Many SEO specialists-beginners promote pages using keywords that are too high-frequency for the current authority of their domain. Unfortunately, this usually leads to wasted time and effort, and the page has almost no chance of ranking high in Google and bringing traffic to the site.
So what should you do then? Look for less popular keywords in general and words with zero search volume (ZSV) in particular.
According to Ahrefs research (see the screenshot below), on average, the top-ranking pages rank for 957 additional keywords. This means that you can also rank your pages for keywords with a minimum or even no queries per month. And it will be easier to do so than for high-frequency ones.
Even though you can find many articles about the process of keywords search, tips covering the benefits of using zero volume phrases are rare. It is assumed that there is no point in using them, but in reality, this is often not true.
In this article, I’d like to talk about choosing zero key phrases for pages so that they have a high chance of ranking well in Google and bringing traffic to your website.
What Are Zero Search Volume Keywords, and Why Should You Pay Attention to Them?
First, we should start with the fact that keywords are essential for any website, not only for promotion in search engines. For example, key phrases are also used by visitors when they perform a search in the search bar. That’s why all thoughtful website owners, from tiny blogs to large online stores, improve the Magento search function (or a similar one on their website’s platform). After all, it is very important that the visitor can easily find what they need. And most likely, when surfing the website, he will use not just high-frequency but rather zero search keywords.
When it comes to ranking in Google, how exactly do ZSV keywords work?
While researching key phrases for a page, we choose several of them that are popular among users who are interested in our topic. And when creating text content, we naturally add secondary relevant queries and LSI words, which also help bring traffic to the site.
But on top of that, your pages have a high chance of ranking better in Google for queries with zero or single frequency search volume. These are phrases that the search engine hasn’t seen before and probably won’t see again. But in the long run, they can bring in a lot of traffic.
For example, let’s look at the case of SEO specialist Vansh Aggarwal. He says that ZSV keywords are not always ranked in search immediately. In many situations, it depends on seasonality. In his case, the ZSV keyword “buy winter jackets” was not bringing any traffic from May to August since it was not relevant in that season. But starting from September, it began to grow. And in November and December attracted up to 100 users to the site.
How to Define Zero Search Volume Keywords
Let’s find out how to define zero volume phrases. The easiest method is to install the Keyword Surfer or Keywords Everywhere browser extension. Then, during your search on Google, it will show you an estimated number of requests for different queries, and you will need to select those with 0 volume. But it is not necessary to use these tools, and I will tell you why in the other sections of this article.
As an example of such a query, let’s enter the words “how to make money writing a blog“. As you can see from the screenshot below, many similar phrases have 0 searches. But the thing is that hundreds of people ask identical specific questions, and using such keywords will allow you to increase the amount of traffic to your website quickly.
3 Methods of Finding Zero Search Volume Keywords
And now, let’s find out which methods of selecting zero volume phrases exist. Again, you won’t have to use any expensive tools to do it. All you need is Google and a little time (the search engine shows absolutely everything you need).
Below I will talk about 3 effective methods of selecting zero requests queries:
- related searches;
- alphabet soup;
- people also asked.
These three techniques will help you discover a lot of zero volume keywords that people are really looking for and that can bring organic traffic to your site.
1. Related Searches Method
What are related searches? The name is rather self-explanatory, yet these are automatically generated queries that Google pitches at the bottom of the search results page. The words and phrases offered in the section are terms that are similar to the entered query. They can give you a hint about how else people look for similar topics (i.e., which wording they use).
The screenshot below shows that the initial dropdown box and the list of related searches at the bottom of the page provide almost the same results.
With this method, you do not necessarily need to use any browser extensions because it does not matter if the phrase gets the search volume or not. However, using Keyword Surfer or Keywords Everywhere will save you from having to scroll down the page and allow you to optimize the selection process. This is especially important when processing a large volume of queries.
By entering some query you’ve come up with into Google, you’ll get several suggestions (more refined phrases). You can take them right away for your page or use some of them to get even more recommendations.
