Keyword research is my favourite part of SEO Marketing. It's like panning for gold with an old sieve or scanning the beach with a metal detector once everyone's gone home (no, honestly, I'm not one of those!)
Once in a while you find a little nugget that blows you away, stops you dead in your tracks.
Sunday 31st July 2022 was one of those days.
Finding questions people want answers to.
There I was, minding my own business. Just researching some question-based keywords for a client, like “how to ride a balance bike“. As you do.
I expanded my search beyond balance bikes, and dug deeper into the most popular question-based keywords across Google Ireland in general.
Then I saw it. Staring out at me from my Ahrefs keyword explorer dashboard.
I couldn't quite believe my own eyes at first.
So I double-checked on another of my favourite keyword volume tools KW Finder
Crikey, yep the Ahrefs figures weren't lying.
I'd expected the most popular searches to be stuff like:
|Keyword||Avg. Searches (Last 12 months) on Google Ireland|
|how to lose weight fast||10,000|
|how to cancel amazon prime||5,600|
|how to do an antigen test||4,500|
|how to boil an egg||2,000|
|how to make money online||1,600|
But I was wrong.
Google searches beginning with “how”.
Searches beginning with “how” are popular, obviously.
We typically turn to Google or Youtube when we want instructions on how to do something.
Or how to avoid making a complete hames of whatever it is we're about to do.
So I asked my wife what she thought was the most popular Google search in Ireland beginning with “how”.
She didn't seem that interested to be honest, but I persevered.
Eventually she played along.
“How to cut your own hair”
“How to make pancakes”
“How to tie a tie”
No, no, no.
I could tell her enthusiasm was waning.
So I told her the answer, expecting she would lavish me with praise for having discovered something so mind-blowing.
But her reaction was muted, to say the least.
Keyword research is for nerds.
But that's the thing about keyword research. Or, more particularly, us folk who enjoy doing keyword research.
It's like a treasure hunt to us. Digging through the dirt to try and find something of value.
That one keyword no-one else has thought of. The one that gets thousands of searches every month, but very little competition in the SERPs.
If you're not careful, keyword research can become an obsession. You find (what you think are) great keywords, and you quickly buy an exact match domain. You spend the next hour daydreaming about your plans for that new website, and the money you'll make from all that traffic.
It was a bit like that at 3.58pm on Sunday 31st July 2022. The day I struck gold.
Stop boring us. Tell us the answer!
Before the big reveal, here's a little clue.
Here are the number of times this exact phrase was searched in Google, in Ireland, from July 2021 – June 2022.
|Month||Google Searches in Ireland|
For those of you with detective tendencies, this might give the game away.
The clue is in the seasonality.
For crying out loud, what is the most popular Google search in Ireland beginning with “How”?
Here's the answer to the question on everyone's lips – the question that keeps half the population of Ireland awake at night.
I can just feel the suspense.
Crikey, I'm excited, and I know the answer.
God knows how excited you must be? Positively trembling I imagine.
Here it is:
How many days to Christmas.
Now, stop that bloody groaning. I don't make the rules around here.
Well I do, but you know what I mean.
Just take a minute and digest a few of these facts:
161,600 searches per year for the exact term “how many days to christmas“
That's an average of 13,467 Google searches per month, throughout the year.
And, remember, that's only for that exact phrase, with those exact words, in that exact order.
Here are the search volumes for some alternative phrases that basically ask the same question:
|Keyword||Avg. Searches (Last 12 months) Ireland|
|how many days to christmas||14,200|
|how many days till christmas||9,000|
|how many days until christmas||4,700|
|how many days to christmas eve||190|
|how many days til christmas||150|
|how many days till christmas day||110|
|how many days to christmas day||90|
|how many more days to christmas||50|
|how many working days to christmas||10|
Combined, that's an average of 28,500 Google searches every month in Ireland. Nearly 1,000 online searches every day from people (adults and children obviously) who are desperate for Christmas to arrive.
Is it only Ireland that's obsessed about the number of days to Christmas?
Here are the global average monthly search volumes for a few of these questions:
|Keyword||Avg. Searches (Last 12 months) Global|
|how many days until christmas||802,000|
|how many days till christmas||484,000|
|how many days to christmas||51,000|
|how many days til christmas||12,200|
|how many more days to christmas||2,600|
|how many days till christmas day||1,900|
|how many days to christmas eve||570|
|how many days to christmas day||520|
|how many working days to christmas||50|
What's interesting about the global stats compared with Ireland's is the slight change in phraseology.
In Ireland, the term “how many days to christmas” is the most popular, while our international friends have a penchant for “how many days until christmas“.
This just highlights one of the crazy things I've come to love about SEO keyword research.
Never assume anything. Ever.
Make all the assumptions you like. But until you have the data to hand, you know diddly squat.
Countless times I've been dumbstruck by some mad fact that's been revealed during a bout of keyword analysis.
And, trust me, if you're not taking advantage of these keyword findings, you can bet your backside someone, somewhere will be.
Just take this whole “when the hell is Christmas” lark for a second.
The website that ranks top globally for most of the terms is www.xmasclock.com
Have a guess how many visitors that website gets every month? Go on, have a guess.
“What's this, bloody quiz night?” I hear you ask.
No, I'm serious.
According to Ahrefs (who make it their business to find out this sort of thing) they estimate that xmasclock.com gets around 5.5 million visitors every year.
That's an eye-watering average of 458,000 visitors every month.
Trust me, there are massive global companies that would murder for that sort of traffic.
So, what can you do with this knowledge?
Well, you know the old saying “to be informed is to be empowered”, or something like that.
Accessing that sort of information helps you make better, more informed decisions.
It can be incredibly useful obviously when deciding what blog posts to publish, or what interactive tools to create and share.
If you know there's a huge number of people eager to know how many days to Christmas, make it easy for them to find and share the answer.
Build a website, and maybe get them to sign up to daily countdown reminders.
And, once in a while, send them a little email about interesting Christmas gift ideas for cranky fathers.
You have a captive Christmas-obsessed audience, so give them what they ruddy want!
What did I do with my epiphanous keyword discovery?
Well, I did what any self-respecting keyword-researching, domain-obsessed nerd would do.
I bought the domain xmasday.ie of course and set up my own little countdown clock.
Check out my meta title and H1 tag, and you'll see I'm going after the favoured Irish search term:
How many days to Christmas.
Well, if I don't do it, somebody bloody else will!