Q and A: What Does “Not enough data” mean in the Google Keywords Tool?


Dear Kalena…

Any idea about this: When i select USA as a country in Google keyword tool and I search for ‘link building’ as a keyword… after data get displayed, from show and hide option i have selected show ‘local search Volume’.

When I scroll down a bit more, I see this: for key ‘affordable link building’ there is ‘Not enough data’ under local searches, but I can see ‘260’ monthly searches under global searches. What does it mean?

Does it mean – that keyword is no one searching from USA (as I selected my local country USA) but globally it’s being searched by some small portion of people around the globe but not from USA, because it is showing ‘not enough data under ‘local search volume’?

If that is a case, than it means I shouldn’t target those keywords for USA which are showing ‘Not enough data’ under local search volume, because there is no one searching that keywords and I will waste my time isn’t it?

What is your opinion on this? Thanks in advance!


Hi Arshad,

The Local Monthly Searches column in the Google Keyword Tool provides an approximation of the number of monthly searches for a particular keyword, averaged over the last 12 months, for the “locality” specified. The “Not enough data” message (which in the current version of the tool shows up as a “-“) does not necessarily mean that the search volumes are too low to report, it indicates that (for whatever reason) there is insufficient data to calculate an average. This may mean that there are low search volumes for your selected area – but could also mean that for some reason the data over the last 12 months is incomplete.

Any decision you might make on whether or not to target a particular keyword phrase within a particular region, should not be based solely on search volumes. If a keyword phrase is highly relevant, and/or if it has a high conversion rate, you don’t necessarily need high traffic volume for it to be a worthwhile phrase.

Keyword Tools provide an approximation of historical search volumes, but it is often the relative volumes between keyword phrases which is more important than the actual volumes themselves.

Your question does highlight though that whatever tools you use, it is VERY important to understand the source of the data, and what rules have been applied in gathering and collating it. Without an understanding of this, any analysis you do, or any interpretations you make from the data may be invalid.

Andy Henderson
WebConsulting (Brisbane)

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