One of the main problems that I see time and time again with new bloggers is that they base their articles around keywords that are far too competitive for their blogs current domain authority. This usually ends up with the blogger investing their time and effort into an article that has little to no hope of ever ranking in Google and bringing any traffic to their blog.
Although there are a large number of Google keyword research tips available online, one of the most under rated tips is taking advantage of zero search volume keywords that many other bloggers instantly disregard. This is due to keyword research tools suggesting that they have no monthly searches but in practise, this is often un-true.
As so many bloggers instantly discount these zero search volume keywords, they often have either very low competition or have no competition at all. Due to this, I wanted to publish this article to show you how to choose keywords for blogging that have a good chance of your articles ranking and actually bringing traffic to your blog.
Unlike going over how to choose keywords for SEO clients where you will often have a budget for backlinks, as bloggers, we can often pick and choose our battles. If a keyword has high competition, we can choose to leave it but unfortunately, an SEO doing client work will often have their clients wanting to rank for very high competition keywords with little to no wiggle room.
Why Zero Search Volume Keywords Work
Integrating zero search volume keywords into your blogs overall keyword research strategy can work for a number of different reasons. Provided you find your keywords following the methods explained below, you have a reasonable chance of being able to pull organic traffic from Google when tools such as AHRefs, Moz, SEMRush, and Keywords Everywhere predict that no one is searching for it.
This is due to going be various indications that Google can give us when doing out keyword research for blogging that there is a high chance of people looking for content on a specific topic. In addition to this, we will only be choosing our primary keyword for our keyword theme using this method. As you write your article, you will naturally and often unknowingly add additional secondary and LSI keywords to your content that can bring traffic.
On top of this, your articles can have a high chance of being served by Google for one-time search queries too. These are queries that Google has never seen before and may never be seen again but at scale, can end up bringing a large amount of traffic to your blog.
An example of one of these keywords is “best blue ballpoint pen for engineers working in Antartica researching the ozone layer“. The search query is very specific to the searcher’s needs but having hundreds of people making searches like this and landing on your articles quickly adds up.
Who Else Is Using Zero Search Volume Keywords
Before I go any further, I want to clarify that I did not invest this strategy by any means. After making a video based around using zero search volume keywords on YouTube a few months back, I have seen people on forums and Reddit credit the method to me. This has been around for along longer than I have been involved in blogging with people being able to pull massive amounts of organic traffic from Google when implementing it at scale.
I have seen some people being able to pull over 1000 organic hits per month per zero search volume article with some people using nothing but this strategy for their blogs and earning thousands of dollars per month. I recently reviewed the Passive Income Geek blogging course that can be a great addition to your blogging arsenal where he teaches a similar method to this and is making a full-time income from it. On top of this, he has managed to build a blog using a similar strategy to this and then sell it for $30,000!
On top of that, there is plenty of confirmation from forums, Reddit, Quora, and YouTube that targeting zero search volume keywords for your blog articles is able to bring huge amounts of traffic. Take the comment below from Reddit where the Redditor puts forward a good point that when done at scale, following the 80/20 rule, for every ten zero search volume keyword article that they publish, they usually get at least one that brings in hundreds if not thousands of organic hits per month.
The comment below is also from Reddit where the Redditor makes a similar comment regarding the 80/20 rule when implementing these keywords. They also confirm that one of their blog articles that uses the zero search volume keyword research strategy is pulling 8000 organic views per month from their blog!
If you are with a premium display ad network such as Ezoic then you can often get a much higher income per 1000 views to your blog than when using something like Adsense. Although I have seen people manage to earn over $20 per 1000 views on their blog with Ezoic, let’s take a $10 RPM for an example.
With the comment above from Reddit, that one zero search volume article bringing in 8000 organic hits from Google per month can potentially be earning them $80 per month, that’s $970 per year from one single article just from display ads. This is using the example RPM of $10 too and many people are able to get much higher than that with the Ezoic ad network while also earning additional income via affiliate links in their articles on top of this.
