Why you can’t ALWAYS trust keyword search volume for traffic estimations



I’m sure every professional SEO has noticed that ranking a page for a high-volume keyword doesn’t always result in a huge amount of traffic. And the opposite is true, too—pages that rank for seemingly “unpopular” keywords can often exceed our traffic expectations.

Here at Ahrefs we have enough data to study this phenomenon at scale.

Reason 1: Keyword search volume is not a particularly accurate metric

There’s actually a prequel to this very article, which I highly recommend you read first:

I see a lot of people using the phrase “accurate search volume” and even looking for a tool with “the most accurate” one.

Well, my article above explains why there’s no such thing as “accurate search volume.” Read more…

Our Insights:

Google's algorithm is constantly changing, what worked a couple of months ago, may not be applicable today. As a result, a lot of uniformed digital marketers are left with one question, “Why am I not ranking?”

Most online entrepreneurs, especially the ones who just recently hopped into the digital marketing bandwagon, have a pretty straightforward view of what Search Engine Optimization is.

If there are more people typing a specific keyword in the search engine, then it'll drive more traffic to the page, which ultimately means higher chances of conversion, right?

That' why it's a no-brainer to go for high-ranking keywords and ignore unpopular keyword searches – well, I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but that's now how effective Search Engine Optimization works.

If it's that easy, then no one would be struggling with ranking on Google, but here we are. As a matter of fact, it MAY be the other way around.

Ahrefs made a beautifully written content that discusses how getting blinded by popular keyword searches may do more harm than good. It's better to focus your piece on “unpopular keywords” that hold traffic potential.

Image from ahrefs.com

Avatar for Clint Butler

As an Army veteran, 21 years in with three deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, I learned real-world applications of problem-solving and adapting quickly to change. Looking for more challenges, I earned three Master’s degrees, Internet Marketing, and Business Intelligence and Public Relations. I also took up SEO in 2009 because nothing is more fluid and challenging in marketing then optimizing for search. Since then I’ve earned a reputation as the expert in on page optimization and page speed. I’ve spoken during several online training events, host two podcasts on SEO, and am a Speaker at SEO conferences like SEO Rockstars and SEO Spring Training.

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