Why I’m trusting my gut more with keywords

Tom Garfield

Co-founder & MD, brand new notebook

About four weeks ago, I looked up the keyword “Freelance web designer in Medway” using the SEO tool, Ahrefs keyword explorer.

No data. There was nothing to suggest anyone was using this keyword at all.

But I wanted to rank for it.

Even though I’ve recently shifted away from pure web design, and more into website strategy and consulting, Ellie still does a lot of website design projects, I still use web design as an initial service before recommending some strategic marketing work, and I like working with local businesses.

So I decided to build this freelance web designer in Medway page.

I felt completely justified in my decision, even though there was no data to suggest it was a particularly lucrative keyword.

I’ve had success in the past for clients with keywords that no one else was going for. Maybe because they didn’t think they were worth targeting, maybe because they hadn’t thought of them.

I think low volume keywords are great. According to Collective Measures, a Performance Marketing Company, there are several great reasons to target low volume keywords which boil down to:

  1. They’re very relevant and more targeted
  2. They’re easier and quicker to rank for
  3. They build interest around a small niche
  4. The small volumes compound into lots of traffic quite quickly
  5. They have stronger commercial intent

So what happened after I built my page?

Well, no surprise, there are some people looking for keywords like “freelance web designer in medway”.

In less than four weeks, I achieved the top spot outside of Google maps, as you can see here:

It didn’t take me long at all, I didn’t need any backlinks, and I literally wrote the page in less than an hour.

However, I am highly relevant for that keyword, because I quite literally am a freelance web designer in Medway. I think it’s important to target hyper specific keywords only when you are specifically relevant for that keyword.

But did I get any traffic?

The short answer? Yes!

In the few weeks that the page has been ranking, I’ve had just eight visits from Google organic search to the page.

But way more importantly, I had one enquiry, and they confirmed they’d like to work with me on a project worth £4000 in revenue for my business. I think that’s pretty good ROI so far in such a short space of time, and who knows what else will come through over time!?

Now, it could be a complete fluke, and I may never get another enquiry from this keyword again. But I don’t think so.

Low volume keywords are brilliant, so trust your gut, not data

I’m pretty sure I’ll continue to get enquiries for this keyword, despite the data. If I had just gone by data alone, I wouldn’t have bothered. There’s not enough data to suggest it is a keyword worth targeting, and I had no idea whether or not it would bring anything to me.

But I just felt that it was a keyword I should be ranking for, and I trusted that it would bring me even a small amount of traffic.

And it did! Traffic that was hyper relevant. The person who made the enquiry was exactly the sort of person I wanted to attract.

How to come up with low volume keyword ideas without data:

  1. Trust your gut, just make a list of all the things you would type to find what your business does. Take your time and write loads and loads of keywords
  2. Ask your customers for their thoughts. Perhaps a quick survey to gather data that can easily be emailed to your customers
  3. Use Google autocomplete and the “people also searched for” sections to find keyword ideas
  4. Use SEO tools like Ahrefs, but don’t worry if the data says there’s no volume or “N/A” see point 1

I hope you feel a little more confident about targeting low volume keywords now. I’ve had great success in just a few weeks with just one keyword. I’ll report back with an update in a few months!