Google Traffic Over-Estimation

Keyword research is an absolutely critical pre-requisite before attempting to tackle a market online. There is a lot of work involved with starting an new online business, and it would be a real pity to do all this work only to discover the market you worked so hard to capture, is dead.

Many people are discovering just that…

The traffic figures provided by Google’s keyword tool are a massive over-estimation of the traffic volume you could ever expect to receive. A common misconception is that you may get about 40% of that traffic if you rank in the first position for that keyword – but having achieved many of these #1 rankings, I’ve noticed just how grossly over-estimated this can be.

Broad Match is the first way you can massively over-estimate potential. In my experience the broad match traffic numbers for a top level keyword represent every single search within the entire market, including related terms. You may have noticed similar terms report exactly the same traffic figures, even when logic suggests the search volumes would be very different.


And this is why I’ve started checking traffic potential using only exact match.
Here is a broad match result….


And here is the exact match result… 6% of the traffic numbers listed above…


But if you are experienced and you only check exact match traffic figures, you will know that even then, traffic figures are still over-estimated.

In my experience, more often than not, a #1 listing will only get 5-10% of the exact match traffic reported by the Keyword tool.

Potentially this means you could be over-estimating the size of a market by 100x… that’s quite a big deal!

Also explain this one – the SKTool shows different traffic figures to the Keyword Tool…..

Keyword Tool:




In theory the SKTool should show higher search volume than an exact match on the Keyword Tool – but the Keyword Tool is showing twice as many searches!!!

Where does the over-estimation come from, and what about the inconsistencies? I mean, this is Google, and Google has complete access to the exact accurate figures…

I’ve got a speculative theory that is based only on logic and nothing more…

Potentially the Keyword Tool, which is targeted at Adwords Advertisers, shows both search traffic as well as traffic to… wait for it… websites which contain Adsense, as well as searches on search partners…

Now doesn’t that just make a lot more sense?

And all this, is why I’ll tackle hundreds of keywords at a time rather than worry about trying to rank for a few “high traffic” keywords. Not only do you avoid disappointment, but you also build a much more stable and sustainable traffic source.

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