There are lots of different keyword research tools available. 90% of the time they offer nothing new. When it comes to being definitive with a volume total, it honestly feels like a crap shoot.
Even Google’s Keyword planner is a mess, which is why so many new KW research products were developed to begin with. Proof that it is unreliable comes from the fact that the auto complete or “suggested or related searches” displayed at the bottom of search engine result pages don’t register any volume at all.
Another issue is the range it now gives for different phrases. When I was building this site I needed to choose between “SEO consultant” or “SEO expert” as a target phrase. In the screenshot below, you’ll see the volume range for “SEO consultant” is 1k-10k. For “seo expert” it is also 1k-10k.
So what should the next step be? Due to Google’s understanding of language, it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that you will successfully rank for both phrases even if you just target one. But it turns out the difference in exact matching part of the search phrase and partial matching is huge.
Check out the examples below – I searched for “seo expert vancouver” and websites with “consultant” in the title tag appeared in the top 3. Good for them.
But note when I searched for “seo consultant vancouver” I got very different results, a map pack, and saw the site that is #1 for “seo expert vancouver” (spacebound) now at #7.
Clearly these sites need to know which is better to rank for, consultant or expert.
Google Trends Provides Additional, Needed KW Info
On the next screen a 2nd box will appear allowing you to compare phrases. You can actually compare up to 4 phrases at once. You can even apply date range filters, device filters and location filters to pinpoint the type of search traffic you’re looking to measure.
As you can see – it’s no contest. “SEO expert” and its related phrases are clearly searched for more times than “seo consultant.” The graph measures “interest over time” and does not give a monthly search total. But had we just gone with the Keyword Planner tool there would have been a 50% chance we made the wrong decision.
Even if you used the bid prices in the screenshots above, you still would have got it wrong. It’s logical to infer that a higher bid price means a certain keyword will generate more ROI, but “seo consultant” was bid on more than “seo expert.”
In conclusion, when you run into phrases that are similar and the KW Planner isn’t giving you a clear answer on which is searched more, Google Trends can be your SEO lifesaver.
If you’re looking for a SEO expert in San Francisco to help your business with ranking better, fill out the contact form below and I’ll respond ASAP. Happy hunting.