How to Understand Keyword Value for SEO Strategy

Brody Hall
Apr 28, 2024
keyword value

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It doesn’t take a genius to find high-search volume keywords. Once you know the first principles, you’re golden. But judging a keyword’s value and writing content that actually converts? Now that’s a whole other ball game.

Learn how to pinpoint the hidden value keywords that actually drive the right customers to your site and outcompete the competitors right here.

What is Keyword Value?

Keyword value is all about attracting the right audience, not just any audience. It’s based on the basic premise that sure, targeting a high search volume keyword sounds good in theory, but what about ROI? Is there any value to the type of site visitors the targeted keyword attracts?

Perhaps not. That’s what you have to weigh up.

As an example, let’s say you’re a marketing consultant specializing in local SEO. Your client? A local brick-and-mortar marketing agency. You could go after the keyword “marketing tips.” I mean, why not? The search volume is huge.

The thing is, though, targeting such a keyword is a high-stakes gamble. If it pays off, it has the potential to draw a lot of organic traffic, mmm-but the competition for such a broad phrase is HOT, and the audience may not necessarily be paying clients. Not to mention, if you ain’t Forbes or some other high-authority site that (allegedly) gets special treatment from Google, man, good luck ranking!

Time to pivot, then. Let’s say instead you targeted “marketing consultants [your city].” It’ll put your client right in front of businesses that need what you offer. It’s niche, it solves a specific problem, and the search intent is likely more bottom of the conversion funnel.

So, in a nutshell, keyword value balances your ideal customer’s intent and targets search terms with the highest potential to convert casual searchers into paying customers.

How to Calculate SEO Keyword Value

Let’s ditch the idea that the highest search volume automatically equals the most valuable keyword. Calculating true keyword value is a bit more nuanced. To calculate the real potential of a keyword, you’ll need to consider several factors:

  1. Search volume: The average number of times people search for that keyword per month. It’s a starting point, but don’t put all your faith in big numbers alone.
  2. Conversion rate: The percentage of searchers who take a desired action on your site (buying or subscribing).
  3. Retail price: The price point of your product or service.
  4. Cost of goods sold (CoGS): All the costs involved in creating or sourcing your product.
  5. Keyword difficulty: How tough it is to rank on the first page for that keyword.
  6. Search intent: Navigational, informational, commercial, or transactional?

Here’s how to calculate SEO keyword value. Think of it as your keyword value calculator—a formula you can return to that’ll help you discern whether a keyword is truly worth targeting:

Keyword Value (KV) = (Search Volume) x (Conversion Rate) x (Retail Price−CoGS) x Intent Multiplier / Keyword Difficulty

Assign a multiplier to each type of search intent based on how valuable that traffic is to your business. For instance, for news publishers, an informational intent would be considered high-value while transactional intent might be worth more to an eCommerce site than informational intent because it is more directly linked to purchases. In the latter case, you might assign each of the following search intents like this:

  • Navigational Intent: 0.5
  • Informational Intent: 0.7
  • Commercial Investigation: 0.8
  • Transactional Intent: 1.0

So, let’s say you considering targeting the keyword “Keychron mechanical keyboard” for a product you’re selling on your website. Here are the metrics you’ll want to include in your equation (with some hypothetical numbers included):

  • ​Search Volume: 1500
  • Conversion Rate: 3% (or 0.03 as a decimal)
  • Retail Price: $40
  • CoGS: $20
  • Keyword Difficulty: 20
  • Search Intent: Transactional (multiplier = 1.0)

So, the equation would look like:

Keyword Value (KV) = (1500) x (0.03) x ($40−$20) x 1 / 20 = $45

$45. That’s your estimated keyword value. Is this a good keyword value?

Keyword value surpasses the threshold of what is considered “good” if it makes up a meaningful slice of your profit margin, offsets the SEO efforts’ costs, and contributes positively to the customer’s lifetime value.

However, it’s important to take your entire marketing budget into context; a keyword value is only as beneficial as the return on investment it brings. In a competitive market, a $45 keyword value could be significant, especially for less contested keywords that still attract high-converting traffic. Ultimately, the keyword value must be gauged against the potential to cover costs, generate profit, and fit strategically within your broader SEO campaign goals.

Interpreting Search Intent for High-Value Keywords

Let’s tease this apart a little more. Search intent and high-value keywords, what’s to g-o?

