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I identified a search term that is quotes as having millions of global searches per month on Google keywords tool. Local searches also account for a large chunk of that.

It was a long term goal to get on page 1 for that term, and now we've hit it. We were page 2, #1 for a while now we've just managed to get #6/7 on page 1. I've tested it with &pws=0 in the search, and also via a USA proxy all which have it nicely on page 1.

I'm observing around 4-5 hits a day from this term now, which comes out to around 150 a month. I'm not complaining, 1,800 potential new customers a year is great! But I was expecting considerably more.

Can anyone help explain why this might be? I can't really tell you what the term is I'm afraid. (I know that's not ideal)

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The Google keyword tool is designed to solicit new advertising business for Google and, as a result, may be a little counter-intuitive unless you are searching on the exact term (by default, it will perform a broad match).

Consider the difference (for the sake of advertising or optimization efforts) represented by the results below:

recipe (broad match - includes "recipes", "casserole recipe", "where can i find italian food recipes")

  • Competition: low
  • Global monthly searches: 101,000,000
  • Local monthly searches: 55,600,000

[recipe] (exact matches - includes only "recipe" as a search term)

  • Competition: low
  • Global monthly searches: 165,000
  • Local monthly searches: 60,500

As you can see, optimizing for (and achieving #1 rank) for the exact phrase does not confer the same benefits that ranking #1 for all terms which contain "recipe" would (and what an ambitious effort that would be)

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Thanks for the answer, do you know if it's possible to use the keyword tool for exact matches? –  Tom Gullen Jan 6 '12 at 19:00
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In the Match Types box at the far left, check the [Exact] box. –  danlefree Jan 6 '12 at 19:11
    
Doh! Thanks for that! Much appreciated. I feel like a plum now. –  Tom Gullen Jan 6 '12 at 19:29
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  • Maybe the "millions of searches" is a very rough estimate.
  • Maybe 900,000 of that million is from uzbekistan, not the US.
  • Maybe users find your SERP entry less useful than others, and click other competing links.
  • Perhaps the search term isn't an exact match, but a partial match, and you are page 1 on the partial match.
  • Perhaps you are competing on a very specific term, e.g. "Zappos", against Zappos.com, in which case you are fighting an uphill battle for drawing away their clicks.

The possibilities are endless with a question of this nature (especially the original title). I suggest using tracking analytics (google or otherwise) to pin down where your current incoming customers on that term are coming from and where they aren't.

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