New to keyword research?
The first thing you need to learn is how to read essential keyword metrics.
In this post, we’ll focus on keyword search volume – one of the most important metrics in keyword research.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
Table Of Contents
What is Keyword Search Volume?
Keyword search volume measures the number of web searches for a particular keyword. That will give you an idea of how many people are looking for information related to that keyword.
Search volume is normally calculated on a monthly basis.
For example, suppose the keyword “best wireless headphones” generates 49,500 Google monthly searches.
That means there are nearly 50,000 people searching online for the best wireless headphones every month.
How to find the number of searches for a keyword on Google?
There are several tools you can use to get a keyword’s monthly search volume. Some tools automatically pull up various metrics, including the monthly search volume, for the keywords you enter on Google.
Keyword Surfer is one example.
It is a free Chrome extension that instantly displays the search volume of any keyword you search on Google.
Keyword Surfer also includes keyword suggestions similar to your original query. However, the tool tends to pull in broad and high competition keywords, so use with care.
There’s one more thing about Keyword Surfer that I personally find extremely useful.
In the “Correlation charts” panel, you’ll see the organic traffic share of the top results for your keyword.
That means you can analyze which of the top results get the most traffic from your query.
With this information, you can get some pointers from the pages that get the most clicks.
Observe elements like their headline, meta description, and featured image to plan how you’ll optimize your content for that keyword.
Another alternative for Keyword Surfer would be Whatsmyserp – another Chrome extension for keyword research.
It works just like Keyword Surfer when it comes to displaying keyword search volumes.
However, you may notice that Whatsmyserp rounds off the search volume for keywords.
That means it’s slightly less accurate than Keyword Surfer, especially when analyzing keywords with thousands of searches.
On the plus side, Whatsmyserp provides way better keyword suggestions.
Unlike Keyword Surfer that suggests broad keywords, Whatsmyserp suggests mostly long-tail keywords.
What is a good keyword search volume?
For beginners, a good keyword search volume to target is between 10-100. A better answer to that question, however, is “it depends.”
There’s more to keyword research than just search volume.
For example, some keywords are better at generating profits than others. And for the most part, you can tell the difference through the keyword’s average CPC or “Cost Per Click” value.
Let me explain.
The keyword “buy wireless keyboard and mouse” only has a search volume of 20 in the United States.
According to Keyword Surfer, “buy wireless keyboard and mouse” also has a CPC of $0.93.
That means advertisers are willing to pay roughly a dollar for each click generated through that keyword.
On the other hand, the keyword “wireless keyboard and mouse” has a search volume of 27,100.
Notice anything strange?
Despite the massive advantage in search volume, it has a lower CPC than “buy wireless keyboard and mouse.”
That’s because the keyword with the term “buy” is more likely to be used by users with purchase intent. As a result, targeting this keyword could lead to more sales, which is what your website may be built for.
An in-depth article can also rank for multiple keywords at the same time.
This usually happens if a single piece of content covers several subtopics related to the main subject.
If you optimize for dozens of keywords, then it doesn’t matter if they only have 10-100 searches each. The accumulated search volume from all keywords should still be massive!
You will learn more about picking the right keywords later in this post.
But first, you need to get your hands on a more powerful keyword research tool.
For measuring keyword search volumes, free Chrome extensions like Keyword Surfer and Whatsmyserp should suffice.
But if you want more advanced features, you can start shopping for a premium keyword research tool.
Here – allow me to introduce you to the best ones:
SEMrush is an all-in-one “visibility management platform.”
It can be used for SEO, competitor research, content marketing, social media marketing, and PPC research.
Most importantly, it has a solid lineup of tools for keyword research.
The SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool, in particular, instantly reveals important keyword metrics.
How to use Keyword Magic Tool
To use Keyword Magic Tool, just enter a keyword and click ‘Search.’
Within seconds, SEMrush will show you all the important metrics for that keyword.
Yes – that includes the keyword’s monthly search volume.
Just don’t forget that Keyword Magic Tool uses keyword data from the United States by default.
If your target users are from a different country, select it under the “Database” drop-down menu.
Otherwise, you’ll get skewed keyword data that could mislead your marketing strategy.
Using Keyword Magic Tool for forecasts
Keyword Magic Tool can also help you forecast the popularity of each keyword for the following months.
Under the “Trend” column, you’ll see a chart that maps the popularity of each keyword over the past 12 months.
Since Keyword Magic Tool’s trend chart is limited to a single year, it’s only reliable for identifying seasonal topics.
For instance, keywords like “bathing suits” and “inflatable pools” peak in the middle of July. That only makes sense since more people are looking for them during the summer season.
You can zoom in on the trend chart by clicking on the keyword and viewing the “Keyword Overview” report.
Here, you can confirm that even advertisers ramp up their activity during peak months.
KWFinder is a straightforward keyword research tool designed to help you find long-tail keyword ideas.
It is part of the Mangools suite of SEO tools, alongside their rank tracker, SERP analysis tool, and backlink analyzer.
How to use KWFinder
Just like Keyword Magic Tool, you just need to enter a seed keyword and set your location.
