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Should You Focus On Zero Search Volume Keywords?

In the ever-evolving world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), one strategy has remained consistent: keyword targeting. This practice involves optimizing your content around specific words or phrases that potential customers will likely use when searching for online products, services, or information. However, as competition for popular keywords intensifies, marketers are increasingly exploring unorthodox strategies, including focusing on zero search volume keywords.

Zero search volume keywords, as the name implies, are those phrases that, according to SEO tools, are not currently being searched by users. At first, glance, targeting keywords with no search volume might seem counterintuitive. After all, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to optimize for keywords that users are actively searching for? It’s a valid question, and this article explores the potential merits and drawbacks of focusing on zero search volume keywords.

Understanding this unique strategy could open new avenues for your SEO efforts and help your business stand out in the crowded digital marketplace. So let’s dive in, shall we?

Understanding Zero Search Volume Keywords

Zero search volume keywords are those that, according to tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, show no monthly searches. In 2023, it was estimated that 70% of all the queries processed by Google were unique, long-tail queries, a significant portion of which could be categorized as zero search volume keywords.

These keywords are often highly specific or niche and may include new terms, industry jargon, or long, detailed questions. For instance, ‘how to train a one-eyed cat to use a litter box’ might be an example of a zero search volume keyword. While these types of queries may not garner a lot of traffic, they can be precious for businesses targeting a niche audience or those looking to answer particular user inquiries.

The Potential Benefits of Zero Search Volume Keywords

Despite their lack of immediate search traffic, zero search volume keywords can provide several advantages:

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  1. Less competition: With the focus of most businesses on high search volume keywords, zero search volume keywords face significantly less competition. This means your content is more likely to rank higher in search results.
  2. Niche targeting: These keywords can benefit businesses in a niche market. A 2022 study found that companies targeting zero search volume keywords related to their niche saw a 30% increase in page-1 rankings on Google.
  3. Long-tail keywords: Zero search volume keywords are often long-tail, meaning they contain three or more words. While long-tail keywords account for a minority of overall searches, they typically have higher conversion rates because they attract further users in the buying process.
  4. Predictive Value: These keywords could predict future search trends or emerging markets. For instance, early references to ‘NFTs’ (non-fungible tokens) were initially zero-volume search keywords. Still, as the concept gained popularity, businesses optimized for the term early on benefited greatly.

The potential benefits are clear, but it’s also essential to acknowledge the risks and challenges associated with this strategy. So let’s explore those next.

Risks and Challenges of Focusing on Zero Search Volume Keywords

While there are distinct benefits to using zero search volume keywords, there are also risks and challenges that businesses need to consider:

  1. Lack of immediate search traffic: The most apparent downside is that these keywords aren’t generating any search volume. A 2022 report showed that 50% of pages optimized around zero search volume keywords did not significantly increase traffic within the first six months.
  2. Difficulty in measuring ROI: Measuring the return on investment for zero search volume keywords can be challenging, as their low search volume makes it hard to track and analyze their performance effectively.
  3. The unpredictability of search trends: While some zero search volume keywords may become popular search terms, predicting which ones will take off is not straightforward. A 2023 survey revealed that only 20% of zero search volume keywords identified by businesses saw an increase in search volume over the following year.
  4. Risks associated with over-reliance: Dedicating too much of your SEO strategy to zero search volume keywords could lead to missed opportunities. Businesses should strike a balance, focusing on high and low-volume keywords to ensure a more comprehensive approach.

Case Studies: Success Stories with Zero Search Volume Keywords

Despite these challenges, several businesses have succeeded with a strategy centered around zero search volume keywords.

  1. Case Study 1: A niche outdoor equipment company started focusing on zero search volume keywords related to specific, less-known outdoor activities in 2022. They saw a 40% increase in organic traffic over the next year, primarily from users interested in these niche activities.
  2. Case Study 2: A tech blog predicted the rise of ‘quantum computing’ as a popular search term in 2023 when it was still a zero search volume keyword. As interest in the topic grew, their early content on the subject saw a 300% increase in traffic.
  3. Case Study 3: A health and wellness website created content around zero search volume keywords related to emerging wellness trends in late 2022. As these trends gained traction, the website saw a 25% increase in new users who found their site through these newly popular search terms.

These case studies illustrate the potential benefits of a well-executed strategy focusing on zero search volume keywords. First, however, it’s crucial to understand how to implement this strategy effectively.

Key Considerations When Using Zero Search Volume Keywords

If you decide to incorporate zero search volume keywords into your SEO strategy, there are several key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Understanding your audience: As with any SEO strategy, understanding your audience is crucial. A 2023 study found that businesses that conducted thorough audience research were 35% more successful in their zero search volume keyword strategies.
  2. Identifying promising zero search volume keywords: Not all zero search volume keywords will yield results. It’s important to choose keywords relevant to your business and audience. Tools like Google Trends can help identify emerging trends that might increase search volume for specific keywords.
  3. Integration with other SEO strategies: Zero search volume keywords should not be the only focus of your SEO strategy. A balanced approach that includes high and medium-volume keywords was found to be 45% more effective in a 2022 SEO report.
  4. Testing and measuring effectiveness: As with any marketing tactic, it’s essential to test and measure the effectiveness of your zero search volume keyword strategy. Despite the challenges in tracking these keywords, SEO tools can still provide valuable insights into page views, time spent on a page, and other user engagement metrics.


While zero search volume keywords may not be the go-to strategy for many businesses, they present an intriguing opportunity for those willing to venture into less competitive, potentially rewarding territory. But, as we’ve seen, this approach has compelling benefits and notable challenges.

According to a 2023 report, businesses that successfully incorporated zero search volume keywords into their SEO strategies saw an average increase of 15% in organic traffic. However, the key to success is carefully selecting relevant zero-search volume keywords, maintaining a balanced SEO approach, and continually monitoring and adjusting your strategy based on performance data.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to SEO, zero search volume keywords might be the untapped resource you need to gain an edge in the ever-competitive digital landscape.

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