Is optimising for low or no search volume B2B keywords worth your time?


If you want to invest in making your website a lead generation machine, keyword research is a great place to start. Understanding how your target audience are searching for you and your competitors can help you prioritise actions and unlock opportunities. 

But what if some of the keywords you identify as highly relevant for your business have very low or no monthly search volume? Whilst you wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity of ranking, is it really worth spending time and resources optimising your website for terms with no data in your marketing tool of choice?


Things are not as clear cut as they seem.


Read on to discover:


What do we mean by “low/no volume” keywords?

A keyword is a query a user types into a search engine. However, according to your data source (whether it’s Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, Ahrefs, Moz etc), there may also be keywords with low or no monthly search volume (also known as zero volume keywords). Although your marketing tool seems to be tracking these keywords, the average monthly search volume in your region of interest is little to none.



Changing your mindset around low or no volume keywords

It’s very easy to believe “the more search volume a keyword has, the more opportunity there is for website traffic”. Whilst that might be true in some cases, how “valuable” a keyword is really depends on a multitude of factors, for example:

  • How relevant the keyword is to your business
  • The intent behind the search
  • The level of competition and keyword difficulty 
  • The number of businesses bidding on paid ads for the keyword


Although a high level of traffic from search engines might look great on the surface, it can sometimes act as a vanity metric. You want to make sure you are attracting the right traffic to your website. Any traffic that is not from your target audience is just noise and will result in your website having a very poor conversion rate. 


15% of searches on Google are brand new

Here’s another thing to consider. According to the Google overlords themselves, 15% of the keywords entered into the search engine every day have never been searched before.

That’s approximately 1.3 billion searches. Every day.

In the context of this statistic, prioritising keywords based solely on search volume might seem short-sighted.


95% of keywords have less than 10 searches a month

It would seem that the majority of the Google universe comprises the low or no search volume keywords many businesses readily dismiss. And there are many reasons to go against the grain and consider making these niche keywords part of your strategy.


The advantages of chasing low or no volume keywords

A prerequisite to this section is of course that the zero volume keyword you are evaluating is relevant to your business.

  • Longtail keywords generally convert better: The conversion rate of longtail keywords is higher than their short or mid tail counterparts - with some sources putting this at 36%. The more specific a user is being, the clearer they are on what they want and, if that happens to be the precise service or product you offer, you want to appear top.
  • Less competition: Broad keywords are often far more difficult to rank for. Additionally, there may be many businesses paying for ads at the top of the search results, which means less visibility and “real estate” for organic results. Niche keywords are often a source of untapped opportunity, so even small or new websites can get in front of the right audience quite quickly. 
  • Keyword variations: There are a thousand ways to write the same thing. You might be looking at one longtail keyword with 10 searches a month, but think back to the statistic from Google above. No doubt there are many other variations of this keyword and cumulatively this can increase the size of the prize, especially if the keyword shows commercial intent. 


That said, it’s still wise to be data-driven in your decision making, so whether you decide to pursue low or no volume keywords will depend on the circumstances, your other data sources and the opportunity. 

Here are three scenarios where going after zero volume keywords might be worth it, and what you need to consider.


Scenario #1: Blog posts

A company blog is a great way to get in front of your target audience when they are searching for something related to your service or industry. The flexible nature of blog posts also allows you to choose whether to go into great amounts of detail or provide a quick-fire summary on a given topic. They are especially great for tackling more niche subjects, and can easily rank for multiple keywords demonstrating the same intent. 


So should you write blog content targeting keywords with little or no search volume?

The answer is YES but only after you have considered the following.


How niche is your target audience?

For some businesses operating in niche areas, you have to get creative to find keywords that will drive the right audience to your website.

Take for example, a company supplying probiotic ingredients to manufacturers. By nature, the content this company publishes on its blog will be very niche and any keywords are likely to have little or no search volume. But going after higher-volume keywords at the expense of relevancy would be a mistake - there is much consumer interest in probiotics and such content would be more likely to attract B2C rather than B2B traffic. 


So if you operate in a small niche, going after low volume keywords is probably your wisest choice.


How related is the potential blog post to your product or service?

When weighing up where to put your time and money, this is worth considering. An idea with lower search volume target keywords could take priority over something with more search volume potential if it is more pertinent to your immediate business offer.


It’s all about intent

Take for example a company that provides payroll software for human resources. They are weighing up whether to prioritise writing a payroll software buying guide or a “What is payroll software?” style article. Although undoubtedly the latter will have a larger reach in terms of search volume, a user searching for the former is demonstrating that they are actively in the market for that particular solution.



Will your blog post solve a pain point of your Ideal Customer Profile?