The comment above was made on my YouTube video covering this effective keyword research strategy for blogging where Phil confirms that the top-performing post on his site gets a predicted monthly search volume of 0. These are just three examples of many where people other than myself are integrating this keyword research process into their blogging strategy to pull large amounts of traffic from Google each month.
Are Zero Search Volume Keywords Beginner Friendly
There are a huge number of people who decide to try their hand at blogging every year while being total beginners. I honestly do think that trying to build your initial blog articles around zero search volume keywords can be an excellent idea. The keyword research method can be done for free and has the potential to help bring you a huge amount of traffic in a relatively short amount of time, especially if you implement it at scale.
Many people who are just starting their blogging journey want to keep their initial costs as low as possible and one of the best things about using this keyword research method is that there is no need for you to pay for any premium keyword research tools. This means that after your initial domain registration and hosting costs, you can play around with the Google search engine results page to get your initial keywords and get churning out those articles.
The comment above is from a Reddit thread based around using this keyword research strategy posted by a Redditor who is a blogging beginner. As you can see, they confirm that they are using this keyword research method for their initial blog keywords and that traffic has already started to increase on their blog after only Five weeks!
How To Do Zero Search Volume Keyword Research
So, after all of that, let’s get into how you actually do zero search volume keyword research. Strictly, there are two variants that you are able to go with, the first is where you use a tool such as Keywords Everywhere or Keyword Surfer or both that will give you a predicted monthly search volume and you only look at the keywords that get zero suggested searches.
The screenshot above shows how this information is rendered into the page for a search query. The search volume prediction to the lower left of the query is a global volume prediction from Keywords Everywhere and the search volume prediction to the right of the query is the USA only volume prediction from Keyword Surfer.
Both tools will also give you a search volume prediction as you continue to type the rest of a search query as shown in the image above. Keywords Everywhere will simply not display a predicted search volume if there is none as seen with the example above of “keyword research tool for fiverr” shown just to the right of the query. Keyword Surfer will actually display a 0 as shown in the image above to the right hand side of the Google dropdown.
The second variant of this keyword research method is that you just check everything Google shows you using the methods below without using a search volume prediction tool. This can mix in keywords that do have a predicted traffic search volume but if you follow these steps, they should all be low/zero competition. This second method is what is taught in the Passive Income Geek blogging course and the method that I think will end up becoming the more popular of the two in the future.
How To Research Zero Search Volume Keywords On Google
As I mentioned earlier in the article, there is no need to folk out for any expensive keyword research tools to start hunting for zero search volume keywords. All you need is time and the Google search engine results page to see the results of your search query.
Google is going to show us everything that we need to know and we are going to be taking advantage of three different methods that can be highly effective. These are the related searches method, the alphabet soup method, and the people also asked method. Ideally, you will be trying to use all three of them together as using them in this way can result in a large number of keywords being found in a relatively short period of time.
We are going to use these three methods as it is likely that Google are showing us these results as people are actually searching for them meaning that they can bring organic traffic to your blog. If you just blindly type full search queries into Google you will find a large number of keywords that have zero predicted monthly searches but they may not actually bring you any traffic.
Using The Related Searches Method To Find Keywords
As you can see in the image above, the initial dropdown box and the “searches related to…” inject at the bottom of the search engine results page in Google almost always return the exact same keywords. The issue with just scrolling down to the bottom of the page to check them in the related searches inject is that they don’t have the additional information added from the keyword research chrome extensions I mentioned earlier.
As I said, there is no need to use keyword research extensions when going through this process as this particular method doesn’t care if they keyword actually gets search volume or not. That said though, you maybe doing zero search volume keyword research at the same time as other methods so many people will use the plugins anyway.
