Volume matters, but it ain’t the only thing.
The term “search volume” refers to the numbers of times a keyword or key phrase is queried for on a search engine. Marketers use this metric to identify the terms around which they should optimize Web pages and other content to drive traffic to their sites.
Here are four things that matter more than search volume:
[Note: This list doesn’t include cheesy crap like “true love” or “attaining one’s highest self.” You alone can decide how those things rank in your life.]
1. High conversion rates
If, each day for a month, 500 people visit your website, attracted by keywords for which your content ranks, but none convert into customers, you’ve got a problem. Despite getting big love from Google there’s little impact on your business.
SEO is more than just driving traffic. It is more about achieving higher conversions by marketing the right message to the right audience.
2. Writing for human beings
Website content has (at least) two types of audience: search engine spiders and humans who may consume it, though not in the same way they consume Big Macs. While optimizing for SEO be sure to produce content that matches the carefully developed archtypes you build of your ideal customers. Produce content that addresses their concerns.
3. Keyword research
Create your plan around keywords and phrases that you can realistically rank for. Don’t just go after terms with high levels of competition. While we’d love to be on the first page of Google for “marketing agency” we’re much more likely to get there for phrases like “marketing agency in Montreal.”
4. User experience
If your website visitors hate their on-site experience, bonne chance
. Sites need to be brand appropriate, with fast loading pages and easy navigation. User experience has more impact on returning visitors (the kind most companies want) than your search rank for high volume terms does.
Search volume should guide your SEO strategy rather than define it. More than focusing on keywords, produce content that resonates with your audience and addresses the real-life needs of your customers.
Jackson Wightman is the minister of propaganda at Proper Propaganda, an inbound marketing and PR agency in Montreal. A version of this story originally appeared on the agency's blog.