Why do I get no search volume data for some keywords?

Believe me, I know how frustrating it is to get no search volume data for the keywords that are so important to you. Our support team gets a countless number of requests from our clients who wish to get the answer as well. That is why I’ve decided to dive deep into this subject and answer this intriguing question once and for all. 

In this article you will learn:

  1. What is keyword search volume
  2. Where do we get search volume data from
  3. Why do I get no search volume data for some keywords?
  4. 2 simple rules that will tell you everything you need to know
  5. What content is prohibited by Google
  6. What content Google restricts
  7. Why does spelling matter
  8. What symbols to use and what to avoid

What is keyword search volume?

Let’s start with the basics. Keyword search volume is an SEO metric that shows you the estimated number of searches made for a specific keyword each month in a certain location. Because all the SEO tools take this data from Google, you can easily say that search volume tells you how many times a certain keyword has been googled in a specific location during the exact month.

This metric is far from the most reliable one when you’re choosing the keywords to focus on. Seach volume counts the average amount of searches, not unique people conducting this search. It means that it doesn’t differentiate if it was only one person who performed 10 searches or was it 10 different people. And it’s just one of the known pitfalls that you can fall into, but that’s a topic for another article. 

Where do we get search volume data from? 

Because Google is the boss in search data, it is the only company allowed to gather and share how many times something has been searched online. Therefore, all SEO tools have to ask Google to share its data from Google Ads (Google Planner) using Google Ads API. 

If you do not see the search data for some keywords, keep in mind that there was some reason why Google has decided so. No matter how much Wincher or any other SEO tool would want to help you, our hands are tied because we’re only allowed to show you what’s been calculated, not to invent our own numbers (even it’s for sake of our clients).   

Why do I get no search volume data for some keywords? 

First, you need to keep in mind that even though search volume data is an SEO metric, Google doesn’t calculate it for search optimization specialists, but to help its advertisers choose the best keywords for their promotion. That is why if some of your keywords are missing search volume data, it is because Google doesn’t let these keywords be promoted via Google Ads in this location and therefore has no intention and need to calculate any data for them.

Now, let’s dive more into why certain words or phrases can’t be displayed as ads.

Long story short, Google has a considerable number of restrictions in its Google Ads policies. That is why when Wincher can’t return data for some of your keywords, most likely those keywords must have fallen into one of the restricted categories (that can be not very obvious sometimes). 

Example when you get no search volume data
Screenshot from Wincher rank tracker

After reading tons of articles and Google policies I’ve come to the following conclusion:

There are only two rules about search data that you need to understand. 

Rule number 1: Google always knows better. 

The laws are constantly changing, the rules are always adapting to fit the reality. Therefore, you will never find a full guide that will provide you with the full list of Google restrictions that will answer all your questions. Sometimes it’s the law of some area that keeps you from getting your precious search data, sometimes it’s the connection of your keyword to an unsafe category, sometimes it’s the keyword that has been reported somewhere, and Google prefers to keep its users away from it, sometimes it’s just because. 

Rule number 2: Even if you’ve managed to follow all the rules and still get no search volume data, read again the first rule. 

The number of content restrictions and “other reasons” is huge. You may be really thinking that the keyword you’re tracking is innocent and has nothing even close to the restricted categories, but Google does always have its own reasons not to think so. 

In case this information is not enough for you and you still wish to know more, please grab a cup of coffee to stay focused and digest Google Ads policies (I did my best to explain them in the simplest and shortest possible way). 

So let’s start with the prohibited content. 

According to Google Advertising Policies Center, prohibited content includes:

Prohibited content by google ads that will show you no search volume

Counterfeit goods. When goods try to mimic another brand by using an identical or similar trademark or logo.

Dangerous products or services. These include recreational drugs and equipment to facilitate drug use, weapons and ammunition, other weapons like fighting knives or even self-defense products, any explosive materials including fireworks, any instructions that can help users create explosives or harmful products themselves, tobacco products, and so on. 

Enabling dishonest behavior. Content that includes cheating, fake documents, hacking software, and any attempt to promote an unfair way to achieve something. 

Inappropriate content. When content may offend users and spreads intolerance, discrimination, or violence. 

