Keyword Value Versus Search Volume

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The Fall of Keyword Volume

Since 2015 and before, Google has slowly been attempting to phase out the data available around keyword search volumes. An update in 2016 removed specific volume data from every account with too small of an AdWords balance, leaving many SEO practitioners and content specialists scrambling for information. To this point in 2017, we are only able to see wide volume ranges.

Wide ranges make it difficult to directly compare keywords, especially with such unspecific ranges as 1,000-10,000 or 100K-1M. This phase-out is completely intentional on Google’s part. Although there are tools you can use to get better volume estimates and data, is there something else you can be looking at instead? Metrics like keyword value may be even more effective than search volume for digital marketers.

What Is Keyword Value?

Keyword value is a better metric because it will focus on how good a certain keyword is for your business specifically. Simple value metrics are given on keyword research tools by multiplying the CPC of a keyword by its monthly search volume. While this measurement of value is useful for affiliate sites and some e-commerce sites, it’s not necessarily the metric you need to be looking at for your own goals.

Value is made up of a few key elements. It consists of monthly search volume, CPC, competition, and relevance. Monthly searches are not the focus of value, as many keywords with lower searches end up being more valuable to your business than those with higher searches. However, the amount of potential organic traffic is still useful for helping you determine how valuable a keyword is.

CPC lets you know how much advertisers are willing to pay to get their ads seen on certain searches. Higher average CPC is usually a good sign that people are viewing those keywords with intent, while lower CPC tells you that you won’t have to use as much of a budget to get in front of people.

Competition is one of the most important elements of keyword value. Low competition for a keyword shows that you will not have to fight as hard to rank organically for that keyword. This is a huge advantage that usually comes from using more specific long-tail keywords that relate directly to what you’re doing online.

Relevance plays a part in sorting out which keywords are going to be valuable to you versus those that will not be. For example, if you were run an e-commerce business selling knitted scarves and hats, you wouldn’t find irrelevant keywords valuable. Keywords like “hand knitted scarves” would be relevant to your business, whereas “hand knitted bags” or “how to knit a scarf” would not be. Irrelevant keywords are not valuable for your business because they will not bring the right people to your landing pages.

Search Volume Versus Keyword Value

Let’s take a closer look at how keyword search volume compares to keyword value:
– Consumer Intent
Volume metrics tell you nothing about the intent of the consumer because this metric is limited to how many people have looked for a specific keyword in a month. Value gives you a better perspective on why people looked for certain keywords, helping you gauge if a keyword is going to bring the right people to your website.

– Competition
The number of searches doesn’t necessarily indicate how competitive that keyword is organically or with CPC. Value does a better job helping you determine the competition for specific keywords.

– Availability of Information
Value metrics usually require some research and effort to discover, because they may not be available instantly from any tools. Search volume does not give exact results on Google AdWords, but you can find a general range almost instantly.

Value is more useful to help you find out your potential ROI on keywords, especially if you’re planning to do an AdWords campaign. Volume results can’t give you much specific information about how much you’re likely to get back from your investment into a keyword ad campaign.

Keywords are very important for digital marketing campaigns and SEO. Researching keyword value may be a better fit for your needs than focusing on search volume alone, because of the specific focus you can gain with keyword value.

My name is Cale Loken and I am blogging here for my company 301 Madison Consulting. I will write about anything digital marketing. You can read my personal blog at

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