What is keyword search volume & is Google Keyword Planner accurate ?

Written by Fraser McCulloch.

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What is keyword search volume ?

Keyword search volume is the number of people searching for a keyword during a time frame and country and is an important marketing metric to understand.

For example, there were 2400 searches last month for the search query “keyword research” in the United Kingdom.

That’s according to Ubersuggest who extracts their data from Google.

However, Google Keyword Planner show 1941 impressions (another term to express search volume)

But if we look at another data source, Ahrefs, we can see the search volume in the UK is 3100 searches per month.

Then also see that the search volume varies month to month.

Why does keyword search volume matter ?

As the owner of a website you’re interested in clicks from the search results to your website.

If the search volume for a keyword is a small number it therefore follows that less people are likely to click onto your page result.

Likewise, the higher the search volume the greater potential of clicks to your website.

Search Volume Seasonality

However, search volume can vary month to month.

There’s less search volume in May, June and July for “wife christmas present” than in October, November and December.

As presented in this chart.

How to find keyword search volume for a keyword 

You can use Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest and paid for keyword research tools such as Ahrefs, Moz and SEMRush to find the search volume of keywords for most search queries.

However, the data provided are estimates with volume varying each month.

Be wary of Google Keyword Planner search volume data

You should also be wary of basing your keyword research decisions using Google Keyword Planner data.

To quote Google

Average monthly searches (“Avg. monthly searches”) shows the average number of searches for this keyword and its close variants based on the month range as well as the location and Search Network settings you selected.”

Search volume data from Google Keyword Planner is grouped together so …

What are the odds that 3 similar search queries all have the exact same monthly search volume ?

And people in the UK don’t spell “optimisation” with a z ie: “optimization”.

So logically, the search query “search engine optimization” should have less search volume by those searching in the UK.

Proof that Google group related search queries together and you should be careful using Google as a data source for doing keyword research.

That’s because Google’s primary interest is to offer advertising tools to advertisers and not search engine marketers.

Google fulfills demand, it does not create it

The Google search engine does not create search volume or demand it simply fulfils it.

What do I mean ?

It is events external to Google that determines search volume.

When you accidently put petrol fuel into a diesel car you search for a problem; the search results provide the best answers and search volume increases.

When a new TV show is released on Netflix, search volume explodes.

In the chart above you can see the surge in interest for the TV show, Ozark; the surge in search volume occuring when each new series was released.

However, keyword search volume is not the most important search marketing metric.

Keyword click volume is much more important.