How Search Volume Has Changed And Became an Unreliable Indicator

Before diving into the argument, let’s first unlock the different terms and concepts to give more emphasis on the main idea of this article. To start it off, volume traffic is considered nowadays as an insignificant indicator in viable traffic measurement. It may sound displeasing to hear but almost all agencies and credible authors agreed on this. The common understanding on this concept before is that when there’s a huge search volume of a specific query, it’s expected that the website receives significant amount of traffic. But it’s not.

Basics of Keyword

A keyword is a word or a phrase that is encoded on the search engine and used by users to search for a specific content on the internet. SEO expert uses keywords to target the content they have created and increase traffic. However, a keyword is not only limited to being a keyword; instead, SEO experts see keyword as an instrument that is able to provide relevant searches for people. For example, customers would like to know your website, but they can only remember you as a SEO agency in Singapore. Obviously, the customers would use keywords such as “SEO agency in Singapore” or “Singapore SEO agency” to find your website. This is a manifestation that through the use of keywords, potential customers can discover you and drive traffic.

Keyword Search Volume

Keyword Volume is the number of searches of a specific keyword used by users over a period of time. In creating keywords, it’s either long-tailed keywords or short-tailed keywords but the important part is how generic and natural the keywords are to generate traffic. Short-tailed keywords have the most search traffic because it displays results on a general perspective compared to long-tailed keywords that receive a small volume of traffic but considerably specific in terms of finding content and information.

For example, the keyword “iced coffee” has higher volume of search traffic compared to the keyword “benefits of iced coffee” which sounds uninteresting and unfitted on modern day trends. This explains that the higher volume of a specific keyword, the higher the chance that many websites are competing for it. Understanding keyword search volume is important because it allows you to indicate which keyword are useful or not in generating traffic. However, search volume is not the only vital factor to consider. Instead, make sure that your content has better quality than the other websites and that is able to solve the problem of the customers. Put it in a situation like this- if you’re throwing a huge party but nobody is interested to come, it would be a waste of effort. So, the bottom-line is don’t create content and fabricate keywords that no one cares about. It’s way better to compete on a high-volumetric keyword than creating keywords with no possible traffic.

Measuring and Determining Keyword Volume

Knowing your keyword search volume is important so you can assess on your performance. There are many tools and applications you can use to measure and determine the keyword volume on your website. Measuring keyword volume can be done monthly and it can be done by evaluating each keyword of the content.

The Reason Why Search Volume is Unreliable

Google announced that the search volume metric for keywords will become less viable and significant, considering how most people rely on it as an indication of traffic. It opened up a lot of arguments and opinions from SEO experts but to think that volumetric search is becoming unreliable, it’s a serious matter.

The volume of keyword is way too broad

It all started in the summer of 2016 when SEO professionals and marketers noticed significant changes in the Keyword Planner Tool. It was even more noticeable on the month of July that words, either in singular or plural form showed the same search volume of statistics; instead, it was completely different from the previous updates. The changes become more visible when AdWords began showing search volume ranges rather than a specific number, which is getting more complicated for SEO professionals and marketers.

This is what AdWords said in response to the commotion and changes in the search volume, “Advertisers with lower monthly spend may see a limited data view in the Keyword Planner. For example, you may see values such as 0, 1-100, 100-1K, 1K-10K, 10K-100K, 100K-1M, 1M+ in the average monthly search column. In addition, other advertisers may trigger the limited data view by reaching a limit on the number of searches for search volume data”, The change is relatively vague and had put all people on the edge into why the range is too broad making it difficult to assess whether a specific keyword drives traffic or not. The real challenge behind this is not the fact that accessing data becomes lesser but the concept of adaptability and to be able to progress, especially it may not be the best indicator of traffic volume.

This has also led to a less competent word search and lower competition score among keywords. Due to the broad range of search volume, some keywords now generate less traffic, and their competition is quite low. For example, “types of gardening” has 10,000 to 100,000 monthly searches while “gardening design” only has 1,000 to 10,000 monthly searches. It’s safe to say that it’s highly difficult to assess whether both keywords have contributed traffic to the website.  The monthly data of average searches is just way too unhelpful and maybe Google is being inaccurate on their data.

Keywords are combined even with different intent

As mentioned earlier, singular and plural form of keywords share the same search volume compared before, when it was separately recorded because each keyword has distinct intent. What happened is that Google combined both keywords even with different intent, making it more even difficult to distinguish which has more generated traffic.

For example, keywords such as “bright” and “soot”, which has different intent. For bright, it has two meanings- a shining light and an intelligent person. The same goes for soot that has two meanings- a black residue and a hydrocarbon emission. It’s clear that both words have different meaning used in its respected fields. However, the problem here is when Google decided to combine the words so when users search for a specific content, it will display both information on that keyword. It still has the same concern- the keyword volume continues to be broad.

Tight search results due to snippets

Google has been consistent in improving its user experience and providing best search results to the users. Whenever users search on a specific topic or information, Google will then display pages of results but that’s only the raw search- meaning the users might or might not be clicking on the search results. The development of featured snippet has relevantly made the SERP more incompetent considering what snippets can do.

According to a research, only 19% of searches result in click on the search results and the snippet or instant answer is the reason why most websites aren’t getting clicks. However, the best part about this is that Google can’t answer every question and search query.

What to do Instead?

This topic has been going on for years now and continues to displeasingly entice marketers and SEO professionals. There are other platforms that has generic and accurate display of results in terms of traffic. But it will all boils down to content and the way keywords are created. The best approach nowadays is to reframe on content optimization and knowing how to engage your audience. It doesn’t matter if the search volume is unreliable if your audience knows how to find you and you know how to reach to them. Level up your keyword research and marketing analysis to be able to grasp attention into the lacking information and content on the internet.

Create keywords that have strong intent and addresses timely solutions to the users, considering the fact that volumetric search is not a viable indicator of your traffic. But the real indicator is how organic and generic the keywords are made to generate clicks. Come up with a content that is relevant and useful for the audiences with strong keywords. It’s expensive and cost timely efforts in investing PPC that does not guarantee full scale measurement of traffic bur rather to spend your time into something more significant such as keyword researching.

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