High-Volume vs Low-Volume Keywords: Which Should You Target for SEO?

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Search engines rank websites in different positions for different keywords. You can target either high-volume keywords or low-volume keywords. As long as your website is optimized for a keyword, search engines may award it with high rankings. The amount of volume a particular keyword has, however, can affect its utility in SEO.

Keywords are the foundation for search engine optimization (SEO). Before optimizing your website for higher rankings, you’ll need to choose a set of keywords.

What Are High-Volume Keywords?

In the context of keywords, volume represents monthly searches. High-volume keywords are those that generate a lot of searches per month relative to other, lower-volume keywords. They typically consist of common words and phrases. Any keyword that generates at least 10,000 monthly searches on average is a high-volume keyword.

What Are Low-Volume Keywords?

Low-volume keywords are those that generate fewer searches per month. They typically consist of uncommon words and longer, more specific phrases. Some low-volume keywords generate 1,000 to 2,000 searches per month on average. Others generate 5,000 to 8,000 searches per month on average. Regardless, all low-volume keywords generate less than 10,000 monthly searches.

Benefits of High-Volume Keywords

High-volume keywords are easier to identify than low-volume keywords. You may already know some high-volume keywords that are relevant to your website. With that said, you can easily identify others by looking through your website’s content. Common words and phrases included in article titles, subheadings, meta tags, and alt text tags are opportunities for high-volume keywords.

Targeting high-volume keywords will expose your website to a wider audience. They are broader than low-volume keywords. Therefore, they attract more people. Users may seek different forms of information or content when searching for high-volume keywords. By targeting high-volume keywords, you’ll attract different types of users to your website.

If you’re able to rank your website for a high-volume keyword, you can expect a substantial increase in traffic. Not every user who searches for a high-volume keyword will click your website’s ranked listing. Assuming just one-quarter of them click it, though, your website’s traffic will increase by at least 2,500 visits per month – and that’s for a single high-volume keyword.

You can build backlinks while using high-volume keywords as anchor text. High-volume keywords are typically short. Some of them, in fact, only consist of a single word. With their short format, high-volume keywords are effective for anchor text. Using them as anchor text will result in clean links that encourage clicks.

Benefits of Low-Volume Keywords

By targeting low-volume keywords, you won’t have to work as hard to rank your website. Low-volume keywords are easier to rank for because they have less competition. Any website that ranks for the same keyword that you want to rank for is a competitor.

Some keywords have hundreds of thousands or millions of websites ranking for them. With so many competitors, you may struggle to rank your website. Fortunately, competition isn’t a concern for low-volume keywords. They may have some websites ranking for them, but low-volume keywords have far less competition.

Low-volume keywords aren’t just easier to rank for than high-volume keywords; they require less time. It can take over a year to rank for a high-volume keyword. In comparison, low-volume keywords typically require just a few months of optimization. Search engines will quickly rank your website for low-volume keywords. SEO for high-volume keywords requires more time due to the increased competition.

You may experience higher conversion rates by targeting low-volume keywords. Conversion rates are influenced by user intent. In other words, the reason a user searches for a keyword will affect whether he or she takes action. User intent is narrower with low-volume keywords. You can use low-volume keywords to attract users with specific, narrow intent. By drawing them to your website, you may experience higher conversion rates.

They may generate fewer monthly searches, but low-volume keywords can still increase your website’s traffic. According to Google, nearly one in six searches are new. New searches are keywords that Google has never processed in the past. Only targeting high-volume keywords means you’ll forfeit new searches and other searches for uncommon or rare keywords.

Why You Should Target Both Types of Keywords

Rather than targeting high-volume or low-volume keywords, you should consider targeting both types of keywords. High-volume keywords are easier to identify, attract a wider audience and offer more traffic. Low-volume keywords, on the other hand, are easier to rank for, require less time and drive higher conversion rates.

You can create low-volume keywords based on high-volume keywords. Adding one or more modifiers to a high-volume keyword, for instance, may result in a low-volume keyword. High-volume keywords are usually single words or short phrases. The addition of a modifier will make them longer. And most long keywords have less search volume than short keywords.

High-volume keywords work well as primary keywords. You can focus your optimization strategy on high-volume keywords. You can then target low-volume keywords as secondary keywords. For any given web page, consider targeting one to two high-volume keywords and five to 10 low-volume, secondary keywords.

How do you know whether a keyword is high volume or low volume exactly? You’ll need to use a keyword tool that specifically reveals search volume. Google Ads Keyword Planner is one such tool that reveals search volume. When you enter a keyword, it will reveal the number of searches the keyword generates in a typical month.

Ahrefs offers a keyword tool with search volume insights as well. Known as Keyword Explorer, it uses clickstream data to calculate the average monthly search volume of keywords. Keyword Explorer is a premium tool that’s part of Ahref’s suite of SEO tools, whereas Keyword Planner is a free tool that’s available in Google’s advertising portal, Google Ads. You can use either of them to distinguish between low-volume keywords and high-volume keywords.

Search volume can vary from keyword to keyword. Keywords are essentially search queries. High-volume keywords generate at least 10,000 monthly searches on average. Low-volume keywords, conversely, generate fewer searches.

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