KWFinder will do the rest.
Remember to set a country and language to get relevant keyword data.
You can do this from the beginning of the search or on the fly via the drop-down menus.
Using KWFinder for forecasts
I personally think that KWFinder is slightly better than Keyword Magic Tool when it comes to forecasting.
With KWFinder, you can hover over the monthly searches chart to get specific values.
The data stretches back several years, allowing you to verify if a keyword is really seasonal or just a fluke.
For example, “best wireless headphones” normally spike between November and December each year.
That probably means people are purchasing these products as holiday gifts.
KWFinder also determines an actual figure for the keyword’s interest ratings throughout several years. This makes it more useful for predicting the long-term profitability of keywords.
Before anything else, let me just say that Keyword Revealer is the cheapest tool on this list. You can read its detailed tutorial here.
It is a powerful yet lightweight tool for finding profitable keywords. It’s perfect for budget-conscious bloggers who don’t want to pay for features they don’t need.
How to use Keyword Revealer
Upon logging in to Keyword Revealer, you’ll automatically be taken to your “My Account” page.
To start researching keywords, click the ‘Keyword Research’ button from the left menu. This is denoted by a magnifying glass icon – it should be impossible to miss.
The rest of the process should be familiar, especially if you already know how to use KWFinder and SEMrush.
All you have to do is enter your keyword, select a location, and specify a different language (if applicable).
Keyword Revealer will then show you the keyword’s metrics in addition to long-tail keyword suggestions.
What makes Keyword Revealer different is the “Profit” column.
Basically, it’s an estimate of what website owners can make through ad clicks by optimizing for that keyword.
Using Keyword Revealer for forecasts
Similar to Keyword Magic Tool, Keyword Revealer also displays a trend chart.
You can use this to forecast the demand for keywords over the following months.
It’s worth mentioning that Keyword Revealer has another trick up its sleeve.
Using the “Keyword Brainstorming” feature, you can get a diverse pool of long-tail keyword suggestions with your query.
More importantly, you can use it to discover keyword ideas for YouTube.
How to Measure Keyword Search Volume on YouTube
Keep in mind that keyword performance data is different between search engines and platforms like YouTube.
If you have a YouTube channel, you need a different approach to keyword research to measure monthly search volumes.
Apart from keyword revealer, there are a handful of other tools that can help you acquire this data.
Here are two of them:
Ahrefs is one of SEMrush’s top competitors in terms of pound for pound analytics tools.
It also features a free YouTube keyword research tool – the aptly-named YouTube Keyword Tool.
After entering your desired YouTube keyword, set your location, and click ‘Find keywords.’
Your keyword search volume data should be presented to you in a jiffy.
Keywords Everywhere is another keyword research browser extension.
It works by acquiring and presenting keyword data from platforms like Google, Amazon, Bing, and YouTube.
However, it does more than just check the monthly search volumes of YouTube keywords.
If you want to analyze YouTube keyword search volume data for forecasting purposes, I recommend using Keywords Everywhere.
In addition to the monthly search volumes for YouTube keywords, the tool also generates a trend chart.
You can use this to determine the popularity and relevance of keywords on the platform. And since you can set a time range, it can be used to analyze keyword seasonality and long-term viability.
Just remember that search volume data is unavailable with the free version of Keywords Everywhere.
If you run a YouTube channel and really need spot-on keyword suggestions, Keywords Everywhere is a good investment. But if all you need is the keyword search volume, YouTube Keyword Tool by Ahrefs is a great free solution.
How about Google keywords that pull up YouTube results?
YouTube users may look for different keywords than search engine users.
However, that doesn’t mean they don’t use Google to search for videos.
Each year, more and more YouTube video results find their way into Google search results.
So, if you’re a YouTuber, don’t underestimate the potential of Google keywords for bringing in viewers.
Top-tier tools like Keyword Magic Tool can help you identify which keywords generate video results from YouTube.
You just need to look at the “SERP Features” column and check if “Video” or “Video carousel” is listed:
Since you’re already on Keyword Magic Tool, you can also check the search volume data from there.
That’s what I call efficiency.
How to Choose the Right Keywords?
Looking for keywords with a good search volume is a step in the right direction. But you should also pay attention to other factors, like user intent, your own products, and the competition.
That said, allow me to answer the burning question:
Does keyword search volume really matter?
Well, yes and no. Keyword search volume helps measure people’s interest in a specific topic, but it doesn’t guarantee you’ll get substantial traffic.
It’s not the “end all be all” keyword research metric.
Sure, if a keyword gets thousands of searches per month, you can guarantee that there’s demand.
But for SEO and keyword optimization, it’s better to target related long-tail keywords that are less competitive.
Why target lower competition keywords?
Targeting lower competition keywords can help you get a bigger share of their total search volumes. It’s also more practical to target low competition, long-tail keywords if you’re building a new blog.
According to statistics, websites that rank first place in Google’s search results get around 31.7 percent of the clicks.
That means they get nearly a third of a keyword’s potential search traffic.
What about the other 68.3 percent?
