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  • Why You Shouldn’t Trust Search Volume

    Why You Shouldn’t Trust Search Volume

    Most people place their trust in high search volume keywords when optimizing their website for SEO. That is because the usual understanding of search volume metric is that it helps us determine how much organic traffic a page will get on being ranked on Google’s first page for a specific keyword.

    The logic behind this understanding is that the more people search a particular keyword, the more traffic will be directed to the top-ranking page. So, if you use a keyword that doesn’t get many search queries, your page’s traffic will drop.

    However, there is a caveat to this widely held perception.

    Using high-volume keywords doesn’t always give the best results in bringing more traffic to the website. In fact, using less-searched keywords has the potential to boost website traffic and conversion beyond your imagination.

    While the correlation between a keyword’s search volume and the total traffic landing on the top-ranking pages is undeniable – it doesn’t work for everyone. In many cases, the pages that rank on Google’s first page don’t receive much traffic.

    As odd as those sounds, it isn’t baseless and having a misconception about one of the most crucial metrics push you behind. So, here are the main reasons that will help you know why this might happen.

    Keyword Search Volume Is Unreliable

    Keyword Search Volume Is Unreliable

    Keyword search volume is considered an accurate metric. Therefore, many people even look for an accurate search volume tool. However, the reveal here is that the keyword search volume can hardly ever be on point.

    Most tools collect their search volume through Google Keyword Planner (GKP), which only shows a “rounded annual average” that can never give off an accurate figure. Moreover, a lot of keen SEO professionals have been suspicious about the data they get from GKP.

    For instance, you might get high volume for a popular keyword during a sale, a season, or a festival. Still, people would only be searching that keyword during that specific time and not throughout the year. However, the keyword planner would display a high volume based on its high searches during one season.

    So, when you use a keyword like “Halloween costumes” in your content in May, you will most certainly not get the results you expected or wanted. All the efforts and time would be wasted. This is why the “annual average” criteria to determine high volume keyword isn’t sensible.

    Moreover, Google AdWords often combines different keywords for search volume. For instance, it may combine the search volume for “SEO” & “search engine optimization.” So, when you try looking up either one of them, the search volume will be the same.

    While in reality, both the keywords have different volumes.

    Now, every tool provides you with distinct data even though they’re using the same source, i.e., Google AdWords, because they update it with the varying frequency in AdWords.  This is why there’s a variation in the search volume of the same keyword.

    The search volumes are therefore inconsistent, even in Google’s own tools. For example, if you search on Google Keyword Planner, Google Search Console, and GKP “Forecaster,” they will provide you with different numbers for the same keywords.

    Google Hides Information

    Back in the day, Google only showed a list of “10 blue links” without any further info regarding the user’s search query. So, the user wouldn’t know the answer without clicking on the links.

    However, now Google has various SERP features that help searchers get a better experience as the search results have little information about the links below them. This way, their question is answered right away without cluelessly clicking on all the links searching for their answer.

    But Google Adwords, on the other hand, doesn’t provide this information alongside the keyword’s search volume. So, you only get a list of raw search volume with no knowledge of whether anyone even clicked on those links or not.

    Just top ranking isn’t the aim. The real objective is to land traffic on your website. So, if you use a keyword that gets your website to rank on Google’s first page but isn’t relevant to the traffic, it would be useless.

    In order to choose the accurate keywords, you would need to get a combined data of search volume and clicks. You can get the data about the clicks from clickstream. This combination of data will allow you to see whether people who are using a particular keyword are even clicking on any of the top search results.

    Advertisements Steal Traffic From SEO

    Advertisements Steal Traffic From SEO

    Google Ads are stealing traffic from SEO in true meaning. With Google Ads displaying on the top of the search results, it’s become more troublesome for websites to get organically get the audience’s attention.

    Most clicks go to advertisers, and Google has been helping them more and more in stealing almost effortlessly just by paying an extra amount.

    • Google Ads have always been a problem for websites running on organic SEO. But it has recently become a bigger problem as Google Ads have started taking more place on Google’s first page. Since the top 4 searches are given to the advertisements, the organically searched websites are pushed down.
    • Previously, the searches could clearly distinguish the organic results from the ads, but now the ads almost look the same as the organic results. Most searchers prefer going for websites that aren’t an advertisement. But this makes it difficult for the searchers to know whether they are clicking on an ad or a website that showed up organically and could be more relevant.
    • The website that AdWords shows you in the advertisement isn’t always relevant to your search only, but any ad that is closely related will be displayed in your search results.

