Updated February 3, 2020
If you’re like most marketers, you’d have probably debated (against yourself) whether or not to write about a certain topic.
On the one hand, you’d like to write about the topic since you think your audience will love it; while on the other, you’re hesitating since your keyword research tool shows that it barely has any monthly searches.
Well, that’s what this guide is all about.
We’re going to look into just how much you should pay attention to the keyword search volume, the factors that make a “good” search volume, and even the instances where you should just straight up ignore the number and write about the topic, anyway.
Let’s hop right in.
Why Check The Keyword Search Volume?
Just like the term implies, the keyword search volume is the number of times (or volume) searches are conducted for a certain keyword for a specific time-frame (often on a monthly setting).
The definition alone gives us a picture of why the metric shouldn’t be ignored when determining whether a keyword is “target-worthy.” After all, if a keyword doesn’t have an ample amount of searches, then chances are, no one’s really using the keyword when searching online.
That tells us that ranking for that specific keyword isn’t worth it since no one’s using it anyway.
How To Get Keyword Search Volume Data
Best 5 Keyword Tools To Find Keyword Search Volume Data
If you’re still new to the marketing space and you’re wondering “How to know keyword search volume data?” we get it! This isn’t an intuitive step for new marketers, but it is a technique that is easily learned thanks to keyword research tools.
With access to the right tools, you’ll be able to look up and understand the impact of keyword search volume data as you work your way through future marketing campaigns.
- Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner: AdWords Keyword Planner is a very useful free tool that can help you assess potential keyword performance. This planner can be found in the Planning section of your AdWords account. The tool will show you the average search volume for entered keywords, but the monthly ranges can be quite large, which makes it hard to narrow in on a marketing strategy.
- Ubersuggest: Ubersuggest, hosted by SEO marketer Neil Patel, is another tool that can show you optimized data to improve your SEO practices. Each entered keyword will be ranked with search volume, difficulty levels, and backlink information. The volumes listed by this tool are divided into mobile and desktop categories for further optimization.
- KeywordTool.io: This is a powerful, free-of-charge tool that is great for new marketers that is serious about learning their way around keywords, but the search volume, CPC, and competition data are locked behind a paywall. The free tool is great for finding variations of your keywords for longtail keyword research and more.
- Long Tail Pro: Long Tail Pro takes the ideas that can be extracted from hours spent on free tools and makes it accessible within minutes. Rather than doing dozens of searches to optimize your potential keywords for their search volume and other data, Long Tail Pro makes it simple with in-depth keyword metrics and a free 7-day trial.
- SerpStat: SerpStat is another all-in-one SEO platform that compiles useful keyword data, such as search volume, into a single dashboard so that you can explore your options. Limited features are available to try for free, but a paid account is required to do complete analyses.
Using Long Tail Pro For Search Volume Data
If you’re interested in trying out one of these tools for yourself right now, you can head over to LongTailPro.com — a trusted keyword research tool that both beginners and seasoned marketers use.
Enter your “seed keyword” in the search box, hit “retrieve,” and the tool will start doing its magic
Here’s what came up after I entered our sample keyword phrase, “Business coaches.”
As you can see, not only will the tool show you several keyword suggestions — which you can use to expand your keyword portfolio — but you can also see other crucial metrics to help you determine if the keywords are worth targeting, like the search volume, Avg. KC (Keyword Competitiveness), Rank Value, and average CPC bid.
what a good search volume looks like. Now that you know how to find search volume of a keyword, let’s talk about choosing which search volumes to look for and
Which Keyword Search Volumes Should You Be Targeting?
After you have done some analysis of your potential keywords and gathered the search volume data about each keyword and its variations, you might be wondering what to do next.
How do you decide which search volumes are the right ones to target?
There are a few different factors that you should look at when choosing keywords based on their search volumes. The fact of the matter is that search volume cannot, on its own, predict the success of a keyword. It is simply a data point in a larger picture.
To determine which keywords to target after researching their search volume results, consider the following three factors:
- Does it have a good search volume for your niche?
- What is the keyword competition like?