Think of search intent as the “why” behind the keyword. Understanding what the person searching truly wants is key to finding lucrative keywords. Here’s a definition of the four different search intents I mentioned earlier:

  • Navigational: They want to reach a specific site or page (“Sennheiser”)
  • Informational: The searcher is looking for answers or knowledge (“which Sennheisers headphones have noise-calling”)
  • Commercial: They’re researching products or services with the intention of buying (“best Sennheiser noise-canceling for remote work”).
  • Transactional: They’re ready to buy (“Sennheiser hd 458bt”)

Now, let’s tie this to the funnel. Top-of-funnel keywords are often informational, while those with purchase intent (transactional and commercial) usually show up lower down. Long-tail keywords (longer, more specific phrases)  are goldmines here because they often reveal a deeper audience need. For example, “noise-canceling headphones for a loud office” is way more targeted than just “headphones.”

But remember, a searcher’s intent isn’t always obvious. This is where analyzing SERP features and competitor strength comes in. Maps listings for a keyword suggest local intent. Lots of ads and product listings mean high commercial value but also likely tougher competition. Look for a balance—keywords with clear commercial intent and manageable difficulty.

Remember, align your content with the true intent behind the keywords you target, and you’ll naturally attract the right audience at the right stage of their journey. Targeting commercial keywords can be particularly valuable as you’re reaching potential customers who are actively considering making a purchase.

Using Keyword Value to Guide Your Content Creation

So, how can your keyword value calculations help with content creation? Here’s how to apply your findings:

  • Look beyond search volume alone. Seek out keywords with that balance of realistic search volume, the right intent for your business goals, and potential profitability based on your profit margins.
  • If you have limited resources, create content around the keywords with the highest potential KV score first. However, don’t neglect those mid-tier terms—they might be easier wins.
  • Are people browsing, or are they ready to buy? If your KV calculations hinge on conversions, focus on keywords with transactional intent and tailor your content to nudge them toward a purchase.
  • Monitor which content ranks well, but also what drives actual sales or leads. This helps you refine your KV formula—maybe certain intents are worth more than you initially estimated.

Want a quick win? Do an audit and look out for low-hanging fruit. Check which keywords you’re already ranking for but with low positions (pages 2+ of Google). Some of these might have decent potential, but your content needs some tweaks to outrank the competition.

Keyword Value as a Competitive Advantage

Think your competitors have all the good keywords locked down? Think again. Strategic keyword value analysis lets you outsmart them, not just chase the same targets. Start with a gap analysis, using tools to compare where they rank well, and you don’t. These tools will help:

  • SEMrush and Ahrefs offer robust competitor analysis features. See where your competitors rank and you don’t. Filter by search volume, intent indicators, and even estimated difficulty to find those overlooked gems.
  • While less in-depth, tools like Ubersuggest or Google’s Keyword Planner can still reveal gaps. Look for their “People Also Ask” sections for untapped terms related to your competitor’s keywords.

This approach uncovers terms with potential, but there’s a caveat, of course.

Not all gaps are created equal. Don’t get fixated on competitor keywords with huge search volume. If they’re a massive authority in your niche, you might not stand a chance. Analyze competitor sites: are they truly unassailable, or are they missing a specific angle? Look for keywords where their content is thin or outdated. This signals an opportunity to swoop in with higher-quality content aligned with the search intent.

Long-tail is your friend. Competitors often neglect those hyper-specific keywords. But with the right intent (think purchase or in-depth research), these can be incredibly valuable, with less competition. Especially true for niche businesses—play to your strengths.

Conclusion and Next Steps

Keyword value is about understanding the true potential behind each search—the key to attracting the right audience and driving meaningful results. It acts as the foundation of a data-driven SEO strategy that helps your content truly stand out in the SERPs.

Just don’t get complacent: this isn’t a one-time fix. Consumer needs, search trends, and competitor strategies will evolve. Make keyword analysis an ongoing process. Set a reminder to revisit your key terms quarterly or after major algorithm updates. Look for new opportunities, shifting intent, and adjust your content accordingly.

Need more guidance? Our team is here to help.

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Hand off the toughest tasks in SEO, PPC, and content without compromising quality

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Written by Brody Hall on April 28, 2024

Content Marketer and Writer at Loganix. Deeply passionate about creating and curating content that truly resonates with our audience. Always striving to deliver powerful insights that both empower and educate. Flying the Loganix flag high from Down Under on the Sunshine Coast, Australia.