What’s the Endgame of Search Volume Trends? (And what to use instead)

What’s the Endgame of Search Volume Trends? (And what to use instead)

Earlier this month Google introduced the Thanos easter egg that wipes out half the search engine results on the page with just one click. However, while you were busy playing back and forth with the Infiniti Gauntlet, you might’ve missed what could be the beginning of the end of one of the basic Google keyword performance metrics – Historical Search Volume.

What’s wrong with Search Volume Trend?

There’s no doubt search volume is one of the cornerstone metrics for both SEO and PPC campaigns: numerous businesses have been built around the popularity of particular search queries in Google alone, and millions of marketers use this metric virtually every day. However, Google doesn’t seem to like the idea of giving away even rough estimates of monthly searches. Last year they suppressed the data for companies running low on Google Ads budgets and then lumped together monthly searches for broad match keywords.

Now, when was the last time you checked Historical Metrics data in your Google Ads Keywords Planner? Go ahead, do it now.

As you might’ve noticed, the last month that you can get Search Volume Trends for is March. Google normally releases search volume data at the beginning of each month – no more than ten days into a month according to our observations. However, it’s the end of May and still no signs of search volume trend data for April!

Important Update: As of June 3, Google finally released search volume data for April.

Furthermore, Google doesn’t provide search volume for April through the API either. Since DataForSEO relies on Google Ads for getting search volume data and other metrics, currently, we aren’t able to provide historical search volume data for April.

Here’s a list of DataForSEO APIs affected by this unfortunate situation:

  • Related Keywords Finder API
  • Similar Keywords Finder API
  • Keywords For Terms API
  • Search Volume for Keyword API
  • Bulk Keyword Search Volume
  • Keywords for Domain
  • Keywords for Keywords
  • Keywords for Category

Google didn’t issue any official (or unofficial) statements regarding this issue, so we can only speculate about its underlying causes. It could be the results of Google Ads reporting issues which affected all its interfaces including Google AdWords API. There’s also a chance of Google starting to wipe off search volume altogether, what would totally fall within its SEO-annihilation logic.

Workaround to the rescue

Fortunately enough, there’s a turnaround you can use to get historical search volume data for April, as well as all the following months if Google decides to stop providing it.

We’ve recently launched a new method for getting data independently of Google Ads. Called Bulk Clickstream Search Volume, it can provide you with search volume data using, well, our vast clickstream database. This will keep your software project ahead of the curve even if Google obfuscates it by either lumping it around “broad-match” terms or rounding it off. Moreover, it will give search volume for queries that are not even provided in Google Ads – such as financial products and services, gambling and healthcare-related keywords.

Here’s an example of what you can get with Bulk Clickstream Search Volume API:


Request Sample
https://api.dataforseo.com/v2/kwrd_sv_batch_clickstream

{
  "data":
    [
        {
            "search_engine": "google",
            "loc_name_canonical":"United States",
            "keys":["paintball gun", "machine gun", "buy weed", "buy steroids", "mail order bride"]
        }
    ]
}

Response Sample

 {
    "status": "ok",
    "task_id": 279893800,
    "results_time": "0.4575 sec.",
    "results_count": 5,
    "results": [
        {
            "search_engine": "google",
            "loc_id": 2840,
            "key": "paintball gun",
            "sv": 6560,
            "ms": [
                {
                    "year": 2019,
                    "month": 4,
                    "count": 15200
                },
                {
                    "year": 2019,
                    "month": 3,
                    "count": 11970
                },
                {
                    "year": 2019,
                    "month": 2,
                    "count": 3270
                },
                {
                    "year": 2019,
                    "month": 1,
                    "count": 2890
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 12,
                    "count": 4830
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 11,
                    "count": 1770
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 10,
                    "count": 1760
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 9,
                    "count": 14560
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 8,
                    "count": 11070
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 7,
                    "count": 1730
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 6,
                    "count": 6880
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 5,
                    "count": 2810
                }
            ]
        },
        {
            "search_engine": "google",
            "loc_id": 2840,
            "key": "machine gun",
            "sv": 36350,
            "ms": [
                {
                    "year": 2019,
                    "month": 4,
                    "count": 60070
                },
                {
                    "year": 2019,
                    "month": 3,
                    "count": 84030
                },
                {
                    "year": 2019,
                    "month": 2,
                    "count": 60560
                },
                {
                    "year": 2019,
                    "month": 1,
                    "count": 72970
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 12,
                    "count": 10390
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 11,
                    "count": 19750
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 10,
                    "count": 28040
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 9,
                    "count": 18340
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 8,
                    "count": 24550
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 7,
                    "count": 15580
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 6,
                    "count": 19470
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 5,
                    "count": 22470
                }
            ]
        },
        {
            "search_engine": "google",
            "loc_id": 2840,
            "key": "buy weed",
            "sv": 960,
            "ms": [
                {
                    "year": 2019,
                    "month": 4,
                    "count": 1510
                },
                {
                    "year": 2019,
                    "month": 3,
                    "count": 1500
                },
                {
                    "year": 2019,
                    "month": 2,
                    "count": 830
                },
                {
                    "year": 2019,
                    "month": 1,
                    "count": 0
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 12,
                    "count": 0
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 11,
                    "count": 0
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 10,
                    "count": 0
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 9,
                    "count": 990
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 8,
                    "count": 990
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 7,
                    "count": 330
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 6,
                    "count": 860
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 5,
                    "count": 710
                }
            ]
        },
        {
            "search_engine": "google",
            "loc_id": 2840,
            "key": "buy steroids",
            "sv": 580,
            "ms": [
                {
                    "year": 2019,
                    "month": 4,
                    "count": 0
                },
                {
                    "year": 2019,
                    "month": 3,
                    "count": 290
                },
                {
                    "year": 2019,
                    "month": 2,
                    "count": 0
                },
                {
                    "year": 2019,
                    "month": 1,
                    "count": 730
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 12,
                    "count": 0
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 11,
                    "count": 0
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 10,
                    "count": 0
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 9,
                    "count": 990
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 8,
                    "count": 0
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 7,
                    "count": 330
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 6,
                    "count": 860
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 5,
                    "count": 250
                }
            ]
        },
        {
            "search_engine": "google",
            "loc_id": 2840,
            "key": "mail order bride",
            "sv": 14700,
            "ms": [
                {
                    "year": 2019,
                    "month": 4,
                    "count": 6560
                },
                {
                    "year": 2019,
                    "month": 3,
                    "count": 15080
                },
                {
                    "year": 2019,
                    "month": 2,
                    "count": 13710
                },
                {
                    "year": 2019,
                    "month": 1,
                    "count": 16560
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 12,
                    "count": 13650
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 11,
                    "count": 25960
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 10,
                    "count": 10710
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 9,
                    "count": 5150
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 8,
                    "count": 7920
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 7,
                    "count": 17410
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 6,
                    "count": 19470
                },
                {
                    "year": 2018,
                    "month": 5,
                    "count": 24170
                }
            ]
        }
    ]
}

