Should You Target Zero Search Volume Keywords – Yes or No?

Levon Khachatryan 21.03.2024 9 min read
Should You Target Zero Search Volume Keywords – Yes or No?

In our keyword research guide we made it clear that a keyword is worth targeting when you know people are searching that query.

But what if the keyword research tool says that a keyword has no search volume at all? Is it still worth targeting?

Well, logically, your answer could be just a no, but considering recent debates on this topic, there could also be a positive answer.

In this article, we will talk about whether it’s worth targeting zero-volume keywords or not. 

Keep reading to find the answer!

What’s the Zero Search Volume Keyword?

First things first. You may not be familiar with zero search volume keywords at this point, so before going deeper, we’d like to make it clear to you.

Zero search volume keywords are the queries that keyword research tools cannot provide any data or history. These types of keywords usually have low search volume.

If you compare zero-volume keywords with high-competitive keywords, the difference is obvious. They are longer (not long-tail keywords) than competitive ones.

For instance, if you check the keyword “content marketing” on your tool, you’ll see these metrics:

A screenshot from Ahrefs March 2024

But whenever you start narrowing down and getting more specific, you’ll see that these metrics get lighter and lighter, and the competition goes down and down.

For example, the query “content marketing for vet clinic” has zero search volume.

zero search volume keyword example

But still, it’s a question that an SEO or marketing professional who needs to create a content plan for a vet clinic will search for.

What Is the Difference Between Long Tail and Zero Search Volume Keywords?

At this moment, zero-volume keywords may be confusing for you because, so far, we’ve explained them as the same long-tail keyword. 

But don’t be confused—it’s the same long-tail keyword (almost). They both usually have 4 words, but the only difference is that long-tail keywords have search volume and are a bit higher in keyword difficulty.

The thing is that whenever you target a zero search volume keyword, it’s important to keep in mind the search intent.

If the article you upload meets the searcher’s intent, it will 100% appear on SERPs, a.k.a. Rank.

Side Note: If your web page gets indexed, it does not mean it’ll rank as well.

Should You Trust Your SEO Software?

Ok. Nothing is ideal. Neither Ahrefs nor Semrush. And it’s no secret that these keyword research tools are not perfect.

You can get totally different results on different keyword research tools. And that’s alright.

Also, keyword research tools usually don’t properly capture low-volume keywords.

These tools need some initial data to start going in. But if these tools cannot access the needed data, it does not mean that they are always right.

If possible, try to compare the results you get on the keyword research tool with the results you have in the Google Search Console. 

Pro Tip: If you compare impressions in GSC with Search Volume in Ahrefs, you’ll get more data you need.

So basically, you need these tools to find new keywords, content ideas, etc., but never forget about further research to understand whether these keywords will get you where you want.

Why’d Someone Target Zero-Volume Keywords?

Someone might ask what are the reasons that someone would consider targeting zero search volume keywords.

So, in this part of our article, we’ll talk about the reasons and the benefits.

Reason 1: It’s Less Competitive

Given that every business targets high-volume keywords, our logic says that in the same way, zero-volume or low-volume keywords are easier to rank.

It’s not a secret that almost every niche has fierce competition. And while they fight for the top places for these high-volume but broad keywords, it’d be a smart move to dominate SERPs with those zero-volume keywords.

However, there is one thing you should keep in mind.

If a keyword is low or zero-volume, it does not mean that it has low Keyword Difficulty.

A lot of times, these low-volume keywords are just not common ways of searching things.

For example:

Keyword checker vs. 

A screenshot from Ahrefs March 2024 / keyword checker
keyphrase checker.

A screenshot from Ahrefs / keyphrase checker

They both are about the same thing; however, the query “keyphrase checker” is a less common way of finding keyword tools.

Reason 2: Easier to Create Good Content

As we said, with high-volume keywords, you may face the dilemma of broadness, then with zero-volume keywords you may not.


Here’s a question that’ll help you to understand.

What topic would be easier to cover for you?

  1. Link-building


  1. Link-building for coffeeshops

Of course, the second one. While with the first keyword, we have SERPs that trying to be as helpful as possible (offering diverse results), with the second keyword, there are exact results that will show on SERPs.

Also Read: Top 12 SEO Ranking Factors to Improve Your Ranking in 2024 (+Infographics)

So, to bottom line here, with good, helpful, and people-first content, you can easily rank for the zero-volume keyword you choose.

Reason 3: Traffic Converts Better

Yes, it is easy to create content for these queries, but the best thing about it is that the traffic that these keywords drive to your website converts better.

(Basically, content does what it should)

Imagine a potential prospect who wants to hire an SEO agency for his pet grooming business.

