Understanding the Difference between Rolling and Monthly Average Search Volume

Understanding the Difference between Rolling and Monthly Average Search Volume

Understanding the Difference between Rolling and Monthly Average Search Volume


As webmasters, we are constantly performing KWO, an important aspect of which is analyzing the search volume our keywords receive, as well as the traffic of keywords we are going to be aiming for in the future.

As Google is the absolute leader in search traffic (receiving over 60% of searches), we often turn to Google AdWords’ tool, the Keyword Planner. The information received from Google is a very excellent representation of the majority of search engine users.

However, as with almost all analytics, the information presented by Google can be interpreted differently based upon how you look at it.

Let’s take a look at an example of what I am talking about.

Below you will see a picture of what Google shows when you punch in a keyword into its’ Keyword Planner. The blue bar graph represents the monthly average search volume. Below the bar graph, you will see a column marked, “Avg. monthly searches,” which represents the rolling average of searches for that keyword, over the period of one year. These numbers can mean different things depending on the keywords you are researching.

Search engine keywords

Rolling Average looks at the keyword’s popularity over the course of the year by taking the last 12 months of data and dividing by the average number of monthly searches. While this information can be very useful, it often fails to recognize trends such as seasonal traffic or a keyword gaining popularity in the last few months.

For example, in the image above we see that the average monthly searches for Christmas lights is only 90,500. The thing we do not see unless we compare the data to the month-to-month bar graph, is  the fact that during November and December the keyword receives over 700,000 searches but in the following two month period it receives a little bit more than 50,000.

Using this information allows us to look forward and anticipate future demand. If I was a marketer in the example above, I would allocate almost all of my marketing budget for the October, November, and December months.

In Conclusion

  • Analyzing month to month average search volume data allows us to see seasonal trends and rising or decreasing popularity of a keyword.
  • Analyzing the rolling average search data gives us a better understanding to how well our keyword will perform over the year.
  • Compare the data of both monthly and rolling averages between keywords. This will allows you to create a strategy of how you can increase rankings through search engine optimization.
  • Create a list of keywords you wish to rank for and naturally use these in your content.