 

Daily impressions vs Search Volume

Another way around is to use daily impressions instead of search volume – these metrics are quite similar if you think about it. Search volume is, in fact, the less accurate month-over-month equivalent of the daily impressions metric. However, it won’t help you get keyword performance estimates for April or any other individual month – unlike search volume, daily impressions are not a historical metric so we can’t provide a data trend for it.

You can use daily impressions metric from the Ads Traffic for Keywords endpoint of Keyword Data API as a backup plan just in case Google stops giving search volume data.

Here’s how an example of data that Ads Traffic for Keywords API can provide you with:


Request Sample
https://api.dataforseo.com/v2/kwrd_ad_traffic_by_keywords

{
	"data":
		[
				{
					"language":"en",
					"loc_name_canonical":"United States",
					"match":"exact",
					"bid":100.00,
					"keys":
						[
							"online rank checker",
							"leads and prospects"
						]
				}
		]
}

Response Sample

{
"status": "ok",
"task_id": 280505380,
"results_time": "2.7409 sec.",
"results_count": 1,
"results": [
{
"online rank checker": {
"language": "en",
"loc_id": 2840,
"bid": 100,
"key": "online rank checker",
"match": "exact",
"ad_position_min": 3.15,
"ad_position_max": 2.58,
"ad_position_average": 2.86,
"cpc_min": 61.7,
"cpc_max": 75.41,
"cpc_average": 68.55,
"daily_impressions_min": 0.63,
"daily_impressions_max": 0.78,
"daily_impressions_average": 0.71,
"daily_clicks_min": 0,
"daily_clicks_max": 0,
"daily_clicks_average": 0,
"daily_cost_min": 0.11,
"daily_cost_max": 0.13,
"daily_cost_average": 0.12
},
"leads and prospects": {
"language": "en",
"loc_id": 2840,
"bid": 100,
"key": "leads and prospects",
"match": "exact",
"ad_position_min": null,
"ad_position_max": null,
"ad_position_average": null,
"cpc_min": null,
"cpc_max": null,
"cpc_average": null,
"daily_impressions_min": 0,
"daily_impressions_max": 0,
"daily_impressions_average": 0,
"daily_clicks_min": 0,
"daily_clicks_max": 0,
"daily_clicks_average": 0,
"daily_cost_min": 0,
"daily_cost_max": 0,
"daily_cost_average": 0
}
}
]
}
 

There are, however, a few things to point out. First of all, the value of the daily impressions metric can vary according to the age of the Google Ads account and presumably the account's advertising budget. That's why Ads Traffic for Keywords API gives not one, but three daily impression values: minimal, maximal and average. It's up to you which of them to use in your tool.

Daily impressions metric ultimately has some advantages over the Google Ads search volume:

  1. It reflects daily changes rather than monthly ones
  2. It's not that rounded and thus can give a more accurate perspective
  3. It's unlikely that Google will stop providing it in the nearest future

The only major drawback of using daily impressions instead of search volume is that it can't give a historical overview (neither Google nor DataForSEO provides its historical values). On the other hand, you can get over this limitation by storing day-over-day impressions data on your own server.

Even though Google has released search volume data for April (with a one-month delay), keep in mind that it's always better to diversify data. We recommend combining search volume with clickstream and impressions - this way you'll get more accurate numbers and add another level of protection to your system.

Stay ahead of the curve

If you're a DataForSEO user, you can rest assured that we will keep supplying your business with up-to-date data, regardless of how Google Search Volume's endgame plays out. At the end of the day, why wait for the future when the future came looking for you?

Start now

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