- Is there buying intent for the keyword?
Let’s get into more detail about each of these factors so that you can complete each analysis to create a final, tailored list of keywords.
1. What Makes A Good Search Volume?
As much as I’d like to give you a specific number you can use as a boundary of some sort to determine whether a keyword search volume is good enough (or not), I’m afraid there just isn’t a one-size-fits-all number for this.
Depending on the niche you’re in, your marketing goals, and even your budget (among other things), the phrase “good search volume” can look very different.
The better approach, however, is to perform a competitive analysis while using your top competitors backlink data as a benchmark.
Why backlinks? Because they also reveal your competitor’s keyword targets in their link building strategy.
In Long Tail Pro, you can do this using the “Backlink Analysis” tool. All you need to do is enter your competitor’s URL and click “Retrieve” to reveal what’s working for them so far.
For example, let’s say we consider Roto-Rooter as our top competitor.
Initially, this is what their backlink data looks like:
Digging a little deeper, we can unearth certain links with an optimized anchor text.
Entering this keyword as a “Manual Keyword Entry” on Long Tail Pro will then reveal its search volume, which you can use as basis when choosing other keyword ideas:
As far as a keyword’s profitability goes, here are other factors you need to consider:
- CPC (Cost Per Click). This refers to the price you pay for every click your audience makes to your ad campaigns.
- Buying Intent. Refers to the readiness of the searchers to buy a product.
- Competition. This refers to the number of advertisers targeting a specific keyword.
Here’s the Backlink Analysis feature in action:
2. Why Does Keyword Competition Matter?
The next factor that needs to be considered is the keyword competition. Put simply, keyword competition lets you know how difficult it will be to rank highly in a search about the given keyword.
For popular keywords, it will be very hard to beat out long-established sites, and the effort that you put into a keyword might end up wasted. Keywords with high search volumes may also have very competitive keywords, so you need to find an achievable balance.
A real golden ticket moment is when you can find a keyword with a good search volume for your industry that does not have a very high competition score. Those are the keywords that you should aim to secure!
Check out this complete post to find out more about how to research the KC of a potential keyword.
3. Buying Intent And How It Affects Keywords
If your goal in driving more traffic to a particular site or page is rooted in the desire to sell more products, then you need to consider if the keywords that you find with good search volume also have buying intent.
Buying or purchase intent is the idea that people who search a keyword with buying intent will, at the end of their searching, make a purchase. By targeting keywords that have buying intent, your work will have a better chance of converting into a sale.
Working the keywords into your site’s content and product listings will help drive home the conversion.
When To Ignore The Keyword Search Volume
At this point, I hope you are now convinced at how important of a metric the keyword search volume is when choosing your target keywords.
With how competitive online marketing has become, you’d be at a big disadvantage if you don’t factor in your keywords’ search volumes.
However, even having said all that, it’s worth pointing out that there are scenarios where it’d make sense for you to ignore the search volume and just target a keyword anyway.
I’m going to share two of those scenarios:
1. Strong Buying Intent
When it comes down to it, your goal for conducting keyword research, creating sales funnels, or your overall reason for running a marketing campaign is really to generate sales.
It’s precisely because of this that you should be willing to “let go” of other metrics — search volume included — if you think you’d be able to generate sales.
That being said, if you found keywords with strong buying intent, then it’d make sense for you to target them even if they have a low search volume.
Take the keyword phrase below, for example.
While the phrase “buy light tan shoe polish” might only have a search volume of 10, you wouldn’t be wrong if you’d still targeted it because of its strong buying intent.
2. When It Makes Total Sense For You Target A Keyword
If you’ve been operating in your niche for years and you have a solid grasp of the topics that your audience are craving to read about, then don’t let a keyword’s search volume dissuade you from targeting the keyword phrase, writing about the topic, and ultimately help your audience.
Not only will your audience appreciate you for writing about a topic or a guide that would benefit them greatly, but you just might end up ranking for keywords pertaining to the same topic.
The key is to come up with something comprehensive.
Cover overlapping topics that your audience are passionate about.