    Page Ranks Are Often Same For Multiple Keywords

    Google often uses multiple similar keywords to rank the same page. For instance, if you search “When was Google created,” similar keywords that might show you almost the same search results would be:

    • “When was Google Found”
    • “Which year Google was created”
    • “Creation of Google”
    • “When was Google made”
    • “Google’s invention”
    • “Who found Google”

    All these keywords will be associated with the same pages that show up in the search results. Some of these results might not even be related at all. So, if you’ve used any of these keywords but someone searches using a different keyword from the list, your website will still show up.

    Even though these keywords may have varying search volumes bringing a tiny bit of traffic, they make a huge difference together. So, you don’t necessarily have to use keywords with higher volume; using the ones with lower volume can sometimes be of greater value.

    What Influences The Number of Keywords In Ranking Page

    There isn’t a hard and fast set of factors that influences the number of keywords that rank a page. However, here are three factors that can most likely affect the number of keywords:


    Choosing the right topic is really important. A topic that has a very narrow scope can’t offer you a more significant number of relevant search queries. So, the chances of your webpage ranking in the search results go down.  This would eventually affect how much traffic you get on your website.

    Conversely, choosing one with a broader scope will allow your page to have more relevant searches, eventually bringing you more visitors.


    If you have a broader topic, you will be able to stretch the boundaries of your content. For example, a topic where you can add as much detail to your content as possible can do great for your website. This type of content, in turn, will offer a larger number of relevant searches for your page and attract more visitors.

    So, the key to great content is not stuffing it with all the varieties of the exact keywords. Instead, it would be best to explore what else content you can include under your topic while keeping it relevant and use keywords around it.

    What you need to do is:

    • Study your topic thoroughly to include every detail possible.
    • Study and include the relevant search queries in your content.
    • Study the top-ranking pages and their keywords.


    Creating backlinks has a significant impact on the search results of search engines. It is a great way to get the attention of a search engine, serving as a deciding factor whether your website deserves a rank or not.

    SERP Checker tools can be handy in checking how pages with more backlinks are more likely to rank for more keywords, bringing you more traffic in the long run.

    The Increasing Demand For Searches

    Every month Google adds around 33 billion more search queries to its database. It is almost impossible for any tool to afford the cost of maintaining such a gigantic database. So, if any service claims 100% results, they’re bluffing because keeping every search query that people make is unthinkable.


    49% of the traffic goes to the top-ranking pages

    Since 49% of the traffic goes to the top-ranking pages, you need to keep your SEO on point to stay in the ranking. However, if you have been a victim of the illusion of “accurate search volume,” you might not have been acing that goal. So, it’s time you come out of the illusion of using high-volume keywords and change your strategy.

    With the provided essential knowledge about how search volumes work, every SEO professional should be able to figure what ingredients will make a perfect keyword for their website. It will significantly impact the number of visitors on a website compared to just going for a high-volume keyword.

    So, the first thing you need to do is stop discarding unpopular keywords and develop the ability to pick quality keywords from them. The ones that will get you actual clicks, instead of the high-volume ones failing to bring an even considerate amount of traffic.

    Chief Revenue Officer at SEO Company
    Industry veteran Timothy Carter is SEO.co’s Chief Revenue Officer. Tim leads all revenue for the company and oversees all customer-facing teams for SEO (search engine optimization) services - including sales, marketing & customer success. He has spent more than 20 years in the world of SEO & Digital Marketing, assisting in everything from SEO for lawyers to complex technical SEO for Fortune 500 clients like Wiley, Box.com, Qualtrics and HP.

    Tim holds expertise in building and scaling sales operations, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and drive growth from websites and sales teams.

    When he's not working, Tim enjoys playing a few rounds of disc golf, running, and spending time with his wife and family on the beach...preferably in Hawaii.

    Over the years he's written for publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Marketing Land, Search Engine Journal, ReadWrite and other highly respected online publications. Connect with Tim on Linkedin & Twitter.
    Timothy Carter