A question was recently brought up in an SEO group about methods to gather keyword volume for when investigating a niche or going after a long-tail keyword. You could use tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs, or other paid platforms. Others suggested Google’s Keyword Planner tool, and some said it’s impossible to get accurate keyword volume until you actually rank.
These are all the correct answers depending on what your goal is. However, there are times when you require:
- The most accurate, recent search volume of a keyword.
- In a niche that Google/other platforms don’t keep search data on (usually ‘gray area niches’)
- Looking at seasonal or fluctuating keywords with spiking or dipping volume.
Using Google Ads To Find Keyword Volume
To check a keyword’s volume and getting the most accurate, realtime data during your preliminary or research phase, I would high suggest Google Ads. And if you set up your campaign correctly you won’t have to worry about burning money or getting inaccurate results. Start a new campaign and make sure your bidding on Impression Share, and your ads to appear “Anywhere on results page”. Set your percent impression share to 100%.
Next, set your maximum CPC bid limit low. Depending on your niche, it could be anywhere between 5 cents to 5 dollars. To get started testing quick, I usually set it at .50 cents and closely monitor the campaign after publishing it live.
Using Google Ads Reports To Find Keyword Volume
Again, your niche will depend on how long you need to run your ad campaign for. In a high volume niche, you may only need to run it a few hours before being able to reasonably predict daily keyword volume. Other smaller niches or longtail keywords may require you to have the campaign active for a day or three. While you have your campaign active, remember to closely monitor your performance, especially the ‘competitor metrics’. You may need to adjust your max CPC limit if you find yourself hitting top of page positions too often.
In the above screencap, you can see my Impression top % for the top two keywords is 100%. It’s safe to assume the impressions in this row is the daily volume of that specific keyword. If my Impression Absolute Top % is 60%-70%, it’s also a pretty safe bet to assume my ad placements are 1 of the 6 first page ad results for a keyword, resulting in accurate impressions.
You can use the above metrics to adjust your bidding strategy and increasing/lowering your bid cap if your numbers are too low or too high. Keep your campaign active as long as you feel it’s needed. From my experience, I can get a good feel for keyword volume after 2 or 3 days, all while keeping my total ad spend as low as possible.
In summary, this strategy has worked well for me when I want to double check expected keyword volume or I’m struggling to find volume numbers do to my niche.