Remember that it’s a widely-used practice to target multiple keywords on a single piece of content or landing page. That said, you don’t have to worry too much about the search volume and go instead for a set of keywords with a feasible competitiveness rating.
If your content is lengthy and is packed with droves upon droves of golden nuggets, then your audience will keep on coming back to it, share it, and even link to it.
When that happens, you’ll find yourself pulling in traffic from various low search volume keywords.
Keyword Search Volume FAQs
What Is Search Volume?
Search volume is the number of searches that happen for a particular keyword. The volume can usually be filtered to cover a specific timeframe, and often, the number given represents an average.
Search volume is used by SEO marketers to consider how different keywords work over time as well as how frequently those particular keywords are used to drive traffic. Search volume data is used in many different ways to make decisions about keyword selection, phrasing, and ads.
What Does Keyword Search Mean?
A keyword search is a search conducted to find information about a particular topic or idea. For example, someone may type “what is keyword search volume” into Google and find their way to this page.
When they type in “what is keyword search volume,” they are doing a keyword search.
Despite “keyword” being a singular term, it does not always refer to a single word. More often than not, it refers to a string of words. A keyword search, then, is when someone searches for that particular string of words.
What Is Keyword-Based Search?
Keyword-based searches are searches that are based strictly on how often a page mages a keyword exactly and how many times it matches. In the early days of SEO, this is how strictly how search engines operated. That is why keyword stuffing, or repeating the exact keyword as many times as possible in the content, became popular.
Today, however, semantic search is more widely used. Semantic search engines look for full sentences and natural integration of keywords rather than repetitive overuse of those same words.
It’s crucial for marketers to learn how to find search volume when conducting their keyword research.
Not only does knowing the search volume give marketers a better idea of what to expect should they rank for certain keywords — as far as traffic and sales would go — but it also helps them with market research.
However, even having said that, there are occurrences when marketers can straight up ignore a keyword’s search volume.
Two of the scenarios we pointed out are:
- If the keyword has a strong buying intent.
- If it makes perfect sense to target the keyword after learning about your audience’s needs.
If you’re still looking for an online keyword research tool to help you find the best keywords to target, check out Long Tail Pro’s free 7-day trial now.
Great article. And I can see why your baseball article gets so many hits. What do you recommend the article length be for these keywords that get 0-100 searches per month? Just curious if you’ve done experimenting with it?
Hi Bob – thank you!
Honestly in many cases they don’t need to be that long – assuming that the KC score (competition) is low. In different situations, I’ve ranked on page 1 with 700 words or so. For instance, I’ll do something like Chris describes here and embed a video and then do my own written content afterward: http://www.rankxl.com/youtube-curation/ – I’ve been using this for some sites to get quality content up faster than starting from scratch.
However, in my example here from the baseball site it just happened to be a really deep topic with so many different things to cover so I just did one enormous page.
Sorry – no set answer for you, just the dreaded answer of “it depends…”
Perfect actually! Thanks for the link, too!
Hey Jake! Great read! I’ve been targetting a lot of those low search volume keywords as well since you’re right, they hardly have any competition and if you can provide value while getting buyers to your site then why not?
Quick question for you: For those low search volume and low competition keywords how long would you estimate it takes to get onto the first few results on Google? I know it’s not an exact science whatsoever but you would say a 1-3 month timeframe is appropriate (with great on-page SEO and a good backlink profile)?
Hi Louis – thank you!
Yes, I think that’s a pretty good estimate. For our Long Tail Pro site, that last blog post I mentioned where we targeted “marketing ideas for personal trainers” we typically show up ranked in the 30’s within 24 hours of posting – which is crazy to me, but we have a pretty authoritative domain/brand. But when we ascend to the top, it usually takes a couple of months or so (and of course a top ranking is never a guarantee).
Thanks for the comment and question.
So you say you just set it and forget it with the Baseball site.
How long did it take to start to yield results? Do you think this time period would be typical for other similar sites?
