Why You Shouldn't Dismiss Zero Search Volume Keywords

Jun 05, 2023
Cover image for blog about zero volume keywords

So, you've been a good girl, and you've created your keyword-long list, in super quick time if you've read my blog on how to use ChatGPT for keyword research!

And, you've taken your long list, and you've put your best ideas through your favourite keyword research tool to find the search volumes and keyword difficulty, and you've got a sparkling list of keywords that are perfectly aligned with what your dream clients are asking questions about, so you use them to create incredible content that will mean they can't resist visiting your website and finding out all about how you can help.

Well, that's the dream!

But more likely than not, you've come up against the dreaded zero volume keyword conundrum, which is beyond frustrating when it's a term you thought would be amazing for your site.  

So what do you do? Kick your keyword research to the curb?

Stick with it, but only pay attention to high-volume keywords?

Well, today I want to talk about why all is not lost if you're coming up against zero volume keywords, and we'll look at how they could actually give you a competitive advantage!

First, What are Zero Search Volume Keywords?

While we hear a lot about only focusing on keywords that have good monthly search volumes, zero volume keywords shouldn't be dismissed out of hand.

Zero volume keywords CAN be valuable. But to understand how, let's have a look at what they are.

So, a zero volume keyword is simply a keyword that has no recorded searches in the keyword research databases.

They are words that drive very minimal or no traffic to your website.

They are usually super niche long-tail keywords that are highly specific to a very particular topic.

And, because they're so highly targeted or super niched, they are also usually very easy to rank for, but I'm getting ahead of myself!

But Are They Really Zero Volume Keywords? 

Before we get into the details of why zero volume keywords aren't the disaster you thought they might be, I want to take a moment to talk a bit about keyword research tools and the data they give us.

We're told all we need to do is head over to Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, or Semrush (other keyword research tools are available), pop in our keyword idea, check its keyword difficulty isn't too high, and it's not going to be too hard to rank for, make sure it's got some decent search volume, and Bob's your uncle.

But are the tools we use giving us accurate data?

Can we really trust our tools to give us the real picture?

Now, I love Ahrefs and Semrush and Ubersuggest, but if you check out the same keyword in these 3 keyword research tools, you're guaranteed to get different results.

Not only that but geography will make a big difference, so unless your business is 100% location specific, it's important to factor that in too.

Let's take a look at our balancing hormones keyword to see how different the results can be.

In Ahrefs, the volume is 1,100 searches a month

In Ubersuggest, the volume is 9900 searches a month

In Semrush, the volume is 1900 searches a month

So who's right?

Well, the answer is they all are!

Let me explain why.

How Keyword Research Tools Work

Now, I don't want you running off, screaming into the sunset that it doesn't make any sense that different keyword tools give different volume figures.

They just do. Each tool has its proprietary method for collecting and analysing data, and it gives you an estimate based on the technique they think is best.

If you start trying to compare results across results, you'll end up in an existential reconciliation battle you'll never win. My advice to you is to pick the keyword research tool you like the most, and that fits your budget and stick with it.

Each tool is giving you its best estimate, based on its proprietary method for collecting and presenting data.

But let's get back to our zero volume keywords. If each keyword tool's volume figures can vary so widely, can you be sure that your zero volume results are 100% accurate?

No. You can't.

It doesn't mean that they've all got it wrong, and it's actually a super high volume keyword, but it's likely that the keyword you're looking at has at least SOME volume, it's just that the tool needs a certain amount of data to register a keyword in its database and it the keyword you're looking at doesn't meet that threshold, it's going to be shown as a zero volume keyword.

Keyword research tools source their volume data from Google's Keyword Planner

But Google Keyword Planner is fundamentally a Google Ads tool, and while it gives us lots of great data on keywords with commercial intent, it's not so hot on keywords with informational intent.

This means that when we're looking for keywords with informational intent, or data on exact matches, there just isn't the data for the keyword research tools to use, and so they show zero volumes when really, they just don't know what the search volumes are.

Also, you've got to bear in mind that Google processes over 5 billion searches a DAY, and that's far too much data for our poor little keyword research tools to process, so in a sense, they put their hands in the air and give us their best guestimate.

So, the moral of this short diversion into how keyword research tools work is, use the data you receive as a very helpful indication of and not a set-in-stone indicator you should take 100% at face value.

What are the Benefits of Using Zero Search Volume Keywords?

So, assuming the term you've found really is a zero search volume keyword, is there any point in using it?

As I said earlier, conventional wisdom would say no.

But let me talk you through why you should think again.

