July 6, 2015

SEO for Businesses with No Relevant Search Volume

What do you do when your product or business has no search volume around it (which is to say, no one is searching for what you offer?) For some businesses, like an e-commerce brand, search volume is through the roof. Think of how often people search “hotels in Tampa” or “wayfarer sunglasses.” But for others, search volume for relevant keywords is harder to come by. In this video, SEO heavyweight Rand Fishkin offers solutions for businesses with no relevant search volume.

This video provides tangible strategies for conducting keyword research for products and companies that don’t already have relevant search volume. Fishkin argues that too often in cases like this, organic search is dismissed as a channel of opportunity for these types of websites because of the lack of obvious search volume. The challenge in keyword research for these types of sites and clients then becomes finding which terms with existing volume make sense for optimization.

Typically, we use the keyword research that we conduct for the SEO side of the work to inform the content that we create and the paid marketing channels that we run. The cool part about the video is how it proposes reversing the normal process, by taking data from existing, performing marketing efforts (like demographic data from performing Facebook advertising) to work backwards to arrive at the intention (searches) of your target audience.

The video isn’t a panacea for this problem, and it’s admittedly operating within the mindset of new products or websites that have sizable marketing/outreach budgets. Still, it’s helpful in thinking more outside of the box for digital marketing and utilizing all of the data and tools available to us from each channel to inform the others.

Key Takeaways 
  • Use data from existing marketing campaigns to inform how you define your audiences. Once your audiences are defined, base your keyword research on the intents that you know they already have — not necessarily the exact intent that your product or service answers. If that’s not an option, use these keywords to inform your new content strategy — like blog posts, etc.
  • If your product or service hits users at a specific point within a funnel (that has no search volume to support it), optimize for terms that do have search volume at different points within that funnel.
  • This is the biggest point, and also the hardest to do, but for larger brands, you can optimize for search terms that you will create volume for. With the right budget and the right influencer-targeted campaign, you can create search volume. Although, the examples that the video uses — in particular Oculus Rift — require an existing, passionate audience before your product even exists.