We analyzed 306 million keywords to understand the types of queries used in Google Search.
Specifically, we looked at keyword distribution, query length, keyword difficulty, CPC, SERP features, and a lot more.
Using data from DataForSEO and Ahrefs, we discovered some very interesting results.
Now is the time to share what we found.
Here is a summary of our key findings:
1. 91.8% of all search queries are long-tail keywords. However, long tails account for a relatively small percentage of total search volume (3.3%).
2. Search demand is focused on a small percentage of high volume terms. Actually, The 500 most popular search terms account for 8.4% of the total search volume. The top 2000 keywords are responsible for 12.2% of all searches performed on Google.
3. The average keyword receives 989 searches per month. The Median The search volume for a keyword is only 10 searches per month. This shows that long-tail, low volume keywords are very common in Google Search.
4th 14.1% of search queries are in the form of a question.
5. "How" keywords are the most common type of question keywords. Followed by “what”, “where” and “who”.
6th The average CPC for a keyword is $ 0.61. Search terms related to finance and real estate have the highest average CPC.
7th The average keyword is a total of 1.9 words.
8. Unsurprisingly, longer keywords are searched less than shorter keywords. Actually, Keywords with more than 5 words get an average of 10x fewer searches as search terms with a length of 1-3 words.
9. The industries with the highest search volume are News & Media, Internet & Telecommunications, Art & Entertainment, and Consumer Electronics.
10. Popular keywords have significantly higher keyword difficulty levels. Actually, Every time the search volume doubles, the keyword difficulty increases by 1.63.
11. SERP functions are extremely common in Google search. In fact, only 2.4% of all Google search results Not contain at least one SERP function.
12. The SERP features most used in Google are People Also Ask (19.5%), Image Packs (19.4%), Video Results (17.9%) and Top Stories (15.5%).
We have detailed data and information about our results below.
91.8% of the search terms are long tail keywords
According to our analysis of 306 million US keywords, the vast majority of search terms (91.8%) are long-tail keywords.
However, we also found that long tails don't make up a large percentage of search volume.
In fact, all of the long tails combined make up only 3.3% of the total search volume.
In other words, we've found that most of the keywords are long tails. But even when they are added together, long tails only make up a small fraction of global search demand.
(For this study, we considered any keyword with 1-100 searches per month as a "long tail".)
This finding is largely in line with a keyword analysis Ahrefs conducted earlier this year.
As with the Ahrefs analysis, we defined long-tail keywords as keywords that receive fewer than 100 searches per month. The exact numbers differed due to differences in sample size and analysis. However, we both found that a) long tails make up the majority of keywords and b) long tail keywords make up a relatively small fraction of search needs.
Key takeaway: 91.8% of the keywords are long-tail keywords. Even when they are added together, long tails only account for 3.3% of the total search need.
Search demand is largely concentrated on a relatively small number of keywords
A relatively small number of search terms makes up a large percentage of total search demand.
In particular, the 500 most popular search terms account for 8.4% of the total search volume.
Unsurprisingly, the monthly search volume isn't evenly distributed. However, we were surprised to see how skewed the search behavior is towards a small number of search terms.
For example, if you include misspellings, 2-3% of all searches done on Google are related to 4 keywords: YouTube, Facebook, Amazon and Google.
|Bank of America||0.051%|
|Women's World Cup 2019||0.026%|
|Amazon Prime Video||0.022%|
|Internet speed test||0.021%|
|Bed bath and beyond||0.021%|
|Food near me||0.018%|
This finding is interesting for two reasons. First, it shows that a large number of Google searches are navigational.
Second, it shows the popularity of the four dominant internet brands compared to all other brands.
Key takeaway: The 500 top keywords make up 8.4% of the total search volume.
The average search volume for a keyword is 989 searches per month
The typical keyword receives an average of 989 monthly searches.
However, this figure is slightly skewed due to the concentration of extremely high volume terms we just talked about. For this reason, we decided to analyze the mean search volume as well.
