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How to Work Around Keywords with Low Search Volume

keywords google state of ppc May 21, 2013

You launched a new campaign and added a lot of new keywords to your account that are very relevant to your product. However, a day later, you discover that the keyword is not generating any impressions and has the status – ‘low search volume.’

What does the status ‘low search volume’ mean?

This is a status given to a keyword in your AdWords account that doesn’t have enough search traffic on Google search. It means this keyword will remain inactive and won’t trigger your ad until search traffic for that keyword increases. If search queries for the keyword increase, it’ll become active and will start showing ads.

What are your options?

It is quite frustrating to have keywords that are relevant to your product marked as ‘low search volume’. Whatever happened to targeting long-tail keywords? Anyway, we just have to find a way to work around it! Here are some options:

1. Leave the keyword as it is.

When search queries for the keyword increase it’ll automatically start showing ads. This option makes sense if your keywords are for a product that is new and will pick up traffic. If you’re launching a new product or site, your brand terms won’t have traffic immediately but it will pick once people become aware of it.

2. Change match type.

It is very common for long keyword phrases in exact and phrase match to be marked low search volume. This is because the probability for someone searching for a keyword with 5-6 words in a certain order is very low. In this case, change the match type to broad. If you use BMM (broad match modifier) then just put “+” in front of the most important words and not all because doing that will make it as good as phrase.

3. Find new keywords.

Use the keyword tool in your AdWords account to find new keywords to target. Add keywords that already have traffic.

How to manage low volume keywords?

Pause. If you have a large number of low search volume keywords, consider pausing the ones that are generic and have a low quality score. This will make your account manageable. Having a few low search volume keywords in your account doesn’t affect account performance. However, if you have a significant number of such keywords then it may affect the Quality Score of the campaign they are in and of course add unnecessary volume.

Relocate. Sometimes low search volume keywords are seasonal or related to an event/product that is yet to take place/launch. However, navigating through low search volume keywords every time you analyze account performance is not good use of your time and can be tedious. A good alternative is to house these keywords in a different campaign. Keep the same ad group names appended with ‘low search volume’ and move all low search volume keywords to a different campaign. It is much easier to analyze active keywords without the noise these keywords create. This will also help improve the overall campaign quality score.

What can you do to increase traffic on low search volume branded keywords?

Create buzz. If you’re launching a new product or site, expect brand related keywords to be marked low search volume. This is because people can’t search for something they don’t know exists. In this case, it is a good idea to run display campaigns to create brand awareness. People become aware of your product/site and start searching. This will increase search traffic for your brand terms and low search volume keywords will become active. It won’t happen overnight but you will start seeing results in a month or so.


Geetanjali Tyagi

Co-Founder & COO


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