I started that site in 2008 and really had no clue what I was doing. It took quite awhile to get reviews up for all 30 stadiums, then I added some blog content and special pages like that guide for kids. I’d say it’s been fairly auto-pilot since 2011, meaning I do random small updates to the existing stadium guides but I spend almost no time on it. I probably should/could be more aggressive with it – just seem to always start new projects!
With the site I’m currently working on, we bought the domain about a year ago and added just a handful of articles. Then about 4 months ago we really got serious and added about 40 strong blog posts in 6 weeks and it has really taken off and could be on “auto-pilot” if we wanted, but we’re really trying to maximize revenue and growth while we have momentum.
Hope that helps!
I meant how long did it take before you got your first order after you got it finished.
Or is that the 3 years?
The I didn’t join the affiliate programs that make almost all the money on that site until about 3 years into it, so before that I got a little bit of revenue from Google Adsense but I was hardly making any money. I coulda/shoulda made more money earlier on if I’d been smarter.
When I look at monthly search volume numbers, I simply can’t believe the numbers that Google is sharing with us.
According to Google stats, there are 3.9 billions per DAY which equates to 117 billions per month. Granted, those numbers are worldwide but still, are we suppose to believe that, in the entire US market, there are only 10 folks to type “marketing ideas for trainers”? I simply to believe that!
Do you trust those numbers?
I look forward to reading your opinion
Right – that’s an interesting point. I guess I don’t have anything else to go off of, so that’s why in the “taking kids to a baseball game” example I kind of had a gut feeling that more people would be interested in that topic.
So I don’t know if it’s inaccurate/old data from Google, or if there are just so many different ways you can phrase that keyword that none of them add up to really high search volume.
One of the most interesting articles on this low-volume searches. It proves that any post could be a winner if well written and there is a market out there. I don’t think the google number are always true. I have a similar experience too with one of my posts. The visits by day are equal to the google predicted searches by month 😮 Similar to your case I wrote the article without SEO in mind, more as a result of passion and I had a big surprise.
One thing I noticed is that if I write a similar article maybe for another geographical area (I have a site about Travel Photography), I get ranked very well too, as Google “thinks” I am a guru in that specific super-niche subject. Do you think it is just my feeling or there is something behind it?
Interesting – not sure on the geographic difference to be honest. Thanks for sharing.
Highly appreciate your advice. Hope will work with some buying keywords. Thanks for share some valuable techniques.
Hi Al – thanks and best of luck.
I’m a huge advocate of this ‘Bottom-Up’ keyword approach. *Deliberately* going after low-volume terms is a way to get rapid traction on a young site – or plug holes in an established one.
I’ve built entire niche sites around low-volume 10-30 searches per month terms that few others would intentionally or aggressively pursue. That includes terms that your gut instincts tell you there’s interest in, but aren’t necessarily reflected in the numbers.
Nail enough minor long-tails, and you WILL get many onto Page 1. You’ll get the click-through, the onsite dwell and exploration, establish your authority — and soon the site will ‘open-up’ to more medium and short-tail terms that are underserved — almost automatically.
Hi Jake, thanks so much for the post. I’ve really been battling with low search volumes. The market am targeting has really low search volumes for keywords that my business is related to. Keywords like SEO in Kenya and content marketing have less than 1000 searches per month in Kenya. But nevertheless I’ve written tons of posts on these keywords. I think what i take with me from your post is that: just follow your gut when you feel your audience needs some piece of information write it even if the search volumes are low and writing quality content (which is long enough, right?) can end up attracting traffic for different keywords with low search volumes until it all adds up.Thanks Jake, it’s my first time pumping into your blogs but will definitely be stopping by again.
Great – really appreciate the comments.
So how do you plan to Monetize this site, if you haven’t already?
All that hard work since 2008 with no payback, to me is simply not worth the effort if you’re not getting some return.
Hello Fence Sitter,
My baseball site is monetized through a couple of affiliate programs, one for when people buy tickets to games and one for when they buy parking ahead of time on a site called Park Whiz. So the site doesn’t make “quit your job” money, but it’s certainly profitable.