And we found that the median search volume is only 10 searches per month.
This in turn shows that the vast majority of keywords are "long tails" with a relatively low monthly search volume.
Key takeaway: The average keyword on Google is searched 989 times per month. However, it is likely that this number will be influenced by the top 500 search terms. When analyzing the mean search volume, we found that the typical search volume for a keyword was only 10 searches per month.
14.1% of search queries are question keywords
As the name suggests, a question keyword is any keyword that contains "who", "what", "where", "why", or "how" in it.
Given that many people use Google to search for information, it should come as no surprise that question keywords are relatively common.
In fact, we found that 14.1% of searches on Google were from a question keyword.
We've also broken down the most common types of questions people have used.
As you can see, the most common types of question keywords were "How" (8.07%), "What" (3.4%), "Where" (0.88%), "Why" (0.82% ), "Who" "(0.6%) and" which "(0.33%).
Due to their nature, questions are relatively long and specific, usually long-tail terms. And as mentioned before, long tails in terms of keyword frequency are common. However, they usually have a low search volume (even when they are added together).
Key takeaway: With 14.1% of all search terms, question keywords are relatively common in Google searches.
The average keyword has a CPC of $ 0.61
One of the key findings we wanted to investigate for this study was the cost per click (CPC) for Google ads. And how CPCs differ between different industries.
We found that the typical keyword has a Google Ad CPC of $ 0.61.
We have also broken down the CPC by industry.
Overall, real estate, finance, health, legal, and housing keywords have the highest average CPCs.
On the other side of the spectrum, keywords in news, arts & entertainment, food, and fitness have the lowest CPCs.
Key takeaway: CPCs vary widely between different keywords. On average, the typical keyword costs $ 0.61 per click. The finance, real estate, and healthcare industries have the highest CPCs for Google Ads. While fitness, food, and the arts have relatively low CPCs.
The US has a higher average search volume and CPCs compared to other English-speaking countries
For this analysis we used a dataset with English language keywords from 5 countries: USA, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
When adjusted for population size, Americans search Google far more often than any other English-speaking country.
In fact, Americans are 38% more likely to use Google than the UK. And 90% more than in Australia.
The US also has significantly higher CPCs on average.
While the absolute numbers vary between the US and other countries, the search patterns are usually quite similar.
For example, searches with high US volume tend to have high international volume with a few exceptions, and vice versa.
Key takeaway: The United States uses Google far more than other English-speaking countries. In fact, Americans search Google 38% more than the UK and 90% more than Australia.
The average keyword length is 1.9 words and 8.5 characters
Our analysis found that among the 306 million keywords we looked at, the average keyword is 1.9 words and 8.5 characters long.
We also looked at the relationship between keyword length and search volume. When looking at the number of characters, extremely long and short keywords are rarely searched for.
We found that keywords between 5 and 10 characters are searched most often.
And these 1-2 word terms have the highest average search volume.
Key takeaway: The average keyword length in Google search is 8.5 characters and 1.9 words. We also found that shorter keywords (in terms of word count) had higher search volume. In fact, short keywords (between 1-3 words) get 10x more searches than longer keywords (5+ words).
The industries with the highest average search volume include Internet & Telecommunications, News & Media, and Consumer Electronics
We decided to categorize every keyword in our dataset. And examine which industries had relatively high and low volume search terms.
We discovered the following:
When it comes to median search volume, the most popular keywords on Google usually fall under the categories: Internet & Telecommunications, Retailers, News, Art & Entertainment, and Consumer Electronics.
On the other hand, keywords relating to real estate, vehicles, occasions and gifts, home and garden, and law are relatively rarely searched for.
We did the same analysis with an emphasis on total searches. In other words, instead of analyzing the average search volume of each keyword, we looked at the total number of searches performed in each category.
As can be seen from the table, the results are similar. But not identical.
