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Keyword Relevancy is More Important Than Search Volume

Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Keyword Research


When undergoing the keyword selection process of onsite optimization, I find many site owners are often hesitant to incorporate the long-tail keywords that I am recommending that build into their content. They often ask “Why would I want to target a keyword that only gets 300 searches a month? This keyword has 3,000 searches a month, isn’t that so much better for my SEO?” Interesting enough, search volume is not nearly as important for SEO as keyword relevancy is. If that keyword that only gets 300 searches a month accurately reflects the content on that page, it will be much more useful in the long run they the keyword with 3,000 searches that is only a close match.

Think about it like this—let’s say your company sells a tax preparation software solution for small businesses. A potential keyword you’re considering targeting might be “tax preparation software,” which gets 22,200 searches a month. However, a searcher looking for “tax preparation for software” might not just be a small business owner. It could be a regular person that is interested in doing their own taxes, a tax preparer looking for ways to optimize their business with new software or an HR rep for a large company that needs to handle tax preparation in-house. While all of those people need “tax preparation software” none of them need your product, which caters to small business owners. Even if you could rank well for such a broad keyword, chances are a substantial amount of visitors coming to your site wouldn’t be your target audience. What’s the point of getting more traffic if it’s the wrong traffic?

A more appropriate keyword would be “small business tax preparation software.” Although it only gets 110 searches a month, it is on the money for keyword relevancy. You could also target variations like “small business tax software” (1,600 searches) or “small business tax return software” (28 searches) that are incredibly relevant.

Let’s say through the course of your keyword research you incorporate 20 new, highly relevant keywords (even if they do have a low search volume). Even if those 20 new keywords only draw 5 new visitors each month to your site, that’s 100 highly-targeted visitors being delivered to your site each month! Imagine what your business could do with an additional 100 qualified leads. Because you focused on keyword relevancy and not on search volume, you are drawing more appropriate searchers to your website that you have a good chance of converting.

Obviously not every keyword is going to be 100% relevant, and some important industry keywords have to be targeted not matter what, but don’t get so blinded by search volume that you neglect to target the most appropriate keywords for that page. Remember, the more broad a keyword is and the more search volume it has the more competition there is for that keyword. A long-tail keyword may not drive as much traffic to your site but it is going to drive a much more targeted visitor that is nearing the end of their buying cycle.

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