What is Keyword Pioneering?


As SEOs, we often have tunnel-vision when it comes to keyword research.

Yes, I’m talking about search volume.

The bigger the search volume, the more attractive the keyword is to optimise for.

The problem is that industries can and do change, as does industry terminology.

Today, I’ll explain what keyword pioneering is and how you can use it to leverage on industry shifts so your website is better prepared to rank for up-and-coming keywords within your niche.

If you’d prefer to watch me talk about keyword pioneering, check out the video below:

What is keyword pioneering?

Keyword pioneering is the act of predicting and optimising for keywords that have no data within keyword research tools, but are starting to become widely used within an industry.

This works best when you are able to seek out trends and create content around them before anyone else in your space.

As such, keyword pioneering is fundamentally about being a true expert and thought leader within your industry.

The accuracy of keyword research tools

Something important to address is that keyword research tools are never going to be 100% accurate.

Reason being, search volume data is usually taken from Google Keyword Planner (and sometimes combined with clickstream data).

Google Keyword Planner calculates search volume as a rounded annual average, and as such, it updates every month.

However, if a term suddenly becomes popular or coined within a niche, it likely won’t display any search volume for a while – even if it is being actively searched.

Keyword Pioneering using Semrush Keyword Magic Tool

Why keyword pioneering is important within SEO

If we take the assumption that an SEOs job is to bring qualified organic traffic to a website, then keyword pioneering is absolutely critical.

With this approach, you are futureproofing a website so it can rank for what its audiences actually want (without stiff competition).

The reason for this comes down to the basic economics of supply and demand.

If there’s a new term that is gaining traction but there are no results that match that intent, we’re seeing an influx of demand without any supply.

For SEO, it’s important to predict and match this behaviour to leverage on the initial lack of competition for that keyword.

How to become a keyword pioneer

Once you understand what keyword pioneering is and why it’s important, the final step is to figure out how exactly you can implement it.

First and foremost, keyword pioneering is all about acquiring fresh knowledge of an industry.

It really doesn’t matter what the industry is,  but you should be aware of what people are talking about – especially from official and/or authoritative sources.

One (somewhat) recent example is when Google announced Core Web Vitals.

Core Web Vitals Chromium blog post 5 May 2020

We can see one of the first content pieces around this keyword came from the Chromium blog in early May 2020.

Core Web Vitals Searches on Google Trends

Ever since this post got published, there has been a steady rise in interest for Core Web Vitals.

Anyone who was fast enough to create content around this search term at the time would have most likely been able to rank well, just as the demand for the keyword was starting to increase.

But what if you don’t know where to find these industry authority sources?

If you’re an SEO consultant doing work for clients in another industry, it’s important to consult them and gather as much up-to-date information about their industry and offerings,

After all, they are the experts in their niche so they should be able to give some insights about the latest trends.


With any industry, there’ll be changes and shifts over time.

New terminology will take over, which leads to new opportunities as an SEO to optimise for these terms.

As such, keyword pioneering should always be considered in terms of having an always-on approach to SEO whereby you’re always in the loop.

We’ll see how popular the term ‘keyword pioneering’ actually gets – hopefully more people in the industry will see its benefits, whether that’s an SEO expert or absolute beginner.

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