Excellent – I write a lot but typically focus my articles on keyword volume. I have seen what you describe though – an unexpected influx of visitors on a low volume keyword focused article. I always chalked it up lengthy articles hitting a lot of LSI keywords…
Thanks for the great article!
I just bought Long Tail Platinum due to Pat Flynn’s suggestion, and man does this post make me feel better. For the past 5 days I have been going crazy trying to fit blog post ideas into the low competition/high search volume keywords, and nothing felt right. Thanks so much for this, I feel better about going after lower search volumes!
Hi Jake, I would like to add something on based on my own experience. While Google own Google Keyword Planner, they only show the ‘approximate’ searches per month. They are never accurate especially if the keywords aren’t popular (get searched less than 100 times per month). I can tell you (based on a few keywords of mine) that if Google Keyword Planner is showing you an average search volume of 10, you will most likely get around 200~500 visits per month if you rank on the first spot. Of course, this is also because you are ranking for many other keywords.
Another cool fact is that if you are selling your own product/service or promoting a high payout product, you get to earn decent amount of money just by ranking for keywords less than 100 searches per month. To give you an example, I helped one of my clients rank for a local term with 30 average searches per month in the wedding niche. Every sales net him approximately $1k (depends on the package). Guess what? We estimate that this particular keyword brings in $5k per month for the past 6 months 😀
In short, I feel that ranking for low competition keyword is the way to go since you don’t need to invest too much resources in link building. More importantly, most well-funded SEOs aren’t going to target these terms leaving you a big heck of opportunity.
Thanks for sharing, Shaun.
Thank you very much for this article.
I’ve never gone after low traffic keywords even though there are a tone of them in my markets. You just open up my eyes into the possibility of making serious money in three of my niches.
I’ll let you know how that works out for me.
Thanks! Very Informative. You helped me a lot.
LTP is always very helpful for me for keyword research!
Long Trail Pro is the best keyword research tool for finding long tail keywords.
I used ahrefs for KW research for a long time but now, I am using longtail pro and I am fully satisfied with its results and features. Its a recommended tool for bloggers.
Firstly it depends on the niche. For certain Niches even 10 to 30 searches a month is good volume, in other niches 1,000 searches is good enough volume. You should select your home page and 10 to 15 other pages initially and do the keyword research for them.
In case you do not have that many pages of quality content select 10 topics based on your most important services, product or Niche are get good quality unique content around it. Besides this also optimize the home page.
thanks a lot this tool is very useful to me.
Thanks a lot for sharing Free keyword Research Tools. I Always Used Google Keyword Planner and Semrush. Both Keyword Tools Gives Me Great Results. Thanks again for your valuable post.
It depends on your goals and what you’re going for. For example, if you simply want to achieve brand recognition, search volume would be important. If you’re looking to build a niche website, search volume and competition would be important.
But the truth is that the CPC is kind of a shorthand that often (but not always!) takes into account both factors (as well as the potential profitability of a given niche). If you’ve got a field with high search volume and high competition but the CPC is low, that tells you that either a) the niche isn’t very profitable, or b) your competitors are not using paid ads (and you can use paid ads to gain a competitive advantage). If you’re looking at a keyword with low search volume and low competition but the CPC is high, that tells you that your competitors are either monetizing much better than you, OR that your competitors are getting ripped off – you see this a lot with “passion projects”.
awesome tool and thanks for the post most useful.
I am impressed with this tool. thanks for sharing this article.
you’re welcome John, Glad you’re enjoying LTP.
Thanks for sharing such helpful information with all of us I appreciate your effort of writing a value able piece of content.
Great article, now then LTP is worth trying as a keyword research tool when combined with Google Keyword Planner.
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I think he use of long tail keywords are good for small business. Those keywords do get searched.
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mine is new website should i use, keyword with less volume, as i am prefaring to go with keyword having more than 10000 search volume, please reply
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I used a number of keyword research tools but most of them could not make me satisfied. Then, I switched to longtailpro and it took my blog ranking to the next level. It gives nearly accurate number of searches made on the search engine and works incredibly well within an affordable prices which is another strong feature of this tool. Thanks a lot!