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Understanding Keyword Search Volume – A Guide

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An In-Depth Guide to Keyword Search Volume and How to Use it for Your SEO

As you dive into the fast-paced world of SEO (search engine optimization), it’s important to understand the key concepts that will help you crush the competition and dominate the first page of Google search results. 

And one critical aspect of this world is understanding keyword search volume, a metric that reveals the popularity, trends, and competition surrounding specific keywords.

By understanding the search volume of specific keywords, you can effectively optimize your content to target relevant keywords and drive organic traffic—and potentially claim a spot on that coveted first page. So I’ve prepared a quick but in-depth guide to keyword search volume to help you out:

What is Keyword Search Volume?

What is Keyword Search Volume?

Keyword search volume is a metric that indicates the popularity and demand for a specific keyword in search engine queries. It represents the number of times a keyword is searched for within a given timeframe, usually on a monthly basis. 

Why is Keyword Search Volume Important?

Keyword search volume is a valuable metric in SEO because it shows you the popularity and demand for specific keywords. By analyzing search volume data, you gain insights into the keywords that potential visitors are using to find information related to your industry or niche. 

This knowledge empowers you to optimize your website’s content and meta tags to target those keywords effectively, increasing the likelihood of ranking higher on search engine result pages (SERPs). In essence, keyword search volume allows you to align your website with the interests and search behaviors of your target audience.

The Difference between Seasonal and Evergreen Keywords

It is important to consider the variations in search volume, whether they are consistent or seasonal. Within this realm, two primary categories emerge: seasonal keywords and evergreen keywords.

Let’s look at one keyword: ”number coding in Manila.” 


Keyword search volume and trend for keyword: number coding in Manila

Keywords like “number coding in Manila” are a kind of keyword that you can bet a few hundred people search for every day since the need for information on this topic exists no matter what time of the year it is. This consistency means they’re evergreen, and evergreen keywords have a relatively stable search volume for pretty much the whole year.

On the other hand, seasonal keywords are directly tied to specific times of the year, which means you can see regular fluctuations in their search volumes. For example, as the holiday season approaches, people are more likely to search for terms like “holiday gift ideas.” During this period, the search volume for such keywords sharply increases, only to fall off after the holidays have passed.

Keyword search volume and trend for the keyword: holiday gift ideas

To effectively evaluate keyword volume, you have to consider the potential seasonal fluctuations in search volume. By understanding which high-volume keywords are evergreen, versus what keywords might be trending because of the current season, you can better optimize your content strategy to align with your target audience’s search intent throughout the year.

Determining Good Keyword Search Volume

The definition of good keyword search volume can vary depending on various factors, including the industry, niche, and goals of a website. 

Generally, a good keyword search volume is considered to indicate a healthy level of demand and relevance for a particular keyword.

While there is no universal threshold, keywords with higher search volumes often show greater potential for attracting organic traffic. However, high-volume keywords also tend to be more competitive, making achieving top rankings on search engine result pages (SERPs) more challenging.

On the other hand, keywords with very low search volumes might not generate significant traffic to your website, but they may have lower competition and therefore may be easier to rank top-of-page for. So, striking a balance between search volume and competition is crucial.

Factors to Consider in Keyword Search Volume

When evaluating the search volume of keywords for SEO, it is important to consider the following factors:

Relevance

Aligning your keywords with the interests of your target audience is arguably the most important factor. What’s the point of using a high-volume keyword, if none of the people who click on it are your target audience?

Understanding your audience’s needs, preferences, and search behaviors enables you to create content that addresses their specific pain points and provides valuable solutions. By doing so, you increase the chances of attracting qualified traffic and improve user experience (which we know to be important for a website’s visibility in search engine rankings).

Competition

The more volume a keyword has, the more competitive it likely is. It’s because they present something very enticing to any webmaster: more views, more clicks. That means there are going to be more websites targeting these keywords, and your website may not have what it takes to come out on top. 

So, you have to understand how much competition you’re dealing with before settling on a keyword. While seeing a keyword volume of, say, 10,000 per month feels really tempting, it will require a ton more resources and effort to achieve high rankings on the SERPs.

By strategically targeting keywords with a balance between search volume and competition, you can increase your chances of achieving higher rankings and attracting valuable organic traffic to your website.

That said, how competitive a keyword can be will vary across different industries, niches, and geographical locations. You might come across a highly searched and potentially lucrative keyword in your research, and find that the competition for it is moderate or low enough to be a good opportunity for you.

As in many of my other guides, my advice here is the same: remember to do your research when you look into potential keywords. 

