Harsh Reality 1 – Ranking For Keywords That Get Zero Traffic Means Nothing

Tuna FrappuccinoSome time from minutes to hours after this post goes live, it will rank number one in Google for tuna frappuccino. While some may get excited about that, it means nothing, because the last time I checked, not a single person was searching for one of these tasty delights. And to my knowledge, Starbucks isn’t serving them yet either.

Depending on how much time you as an affiliate may waste trying to get your domain name or some clever phrase you’ve thought of, to get that high ranking in Google, it can either be a minor distraction or a huge mistake. You may be proud of the fact that you own the number one spot in Google for your name or some obscure phrase, but the harsh reality is that you’re the only one searching for that specific term and it is bringing you exactly zero traffic.

You’d think this would be a no brainer, but it isn’t. Someone might go to Google and think that ranking number one for tuna frappuccino out of more than 39,000 results is something special. It isn’t. There aren’t 39,000 results for the phrase “tuna frappuccino”, there are 39,000 results for pages that have the word tuna and the word frappuccino somewhere on that page but there are zero pages that have those two words together, that is until now.

Reading the little results bar at the top right on Google search results pages can be a quite misleading about your keyword competition. Some of this misconception probably comes from ebook pimps promoting their skills by showing those misleading results on those insanely long sales pages. They will tell you, and even show you, how if you buy their ebook you can rank for lots of obscure phrases as well. You then spend the money and start ranking for obscure phrases that bring you zero traffic, and find you still don’t rank for phrases that do bring traffic.

To get accurate competition results on a keyword phrase, you need to be looking for the pages where your phrase is in the exact order of a keyword that is actually worth promoting. To find your true competition, place quotes around the phase and then look at the results. For example, let’s take the phrase make super big money. Wow, there’s over 2 million results for that phrase! No, there are 2 million pages with some combination of those words on them. Some page may be a blog where a guy is happy about his wife making pizza for dinner and writes, “Super, my wife is going to make a big pizza for dinner. I hope I have enough money in my wallet to go to the store and get mushrooms, otherwise I’ll have to use the credit card.” That’s not really about making money.

When you put the phrase “make super big money” in quotes, the results come out a little different. There are only 4 pages with that exact phrase on them (but now probably 5 with this post) and most importantly, no one is searching for that term.

If you’re overly excited one day to find your name or an obscure term on your web site ranks number 1 in Google, head over to either the Free Keyword Suggestion tool at WordTracker or the Free Search Term Suggestion Tool at KeywordDiscovery and see how many people are actually searching for that term as reality sinks in a bit.

Maybe you can head over to Starbucks now and drown your sorrows in a nice tuna frappuccino. Did you want whip cream on that?

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18 Responses to “Harsh Reality 1 – Ranking For Keywords That Get Zero Traffic Means Nothing”

  1. This is how a lot of cheap SEO ebooks get sold …

    “Look I ranked #1 for ‘work at home in your pajamas’ with over
    3million competing websites”

    when he gets maybe 2-3 visitors a day :)

  2. Looking forward to the rest of the series, good first post to start it off.

  3. Can I get that as a half-caff skinny? I just can’t wait until a few months down the road when this post gets dozens of search hits for Tuna Frappucino. 😀

  4. wordvixen,

    Hey, you never know, it could happen.

  5. You rank no 2 for super big money now!

  6. Haha your site is number one for Tuna Frappuccino already. You have no idea how tempted I was to use a list of proxys and a little programming to make it look like you got one hell of alot of hits from this keyword 😉

  7. Hahaha Yup! Now you rank as number 1!!! Congrats!

    Great post and very nice photoshop job! Lol

  8. Quotations are vital when researching keywords for any site or campaign. What I do is input my keyword into Wordtracker, filter KEI from highest to lowest, and take a look at what people are actually searching for and the estimated competition. I can’t remember the last time I searched in Google without using quotations.

  9. Alan, you’re g*y (and I don’t mean happy, silly, and frivolous). I’ve been pushing a couple hundred leads a day on tuna frapps and various misspellings. Thanks for blowing my niche a__hole

  10. Right now I’m thinking of what keyword should I work on!

  11. I’ve been there. Built a site, got the top ranking and either there were so few searches that it wasn’t worth my time or those visitors that did arrive just didn’t buy anything. The point is to test out a market so you know it works before you go putting too much effort into it.

  12. I really be attracted by entrecard, entrecard was one of the roads to maximise seo, because we could get many relations from there, I also used tag dofollow and I hoped you could visit blog I

  13. The other side is to rank high for a generic keyword that looks good, but does not convert. You would not believe how impressed people are that we are the top ranking commercial site under the word “fleas.” Admittedly, wikipedia and some edu sites are above us, but still, that is a huge accomplishment to be top from 488,000 sites. The problem is that people searching for “fleas” are either doing a high school paper on the life cycle of a flea, or maybe wanting to go to Canton TX to the flea market. So, although we get thousands of hits, they don’t convert. Now, “frontline for dogs cheap” converts like mad. People are looking for what we have for sale. Long tail keywords very tightly targeted can get much better action than trying to rank under a big keyword. Choose your keywords carefully for full benefit.


  14. That is some really great advise. What is the point in having a high ranking keyword if there isn’t any traffic to go with.

  15. This point is hard to absorb when one thinks that their term “three random words” is the place to be at when they are high-ranked for it. We as individuals like to think that “apple rock green” is the next big thing since we have it leading to our creation.

  16. I think a lot of people generally do not have the habit of optimizing their keywords when they post or check if people are searching for them. Your post shows why people should do this. Thanks for sharing.


  17. @Peacock – great advice. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had clients ask to be ranked for “high-profile” keywords that have almost no commercial intent behind them.

    Here’s another quick tip for sussing out your Google competition – at least those competitors who are (maybe inadvertently) performing the most basic of SEO on their site by optimizing their title tags:

    Run an allintitle query, or an intitle:”specific phrase” query.

    e.g.: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=allintitle%3Atuna+frappuccino&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&oq=

    Alan, looks like you’ve only got one competitor!

  18. Yes… when you have a tiny niche market and very few people are searching…. you have a big problem. It is called “NO TRAFFIC”.

    thanks :) funny post with the tuna btw :)

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