Victorious SEO Logo

Zero Volume Keyword Research: Is It Worth Your Time?

Search engine optimization novices tend to ignore low-competition keywords, focusing instead on higher difficulty keywords with more monthly search volume. This is actually leaving traffic on the table! Learn how targeting zero-volume keywords and other low-volume keywords can boost your rankings below.

Mar 21, 2023

6 m read

Too often, the focus of keyword research is on finding the words and phrases with the highest search volume. Sure, if you want to drive tons of organic search traffic to your website, you need to create content around the important industry keywords prospects use to find similar businesses. But if you just ignore zero-volume keywords, you’re doing your SEO strategy a disservice. 

Sound confusing? 

Here’s the thing — just because a keyword research tool says a keyword has no search volume doesn’t mean it isn’t a worthwhile target. Let’s talk about why that is and how you can integrate zero-volume keywords into your SEO strategy.

get started guide: how to do keyword research

What Is Zero Volume Keyword Research?

Zero-volume keyword research is the process of identifying keywords and phrases that have no or very little search volume. These keywords may not be popular now, but they could be in the future. By identifying these keywords early on, you can start to rank for them before your competitors do, giving you a head start in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

It’s important to note that zero search volume keywords don’t always need to be sought out. Sometimes they come up naturally in your keyword research. For example, if you’re targeting a high-volume keyword like “best coffee shops,” you may find zero-volume long-tail keywords like “best organic coffee shops in Los Angeles” or “best coffee shops with outdoor seating.”

Why Zero Search Volume Keyword Research is Important

Many people think targeting low-volume keywords and attempting to rank for phrases with no search data isn’t a good strategy. However, ignoring these ranking opportunities may actually be hurting your SEO efforts.

Let’s say, for example, you run a health and wellness business and sell meal plans and workout programs to your potential customers. One of the keywords you want to target is “best meal plans for weight loss.” There are millions of results on search engines that target this exact phrase, which means there’s a lot of competition around it. High-competition keyword phrases take longer to rank on the first page when you’re competing with big names like Eating Well or Nutrisystem, and the cost of advertising is going to have your wallet hurting before you even get traction. 

Using zero- and low-search-volume keywords can be incredibly beneficial when you’re building your SEO strategy foundation. Remember, you want to learn to walk before you run. It’s common to want every single piece of content you create to be a grand slam that gets you a bunch of visibility, but that’s hard to come by, and using a zero-volume keyword research strategy can help you work your way up to those juicer keywords you want to rank for. 

By focusing on low-competition keywords, you can establish topical authority and showcase your experience and expertise. This will make it easier to rank for higher difficulty keywords later on. 

Plus, today’s low search volume keywords may be tomorrow’s high search volume keywords. These keywords may not be popular now, but they could be in the future. By identifying and targeting these keywords early on, you can be one of the first websites to rank for them when they do become popular.

So rather than putting all your effort into ranking for the highest volume keywords for your industry, dedicate some resources to long-tail keywords and other low search volume keywords to start building authority. 

When To Target Zero or Low-Volume Keywords

Still not convinced? Here are some ideas for targeting low-volume keywords to get you started.

Grow Your Niche Site

Zero- or low-volume keywords can be highly specific and niche. By targeting a very specific keyword or phrase, you may be able to attract a small but highly relevant audience. This could be especially useful if you have a very specific product or service you want to promote.

Hyper-Target Consumers

As you get more familiar with keyword research, you’ll notice that high-intent keywords tend to have a lower search volume — though that doesn’t make them less valuable. These critical keywords indicate a willingness to take a particular action, like sign up for a service or purchase a product. Ignoring them because they’re low-volume would be a major SEO misstep! Use these keywords to create content for individuals ready to buy.