Alongside prohibited content, Google can restrict the promotion of some content, but on limited bases. That is why when Google Planner finds some of your content even a little bit doubtful, it won’t allow its promotion and therefore won’t be calculating search volume data for it. 

On its official Google Ads policies page, the company explains that it uses its power to restrict specific content that can sometimes be illegal or culturally sensitive. Below you will see the categories of content restrictions for which you will rarely get any search data from Google.

Restricted content by Google Ads that you might miss the search volume for

Sexual content. Although it sounds pretty obvious, some kinds of sexual content may not be allowed in some locations and should be based on user search queries, user age, and local laws where the ad is being served. The keywords don’t have to be extreme to fall into this category and be restricted, even the word aphrodisiac will be enough.

Alcohol. Google has to abide by local rules and industry standards. Therefore, alcohol-related content will only be allowed if it meets the rules of a certain location. 

Copyrights. This restriction was made to protect the rights of copyright holders and don’t let any unauthorized usage of copyrighted content. 

Gambling and games. Here the situation is very similar to the alcohol category. Google has to abide by local gambling laws and industry standards. Therefore, most likely you will lack search volume data for keywords related to both online and offline gambling, as well as for online non-casino games and everything similar to it. 

Healthcare and medicines. Some healthcare-related content can’t be advertised at all due to local regulations. This restriction applies to pharmaceutical manufacturers, authorized pharmacies, unapproved substances, speculative and experimental medical treatment, cell therapies, gene therapies, abortion, health insurance, birth control, addiction services, and more. Because this area is very sensitive, Google allows advertisements (and therefore can provide you with the search data) only if your keywords follow the advertising regulations for healthcare and medicine in a chosen location.

Restricted content by Google Ads that may cause the absence of search data

Political content that should comply with a local campaign and election laws. Therefore, if your keywords have something to do with elections, be prepared that you might be missing search data for them because of regional restrictions or because it is always easier for Google to prevent a risky ad than to fix the outcomes it has caused.   

Financial services protect their users from harmful financial decisions and restrict the content that is considered deceitful and doesn’t comply with local regulations. This restriction includes personal loans, binary options, complex speculative financial products, credit repair services, debt services, and cryptocurrencies. 

Trademarks to protect trademarks owners. 

Legal requirements to restrict the content that doesn’t comply with all applicable laws and regulations in a certain location. 

Made for kids content. Requirements for made for kids content to avoid personalized ads on content set as made for kids. This restriction includes the following categories:

  • Adult and Sexually Suggestive Content
  • Alcohol / Tobacco / Recreational Drugs
  • Astrology / Occult / Paranormal
  • Contests and Sweepstakes
  • Content that is dangerous and inappropriate for users under the age of 13
  • Dating and Relationships
  • Fight Sports
  • Food and Beverage
  • Gambling
  • Health and Wellness
  • Mobile Subscriptions
  • Online or Virtual Communities
  • Pharmaceuticals and Supplements
  • Political Ads
  • Religion
  • Video Games
Restricted content and features by Google Ads that you will get no search volume data for

Default Ads Treatment. Google can easily limit any keyword that falls into a category where users must be signed in or prove that they are over 18 years old.

Restricted ad formats and features. According to Google, certain ad formats and features can be restricted until the advertiser meets all the requirements or completes the certification process. 

Other restricted businesses. This is by far the most uncertain one because it means that Google has the power to restrict any content EVEN if it complies with Google policies. This is because the company takes other factors into account, such as reviews and feedback from its users, regulators, and consumer protection authorities. This is why sometimes you may be missing search volume data because the keywords you want to get the data for have been OCCASIONALLY identified as prone to abuse and could cause unreasonable risk to the user. 

These other restricted businesses include:

  • Solicitation of funds
  • Free desktop software
  • Local services
  • Consumer advisories
  • Government documents and official services
  • Call directory, forwarding, and recording services, Event ticket sale
  • Event ticket sale
  • Bail bond services
  • Third-party consumer technical support
  • High Fat Sugar Salt Food and Beverage Ads
Restricted content that abuse the ad network that is better to avoid

Malicious or unwanted software. This is more of a requirement than a restriction and it means that Google will consider content associated with malicious software or “malware” that may harm or gain unauthorized access to a computer, device, or network. 

