For anyone interested in doing business online, knowing how many individuals search for a specific keyword is crucial. If I’m selling kids shoes online and only 100 people search for it on Google, then most probably I’m not going to succeed – even if my site is ranked at the top. I’ll be lucky if 10 people out of those 100 buy my shoes.
To know how many people search for a specific keyword, there are many tools available. But the most trustworthy one is Google’s Adwords Keyword Selector Tool. Because it is pulling the data from its search engine.
In the SEO community, it is common knowledge that Google’s Adwords traffic estimation tool is at best inaccurate. But no one really knows how Google measures these numbers. According to Google, it is “averaging” each month’s search volume across its search engine platforms. But for a long time I’ve been suspicious that these numbers are not real. So, finally I decided to conduct a test.
I selected six websites that we have access to their Analytics data and are ranking within the top five positions on Google search results – world-wide – for somewhat competitive keywords. The tables below illustrates my findings.
The first table are the keywords in Exact format. Which means we’re only looking at Google’s traffic for these keywords when the exact phrase is searched for as well as the traffic for the same keyword:
The following table are for the same keywords but this time using the “Phrase” selection. In other words, the searcher could have used the same phrase in conjunction with other words:
As you see the number of people visiting the site is much less than the number of monthly search volume (Traffic Estimate) regardless of whether we searched for “Phrase” or “Exact” keywords.
It is less likely that less than 10% of those searching for any given search querry are going to visit the top ranking sites.
Therefore, my conclusion is that the Traffic Estimate is blown out of proportion.
But by how much?
Looking at the numbers, we can say that these numbers are blown out of proportion by 3 times and up to 100 times depending on the search query.
Where is the success in SEO?
Another important factor is that we’re able to generate a few times more traffic to our clients’ sites than the total search volume for their main keyword(s). For example, doctorjennifer.com’s main keyword is Minneapolis Orthodontist. But this keyword only receives 58 searches each month (if that was accurate). On the other hand, the site is receiving over 1,000 hits through organic search results. The reason is that we are not just focusing on the MAIN keyword. We work on a pool of different keywords related to each site/business. Doctorjennifer.com for instance has over 100 keywords we’re targeting.
For those clients that care very much for having that top ranking placement on Google for their main keyword I have to say that that is not so important compared to being ranked for many of their keywords that may not be as popular.
In other words if our client is not ranking at the top for Minneapolis Orthodontist, they’re just losing a very small fraction of the search volume; however, there are 50 other keywords (Minneapolis Children Orthodontist, St. Paul Invisalign, Best Orthodontist in Eagan, etc.) that the client has a top five ranking. The site is going to get traffic and business from Google generated through secondary keywords.
We measure our success by the number of targeted visitors who find our clients’ sites using their keywords – main keywords as well as secondary keywords.