Keyword Research: Is There Value in Keywords with “Not Enough Data”?

A common question about keyword research and the Google keyword tool is whether to ignore keyword opportunities that list “not enough data” for global and local search volume estimates.

The answer is NO; the misconception is that “not enough data” means “no one is searching for this keyword”, which in many cases will be far from the truth.

From Google: “If we don’t have enough data for a particular keyword, you’ll see not enough data.”

My interpretation: Google was not able to provide any immediate data on a given keyword; they’re not stating it has never been used as a search query.

Proof Through PPC Impression Data
To verify this assumption, I cross-referenced 30 days worth of PPC impressions from two AdWords accounts with the search volume estimates using Google’s keyword tool.

Here were the results:

For one account, 25 out of 88 keywords which had between 30 and 1000 PPC impressions over the last 30 days showed “not enough data” globally, and an incredible 57 of 88 showed no data for local search volume over the past month (which targets the country/language parameters that are set).

More importantly, 3 of the 45 keywords which generated conversions showed no data available globally, and 10 of those 45 showed no data locally!

For the other account, 36 out of 200 (with 30 – 1000 impressions) provided no search data globally (81 showed no data locally). And while only 1 out of 40 converting keywords showed no search data globally, 9 keywords recorded no local search volume information for the past month.

Conclusions & Observations
Use keyword search tools for comparatives, understanding keyword opportunities (and how people may search), and as an estimate for search volume; they’re never 100% reliable.

In the case of keywords with “not enough data” available, there clearly may be value in these opportunities. Of course, its up to the online marketer to unlock the specific keywords that will drive traffic and leads for their business.

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