People are always looking for ways to get ahead in the SEO and blogging world. Sometimes that means doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing, which is chasing search volume. For the last couple of year it seems, you often hear people talk about zero search volume keywords. But can zero search volume keywords get traffic? The answer is it depends on what you mean by zero search volume keyword, and it’s also what I’m talking about in this article.
Can zero search volume keywords get traffic?
Keywords that actually get zero search volume will not get any search traffic for that specific query. If you write an article targeting one of these actual zero volume searches, then you’ll still likely get at least some traffic by accident just by ranking for some secondary queries.
However, when people say zero search volume keyword” that’s not actually what they mean. They’re talking about keywords that are reporting as having 0 searches/month.
The difference between zero search volume vs zero volume reported
To estimate how much search volume a keyword has we use various tools and software. The tool used in the screenshots below is the Chrome extension Keywords Everywhere. Lots of people use it. It’s not perfect but it gives me an idea of how much volume a keyword or topic is likely to have.
“What is keyword search volume” appears to have around 70 searches/month while “what is a zero search volume keyword” appears to have none. However, in my opinion both of these are reasonable queries and I’m quite sure I would eventually rank for an article targeting the zero search volume one. Especially since there is a couple of larger seed keywords inside that 7 word phrase.
However, some searches you just know that a reasonable person is not going to search this phrase very often. I avoid these searches, and they usually stick out like a sore thumb to me now when a couple of years ago I was writing them.
The above example is a zero search volume keyword that I would never write an article about. Even though I’d probably rank #1 for this search, it wouldn’t matter because literally no one would search that. You have to find the happy mixture of worth the effort and enough search volume.
So you can get definitely SEO traffic by targeting keywords that report zero searches/month, if you choose the right keywords. This applies to any niche, some more than others.
What’s the best search volume range to go for?
The best search volume range to go for varies depending on your site. If you have a new blog then you are probably going to best off flying under the radar and going for low competition keywords, and that usually means low search volume as well. But not always…
Low search volume keywords
I consider low search volume to be anything between 0 and maybe 1k searches/month. In this range I can usually find a lot of low-competition topics to go after. Whenever I start a new site it’s usually the articles that were targeting keywords in this range that start getting traffic first.
So while you want to focus mainly on this category of keywords for a new site, be sure and sprinkle in a few of the higher volume keywords in the beginning as well. They are going to have more competition and take longer to rank, so best to take your place in line for some of the main keywords in your niche as soon as possible.
Moving to the top 3 in Google for a high volume keyword after only 6-12 months is entirely possible for a new site, and it’s a huge confidence booster. As the site gets older the ratio of low competition/low search volume to higher competition/higher search volume should become more even. This will really keep your traffic growing and minimize seasonal slumps.
High search volume keywords
It depends on the niche and the site, but in most cases I consider high search volume keywords to be any keywords that show over 1k searches/month. I know that the potential is actually way higher with variations and secondary keywords. I regularly see articles I’ve written targeting around 1k – 2k searches/month get upwards of 5k visits.
Once a site has reached around 18 months old, I typically get more aggressive with the keywords I go after. You may reach a point in your publishing where it’s hard to increase content output with your current team, but you can go after higher search volumes to make up for it. You’ll often be surprised if you are publishing good content that deserves to rank. It still takes time to rank, but I’ve found it takes considerably less time for a 1-2 year old site than a fresh domain.
To recap, you can rank and get traffic going after zero search volume keywords, but they can’t actually have zero search volume if you want any meaningful traffic. You’re looking for keywords that are being reported as zero search volume, but actually have volume that isn’t being reported back with whatever tool you are using.
This strategy is great especially for new sites that want to get traffic early, but I don’t see it as a long-term one. You eventually need to get in the game and go after some larger searches and compete with the other players in your niche.