What’s the first thing he does?

Of course, he Googles something like “link-building for pet grooming.” Later, he will make decisions based on SERPs.

So, if you rank for this query and create a great article, here is the step-by-step process from the prospect’s side.

  • Reads the article
  • Thinks that these guys know stuff about both his business and SEO
  • Goes to a landing page
  • Reads
  • Books a call

Sounds easy but it’s not like that. The example above was all about the ideal situation. We think that zero-volume keywords are more likely to be BoFu (bottom-of-funnel content). But at the same time, a number of zero-volume keywords are just not paying ones.

Reason 4: You Are Getting Ahead of Your Competitors

For me, competitor research is the best part of SEO. Every SEO campaign should include it. 

So here is a hint for you: If your competitors are not targeting these keywords, then if you target them, you’ll get in front of them. 

So why not?

You’d get traffic that your competitors are not aware of. You’ll get sales from this traffic while your competitors struggle to optimize their conversion rate with high-volume keywords.

Apart from that, this is just a reminder that 50% of US citizens use voice search on a daily basis. Targeting long-tail keywords like zero-volume queries gives you another advantage to overcome the competition.

The Best Ways to Find Zero Search Volume Keywords

At this moment, you understand why it’s worth targeting zero-volume keywords. But the question is: how do you find them?

No worries, we have some interesting ways for you.

1. User Generated Content

Platforms like Reddit or Quora are full of USG. When you are subject matter in your industry, just a slight look at the topics discussed there are enough to filter some zero-volume keywords.

Just a casual look at r/SEO on Reddit helped me find this zero-volume keyword.

Can SEO generate leads for business?

A zero-volume keyword extracted from Reddit


The results of the search on Ahrefs

It’s something that people ask, however, very rarely.

So, you should definitely check these platforms (or any related forums) to find the best zero-search-volume keywords.

If users ask, then you should give them a proper answer to that. That’s it.

We were also able to find some awesome low-volume keywords for our clients just by reading replies and comments on LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter).

2. Listen What Your Customers Are Asking

Depending on your business model, you most probably have sales calls or something called discovery calls. These types of calls are neglected treasures.

Whenever you have one of these, you should take notes. Even if you are not participating, you sit there and take notes.

If one of your customers is asking, then others ask as well. So there can be valuable queries that you should cover.

3. Use Google’s Features as Your Assitan

Google has a lot of hint points you can use for finding low-volume keywords.

  • Google’s search suggestions
  • Related Questions 
  • People Asked Section
  • Etc.

Here’s an example of Google’s suggestions for one particular query.

Google autofill/predictions

So if you go alphabetically, then you’ll definitely find some great queries to create content for.

For example, if I type “link building for” and then type t, Google will give me these results:

Google autofill option for alphabetical approach

You can also do some brainstorming and then search on Google. It’ll either correct you to show more relevant queries or show you some decent results right away.

4. Keywords that do not have answers on SERPs

It happened to me. When I searched something on Google and did not find relevant articles or websites there.

It made me change my query until I got what I wanted.

So, this is another cool thing you can do. If a particular query does not bring any helpful results, then it means there is a lack of these results.

Someone should create relevant web pages for these queries.

Although this type of keyword is a bit hard to find, with the experience and expertise to come, you’ll find some ideas to check SERPs.

But the the only problem at the moment is that Google still ranks Reddit, Forbes, and other highly authoritative websites over original pieces of content.

There can be many SERPs where the results do not answer the query. Thus, this method is a bit irrelevant at the moment.

However, after the March Core Update, it seems that (at least to me) Google is trying to clean up SERPs from low-quality content. It teaches its algorithm to find manipulative moves from the publishers’ side and, of course, penalize them.

So Zero Search Volume Keywords Are King, Right?

Well, this part I’ll use to summarize what’s been said so far. You can target zero search volume keywords for:

  • Easy to create content
  • Conversion rate improvement
  • Getting ahead of your competitors
  • Covering everything in your niche

So what I think is that you should target both zero and low-volume keywords. Even if your SEO tool says people don’t search those queries, you shouldn’t believe it. No SEO tool works perfectly.

If you have data on GSC, then before making the final decision, you should double-check it there.Have questions? Don’t agree with me? Send me a DM on Twitter.

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Levon Khachatryan
About Author

Levon Khachatryan

Levon, a senior SEO specialist and the visionary founder behind GreenlightSEO, brings a wealth of expertise to the this blog. With a proven track record of successful SEO projects, Levon has consistently delivered top-tier results, propelling client websites to coveted positions on the first page of Google. His commitment to excellence and innovative approach to search engine optimization make Levon a driving force in the ever-evolving SEO world.

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