Search volume describes the number of searches for a specific search term in search engines such as Google. Search volume in online marketing represents a measured amount of expected traffic when ranked in the search results. Search volume can prioritize search engine optimization and content optimization.
Definition of search volume
The search volume indicates the number of searches for a specific keyword in a search engine, such as Google, for a given period of time. The number of searches is estimated and can be subject to seasonal, regional, and thematic variations.
Determining the search volume
An important source for determining search volume is the Google Keyword Planner for search volume through Google search, and also Bing Keyword Planner for the corresponding volume in Bing. Users with the Ads account on Google or Bing can inquire the number of monthly searches for a specific ad or keyword group.
Long-term trends, for example in terms of leisure and consumer behavior, are important factors influencing the search volume. Seasonality and current news are also critical for the search volume.
Searchmetrics offers detailed information in the Research Cloud on various metrics related to search volume, which are shown below, using the keyword "umbrella" as an example:
Search volume: Searchmetrics takes the the last several months' search volume and displays the average. Such term as "umbrella" is searched in Germany on average 137.700 times a month.
Seasonality: Seasonality shows the way the search volume changes over the year and shows how relevant seasonal differences are. The search volume dropped to its lowest level in February with 119.000 searches, before reaching its top in May with about 162.000 searches.
CPC: Cost-per-click (CPC) shows the average cost per click on ads in Google Ads in the search results. Knowing the CPC for a keyword gives you an idea of its value. Typically, the higher the CPC, the more competitive the keyword is.
Traffic Value Potential: Traffic value can be understood as an estimate of the costs that would need to be incurred to maintain the visibility of a relevant keyword in Google Ads. The traffic value potential is based on the values for ranking in the first position of the search result.
Importance of search volume for search engine optimization
Search volume can be used to make relevant search engine optimization (SEO) and content optimization predictions for which keywords and search queries should be optimized with particular priority. If data is available on the average monthly search volume, you can estimate how much traffic a good ranking position for a specific keyword can bring.
In addition, content optimization and SEO can be approached in a much more numerical manner: anyone who already has a promising position for a keyword with a high search volume, such as on the second page of search results, can try to optimize the Onpage and Offpage, as well as Content for better rankings.
At the same time, search volume is only an indicator of search engine optimization and should be compared with other data, such as user intent for a specific keyword. Navigational searches often have an extremely high search volume because users know exactly where they want to go to, for example to Facebook or Amazon, but do not enter the domain in the browser address bar, but use a Google search query. Optimization for such keywords is not very effective, because only a small amount of traffic can be expected in the end.
The CPC for a keyword can also provide important additional information about how useful optimization can be. If a keyword has a high search volume, informational or transactional search intent, and a high CPC, then there is a lot of competition on the Internet to reach one of the top rankings. Conversely, a keyword with a low CPC can also indicate that optimization could generate traffic, which is then not converted on the website.
In addition, one should consider not the search volume for one keyword, but the corresponding search volume for the topic cluster. Eventually, user searches for a specific topic are getting longer and more detailed, and the long-tail area groups more than half of the total traffic generated by search engines.