This is post #2 in a 4 post series on traffic estimation. Click here for the previous post.

Now that you understand how to get a good traffic estimate by averaging a views per post metric, it’s time to look in a little more depth about how estimating website traffic with keyword search volumes can be a little more reliable.

I want to point out that both of these metrics are acceptable approaches to affiliate traffic estimation, but they also both have their drawbacks. For a side by side comparison of the two methods, click here.

This post focuses on how to use keyword search volumes, not the pros and cons of using the method.

Keyword Search Volume and Traffic Estimation

If you’re familiar with how to find good keywords, you already understand the importance of finding high volume, low competition keywords. While we usually talk about keywords in terms of search volume, and not potential traffic, we can use a few assumptions to make an educated guess on traffic levels.

Percentage of Total Search Volume

The first point to think about is what percentage of the total search volume for any given keyword will result in a click to your site. Practically, this is impossible to know and even less possible to standardize into a valid assumption, so you should treat this as a thought exercise only.

Obviously, if a keyword gets 1,000 searches per month, not all of those users will wind up on your site. Statistically, about half of all searches will click on one of the first four search results. The largest percentage usually goes to the top-ranked page, and the rest is divided up among the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place results.

But here’s the catch: your site rank is going to change based on different user searches. Even if you rank on the first page, the order might differ based on demographic variations in the user, so making an estimate is difficult. That’s not even considering the fact that your site might not even rank on the first page of Google to begin with, yet you could still generate traffic from that keyword.

So what percentage should you use to guess traffic levels? Well, it depends, but I usually go with the 5% rule.

The 5% Rule

The 5% rule is simple: for an established site, I can usually expect 5% of the total search volume of a keyword to result in traffic on my site. For a keyword with 1,000 monthly searches, I might expect 50 visits per month.

I know what you’re thinking: 5% is still a fairly high percentage. The fact is that I probably won’t get 5% volume for a single, specific keyword. What the 5% rule implies, however, is that for any keyword you target, there are dozens of related keywords. That means I might get 1% of the search volume for that specific keyword, but 0.25% of the search volume for 16 other keywords.

This makes a fairly good, conservative estimate of traffic over time, but it is by no means perfect.

Continue reading to compare the keyword search volume method of estimating traffic with the views per page method.