I was recently struck by one of Steve Toth’s observations on zero-volume searches.
If anything, it caused me to think excessively.
The thing to remember about optimizing for low-volume keywords is that you should probably avoid overthinking it.
Because if those keywords are ineffective, your time (and money) would be wasted! I’m not sure about you, but I am an expert at overthinking.
In fact, I got an award in elementary school for being “most prone to worry about virtually everything.”
Don’t be jealous 💁♀️
As a result, I’ve given this one considerable thought.
Hopefully, my overthinking will inspire you to have some of your own epiphanies, which will result in some ace stuff.
And, because it’s more about doing than thinking, I’m even testing some of my tips in this piece.
That is what I refer to as a META keyword.
I’m here for the duration of the week. Consider the shrimp.
Why would I optimize for low-volume keywords?
I understand why optimizing for low-volume searches appears to be the polar opposite of good SEO and content performance.
It contradicts everything we as content developers have been taught since the start of SEO.
To tell the truth, I’m aching to slip in a stem keyword even as I write this piece.
That is because keywords provide an excellent safety net.
The numbers speak for themselves: search volume, cost per click, competitiveness, and keyword difficulty.
They tell you that there is interest – even if your material does not rank particularly well.
However, excessive reliance on these indicators can also result in content complacency…
The keyword metric(s) issue(s)
Keyword data is not always reliable.
Keyword data is frequently criticized for being imprecise and erroneous.
And I’m not only referring to the moment when Google substituted volume banding for accurate search volumes in the keyword planner.
It is self-evident that keyword data should be regarded with a grain of salt.
Even as I was writing this essay, I came across a slew of forum threads discussing the volume variations amongst keyword tools.
Steve Toth re-ignited this vexing debate recently with his ZSV letter.
Toth shared an image of his clients’ Google Search Console, contrasting the thousands of impressions they received for long-tail (16+ words), low-volume terms with a depressing-looking search volume column filled with zeros.
His point is that keyword data is not always reliable.
Thus, how can you be certain that a low-volume keyword is truly low-volume if keyword data is not entirely reliable?
To be sure, do not misunderstand. I am not suggesting that you discontinue using keyword tools.
I mean, I’d be fairly ineffective at my job if I were, given BuzzSumo’s own Keyword Tool…
Keyword data is still a reliable indicator of whether there is a market for your material.
Additionally, keyword optimization is a well-known truth that can and does work.
However, Steve’s example serves as a useful reminder that keyword metrics are not the end all and be all.
And it should not prevent you from investigating the fresh content options presented by low- or no-volume keywords.