For example, I took the query “how to make money writing a travel blog” from the previous output, searched it, and got another portion of suggested queries.
Even though, for example, the keyword “travel blogger career” has 0 queries per month, I assume that using it can bring organic traffic from Google if it ranks in the top 3 in search engine results.
You can also use this method in combination with the other two techniques.
2. Alphabet Soup Method
This method has gained popularity in the last few years because Google has developed the auto-predict functionality. Unlike the process described above, this method will require some effort from you. However, it is one of the most effective ones.
As shown in the screenshot below, you need to type your primary phrase into the search box and simply add a letter of the alphabet. The prediction engine will give you some different hints.
For example, I typed in “how to find keywords” and then entered the letter “a”, getting several additional alphabet soup phrases.
For such low-frequency queries issued by Google, it is much easier to get to the top of search results. Then, just as with the previous method, you can enter the resulting phrases again and find new key phrases for your articles.
In addition to the two methods I have described, you can also use the third technique, which we will discuss further. It does not require applying any paid tools for searching keywords either.
3. People Also Asked Method
The screenshot below has a section where Google shows the questions people ask to find relevant information. This is a relatively new feature that you can successfully use to find suitable keywords.
This widget usually loads only 4 primary questions, but you can expand the list by clicking on the arrows, getting a larger number of questions. However, you should realize that the more you expand the list, the less relevant the questions displayed become in relation to the main phrase.
But the questions will still be relevant to the topic and may be useful to you. In my example, I entered the phrase “how to find keywords” in the search box.
When using the data from this widget for your website, you have to understand that the queries will not only be zero. Even though Google may show 0 requests per month when checking, this is because they are already complete questions rather than search queries.
For example, the question “How do I find the best keywords on Google?” might have 0 requests per month. But, if you remove the beginning of it and check the second part of this phrase, “best keywords on Google” instead, it may have a particular search volume.
That way, with the “People also ask” section, you can find the actual search phrases people use that may be handy in the future. How exactly can you apply them?
- When developing the FAQ section of your website;
- When writing texts for product cards, articles for a blog, or posts for social networks;
- For updating and optimizing the content of already existing pages.
Knowing the real-life questions of your target audience will help you create content that is truly engaging and useful to your site visitors. And, of course, it means getting maximum organic traffic to your website.
Can These Methods Substitute Paid Software for Keyword Selection?
It depends on what kind of site you have. It is clear that these methods are more suitable for a tiny blog rather than a large online store. For big commercial sites, manual selection of keywords will take a lot of time and effort, and in such cases, it is better to use paid services.
For smaller businesses, however, it may be enough to use the free features of Google. As a starting point of your SEO optimization, at least. This way, you can attract traffic to it without any additional financial cost.
More Examples of the Successful Application of ZSV Keywords
Still in doubt that the ZSV words are worth your attention? Let’s overview a few cases when zero keywords helped bring traffic to the site.
Mohammad Sojib, in his post on Linkedin, shares his experience with such keywords. Below is a screenshot of the statistics for one of the ZSV he used for his site. In just one month, it was able to bring to the page 77 unique users. Not that bad for a keyword which, according to Google, has 0 search queries per month, agree?
Or here’s another example. In less than three months, the ZSV keyword brought Evan Porter, the author of the article, about 100 hits a day!
Although using ZSV queries is a great selection strategy for your website, I would not recommend building absolutely all pages based on phrases selected using this method. Instead, don’t be afraid to test and try new ways and techniques, measuring the results and seeing what works best for you.
However, if you are just starting your way as an SEO specialist, the techniques described above can significantly support your business. After working with Google’s free keyword research features, you will understand the basic principles and grow in this area over time.
About the Author: Kate Parish, chief marketing officer at Onilab with 8+ years of experience in Digital Marketing and website promotion. Kate always strives to stay in pace with the ever-advancing online world, and the sphere of Magento PWA development. Her expertise includes in-depth knowledge of SEO, branding, PPC, SMM, and the field of online sales in general.