In particular, "News & Media" is the most popular search category on Google with 19.5% of all search queries. With "Internet & Telecom" (17.5%) and "Arts & Entertainment" (17.4%) 2nd and 3rd ..
These findings make logical sense. Millions of people use Google to find information about current events. Because of this, searching for news makes up almost 1 in 5 Google searches. However, each term will not generate significant search volume. Because of this, the average search volume for news-related keywords tends to be low.
Key takeaway: "Internet & Telecommunications" is the most popular search category in terms of average search volume per keyword. When looking at the total number of search queries per category, however, “News & Media” has the edge. In fact, 19.5% of all Google searches fall under the "News & Media" category.
Popular keywords have higher keyword difficulty levels
To get keyword difficulty data for our 306M Keywords data set, we analyzed a subset of terms (approx. 2.5 million) with Ahrefs.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, popular search terms have higher average keyword difficulty levels compared to low volume keywords.
For this analysis, we ran a subset of keywords from our dataset in Ahrefs. Although every SEO tool takes a different approach to keyword difficulty analysis, measuring keyword difficulty in Ahrefs is considered reliable. You are also transparent about how the metric is calculated.
Overall, we've found that popular search terms tend to have more competition in the SERPs.
In particular, every time the search volume doubles, the keyword difficulty increases by approximately 1.63.
For example, if the search volume increases from 100 to 3200 (6 doublings), the difficulty increases by approximately 10 (1.63 * 6).
This is likely due to the fact that popular keywords are attractive to SEOs and content marketers. This leads to increased SEO competition for these terms.
We also looked at the relationship between Keyword Difficulty and CPC. We found a clear relationship between these two variables. The more competitive the terms, the higher the CPC.
Most digital marketers would also expect this result. Keywords with high CPCs tend to have strong buyer intent. While many companies are willing to pay to get ahead of these searchers through Google Ads, others prefer organic ranking. This leads to strong competition for high CPC conditions.
Key takeaway: Popular keywords have higher average keyword difficulty levels compared to keywords with a low search volume. We also found a relationship between Keyword Difficulty and CPC. Keywords with high CPCs in particular tend to have a higher level of SERP competition.
People also ask boxes, image packs, and videos are the most common SERP features in google search
Next, we looked at the prevalence of SERP features. And the relationship between SERP functions and keyword difficulty.
First, we looked at which SERP features are shown most frequently in Google's search results.
We found that the most common search features in the organic results from Google People Also Ask (19.4%), Image Packs (19.4%), Video Results (17.9%), Top Stories (15.4%) and Sitelinks (11.0%) are.
Some of the least common SERP features include tweet boxes, Google Shopping results, and knowledge cards.
We also looked at which SERP features were showing together in the search results. Here are the most common SERP function pairings.
Interestingly, keywords that call SERP functions are more competitive than keywords without SERP functions.
Google search results with more SERP functions have a higher average keyword difficulty.
Overall, SERP features are shown in almost all Google search results. In fact, 97.6% of searches contain at least one SERP function.
We also found that searches without SERP features tend to be low in volume.
This is likely due to the fact that these low volume queries are extremely specific long tails. This means that a relevant YouTube video or Google Shopping result is less likely to match as part of a SERP function.
We also looked at the impact different SERP functions have on clicks. Interestingly, knowledge cards significantly reduce the number of clicks per search. While the other SERP features seem to have had a limited impact on pulling clicks away from the organic "10 blue links" results.
Key takeaway: 97.6% of all Google searches lead to a SERP function. "People ask too" is the most popular SERP function in Google.
I hope you found this analysis interesting.
I'd like to thank DataForSEO for providing the data on the 306 million keywords that made up the bulk of this research.
For those interested, you can find a PDF of our study methods here. And a link to a GitHub repository with all the raw data.
Now I would like to hear what you have to say:
What do you learn most from today's research?
Or maybe you have a question about something from the study.
Either way, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.