For many search marketers, at some point we have watched stable or improved Google rankings drive monthly referral losses. While an experienced SEO understands that this is due to keyword search volume down trends. This isn’t always so easy for those unfamiliar with search space to understand. After all, ranking increases mean that referrals should increase, right?
When accessing the performance of your SEO campaign it is often necessary to look further than your analytics program or ranking software. Sometimes, in Google, your jump from 5th to second for your coveted term may bring a referral decrease to your reporting and a frown to your face. It is important when runnning any SEO campaign to reassess your keyword research every six months to a year. Keyword search volume trends are always in-flux and what was the “hot” keyword last year may not be now for a wide variety of reasons more media exposure to product seasonality.
I suggest for your list of top terms you also collect data on the amount of search volume per month of the year. This data is accessible through the Adwords Keyword Tool and by selecting to view “Local Search Trends” and exporting to a CSV you will then have a good idea how keyword volume varies throughout the year.
Another method of assessing how term trends are playing out is through the use of Google Insights. This is more of a fluid look at the trending of terms and also gives you the ability to compare a few terms that you may be on the fence with.
One of the newest and niftiest tools out for assessing Google web search volume is in the search queries section of Google Webmaster Tools. Recent updates by Google now allow you to see recent percentage increases or decreases for the impression value of top ranking terms. You can also see trending percentages for your term CTR but the main focus of this tool in relation to this post is to conclude if despite a ranking increase you saw a referral downtrend due to search volume decreases.
I will be the first to say that SEO is not always about the rankings, it can often be a matter of search behavior.