The point I am trying to get across is that the initial dropdown for suggested search terms from Google when you click the search query box will show the predicted search volume information from these plugins. As it is at the very top of the search engine’s results page, it also removes the need to scroll down and waste time. I have noticed a few people on forums and Reddit asks for ways to speed up the process, doing it this way with the dropdown saves a surprising amount of time when processing a large number of potential keywords.
After putting in some initial keyword ideas and then searching them with Google, you can often some up with some decent keyword ideas for more specific keywords. If you do use a broader initial keyword phrase as I have in the example above, you can sometimes get some good ideas by repeating this process on the initial suggestions as shown below.
As you can see, I have taken the initial related search suggestion of “keyword research tips” from the initial search of “keyword research” and simple done the same thing. You can repeat this over and over if required and easily source a large number of different keyword suggestions.
Although the chrome plugins suggest that the keyword “keyword research framework” has zero monthly searches, because Google is suggesting it to us using this method, I would suspect that you would be able to get organic traffic to your blog from Google if you were able to rank in the top three positions in Google for it.
Using The Alphabet Soup Method To Find Keywords
The alphabet soup keyword research method has seen a huge increase in popularity over the last few years as Google developed their auto-predict system. Unlike the related searches method above, this one will require some effort from you but it is currently one of my main ways to generate keywords for blogging that actually rank and pull traffic.
As you can see from the image above, you simply type your primary keyword into the Google search bar and then add a letter of the alphabet after it for the autocomplete to give you a number of different suggestions. In my experience, the keywords that show as having zero predicted search volume per month on this initial run through usually offer the best organic traffic potential.
The above image shows how I took the “keyword research amazon” example that was identified on the initial run through and then started to use that phrase for another run through with the alphabet soup method. The keywords identified from this second run through where you already have a modifier on the original keyword that you started with usually offer much lower levels of traffic.
That said though, keywords that you find from the second run through using this method tend to have a lower level of competition from other bloggers meaning they can be much easier to rank. Although the tend to bring in less traffic, if you are working with high ticket affiliate items, their traffic can end up resulting in a nice little side income from doing keyword research with Google for free.
If the niche that you are working in is large enough, you may be able to do an additional third run on these keywords but my recent testing suggests that these bring much less traffic. This could just be due to the niches I work in being much smaller than something such as the health niche so feel free to test a third run using the alphabet soup method if you like. Just be warned that my own testing suggests it is not worth the time so primary and secondary runs are all I plan to do in the future.
Although this is still currently the main way I do keyword research for my blog for the initial acquisition of keywords, I started playing around with the additional free method using Google that I cover below. The initial test articles that I have managed to get online so far are suggesting that this could be another effective way to source zero search volume keyword ideas for your articles without having to pay for premium keyword research tools.
Using The People Also Asked Method To Find Keywords
The image above shows the people also ask box that is becoming more and more popular in the Google search engine results page. Although at the time of writing, it is a relatively new addition to the SERP, it has a massive amount of potential for finding keywords. Although the widget usually loads with four initial questions, you can usually expand it and get a huge number of questions if you open and close the bottom drop down as shown in the image below.
As you can see, the original widget now has six questions rather than just the original four and you can keep expanding and collapsing the bottom question to have the widget keep suggesting questions for you. Keep in mind that the further down the suggestions you go, the less relevant that the questions will become to the original keyword but the questions are still usually niche relevant and may still be useful to you.
A quick note that I would like to make when using the people also asked widget to do keyword research for your website is that these are not strictly zero search volume keywords. Although they may be shown to have zero predicted monthly searches if you check them, it is due to Google presenting you with a fully formed question rather than the actual search.
From the image above, we can use “What is the best keyword tool” as an example. For examples sake, lets say that that exact question has a predicted monthly search volume of zero, if we remove the start of the question and check “best keyword tool” instead, the various tools out there may show that this term has search volume.