This is where a business’ “other” data sources come in. Look at your consumer personas, talk to your sales team, talk to existing clients. Now re-evaluate your blog post idea and ask whether it directly addresses a pain point you’ve identified from any of those sources. If the answer is “Yes”, you should make sure the article makes it to your blog. As well as possibly attracting your target audience to your website, it will also become a useful resource for sales and your social media team to use.


What does the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) currently look like?

Typing your low volume keyword into Google and taking a look at the results that appear can help you identify the following:

  • Level of organic competition
  • Relevance to your business
  • What rich snippets are up for grabs


You can also scroll down and look at related searches to discover other longtail opportunities and direct the structure of your blog post.


As blog posts can cover a range of topics the criteria for assessing the value of low or no volume keywords is quite extensive. 

But what if the search volume for the product or service your business offers is very low, or even non-existent?


The next two scenarios address this - firstly we will look at what to ask yourself when you offer a product or service with an existing market, including direct competitors.


Scenario #2: Product or service with low / no search volume and direct competitors

Most businesses can successfully summarise the product and service they offer in 2 - 4 words. This short-form description becomes essential for your marketing and sales team when they are trying to communicate what your business offers to prospects with an ever-shorter attention span. 


It can be alarming if you find out your chosen short-form description does not have any search volume. 


But don’t panic, there’s a few things you can do to check that you have chosen the best possible option for online discoverability:

  • Check your description of your product or service aligns with how your ICPs describe it: Speak to existing clients and sales. Your short-form positioning will resonate more deeply with your target audience if it closely reflects how they would talk about it. And of course, this is going to reflect how they search for it online.

  • Check out what your competition is doing: As in this scenario your business has direct competitors, it might be worth seeing if there are any commonalities across similar short-form descriptions on competitor websites and marketing collateral. It may help refine yours into something more frequently searched for.
  • Make sure you define yourself with a USP: Being informed by competitor data is one thing, but make sure you are putting across your unique selling points rather than just copying other businesses in the market. 


If you take all of these steps and still feel your original description is the best match, then you can progress knowing you’ve done a “sense check”.

Of course, some businesses launch products into the market that have never existed before and have no direct competitors for reference. This is the case in our third scenario.


Scenario #3: New product or service on the market with no search volume

This scenario does not just apply to brand new businesses. Many companies in the post-start up stage I have worked with get enthusiastic feedback when showing prospects their product, but the prospects themselves have no idea how to describe the product or even that they need it.

In this scenario, it is your business’ job to educate and persuade them. And you need cooperation from all stakeholders in your business to maximise the results.


Align your description with all departments

When you choose your short-form positioning, make sure everyone - from sales to the board - understands that this is the way you will introduce your product from now on. Emphasise this in particular to:

  • Colleagues who present talks at industry events.
  • Anyone who is client or prospect-facing (sales, customer services etc).
  • Colleagues responsible for public relations and press releases.

So if your short-form description is “workforce experience layer”, this should be the exact phrasing being used by all employees in your company, especially when they are talking to external stakeholders or prospects.


Write long-form educational content

When your target audience starts to hear more about your product, you need to have content ready to educate them and persuade them of its value to them. Write at least one long-form blog post explaining what your product is, why people use it and present readers with the pain points it helps solve. This will help create a sense of urgency and push readers further down the funnel.

You should do this a while before you go public with your short-form positioning to give search engines the chance to index your content.


Monitor keywords

As your product becomes more established, make sure you are using tools like Google Search Console to identify any other longtail keywords or questions about your product. Use this to write new educational content or improve existing blog posts.



Where to find low / no search volume keyword ideas

Here are some free (or at least semi-free) tools that can help you generate longtail keyword ideas:

  • Google Search Console (it’s always worth starting with your own website data, in case there is any low-hanging fruit you are missing)
  • Answer the Public
  • AlsoAsked
  • Related searches at the bottom of search engine results pages
  • Mergewords (great for generating keyword ideas for different locations or parameters quickly)
  • Agendas from events in your industry
  • Your customers



If you are a business owner or commercial director then planning and executing an effective content strategy is probably not at the forefront of your mind. You likely have more immediately pressing business tasks to attend to. 


But maximising online presence is becoming an increasingly large element of business success and your competitors are capitalising on your lack of direction.

A Digital Marketing Consultant can help you craft a SEO or Digital Marketing Strategy tailored to your business objectives, industry and niche. Request a free consultation to find out how we can work together to give your business the most direct route to success.

Scale up your business the smart way. Book a consultation.

Digital Hydra

For the last 10 years I've been driving results in-house for B2B companies within a variety of industries. I'm a full stack marketer with specialist knowledge in SEO, paid advertising, content, data analysis and strategy. Whilst the majority of my experience has been in SaaS, I have also worked within the life sciences and publishing industries.