This will be a quick post, no real need to go into deep detail. This is something that’s important and a lot of people ask me about so I want to make sure everyone has a clear understanding of what’s going on.
Let’s start. There are 3 ways to check keyword search volume with Google: broad, phrase, and exact match. What the hell is the difference? And which one should you be checking search volume with?
Broad match is the default setting when using the Keyword Tool. What broad match means is that any time any part of the keyword shows up in a search phrase, that data gets added to the reported total searches per month. For instance, if the keyword is “sunflower seeds”, then any search with either “sunflower” or “seeds” or “sunflower seeds” in it will be added into the total volume. So the actual search terms “sunflower seeds” might only get 100 searches, while “seeds” gets 2000 searches and “fruit seeds” gets 600 searches.
So broad match search volume is an aggregate of all searches involving any combination of any of the keywords as well as other words you didn’t account for. It’s an inflated number when estimating search volume.
Phrase match keyword search volume works like this: if you check phrase match search volume for “sunflower seeds” then the number returned will include all traffic for the main phrase as well as phrases like “huge sunflower seeds” and “sunflower guide for seeds”. The number returned is the aggregate of all search phrases that must include the entire set of main keywords, no matter if they are split up by other words or not. This number is definitely more accurate than broad match, but can still be slightly inflated.
Finally, there is exact match keyword data. The volume of searches returned when checking exact match keywords is simply for only that single keyphrase. So there are no aggregates involved, it’s only the total number of searches for just that exact phrase, typed exactly into Google, with no other words included. This is the most accurate number to reference when researching niches, as it doesn’t aggregate traffic you might not actually rank for and get. You should always check your search volumes with this setting on.
The point of this post is that it is easy to be deceived by broad and phrase match data, so you should use exact match data when searching for niches. When trying to get ranked for certain keywords, you cannot guarantee that you will be able to rank for all variations and combinations of keywords, so the most realistic estimate of possible traffic is the exact match search volume data.
I’ll post more this weekend, I have some cool ideas in the works.