July 21, 2024

Should You Focus On Zero Search Volume Keywords?

Celebrate the Holidays with some of SEJ’s best articles of 2023.

Our Festive Flashback series runs from December 21 – January 5, featuring daily reads on significant events, fundamentals, actionable strategies, and thought leader opinions.

2023 has been quite eventful in the SEO industry and our contributors produced some outstanding articles to keep pace and reflect these changes.

Catch up on the best reads of 2023 to give you plenty to reflect on as you move into 2024.

In this Ask an SEO, Mouna asks:

“Should we use a keyword even when we don’t have volume or keyword difficulty data ? Sometimes there are no info on [tool name redacted] concerning some keywords?”

Great question, Mouna!

And the answer is yes, you should focus on zero search volume keywords when it makes sense for your company.

Here are four examples to make the business case if you’re being asked, “Why would we focus on questions that nobody is searching for?”

  1. You build a site structure.
  2. Customers could be asking, and this provides a solution to both them and future customers.
  3. It is cheaper to remarket to someone than to pay for all acquisition touchpoints.
  4. The question may not have search volume, but responses show up for the main phrase which has substantial search volume.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these examples.

1. You’re Building A Site Structure

On ecommerce sites, and sites built for branding, the amount of core website pages and content is normally limited.

By having these topics that are relevant to what your company or organization does, you can use zero search volume keywords and entities to create topically relevant content.

This content helps search engines and potential customers learn what you do, and which pages provide those solutions.

As you mention or demonstrate a product or service, you can source the conversion page with an internal link. This is a natural way to build a site structure for SEO and help the website visitor at the same time.

And if the page gets backlinks from quality sources, it could boost your other pages for a larger SEO boost.

Pro Tip: Just because a tool shows there is zero search volume, it does not mean there are zero people searching.

If you build a quality experience, you could become the website that gets cited as journalists and bloggers are looking for resources.

2. Because Customers Are Asking

An SEO tool does not know what your customers are asking. They can only come up with variations of questions and make assumptions about how many people are actively searching.

Talk to your customer support team and get the database of live chat questions.

If your customers are actively asking these questions, and the question or phrase is showing up in the SEO tools, it means there is in fact a search volume – and it is likely a high-intent one, too.

A high-intent keyword with 100 monthly searches could drive more revenue than a low-intent phrase with 10,000, as the person is further along in the sales funnel and looking to convert.

Pro Tip: Because you know the person is looking for a specific answer, and your customer support team has shown what answers the question and converts the customer, you have a data-based advantage compared to someone taking a shot in the dark and going with online research.

One option is to create a dedicated blog post for the topic.

If there is a how-to part, try adding a video demonstration and go for the YouTube and Google Video results.

And if it is something people are asking that is directly related to the use of a product or service, consider adding it to the text on your product or service page, as it may lead to a higher conversion rate. This could also be a good addition to an FAQ.

By answering these questions for people who are considering shopping with you or using your services, you can let them know they’re in the right place.

This reduces customer support’s workload because they’re not answering the same thing multiple times, and gives the social media and PPC teams a new asset to land people.

3. Remarketing Is Cheaper Than Acquisition

If you can bring the person in through SEO, you can tag them with remarketing pixels.

Instead of bidding on the big keywords where you need a massive budget, you can tag the person higher up in the sales funnel and bring them back for pennies on the dollar.

The added benefit here is that you gave them a solution in the content without a hard sales pitch. If you did a good job, you gain their trust.

Now, as your remarketing ads show to them, you have already built credibility and trust and can keep them coming back to more relevant posts or direct conversions.

But this all depends on the topic and where the person is in your sales funnel.

4. Your Content Can Show Up For Bigger Phrases

Even if the long-tail phrase or question has no search volume, type the shorter volume phrase into a search engine in incognito mode.  You may find the question actually does appear in the following and you can take the traffic from:

  • People Also Ask.
  • Related searches.
  • Videos.
  • Knowledge panels.
  • Other.

If the titles of these, or the responses, are the same as your topic, you could replace them by creating a more relevant and better user experience.  Even though your phrase has zero search volume, it still shows up for a phrase with 20,000 monthly searches.  It’s a trick we use with some of our clients who have newer sites and aren’t ready for link building.

Look at what is missing, but needed, to provide a solution for the topic, and create it.  If the current top sites have a great answer, but the answer is buried under fluff, create content that gives the answer first and then provides more solutions.

Pro Tip: I do this on YouTube sometimes. I look for the videos showing up in the top results for the big phrases and then look to see what plays after each.

From there I study why these videos are recommended, what they’re missing, and what the other videos have in common with them.

Then, I create a better video and try to get the viewer without going for the main phrase.

In Conclusion

Yes, zero search volume keywords are worth going after, but only if they’re relevant to your business.

They can increase conversions for people in your funnel, be used by multiple channels, and bring in traffic the SEO tools don’t account for.

More Resources:

Featured Image: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

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