Long-tail keywords

Unlike generic, broad keywords, long-tail keywords are more specific and usually consist of a phrase or a long string of words. While they may have lower search volume compared to broader keywords, they can drive highly targeted and valuable traffic to your website.

It often reflects a more refined search intent. Users who search using long-tail keywords have a clearer idea of what they are looking for. The more specific the query, the more likely that this person is really interested in what they’re searching for.

For example, someone searching for “best running shoes for flat feet” is more likely to convert into a customer than someone searching for just “running shoes.” By targeting long-tail keywords, you can align your content and offerings precisely with the needs and preferences of your audience.

While long-tail keywords may have lower search volume, they bring numerous benefits to your SEO strategy. By targeting these specific and intent-focused keywords, you can attract highly targeted traffic, experience lower competition, achieve higher conversion rates, and provide an enhanced user experience. 

Adding long-tail keywords to your content strategy can help improve traffic and, ultimately, the fruits of your SEO efforts.

Search intent

Search intent refers to the underlying motivation or purpose behind a user’s search query. Understanding Search intent is crucial in SEO because it allows you to create and optimize content that aligns with what users are looking for, ensuring that your website meets their needs and provides relevant information or solutions.

Search intent can be classified into 4 different types:

  • Informational intent refers to users seeking information or answers to their queries.
  • Navigational intent occurs when users are searching for a specific website or brand.
  • Commercial intent relates to users that are in the research phase and are comparing options before making a purchase decision.
  • Transactional intent relates to users who are ready to make a purchase or complete a specific action.

By identifying the intent behind keywords, you can create content that matches the corresponding intent type and guides users through their desired journey.

How Do You Look For Keyword Volumes?

Analyzing search volume helps marketers like you understand the demand for specific keywords and make informed decisions about which ones to target. There are many ways to do this, but the most accurate way to look at search volume data is to use the right SEO tools, which are:

  1. Google Keyword Planner
  2. Google Trends
  3. SEMRush
  4. Ahrefs
  5. SERanking

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular tools:

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is a free tool offered by Google Ads. While primarily designed for advertisers, it is also valuable for SEO professionals. It provides search volume data, historical statistics, and keyword ideas. By entering relevant keywords, you can access insights into average monthly search volumes, competition levels, and bid estimates. Google Keyword Planner is a great starting point for keyword research and planning SEO campaigns.

Google Trends

Google Trends

Google Trends is another free tool provided by Google. It allows users to explore the popularity and search interest of specific keywords over time. While it doesn’t provide exact search volume numbers, it shows relative interest and trending patterns. You can compare the search volume of multiple keywords, analyze regional interest, and view related queries. Google Trends is useful for identifying seasonal trends, tracking keyword popularity, and adjusting your SEO strategy accordingly.

SEMrush

SEMrush

SEMrush is a comprehensive SEO tool that offers a wide range of features, including keyword research and analysis. It provides accurate search volume data along with additional insights such as keyword difficulty, competition analysis, and keyword trends. SEMrush allows you to explore search volume for specific regions and languages, discover related keywords, and analyze the performance of your competitors. With its extensive database and advanced features, SEMrush is a valuable tool for in-depth keyword research and competitive analysis.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a popular SEO tool known for its robust keyword research capabilities. It offers accurate search volume data, keyword difficulty scores, and related keyword suggestions. Ahrefs also provides insights into keyword trends over time and allows you to track the search volume of specific keywords. With its comprehensive features for keyword analysis and competitor research, Ahrefs helps uncover valuable keyword opportunities and optimize your SEO strategy accordingly.

SERanking

SERanking

SERanking is an all-in-one SEO platform that includes features for keyword research and analysis. It offers search volume data, keyword suggestions, and competition analysis. SERanking allows you to track keyword rankings, monitor search volume fluctuations, and identify new keyword opportunities. The tool also provides comprehensive reporting options to measure the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. I wrote a more extensive review on SERanking’s content marketing platform (which includes their keyword tools) if you’re interested. 

These tools are valuable resources if you want to get the most accurate and up-to-date numbers for keyword search volume. Plus, they offer some pretty valuable insights into how competitive these keywords are. I recommend exploring the features and functionalities of each tool to find the one that best fits your needs.

Benefits of Understanding Keyword Search Volume

Knowing a keyword’s search volume is crucial because it reveals the trend for that search term. From here, you can infer the keyword’s potential traffic as well as its competitiveness. Understanding that leads to some very important benefits for your SEO, such as:

Targeted Optimization

By understanding the popularity and demand for specific keywords, you can optimize your content to target relevant keywords that attract the right audience.

