isn’t the prettiest guide, but I listed every team in alphabetical order so you can quickly scroll down, find your team and get the Cliffs Notes on everything you need to know.
By doing this, I pull in traffic for all kinds of keywords that I never even intended to rank for.
From what I can see, virtually all of those have really low search volume as well – but it all adds up.
In fact, I was doing a little unscientific experiment while writing this and just searching Google for things I’d like to know as a parent taking my kid to their first baseball game and again and again my guide is near the top – because I’ve covered the topic in such great depth.
2. The Topic Is Very Deep
By “deep” I mean that there are TONS of questions people have on this topic. There are 30 different stadiums, all with slightly different rules and policies, and parents are taking kids to their first baseball game all the time.
You may have heard the stat that about 500 Million searches a day on Google are brand new – never been searched before.
I’m nearly certain that a topic like this has plenty of odd, unique searches happening all the time and when it comes down to it, my page is one of the most complete resources available on this topic.
I suppose I could have created one blog post per stadium, such as “Taking Kids To A Yankees Game” etc. – but it seemed like it made more sense to roll it up in to one big guide – which was the right decision for my site.
How You Can Make It Work
There is no magic formula here.
But if you’ve been avoiding a topic on your blog that your gut tells you would be a hit with your audience, but your keyword data says hardly anyone is searching for that topic – write it anyway.
Remember, your site is for humans first.
So if you’ve got your finger on the pulse of your readers and your instincts say it’s a good idea – go for it! The same can be said for those buyer keywords we talked about – don’t let low search volume scare you away.
I can’t guarantee that it’ll turn into a high traffic post for you, but at the very least you can deepen your relationship and further demonstrate your expertise with the existing audience you do have.
Remember that people search Google for all kinds of things – so if you are covering a wide topic, really dig in and make your resource the best available and you’ll be surprised by all the different search terms that bring you traffic.
Best of luck!
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