Does Search Volume Matter for SEO?

November 16, 2021

Let’s cut right to the chase. Yes, search volume is important. Wow, that was easy. But deciding how much monthly search volume is worth your time and investment is a different matter entirely. 

What Is Search Volume?

Search volume is a metric that keeps track of how many people are actively searching for a specific keyword or query each month. For the sake of this article, we’ll focus on organic vs. paid (PPC) search volume.

Search Volume Meaning in Marketing

As you may have already guessed. Not all keywords are equal. Some are much harder to target than others while many are seasonal—meaning they only experience spikes during certain periods of the year.

Big name brands may try to shoot for search volumes anywhere in the thousands to hundreds of thousands. Of course, the majority of such keywords are typically harder to rank for in terms of competition. 

For most of us small businesses, however, a monthly search volume of 20-200 may be enough—especially if these keywords are lower in competition and related to our industries. This is what SEO experts refer to as low hanging fruit.

What Is Low-Hanging Fruit? 

Search Engine Land defines it as the following:

“…keywords that you are fairly confident you can rank for with little effort. Further, they are keywords where just one conversion would be enough to cover the cost of content creation and optimization. In other words, they are keywords that carry very little risk.”

Let’s look at a quick example:

Keywords like “digital marketing” receive around 63K monthly search volumes in the United States (according to Ahrefs‘ keyword explorer). This term has a keyword difficulty of 89 (this number ranges from 1-100 with 100 being extremely difficult to rank for).

If you’re a well-known marketing brand with an impressive backlinking portfolio, you might go for it and see some traction. However, if you’re a smaller agency, contractor, or start-up business looking to advertise your services, you might shoot for long-tail keywords, such as “digital marketing experts,” which has around 200 monthly searches and a difficulty level of 19. 

What To Do with Low Search Volume Keywords

Depending on your marketing strategy, budget, and conversion goals, you might decide to pursue these longer-tail keywords (i.e., low hanging fruit) to improve rankings and build better brand awareness. 

To get started, you’ll want to do the following:

  • First, you need to decide “how low” you want to go. If you’re just starting out, you may decide that 10 or more monthly searches is sufficient to get started. 
  • Next, you’ll want to ensure these keywords are relevant to your services/products: “Low volume keywords often give you a unique opportunity to target terms that are highly relevant to your audience – ones that your competitors aren’t likely targeting at all,” (Search Engine Land).
  • Finally, you’ll need to keep track of your target keywords to see if they’re actually converting users. 

If you’re targeting keywords to drive new users to your website, you should see an increase in organic traffic. If you’re trying to bring users to your site to sign up for monthly promo codes, download an informational packet, book an appointment, or make an online purchase, you’ll want to make sure these target keywords are supporting such goals: “…these days, the emphasis should be more on quality and conversions than volume alone,” (HubSpot).

Think of it this way. If you’re targeting keywords that bring people to your site, only to bounce the moment they land on a page, it doesn’t matter how many searches these terms get each month. They aren’t doing you any favors. In fact, they are probably hurting your SEO efforts. 

Remember, search engines are created to help users find the information they want. And if they’re not finding it from your site, your chances of showing up for relevant queries decreases. 

Most SEO experts agree that monthly search volumes are important, but they should never be your brand’s end-all strategy. They should be working in tandem with your other marketing campaigns (i.e., website, social media, email marketing, blogs, etc.). 

Ask yourself, once users land on your site after making a search query: 

  • How can you keep them there and explore other pages? 
  • How can you keep them engaged and make them want to learn more? 
  • How can you make them come back to your site for other relevant queries?

Researching search volume is an excellent starting point to learn more about the type of questions users have and the keywords they’re typing into search engines. But don’t stop there. Use this metric to build a marketing strategy that answers these answers and provides better resources for further engagement.

Build a Better Keyword Strategy

There’s a lot that goes into SEO management. To help you find the right target keywords to build your marketing strategy, contact Brandography today! Our SEO experts have the experience and tools to help you build a competitive strategy that drives more traffic to your site and converts more users into returning customers.

Request a consultation today to learn how we can help!

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