The right target keywords can drive traffic and conversions and help your business reach its ideal audience. But how do you choose the right ones?
Keywords with high or low search volumes can both be valuable, but it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each before making a decision.
In this post, we’ll look at how you can determine which keywords are best for your business and how to choose between high or low-search volume keywords accordingly.
At the end of this post, you should know what approach to take for your SEO and content marketing strategies.
Some Terms You Should Know
As you read this post, you may come across an unfamiliar term. Here’s a tiny glossary for reference:
- Search Volume: This refers to how often a particular query is entered into a search engine. This information can usually be found in the Keyword Planner tool on Google Adwords or in an SEO tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush. The time frame is usually monthly, but you can also use the tools to view the data over a longer time period.
- SERP: This stands for Search Engine Results Page. It’s that list of websites you see after performing a Google search. The top-ranking site, or sites, get the most traffic and therefore are the most profitable and authoritative positions to hold.
- Domain Authority: Domain Authority or DA is a term created by Moz. It’s a score that predicts how well your site will rank on Google SERPs. This is calculated by considering numerous factors like the number of links to your site, the quality of those links, and many other signals.
I think that these are the main terms that you need to know about before diving in. Now that you’re prepped, get started with the post!
The Impact of High Volume Vs Low Volume Keywords
There are two main factors to consider when choosing targeted keywords: search volume and competition.
The higher the search volume, the easier it will be to reach your target audience. It means that there are lots of people using this key term to find solutions to their problems. However, the higher the competition, the harder it will be to rank high in search engine results pages (SERPs).
The lower the search volume, the more focused your audience will be. But you’ll have less competition for those keywords.
What it boils down to is, do you have the time, money, skills, and other resources you need to target high volume keywords?
You also need to think about whether it’s smart to invest time and effort into working on low volume terms without seeing enough benefits. Let’s explore more about these two different approaches for your business.
How To Find Right Keyword Based on Search Volume
The best way to find targeted keywords with high or low search volumes is to use different methods.
For example, you can use keyword research tools, competitor analysis, or topical research. You can also perform a manual search on Google Adwords’ Keyword Planner.
One method that I recommend is to enter the main keyword term in an SEO tool. And then, look at similar terms, related phrases and keywords, and things like the questions people ask.
These related keywords will have lower search volumes already. Explore variations of these terms and find the ones that offer a good balance between keyword difficulty and search volume.
Whichever method you choose, you need to be consistent with the tools and approaches you work with.
The important thing is to get started and test how your website content performs. When you start seeing results, you’ll know whether it’s worth pursuing the keyword strategy you’ve used so far.
And also, don’t just focus on traffic to figure out if an approach works. You also need to consider conversions and engagement.
The above image is generated by searching for ‘best streaming service’ on Ahrefs. The search volume is high – 47K per month. And the competition is extremely tough too – 75 out of 100.
Questions like ‘what is the best tv streaming service’ have ‘low’ search volume – 900. But that may still be a significant number for you. People using such search phrases have a specific need, greater intent to buy, and will be more relevant to the right businesses.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Targeting High Search Volume Keywords
If you use tools like SEMrush or Google Keyword Planner and research a keyword, you’ll see both the search volume and competition for keywords.
By competition, I mean how difficult it is to rank for that keyword. This is often represented by a number ranging from 0-100. The higher the competition or keyword difficulty, the tougher it is to rank for such a term.
Some terms are commonly used and can have a search volume ranging in the millions. While others have search volumes that are in the lower hundreds or even at zero.
