Keyword search volume can help you identify topics to write about that have the potential to attract an audience. But it can also be a bit misleading when you look at certain keyword tools. Although volume can be a decent guide for content strategies, there are a few things that will impact success.
Trying to master keyword usage and search can be maddening at times. But if you write specifically for your audience and less about the Google algorithm, things may work out for the best.
In fact, Google adjusted the algorithm in 2022 to focus more on a “people writing for people” platform. So, keywords will still matter, but Google wants more unique content focused on the human reader.
What is Keyword Search Volume?
In most keyword tools, there is a column for “search volume.” This is often the average number of searches per month for that particular term. The higher the number, the more often it is used by people looking for that specific topic.
So, when you see something like “2,300” in search volume, it means that keyphrase was searched about 2,300 times on average per month on the search engine.
Some platforms will also include a “difficulty level” to signify how hard it will be to rank for that keyword or phrase. This is usually based on quite a few factors, such as the volume of competition, backlinks to certain content, domain authority, and more.
A lot of people assume focusing on keyword search volume for writing content will quickly drive traffic to their sites. But that’s not entirely accurate. In reality, the post might not even make it in the top 100 in Google regardless of what phrase you use.
It all boils down to what you’re writing and whether you’re providing the best information for the searcher.
7 Things About Keyword Seach Volume You Should Know
Targetting keywords that have a high search volume is a good place to start when deciding what to write next. However, there are still plenty of variables that come into play before your blog post starts generating tons of traffic.
Let’s break down a few things you need to know before committing to writing your next post.
It’s Based on Averages
In most keyword tools, search volume is based on a 12-month average. This can be quite misleading, especially if you’re covering a topic that was semi-viral at the beginning of the year and is no longer a viable topic.
For example, let’s say something you wanted to write about had a volume of 10,000 searches in January. Throughout the rest of the year, though, no one was searching for it. The volume could read as “833,” (10,000 / 12) even though the last eleven months had 0 searches.
Luckily, you can avoid hopping on trends that happened months ago by changing the sample date. In Google’s Adwords Keyword Planner, for example, you can change the date at the top of the search screen.
By adjusting the sample dates for the average, you can get a better idea of the keyword search volume for your specific term. In some cases, the differences could be astronomical. In others, though, the topic might still be worth writing about.
Just because something has a low volume, though, it doesn’t mean it’s a waste of your time to write about the keyphrase. I’ll go more into that in a moment.
High Volume Count Equals More Competition
When deciding to write about a topic that has a high search volume, you’re also competing with many others using the same tactic. Keep in mind that there are billions upon billions of websites on the Internet. The odds that someone has a site similar to your own are virtually a guarantee.
If you’re competing against a website that has been established long before your own, it cranks up the difficulty of hitting the top of search.
This doesn’t mean you should just give up, though. It all comes down to whether you can provide better information than the competition. You’re not “reinventing the wheel.” You’re seeing what you can do to make it better.
This isn’t to mention how you could be cultivating your own followers and fan base for your site. Return visitors are often those who will propel you to success.
Just beware that high-volume phrases will have a lot of competition to surpass.
You’re Competing with Advertisers
Other bloggers and websites aren’t the only ones you have to compete with for a search phrase. Advertisers of all kinds will use them as well. And since Google prioritizes ads over blogs, your brilliant article could get buried under sales, discounts, and shopping pages.
This can be exceptionally frustrating, especially if you’re writing a review about a particular brand or product. Their ads will appear at the top, Google maps will show locations near a searcher, and the brand’s social media accounts will pop up before your article even has a chance to be seen.
In order to surpass a paying advertiser, your blog post would have to be nothing short of perfect according to the algorithm.
You’re Competing with YouTube
More and more video content is being shown from YouTube on Google for search phrases. In fact, most of the external views my channel gets are from Google searches for the topic.
This is actually one of the reasons why I think all bloggers should also have a YouTube channel. You can reach another type of audience with the same content.
Anyway, as video content is one of the most prominent forms nowadays, you need to accept that you’ll be competing with vloggers in addition to bloggers.
It Doesn’t Guarantee Clicks and Views
One thing a lot of people will bank on is how a high-volume keyphrase will earn them a ton of traffic. That’s not entirely accurate. In reality, there are a lot of things that will determine who sees your post.
For the most part, it all comes down to how you structured your content and whether you’re meeting the demands of searchers. You could use the most searched term in Google and never see a single visitor to the post.
On the other side of that coin, though, I’ve seen keywords that had an extremely low search volume have an incredible amount of search traffic. This demonstrates that volume numbers aren’t always the most accurate.
