Keyword Search Volume: 5 things you need to know to avoid SEO mistakes

Knowing the basics of keyword search volume is essential when venturing into SEO. Getting the wrong data on keyword search volumes can leave your website stuck in a sea of low-ranking results and lost amid an otherwise crowded web landscape. Unfortunately, too many businesses have fallen prey to poor implementations due to a lack of knowledge about this vital part of successful SEO. To save yourself from these common mistakes regarding keyword search volume, here are five key facts you need to understand—and keep in mind!

What is Keyword Search Volume?

Understanding keyword search volume is an essential piece of the SEO puzzle. In its most basic sense, the metric tells you how often a keyword or phrase is searched for in a given month, typically denoting searches in Google and other search engines. Knowing this data can be invaluable when determining which keywords to target during an SEO campaign.

It is important to note that search volume refers to the number of times the keyword was searched rather than a unique count of the individuals who performed those searches. That means if a specific keyword has a monthly search volume of 100, it could either have been queried by 100 distinct people or multiple queries from the same person. This nuance should not be overlooked when performing keyword research and analysing your website’s performance concerning specific terms.

So let’s discuss five more things you need to know to make better use of this metric.

Five things you should know about Keyword Search Volume to avoid making SEO mistakes

1. Not all searches result in clicks

The fact that people search for something doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to click on any of the search results. Google’s goal is to satisfy its users right there and without having them “waste time” clicking on any search results. To this aim, a recent study revealed that two-thirds of Google searches in 2020 ended without a click. This means there are still opportunities to use SEO methods and content optimisation to bring traffic from organic search results, even if lower clicks were expected initially. 

For example, the keyword “Elon musk age” gets 37k searches per month (on average), yet only 6.3k clicks on the given results, which suggests an opportunity for brands to seize higher rankings to take advantage of a larger amount of potential customers searching for relevant information.

2. Search volume numbers are annual averages

Search volume numbers are annual averages which can give a misleading reading on seasonality and demand spikes. If we compare the search volumes of two keywords, ‘ content marketing and ‘NFT’, the former has had more consistent searches with an annual average hovering around 16k. 

In contrast, the latter had a massive spike from practically nothing to 2.3 million searches in March. This highlights how annual averages may not provide an accurate picture of the current or future search interest for specific keywords due to sharp seasonal changes or sudden spikes in demand.

3. Some advertisers may steal your clicks

Especially in competitive industries, it can be not easy to get your content noticed. After all the time and effort you spent optimising your website for organic search traffic, advertisers may still steal your precious clicks. With up to four paid search listings now appearing above the organic search results, Google essentially masks its advertisements as part of the organic results. It’s much easier to scroll through the browser without paying attention to which link originated from a paid ad or an organic optimisation – and this helps them maximise the real estate they occupy while pushing down the natural search result links. 

Search engine marketers now need to consider their placement relative to competing advertisers and find optimal all-natural SEO strategies if they want their web pages, images, and products to remain at the top of the list in an increasingly crowded market.

4. Search volumes aren’t very accurate

Google Keyword Planner (GKP) is the best source of keyword search volume data as it comes straight from Google, so most SEO tools base their search volumes on GKP. But research has revealed how accurate these search volumes are. The ‘single source of truth’ in this regard is Google Search Console, which records impressions for websites regularly featured at the top of Google results pages for specific keywords. By comparing the actual impressions to the search volumes in GKP, we can measure their accuracy with far greater precision than previously. This provides solid evidence about the validity of keyword search volume numbers taken from GKP and other similar sources.

5. Higher keyword search volume does not equal more traffic

Even though the keyword search volume metric can estimate organic search traffic, it is impossible to assume that high search volumes lead to more traffic. People may phrase their queries differently, but Google will still understand them and rank on the same page for all these variations. Consequently, it is vital for SEO professionals not to rely on individual search volumes in their estimates but rather assess the total search traffic of the top-ranking pages.


Recognising all the other variables when doing keyword research, such as gauging value and measuring competition, is crucial. Once armed with a complete understanding of what it takes for successful SEO, you can make intelligent decisions about which keywords are best for your business. Making decisions solely on keyword search volume alone does not always result in an optimal outcome. It’s critical to think beyond the numbers, balancing out search volume with the inherent value of specific keywords that may ultimately bring more significant benefit to your endeavours. So don’t limit yourself; consider all avenues before making your SEO decision!

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