One of the key aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) is keyword research. It tells a marketer what words and phrases to optimize their website’s pages for.
And to perform effective keyword research, one of the main metrics to understand is keyword search volume. It determines how often people search for a specific keyword during a specific time, which can help decide whether a keyword is worth optimizing a page for.
But how can a business best leverage this metric? Where does one find this metric, and how to determine whether a volume is good or bad?
These are some of the questions we’ll answer in the post below. Understanding this important metric and how to effectively use it can help skyrocket a business’ SEO efforts and the company’s online presence as a whole. Let’s find out how.
To understand keyword search volume, one first needs to know what a keyword is.
A keyword (or search query) is any word, or phrase typed into a search engine. From “pizza” to “where can I order a pizza near me” to “what is keyword search volume.” The moment one types this into a search engine, it’s known as a keyword.
Now search engine crawlers (such as Googlebot) determine the content of a web page by looking at such keywords and index pages in the search engine results pages (SERPs) accordingly. In other words, when someone googles “what is keyword search volume,” our blog post might come up as a result because it contains this specific keyword.
Keyword search volume, then, refers to the number of times a certain keyword has been searched for in a specific time frame. The most commonly used time frame is monthly search volume. The higher the search volume, the more often people have searched for this specific keyword.
So why does this metric matter so much?
Say a food blogger (we’ll call him Pete) decides to write a recipe about a special dish his mother used to make for him as a kid, which she called Peteza.
Pete writes an amazing piece of content about the recipe, titled “Peteza Recipe”, but after several months of the page being online, he still hasn’t received any visitors to his site. The reason?
This keyword doesn’t have any search volume. After all, nobody else knows what a Peteza is, so nobody types this as a keyword into a search engine.
And that straight away explains why keyword search volume is such an important metric. Because if there is no search volume for a keyword, it means nobody is searching for it. And if nobody is searching for it, optimizing for it won’t result in any people visiting a site, and thus it won’t bring any value to the site either.
On the other hand, if a keyword has, say, a monthly search volume of 10,000, it means a lot of people are searching for this keyword every month. And the web page that ranks at the top of the SERPs for this specific keyword can expect a lot of visitors every month.
Now we know the value of keyword search volume, the obvious question is: Where to find it?
From a simple keyword search volume API to keyword planning tools integrated into larger SEO services, there are several options you can choose.
Some of the most commonly used tools to determine keyword search volume include:
- Google Keyword Planner
- Ahrefs Free Keyword Generator
- SEMrush Keyword Overview
- Google Search Console
- Google Trends
Alternatively, one can use SERPMaster’s keyword search API – it’s a budget-friendly option that provides reliable and accurate keyword data. For those who simply don’t require the advanced features SEO giants (like Ahrefs) offer or don’t afford the tool, SERPMaster may be the perfect solution. Their database also stores historical data, so you can see how frequently people were searching for a specific keyword during the last 12 months.
Alternatively, one can install keyword research plugins and extensions inside the browser that shows average keyword search volumes whenever a keyword is typed into a search engine.
Popular extensions include Keyword Surfer (from SurferSEO) and Ubersuggest (by well-known digital marketer Neil Patel).
Although an incredibly useful metric, keyword search volume on its own is often not enough to determine whether a keyword offers a good opportunity or not for a business.
That’s because keywords with a higher search volume naturally tend to be much more competitive. After all, wherever there’s an opportunity to make money, people will try to get a piece of it. And some keywords, including most of the top Google searches in the world, are names of brands that another website will rarely be able to rank for.
So often, a higher search volume also means it’s more difficult to claim first place in the search engine for that keyword. That’s why another metric, keyword difficulty, is often used alongside search volume.
Keyword difficulty determines (generally on a scale from 1 to 100, depending on the tool used) how difficult it is to rank for a keyword. But just like with keyword search volume, this metric alone doesn’t say enough. After all, a keyword can have 0 difficulty, but if it also has 0 search volume (like that Peteza recipe), it still won’t bring in any new visitors.
So how does one decide what’s good or bad? The answer is to try to find the right balance between keyword search volume and keyword difficulty. And when used together with other metrics as such, keyword search volume can be a powerful part of an SEO strategy.