What Are Keywords In SEO?
The first thing to check is if your keyword has search demand. Search demand represents the volume of monthly searches made for a keyword, and this is measurable with a keyword metric that we call “search volume.”
You can find the search volume for a keyword by using a keyword research tool. For example, the query “km to miles” gets searched around 500,000 times per month, but 79% of searches go without a click to a page.
And that’s because Google has a handy calculator right on the search results that’ll solve the searcher’s problem for them.
So search volume alone can be a bit misleading, which is why it’s worth looking at the second checkpoint: which is to check the traffic potential of the topic.
Traffic potential represents the total search traffic you could get if you were to rank at the top of Google for your keyword.
Let’s look at the stats for “plymouth seo” (which we’re #1 for). Our keyword tool says we get 220 searches every month, but if we look at the total organic traffic to our home page, we get much more monthly visits from Google every single month because our home page ranks for over 50 keywords.
In our study of 2 million keywords, we found that on average, the top ranking page ranks for nearly a thousand other keywords, so while you may be optimising your pages for a main keyword, your page will likely rank for dozens or even hundreds of other related keywords.
And because of that, the monthly search traffic potential of the topic “plymouth seo” is actually higher than its monthly search volume.
This is what makes traffic potential a much more reliable metric than search volume, and the way you determine traffic potential is by looking at how much traffic the top-ranking pages are getting.
For example, if we go to our keyword tool and search for “submit website to search engines,” it has a search volume of 1,100 monthly searches.
But in the real world the #1 ranked site in SERP (Search Engine Results Page) actually gets about 5000 monthly search visits, as it ranks for over 1,300 keywords making traffic potential of this keyword higher than its search volume.
It doesn’t always work out this way. The search phrase “keyword cannibalisation” has a search volume of 150 monthly searches, but the traffic potential is well under 100.
So it becomes more of a business decision as to whether you want to tackle the topic or not.
But choosing keywords based on metrics alone is not a good idea, which is why the rest of the checkpoints are there to ground you.