Increased Visibility

Optimizing your website’s content and meta tags based on keyword search volume helps improve your chances of ranking higher on search engine result pages (SERPs). This increased visibility drives more organic traffic to your website.

Competitive Advantage

Analyzing keyword search volume allows you to identify keywords that potential visitors are using to find information related to your industry or niche. By targeting these keywords effectively, you can stay ahead of the competition and align your website with the interests and search behaviors of your target audience.

Better Conversion Rates

By using long-tail keywords with lower competition and stronger search intent, you can attract highly targeted traffic to your website. These visitors are more likely to convert into customers or take desired actions, leading to improved conversion rates.

Informed Decision Making

Keyword search volume data provides valuable insights into the popularity and trends of specific keywords. This information helps you make informed decisions when selecting keywords for your content, optimizing your website, and planning your overall SEO strategy.

Key Takeaway

Now that you’ve finished this guide to keyword search volume, and seen the tools available for keyword research, it’s time to integrate this knowledge into your SEO strategy. 

By analyzing keyword trends and demand using reliable tools, you can optimize your content to attract the right audience. Remember to consider important factors like evergreen versus seasonal keywords, competition levels, the value of long-tail keywords, and user intent.

Remember, SEO is a long game, as search engine algorithms continually evolve. Make sure to regularly revisit and assess your keyword search volume to ensure the list you’re targeting is still working for you and your site. 

Stay proactive, adapt your strategy if needed, and maintain a strong online presence in the ever-changing SEO landscape.

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Google Clarifies Organization Merchant Returns Structured Data

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Google updates organization structured data for merchant returns

Google quietly updated their organization structured data documentation in order to clarify two points about merchant returns in response to feedback about an ambiguity in the previous version.

Organization Structured Data and Merchant Returns

Google recently expanded their Organization structured data so that it could now accommodate a merchant return policy. The change added support for adding a sitewide merchant return policy.

The original reason for adding this support:

“Adding support for Organization-level return policies

What: Added documentation on how to specify a general return policy for an Organization as a whole.

Why: This makes it easier to define and maintain general return policies for an entire site.”

However that change left unanswered about what will happen if a site has a sitewide return policy but also has a different policy for individual products.

The clarification applies for the specific scenario of when a site uses both a sitewide return policy in their structured data and another one for specific products.

What Takes Precedence?

What happens if a merchant uses both a sitewide and product return structured data? Google’s new documentation states that Google will ignore the sitewide product return policy in favor of a more granular product-level policy in the structured data.

The clarification states:

“If you choose to provide both organization-level and product-level return policy markup, Google defaults to the product-level return policy markup.”

Change Reflected Elsewhere

Google also updated the documentation to reflect the scenario of the use of two levels of merchant return policies in another section that discusses whether structured data or merchant feed data takes precedence. There is no change to the policy, merchant center data still takes precedence.

This is the old documentation:

“If you choose to use both markup and settings in Merchant Center, Google will only use the information provided in Merchant Center for any products submitted in your Merchant Center product feeds, including automated feeds.”

This is the same section but updated with additional wording:

“If you choose to use both markup (whether at the organization-level or product-level, or both) and settings in Merchant Center, Google will only use the information provided in Merchant Center for any products submitted in your Merchant Center product feeds, including automated feeds.”

Read the newly updated Organization structured data documentation:

Organization (Organization) structured data – MerchantReturnPolicy

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What Is It & How To Write It

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What Is It & How To Write It

In this guide, you will learn about alternative text (known as alt text): what it is, why it is important for on-page SEO, how to use it correctly, and more.

It’s often overlooked, but every image on your website should have alt text. More information is better, and translating visual information into text is important for search engine bots attempting to understand your website and users with screen readers.

Alt text is one more source of information that relates ideas and content together on your website.

This practical and to-the-point guide contains tips and advice you can immediately use to improve your website’s image SEO and accessibility.

What Is Alt Text?

Alternative text (or alt text) – also known as the alt attribute or the alt tag (which is not technically correct because it is not a tag) – is simply a piece of text that describes the image in the HTML code.

What Are The Uses Of Alt Text?

The original function of alt text was simply to describe an image that could not be loaded.

Many years ago, when the internet was much slower, alt text would help you know the content of an image that was too heavy to be loaded in your browser.

Today, images rarely fail to load – but if they do, then it is the alt text you will see in place of an image.

Screenshot from Search Engine Journal, May 2024

Alt text also helps search engine bots understand the image’s content and context.

