For many people, SEO is a corporate 9 to 5. You punch in, churn out that day’s blog post, optimise for relevant keywords and punch out. The mechanics are simple — it’s simply a case of grinding the work out, day after day. There are, however, strategies for those looking to veer off the beat and track. Wherever the bulk of competitors are focusing on one area, jostling for spots in the contested world of high volume keywords, there is an opportunity to seize the neglected real estate, to pick up the scraps that bigger players are ignoring. Low search-volume keywords are those scraps. In fact, to you, they might as well be diamonds, since they’re often better-converting than their more popular counterparts. Customers that search for these keywords tend to have a deliberate goal in mind, searching not out of absent-minded curiosity but genuine commercial intent. It may take some time to locate the right word combinations, but once you do, you could have free, uncontested access to serious consumers. Here’s how to incorporate low search-volume keywords into your marketing strategy.
Hunting for the Right Keywords
The flip side of converting this largely untapped traffic is that it takes some thinking to find the right candidates. You’re not simply choosing the lowest-volume, saddest, most neglected keywords in your given topic area — you’re looking at combinations of words that fall outside of the main sphere of search traffic for whatever reason. They’re likely to be more specific, containing for example the location of the business/service. They might equally use a less popular, less fashionable synonym for more commonly searched terms.
So, how do you set about finding these hidden pearls? Your first port-of-call should be user forums. Ultimately, you’re trying to find commercially-motivated consumers that are missed by the majority of traffic-converters. To do so, you have to find terms that are used by serious consumers. Look to forums like Reddit, Quora or any communities related to your business. Even Amazon reviews (of relevant products) and YouTube comments (on relevant videos) can feature low search-volume keywords that worth pursuing. Platforms like Reddit and YouTube sort comments from most relevant to least, so you can easily find what’s catching people’s attention. Look through these user-frequented channels and highlight any keywords that don’t feature in top Google searches. Especially, look out for buying or action-related keywords containing terms like ‘package’, ‘deal’, ‘buy’, or anything else that purchase-ready consumers might be typing in.
Keywords with less than 10 searches per month form 95% of all keywords. There is a lot of traffic flying over marketers heads at every moment. Most of that traffic is obscure and untappable, but some of it is long-tail keywords (keywords containing 4 words or more) that marketers aren’t optimising for. With the rise of voice search, long-tail keywords are becoming more and more important as users search in a more idiomatic, conversational fashion. There is debate on the web as to whether long-tail keywords are worth incorporating into your marketing strategy, with naysayers arguing that much more time and effort is required to convert a similar amount of traffic with long-tail keywords. It is true that targeting these keywords won’t lead to large amounts of traffic, but by being specific rather than simply obscure, you have a much higher change of successful conversion. Try including geographic zones (‘car rental in Suffolk’) or any other specifics that customers might be looking for. Overall, invest some time into choosing a select group of keywords rather than optimising for a huge number that may not convert well. If you do find a good candidate, you have a high chance of ranking in the SERPs, at which point you will be visible to potential customers for some time to come, as competition is unlikely to come along and steal those consumers from you.
Any strategies that can lead you to untapped internet traffic should be seized greedily. SEO is all-too often a war of attrition, an over-populated scramble for the same keyword traffic that ultimately ends up in the laps of bigger, more established websites. Spending time navigating user forums and sub-communities is a good way to understand how consumers in your sector are thinking, enabling you to better predict their search queries. Ross Pike, Operations Director of Quadrant2Design comments, ‘With so many playing the SEO game, smaller fish have no choice but to outthink the bigger fish, developing a better understanding of what consumers want than their competitors.’ Do some research to form a list of low search-volume keywords and then address these topic areas with targeted posts. What traffic does come your way is likely to consist of serious, purchase-ready consumers that other competitors are less likely to try scooping up.