The vast majority of that goes to the rest of the top 10 results.
Long story short, you need to be in the top 10 results to benefit from a keyword’s monthly search volume.
The bad news is, the competition for keywords with a high search volume is usually tough.
Too tough, in fact, for small blogs.
Remember, to rank for a high competition keyword, websites usually need to secure hundreds of quality backlinks.
Think that’s unreachable?
In some high competition keyword markets, top-ranking pages have thousands of backlinks.
Such a thing isn’t really achievable to small blogs without spending thousands on SEO.
Their best bet is to optimize for a group of lower competition keywords and reach Google’s first page.
To put things in perspective, let’s say you want to publish content about posture braces.
Using SEMrush, we can verify that the keyword “posture braces” generates an impressive 22,000 searches per month.
Given the keyword’s competitiveness, however, reaching Google’s first page for this keyword requires a hefty investment.
And unless you belong to the top 10 results, you’ll share only two percent of that traffic with everyone else.
That’s only around 444 potential search traffic for that keyword.
Assuming, of course, you’re willing to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on SEO.
And that’s just to reach page two.
If, however, you target this group of lower competition keywords:
Your monthly potential search traffic would be 98 percent of 480, or 470.4.
That’s the total search traffic potential that all these keywords have as a group.
Other than that, getting high rankings for these keywords is more than achievable for smaller blogs.
For one, they don’t require tons of backlinks. And for another, you won’ be squaring up against big brands with five or six digits in their SEO budget.
What to do with low search volume keywords?
A good strategy is to create a dedicated article around a low search volume keyword. Make it long and meaty by discussing several subtopics, which will help you rank for more keywords.
If there aren’t enough topics to talk about, use the keyword to write a subsection for a broader article.
Any of the tools I mentioned above can help you find broader keywords you can focus on. But since Keyword Surfer generates broader keyword suggestions right out of the box, that’s the tool I recommend for this.
For example, “can you wear a posture brace to bed” can be a subsection in a post about these keywords:
Just pick a keyword that will help you write a post that can be optimized for more related keywords.
Let’s look at the keyword “brace back support,” for example.
With that keyword as your content’s main topic, you can write sections that tie your post to multiple long-tail keywords.
For instance, you can have an entire section that explains why posture braces work. You can also throw in product recommendations for keywords like “Oppo posture brace” or “Flex Pro posture corrective brace.”
Of course, you can also answer the question “can you wear a posture brace to bed” in that post. It can be in a FAQ section, within an “additional tips” list, and so on.
All it takes is a little creativity and an understanding of the audience’s needs.
Speaking of additional tips, I have some for you:
Takeaways for Picking the Right Keywords
Before we wrap up this article, here are a few additional tips to help you handpick the right keywords:
1. Start with a high competition keyword and expand it into long-tail variations
Looking for keywords with high search volumes will make sure there’s a demand for the content you’ll write.
Once you find something that people search for, expand it into a group of long-tail keyword variations. Those will be your actual target keywords for ranking your content.
2. Build in-depth blog post structures
If you want to optimize for multiple keywords in one article, plan an in-depth structure for it.
Remember, you can’t optimize for multiple keywords if you’re only talking about a small part of your topic. You need a comprehensive post structure that covers plenty of subsections if you want to naturally insert different keywords.
Click here to learn how to plan a blog post structure that discusses several subtopics.
3. Understand the intent behind keywords
Basically, there are different types of “search intents” in the online world.
- Informational – Informational searches are done by users who only care about acquiring new information.
- Navigational – A navigational search includes the name of a brand or website providing the products or services that users want.
- Transactional – Lastly, a transactional search is when people use Google with the intent to make a purchase.
Understanding the user intent behind your target keywords allows you to be in-tune with your audience’s expectations. This, in turn, elevates the user experience, reduces bounce rate, and increases conversion rate.
4. Look at keyword gaps
SEMrush has a handy feature called the “Keyword Gap” tool.
It allows you to compare the keywords of two or more domains to identify untapped keyword opportunities.
For example, you can compare your website with that of a competitor to find target keywords you’re missing. This essentially builds a checklist of keywords you should optimize for in order to compete.
5. Use forecasts to predict the profitability of keywords down the line
When optimizing for keywords, you need to determine if they’ll stay relevant in the long run.
Trend charts can help you do this by analyzing search interest over the past few months.
If you observe an upward trend, chances are the keyword’s search volume will continue to rise. But if the chart curves downwards, its popularity may soon dwindle.
An even trend chart, however, indicates that the keyword’s search volume is stable and unlikely to change.
Use this information to decide where to focus your keyword optimization efforts on.
“What are people searching for?”
That’s one of the questions you need to answer if you want to build a profitable blog.
Measuring keyword search volume can help you do just that. Just remember that there’s more to keywords than just their monthly searches.
Here’s one final piece of advice: funnel all your attention to creating high-quality, in-depth content.
Doing so will allow you to naturally rank for long-tail keywords that can cumulatively generate tons of blog traffic.
If you have other questions or feedback, the comment section is yours. Also, visit the links below for more awesome keyword research and blogging guides.