More importantly, alt text is critical for accessibility and for people using screen readers:

  • Alt text helps people with disabilities (for example, using screen readers) learn about the image’s content.

Of course, like every element of SEO, it is often misused or, in some cases, even abused.

Let’s now take a closer look at why alt text is important.

Why Alt Text Is Important

The web and websites are a very visual experience. It is hard to find a website without images or graphic elements.

That’s why alt text is very important.

Alt text helps translate the image’s content into words, thus making the image accessible to a wider audience, including people with disabilities and search engine bots that are not clever enough yet to fully understand every image, its context, and its meaning.

Why Alt Text Is Important For SEO

Alt text is an important element of on-page SEO optimization.

Proper alt text optimization makes your website stand a better chance of ranking in Google image searches.

Yes, alt text is a ranking factor for Google image search.

Depending on your website’s niche and specificity, Google image search traffic may play a huge role in your website’s overall success.

For example, in the case of ecommerce websites, users very often start their search for products with a Google image search instead of typing the product name into the standard Google search.

Screenshot from search for [Garmin forerunner]Screenshot from search for [Garmin forerunner], May 2024

Google and other search engines may display fewer product images (or not display them at all) if you fail to take care of their alt text optimization.

Without proper image optimization, you may lose a lot of potential traffic and customers.

Why Alt Text Is Important For Accessibility

Visibility in Google image search is very important, but there is an even more important consideration: Accessibility.

Fortunately, in recent years, more focus has been placed on accessibility (i.e., making the web accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities and/or using screen readers).

Suppose the alt text of your images actually describes their content instead of, for example, stuffing keywords. In that case, you are helping people who cannot see this image better understand it and the content of the entire web page.

Let’s say one of your web pages is an SEO audit guide that contains screenshots from various crawling tools.

Would it not be better to describe the content of each screenshot instead of placing the same alt text of “SEO audit” into every image?

Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Alt Text Examples

Finding many good and bad examples of alt text is not difficult. Let me show you a few, sticking to the above example with an SEO audit guide.

Good Alt Text Examples

So, our example SEO guide contains screenshots from tools such as Google Search Console and Screaming Frog.

Some good examples of alt text may include:

”The
”Google
”List
”Screaming

Tip: It is also a good idea to take care of the name of your file. Using descriptive file names is not a ranking factor, but I recommend this as a good SEO practice.

Bad And/Or Spammy Alt Text Examples

I’ve also seen many examples of bad alt text use, including keyword stuffing or spamming.

Here is how you can turn the above good examples into bad examples:

”google search console coverage report
”google
”seo
”seo

As you can see, the above examples do not provide any information on what these images actually show.

You can also find examples and even more image SEO tips on Google Search Central.

Common Alt Text Mistakes

Stuffing keywords in the alt text is not the only mistake you can make.

Here are a few examples of common alt text mistakes:

  • Failure to use the alt text or using empty alt text.
  • Using the same alt text for different images.
  • Using very general alt text that does not actually describe the image. For example, using the alt text of “dog” on the photo of a dog instead of describing the dog in more detail, its color, what it is doing, what breed it is, etc.
  • Automatically using the name of the file as the alt text – which may lead to very unfriendly alt text, such as “googlesearchconsole,” “google-search-console,” or “photo2323,” depending on the name of the file.

Alt Text Writing Tips

And finally, here are the tips on how to write correct alt text so that it actually fulfills its purpose:

  • Do not stuff keywords into the alt text. Doing so will not help your web page rank for these keywords.
  • Describe the image in detail, but still keep it relatively short. Avoid adding multiple sentences to the alt text.
  • Use your target keywords, but in a natural way, as part of the image’s description. If your target keyword does not fit into the image’s description, don’t use it.
  • Don’t use text on images. All text should be added in the form of HTML code.
  • Don’t write, “this is an image of.” Google and users know that this is an image. Just describe its content.
  • Make sure you can visualize the image’s content by just reading its alt text. That is the best exercise to make sure your alt text is OK.

How To Troubleshoot Image Alt Text

Now you know all the best practices and common mistakes of alt text. But how do you check what’s in the alt text of the images of a website?

You can analyze the alt text in the following ways:

Inspecting an element (right-click and select Inspect when hovering over an image) is a good way to check if a given image has alt text.

However, if you want to check that in bulk, I recommend one of the below two methods.

Install Web Developer Chrome extension.

Screenshot of Web Developer Extension in Chrome by authorScreenshot from Web Developer Extension, Chrome by author, May 2024

Next, open the page whose images you want to audit.