In most cases, when a keyword has a high search volume, it also has high competition. If you want to rank at the top spot for such terms, you’ll need to battle it out with many other websites. But this can be worth it, let’s look at some key benefits of targeting high search volume terms:
- Increased web traffic
- Increased brand exposure
- Higher ROI on marketing investments
- Easier to reach target audience
- More opportunities for leads and conversions
Sounds good, doesn’t it? You have plenty of opportunities to reach your target audience, you can increase your brand exposure, and earn a high ROI. However, there are some potential drawbacks to targeting such keywords. Here they are:
- Higher marketing costs
- More time and effort required to rank high in SERPs
- Requires a larger budget for content creation, promotion and marketing activities
- You need to have a higher domain authority to compete
Based on these benefits and drawbacks, it may be best for your business to target keywords with high search volume. This will help you reach a wider audience and gain more traffic.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Targeting Low Search Volume Keywords
We’ve just looked at high volume terms, and now we flip the coin to check out terms that get fewer searches a month.
Low volume terms can range between having 0-500 monthly searches. However, this isn’t a hard definition.
What counts as low traffic search terms also depends on your goals and the industry you’re in. For some areas, 1000 keyword monthly searches is good, while in others, it’s painfully low.
Let’s explore more about the benefits and problems with using these keywords:
- They offer lower competition and easier ranking on the search engines.
- There’s a potential for higher ROI with less time and effort invested.
- It’s possible to get better-qualified traffic from the audience you want to target.
- You need fewer resources and skills to rank for such terms.
- You stand to rise to the top of SERPs with relative ease and in a shorter time frame.
Now, here are the major drawbacks of working with low search volume keywords:
- Less traffic and leads, which means less exposure for your brand
- Requires more time to research these keywords and find the right ones.
- It’s harder to get enough data from search engines about low traffic terms.
- Lower clicks and conversions when compared to high traffic keywords.
Which One To Choose?
There are several factors that go into ensuring that your keyword strategy is successful.
It’s important to keep in mind what your business goals are and the resources you have available for SEO activities.
One important factor is domain authority. Domain authority measures how well your website is likely to rank in search engine results. The higher your domain authority, the higher your chances of appearing in the top results for relevant searches.
To find your domain authority, run your website through Moz’s domain SEO analysis tool. The higher the number, the more authoritative and trustworthy your site is. If your competitors have a higher DA, then you might want to build your own authority before competing for the same term. Or you want to find something easier to work with.
Another factor is the quality of your content. It has to be relevant, useful, and well-optimized for the low search volume keywords that you choose.
And look at your services, product, and your industry all together. If you’re a coach or a personalized service provider, a low-traffic keyword can be all you need. But if you’re creating and selling consumer products in vast quantities, then a high volume search word is better suited to your business.
If you have the time and resources to compete for higher search volume keywords, those may be the right choice. But if you are looking for a lower-effort approach that still generates traffic and conversions, low-search volume keywords may be the way to go.
By taking all of these factors into account, you can develop a keyword strategy that’s tailored to your needs and likely to be successful.
Other Factors for Your Consideration
So far, when choosing a keyword, we’ve only looked at search volume. However, this isn’t a good way to build your SEO and content strategy.
You have to take other factors into consideration, too. These factors may not be based on fancy SEO platform data but their qualitative characteristics matter just as much.
Here are some other key factors to consider aside from search volume.
Your customer journey is the path that your customers take to buy your product or service. It consists of the following stages:
- Research: Initiated by a need or want for a solution, customers search for information to help them make informed buying decisions. This may involve reading content on your website or elsewhere, comparing products and prices, and asking friends and family for recommendations.
- Consideration: Once they have narrowed down their options and decided on a particular product or service, customers might continue their research by reading reviews, getting more information from salespeople, or comparing different products and services.
- Purchase/conversion: At this stage, customers have made up their mind and are ready to buy. They may go directly to your website or a retail store to make the purchase, or they may contact you directly for more information.
Each of these stages has a different keyword demand, topic, and audience mindset.
For example, when people find your website through an informational search they are in the research stage of their customer journey.
Therefore, you should be targeting keywords that align with this research stage. In fact, the keywords you target for this stage should be closely related to those that your customers will use when they’re ready to buy.
