In online marketing, the search volume, which is a measure of the amount of traffic your website can expect for a particular ranking position in the search results, can help you determine the best priorities for search engine optimization and content optimization.
Defining search volume
The search volume indicates the number of search queries for a specific search term in a search engine such as Google within a given timeframe. The number of search queries is estimated and can be subject to seasonal, regional and thematic fluctuations.
Determining search volume
One important resource for calculating the search volume is Google’s Keyword Planner for search volumes in Google search and the Bing Keyword Planner for search volumes on Bing. Users with an ads account with Google or Bing can request the number of monthly search queries for a specific group of ads or keywords.
Key factors that influence search volumes include long-term trends, e.g. in users’ leisure and consumer behavior. Seasonality and current news also have a major impact on search volumes. For example, while people are mostly interested in parasols in summer, in end of autumn, people are interested in gift ideas for Christmas.
Search volume in the Searchmetrics Research Cloud
- Search volume: A detailed analysis of search volume can be found in the Searchmetrics Research Cloud. Users in the US search for a keyword like “parasol” 38,131 times a month on average.
- Seasonality: Seasonality shows how the search volume changes throughout the year – and shows how relevant seasonal differences are. The search volume reached its lowest point in December with 25,656 search queries before bouncing back to its peak in July with around 54,818 search queries.
- SERP Spread: The SERP Spread presents how the SERP features are spread cross the Keyword Discovery result page. They can appear as product listing ads or on the top or bottom of a search results page.
- Search Intent: Here you can see the search intent for the selected keyword – whether it is informational, navigational or transactional.
The importance of search volume for search engine optimization
You can use the search volume to make forecasts for search engine optimization (SEO) and content optimization to work out which keywords and search queries you should prioritize for optimization. If you can work out the average search volume per month, you’ll be able to use this data to estimate how much traffic a good ranking position might generate for a specific keyword.
This numbers-driven approach means you’ll also be able to optimize your content and SEO. If you already have a good ranking for a keyword with a high search volume, for example on the second search results page, you could try optimizing your onpage and offpage SEO and content to get even better results.
At the same time, the search volume is only an indicator for search engine optimization and ideally should be compared with other data – such as user intent for a specific keyword. Navigational search queries often have an extremely high search volume because users know exactly where they want to go, e.g. to Facebook or Amazon, but don’t enter the domain name in the browser address bar and simply google it instead. Optimizing for these keywords is not very effective because you can’t expect to generate much traffic from these queries.
The CPC for a keyword can also provide important additional information on how useful optimizing for that keyword might be. If a keyword has a high search volume, a high CPC and the search intent is to obtain information or conduct a transaction, you can assume there is a lot of competition for one of the top ranking positions. Conversely, a keyword with a low CPC might indicate that optimizing for it could generate traffic, but that traffic would not lead to conversions on your website.
In addition, you shouldn’t look at search volumes for a single keyword in isolation. Look at the search volume for a cluster of topics instead. After all, users’ search queries for a specific topic are becoming longer and more detailed. And long-tail keywords account for more than half of the total traffic generated by search engines.