Predicting Keyword Search Volume

When you’re creating a new PPC account or PPC campaign, it’s important to be able to predict your performance. Pay per click marketing isn’t exactly cheap, so it helps to know what kind of search volume to expect when you’re putting a lot of new keywords into effect. This knowledge can help you determine where your budget caps should be set, and can help you figure out how quickly you can expect to reach those caps. Here are a couple of useful tools to help you determine your expected keyword search volume.

Google Keyword Tool – -This my go-to tool for most keyword research tasks. It does a pretty good job of predicting keyword search volume as well, although you may see some slight variation in numbers from month to month, since Google is constantly tweaking their algorithm that calculates the search volume numbers. Make sure you have two columns turned on – “Global Monthly Searches” and “Local Monthly Searches.” Global will give you the predicted monthly search volume for the entire world, while Local only gives you the search volume for the countries or areas you have specified when you run the report. You may also want to opt for the “Local Search Trends” column to give you some insight on seasonal trends in search related to your specified keywords.

Google Insights For Search – If you want to get broader search trends, or more extensive reports on the historical search volume of keywords, try this tool. You can go back as far as 2004, and even specify particular Google search products, countries, or interest categories. You’ll even get a helpful line graph overlay comparing your keywords. There is a catch, though: this tool only covers keywords with very high search volume. If you have a lot of long-tail, low-search-volume keywords that you need info on, Insights may not be the best choice.

Google Trends – Here’s another tool that’s pretty similar to Google Insights For Search. This one is good for getting an idea of popular search trends at the moment. It may not be too helpful for most PPC accounts, but it is pretty cool to see what’s on the internet’s mind at one specific point in time. It does tend to have a lot of celebrity-related terms at the top of the list, since they tend to drive the most search volume, but it’s kind of interesting to see when an obscure political or medical term pops up out of the blue.

Microsoft Advertising Intelligence – If you think that this list is way too Google-biased, here’s another option. Microsoft does offer up some search trend data for Bing and Yahoo search, but there’s no web interface for it. Instead, you need to download this Excel plugin and open up that program. It’s a little unwieldy, but it seems to be the only way to get Microsoft data at the moment. The tool itself is pretty similar to the Google Keyword Tool listed above, although the user interface leaves something to be desired.

Got any more cool keyword trend tools? Let’s hear about them in the comments.

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
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