The difference between Overture’s search estimates and reality

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Cristian Mezei

I just want to emphase the fact that people SHOULD take Overture’s Keyword Selector Tool, search estimates, as purely hypothetical, and just that.

Having some experience, I can tell you: please do NOT base your efforts and keyword/seo marketing actions only on Overture’s search estimates. Always pick up data from several other sources like Adwords’s traffic estimation tool, Wordtracker, Google Trends, Alexa etc.

For example, Overture’s tool estimates 2193 searches for “seo blog” in August 2006:

I’ve been in the #2 position for “seo blog” in Yahoo, for 2 months now:

Yahoo search for

So how many referrers did I got from that search in August ? I’ve got 1 referrer. That’s right. 1 (one). And that was probably me:

Analytics report for August

So what’s the reason behind this ? And what are some pointers for the future ?

  1. Overture estimates the number of searches. Not the number of clicks (thus referrers).
  2. If you are #1 for a certain keyword, it doesn’t mean you will have all those referrers (see point 1 too) . Places #2 – #100 get visitors too right ?
  3. The quality of your website, title + description, as well as their relevancy to the term the user searched, also influences the clicks you get. If a certain user wants to buy a car and searches “Nissan cars” , it doesn’t matter if you are #1 for “Nissan cars” with a title of “Nissan computers and my broken cars” (and a dumb description), if the #2 position has the title “Nissan cars for sale. Get the best price at” and a relevant description too. The second result will most likely ALWAYS get 90% of the clicks, although he’s in #2 position.

And anyway, this little post also demonstrates how UN-powerfull Yahoo is. If I had the #2 spot for “seo blog” in Google the situation would’ve been much better (at least 10X more referrers, I would presume).

I would be very curious to know how many referrers did Matt had in August from “seo blog”, from Yahoo and Google searches. Matt has the #1 spot in both Google and Yahoo. Matt can you help ?

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6 Comments so far

Matt Cutts said:
September 23rd, 2006

Looks like 242 referrers for me. Still far short of 2193.

September 23rd, 2006

Those are for Yahoo right ? (short yeah ..)

And for G ?

Matt Cutts said:
September 25th, 2006

Oh, sorry. I think 8 referrers were Yahoo. The rest were Google. Matt shrugs.

André Pena said:
September 25th, 2006

Incredible, I’d say that staying first at google and yahoo would represent lot more traffic. Would it show how SEO is unknown???

Matt Cutts said:
September 25th, 2006

Well, “seo blog” is actually not a search I’d ever even considered doing, so I don’t think it’s that bad. :)

September 25th, 2006

Matt, still, the 8 to 250 ratio says a lot about the number of searches in Yahoo and Google, altough the official numbers for Yahoo are far more kind then the sad reality (at least in our niche).

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