Although in the grand scheme of things, this doesn’t really matter as the actual competition of the keywords that I will go over later in the article matters more than their search volume, I just wanted to point that out. If you do find a zero or low competition keyword using the people also asked tool, you can usually strip away parts of the question to find the actual search phrase people may use and check its predicted search volume to get an idea of potential future traffic.
Which Google Tool Is Best Used For Zero Search Volume Keyword Research
Out of the three methods covered above, I am still heavily using the alphabet soup keyword research method for my own projects to source new keywords for my blog articles. As I touched on, I have started to play around with the people also asked widget more and more and see an absolute ton of potential in it for a large number of niches.
I would recommend that you try out both methods for your own projects and see what one you prefer. They both require effort from you but they do tend to return different keyword ideas to each other so if you have the time, using both of them can often help you gather potential keywords quickly.
Checking The Competition Of Zero Search Volume Keywords
This is without a doubt the most common area of any keyword research methodology that bloggers make mistakes in. The over estimate the domain authority of their blog and their ability to build page authority and end up targeting keywords that have a huge level of competition meaning they produce articles for keywords that they will probably never rank for.
Keyword research and analysis of the search engine results page for each of the potential keywords that you sourced using the three methods in the previous section of the article is essential to prevent this. Although competitor analysis does take a large amount of time and effort, taking the time to churn out a massive number of articles for the potential keywords you have gathered will take considerably more.
Although you can technically go through this keyword analysis process without having any plug-ins installed in your browser, it can be a good idea to install Moz Bar. This will help you work out if a keyword is low competition and worth targeting if there are other blogs on the first page of Google also targeting the same keyphrase or variants of it that are too strong for you to beat.
Identifying Low Competition Keywords Using Keyword Targeting
This is the holy grail for this method and you should quickly and easily be able to rank your blog articles if you find keywords like this. This keyword analysis method is based around checking the search engine results page to see what the current search results are actually targeting.
For many niches, when you use these methods to find potential keywords that get zero predicted searches per month, you will find keywords that no one else is currently targeting. Although Google will still return what it thinks best answers the search query, the articles will usually be based around something else with one sentence or paragraph relevant to the search query.
For example, say your potential keyword is “best socks for an ice skater” but all of the blogs that Google returns for the query are actually based around “best socks for a snowboarder” but have a sentence in them saying something along the lines of how the socks also work well for ice skaters and other winter sports enthusiasts, they are not directly targeting the potential keyword.
Even if all of the blogs have really high stats when it comes to Moz Bar that I will explain below, the article is not based around your target keyword so you should still have a good chance of being able to rank in Google and get organic traffic to your blog. Again, these keywords are rare for the niches I work in but they may be common place for your niche giving you a much easier time getting quick and easy traffic from Google.
Using Moz Bar For Your Keyword Research
At the time of writing, the Moz Bar plugin is free to use but this may change in the future. The AHRefs toolbar plugin used to be much better than the Moz Bar plugin and was also free for many years but now you need to have an active subscription for AHRefs to use it. Although people have been saying Moz Bar will go in the same direction soon, it is still currently free.
The Moz Bar adds additional data to your Google search engine results page so you are able to have a better understanding of the power of both the domain and the particular page on that domain. The Moz Bar is injected under each entry in the search engine results page for your query and is easy to see and understand when using it.
The term PA is short for page authority and gives a ballpark idea of the strength of a particular page on a blog and DA is short for domain authority giving a ballpark idea of the strength of a particular domain. They both work on an exponential scale meaning that it is much easier to move from 10 to 20 than it is from 20 to 30 and so on. The lower the DA and PA of a blog on the search engine results page, the better.
Identifying Low Competition Keywords Using The Competing Blogs Domain Authority
Ideally, you want to try and find zero search volume keywords that have no competition at all meaning that it should be very easy to rank for the term. That said though, these zero competition keywords are rare so you will often have to go up against other blogs targeting the same keywords as you.