Some Terms Are Lumped Together in Certain Keyword Tools
Some keyword tools will put similar terms together and generate an average volume based on the combination. The problem with this is how some terms, even if they are similar, are often quite a bit different.
That’s because people have varying levels of language skills and will search based on how they would look for a particular topic.
One of the best examples of this is misspellings. Most tools can recognize certain misspelled words and add them to the pool. That is as long as the misspelling isn’t completely jacked up.
Long-Tail Keywords Have Fewer Searches but Better CTR
A long-tail keyphrase is one that has three or more words to further describe your topic. Although the search volume is lower than a single one or two-word phrase, they often perform better in terms of engagement and click-through rates.
This is because the post is focused on a more specific topic. People looking for that exact information are more likely to read the post as opposed to something that is more general.
Not to mention the competition is often lower for long-tail keywords.
For example, let’s say you want to write an article about the Catalina Crunch chocolate peanut butter keto-friendly cereal. You could focus the article on just the brand name…
As you can see, it has quite a few searches per month. But also keep in mind how much competition there is in Google. For that single, two-word phrase, there are nearly one million results. Not to mention competition from ads and shopping at the top of the search page.
Now, let’s focus on the “catalina crunch chocolate peanut butter” search phrase.
What would be the point of using something with fewer monthly searches? Hyper focusing on a specific audience.
Now, you’re writing an article about something that is far more precise. What if someone only wants to know about the “chocolate peanut butter” variation of the cereal? In this instance, writing a review has a far better chance of succeeding and taking a position in the top 10.
Well, at least from a blogging perspective. Remember, Google will always prioritize ads.
Should You Avoid a Keyword with a High Search Volume?
Keywords and phrases with a lot of searches per month are good places to start when creating content. What you’ll have to worry about is the sheer amount of competition you’ll face.
But if you can manage to score in the top 10 of the results page in Google, it’ll make a vast impact on your traffic numbers. However, it’s far more difficult to hit those spots than if you were to use a long-tail keyword.
What’s nice about high-volume searches is how they can open the doors to all kinds of content. So, if you put in a general term in your favorite keyword tool, you might get ideas for other posts you can write.
The above image is from Google’s Keyword Planner. However, most keyword tools will have a similar section for ideas.
My point is that there’s nothing inherently wrong with high-volume searches. Just don’t get frustrated when the article doesn’t perform nearly as well as you think it should. You’ll need to work hard to produce a better post than the ones that are already available.
Use more generic terms to provide ideas for individual posts. Or, you can use them as parts you can include in the article you’re already writing.
In the example above, I could include a section of the post that focuses on the “keto-friendly” aspect of the cereal, according to the keyword ideas.
Understand How Search Intent Works
Perhaps one of the most important elements when writing a blog post is understanding how people are looking for that particular topic. This is called, “search intent.”
What is the intent of someone looking for that particular search phrase? Are they looking for a list? Does someone want a review? Is someone searching for a way to do something?
Search Intent is a vital component of proper SEO. It’s not that you’re trying to please the Google algorithm, but more of trying to address the concerns of people looking for that piece of information.
Center the article on that particular element. For instance, if you want to write a review, make sure you’re answering questions people might have about the product or service. If you’re writing a tutorial, share everything the reader will need to know including screenshots or images.
Keywords are still important, but delivering something that people need when searching is what draws in traffic. And since Google values “quality content,” it also improves where your article shows in search results.
Keep an Eye on Search Console
Google’s Search Console is one of the greatest tools you’ll use for maintaining your blog. It’ll show you exactly how people are finding your content, its position in search, and the click-through rate of those terms.
Now, this doesn’t show the average search volume of any given keyword. But it will show how many impressions you’re receiving and for which keyword.
Search Console is probably the most accurate portrayal of how a keyword performs in Google. However, it’ll only show for those you’re currently ranking. Still, this tool is invaluable when it comes to making adjustments to your content.
In fact, I’ve seen single pages increase in traffic by more than 8,000% over six months because of an extra 400 words that further detailed the topic. And that content was thanks to tools like Search Console.
It’s all about understanding how someone is finding your current articles and addressing the needs of those people.
Keyword Search Volume Matters, But…
Search volume is a good place to start when looking for a good keyword or phrase. However, those with a lot of searches also come with a lot of competition. You’ll have a better chance of success by focusing on specifics.
Not to mention a higher capacity for earning sales through affiliates.
It’ll take a bit of trial and error. But it’s worth the effort if you can write a few posts that hit the top of the search results page.
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