How to locate and increase traffic with zero search volume keywords

Targeting zero search volume (ZSV) keywords is a blue ocean strategy.

And by this I mean there is almost no competition.

Most people are looking for juicy validated keywords with loads of search volume and zero keyword difficulty.

But this method is flawed.

For many reasons. 

Which I’ll discuss in this article.

So instead of chasing traffic on faulty and outdated data let's find ZSV keywords that can skyrocket your organic traffic.

What is a zero search volume keyword?

A zero search volume keyword is a keyword or search term that shows no volume in SEO software.

Regardless of whether you’re using Ahrefs, Semrush, SEranking, or Uber Suggest, they aren't updated with the latest search data.

Here’s what it looks like in Ahrefs with the example term “best scrum master tools for small marketing teams”.

zsv keyword example in ahrefs
An example of ZSV keyword in Ahrefs

When it comes to locating these terms I start with Google Search Console and analyze content I’m already ranking for. 

This query below shows about 4 impressions for any given day which means over 100 searches per month.

huberman keyword in gsc
A ZSV keyword opportunity I found in my Google Search Console account

Although when I check Ahrefs it's suggesting there is no search volume. 

This is a sign you've found a zero search volume keyword.

huberman keyword in ahrefs
Search volume for the same keyword in Ahrefs

It's also an opportunity to create a dedicated page for the keyword or to include the topic in an existing article to boost your rankings. 

But let's be clear – I’m not advocating for SEOs to start blasting pages for even zero search volume keywords they come across.

Nor do I think it's a good idea to start keyword-stuffing your existing articles.

I'm simply suggesting improving your existing content or building topical authority with new pages where it makes sense.

Why should you bother going after zero search volume keywords?

First of all, I wouldn’t start with this strategy.

And I definitely wouldn’t rely on it.

You should always build a legitimate content plan backed by a longer-term content strategy. 

However, if you’ve done this and you’re looking for an extra boost this can help. 

The benefits include:

  • Low or no competition so it’s easier to rank
  • You can quickly improve existing content
  • It will strengthen your topical authority

How to quickly find zero search volume keywords

Audit Google Search Console

An easy way to find ZSV keywords is to dig into Google Search Console. 

In the example I used above I simply clicked on any link with impressions in Google Search Console and navigated to queries.

Here's what it looks like:

my search console example
My GSC dashboard

This will show you all of the queries your content is ranking for in the SERPs, including the ZSV keywords. 

Let's look at a real example of an article I wrote about copywriting exercises.

When I dig into Google Search Console I can see it's ranking for the term “practice copywriting briefs” which I don't specifically cover in my article.

But it's showing impressions and clicks so it might be worth exploring in Ahrefs.

copywriting gsc
The ZSV keyword opportunity in my Google Search Console

After digging into Ahrefs we can see it has almost zero search volume.

copywriting ahrefs screenshot
Low volume keyword in Ahrefs for “practice copywriting briefs”

This is the perfect example of a keyword that you would completely miss because there is almost no search volume or traffic potential.

Leverage Reddit for ideas

subreddit stats keywords
Top keywords in r/minecraft2

If you’ve read any of my articles you’ll know I’m a fan of Reddit. 

There are plenty of free tools that can help you identify early trends that fly under the radar.

You can use sites like SubReddit Stats, Anvaka Sayit, or Gummy Search to find both short-tail and long-tail keywords to target. 

From here you can cross-check them in Ahrefs (or any SEO tool) to see whether there is any volume.

If the SEO software says there isn't any search volume but you notice the keyword being used frequently in the subreddits then it could be worth writing about.

Use Google's autocomplete feature

google autocomplete

Start by typing a seed keyword into the Google search bar and observe the suggestions that Google provides.

The suggestions are generally based on real queries and can reveal long-tail keywords that have low competition.

Some SEO Chrome extensions like Surfer SEO will show you the search volume of the suggested keywords in the drop-down. However, this hasn't been working for me lately so I haven't included it.

Make a note of any relevant suggestions that are not commonly targeted by competitors.

Additionally, you can experiment with adding letters or numbers before or after your seed keyword to generate more suggestions.

suggested terms alphabet
Automcomple based on different first letters

This is a bit more time-consuming but you're guaranteed to find long-tail keywords you haven't yet considered.

Use Answer The Public

Answer The Public is part of the NP Digital group owned by Neil Patel.

However, this particular tool analyses Google's autocomplete data and visualizes the terms based on search volume, alphabet, and other questions.

Most marketers use it for content ideas but it can also be used to identify zero search volume keywords. Saving you hours from manually researching these terms on your own.

answer the public example
Example output for a seed term

The tool will save you a lot of time, and likely uncover more opportunities, however it's a paid tool. If you want to make the most of it you'll need to create an account.

Frequently asked questions

Can zero search volume keywords drive traffic to my website?

Yes, zero search volume keywords can still attract traffic. Even though these keywords have no recorded search volume, they indicate specific interests and can capture the attention of a small but relevant audience.

How can I find zero search volume keywords?

Utilize keyword research tools like Answer The Public, SubRedditStats, and Google Search Console to identify keywords with low or zero search volume.

Explore niche topics, long-tail keywords, and specific locations to uncover untapped opportunities.

If this doesn’t work consider using alternative tools like Anvaka Sayit or Gummy Search.

How should I optimize my content for zero search volume keywords?

The easiest way is to incorporate zero search volume keywords naturally into your content, including the title tag, meta description, headings, and body of text.

Focus on providing valuable and comprehensive information to users interested in those niche topics. Avoid keyword stuffing or spinning up thin pages directly targeting these keywords. 

How long does it take to see results from zero search volume keywords?

This is impossible to say and the timeline for seeing results will vary based on site. It depends on factors such as competition, the quality of your content, and your overall SEO strategy. 

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