Although the Moz crawler definitely has its issues, considering that the Moz Bar plugin is free, it is worth using as it can offer a quick and easy way to gage the potential strength of a competing domain for a keyword that you would ideally want to target on your own blog. You will have to factor in the domain strength of your own blog but as this article is targeted towards new bloggers, I will presume that your own blog domain authority is less than 10.
The image above shows the type of PA and DA that I would ideally be wanting to see for a keyword if my own blogs domain authority was less than 10. When doing your keyword acquisition, the more blogs on the first page of Google for your potential keyword with a PA and DA of around or less than 10 the better. This is only if the blogs are targeting the target keyword or variants of it.
For example, there is a high chance that Google is able to work out that people searching for “best school notebook” and “best school notepad” are looking for the same thing and will show the same search results now. Although you used to be able to get totally different results for keywords like this meaning you could rank for one even if the other was low competition, those days are long gone.
So if your potential keywords is “best school notebook” I would still class articles targeting the search terms “best school notepad”, “best notebook for school” or “best notepad for taking school notes” as direct competition. I know that there are articles out there saying not to worry about similar keywords like this but these are old and Google has changed a lot since then.
I have a keyword research guide on Reddit from a few years back that has similar issues to this. It is using an outdated method that does not work anymore and is years old but I still get people to this day messaging me about it.
The domain stats from Moz Bar in the image above are usually about as high as I would go with my own blogs that have a weak domain authority, especially if you have no intention of building backlinks to your articles. I would recommend that you avoid anything with a PA and DA of less than or around 20 if this is the case if blogs with higher stats are targeting your keyword or variants of it.
Anything with multiple blogs with stats in the image above that are targeting your keyword or variants of it should be avoided when using this keyword research method. Although you can probably still beat competing blogs that have a DA and PA of around or less than 30 if you are willing to build backlinks to your articles, the low traffic potential of zero search volume keywords usually makes it hard to offset the cost of the links and get a return on your initial investment for the links.
Identifying Low Competition Keywords Using Article Word Count
Although this keyword competition analysis technique should only really be used as a secondary method to the domain authority based method above, you can still get a good idea of competition from word count. If you are wanting to manually check the word count of the articles ranking for your potential keywords on the first page of Google it will add hours to your keyword research process but there is a work around.
The Keyword Surfer Chrome plugin adds a predicted word count for the page just below the article title as shown in the image above. The 3,143 is the predicted word count for that particular page in the search engine results page. I say predicted word count as it currently tracks all words on the page meaning anything in the sidebar or comments section is included.
In my opinion, Google is clever enough to know that the article is within the body tags on the page and may only factor that in. That said though, for a free plugin, the Keyword Surfer browser extension is able to give you a decent idea at a glance and save you a ton of time.
Anyway, if you check a potential keyword and see that the competing results that are on the first page of Google for it are all targeting your potential keyword, have low domain authority but are 300 to 500-word articles, you still have a good chance of being able to take the top spot if your article is 1500 to 2000 words long.
Identifying Low Competition Keywords Using User Generated Content Sites
User-generated content sites can be a quick and easy way to identify if the competition of a keyword is low or not. Sites such as Reddit, Quora, Stack Overflow, and niche related forums often only rank on the first page of Google as there is no other competition available that can push them off the first page.
In my experience, the Google core algorithm update that rolled out on the 4th May 2020 did give additional weight to these platforms though and if they have a good article on the page then it can be difficult to beat them. For example, in one of the niches I work has a number of excellent answers on both Quora and Reddit where there are multiple, detailed, valuable 1500-2000 replies to the question.
Although this definitely does seem to be niche dependent, until you get a feel for if these user-generated content sites pose a thread I would highly recommend you manually check each of them to see if they have good answers that Google are valuable. I know that this can take a lot of time and effort to do but in the grand scheme of things, it can work in your favour as you can discount potential keywords that you will not rank for.
