January 19


Don’t confuse search volume with actual traffic

By Jason Khoo

January 19, 2021


Hi guys. And welcome to another edition of the Zupo's SEO talk and tea. 

Today's conversation is to not confuse search volume with actual traffic. This is an important conversation because I think what often happens is most people conceptually know this. They understand it, but in the speed of the day-to-day, they're moving so quickly that they forget that search volume does not always equate, and it never equates to a hundred percent of the traffic that your site receives. So I'll go into a lot of detail about that just in a second, but I wanted to go ahead and start brewing some of the tea that we have today. Today we have a Pu'Er tea, which is a very common guest on this channel. I drink this Pu-Er pretty much every single day. So very, very familiar with this tea. It's been on this channel quite a lot. But let's go ahead and get that brewing and let's get chatting about search volume and traffic.

So again, search volume is something that we're all very familiar with. Search volume is generally the monthly search volume for a certain keyword that people are searching for. So if you're looking for a keyword and it has 3000 searches a month, that's the average monthly volume. The search volume is 3000. Now, what all can often happen, and what I'm talking about is let's say you did a great job. And for that keyword, you are now ranking on the first page. And if you're even better, you may be ranking on the first, second or third position. That's wonderful, right? That's great. But what can often happen is if that keyword has the monthly search volume of 3000, and then let's say you rank on the first or second spot. Well, people can often confuse as, "Oh, we weren't on the first or second spot, so therefore we're getting 3000 visitors a month from that keyword because it has 3000 monthly searches, and we rank on the first, second, or third spot."

That is a actually not correct. A lot of the people who search, not everybody clicks a search result. Some people click around, not everyone clicks the first result. Some people click to the second, or third, or fourth. I think if you kind of slow it down, it's pretty understandable that, even if you ranked number one, you are not going to get a hundred percent of the clicks or visitors from the 3000 monthly search volume. Because again, not every one clicks a result, not everyone clicks the first position. Some people click ads, some people scroll away. The reasons might be very many, but the whole point is because if the keyword may have 3000 monthly searches does not mean if you rank first, second, or third, you are getting 3000 organic visitors a month from that keyword.

So that's an important consideration, and I completely understand why people make this mistake. A lot of ranking reports, they will have the keyword, ranking position, and then the monthly search volume. So when you're scanning through a ranking report, it's very like, "Oh yeah, okay we ranked at that one, we're getting this much volume." Actually, this is where I filmed another video talking about estimated traffic. This is why SEO tools like [inaudible 00:02:46] and SEMrush created the metrics for estimated traffic so that they can tell you... Just because you ranked number one, two, or three, were on the first page for this keyword does not mean you get all the search volume, but here's our estimated traffic so that you can kind of get an estimate of how much traffic you're actually going to get from this ranking, for this keyword.

Now, again, I've just talked about in the other video, the estimated traffic, take that metric. I don't want to say with a grain of salt, use it more as a guide. It is always best to try to measure the amount of traffic you're getting from keyword through your own analytics and search console. Which I also talked about in a different video, where I showed you the methodology to try to how to get that information. But again, it's pretty simple, but I think everyone gets, I think we all just need a healthy reminder. Even at one point in my career, I think I made that mistake just because you rank on the first page or the first two possessions for a keyword does not ever mean you're getting 100% of the search volume into your site. There is a lot of deviation when it comes to people clicking around or people not even clicking anything on that search result, right?

So, that's kind of just a very quick reminder that I want to give to this video. Remember search volume does not equal your actual traffic to the website. So hopefully that reminder will help you guys in your own interpretation and understanding of the data. If you guys found the video valuable, please like and subscribe, and I hope to see you guys again soon.

Thanks everybody.

Jason Khoo

About the author

Jason is founder and CEO of Zupo, which is an Orange County based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends catching up on reading and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.

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