Click on Web Developer and navigate to Images > Display Alt Attributes. This way, you can see the content of the alt text of all images on a given web page.

The alt text of images is shown on the page.Screenshot from Web Developer Extension, Chrome by author, May 2024

How To Find And Fix Missing Alt Text

To check the alt text of the images of the entire website, use a crawler like Screaming Frog or Sitebulb.

Crawl the site, navigate to the image report, and review the alt text of all website images, as shown in the video guide below.

You can also export only images that have missing alt text and start fixing those issues.

Alt Text May Not Seem Like A Priority, But It’s Important

Every source of information about your content has value. Whether it’s for vision-impaired users or bots, alt text helps contextualize the images on your website.

While it’s only a ranking factor for image search, everything you do to help search engines understand your website can potentially help deliver more accurate results. Demonstrating a commitment to accessibility is also a critical component of modern digital marketing.

FAQ

What is the purpose of alt text in HTML?

Alternative text, or alt text, serves two main purposes in HTML. Its primary function is to provide a textual description of an image if it cannot be displayed. This text can help users understand the image content when technical issues prevent it from loading or if they use a screen reader due to visual impairments. Additionally, alt text aids search engine bots in understanding the image’s subject matter, which is critical for SEO, as indexing images correctly can enhance a website’s visibility in search results.

Can alt text improve website accessibility?

Yes, alt text is vital for website accessibility. It translates visual information into descriptive text that can be read by screen readers used by users with visual impairments. By accurately describing images, alt text ensures that all users, regardless of disability, can understand the content of a web page, making the web more inclusive and accessible to everyone.

More resources: 


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Google Dials Back AI Overviews In Search Results, Study Finds

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Photo of a mobile device in mans hand with generative google AI Overview on the screen.

According to new research, Google’s AI-generated overviews have undergone significant adjustments since the initial rollout.

The study from SE Ranking analyzed 100,000 keywords and found Google has greatly reduced the frequency of AI overviews.

However, when they appear, they’re more detailed than they were previously.

The study digs into which topics and industries are more likely to get an AI overview. It also looks at how the AI snippets interact with other search features like featured snippets and ads.

Here’s an overview of the findings and what they mean for your SEO efforts.

Declining Frequency Of AI Overviews

In contrast to pre-rollout figures, 8% of the examined searches now trigger an AI Overview.

This represents a 52% drop compared to January levels.

Yevheniia Khromova, the study’s author, believes this means Google is taking a more measured approach, stating:

“The sharp decrease in AI Overview presence likely reflects Google’s efforts to boost the accuracy and trustworthiness of AI-generated answers.”

Longer AI Overviews

Although the frequency of AI overviews has decreased, the ones that do appear provide more detailed information.

The average length of the text has grown by nearly 25% to around 4,342 characters.

In another notable change, AI overviews now link to fewer sources on average – usually just four links after expanding the snippet.

However, 84% still include at least one domain from that query’s top 10 organic search results.

Niche Dynamics & Ranking Factors

The chances of getting an AI overview vary across different industries.

Searches related to relationships, food and beverages, and technology were most likely to trigger AI overviews.

Sensitive areas like healthcare, legal, and news had a low rate of showing AI summaries, less than 1%.

Longer search queries with ten words were more likely to generate an AI overview, with a 19% rate indicating that AI summaries are more useful for complex information needs.

Search terms with lower search volumes and lower cost-per-click were more likely to display AI summaries.

Other Characteristics Of AI Overviews

The research reveals that 45% of AI overviews appear alongside featured snippets, often sourced from the exact domains.

Around 87% of AI overviews now coexist with ads, compared to 73% previously, a statistic that could increase competition for advertising space.

What Does This Mean?

SE Ranking’s research on AI overviews has several implications:

  1. Reduced Risk Of Traffic Losses: Fewer searches trigger AI Overviews that directly answer queries, making organic listings less likely to be demoted or receive less traffic.
  2. Most Impacted Niches: AI overviews appear more in relationships, food, and technology niches. Publishers in these sectors should pay closer attention to Google’s AI overview strategy.
  3. Long-form & In-Depth Content Essential: As AI snippets become longer, companies may need to create more comprehensive content beyond what the overviews cover.

Looking Ahead

While the number of AI overviews has decreased recently, we can’t assume this trend will continue.

AI overviews will undoubtedly continue to transform over time.

It’s crucial to monitor developments closely, try different methods of dealing with them, and adjust game plans as needed.


Featured Image: DIA TV/Shutterstock

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