How to Use Google Search Console Data For Keyword Research

Nick Nolan
5 min readFeb 6
Photo by sarah b on Unsplash

Keyword research is my favorite SEO task.

I tried to start a blog without doing any keyword research and (unsurprisingly) never got any traffic from Google. I was only creating content that I thought people would enjoy.

Keyword research reveals the topics people are interested in, and it gives you an estimate for how difficult it is to rank your website for those topics.

There are plenty of great SEO tools that can help you with this.

You can use something like Ahrefs and sort lists of keywords based on estimated search volume and difficulty. Or plug in a competitor’s website, see what they’re ranking for, and try to steal their traffic.

There are tons of different methods for finding good keywords.

One issue I’ve found is that there can be a massive difference between the SEO tool data and reality. All the data is really just educated guesses.

Check this out:

Screenshots from Ahrefs/Google Search Console

I found this keyword on Ahrefs. They estimate that 250 people search the term every month, and if you’re in the #1 spot, you can get ~80 visitors per month.

This keyword is a basic question, and Ahrefs said there’s no competition, so I wrote a 950-word article answering the question.

A few weeks later, my page reached the #1 spot. And look at how much traffic it’s getting — 562 visitors in the past 28 days — a lot more than the 80 Ahrefs guessed. My page also has 5,000+ monthly impressions, so I know at least 5,000 people are searching the term/topic, not just 250.

The page isn’t ranking for 100s of keywords. The Ahrefs data is simply underestimating the monthly search volume.

Screenshot from Ahrefs

This isn’t the case with every keyword. I have other pages that match the Ahrefs data, but you can’t blindly follow their numbers.

Nick Nolan

Freelance marketing consultant | Writing about Copywriting, SEO, and Social Media