Evasive ad content. Google will not like it if you misspelled prohibited words in order to track search volume data anyways. 

Webmaster Guidelines. If some of the keywords may be seen as those that violate Google Webmaster Guidelines, you won’t be getting any search data for them. Keyword stuffing is an example of such a violation. 

Why Does Spelling Matter?

Well, we’ve come to the final part of this article where I want to show that not only the words you choose matter but also the way you write them. Google has separate requirements made for the appearance of your keywords that are called editorial

Google wants all the ads to be clear and professionally written. Therefore, the company pays precise attention to the appearance of the texts and tries to protect its users from cheaters. Below you can see the main editorial guidelines ignoring which might lead to the absence of search volume data. 

Editorial guidelines by Google Ads that you must follow not to miss search data

Style and spelling

Always make sure to use commonly accepted spelling and grammar. Also, it is important to avoid words and phrases that don’t make sense and have CTAs within. 


The proper usage of symbols matters and you should never underestimate the restrictions that might be applied. Here are the basic rules you should keep in mind:

Allowed symbols

Google won’t restrict keywords with ampersands (&) and accent marks (á). Keywords with these symbols are considered two different keywords, like sidewalk cafe and sidewalk café.

Ignored symbols

If you add a period symbol to your keyword, Google will simply ignore it and give you search data as if there isn’t one. 

Invalid symbols

Keep in mind that you’ll be missing search volume data if you add keywords that contain certain symbols. Some of the symbols that can’t be used in your keywords are: , ! @ % ^ () = {} ; ~ ` <> ? \ |. Asterisks (*) can only be added to negative keywords. 

Plus (+) symbol

It will always be ignored if you put it between words but will be counted if you use it at the end of your keywords. For example, “C++”

Minus (-) symbol

It will tell Google that you want the term after it to be ignored for keyword matching. Here you must be very precise with the spacing you use with it because it makes a whole difference. For example, if you have a negative keyword “white -chocolate”, it’ll be considered the same as just “white”, but if you just put a minus symbol between two words or if there is a space between the “-” and term, the symbol will be ignored. 

Site and search operators

There is no need to use a site: operator because it will be automatically removed. For example, if you try to add site:www.wincher.com rank tracker, it’ll be considered the same as the rank tracker. All the other Google search operators will also be ignored. For example, keyword OR SEO blogs, Google will ignore the “OR” operator and your keyword will be just SEO blogs.

In other words, it is better to avoid any creative usage of superscripts; non-standard symbols or characters, such as asterisks; bullet points, and ellipses; excessive or gimmicky use of numbers, symbols, or punctuation. I feel very sorry, but it means that you should not expect to see any search volume for the keywords like f1owers, fl@wers, Flowers!!!, f*l*o*w*e*r*s, or F.L.O.W.E.R.S. 


Unnecessary repetition of names, words, and phrases might fall into editorial restriction. Just make sure to avoid it within the keyword you want to get search volume data for.

Unacceptable spacing

This restriction applies to omitting a space and adding excessive spaces between words. For example, the keywords like “S a l e”, “buyflowers”, “Sale,buy flowers”.

Phone number in ad text

Using phone numbers inside your Google ad is not allowed. Therefore, don’t put your hopes high if you decide to track such keywords and expect to get decent search volume data. 

Final thoughts

It’s not an easy task to figure out the reason for Google’s decision to restrict some of the keywords. Sometimes it’s enough to go through Google Ads policies, sometimes you just need to accept things as they are. Or add some more keywords to change how Google interprets the meaning and you might begin to see the search volume. 

Because such SEO metric as search volume data was created to help Google advertisers get better results from their ad campaigns, the company doesn’t want to involve itself in any legal issues. This is why if Google doesn’t display ads that include certain keywords, unfortunately, there is no way you can get any search data for them. Because if the word or phrase is irrelevant or restricted, there is no reason to calculate search data for it. Don’t you agree?

Please share the weirdest keywords you’re missing the search volume data for? Maybe we’ll try to figure out all the whys together.

And if you want to try Wincher, the simplest rank tracking tool, feel free to grab a 14-day free trial with no strings attached.

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