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This week we’ve been looking back at our favourite talks from BrightonSEO. Some that were of particular interest were Paola Didone - How to go after the long-tail keywords (and why it matters!), Mark Williams-Cook - Effective zero-volume keyword research and why it’s important & Liraz Postan - The hidden gems of low search volume

Why look into low-volume searches? 

Each of these talks seemed to be chipping away at the same central idea. Low-volume search terms are worth their weight in gold. Liraz’s research found that 40% of us flat out ignore low-volume search terms when performing keyword research. I’m sure that’s something that a lot of us have been guilty of in the past. Often people see a search term with ‘0 search volume’ and immediately ignore it in search of what’s thought of as being more valuable.  

When using Google Ads, we often find that we can’t show ads for long-tail search terms as they are too niche. There are zero searches and so Google disables that keyword and we have to go back and re-evaluate our keyword research. The truth is that despite that exact search term having a very small number (or zero) searches, there are alternative ways of saying the same thing that are generating more impressions and clicks for your website. 
One section of Mark Williams-Cook’s talk outlines this perfectly, illustrating that intent volume is more useful than search volume. Google Ads claimed zero search volume for a long tail search term, but when an optimised piece of content was produced, he found that he was able to generate 711 clicks in a year. The clicks were generated through the original search term and also through variations of the term that had the same search intent.  
It’s incredible what can come from using our initiative to optimise a piece of content for SEO purposes. A lot of us would have accepted the zero-search volume claim from Google Ads as our reasoning for not pursuing creating content on this topic.  

Why avoid high volume search terms? 

Paola Didone found that 92% of searches are for terms with 10 searches per month or fewer. So why do we find ourselves often focusing on the 8% of high-volume searches as the gold standard for keyword research? Concentrating your energy on generic higher volume search terms only increases the competition for your brand, resulting in less visibility and fewer clicks.  

Liraz Postan took a poll of more than 100 CMOs, finding that only 26.5% would approve of a content strategy based on low-volume search terms. She had some great thinking in her talk, her ideas outlined that low search volume means less exposure and less brand awareness… that much is true. But it also means that these users have high intent and are more likely to convert. On the other hand, high search volume terms are more generic, these users have low intent and there is high competition to rank highly in the SERPs. 

She outlined a case study in her presentation slides whereby 500 pages of content were created based on long-tail search terms. After monitoring the success of the case study, Liraz adopted this strategy targeting low-volume + high intent. They then created 5,000 new web pages designed to target long-tail search terms. Her results were pretty conclusive - a 105% increase in web traffic and more importantly a 25% increase in conversions.  

How do we use long-tail keywords in our content? 

 Liraz gave details on how to match the type of user with the right content. Her model shows user intent broken down into three categories based on the type of content that is most appropriate for their needs: 

  • 80% Informational intent – Guides, How-To's, tools and FAQ 

  • 10% Navigational – Locations, services, press releases and customer services 

  • 10% Transactional – Videos, product information, comparisons and product stories 

Paola went into more depth on how we can use the SERPs to establish what kind of content is needed. For example, you might find that “women’s climbing shoes” in the SERPs is very commercial with a lot of product pages, whereas results for “best women’s climbing shoes” are made up of content pages comparing various brands and styles. This gives great insight into where we can insert keywords that will be both useful for users and achieve page one ranking.  

 Another great tip from the talk was to use FAQs as a way to answer the most common questions about the products that are found in the alternative searches. Identify these using a tool such as SEMrush, Google Search Console, Google autocomplete or even the ‘people also search for’ section. Paola uses this to identify some questions that have a search volume of around 50-60 and answer these questions in the FAQ section, allowing her to bring more highly relevant traffic to her website with the right type of content, in a similar way to Liraz’s user intent model. 

How do I start using low-volume keywords for my brand?  

Keyword research can seem a daunting task with a lot of team hours required to achieve the desired results. If working within a small marketing team it can be best to work on individual projects with one core objective at a time. But if working with an external agency for SEO purposes, be sure they have a structured plan in place that includes a deep dive into the most relevant keywords for your brand (no matter the search volume).  

Keyword research and content planners that include low-search volume terms at their heart can reap great results, as we can see from the stats in these talks at the 2022 Brighton SEO. If you’re interested in further discussing the SEO needs of your brand, please get in touch

Fantastic insights at Brighton SEO  

While I’ve focused on one section of the talks, across the 2 days there were a host of insightful presentations covering various topics. Be sure to head over and check out some of the online talks or check out the slides from the talks here.  

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