Should I target low search volume keywords in B2B SEO?


If you’re a B2B company struggling to make a business impact with SEO, you’re not alone. The first step to any SEO strategy – figuring out which keywords to target – can be difficult. Those high-volume, low-competition gems that promise to bring us lots of customers ready to throw their money at us are few and far between. 

Even though 81% of B2B tech marketers believe SEO has become a more important channel in the last 12 months, it turns out that less than half have a defined SEO strategy. As a result, most SEOs focus solely on keywords with high search volume and relatively low competition, because they’re only considering quick wins over long term gains. 

Many B2B marketers make the decision to leave low search volume keywords out of their strategy altogether. After all, is there any point in targeting keywords that no one is searching for? It can feel fruitless to create unique content for a topic that no one seems to care about. 

Falsehoods like this demonstrate just how much SEOs still have to learn, with tactics that go beyond well known best practices of B2B SEO. B2B marketers might be missing out on the rewards of targeting keywords with a low search volume. 

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the key reasons why you might want to consider targeting low search volume keywords the next time you’re conducting keyword research and formulating a B2B content strategy. 

The problem with focusing on high volume keywords

Typically, the strategy followed by most SEO teams looks like this: find a seed keyword, put it into Google Ads’ keyword tool, and pick out all the relevant keywords which aren’t too competitive. 

Many companies focus on keywords that have a high search volume to increase the chances that more people will see their content. However, your keyword selection should be about far more than search volume and driving a high number of users to your site. 

Just because a keyword has a high search volume, it does not mean that your content will get a high number of clicks as it might not be relevant enough to rank highly and drive traffic. Most likely, keywords with high search volume are also highly competitive, so you’ll need to produce a lot more content to organically compete for these terms. 

It’s best practice at 93x to prioritise quality over quantity. This means we enable B2B companies for SEO success by focussing on keyword intent instead of search volume. 

What are the benefits of focusing on keyword intent volume instead of search volume?

Although they can provide invaluable insights, search data platforms can never be 100% accurate. This means the true value of low search volume keywords has been disguised, so it’s often left to B2B SEO teams to interrogate the potential opportunities available.

Most marketers think that targeting low volume keywords is a waste of time, and few consider the importance of keyword intent

Keyword intent is one of the most crucial, yet overlooked aspects of SEO. Instead of focusing solely on driving more traffic to B2B websites, it focuses on driving higher quality prospects. Searchers who use “high intent” keywords are more likely to conduct “commercial” actions, such as inquiring about a service or making a purchase. For this reason, “high intent” keywords are also considered to lead to more tangible and impactful business outcomes. 

To understand how a keyword can have a low search volume but high intent, consider the following example: A B2B tech company with a platform that offers courses in cyber security is looking to increase the amount of quality leads they get through their website. They find that the keyword “cybersecurity” has over 10,000 average monthly searches. Meanwhile, the keyword “beginner cybersecurity course online” has only 100 average monthly searches. 

They consider that it’s very unlikely someone searching “cybersecurity” would be ready to purchase the course they are offering. As this term is so broad, they have very little understanding of why that person might be interested in cyber security. 

For a software company selling online cybersecurity courses for beginners, “beginner cybersecurity course online” is a much more attractive keyword – despite having a significantly lower search volume, those who are searching for it are in the market to purchase their solution. 

Why you shouldn’t ignore zero search volume keywords

It’s especially easy to overlook keywords that have zero search volume and assume they’re not worth targeting at all. 

However, it’s important to remember that search volume tools can never be entirely accurate. Just because it looks like nobody is searching for a keyword, it doesn’t mean that this is actually the case. 

In fact, in 2017, Google confirmed that 15% of searches it sees every day are brand new. And although 2017 seems like a lifetime ago on the internet, when you consider that 8.5 billion searches are done every day using Google, it seems almost inevitable that a good number of those searches are likely to be brand new queries that no one has ever searched for before. 

This means that many companies are likely missing out on a huge number of potential new customers. Zero search volume keywords are particularly relevant for tech companies that operate in niche markets, where the pool of prospects is gradually increasing as demand arises and solutions become more accessible and widely known. 


What are the benefits of targeting low volume keywords for SEO?

  • Fewer websites will be trying to rank for low volume keywords, which means you will have less competition and will be able to rank for them more easily. 
  • Low volume long tail keywords are likely to be extremely relevant to your target audience. This means they also have a higher chance of converting and increasing your return on investment (ROI). 
  • They give you the opportunity to create interest centered around a very small, specific niche, and to become the expert that potential customers will want to return to again and again. 
  • You increase the chances of your content ranking for a number of low-volume keywords at the same time, which compounds your potential for bringing in more traffic. While targeting one long-tail keyword might not bring you much traffic, adding up several search terms can quickly result in a significant amount of search interest.
  • Focusing on high intent keywords increases your chances of converting the small number of users who do click through to your content into paying customers. 

How do I know which low search volume keywords to target?

It can be difficult to figure out which low search volume keywords you should target – especially if you don’t have data to guide you. Here are a few guidelines that can help you to decide:

  • Find out which keywords you can rank for with little effort 

You should look for keywords that have low competition, and that don’t have a long list of other companies with huge budgets trying to rank for them. This means that when a user types in a query that matches your keyword, they’re more likely to click on your result. 

  • Target keywords that have high intent volume

Keywords with higher intent appeal to users who are likely to be at a later stage in the buying cycle, which means they’re more likely to conduct a transaction. 

  • Make sure your keywords are extremely relevant to your audience 

There’s little point in driving lots of traffic to your website only for people to realise that you can’t offer them what they need. For instance, if you’re a B2B SaaS company selling an online cybersecurity course to other businesses, you might target specific long-tail keywords that are related to your course, such as “how to install a firewall”. 

However, while such keywords are likely to be relevant to potential customers, they are less likely to convert, which means your budget could be better spent elsewhere.

  • Become an authority in a small niche 

In many cases, keywords might have a low search volume because people have yet to use these specific terms, or because they’re searched so infrequently that keyword tools are disguising their value. This is especially likely if you’re in a small niche. 

By creating a solid strategy around keywords with a search volume of below 100, you can get a headstart on creating relevance for keywords that might be high-volume and high-competition in the future. 

Looking for more help with your SEO strategy?

The B2B landscape can be extremely competitive, which is why it is so important to search for the hidden opportunities to target low volume keywords  – especially those which have high intent and are more likely to convert users into paying customers.

Ultimately, it is up to SEOs to interrogate the potential opportunities behind keywords, and figure out how to leverage them to best appeal to as much of the target audience as possible. 

If you’d like to enhance your SEO strategy, we’re an award-winning B2B SEO agency specialising in integrated campaigns for tech and SaaS companies. Learn more about our services here.

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