They are Highly Targeted

Zero search volume keywords are extremely specific and highly targeted.

While they might not have a lot of search volume, the people who are searching for them are likely to be highly interested in what you have to offer.

By targeting these keywords, you can attract a small but highly engaged audience that is more likely to convert into customers or subscribers.

They're Easier To Rank For

More often than not, zero search volume keywords are long-tail keywords, which means they are made up of more than one search term, and they are much more specific than general keywords.

Long-tail keywords are easier to rank for because there is less competition.

By targeting these keywords increase your chances of ranking for other related keywords.

They Give you Good Ideas For Engaging Content

Zero search volume keywords can also provide inspiration for new content ideas.

By exploring these keywords, you may uncover new topics that your audience is interested in but that your competitors haven't covered yet. This can help you create unique and valuable content that sets you apart from the competition.

They Help with Local SEO

Zero search volume keywords can also be useful for local SEO.

If you have a local business, you may want to target keywords that include the name of your city or town.

Even if these keywords have zero search volume, they can help you rank higher in local search results and attract more local customers.

They're A Source Of Untapped Traffic

By using zero search volume keywords, you can leverage an untapped market of potential visitors that your competitors are dismissing.

If they're ignoring zero volume keywords, you can snap up the traffic they're leaving behind. Of course, it's going to be minimal, but as you know, it's highly targeted, so it's well worth your attention.

How To Optimise Your Content with Zero Search Volume Keywords

Now you know that all is not lost if you've found a keyword with low or no monthly search volume, what are you going to do with it?

How do you optimise your page with a word like this? Well, luckily, the same principles you'd use when optimising a page for a normal long tail keyword with good monthly search volumes apply, but perhaps with a few small tweaks.

Let me take you through how to optimise your content with a zero volume keyword.

5 Steps To Optimising Your Content With A Zero Search Volume Keyword

Step One: Make Sure Your Content Satisfies Searcher Intent

Firstly, ensure that the keyword aligns with the search intent of your target audience. If your content doesn't provide what your audience is looking for, it becomes irrelevant.

Therefore, it's essential to find a keyword that fits your audience's search intent.

If they're looking for a how-to guide (informational intent), give them one.

If they're looking for a product review (transactional intent), give them one.

Just make sure you optimise whatever content you create with your keyword.

Step Two: Make Sure Your Keyword Is Relevant

The keyword must be relevant to your content.

If it doesn't align with your content, it can negatively impact your content's search engine rankings.

It sounds silly, but you really must make sure that you write about your keyword, and not something loosely related.

So, if you're using a zero search volume keyword, make sure that the content you create is directly related to it.

Step Three: Include Variations of Your Keyword

Incorporate variations of the keyword throughout your content.

This is important because it helps Google to understand your content better by showing that your content covers a particular topic in detail.

It also gives you more chances of ranking for related long-tail queries or phrases that are similar to your low or zero volume keyword. 

Step Four: Use Keyword Modifiers

Another way to maximize visibility with a low-volume keyword is to use keyword modifiers.

These are words or phrases that you can add to your primary keyword to make it more specific.

For example, if your primary keyword is "SEO services," you could use modifiers such as "affordable SEO services" or "local SEO services."

This can help your content perform better in search engine rankings for more specific and targeted searches.

Step Five: Use Your On-Page SEO Checklist

This step is all about filling out your On-Page SEO checklist. You can read through my checklist by having a checking out this blog I wrote for you all about how to optimise your website's pages.

You need to make sure you included your keyword in your H1 heading and that you've included it in the body of your content.

You also need to make sure you've completed your SEO settings and included your keyword in the page title and meta description, and if possible, your URL slug and in the image alt text.

Doing all this will make sure both Google and your target audience understand what your page is about, and it will make it more likely you'll place well in the search engine rankings.

So, by incorporating these tips for optimising your pages with zero search volume keywords, you can improve your content's visibility, and reach and generate potential traffic, which may be very low, but it will be highly targeted.

Low or Zero Search Volume Keywords Are Worth It!

Unlike high-volume keywords, Zero Search Volume Keywords may not generate much organic traffic, but they are still useful in your SEO strategy.

They can attract highly targeted, qualified leads to your site, which is essential to convert visitors into potential customers.

Incorporating these keywords into your content strategy and optimising your site for them can help drive organic traffic to your site.

Remember, writing content solely for low keyword difficulty, high-volume keywords doesn't necessarily mean that you'll attract more traffic or generate higher conversion rates.

Sometimes, optimising for zero search volume keywords may be the best strategy you can use.

So, don't dismiss these outliers, use them to your advantage!

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