Showcase Industry Expertise

Not everyone wants to know how to noindex a page or what keyword cannibalization is. But we target these keywords because we want to showcase our expertise and help interested prospects learn more about the different aspects of SEO. Depending on your industry, you may be able to do the same. Consider what someone in each of these four stages would want to know:

  • Someone unaware of what their problem is:
    • For SEO, this might be something like “why isn’t my page ranking” or “why doesn’t my site get traffic?”
  • Someone aware of their problem and seeking a solution:
    • Continuing with our SEO example: “how to improve my page rank”
  • Someone aware of the solution and seeking more information:
    • “How Google ranks web pages”
  • Someone aware of your product and making a decision:
    • “Best SEO services for lawyers”

How To Do Zero-Volume Keyword Research

Now that the value of zero-volume keyword research is clear, let’s talk about how to do it.

First, I mentioned earlier that sometimes during keyword research, you’ll naturally stumble across these keywords. You may even find them when checking out the queries people use to find you in Google Search Console. If you use a keyword research tool and it doesn’t provide a search volume or tells you the search volume is 0-10, then you may have a nice, ripe zero-volume keyword on your hands. 

If you need to start from scratch, brainstorm potential keywords that are related to your topic or industry. Play with Google’s autocomplete feature and check out its related searches for additional ideas. Then, take your list of keywords and check their search volume using a keyword research tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush. You may be told there is “no relevant search volume” or that the keywords are not found. This doesn’t mean no one is searching for those keywords, though. It just means that the keyword research tool doesn’t have the keyword in its index.

screenshot of ahrefs zero volume keyword research returns no data

Google the target keywords to determine search intent and to make sure the SERPs show pages relevant to your niche. This can also tell you if there is a more appropriate keyword to target. If you notice that the results for your keyword show a variation on the phrase you’ve searched, do additional keyword research on that new phrase.

Once you’ve uncovered your low-hanging fruit, you can create content that targets these phrases in a way that appeals to users and search engines. Remember to create helpful, people-first content that meets the query’s search intent to improve your chances of ranking. You could even grab another valuable piece of real estate in SERPs known as a Featured Snippet with your informational content, feeding two birds with one scone!

Zero and Low-Volume Keyword FAQs

What is a good keyword search volume?

There is no objective “good” keyword search volume. Some niche industries naturally have low search volume keywords. That doesn’t mean those keywords aren’t worth targeting, though. Rather than focus on a particular search volume, take a look at both the search volume and the keyword difficulty.

A higher keyword difficulty means a particular keyword will be harder to rank for. So if you find a keyword with low search volume and a very high keyword difficulty, it may not make sense to create content for that keyword unless it’s essential for your industry.

The sweet spot for driving organic traffic is keywords that have a high search volume and low keyword difficulty. It can be hard to find these golden eggs, though. By building keyword groups that include semantically related terms with varying search volumes and keyword difficulty, you can target a range of keywords with just one page.

Learn more about how to do keyword research here, or check out our keyword research service.

What should I do with low search volume keywords?

Once you have some zero- or low-volume keywords, see if any are related and can be combined into a keyword group. Google the relevant keywords to determine search intent and to pinpoint what type of content you should create. Does the keyword lead to SERPs of informational blog posts or product pages? Use that information to create your own unique content! 

Not Sure Where to Start With Zero-Volume Keyword Research? Victorious Can Help! 

If you’re avoiding zero-volume keyword research tactics, I get it! Going after something that doesn’t have big numbers and lots of data can feel like an unnecessary risk. When combined with higher-volume keywords, though, zero- and low-search-volume keywords can power incredible growth. 

Our team at Victorious will help you craft an SEO strategy that supports your business needs and goals. Learn more about what our SEO agency can do for you regarding zero-volume keywords, and contact us today for a free SEO consultation

In This Article

Recommended Reading

8 m read

SEOs often talk about the value of keyword research. While it’s a foundational part of SEO, it’s only part of a well-researched keyword strategy. Keyword mapping helps you understand where your team should use the valuable keywords uncovered during your...

5 m read

To better optimize your web pages, focus on keyword themes rather than a single keyword. Sound like too much work? Trust me — the benefits are worth it! Learn what keyword themes are, why you should integrate them into your...

8 m read

Ready to optimize your site but not sure where to start? In this guide, I share why selecting a focus keyphrase is critical for SEO and which SEO tools you can use to help you integrate crucial keywords.