One of the major pillars for establishing a strong SEO strategy is keyword research. I see keyword research involving two major components: search volume and competition. When choosing keywords to focus on, I suggest looking for keywords that are in the “sweet spot” of generating good traffic, but not being so competitive that you will never rank for them.

There are several keyword tools on the market that can help you decide which keywords to choose. The problem is, the search volume data presented from these tools can be quite inconsistent. For example, look at the data for the keyword “PA Auto Insurance”. According to Google’s traffic estimator, this keyword gets about 14K monthly searches.

I like to check out Google Insights to see if there are any seasonal effects for this keyword and it looks like it bounces around over time but not dramatically.

Now let’s check out another tool for an estimation of traffic, Wordtracker. You can can sign up for a free trial.

The Wordtracker tool estimates the daily searches at 2 per day or 60 per month.

Obviously, there is a major discrepancy between these two tools. So what to do? I’ve read that these tools are only meant to provide relative numbers regarding search volume.

Your best bet is to run targeted paid search campaigns. Load the campaigns with your keywords and see what the “real world” search volume looks like. At Astonish, we have the advantage of running these type of campaigns all the time, across multiple insurance product types in multiple geographies. We compile this data and use it as the starting point of all our keyword research.