Google discusses keyword targeting with zero search volume

During a hangout during Google business hours, Googlers answer the question of whether or not to try to rank for zero search volume keywords.

The person asking the question noted that she ranks for keywords that have zero search volume and if she should target them for ranking.

They asked:

“Let’s say I’m searching on a keyword that doesn’t have keyword volume or density, but we show up for those keywords on the first page.

Should we target this keyword? ยป

A Googler identifying as Lizzi (probably Lizzi Harvey) answered the question.

She answered:

โ€œโ€ฆYou can optimize for any keywords you want.

And it’s not always about the keywords that have the most volume.

I would think about how people should find your page and target those keywords. ยป

Consider how people search

Lizzi’s answer is similar to what is written in the Google documentation in the SEO Getting Started Guide.

The SEO starter guide document also recommends thinking about how users might find a webpage.

What’s interesting is that they suggest thinking about how different readers might search based on their knowledge or level of experience.

A person new to a topic may search with unconventional phrases, while an experienced person will use commonly used jargon.

For example, someone new to saltwater fishing might search saltwater fishing lures.

A more experienced person might look for a pikie metal lip cap (which is a handmade wooden lure that swims with a puppy tail motion).

Google’s SEO starter guide advises:

“Anticipating these differences in search behavior and taking them into account when writing your content (using the right mix of keyword phrases) could produce positive results.”

When it comes to content, the SEO starter guide advises writing and optimizing for a reader’s needs.

Keyword targeting without search volume

There is talk of a trend called zero search volume keyword targeting.

It’s an unnecessarily named keyword research strategy. The strategy is actually to target long-tail search queries.

Long queries are keyword phrases that are rarely searched.

The concept of long tail is often mistakenly referred to as very long keyword phrases. It’s wrong.

It is the rarity of how frequently it is sought that is the defining characteristic.

And that’s a useful strategy because if the phrase is something someone would search for, it helps to optimize it.

So it all comes back to what Lizzi suggested, to think about how people might search for and use those phrases in content.

Listen to the Google Office Hours hangout at 1:05 p.m.

Featured image by Shutterstock/

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