How Can I Find Search Volume Statistics for SEO?

Before we discuss how to find volume-based statistics that would be valuable for SEO, it’s probably important briefly touch on why they are important.  Without a doubt, the single most important component to optimization is your content strategy and content execution. If content is what you are selling, then accordingly, you need to ensure that there is a market for that content.  That’s where search volume statistics come in.

Volume and trend statistics can be extremely useful once you know how to analyze it. For example, analyzing Twitter search trends would appear to be incredibly useful if you’re selling to a demographic that uses it heavily. Unfortunately, Twitter focuses on offering only very recent search trends, and as of this writing, the “search by date” feature in advanced search has a difficult time pulling up tweets that are more than two weeks old. Since most businesses are affected by seasonal factors, market forces, breaking news and other factors, this data is not yet useful to SEOs. A variety of paid Twitter tools, including Trendistic can be applied for longer-term Twitter data.

The best free tool for historical data purposes is Google’s Keyword Tool. This tool is specifically intended for AdWords (paid search) users, but it is at least as useful for SEOs looking to put together a content strategy.

In our example scenario, we are thinking of creating a campaign that will appeal to agile marketing enthusiasts. However, we need to make sure that “agile marketing” is even common parlance outside our community of partners, clients and employees. The keyword tool offers data for the past 12 months, measured in both “local” (U.S.-based searches) and “Global” (international-based searches). If the numbers look very round to you, it’s because they are approximate estimates.  In our example, we can see that there are only about 590 global monthly searches containing the words “agile” and “marketing.”  Also, you can filter your results to be more meaningful. In this case, if we filter “agile marketing” down to a phrase-match search, we learn that the actual volume of queries using this term is only in the mid-200s globally, and probably not nearly enough to justify a content strategy at this stage.

Search query data is also very useful as a keyword and trend suggestion tool, which is the very reason Google offers it to its AdWords customers. Using this feature and scaling our search back to the much broader query “marketing,” we see that there are thousands of queries for “strategic marketing” (74,000) and, surprisingly, “direct marketing,” (246,000) which is a term associated with print flyers, catalogue distribution and promotional letters. This demonstrates the great thing about search volume trend statistics, which is that they are often very illuminating in that they challenge the boundaries of our individual world view.

William Tyree is a marketing technologist and writer, and is currently Vice President of Marketing for DemandResults, creator of SEO for Salesforce. He has worked as a marketing and technology strategist in a variety of industries, including B2B software, entertainment, healthcare, legal, large nonprofit, eGovernment and food & beverage. His writing has been published in Harvard Review, The Atlantic, Japan Inc and elsewhere.

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About William Tyree

William Tyree is a marketing technologist and writer, and is currently Vice President of Marketing for DemandResults. He has worked as a marketing and technology strategist in a variety of industries, including B2B software, entertainment, healthcare, legal, large nonprofit, eGovernment and food & beverage. His writing has been published in Harvard Review, The Atlantic, Japan Inc and elsewhere.

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