Should You Target High Volume Keywords?

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June 3, 2024

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Should You Target High Volume Keywords?

Should You Target High Volume Keywords?

As an SEO professional, I’ve always been fascinated by the art of keyword research. It’s the foundation upon which we build our digital marketing strategies, yet it’s a topic that often divides the SEO community. One of the perennial questions is whether we should focus our efforts on high volume keywords or low volume keywords. In this article, I’ll dive deep into this debate and share my perspective on the best approach.

When I first started out in SEO, I’ll admit, I was firmly in the high volume keyword camp. The logic seemed sound – if we could just rank for those big, juicy keywords that tons of people were searching for, the traffic would come flooding in, right? Well, as I quickly learned, it’s not quite that simple.

Sure, high volume keywords have the potential to drive massive amounts of traffic. But the harsh reality is that they’re also incredibly competitive. Ranking on the first page of Google for a keyword like “mens jacket” or “black boots” is an uphill battle, especially for a newer website or a small business. You’re going up against the Amazons and Zappos of the world, who have bottomless budgets and teams of SEO experts at their disposal.

So, I started to shift my perspective. I began to see the value in targeting low volume keywords – those long-tail phrases that may only get a few hundred searches per month, but are often much easier to rank for. As the folks at Fire&Spark put it, “The easiest way to rank on the first page is by targeting low-volume keywords.”

And you know what? They’re absolutely right. When I looked at the data, I realized that the cumulative traffic from a handful of well-optimized low volume keywords often outperformed the traffic from a single high volume keyword. Plus, those low volume keywords tend to attract more qualified, engaged visitors who are deeper in the sales funnel.

Now, I’m not saying we should completely ignore high volume keywords. They still have an important role to play in our overall strategy. But the key is to strike a balance – target a mix of high and low volume keywords, with a heavy emphasis on the low-hanging fruit.

One of the best ways to identify those juicy low volume keywords is to start by looking at the words and phrases your existing customers are using to find you online. What specific questions are they asking? What pain points are they trying to solve? This can give you a great starting point for your keyword research.

From there, you can use tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, and Moz to dig deeper and uncover even more low volume gems. Look for long-tail keywords that are highly relevant to your business and have relatively low competition. These are the kinds of phrases that you can realistically rank for, even as a smaller player in your industry.

Of course, the tricky part is balancing this low volume keyword strategy with your higher-level business objectives. You still want to make sure you’re targeting keywords that have the potential to drive meaningful conversions and revenue. That’s where the art of keyword strategy really comes into play.

As an example, let’s say you’re an SEO agency in Manchester, UK, like the one I’m writing this for. Sure, you could target a high volume keyword like “SEO services Manchester.” But the competition for that phrase is fierce, and you might struggle to break through. Instead, you could target a series of lower volume keywords like “best SEO agency Manchester,” “affordable SEO Manchester,” or “SEO consultant Manchester.” These are all highly relevant to your target audience, and you’d have a much better chance of ranking for them.

As one Redditor pointed out, the key is to build a comprehensive keyword strategy that includes a mix of high and low volume terms. That way, you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket and you’re giving yourself multiple pathways to success.

Ultimately, I believe the data speaks for itself. While high volume keywords may be alluring, targeting a portfolio of low volume keywords is often the smarter, more sustainable approach. It allows you to rank more efficiently, attract more qualified traffic, and ultimately, drive better business results. So, the next time you’re agonizing over your keyword strategy, remember – sometimes, it pays to think small.

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