Information and Resources for Solopreneurs

How To Use Google’s New Search Volume Data

Written By: Ken Evoy (CEO, SiteSell) in Ken's Blog | July 9, 2008
Ken’s Blog

Google’s AdWords Tool has moved from displaying monthly Search Volume graphically via a green bar to providing actual numbers. Google continues to push the envelope. Don’t ya love it?

I’ve been thinking hard about how SBIers should use this data. The biggest picture is that the Google Keywords External Tool just became an even more useful tool if you’re in a situation where you don’t know your niche, or you have a million ideas spinning around in your brain.

The tool is also useful, if you like data, after you’ve chosen your niche and brainstormed. But it’s not necessary as Google’s Keywords External Tool is unlikely to find any important keywords that SBI!’s Brainstormer hasn’t already identified.

As always, you have to remember the goals of the provider of the data. In Google’s case, it’s to pull in more advertisers. They also know that content providers will use this data, and that’s fine with them, of course.

After all, we SBIers provide the content that makes their Search
Engine valuable! Google would have zero value if there were only a
few major providers of content — we call that TV!

But remember… Google’s main motivation is to sell ads. This tool is meant to get prospective advertisers to build a list of keywords and then import it into an account, which they must create in order to import. Great PREseller — show the value, then sell the ads.

Understanding this context, we have to pick and choose and use carefully. With that, here are the key points and “gotchas”…

1) Don’t get caught up in the fine point of numbers. It’s the big pictures and the INFORMATION that you want from DATA. So, as always, I refer you to… (For SBIers only).

2) Use this version of the tool, the one suggested in DAY 2 of the SBI! Action Guide already…

Why? There are three different versions of this tool and the in-ad group tool data is based upon your settings and performance history in AdWords. If you don’t have an AdWords account, this is irrelevant. But either way, use the External Tool.

3) Unless your business is local (i.e., you are not after a global audience), you want English, All Countries and Territories results. You set this near the top of the tool, where it says…

“Results are tailored to” and then the language and country. Click Edit.

Choose “English” and choose “All Countries and Territories.”

Why? Because that is essentially your global audience.

You can have some fun playing with the tool, varying language and country, but for most SBI! sites, the above is the right setting.

4) Choose Descriptive words or phrases (although, as our help page on this Google tool already discusses, Website content can be interesting).

(If you click Use Synonyms, you’ll also get a lateralized list of keywords. But this is less important.)

Enter your Site Concept keyword and then click the Get Keyword Ideas button. You’ll get a list of keywords and data.

They are discussed in the early part of DAY 2 of the Action Guide.
This post won’t re-discuss those pages, but they do make good
reading if you’re looking for more context and strategies for this tool.

5) Once you have your list, choose Exact for match type. We do NOT want their definition of “broad”…

6) There is no Supply Data here. And that makes sense, from Google’s point of view.; They give Advertiser Competition, something of value to those buying advertising. Supply Data is, of course, important for making the final decision on your Site Concept. That’s covered in the two help pages mentioned above.

It doesn’t matter if Search Volume is 1 billion if Real Supply is also
1 billion (ex., the word, “travel”). Because you are not going to
ever be found for that word. Just too much competition. Again, see
the above help if you are new to SBI! and just getting started.

7) They only give 150-200 keywords, which is plenty for DAY 2, selecting your niche. But you’d like more for a full, complete brainstorm (i.e., by the end of DAY 3).

8) Pay attention to the Approximate Average Search Volume (“Approx Avg Search Volume”), not the previous month’s data. Why?

I have never been a big fan of worrying about seasonality. By that, I mean that if I know my niche, I know whether it has seasonality to it already. Most folks don’t go duck hunting in the dead of winter and many more folks go to Anguilla in winter than summer. Search volumes merely reflect the seasonality that you already know about.

Nor am I a big fan of making content just to meet demand for a special two-week event, for example. At least, not in the early months of my business. For example, I may try to capture “Anguilla Carnival,” which has Demand during that time of the year, eventually.; However, that will only happen after I’ve really laid down the foundations.

So here’s the key point…

The Approximate Average Search Volume (“Approx Avg Search Volume”) is, by far, the more important number. It gives you an indication of the demand over a 12 month period. The previous month data is interesting, but of no value in making decisions regarding what Site Concept you will choose. What is important is whether there is enough Demand for enough keywords, over the year, to sustain a business.

So… the Approximate Average Search Volume is the key value here.

9) Scan their “Additional keywords to consider” (you get this if you choose to see synonyms as mentioned earlier), if you are feeling ambitious. This is the equivalent of Lateralized Brainstorming. You might find a few good ones to add to your MKL, especially the lower volume ones that are more specific to your niche.

10) Unless you are using the tool to buy Google Ads, you can ignore their online “tips” help. Its strategies are totally geared to advertisers.

OK, that’s about it. Key points?

I like this data. AVERAGE Search Volume data for 150-200 keywords is especially useful for DAY 2, when choosing your niche. Although this is definitely more useful than just the old green bars, don’t go overboard and become number-bound.

And don’t get caught up in why the numbers are different than Value Demand, which includes values from Wordtracker and our own data and combines Demand numbers and commercializability…

Nor should you worry about why they are different from Wordtracker or from Keyword Discovery or, or, or…

THAT is merely a good way to drive yourself bonkers and you’ll be on the wrong side of the 80-20 coin!

All the best,

Ken Evoy (CEO, SiteSell)
Ken Evoy is the Founder, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of SiteSell Inc. He is the creator of SBI!, SiteSell's comprehensive Web business-building system. Ken is also a successful inventor, author, and emergency physician. He feels strongly that solopreneurs can be empowered by leveraging their income building potential online.
Ken Evoy (CEO, SiteSell)

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