Also, the format of your content should be relevant; create blog posts and videos to help people research and compare products, rather than focusing on the sales and purchase stage. The research keyword may have high volume but low buying intent while an urgent purchase keyword may have lower search volume with higher purchasing intent.
Your keyword strategy should take these factors into account to ensure that you’re targeting the right keywords.
Not all SEO and content goals are the same. Some businesses are focused on generating traffic, others want to generate leads. While still others only want to build their brand and thought leadership.
These goals influence the keywords that you might want to target for your content and SEO campaign. For example, if your goal is to generate traffic then it may make sense to focus on high search volume keywords even if they’re competitive and expensive.
On the other hand, if you run a hospital or clinic, then you might be keen on establishing your business as a trusted source for information about a certain condition or topic.
In this case, you may want to focus on keywords with lower search volume but higher expertise and trustworthiness.
To develop your keyword strategy, think about the type of content that aligns best with your goals and ensure that the keywords you choose reflect those goals.
Location and Competition
Where are your customers? Where are your competitors?
When you’re choosing a keyword, it’s important to consider the location of your audience and competitor websites.
If most of your customers are located in Germany, then you’ll have a harder time ranking for keywords aimed at the United States. Similarly, if most of your competition is targeting a specific location, then you may need to do the same in order to compete.
So, when looking at a keyword, it’s important to consider:
- Who your competitors are targeting that keyword?
- What type of content are they putting out?
- How is their site performing for that keyword?
This can help you choose keywords that will perform better for your site.
When a search query is made, some keywords carry more inherent value than others. This means that the keyword in question provides information without the searcher having to visit other sites or read other pieces of content. For example, searching “how to tie a necktie” gives a searcher information about how to tie a necktie without having to visit other sites.
This inherent value can give you an edge when you’re choosing keywords, because it means that they may also be more competitive as there are fewer pieces of content providing the same information.
To take advantage of this type of keyword, look for those that have high search volume but low competition.
If you’re looking to generate more leads, however, then it might be worth targeting keywords that are less competitive but also have a lower inherent value.
Ultimately, the right keyword is one that meets your business needs and aligns with your content goals and audience. So take the time to research your keywords carefully to ensure that you’re able to achieve the best results for your business.
A Final Summary
We’ve covered a lot of information and it can be hard to remember it all. Here are the main tips you should focus on:
- High volume search terms appear to be lucrative in terms of creating the most opportunities for you to get traffic and engagement.
- They are also highly competitive and may require tremendous resources to see any positive results.
- Low volume search terms are less competitive and may be more cost-effective options to focus on in your SEO campaign.
- Not all low volume search terms are useless. Many SEO tools do not give you accurate information about traffic for longer tail and low volume terms. They will be higher than you expect. And the more content you create around such keywords, the more traffic can accumulate on your site.
- Work with tools like AnswerThePublic and AlsoAsked.
- Don’t forget to take competition and factors like your domain authority into consideration.
- Focus on keywords based on your customer’s journey and the inherent value of certain keywords. Try keyword mapping to help identify worthwhile terms to target.
Work with tools like AnswerThePublic for interesting low search volume keywords
When it comes to choosing high search volume or low search volume keywords, there are pros and cons to consider. It ultimately depends on your business goals and what you’re willing to invest in order to achieve them. High search volume keywords offer more opportunities for leads and conversions, but they require more time and effort to rank high in SERPs.
Low search volume keywords are easier to rank for, but generate less traffic and conversions. When making your decision, it’s important to weigh all the factors and choose the option that best suits your needs.
I hope this post has helped you to understand the benefits and drawbacks of targeting low search volume keywords and given you some tips for choosing the right keywords for your business.
Syed Balkhi is WPBeginner’s founder – one of the largest free WordPress resource sites. He has amassed over 10 years of experience, and is currently the leading expert on WordPress in the industry. You can learn more about Syed and his portfolio of companies by following him on his social media networks.