Ideally, when using this keyword research method for your blog, the more user-generated platforms on the first page of Google the better. They often have low-quality content, low domain authority, and their rankings in Google can often easily be taken. Even if there are just one of these platforms that is specifically targeting your potential keyword and it is low on page one but the rest of the results are not particularly targeting the keyword, it can be a great indication that the keyword is low competition.
How To Choose The Keywords For Your Blog Articles
I just want to quickly try and Summarize what makes a good keyword when using this keyword research method and try to give you a keyword research checklist to increase the chances of your keywords being able to rank and pull traffic to your blog. Although the information on how to actually do each of these bullet points is in the article above, here is a quick summary.
- Source the keyword via the Google Related Search, Alphabet Soup, or people also asked methods. As Google is predicting these as potential queries you may be looking for, there is a good chance people are searching for answers on that topic even though keyword tools say they get zero monthly searches.
- Manually search the keyword in Google and see if there are any other entries in the search engine results page targeting it or variants of it. Although rare, there may not be anyone else answering this question meaning that it should be easy to rank for.
- If there are other entries on page one targeting your potential keyword, you have used a tool such as Moz Bar to try and get an indication of their domain authority and page authority. As explained above, there are different ways you are able to intemperate this data for different levels of competition.
- Check the word count of any entries in the search engine results page that are directly targeting your potential keyword or variants of it. Although not an exact science, lower word count articles can often be beaten by a longer, more in-depth article.
- Check the search engine results page for user-generated content sites as they can be a good indication of how low the competition of a keyword actually is. As touched on above, I would highly recommend you manually check these entries as some of them have excellent answers that may be difficult to beat.
Outsourcing The Process Or Using Keyword Research Software
Although the keyword research requirements for zero search volume keywords are simple and straight forward, I have lost count of the number of times I have seen a keyword research tool or service over promise, over charge, and massively under deliver. In my experience, this even includes premium SEO tools such as AHRefs and although you can get good value out of an active AHRefs subscription, it will more likely come from the other tools they offer rather than their keyword research tool.
There are also countless keyword research services out there where people suggest they will be able to provide you with low competition keywords that will bring your blog traffic for a low price. To date, after trying a number of them and reviewing some of them on my YouTube channel, I am yet to find any that do what they promise.
This is why I recommend that you avoid keyword research tools and services and just go through the process yourself. Once you are used to using it and have proven the concept of using zero search volume keywords to bring traffic to your blog, you can then try to teach a virtual assistant the method if needed.
Integrating Other Keyword Research Methods Into Your Strategy
Although this is a great method for keyword research for blog posts if you are a beginner or are wanting to try find low competition keywords, I do not recommend that you build all of your articles around keywords using this method. If you are using keyword research chrome plugins such as Keywords Everywhere or Keyword Surfer then you will inevitably come across keywords that are low competition but have a suggested monthly search volume while hunting for zero search volume keywords.
I would highly recommend that you action those keywords too and produce an article for them as it is highly likely that they will bring more traffic to your blog than an article targeting a zero search volume keyword that is also low competition. It is usually just harder to find keywords that do have a predicted monthly search volume as many people are actively searching for them.
The key take away is to test, test, test, and then test again when looking for keywords. This is how I managed to stumble onto this method and it is something that I am looking to scale into with future articles to get relatively quick and easy traffic to my own blogs to make money online. I have used this method for both buyer intent affiliate-based keywords as well as informational intent display ad keywords with both being able to bring traffic.
That brings my guide on how to do keyword research for zero search volume keywords to a close. I hope that you have found it useful and that you are going to be able to use this along with your existing keyword research methods to bring organic traffic to your blog from Google in the future.
Due to seeing so many people reaching out with questions similar to “how to find keywords for blogging for free” I do think that this article will be able to provide value to a large number of beginner bloggers who are just starting out. Depending on your overall blogging strategy, even intermediate and full time bloggers can implement this for their own blogs to increase their monthly traffic too.