Search Volume

Search volume is defined as the number of searches that are expected for a keyword within a certain period. Search volume is used as a measurement in keyword analysis to assess the potential search engine traffic for a given keyword. By means of the search volume for relevant keywords, content optimization can also be included.


The term “search volume” refers to the number of user queries which users enter in a search engine for a specific keyword in a certain time frame. A high search volume indicates a high level of user interest in a topic, product or service.

Inaccurate and fluctuating results

Since this value can never actually be exactly recorded and evaluated, it constitutes only estimates and projections. While there are ways to get a more truthful picture of search volume, you can never get accurate and actual figures.

On top of that, there are variations in search volume due to various factors. For example, there can be large fluctuations over time when a topic is only seasonally of interest. If an event is only of interest to a particular region, the search volume extends primarily to the respective region. An example of this is the following evaluation from Google Trends, which graphically represents the interest and thus the potential search volume for the term “Oktoberfest.” Over time, searches peak every year in September and October, with a subsequent rapid drop of interest. As far as region is concerned, the greatest interest is in the federal state of Bavaria with Munich as the event venue.

Determining the search volume

Google Keyword Planner is usually used to determine search volume. It replaced the former Google Keyword Tool in 2013. The Google Keyword Planner allows users to approximately retrieve the search volume for individual keywords or a keyword list. Once the request has been processed, the user is issued a list of keywords and keyword ideas for possible advertising groups (depending on the search option), which also contains the average searches per month. This column shows the approximate search volume. The values correspond to the average of searches over the past twelve months. Any applicable locations and the desired search network are taken into account.

Importance for search engine optimization

In the field of search engine optimization, search volume is an important criterion for researching the most important keywords for which a web page should be optimized. The difficulty is in deciding as to whether keywords with a high or a low search volume should be chosen.

With a high search volume, there is usually a lot of competition, but also a high traffic potential from which the site operator can benefit. With a low search volume, however, the competition from other sites is usually low and you can capture a large portion of the resulting traffic. However, the traffic potential is lower because of the overall low search volume.

In practice, a combination of both variations is usually best. Firstly, a website should be optimized for keywords with high search volume. On the other hand, it also makes sense to integrate numerous keywords with low search volume, which are usually part of a long-tail strategy. When searching for keywords, it should also be taken into account that many keywords with a lower search volume can better summarize the "topic" of a page, for example.

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